96: Levels, Levels


00:00:00   OK, yeah, so levels, levels, levels, levels, levels, levels, levels, levels, levels, levels,

00:00:05   the universal way to check the levels.

00:00:07   I'm going to make sure the audio is right.

00:00:08   Levels, levels for musicians.

00:00:11   They say one, two, three, but got to say levels, levels.

00:00:14   Yeah, everyone knows one, two, three is ridiculous.

00:00:17   Levels, levels is better because then you know what you're trying to check.

00:00:20   Yeah, because you very constantly say the word levels.

00:00:23   Yeah. So you make sure the levels are right.

00:00:25   Yeah. I've got to get this.

00:00:27   I'm going to get my microphone.

00:00:28   the noise the noise game I realized it's like I think Myke has been complaining

00:00:32   about background noise for me more than often more than normal anyway and I

00:00:37   realize it's because I changed a bunch of stuff in my home office and the

00:00:42   microphone that I have stop it I don't have one of those little I don't know

00:00:46   what you would call it the like I used to have one the the little cages where

00:00:51   the microphone hovers yeah floats shock mount so like shock mounts thank you so

00:00:57   So I think that's part of the problem of why...

00:00:58   No, no, no.

00:00:59   It's not part of the problem.

00:01:01   Is the problem.

00:01:02   Is that the main job of that thing, I guess?

00:01:04   Yes!

00:01:05   It's to mount the shock, right?

00:01:08   You need to fix that, now I know what it is, because it's driving me bananas.

00:01:12   Well, yeah, I'm like, even I've heard it sometimes like, "Oh boy, you can really hear me touching

00:01:16   the desk."

00:01:17   And I guess that's why.

00:01:18   Yeah, yeah, because you're not mounting the shocks anymore.

00:01:22   Yeah, I had one in the rubber bands, the little rubber bands went bad, and then I thought,

00:01:26   I don't need this.

00:01:27   You know what?

00:01:28   I have like three of them in a box.

00:01:32   I'm just gonna give one to you.

00:01:35   Okay, sure.

00:01:36   Great.

00:01:37   Problem solved.

00:01:38   I'll take that.

00:01:39   I don't know.

00:01:40   I've got the like, just screws on at the top.

00:01:43   I don't know what the size is.

00:01:44   I'm sure I can make it fit.

00:01:45   The sizes tend to be universal for these type of equipment, so don't worry.

00:01:49   Although God knows what you're using anyway.

00:01:52   God knows what you're using anyway.

00:01:56   You just do so much weird stuff with your audio equipment.

00:01:59   I don't even understand it.

00:02:01   No.

00:02:02   Listeners.

00:02:03   Myke gets annoyed because I want to optimise for simplicity.

00:02:06   I'm not trying to optimise for…

00:02:08   It is a fixed home office.

00:02:10   It doesn't matter how simple it is.

00:02:12   Conceptually to me it matters that it's simple.

00:02:17   I swapped out the thing into which the XLR cables go,

00:02:21   that then the USB cable goes into the computer.

00:02:24   And I got one that's nice and simple,

00:02:27   and it only has two buttons.

00:02:28   - That breaks all the time.

00:02:29   - No, Myke, once it was confusing,

00:02:32   and it was totally fine,

00:02:33   but it's less of a problem than the old thing

00:02:35   that I used to use that had 10 little switches

00:02:38   on the back that you needed a paper clip to pull.

00:02:40   - Don't touch the switches!

00:02:41   You never need to touch those switches.

00:02:43   You set it up one time.

00:02:45   - Every time I record with that,

00:02:46   I would only record audio to the left channel and I could never figure out what the deal was.

00:02:50   Right, but, but, but, but look, okay, look.

00:02:52   I don't know a lot about this stuff, but I know enough.

00:02:55   You just need to let me in your office for like two hours, and I can get it set up in a way,

00:03:01   I never touch my audio gear, I never need to touch it, because I set it up once, and then I left it alone.

00:03:07   No, but look, the other reason why I want stuff simple is, okay look,

00:03:12   So if something goes wrong with the road super simple USB interface,

00:03:19   well the troubleshooting is much easier because, oh, there's only two knobs, right?

00:03:23   Whereas the other thing had four knobs and ten buttons on it.

00:03:27   Great, great. Nothing goes wrong with it if you don't touch it.

00:03:29   Just don't touch it and nothing can go wrong with it, right?

00:03:32   But I also have to record podcasts on the road sometimes.

00:03:36   Right, but you use separate road gear.

00:03:39   No, no, no. I disagree with your philosophy here.

00:03:42   Listen to my philosophy.

00:03:44   I was tired of having different equipment.

00:03:47   So I thought, look, let me try to optimise

00:03:50   for the equipment that I know I'll use on the road

00:03:54   will be the same equipment that I know I use at home

00:03:57   and this way I'm just using the same stuff

00:04:00   and I don't have to think about it.

00:04:02   But if the home gear is never adjusted

00:04:06   what difference does it make?

00:04:08   It makes a difference if there's problems.

00:04:11   somehow like you know audio stuff is always surprisingly fiddly.

00:04:15   Okay, until you spend enough money that you buy equipment that is rock solid,

00:04:20   which the USB Pre 2 by sound devices is completely rock solid.

00:04:24   You set that thing up, you leave it alone, and you never have problems with it.

00:04:29   That's what I want you to use.

00:04:31   I'm pretty sure that's the one that I used to use and there was always

00:04:34   trouble and then I didn't know how to debug it.

00:04:35   Right, because you never ask, right?

00:04:38   You don't ask for help.

00:04:39   Instead, you just buy more equipment that is more confusing and annoying for the people

00:04:44   that you work with.

00:04:45   No, but my new equipment only has two buttons.

00:04:47   It's much better.

00:04:48   Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:04:49   But then what happens?

00:04:50   Every time you call me, you say "hello".

00:04:53   Right.

00:04:54   "Hello".

00:04:55   And then we sit there in silence for 10 to 15 minutes, as for some reason all of your

00:04:59   settings have changed.

00:05:01   But no, we connected perfectly today.

00:05:04   No we didn't.

00:05:05   No we didn't.

00:05:06   No we didn't.

00:05:07   Hello?

00:05:08   Hello?

00:05:09   You did your whole thing and then it takes a minute and you're like, oh, hang on a second.

00:05:12   This is how it starts.

00:05:13   Every call.

00:05:14   This is how they start.

00:05:15   That didn't happen today.

00:05:16   You're just, you're just, you're having like post-traumatic stress from the previous time

00:05:20   that it happened.

00:05:21   I am happy with my new setup here, which is trying to optimize for it.

00:05:25   Stuff is always going to be the same when I travel to America and have to report a podcast

00:05:29   from America.

00:05:30   It's known.

00:05:31   I don't like the thing that you're using, the audio interface that you're using, but

00:05:36   I'll take it. Please, for the love of podcast, get a shock mount.

00:05:41   Okay, yeah, yeah. I will get a shock mount because I think I undervalued the importance

00:05:48   of this part of the setup.

00:05:50   Yeah, I've been spending a lot of time taking out thumps and thuds from you recently, which

00:05:55   I'm sure you have also dealt with, right? In your podcast editing activities. And I

00:06:00   guess in the audio for your videos too, there would have been thumps and thuds. That's where

00:06:04   they're coming from because there was no

00:06:05   shock mount.

00:06:06   Are you ready now?

00:06:09   Are you set up? Yeah.

00:06:10   Well, well, yeah.

00:06:12   So I'm mostly set up.

00:06:14   You know, still not 100 percent sure

00:06:16   which way to put the microphone.

00:06:17   What do you mean?

00:06:19   Which way? It's talking in the wrong

00:06:20   end now.

00:06:21   Don't talk into the cable end.

00:06:24   Thank you. Don't talk into the cable

00:06:25   end. I don't.

00:06:26   It's still OK.

00:06:29   Look, I've been doing podcasting for a

00:06:30   while. Right.

00:06:31   But I still feel like I haven't I

00:06:33   I haven't nailed the how far away are you from the microphone part.

00:06:38   Super close.

00:06:39   This is like I know it sounds better when you talk right into the microphone.

00:06:43   Yes. That's where else would you talk?

00:06:46   This is what you want. You want me talking right into the microphone?

00:06:48   Yes, that is what I want.

00:06:50   But I can't I can't sit here comfortably the entire show.

00:06:55   And I also have to talk really clearly.

00:06:58   What is your microphone attached to?

00:07:00   A stand, like a little stand.

00:07:02   "Oh, I know, it's the one that Stephen Hackett recommended."

00:07:09   "I don't care, you keep telling me, 'Oh, Marco recommended Stephen, I don't care who recommended this gear to you.'"

00:07:15   People recommending travel gear to you, not home studio gear.

00:07:21   If you ask those same people to say, "No, not for when I'm stuff that needs to go in a suitcase,

00:07:26   recommend the stuff I need at home," they will tell you to use what I am telling you to use,

00:07:31   because we all use the three same pieces of equipment, right?

00:07:36   Yeah, but I didn't like how much space the arm...

00:07:37   USB pre-2...

00:07:38   No, no, no, look, look, so, listeners, also, part of what has happened here is,

00:07:44   as you will have known from listening to the show, I've spent the last, like,

00:07:47   I guess, I actually, since I came back from the summer,

00:07:50   I haven't had an office outside the house, so I've been working from my home.

00:07:53   You've never recorded outside of the house!

00:07:55   No, no, let me finish, you gotta let me finish here.

00:07:58   So because of that, my office in the house has like different needs now.

00:08:05   And I don't I didn't want to have like the desk that I'm also spending a lot

00:08:10   of time working at to have this huge arm that's clamped to it.

00:08:13   Like I just I don't like it.

00:08:14   I didn't want it there. All of your creative work relies on good audio.

00:08:19   It is the only thing that ties them all together.

00:08:23   Right.

00:08:23   There's only one thing that ties the way

00:08:27   you make money together and that is audio. Audio is consistent through all of them.

00:08:30   Right. Right. Get a boom arm, attach it to the desk and then you know what? You can move the

00:08:36   microphone wherever you want, Grace. So it isn't, you don't have to get to the microphone's

00:08:41   comfortability level. The microphone comes to you. But like the microphone already comes to me

00:08:46   because look, listen, I don't know if you can hear that or not, but I have, so I didn't need a boom

00:08:53   arm because I got a desk so I knew it was going to be at home for a long time so I got

00:08:57   a desk that's a standing desk so I can move the desk up and down which then to me like

00:09:03   the microphone is on a stand on the desk I can move the desk up and down so now I expect

00:09:09   to hear you talking directly into the microphone then right okay so I've put the microphone

00:09:14   I've let me get it exactly right okay so I put the microphone I put the microphone on

00:09:20   the desk. There it is. No, but see, damn it, God, I don't understand why we're having this conversation.

00:09:26   No, I know why. Because you won't do it. Like, so, you just said the way you solve not using a

00:09:32   boom arm is by having a standing desk. So now, what I expect, if you fixed it, is that I hear

00:09:38   you the way I want to hear you. Right. Okay, but then, okay, so if I go right up to the microphone,

00:09:44   I have to talk all quiet. Like, you can hear that it's different in my voice. Right. No,

00:09:50   But see the thing is then you redo levels levels

00:09:52   You want me not now we do this later on like I'm you're not touching that thing now

00:10:00   You want me to turn the levels down now?

00:10:01   Is that setting levels levels based upon the fact that you do not speak directly into your microphone, right?

00:10:08   What you need to do is get the microphone set correctly talk directly into the microphone and then do levels levels right in front of me

00:10:15   I have a USB interface that has one very simple levels dial

00:10:18   So I can turn that levels dial down now.

00:10:22   So I'm gonna do that a little.

00:10:24   Okay?

00:10:25   So is this what you want?

00:10:28   You want me to be talking here with those levels?

00:10:31   Is this what you're looking for?

00:10:32   I don't know anymore.

00:10:34   Does this sound better to you?

00:10:35   But it still doesn't...

00:10:37   It does sound better.

00:10:38   Okay. It doesn't solve the problem though of like popping, of plosives.

00:10:43   Like when you're talking right into the microphone this close.

00:10:46   Gray?

00:10:46   Do you not have a windshield on that microphone?

00:10:50   I do have a windshield on the microphone, but it doesn't fix it.

00:10:52   Like when you're this close, it doesn't fix it.

00:10:54   The windshield is a microphone technique thing.

00:10:57   So a windshield is a lie, right?

00:10:58   The windshield does not stop locus.

00:11:00   All right.

00:11:00   It stops most of them.

00:11:01   But the thing is, all right, so this is we're really getting into it now.

00:11:05   Okay.

00:11:05   You have the microphone close to your face,

00:11:07   but you kind of talk just a little bit over the top of it.

00:11:10   Okay, so I'm actually you actually want me to angle the microphone down.

00:11:15   No, I don't want you to do that.

00:11:16   No, see the thing is-

00:11:17   You want the microphone pointing up in my mouth, not pointing into my mouth.

00:11:21   Hearing what I'm saying, but you're not listening.

00:11:24   That's what's happening right now, right?

00:11:26   What I am saying to you is, leave the microphone as it is, but you just talk ever so slightly,

00:11:31   like not directly into it, but you have the microphone right in front of your face.

00:11:35   That's what I'm looking for.

00:11:38   Microphone is right in front of my face, pointing straight at the back of my throat.

00:11:44   Right? How am I to talk over the microphone in that situation?

00:11:50   Well see, okay, so I tell you what, right? Aim the microphone at your chin.

00:11:55   Okay, so you want the microphone pointing down.

00:11:58   No, I don't want the microphone pointing down.

00:12:01   Okay, you want me then to move the desk. You want me to move the whole desk so that the microphone is pointing at my chin.

00:12:08   You know how you wouldn't have to do this? If you just had a boom arm.

00:12:12   That's all you need.

00:12:14   But I don't need the boom arm because I have the adjustable desk.

00:12:17   Well then adjust the desk.

00:12:20   So I'm asking, microphone, parallel to the floor, pointing straight at my chin. Is this what you want?

00:12:28   I mean I have mine slightly angled up, but whatever it takes.

00:12:32   Myke, I'm just trying to make you happy, Myke.

00:12:36   Well, this whole situation now, all I'm gonna get is just, well actually it's from

00:12:41   podcasts to audio people now, right?

00:12:44   I don't care what anybody else has to say on this, I just want you to do it the way

00:12:48   I want you to do it.

00:12:50   That's all I want.

00:12:51   Because I have to edit it, you know?

00:12:52   So it becomes my problem.

00:12:54   No, I understand that.

00:12:56   That's why I'll put on the shock mount that you sent to me.

00:12:59   Put on the shock mount, get a boom arm.

00:13:02   It's ridiculous.

00:13:03   ridiculous. You got the most expensive boom arm in the world, which is a standing desk.

00:13:08   C - I don't want a boom arm and a standing desk, that's ridiculous.

00:13:12   L - You should know what, Greg, no one told you to get the standing desk. You took it

00:13:14   upon yourself to get the standing desk to solve this problem. No, no!

00:13:19   C - The standing desk is totally amazing.

00:13:22   L - Do you ever use it for like standing or you just use it for podcasting now?

00:13:27   C - Yeah, no, I use it for standing all the time.

00:13:30   L - Do you?

00:13:31   C - I genuinely do.

00:13:32   do. I really do. How long have you had it? Oh, I've had it for, I'm gonna say, three

00:13:39   months now. Like I've had it for a while. And you're still standing frequently? Yeah,

00:13:42   yeah. I don't know why you're so disappointed. The motor on my standing desk broke, so I

00:13:47   can't stand. But it might have been due to the fact that I had a standing desk and didn't

00:13:51   stand with it for like 18 months. That's probably why the motor's broke. Okay, the motor broke,

00:13:56   I'm sorry. I don't care. I never stood.

00:13:58   I only did it because I needed I only realized it broke because I needed to get

00:14:04   under the desk. I wanted to raise the desk and couldn't.

00:14:06   It's like, oh, standing motor's broken.

00:14:08   OK, well, then why did you get a standing desk if you never intended to stand?

00:14:12   Because I thought, no, I intended to stand.

00:14:13   Right. I had great ideas about standing.

00:14:16   Right. Welcome to the show, I guess.

00:14:18   Anyway, I never told you I got a standing desk.

00:14:21   It's great. You should try standing when you work.

00:14:24   Maybe if I ever can work out my office situation.

00:14:27   Right.

00:14:28   What is your office situation right now?

00:14:29   What's the deal with Mega Office 3.0, the Mega-er office?

00:14:33   Well, so here's the thing.

00:14:35   It's like, do I go 3.0 or 4.0?

00:14:37   This is where I am in my life.

00:14:39   Okay.

00:14:40   Because 3.0 has not moved.

00:14:42   The office is just an absolute disaster.

00:14:44   Because there's a potential 4.0, which is office outside of the home.

00:14:47   Right.

00:14:48   Great.

00:14:49   Let me tell you something that's been going on with me recently.

00:14:50   Okay.

00:14:51   I found an office space.

00:14:53   And I went to view the office space.

00:14:55   - Okay.

00:14:56   - And I told the estate agent

00:14:59   that I wanted to rent the office space

00:15:01   and they've ghosted me.

00:15:03   - Oh no.

00:15:04   - Which is very weird because they wanna rent it

00:15:07   and I've said I want to rent it

00:15:09   and they won't respond to my emails.

00:15:11   Then I found another two office spaces,

00:15:14   which aren't as good.

00:15:15   - Sounds like that first office space

00:15:17   is part of some kind of scheme.

00:15:18   - Who knows?

00:15:19   That raises my suspicions of like, hmm, is this flower shop selling a lot of flowers

00:15:24   kind of thing?

00:15:25   You know.

00:15:26   Maybe.

00:15:27   So you could either buy or rent this office and I think they want to sell it, I don't

00:15:31   think they want to rent it, and I don't want to buy it.

00:15:33   Right, okay.

00:15:34   And then I found another two on like a real estate agent's things.

00:15:39   And I've sent in two requests for places that are for renting like four days ago and

00:15:44   no one's responding to me.

00:15:46   I don't understand.

00:15:47   Like, does nobody actually want to rent out their office spaces that they want to rent out?

00:15:51   I'm sorry, that sounds very frustrating.

00:15:54   It is very frustrating.

00:15:55   We have discussed it on the show many times, and it is surprisingly hard to,

00:16:01   just as a person, find an office and an office space that you can use.

00:16:06   These places seem to be available.

00:16:08   They ask you to rent them, and then when you want to rent them, they won't let you rent them.

00:16:13   And I don't understand.

00:16:14   Like, what am I supposed to do? What do you want me to do? Right? I just, I don't get it.

00:16:19   I'm sorry. That is... So what are you going to do? Are you going to keep trying to pursue these?

00:16:24   I'm going to keep trying, I guess, to get somebody to email me. I don't really know

00:16:28   what I'm supposed to do at this point. You keep, uh, reaching for the metaphor,

00:16:32   you keep swiping right on office space in your area and you're trying to get a match.

00:16:36   Is that what you're trying to do? It's so relevant. Yeah, that is what I'm doing.

00:16:42   But like, yeah, I guess, because eventually I need it, right?

00:16:46   Because we want to use this, we want to use our house differently, right?

00:16:49   We want this second bedroom at some point to be used for other purposes.

00:16:52   So I need to get an office space and I don't want to be time pressured, right?

00:16:58   So like I'm looking now, because plus as well, when I get an office,

00:17:02   like I want to spend a significant amount of time setting up properly.

00:17:06   So which makes me feel like I want to like buy one, but that's even more tricky.

00:17:12   because nothing that comes up to buy would be in my price range.

00:17:16   Things that come up to rent would be, but then the things that come up to buy are too expensive.

00:17:20   It's like a whole thing.

00:17:21   Because corporate real estate seems very different.

00:17:25   All the pricing is very different.

00:17:27   You can get so much more square footage in corporate real estate than residential.

00:17:32   Which is like, the scale at which you can get is very, very different and very weird.

00:17:38   In a way that I don't fully understand.

00:17:40   But it's all very complicated and I'm very upset about it.

00:17:43   And I don't know why these companies won't just email me back.

00:17:46   They have things for sale.

00:17:47   I would like to buy them, but they don't want to sell them to me.

00:17:50   And I don't know why.

00:17:50   Yeah.

00:17:53   I mean, I've, you know, my own searching for an office, like I come across this,

00:17:58   the same thing where the rental prices are just bizarre.

00:18:03   They're very out of whack with anything else.

00:18:05   And I always sort of assume like this must be a byproduct of whatever the

00:18:10   local zoning for office space is.

00:18:13   It's not coming into balance with necessarily the needs of people.

00:18:20   And so you just get up with these bizarre prices where in some areas,

00:18:24   it's like, "Oh, you can have a floor of a building for remarkably cheap."

00:18:28   And then like, "Oh, but I would just like a single office."

00:18:30   It's like, "Well, that is going to cost you a fortune."

00:18:33   Isn't that insane?

00:18:33   It's crazy.

00:18:34   It's like, "Oh, do you want this massive two floor office for 20 grand a year?"

00:18:40   Or do you want a room for 50?

00:18:42   It's like, I don't understand.

00:18:44   Why is this happening?

00:18:45   - Yeah, it's extremely frustrating.

00:18:47   It's like, oh, so if I was a giant corporation,

00:18:50   floor space is sort of cheap.

00:18:52   But if I'm a single person trying to get a room

00:18:56   that is private is like, as far as I can tell,

00:18:59   basically impossible.

00:19:00   - Like everything that I've been kind of requesting

00:19:03   is like four to five times bigger than I need.

00:19:05   - Right.

00:19:06   - But it's all that I can get.

00:19:08   - Yeah.

00:19:09   Well, I can't get anything because nobody will respond to my emails.

00:19:13   Yeah.

00:19:14   It's I like you.

00:19:15   I'm trying to play the don't be rushed and don't be hasty game over this, but I am beginning to feel the impact of not having had a regular place to work outside the home, you know, since the summer.

00:19:28   I was like, Ooh, you know, it's, it is a really big deal as a self-employed person to have a, like a different space to go.

00:19:38   I would say it is more important that you just have the space that you want.

00:19:42   Because some people really do want to work at home and like,

00:19:45   that is so important to them.

00:19:47   And like, you are just more like, you want to work out of home, right?

00:19:50   I just think it's like, as a self-employed person,

00:19:54   having the thing that you want is very important.

00:19:57   You know what I mean?

00:19:57   Yeah.

00:19:58   But like, I would say most of the people I know who I think successfully

00:20:03   work at home and are self-employed,

00:20:06   Also, the reference case here is like, largely people in America who have just access to more space

00:20:12   and so can create an environment that is a much more separated from the rest of the house life environment.

00:20:18   Like, that is way easier to do than the situation of being in a small apartment and trying to make the office a separate area.

00:20:29   I've been working at home for five years now, so I just feel like I want to change,

00:20:33   which is that moving out of home for my work.

00:20:36   Yeah, but so I've been slowly trying to find a place, but it's like no luck.

00:20:43   But that's why I invested in my home office and I got the standing desk and I redid my

00:20:48   podcast equipment and I don't love the home office, but it's fine and it works well enough

00:20:57   for me until I can hopefully find a better place at some point. You know what, Myke?

00:21:02   You and I, we might have to go in on an office together, you know? Like, if we can't find

00:21:06   a place on our own, like, that might be where this has to end up.

00:21:09   What a long game that I've played on you, right? How long ago did I mention this? And

00:21:14   now it's like, what else are we gonna do? But honestly, looking at the corporate real

00:21:18   estate market, we literally could get a place and never bump into each other, because you

00:21:22   could get huge spaces.

00:21:24   Yeah, if we go in on a place together, we can each have a floor and never have to see each other.

00:21:30   You know that that was my original pitch to you, right? Like, was that we would get a building and

00:21:35   have our own floor and we'd never see each other. And back then, in the days in which you thought

00:21:40   real estate was easy to come by, you were like, "No, never would I do that with you."

00:21:44   So when you said that, there was this part of me that was gonna ask you,

00:21:50   "Oh, that sounds interesting. Let me know if you needed a deskmate."

00:21:53   You would be the worst deskmate. You'd be doing podcasting stuff. I'm not splitting the rent with you. This is the whole purpose of this thing.

00:21:59   Exactly! That's why it's so ridiculous to have that idea. It's like, "Oh, this is a good idea! I'll go in with you!" and then realize how terrible that would be.

00:22:08   Maybe we just find somewhere with two rooms and we just never talk to each other.

00:22:12   No, I just... don't take this the wrong way, Myke, but I don't want to be anywhere near you with my office.

00:22:16   Like, it's got to be separate. This is the whole thing. It has to be completely separate.

00:22:22   [Music]

00:22:24   I think I had a childish naivete

00:22:28   that offices for professionals must be a thing that's easy to acquire in a city

00:22:33   Yep

00:22:35   And it's like, no, no it's not

00:22:36   Well, Cortex brand world headquarters 2021

00:22:40   That's the other possibility is that we do just have the Cortex brand building

00:22:43   Coworking space for many, private offices for some

00:22:47   We're going to break ground on it at some point this year

00:22:51   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Squarespace. Make your next move with Squarespace,

00:22:55   they will let you easily create a website for your next idea or project. You can register a unique

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00:23:47   template that Squarespace have. I actually have a bunch of wedding templates which is great. They

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00:24:31   Squarespace, make your next move, make your next website.

00:24:35   Speaking of offices though, offices include equipment.

00:24:38   My office is full of keyboards.

00:24:41   - Oh yeah, that didn't take very long.

00:24:43   - Look, things are escalating.

00:24:45   - Wow, okay.

00:24:46   - We're getting out of control here at the moment.

00:24:48   - Okay, what do you got?

00:24:49   - I got a new split keyboard called the Ergodex.

00:24:52   - Ergodex. - Yeah.

00:24:54   - Now I'm super aware of having touched my desk

00:24:56   when I go to click on the--

00:24:58   - Good, I want you to be aware.

00:25:00   - I'm gonna try very hard not to touch the desk,

00:25:02   but I had to raise the desk up really high

00:25:04   so that the microphone is level with my face,

00:25:06   so it's hard not to touch the desk.

00:25:08   - Now this computer screen's facing

00:25:09   over the top of your head, but whatever it takes.

00:25:12   - Oh, I saw this.

00:25:14   Yeah, this is very interesting.

00:25:16   I was intrigued by this keyboard.

00:25:19   So it is physically, physically split.

00:25:23   Like there's two different pieces,

00:25:24   just a wire connecting them

00:25:27   and you can arrange them however you want.

00:25:28   - And I went with the split keyboard model

00:25:30   because that's what I'm using on my iMac.

00:25:33   And I use a Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboard,

00:25:36   which is a split keyboard,

00:25:37   which basically means they take a QWERTY keyboard

00:25:39   effectively put a hole in the middle and then angle the two halves towards each other because

00:25:45   this is more like you can kind of you can imagine that when you have the keyboard you're

00:25:50   kind of making a circular shape in between with your arms there's like a circle in the

00:25:54   middle where typically with a keyboard you're making a more rectangular shape right so this

00:25:59   is more comfortable for your wrists because your wrists are a more natural angle this

00:26:04   is what the science says right as opposed to using a regular keyboard where you kind

00:26:09   of have to angle your wrists in a way that can aggravate nerves and tendons and stuff.

00:26:14   So I've been using a split keyboard for years and I've been very happy and I thought while

00:26:18   I was digging around in the mechanical keyboard world, wondered if such products exist. This

00:26:23   is one of them. There are some other keyboards that I've been looking into. The Kinesis Freestyle

00:26:27   Edge is another one. It is a gaming keyboard. Gaming keyboard is important to me because

00:26:33   I want RGB baby, but I find the Ergadex to be more attractive, but there is a reason

00:26:40   that I may consider the Kinesis which I'll get into.

00:26:42   Wait, when you say RGB, you mean the little LED lights underneath the keys? Is that what

00:26:46   you're wanting? Yes. I have that in the Ergadex keyboard, it's

00:26:51   an option. So I have RGB and it's lots of colours and they can twinkle and shine and

00:26:57   whatever colour I want them to be. I just like that. I have the option, I want it.

00:27:01   Right. OK, fair enough.

00:27:03   So that's where I am with that.

00:27:04   But OK, so here's the thing with the Ergodex keyboard.

00:27:07   Not all of the keycaps are printed.

00:27:10   What's wrong with unprinted keycaps, Myke?

00:27:14   I don't know what the keys are.

00:27:16   OK, so the reason they do this is like they want you to customize it

00:27:21   so it's comfortable for you, right?

00:27:22   Because ergo, the ergo in Ergodex is ergonomic, right?

00:27:26   These are meant to be ergonomic mechanical keyboards.

00:27:28   This company makes two different ones.

00:27:30   And so they create it in such a way that like you have the regular QWERTY layout,

00:27:35   but then it's surrounded by keys that are in a non-traditional layout.

00:27:39   So like there isn't a space bar in the way that you would expect the space bar to be.

00:27:42   They're in these little clusters.

00:27:44   You have to go look at the link in the show notes so you can kind of see this,

00:27:47   because it's really hard to describe.

00:27:48   Yeah, you have like a little almost like a mini number pad below each thumb.

00:27:54   And then surrounding the keys where you would usually have like tab, caps lock and shift and

00:27:59   and stuff, there are just blank keys on each side.

00:28:02   So the modifiers are there.

00:28:04   And it comes pre-programmed with the set

00:28:07   that they recommend, right?

00:28:08   They have lots of, on their website,

00:28:10   they have like a configuration tool

00:28:12   where they have other examples of the way

00:28:16   you can have the keyboard set up.

00:28:17   But you can also, as I have done,

00:28:19   customize what some of the keys do

00:28:22   that make the most sense for you.

00:28:24   - Right.

00:28:25   - But when you make those customizations,

00:28:27   It doesn't do anything to the physical key, right?

00:28:30   So you have to remember what you set them up to be.

00:28:33   - Do you want a little E Ink screen

00:28:35   on each of those key caps to make a picture

00:28:37   of the thing that you've set it up for?

00:28:39   Is that what you want?

00:28:40   - Yes, or you can also just buy replacement keys,

00:28:42   which is like a whole other thing that you can do,

00:28:44   which actually have the printing on them,

00:28:45   and there are companies that make that kind of stuff.

00:28:48   But before I get into that level,

00:28:49   I'm not sure if I'm sold on this keyboard yet,

00:28:52   but I do really like it at the same time.

00:28:55   So like, I'm not 100% sure on it,

00:28:57   but I do like having a split keyboard.

00:28:59   I think this one looks nice

00:29:01   because the Kinesis Freestyle Edge keyboard

00:29:05   is a split keyboard that does have all of the printing on it

00:29:10   but it's way uglier, I think.

00:29:13   - Yeah.

00:29:14   - Neither of these are attractive keyboards

00:29:17   but the Ergadex has more of a quirky design

00:29:21   where the Kinesis looks like they just took

00:29:22   a regular keyboard and cut it in half, right?

00:29:26   Yeah, I'll agree with that. The Ergodex is better looking at first glance.

00:29:30   And plus, the Freestyle Edge is more about tilting, which isn't necessarily a thing I want.

00:29:35   Basically, this is all to say that I'm in on the mechanical keyboard world.

00:29:40   I have backed a Kickstarter for another one by a company called Keychron,

00:29:45   which is like... Keychron is recommended to me by a lot of people.

00:29:48   Oh, oh, oh! Okay, yes. I saw this one.

00:29:54   I think I must have seen it on MKBHD's office tour thing, like he made a video.

00:29:59   He uses it and our mutual friend Jason Snell uses one. I think the Keychron K2?

00:30:05   Yeah.

00:30:06   Two?

00:30:07   Yeah, so this caught my attention because I was watching this MKBHD video where he's doing a tour

00:30:12   of his office and he does the wide shot and the wide shot is there to show off like MKBHD has two

00:30:20   XLR Apple Pro matte displays.

00:30:24   - XDR, whatever. - X-

00:30:44   just under the return key in what looks like a very pleasant way, where you still have

00:30:49   full-sized arrow keys. That caught my attention immediately and added this to the list of

00:30:56   things that I intended to check out of ordering as a keyboard.

00:30:59   I believe, I could be wrong, that it's called a 65% layout, which is like you don't have

00:31:07   the number keys but you do have arrow keys. Because if you remember, the WASD keyboard

00:31:12   that I love doesn't have arrow keys and they're driving me bananas. So that was like a mistake

00:31:16   that I made. So you have to try and find one that has them. And this company, Keychron,

00:31:21   they have a Kickstarter campaign going now for another 65% keyboard, which I have backed

00:31:26   because they're a company, they make keyboards, like they're doing Kickstarter for marketing,

00:31:30   right? Like I get it. They're saying they'll start shipping in March or April. And I believe

00:31:33   that, they know what they're doing. I can't imagine it's going to be crazy late, but like

00:31:37   it's a more advanced version. It's got some additional features and they're Bluetooth

00:31:40   as well as wired so I'm looking at like you know that seems like a fun one and I

00:31:44   also did the Kickstarter campaign because then it spaces out all my

00:31:48   keyboard purchases a little bit right like they're gonna not all come at the

00:31:51   same time but yeah I'm very much enjoying this this whole mechanical

00:31:56   keyboard world I'm following like a ton of accounts on Instagram basically it

00:32:01   was completely correct that the overlap between mechanical keyboards and pens is

00:32:06   very very very like it for me. I also bought my first set of custom keycaps. I bought four

00:32:14   Pokemon keycaps from this company called S-Craft Studio. Let me find these for you, Gray.

00:32:22   Okay, so you unmarked keycaps, no. Pokey keycaps, yes.

00:32:27   Well yeah, because they're just gonna be function keys, right? Like I'm not gonna replace the

00:32:32   A key with Pikachu or something.

00:32:34   Right, but so your idea is just, oh, the f-ing key becomes a Bulbasaur, like that's the idea?

00:32:40   That is the idea, yes. Well, though, not that exact Pokémon, but...

00:32:45   I'm sorry, I don't know your Pokémon preferences well enough to be able to reference the...

00:32:48   No, you were completely correct. If I could get a Bulbasaur, I would,

00:32:51   but they sold out the Bulbasaur. I bought a Pikachu, Gengar, and a Magikarp.

00:32:57   But these are like very beautiful keycaps. Like, do you see the image I just sent you?

00:33:03   or the Instagram link I just sent you.

00:33:05   Oh, that's not what I was expecting at all.

00:33:07   Okay, so it looks much more like there is a Pokémon trapped in the key.

00:33:13   Trapped in the key. Aren't they beautiful?

00:33:15   They're like really fascinating.

00:33:19   That's where I am with keyboards, which is where I am is deep, deep into keyboards.

00:33:27   Lots of subreddits and Instagram accounts.

00:33:29   Jesus.

00:33:31   (laughs)

00:33:32   You fell in really deep.

00:33:34   - Does that surprise you?

00:33:35   - No, I'm not surprised, but it's just funny

00:33:38   how little of a push that took before you went all in.

00:33:42   - It didn't take a lot at all, really, did it?

00:33:44   Like it was just the mere suggestion was all it took.

00:33:47   Just nobody had suggested up until that point, I guess.

00:33:50   - Yeah, I just keep looking at this K6 keyboard.

00:33:53   Like I'm totally gonna get one of these.

00:33:55   - I'm using them all of my iPad, by the way.

00:33:57   - Oh, okay, interesting.

00:33:59   So they're all just plugged into my iPad over USB-C cables

00:34:03   and I use them with my stand.

00:34:05   I use a stand by a company called ClearLook.

00:34:07   So it's like I have my iPad at eye height,

00:34:09   I plug in the keyboard to the iPad and I go.

00:34:13   'Cause I can't have a mechanical keyboard

00:34:15   on my recording machine.

00:34:18   - Why not?

00:34:18   I have a mechanical keyboard on my recording machine.

00:34:21   - Yeah, but all that's edited out for you

00:34:23   unless it's kept in for comedic effect, right?

00:34:25   But like-- - Ah, okay.

00:34:27   - I don't wanna have to edit myself

00:34:29   even more than I already do.

00:34:30   I don't want to create my work for myself.

00:34:32   - Right, okay.

00:34:33   So what are you using?

00:34:34   Just like the Apple keyboard or something?

00:34:36   - No, I'm still using the Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboard.

00:34:38   - Oh, right, yes, yes. - On my Mac.

00:34:39   - Yeah, that's the one, that's the one, right, okay.

00:34:41   - I also use the Bridge keyboard for my iPad still,

00:34:44   and they have one with a trackpad coming soon

00:34:45   that I'm very excited about.

00:34:47   - Oh, yeah, I wanted to ask you about that,

00:34:49   'cause I still have yet to try the mouse on iOS thing.

00:34:54   Like, I just haven't had a situation

00:34:56   where it makes sense to give that a try.

00:34:58   And when I saw that they came out with the trackpad,

00:35:00   I was kind of curious what your thoughts on that were.

00:35:02   - Well, so I use a Logitech MX Master 3

00:35:05   with my iPad right now.

00:35:06   Like when I have it in that mode where it's in the stand

00:35:09   and I'm using a keyboard, I'm also using a mouse.

00:35:12   And let me say that the cursor support on iPadOS right now,

00:35:16   I would say does the job for me,

00:35:18   but it is far from complete.

00:35:20   Like it's still like a little bit wonky, right?

00:35:22   Like it's very much as it is an accessibility setting.

00:35:25   So it is good enough, it does what it's supposed to do,

00:35:29   but it is not like using a mouse on a Mac, right?

00:35:32   Like there are just parts of it that are weird.

00:35:34   So I feel like the trackpad on the bridge keyboard,

00:35:38   which you'll be shipping soon I think,

00:35:40   will work for me because I'm used to it,

00:35:42   but it will not work for most people.

00:35:44   They're gonna think that it's like,

00:35:45   this is a ridiculously broken experience, you know?

00:35:48   But it totally works for me, I'm very happy, right?

00:35:53   It is, I think, in a lot of ways, much more affected than the Apple Pencil.

00:35:57   Because you can like, bring down notification center with it.

00:36:00   You can change split views with it.

00:36:03   All it's doing is replicating your finger.

00:36:06   That's all it's doing.

00:36:07   You can change the split screen stuff with it?

00:36:09   Yeah, you can do everything.

00:36:10   You can pull in apps from the side, right?

00:36:12   A little slide over. You can do all that stuff.

00:36:14   How does that work? Is it like a right click gesture?

00:36:17   You just go all the way to the edge of the screen and drag it in.

00:36:20   Huh? So all the way to the edge, click and drag in.

00:36:22   Yeah, it works great when you get into the mode of "this is my finger" not "this is a pointer".

00:36:28   You kind of have to just do that little switch in your brain, which I'm perfectly fine with,

00:36:34   and it's great. And then you can also assign shortcuts to all the keys. So like,

00:36:38   clicking the wheel in the middle takes me to the home screen. Right clicking is like long press,

00:36:44   right? So it's like right click now. And then the two little buttons on the side,

00:36:48   one brings up the dock and one brings up multitasking. It's great.

00:36:51   Oh boy, that is very interesting. I didn't realize you can also assign shortcuts in that way.

00:36:56   Oh, you can, like, it's not just, like, shortcuts in the sense of mouse interactions. You can also

00:37:02   program literal shortcuts to those keys. So if you want to set the right click as "Start time

00:37:07   tracking", you can do that. So you get one of those crazy gaming mice and you just, like, go wild.

00:37:13   I don't know.

00:37:14   That is very interesting. I didn't realize that, and I think that gives me a reason to just play

00:37:19   around with this and see what it's like, because I just didn't realise it could do that.

00:37:24   Any Bluetooth mouse will work.

00:37:26   I'm sure you have one, right?

00:37:27   So just give it a whirl.

00:37:29   Yeah, no, that's what I'm thinking.

00:37:30   I might try it on just the iPad that I have at home on the couch, because I often have

00:37:35   a spare mouse nearby for when I'm using the computer anyway.

00:37:38   Yeah, but here's a wild thing.

00:37:39   Trackpads don't work.

00:37:41   So if you have a Magic Trackpad, that won't work.

00:37:44   So my understanding is Bridge, when creating their trackpad, had to create a trackpad that

00:37:50   interacts with the iPad as if it's a mouse.

00:37:53   Right, so it's pretending to be a mouse.

00:37:56   So they also now sell a trackpad as well as the trackpad with keyboard.

00:38:01   So if you just want a trackpad for your iPad, you can do it.

00:38:04   And I'm sure they just made this a product because they had to do all that work.

00:38:07   Right, right, right.

00:38:09   We've done 95% of this work anyway.

00:38:11   Exactly.

00:38:12   Why not make it a separate product?

00:38:14   So like the Magic Trackpad doesn't work, but all mice do.

00:38:19   That I've come across anyway.

00:38:20   Yeah, that stuff about being able to change the multitasking windows is really interesting.

00:38:24   I'm still filled with bitter regret that there are no keyboard shortcuts to handle that multitasking

00:38:29   stuff on iOS.

00:38:30   I mean, just come on.

00:38:31   You've got to do it one day.

00:38:34   It is infuriating that they have not done that.

00:38:37   And I was just like, oh, maybe using a mouse is halfway.

00:38:41   But it's like, come on, guys.

00:38:42   There is no way to like open up second window to drop the thing that I've just searched

00:38:47   for in keyboard shortcut.

00:38:49   It's crazy.

00:38:50   It's incredibly frustrating.

00:38:54   I'm sure it'll be along any day as we were told.

00:38:58   Oh, don't worry.

00:38:59   iPadOS 14, you know?

00:39:00   Yeah.

00:39:01   We've got, don't worry about those keyboard shortcuts.

00:39:03   We've got a great solution for you, you know.

00:39:06   Still waiting.

00:39:09   This episode is brought to you by Health IQ.

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00:40:47   Our thanks to HealthIQ for their support of this show and Relay FM.

00:40:50   Do you want to review my time tracking report for the year of 2019?

00:40:54   Oh yeah, that's right. I just realized we did that last year.

00:40:57   Yeah.

00:40:58   And I cannot participate in this because my time tracking is nonsensical for this past year,

00:41:03   because I didn't do it for most of the time.

00:41:04   Yeah.

00:41:04   But yeah, tell me your-- give me your time tracking report.

00:41:07   Can I click these links?

00:41:09   I don't know if I'm allowed to click these links.

00:41:10   MATT: You can click those links.

00:41:10   I have 2018 and 2019.

00:41:13   2019, I have a more full picture.

00:41:16   I may-- I haven't actually taken a look.

00:41:19   I may include in the show that it's a more full report,

00:41:21   but there might have been a reason I cropped 2018 the way that I did.

00:41:25   I don't remember.

00:41:26   So I can't promise it, but I've definitely given more information for 2019

00:41:32   because instead I just did that fun blocking thing out or something that I wanted to just keep to myself.

00:41:38   But the eye is immediately drawn to "oh what is that admin project?"

00:41:44   Exactly, imagine such a thing. This is one of those things where like looking at this,

00:41:49   there's a bunch of stuff that I didn't time track this year that was work-related but didn't really

00:41:54   feel work-related so it just didn't go in, which is like a lot of video game type stuff. I stopped

00:41:59   tracking some of that, where before I would track some of that in show prep, but I stopped

00:42:05   doing some of it just because it felt a little redundant in places. I may start doing that

00:42:10   again, I haven't decided, but I might still keep it as it is for 2020 and go on from there,

00:42:16   which is just like I was tracking my time playing video games as work, but I didn't

00:42:21   do that in 2019 and I'm not sure if I want to do that going forward, I'm just not sure.

00:42:26   What are your thoughts around that?

00:42:29   What's the parameters of why you would or why you wouldn't?

00:42:32   So I play video games for video game related podcasts, right?

00:42:38   And that felt like a perfectly adequate thing to be time tracking because I was playing

00:42:44   them for the shows.

00:42:46   Then talking about hobbies, video games have always been a hobby for me and I'm trying

00:42:53   to break up some of that feeling of "I'm playing this game for work" as an excuse to the world,

00:43:01   but instead just choosing that I'm playing this game for me and just enjoying it.

00:43:07   Right, so your thought is "take away the clock so it doesn't feel like this is work".

00:43:14   Exactly.

00:43:14   Because you, unlike me, you're still not time tracking really any of your personal stuff, right?

00:43:21   I do not time track any personal stuff, no.

00:43:23   Okay, so this is 100% works. And then that makes sense. Then that makes sense because your brain

00:43:26   feels like if there's a clock running, this is ostensibly work. But are you are you thinking

00:43:34   very carefully about how much additional value to the review each additional hour of playing the

00:43:41   game gets? Probably not. You're probably not thinking about that in a in a structured manner

00:43:47   of does this make sense to continue? So I don't know that sounds like a good decision. Like,

00:43:52   Like yeah, technically it's work, but the way you're doing things, I feel like,

00:43:56   no, don't time track the games, like just play them and enjoy them

00:44:00   and happen to talk about them on your shows. That makes sense.

00:44:03   - That's what I think I'm gonna do. So that accounts for some of the decrease,

00:44:06   because there's about 120 hours difference year over year, like less.

00:44:13   Doesn't account for all of it, you know, a lot of it is just me doing less in some areas.

00:44:18   And of course, I've said it before,

00:44:20   I don't time track work when I'm traveling,

00:44:22   but that hasn't changed year over year.

00:44:24   I did travel a lot this year,

00:44:25   but I traveled a lot the year before.

00:44:27   - Right, so that's just for the logistics difficulty

00:44:29   of it of time tracking while working.

00:44:31   - It's just a different mindset that I'm in.

00:44:34   And like, I work less, but also more.

00:44:37   Like it's super weird, right?

00:44:39   Where it's like, I'm recording less,

00:44:41   but most of my travel is for work.

00:44:43   So when does the actual work start and stop?

00:44:46   - Right.

00:44:47   Like if me and Steven are hanging out in Memphis,

00:44:51   we're talking about work and doing work all the time.

00:44:53   Like it just doesn't work.

00:44:55   When I'm outside of my usual routine,

00:44:58   time tracking stops making sense for me.

00:45:00   - Yeah, yeah.

00:45:03   Yeah, it's like if we're in WWDC,

00:45:05   should I be time tracking that whole week as Cortex?

00:45:08   It's like, you can make good answers yes,

00:45:11   and good answers for no.

00:45:12   Like it's hard to think about what is this time?

00:45:16   Is it clearly divided?

00:45:17   It just isn't.

00:45:18   - And I choose not.

00:45:19   When I was going through this data, it did happen again.

00:45:22   I had 600 hours that were incorrectly added.

00:45:27   - Of which the timers were left running.

00:45:30   - A timer left running for a super long period of time.

00:45:32   So that was kind of hilarious.

00:45:33   And it was also basically when I was away.

00:45:35   - Yeah, I woke up to one of those this morning as well

00:45:39   of like, this timer has been running for 25 hours.

00:45:42   It was like, oh, right, 'cause I just,

00:45:43   I never stopped it yesterday and then just forgot

00:45:46   and then slept on it.

00:45:47   I do really wish Time Trackers would throw up a little alert to say, "Hey, this event

00:45:52   is in the 99th percentile related to all other events."

00:45:56   It's like, I have email alerts turned on in toggle, which you can do for when something's

00:46:02   been running so long.

00:46:03   But I must have just, like, ignored the email or something.

00:46:05   I don't know, like, I don't know what happened, but I just left it on.

00:46:10   Yeah, I don't know.

00:46:11   I want, like, an alert in the app of when I go to the next timer to be like, "Hey,

00:46:16   Your previous one was crazy long.

00:46:18   Are you sure that was correct so that it doesn't just get thrown in the back?

00:46:22   But I never really start timers from apps anyway.

00:46:25   I use widgets and all that kind of stuff.

00:46:27   I've been building some great time tracking shortcuts recently using Timery.

00:46:31   Oh yeah?

00:46:32   I'm so happy with them, Gray.

00:46:33   Yeah.

00:46:34   I'm just really happy with them.

00:46:35   I think I told you about one, I don't remember, where it looks at my calendar and then assigns

00:46:42   a tag.

00:46:43   Oh yes, yes.

00:46:44   You did tell me about this.

00:46:45   That is pretty crazy.

00:46:46   done the same thing for editing but I just have to choose from a list as to what show

00:46:50   like I've basically I've you know I've just been creating like shortcuts of lists inside

00:46:54   of them I'm just very happy with them so yeah you know okay so look is there anything particularly

00:47:02   interesting to you looking at my year over year I find so some stuff that I have found

00:47:07   to be interesting and so I'll list those to you podcast editing that didn't change 214

00:47:15   compared to 216 hours year over year.

00:47:18   - That's actually remarkably the same.

00:47:22   - Show prep, 134 hours to 142 hours, same.

00:47:27   That's just like fascinating to see.

00:47:29   Relay FM general, which tends to just be phone calls

00:47:32   between me and Steven, 69 hours, nice to 54 hours.

00:47:37   It's all, like a lot of this stuff is very similar.

00:47:41   The podcast recording was less, but editing was the same,

00:47:46   which on the face of it seems that doesn't make sense,

00:47:48   but makes perfect sense to me.

00:47:50   I recorded less shows this year,

00:47:51   but the shows that I'm editing is the same

00:47:53   that I was editing from the year before.

00:47:55   - Yeah, that doesn't seem remarkable to me at all.

00:47:57   - Well, it's because you're very familiar

00:47:59   with what I'm doing,

00:48:01   but if you just compare those two reports,

00:48:02   it seems weird, right?

00:48:04   The show prep one is peculiar to me in that,

00:48:08   because I'm doing less shows, but I'm doing more prep,

00:48:10   but that's just like a thing.

00:48:12   Like I'm just working harder at it.

00:48:14   Like I wanna make the shows better.

00:48:15   So every year I expect show prep to increase in time anyway.

00:48:19   - Yeah, and that also seems like when you're comparing

00:48:22   where time has gone, show prep is a good place

00:48:26   for time to go.

00:48:27   - That's where I want it to go, yeah.

00:48:28   - And like the one that I see here of sponsor booking

00:48:31   having been cut in half,

00:48:33   like that seems like a really great improvement as well

00:48:35   of like take that time and put it in show prep

00:48:37   or put it in the blue item on the list

00:48:41   that really catches my attention.

00:48:42   But like yeah, hours gotta come from somewhere

00:48:45   and that's another place that it looks really good

00:48:47   that you've reduced the total number of hours.

00:48:49   - Yeah, and it's like the sponsor booking went down

00:48:54   because our sales manager

00:48:57   became more and more responsible, right?

00:48:59   So as she became more responsible and better at her job,

00:49:03   I didn't need to put as much time in there,

00:49:05   which is great for me.

00:49:05   I prefer that balance, right?

00:49:08   Give people who are better at something more time to do it.

00:49:11   So that's been a great thing.

00:49:13   The same with invoicing.

00:49:14   I've been able to hand over my invoicing

00:49:16   to somebody who is much better

00:49:18   at that type of stuff than me.

00:49:19   So that's why that's gone down.

00:49:21   But that only happened a few months ago.

00:49:23   So invoicing next year will be in probably

00:49:27   the single digit hours,

00:49:28   'cause there's still a little bit of stuff

00:49:29   that I look at from an admin perspective,

00:49:31   but I'm not sending out our monthly invoices anymore

00:49:34   as a company, which I was doing.

00:49:35   had been doing since the inception of the company until like halfway through the year.

00:49:41   But yes, Cortex brand.

00:49:43   That's the one that jumps out straight away.

00:49:45   No Cortex brand on the previous year, but Cortex brand this year.

00:49:49   Yeah, there would have been maybe a little bit of stuff, but really it has been that

00:49:53   this is…

00:49:54   It didn't make the pie chart from last year.

00:49:55   Exactly.

00:49:56   And also this has just been something that has been becoming more and more of a thing

00:50:01   for me this year.

00:50:02   I think I've been tracking more of it as I've been doing more of it and I expect

00:50:04   it naturally to increase now, year over year, because we're working on more and more stuff.

00:50:10   B: Yeah, we were just discussing possibilities for future things before the show.

00:50:14   S - We sure were.

00:50:14   B - Open vistas in every direction.

00:50:16   S - I think the only other thing that is interesting to me is there are way less

00:50:22   out of whack weird months this year than the year before, but that was also like

00:50:29   there was nothing in July of 2018 because that was when I was getting married and going on my

00:50:33   honeymoon. But there were really highs, like a lot of highs in this year has been much more

00:50:40   consistent and really June, July, August are only as low as they are in September because I was

00:50:45   traveling a lot in those months. Otherwise these months would all be a lot more similar I think.

00:50:51   I do wonder like some of these little things at the bottom I'm curious about. You just have an

00:50:57   item that says video. What is video? Well, video used to exist for when I was at #vlogger.

00:51:03   - Ah, okay, that's what that is?

00:51:05   - Yeah, but video now, so like,

00:51:08   the main entry into video this year was creating the video

00:51:13   for the Kickstarter campaign for the pan addict.

00:51:16   Right, we do our live shows every year

00:51:18   and we do a Kickstarter for that.

00:51:19   So I both record a video for the Kickstarter campaign

00:51:22   and also put together like a vlog for backers

00:51:25   of the campaign each year.

00:51:26   So that's probably what video is there.

00:51:29   - Right, project Outpost, I presume is the thing

00:51:31   that you can't tell people about.

00:51:32   No, that's get in the office.

00:51:34   Oh, OK.

00:51:35   Oh, OK.

00:51:36   Right, it's an outpost.

00:51:37   Right.

00:51:38   OK, that's good.

00:51:39   That works.

00:51:40   And then I was wondering about workflows at the bottom.

00:51:42   Is that meta-tracking the time that you

00:51:44   spend building workflows?

00:51:46   Yeah, but then I forgot that that existed.

00:51:48   There should be way more in there,

00:51:50   but I forgot that I did that.

00:51:51   [LAUGHTER]

00:51:55   OK, so you weren't properly tracking your workflow stuff.

00:52:00   Which is funny, really, isn't it?

00:52:02   No, I think like, you know, I do the same thing.

00:52:04   Like I have a category for tracking the automation and playing around in

00:52:08   shortcuts and that kind of thing.

00:52:10   It's an interesting category and I do like to see sometimes where it is.

00:52:15   And it's always just remarkable.

00:52:17   Like it's just quite a tiny percentage of the overall time.

00:52:22   Well, but mine should be way more.

00:52:23   It should be more than like video, right?

00:52:26   It should be in the multiple hours, but I've just been...

00:52:29   You just totally forgot that it exists.

00:52:30   completely forgot that it existed in my time tracking list.

00:52:34   (laughing)

00:52:35   - Yeah, but I think like automation is a time

00:52:38   that pays for itself if you can do it right.

00:52:40   Of like, it's very useful to do.

00:52:43   But no, I don't know, I think this looks good.

00:52:45   I think this looks good.

00:52:46   - I'm happy with it.

00:52:47   - Yeah, you're the same in areas that should be the same,

00:52:50   you're down in areas that it's good to be down in

00:52:52   and then you're up in areas that it's good to be up in.

00:52:54   Like I think it's a great 2018, 2019 report.

00:52:58   - Yeah, I want everything to kind of keep trending

00:53:00   in the way that it is going.

00:53:03   I expect podcast recording will be up a little bit,

00:53:06   but not much.

00:53:07   Editing will be up.

00:53:09   This is kind of my forecast.

00:53:10   Show prep will be up.

00:53:12   - Yes, yes, editing will be up.

00:53:14   - Those three are gonna go up, but that's totally fine.

00:53:16   That's in the plan.

00:53:18   And then the ones below it should all be down more,

00:53:22   except for Cortex brand.

00:53:23   Cortex brand should rise invoicing.

00:53:26   the sponsor booking and inquiries should go continue to go down or kind of be stable around

00:53:30   where they are and then the top three will all go up a little bit I think.

00:53:33   Looks good.

00:53:34   Yeah I like doing this.

00:53:35   I like reviewing this year over year stuff and I especially like doing it on the show

00:53:40   I think.

00:53:41   It's more fun to do it because really like you know I know that you're quite reviewy

00:53:47   but like this isn't like a thing that I've yet really internalized.

00:53:51   For me the idea of doing a review should be with somebody else holding you accountable

00:53:56   So it works for me doing it in a public forum.

00:54:00   Right, you have the cortexes pouring over the mic numbers.

00:54:03   Yeah, and you!

00:54:04   Yeah. Is it a bull market or is it a bear market for podcast recording, right?

00:54:08   That's what people are looking at.

00:54:09   No, it is. It's good to do. It's good to do.

00:54:14   And it's also useful over the longer term to see the trends

00:54:18   over the course of years and to have a sense of where you are.

00:54:23   Yeah, and again to anybody who values their time, you should do some time tracking.

00:54:29   Have you heard the good news about time tracking? You should do it. You should definitely do it.

00:54:34   So like this is here, like these charts, this is like a perfect reason for why you should do it.

00:54:38   Look at all this data I have. Having done this now for multiple years, I've completed another year,

00:54:44   I can now look and see like how else would you know? You would never know.

00:54:49   Because if you asked me these questions about seeing this data, my answers would be all over

00:54:54   the place and they'd be all wrong. Yeah. And if someone asked you, hey, do you think you're doing

00:54:58   more or less podcasting editing this year? The truth is you would give an answer that was based

00:55:04   on whatever had happened in the last two weeks. Yeah. And it'd be like, uh, it's up or it's down.

00:55:09   I would have said probably less, like a lot less because I haven't done that much in the last

00:55:12   couple of weeks because we haven't had a cortex so far this year. Right. But if you asked me next

00:55:16   It could be like, "Oh my god, so much, he won't stop banging the desk!"

00:55:19   Right? So like, if the answers are very relative to your current frustrations, I think,

00:55:28   or like current goals, but it's not accurate unless you have the data. Data is key.

00:55:33   - Yeah, it does give you the data and, you know, my pitch for the time tracking is

00:55:40   I'm much less interested in the specifics of the data. Like for me, I think time tracking is

00:55:46   is also just a great tool of intentionality,

00:55:50   of like, what am I doing now?

00:55:52   What is this thing?

00:55:53   I find it very useful as a tool

00:55:55   to just routinely reassess what are you doing.

00:56:00   And that's one of the reasons

00:56:01   why I really like the time tracking.

00:56:03   Like, I do look at data sometimes,

00:56:05   but I'm just, I tend not to be,

00:56:08   I don't wildly care about the reports.

00:56:12   It's much more for me just taking on a day-to-day basis

00:56:16   Like, how did this day go and thinking about what am I doing?

00:56:21   I'm very pleased you used the word intentionality there because later on in the episode,

00:56:26   I want to take a look at some themes that have been sent in by our listeners.

00:56:31   Oh, have people used intentionality? Is that one of the words?

00:56:33   Probably the most popular, the year of intentionality.

00:56:36   And we'll get into later some of the words on this, but if your year theme is intentionality

00:56:41   and you are not time tracking, you must start.

00:56:44   Yeah.

00:56:45   Yeah, it's interesting to hear.

00:56:47   Like, I'm sure I've said it on the show before, but like, for years and years, I've had like a background idea that I think is really important.

00:56:54   And it is like the war on unintentionally.

00:56:57   I'm very sure I remember you laughing at me talking about doing things like tracking unintentional video games.

00:57:03   You're like, how is that even a thing that you're tracking?

00:57:05   Because it's like, I don't even think I could be aware of the fact that I'm doing it, right?

00:57:08   Yeah.

00:57:09   But that's what I mean by like, the time tracking is a tool of intentionality.

00:57:13   of that it is really useful to combat unintentionally of, "Oh, I just sort of

00:57:20   drifted into not really paying attention and just being on the internet for a bunch of hours."

00:57:26   Time tracking is a really useful tool that I think helps avoid that kind of unintentionally.

00:57:33   So if there are listeners who are feeling like intentionality is their year theme,

00:57:39   You really need to do time tracking. Basically, here's the rule. Are you time tracking? Yes or no?

00:57:45   Yes? Great. No? You should do some time tracking. That's how that works.

00:57:50   [DING]

00:57:51   Did you know that there is now a PopSocket wireless charger?

00:57:55   Yeah. I saw this, I think on Twitter. People told me that you bought a wireless PopSocket charger.

00:58:01   Well, I had to buy it because for a span of 12 hours, my entire Twitter feed was full of

00:58:08   what is called the PopPower.

00:58:09   - Oh, the PopPower, okay.

00:58:10   I haven't actually looked at it yet.

00:58:12   I figured you were gonna be mentioning it to me.

00:58:13   - I've been thinking of it as the wireless donut

00:58:16   because that's what it looks like.

00:58:18   It is a wireless charger with an indentation in the middle,

00:58:21   right, because that's where the PopSocket goes.

00:58:23   - Right.

00:58:23   - It's only available in America.

00:58:25   - Yeah, when I just tried to click through,

00:58:27   PopSocket redirected me to the UK

00:58:28   where I can only buy PopSockets.

00:58:30   - And it is currently sold out, I believe, in the US.

00:58:33   - People wanna charge their phones with PopSockets.

00:58:35   It's the number one PopSocket problem.

00:58:37   But I have it here.

00:58:38   It's arrived.

00:58:39   - Oh, you actually got it, got it.

00:58:41   - Yeah, I've got it, got it.

00:58:42   It's right here.

00:58:43   - Okay.

00:58:44   - I haven't tried it.

00:58:45   - Oh, okay.

00:58:46   - I thought I would leave it for you.

00:58:48   - Do you wanna try it live on the show?

00:58:49   Is that what you're saying?

00:58:50   - That was my plan, yeah.

00:58:51   - Okay.

00:58:52   - Now, it being from the US means I have a US plug.

00:58:56   - Right.

00:58:57   - And I did a little bit of research

00:58:58   and couldn't find a replacement.

00:59:00   It doesn't use what I hoped it would have used,

00:59:02   which is a USBC plug, right?

00:59:05   it's using one of those little barrel plugs.

00:59:07   And it's a size which I've not got anything else of at home.

00:59:11   So I have a US to UK converter.

00:59:16   - Yeah, that's fine, you're fine.

00:59:17   - I'm a little bit concerned about that.

00:59:20   - You're so concerned about the electricity stuff.

00:59:22   - Yeah, I am.

00:59:23   - Wireless charging is gonna set the phone on fire.

00:59:26   - And then if the phone doesn't get set on fire,

00:59:28   then the plug will get set on fire.

00:59:30   - Yeah, electricity, is it witchcraft?

00:59:32   This seems to be your level of concern.

00:59:35   It's fine, you can just plug stuff in forever and nothing bad ever happens.

00:59:38   Alright, I'm gonna plug it in now.

00:59:39   Okay.

00:59:40   It'd be really amazing if it just explodes and sets fire to his house.

00:59:43   Don't say something like that.

00:59:45   What?

00:59:46   Oh, I didn't think you could hear me.

00:59:47   Don't say that.

00:59:48   I thought I was secretly whispering to the cortex and Myke wasn't listening.

00:59:51   Can I just say I hate American plugs?

00:59:52   Oh, they're terrible.

00:59:53   I saw a little spark come out.

00:59:55   I have like a surge protector attached to the bottom of my desk, right?

01:00:00   So I had to plug it in and I just feel like one nudge and it's gonna fall out of there

01:00:04   'cause there's just like nothing to hold it in place.

01:00:06   - The American plugs are the worst. - Yep.

01:00:09   - They really are. I hate that the two-prong thing is so flimsy.

01:00:13   Like, hey, you know what I shouldn't be able to do to the prongs of an electric device?

01:00:17   Just bend them with my hands. You know, they're terrible.

01:00:21   I really hate them that they are the worst.

01:00:24   UK plugs are amazing and satisfying.

01:00:26   - A little light came on. - Okay.

01:00:27   - Now I have a theory here. - Okay.

01:00:30   I'm going to test this theory.

01:00:32   So I have a pop socket case, which I've been using for a while, which I'm very happy with.

01:00:38   Is this the built-in pop socket case?

01:00:41   Yeah, the Autobox case.

01:00:42   I bought it from an Apple store.

01:00:44   But I have an enamel pop socket.

01:00:47   I think it's not going to work.

01:00:48   I'm trying to remember if enamel is a conductor.

01:00:51   I don't think so?

01:00:53   Let's find out.

01:00:55   I'll bet that it will work.

01:00:56   Oh, I'm getting a red flashing light from the pop power.

01:01:00   Okay, that sounds good. So that's not that doesn't work at all. All right, great. So I'm gonna take the pop socket off

01:01:06   Okay, see if that works

01:01:09   Yep, that is charging

01:01:12   So, let me just let me just double check here the pop socket charger charges without the pop socket that I found so far

01:01:19   Okay, cool. Now I have a plastic pop socket here. Okay

01:01:23   That is now on and that works

01:01:28   I'm pretty sure enamel is an insulator, but maybe I'm wrong or maybe there's a metal ring holding the enamel one

01:01:34   There is metal in this pop socket too. In the enamel one

01:01:37   Yeah, like you know like enamel pins have those metal lines that run through them. Right. I think it also might be a tad thicker

01:01:44   So it works. Okay. This is a wireless charger that works with a pop socket. How do you feel about this?

01:01:54   Mixed. OK, tell me.

01:01:56   Because it doesn't work with my favorite popsocket.

01:01:59   But the great thing about popsockets is there are many available.

01:02:02   So I could just get a plastic one that I like, but I do really like this one.

01:02:05   I really don't like that I'm using a plug adapter for this.

01:02:09   OK, I'll say that much.

01:02:11   I have an experiment that I want you to run. OK.

01:02:13   What happens when you put your AirPods in the center?

01:02:17   They charge, but it's kind of hilarious.

01:02:21   What do you mean? It just looks ridiculous.

01:02:23   They fall into the little hole.

01:02:25   - Right, but it still works.

01:02:26   - It still works, yeah.

01:02:27   - Oh, that's actually a plus then.

01:02:28   The hole is, it's like a little nesting place for that.

01:02:31   - Oh wait, there's a red flashing light, hold on.

01:02:33   - Oh.

01:02:34   - No, it's good again.

01:02:35   - Okay. - It's good again.

01:02:36   I think I moved it.

01:02:37   It charges.

01:02:38   That works too.

01:02:39   - Okay, are you gonna keep it?

01:02:41   - I mean, it seems honestly too difficult

01:02:42   to return at this point.

01:02:43   It came from America.

01:02:44   - I didn't mean like, are you gonna send it back

01:02:49   for a refund?

01:02:50   - Am I gonna use it?

01:02:51   Are you going to use it?

01:02:54   [SIGHS]

01:02:55   I don't know.

01:03:03   Because-- all right, let me tell you.

01:03:04   This is a very--

01:03:06   I think is fine in the way it looks.

01:03:09   It's quite chunky, but it's fine, right?

01:03:11   But the thing is, is like, do I want

01:03:13   to use a different popsocket?

01:03:15   I don't know.

01:03:17   I like the one that I use.

01:03:19   It's kind of hilarious that PopSocket make PopSockets

01:03:22   that don't work with the PopSocket charger.

01:03:25   That is kind of hilarious to me.

01:03:27   I mean, I could take a look at their website

01:03:28   and see if there's something else that I like.

01:03:30   But still though, I just don't know if I will find the value

01:03:35   in this product because my phone is still laying flat now

01:03:40   and I like my phone standing up.

01:03:42   So if I tap it, I can see it

01:03:43   'cause I have it standing in a little dock.

01:03:46   I don't know.

01:03:47   At least I have found something that will let me use a pop socket and wireless charge

01:03:52   because that was always like, that was one of my main problems, right?

01:03:56   It's like I was not interested, same as you, in removing the pop socket.

01:04:00   But like, you know, I like the pop socket I have but I can easily find another one.

01:04:04   Like there's other ones that I've liked the design of.

01:04:06   Honestly, I could just use the one that comes with the case which is the same blue collar

01:04:09   and it's a nice blue collar.

01:04:13   I guess it's kind of nice to have a wireless charger for my AirPods.

01:04:17   I enjoy how unenthusiastic your voice is describing this whole situation.

01:04:26   At the same time, all I can do is picture this plug just hanging out, right?

01:04:31   That's all I can picture right now, that it's just not stably connected in any way.

01:04:36   I don't like that.

01:04:37   What I enjoy about that plug in particular is it feels like it, it makes the product

01:04:42   more of what it truly is, which is a weird compromise of wireless charger with a hole

01:04:49   in it that also then doesn't have a regular charger for you. It just doubly clunkifies

01:04:56   up the thing.

01:04:57   Did you see this air-powery type charger that has 16 wireless charging coils in it?

01:05:04   No, I didn't.

01:05:05   By a company called ZENS.

01:05:06   The dream of air power still lives. Everybody still wants that.

01:05:09   - So many companies are still trying to make this thing.

01:05:13   I actually, they make a model that I think you will like

01:05:15   the look of where the top of it is glass

01:05:18   so you can see the coils inside.

01:05:20   - Oh, that's just gonna be just a bunch of ugly copper.

01:05:23   I don't wanna see that.

01:05:24   - I think it looks more interesting than just a black one,

01:05:26   but it also, honestly, it has like a tiny little hole

01:05:30   in it, I think it has a fan in it,

01:05:31   look at something somewhere, but it's thick.

01:05:33   It's real thick.

01:05:34   - Everybody's just trying to do the, oh yeah, I see.

01:05:39   - Ooh, that is very thick.

01:05:41   - Isn't it?

01:05:42   It's a big chunky guy, that one.

01:05:44   - Yeah, see the problem with all of these things though

01:05:46   is none of them really achieve the true dream of AirPower

01:05:49   because it's always, oh, and there's a little add-on

01:05:52   for your watch.

01:05:53   - That's the other part, because this was the problem

01:05:56   with AirPower, right?

01:05:58   So you can do what this company's done

01:06:00   and what other companies are gonna do,

01:06:02   which is throw a bunch of coils in, right?

01:06:06   'Cause apparently Mophie are also working on one.

01:06:09   loads of companies are trying to make these chargers

01:06:11   that have multiple coils,

01:06:12   but the Apple Watch also has its own proprietary

01:06:15   charging standard, which is kind of based on Qi,

01:06:17   but Apple did their own thing.

01:06:19   So Apple, as well as putting these 16 coils in or whatever,

01:06:22   also had to have the same amount

01:06:24   of Apple Watch charging coils.

01:06:27   And that was why they could never make this product,

01:06:29   because that is bananas.

01:06:31   And I'm sure it just kept catching on fire,

01:06:33   because it's like, you can't do all of that, right?

01:06:36   So the AirPower will never exist, right?

01:06:39   Unless Apple change the Apple watch

01:06:42   to being Qi charging like fully.

01:06:45   Then someone can make something

01:06:46   that's kind of like AirPower.

01:06:48   I'm gonna unplug this charger now, by the way.

01:06:50   - No, leave it plugged in, Myke.

01:06:52   - All right, I'll leave it plugged in.

01:06:53   It's almost like, it's almost so not in,

01:06:55   like I haven't set it up right.

01:06:56   It's just a cable now just hanging, yeah.

01:06:59   - No, it's fine.

01:06:59   It's just, this is like an experiment.

01:07:01   We'll just leave it like the wireless charger

01:07:03   of Damocles hanging over the podcast

01:07:06   and we'll see what happens.

01:07:07   - It's now charging the phone

01:07:09   'cause I had the AirPods charging in it for a bit.

01:07:11   - Okay.

01:07:12   - I've now replaced my pop socket.

01:07:13   (laughing)

01:07:15   I'll just sit there.

01:07:16   - All of this stuff is like the frustrating dream

01:07:19   of wireless charging.

01:07:21   I love it so much and it's also still kind of a pain

01:07:25   in the ass and doesn't really work the way

01:07:26   you want it to work.

01:07:28   It's very frustrating.

01:07:29   - This episode is brought to you by our friends

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01:08:01   I don't just mean physical paper.

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01:08:07   email to somebody and then spend the next 6 weeks checking to see if they've received

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01:09:17   How are your themes going, Myke?

01:09:20   I think pretty good.

01:09:21   Do you feel like a more refined person?

01:09:24   - No, but I shouldn't yet.

01:09:26   This is a long term thing.

01:09:28   I was thinking about this, that like,

01:09:30   unlike some of my other themes,

01:09:32   it's gonna take a while for me to feel the effects of this.

01:09:36   And also I feel like there's a lot more

01:09:38   that I have to put in place.

01:09:39   Like in previous years, it's been more about like,

01:09:43   stop doing this thing, right?

01:09:45   Where this time it's more start doing this thing.

01:09:48   So actually this current weekend,

01:09:51   so just before this episode goes out,

01:09:53   I'm going to be doing that thing that I told you about,

01:09:55   which is like a hobby thing that I wanna try out

01:09:58   and see if that works for me.

01:09:58   So like finding just like a new little hobbies,

01:10:01   it's the first time I'm gonna be doing something

01:10:02   related to that.

01:10:03   I signed up for Masterclass.

01:10:06   - Oh, the app, the Masterclass app?

01:10:08   - Yeah, because they have--

01:10:10   - They're like cooking ones and stuff, right?

01:10:12   - They have cooking ones.

01:10:13   So they have a wine appreciation video class,

01:10:15   but that wasn't why I signed up.

01:10:17   (laughs)

01:10:18   - That sounds perfect.

01:10:19   That sounds absolutely perfect, the wine appreciation class.

01:10:22   - But people have been sending me books, right?

01:10:25   So I've had a lot of cortexes send me books and resources

01:10:29   about, so it seems like pretty much you could learn a lot

01:10:32   about wine without ever actually drinking wine.

01:10:35   They can read books about it, right?

01:10:37   It would give you some basic knowledge.

01:10:38   So I figured, is there a video course?

01:10:41   Because we all know Myke doesn't read.

01:10:43   So--

01:10:44   - Yeah, you're not gonna read.

01:10:45   - Masterclass has a wine class,

01:10:47   but they also have architecture appreciation.

01:10:51   which is another thing that I realized that,

01:10:55   so in my recent kind of take mic,

01:10:59   takes lots of pictures thing,

01:11:00   which I've been doing for a while,

01:11:02   I take lots of photos,

01:11:03   I realized that I really enjoy taking pictures of buildings.

01:11:07   So I thought that maybe I should learn

01:11:10   what I like in architecture.

01:11:13   - Right, so you wanna be able to say,

01:11:16   ah, that building is a great example of the Baroque style,

01:11:19   that kind of thing?

01:11:20   or look at this Brutalist architecture, you know?

01:11:23   (laughing)

01:11:26   - Brutalist was the one that came into my head

01:11:27   and I thought, no, pick something that sounds fancy

01:11:29   and I went with Baroque and then I realized

01:11:32   I am now at the end of architecture styles

01:11:34   that I can name.

01:11:35   (laughing)

01:11:36   It's like, I've got two cards to play,

01:11:38   it's Baroque, which means nothing to me

01:11:41   and then there's Brutalist.

01:11:42   - Art Deco.

01:11:43   - Ooh, Art Deco, yeah, that's good.

01:11:44   - Everyone loves Art Deco.

01:11:45   - Okay, yeah, that's good.

01:11:46   - So yeah, I wanna just learn a little bit more about this.

01:11:49   I downloaded them in the Masterclass app to watch on my recent flight to the US, but ended

01:11:55   up watching YouTube videos instead of completely unrelated things.

01:11:58   But you know, it's a start, right?

01:12:00   It's a start.

01:12:01   Yeah, yeah.

01:12:02   It's only January.

01:12:03   Exactly, it's only January.

01:12:05   We all know we have the whole year.

01:12:06   It's not a new year's resolution.

01:12:09   I changed my daily themes.

01:12:10   I added a new one, which is to learn or expand.

01:12:14   Ah, okay.

01:12:15   I know that "expands" sounds strange when my theme is refinement, but what I mean more is to expand my mind in some way.

01:12:23   Oh, yeah, that makes sense.

01:12:25   And I feel like I still want to review the rest of my daily themes because they haven't changed.

01:12:31   But I just haven't gotten around to that yet, about thinking about that more.

01:12:36   Yeah, and I think that's also part of the process of living with the theme.

01:12:41   How does it affect other parts of your life?

01:12:44   And honing in on, oh, what are the things

01:12:48   that I want to remind myself on a more frequent basis?

01:12:51   Again, it's not, like, there's no plan here.

01:12:53   - No. - You don't set out with,

01:12:55   here's all the changes I'm gonna make

01:12:57   to my daily review stuff.

01:12:59   Yeah, that goes along as you go.

01:13:00   - So I will give a refresher for people.

01:13:02   So in my theme system journal,

01:13:04   there is a section, right, your daily theme section,

01:13:06   where every day I am tracking that I am doing something

01:13:11   in what is now nine categories.

01:13:13   So these are to create, to advance something,

01:13:17   generate revenue, focus on teamwork,

01:13:19   focus on my marriage, focus on personal relationships,

01:13:22   engage with my listeners and audience,

01:13:25   think about my health, and now it's learn/expand.

01:13:29   And so every day I either don't color in the circle,

01:13:32   color in half the circle, or color the circle in full

01:13:35   to kind of feel like how I have done

01:13:37   on each of those things every day,

01:13:38   give myself a score out of nine.

01:13:41   But I feel like I want to change some of the other eight,

01:13:44   but I just haven't worked out how yet.

01:13:46   And then there's one last thing which popped into my mind

01:13:49   after a conversation with a friend

01:13:52   and hearing you talk about it, which is meditation.

01:13:55   And I know this is a particularly sore spot

01:13:58   for you right now.

01:13:59   - No, it's not a sore spot.

01:14:03   It's not a sore spot at all.

01:14:04   But tell me what you're thinking.

01:14:05   - I just think that considering that I am

01:14:08   pretty anxious person and I find myself, I work myself up a lot you know. I feel

01:14:15   like it might be a good idea for me to try and have some kind of practice which

01:14:19   is focused on undoing some of that a little bit. You know like trying to

01:14:24   clarify my thinking more and take a bit of breathing space for myself every day.

01:14:28   And I feel like meditation does feel like a idea of refining who I am, right?

01:14:33   it feels like, you know, doing something to try and expand my mind a little bit more,

01:14:40   like, and at the same time kind of sand off edges a little bit, you know?

01:14:45   So do you have an idea of what this looks like in your life?

01:14:50   Literally zero.

01:14:51   Okay, so you're just in the "I think this sounds interesting, maybe it's worth trying" phase.

01:14:56   As of like four days ago.

01:14:58   Oh, okay.

01:14:59   Right, so like it's a very recent thing of just thinking to myself

01:15:03   of do I want to do this?

01:15:07   And if I do, what does it look like?

01:15:10   And I really don't know yet,

01:15:12   but I feel like it's something that could be interesting,

01:15:15   but I haven't really come to any conclusion on this one yet.

01:15:18   - My assessment is that you are right

01:15:22   in the target crosshairs for mindfulness being useful.

01:15:27   Like, I would say that you should probably give this a try.

01:15:33   isn't really like a formal distinction, but I think the way that the words tend

01:15:36   to be used a little bit is like mindfulness is slightly different from meditation.

01:15:43   I think of meditation is more like, it tends to be used more like the pro

01:15:48   yogi level of, you know, your sense of self will disappear and you will have

01:15:53   a, like a unique experience of, of understanding what consciousness truly is.

01:15:58   I feel like I am genuinely incapable of that.

01:16:01   Right.

01:16:02   And mindfulness is much more, "Hey, you're going to do something for 10

01:16:08   minutes and have an immediate benefit."

01:16:10   Like, again, these are not hard boundaries, but that's my impression of the way that

01:16:14   the words tend to be generally used.

01:16:16   And I think you would probably benefit from at least trying mindfulness.

01:16:21   And the people that I talk to who describe it being useful to them on the

01:16:28   mindfulness end of the spectrum often report pretty positive changes over relatively short

01:16:35   periods of time without tremendous effort. So it definitely to me seems like it falls in the

01:16:40   category of worth trying for sure. The mindfulness stuff also does seem to tend to more address

01:16:46   directly those kinds of problems of "oh, I'm feeling anxious." It's the more actionable end

01:16:52   of the end of the spectrum so if you if you're thinking of trying it i would like if i had to

01:16:58   place a bet on it i would i would confidently bet that you would get something out of a out of a

01:17:02   mindfulness practice okay i'll uh i'm i'm gonna spend some time looking into it i think good good

01:17:09   yeah i'll be curious to hear how it goes for you but that's kind of where i am right now with my

01:17:15   with my theme so i guess for you start with there's a video about themes on your youtube

01:17:20   channel now? Yes, yes. Although again, in the perfect timing of Cortex always, we have to

01:17:28   record it before it's actually up. But yes, I have a video on themes that's mostly done and will be

01:17:35   going up a few days from recording time. I'll be curious to see how that goes, as always.

01:17:40   There's a strange experience trying to compress down the concept of talking about themes from

01:17:46   what we must have now as, you know, a dozen or two dozen hours of talking about it over

01:17:52   very many years into, "Can I express this concept in about five minutes?" and "I'm not sure I did

01:17:59   a great job." Well this is the funny thing. So I watched this video this morning, you sent a

01:18:03   rough cut to me, and we both came at this from the exact opposite where I was like almost frustrated

01:18:10   at how good a job you did of explaining yearly themes in a few minutes and think it's like one

01:18:14   of the best explanations of it that exists. And you were like, "Oh, I feel like it's not-- I can't

01:18:19   possibly compress the great conversations we've had about it into a few minutes." So

01:18:25   I guess most people will fall somewhere in the middle of those two things?

01:18:28   Well, here's the thing. Here's the thing. Your feedback is not helpful on that topic,

01:18:36   because you are already immersed in this idea.

01:18:39   Yes. Yes. Yes.

01:18:40   So that is my concern.

01:18:43   I was trying very hard to think about,

01:18:46   if you were totally unfamiliar with this idea,

01:18:49   how can I try to talk about it in five minutes?

01:18:52   And that's why I feel like I'm not sure I succeeded in this.

01:19:00   I'm not quite sure that I've expressed what's different about this.

01:19:04   And it may just be that, I don't know, like with many ideas,

01:19:09   you know, you have different sizes at which you can try to express the idea.

01:19:14   You know, for any topic, you can have like a book-length discussion of the topic,

01:19:17   you can have a TV show documentary episode length of the topic,

01:19:22   or you can have like a five-minute conversation about the topic.

01:19:25   And, you know, you lose things at various levels,

01:19:29   and some topics are just much better suited to one format or the other.

01:19:34   And I do, I just, I felt very aware that like the theme idea resists compression.

01:19:43   Like I just, I really think it does.

01:19:45   I think it resists compression.

01:19:47   And so that's why I'll be curious to see how people receive

01:19:52   it when it does finally go up.

01:19:53   There is nobody else in the world that understands that problem more than me.

01:19:56   Right.

01:19:57   Because I spent a lot of time trying to work on a consistent

01:20:02   explanation in our last episode.

01:20:04   right? And it was much longer than five minutes.

01:20:07   Yeah, and you've also had the joy of in the theme journal trying to compress down,

01:20:13   "Okay, if I've got to put in something that looks like actionable instructions,

01:20:18   what does that mean in a thing that fits on an A5 piece of paper?"

01:20:22   Well, that's a nice thought. I can embed this video on that webpage. If this doesn't make

01:20:28   sense, can you try this one? Yeah, well, that's also a little bit of this video I'm aware of

01:20:33   of the idea in writing of mixed metaphors of like you're sort of you

01:20:38   don't have a consistent metaphor or you like you've half started with one thing

01:20:41   and you've ended up with something else and that is normally something I try to

01:20:46   really stay on top of in the scripts is like be careful not to mix too many

01:20:51   metaphors or have too many different ways of explaining the thing but I'm

01:20:55   very aware in this video there's a bunch of like a bunch of things and they're

01:20:59   there partly because it's like, "Hey, something's gonna stick with you. Is it tuning forks?

01:21:05   Is it little robots? Is it the rodeo? Is it paths? Is it rainbows? Like, what's gonna

01:21:11   work for you, man?"

01:21:12   More grey metaphors in a five-minute period than I've ever seen. There's a tree, and

01:21:18   the tree is also a road.

01:21:20   Yeah, yeah. There's a lot, and that's also one of the reasons why I'm just a little

01:21:24   unsure how it will land, but…

01:21:27   I think that that is a good idea, right?

01:21:29   So like, try and get this idea to stick into people's brains, right?

01:21:34   By like trying - because the Themebot really worked with me.

01:21:38   Imagine that the yearly theme is like this little robot that's gonna be always there

01:21:44   and helping you go from place to place throughout the year.

01:21:47   I like that one a lot.

01:21:48   See, that's interesting that that one stuck with you because very close to the draft where

01:21:54   I was going to record the audio. I had at that point almost entirely written out the

01:21:58   theme bot and there was just like one line.

01:22:00   Well, the problem is that maybe you are my theme bot. So like, it's very, it's like,

01:22:06   it's me right where I live, you know, like, maybe that's why that one works for me. But

01:22:12   also, that's just a fun little character, right? The little CG robot, like the plushie

01:22:16   robot, right? So it's like, it works, I think. But I did have to laugh that that you are

01:22:22   are now taking the idea of themes over seasons,

01:22:25   like to the point where you're putting it

01:22:26   on the YouTube channel,

01:22:27   I feel like it's like a personal attack against me.

01:22:30   - It's not a personal attack against you.

01:22:31   - You're just never gonna give up, but.

01:22:33   - Why would you give up the concept of like,

01:22:35   what you don't want, are you against seasons?

01:22:37   Is that what you're saying?

01:22:38   - I'm not, but it felt like, you know,

01:22:40   like, oh, we want to talk about our yearly themes

01:22:42   once a year, but you can, you know,

01:22:44   I get, it's your whole thing and I get the thing,

01:22:46   but like, as I've said to you many times

01:22:48   and we'll say it many times more,

01:22:50   if we're gonna talk about it,

01:22:51   have one time a year to really do it.

01:22:53   Yes.

01:22:53   No, I agree.

01:22:54   And I understand that for the purposes of the show, a yearly discussion makes sense.

01:22:59   Like I get that.

01:23:01   I mostly just give you a hard time about it because I get frustrated and want to

01:23:04   talk about it at other times, but it does like, it totally does make sense.

01:23:08   The other reason why I did want to put it in the five minute video is because I do

01:23:14   think it's an important part of the concept that you are not bound to this for a long

01:23:19   period of time.

01:23:20   And I think it's in the same reason that we mention it too, because like, if you come

01:23:24   to this idea in June, there still is value in starting it in June, not waiting until

01:23:31   January.

01:23:32   You know, because people come to the shows late or they come to the- and I think the

01:23:36   videos especially, people will watch that at whatever time of the year they come to

01:23:40   it, right?

01:23:41   Whenever the algorithm has decided to give it to somebody.

01:23:44   So don't wait until January if you think this idea is good.

01:23:48   die in May if you want to, but yeah, so like I think that it is a good thing to keep in

01:23:54   there because it would be a shame if you did only say you should only do this once a year

01:23:59   because that doesn't need to be the case.

01:24:01   Yeah, and I even like I was trying to hit on that idea even more because I say something

01:24:06   like you should think about this and I forget what the exact one but like wait until the

01:24:10   next season or like look towards the upcoming season of like just you know have this on

01:24:15   your mind for a little while and then try something. Just trying to express… I don't

01:24:20   know, it's a weird idea. Try this thing, but also it's the world's most low pressure

01:24:25   thing that's possible.

01:24:26   I think you chose good examples. Novelty, reading, health, they were all good. They

01:24:31   were all good examples. I think that they are quite general, which it should be if you're

01:24:36   kind of showing this to a wider audience. I was surprised by the year of novelty. I've

01:24:40   never heard that one mentioned before from you.

01:24:42   Yeah, you know, it's funny because that's an example of things that happen because we

01:24:49   sort of do limit the conversation to once a year. And I think if an attentive listener goes back,

01:24:57   I can't remember off the top of my head exactly what year this would have occurred.

01:25:01   But there was a time when talking about time tracking. I remember discussing the importance

01:25:07   of putting novelty in my time tracker and how I was giving myself like this whole other category

01:25:13   of novel experiences from like large or small as just like "oh I want to keep track of what this is"

01:25:21   and so that's an example of like was that theme an entire year? Like not really but it was a sort of

01:25:29   parallel theme that was running along with a bunch of other stuff and like I haven't time tracked the

01:25:36   novelty in a long time because like with other themes it just sort of becomes part of how you

01:25:42   think if it goes well and it just didn't like that one wasn't around at whenever the year breaks were

01:25:49   that it made sense of like yes this is the thing that I that I definitely want to talk about.

01:25:54   I cut a bunch of stuff out of the video but you know that was partly tied into why was I recording

01:26:01   the vlogs. Like, that's a big thing that I was doing and then it was also partly tied into just

01:26:06   on a really small level being aware of things like if you're going for a walk maybe take a walk

01:26:14   along a path that you don't normally walk. Like, that counts. It's a very little thing but that's

01:26:18   a thing that you can do to just increase novelty. Yeah, like, that was a very minor and simple one

01:26:25   but I really liked it and I did think it ended up kind of working well as an example in the video.

01:26:31   Also because I think it has a really explanatory name. I think people can get it straight away.

01:26:37   My life has been kind of samey. Are there big or small things that I can do to just

01:26:44   make it a little bit different? I'm very excited to see how this video is received. I'm excited

01:26:50   about the idea of putting this thought technology out into the world more widely.

01:26:57   I'm really intrigued to see how it's received.

01:26:59   Yeah, I don't know. This is why I don't like, I really don't like recording the Cortex episodes

01:27:05   where it's unknown and the video hasn't, hasn't gone up yet.

01:27:08   You should have just posted the video earlier today and then it wouldn't have been a problem.

01:27:11   Yeah, but it's not done yet.

01:27:12   Ah, who cares.

01:27:13   There's, look, look, we're at, you know, like revision five of the animations and we're,

01:27:19   you know, we have to get to like revision 10 of the animations and then it will be all set.

01:27:23   Maybe I still need to tweak some little bits of the audio. Like it's not done. It's not

01:27:27   close to done, but it'll be, you know, it will be up before the video is up. I don't know. I just

01:27:31   keep thinking about this thing where it's... I was really trying to write the video of introducing

01:27:38   this thought into someone's brain and kind of hoping that I've done it in a way that it sticks

01:27:43   with the person and that even if they don't take immediate action, they might come back to that

01:27:48   video in a couple weeks and go like, "Let me think about this." That was sort of my goal and

01:27:52   I just don't know if it will or will not have succeeded. I think my concern is I don't want it

01:27:59   to be perceived as like, "This is just unspecific productivity advice." And I feel like that's my

01:28:06   concern about trying to compress down the idea into a short period of time. And that's also why

01:28:11   I was a little bit trying to think about if we have to write real rules about what themes are,

01:28:16   I have the three points about like broad, directional, and resonant.

01:28:20   Because I think like the three that I could think of if I really have to try to compress

01:28:24   this idea down to the smallest possible size, that's what I was trying to do, but we'll see.

01:28:29   But yeah, seasons. Very important. Never forget.

01:28:33   [laughter]

01:28:33   - Sometimes I lost the seasons, uh, four seasons in one.

01:28:37   [laughter]

01:28:38   - It's a year thing. How is your yearly theme going?

01:28:41   - Oh, it's going good. It's going good. I felt last time I was a little bit

01:28:46   But with a year theme like Clarity, I feel like we are at very opposite ends of the spectrum

01:28:52   for specificness of our themes.

01:28:56   You have a lot of very specific points.

01:28:59   And this year for me really strikes this edge of highly resonant but difficult to describe.

01:29:09   So I was thinking about it since the last episode because I felt like I didn't really

01:29:13   have any good examples of what is the kind of stuff that I'm thinking about in terms

01:29:19   of clarity.

01:29:21   And since that episode, I did come up with one of like, "Oh, here's a thing that I can

01:29:26   talk about."

01:29:27   So one of the challenges for anybody who works in a creative field is the number of parallel

01:29:38   projects that you're working on.

01:29:39   When I talk to other people who work in creative areas, like, this is often a very common thing.

01:29:46   The exception to that is, say, like, you've taken time off because you're going to write

01:29:50   a novel or you are a professor on sabbatical and, like, during that sabbatical you were

01:29:57   given it to work on this research project and, like, that's what you're going to do.

01:30:02   That is the situation sometimes for creative professionals, but more broadly, people in

01:30:10   the creative fields will naturally find themselves thinking about lots of projects.

01:30:17   And you're always having to weigh this game of like, "Which project am I working on?

01:30:23   How many projects are going on at the same time?

01:30:25   Which projects are actually active?

01:30:26   And which projects aren't actually active?"

01:30:29   And so, since the summer, when I really started Year of Clarity, I've been slowly trying to

01:30:35   develop rules around what I'm thinking of as "topic lock".

01:30:40   It's kind of an idea that I'm borrowing from the entertainment industry when you're making

01:30:44   a movie, where if you are making a movie that has a lot of post-processing stuff or special

01:30:51   effects stuff that needs to get done, there is a point at which you should say that the

01:30:56   movie is locked, as in all of the shots that are going to be in the movie, those are the

01:31:02   shots.

01:31:03   When do the cuts happen?

01:31:04   That's when those cuts are going to happen.

01:31:06   And then you can say, "All right, now we can start on all the visual effects post-processing

01:31:11   stuff because this is locked."

01:31:15   Or in my own field, like if you're doing something where there is, say, a voiceover for a documentary

01:31:21   or voices that are going to be used for an animation,

01:31:25   you want to lock the audio track and then say,

01:31:28   "Okay, now that this is locked, other things can happen."

01:31:31   So this is where the idea started,

01:31:34   but it's been becoming clear in my mind

01:31:37   of making really conscious decisions

01:31:42   about locking in what are the current set

01:31:48   of parallel projects.

01:31:51   Because in the past, what I've tried to do is like manage,

01:31:56   oh, how many projects am I going to let myself work on?

01:31:59   And that idea just sort of doesn't really make sense because sometimes you just

01:32:06   get inspired and like, you just want to work on something and you're like,

01:32:09   you want to take advantage of that, you know, or sometimes like a

01:32:12   project doesn't quite work out.

01:32:14   Setting an arbitrary number doesn't really work for, I will not let myself

01:32:19   work on more than five parallel videos because part of the process of having stuff in the

01:32:25   future is like you do have to always be exploring and thinking like, okay, what are the next

01:32:31   things?

01:32:33   But what you can do is have a small number of topics that are locked of I have, I've

01:32:41   locked this topic and I'm going to follow it to the end.

01:32:47   And it's been an interesting experience and I'm still developing this idea, but I've incorporated

01:32:54   a step where I'm really formally making a decision about when a space becomes available,

01:33:01   what is the next topic that gets locked?

01:33:04   And so, at some point last week, when I got the themes video to the point where I recorded

01:33:10   the audio, once I have recorded the audio and I have a final audio track that is all

01:33:16   set and ready to go and like now this gets into the animation phase.

01:33:22   Now I have like a free slot and in the past I never really had a process for thinking

01:33:30   about "Okay, what topic is going to go into this slot?"

01:33:34   It was much more like I would work on whatever was the thing that was most interesting to

01:33:41   me at that point in time.

01:33:43   But after completing the themes video, I was like, "Okay."

01:33:47   I sat down and I made a really conscious decision about, "Now that I have a free slot, I'm going

01:33:53   to pick a topic to lock to this slot.

01:33:56   What is that topic going to be?"

01:33:58   And I already had a pretty good idea of which one it was going to be.

01:34:02   Like there was a video that had been sort of in development in the background and like,

01:34:06   "Ooh, this is good and this is fun."

01:34:08   But I still, instead of just like starting to work on that, I really did sat down and

01:34:13   And I thought, okay, let me compare this to my other options.

01:34:18   Let me think about how this topic relates to the other couple of locked parallel projects.

01:34:26   Like I don't want to end up with too many things where I have too many long term things

01:34:31   going on at one time.

01:34:32   I don't want to have a situation where I have too many short term things going on.

01:34:36   And so it was it was just a much more deliberate process of, I think I want to do this one,

01:34:42   let me sit down, work through, compare to the other options, and then just make this

01:34:48   conscious decision about, "Okay, project title X, this project is now locked as the

01:34:55   next one." That's one of the ways in which I'm trying to increase clarity in the coming

01:35:02   year.

01:35:03   What would you say has stopped you from doing that before?

01:35:05   I honestly think it was more just I kept thinking about the total number of parallel projects.

01:35:13   And I just I feel like there's something about that that wasn't working in my brain.

01:35:19   And the current state of what I'm working with is there can be three locked projects.

01:35:27   And I have a rough idea of like, how should I be distributing my time among the three

01:35:31   locked topics?

01:35:33   But then not worrying about what is the state of other projects outside of those three.

01:35:42   Whereas I feel like in the past I used to much more focus on "don't have more than five

01:35:48   scripts in Ulysses at any one time."

01:35:51   And it never really worked because a thing that often happens is, you know, some afternoon

01:35:56   I'll be reading something and you just kind of get inspired and go down a rabbit trail

01:36:00   for a while and quickly end up with something where you're like, "Ooh, this is interesting."

01:36:05   And I want to leave space for being able to do that.

01:36:08   That is totally fine, but after having gone through a little exploratory phase and something

01:36:14   new, it doesn't change the fact that that can't be a locked project.

01:36:19   And that just has to sort of wait for a lot of further attention until one of the locked

01:36:25   slots is free.

01:36:27   Also as part of this, I spent much more time this year, sort of in September-ish, really

01:36:33   going through and organizing in a slightly different way what are all the potential topics

01:36:39   that I'm working on.

01:36:41   So I've always just had like an outline list into which I throw like a bunch of ideas.

01:36:48   As again, anybody who's a creative professional, like you have a running list of all the various

01:36:52   things that you could potentially do.

01:36:54   But I did the same thing with that list of just going through it, clearing out stuff

01:37:01   that I know I'm never gonna do, or trying to get that list down into a much more manageable

01:37:10   size so that it's a thing that I can review when I'm thinking about what is the topic

01:37:15   to lock.

01:37:16   Whereas before it was just an endless junk drawer of single sentences where I had thrown

01:37:22   a bunch of ideas and now it's much more of a real workable document of review this, you

01:37:28   have a way to see how this relates to other projects and you can make a more clear decision

01:37:36   about which should be the next project. Does that make sense or does it still sound like

01:37:42   it's horrifically unclear?

01:37:44   No, I think I get it. I think a lot of these things they require all of the information

01:37:50   that you have at hand to fully make complete sense, right?

01:37:53   Which is just like, that's just you, right?

01:37:56   But the idea of locking in projects

01:37:59   and deciding you're going to continue

01:38:01   with only these few and like that's it,

01:38:04   is obviously a very logical thing to do.

01:38:06   So you're not getting lost, right?

01:38:08   - Yeah, and also with the clarity on this,

01:38:12   it is just internally with the people

01:38:15   that I work with in Slack,

01:38:17   Part of it is also making it clear to everyone, like, what is the priority order of these projects?

01:38:24   I can imagine that being very helpful to the people that work with you on videos.

01:38:27   Oh, yeah.

01:38:29   I can imagine that in the past you've been very much like, you know, everyone thinks

01:38:32   that there's something going on. You're like, "No, no, no, no, I've got this great idea.

01:38:35   And I'm gonna work on this one now for a bit instead." Right? And then it's like,

01:38:40   everyone has to down tools and get ready for the next one, right?

01:38:43   where having a set amount of projects that are the only ones that are being focused on and if

01:38:49   something's going to change it's very clear that one is going away. It must add a lot more structure

01:38:56   to the focus. Yeah, well, it's slightly different to that internally because

01:39:02   the locked topic matters very much in the writing phase. I think this is,

01:39:12   If I look at the work that I do, the writing is always the bottleneck.

01:39:15   And so, my experience has been that the concept of Locke has really helped.

01:39:21   This directly led to that little burst of videos before the end of the year,

01:39:26   and there's some stuff in the pipeline for upcoming this year where it's like,

01:39:29   the concept of Locke is clearly helping.

01:39:31   But part of the exploratory stuff,

01:39:35   like I said, if either I find a topic in the afternoon that I think is interesting,

01:39:40   it's great to be able to do that,

01:39:42   And also sometimes, like, with the animation, there are times where it makes sense to say,

01:39:48   "Hey, I just want to explore this concept.

01:39:52   What would this look like in animation?"

01:39:55   And having topic lock also made me realize, "Oh, I need to really communicate to people

01:40:01   which of these projects are, like, the speculative ones, and which are the things that are, like,

01:40:09   you should work on in order."

01:40:10   of like, "This is the one that in theory we want out next, so if you ever have something

01:40:15   to do with this one, do that first."

01:40:18   I think that makes sense.

01:40:19   Yeah, and then like at the bottom of this list is like speculative stuff, you know?

01:40:25   What would music on a video like this sound like?

01:40:28   You know, what would this look like in animation?

01:40:31   Or you know, can we find information about this crazy thing?

01:40:35   Like does it even exist?

01:40:36   Yeah, I think that's kind of what partly what I was getting at, what I was saying.

01:40:40   It's like you're adding importance to things because it reminds me of that Incredibles line, right?

01:40:47   Like, if we're all special, no one's special.

01:40:50   And it's like, I see every request from you will be actioned upon because you've made the request.

01:40:56   But if you're not clear about which requests are real ones and which ones are just like,

01:41:01   "Oh, I wonder," then it gets difficult, right,

01:41:04   to where the focus is supposed to be

01:41:06   and what deadlines are supposed to be met

01:41:09   and stuff like that, because knowing you,

01:41:11   I assume that there are very seldom deadlines, right?

01:41:16   Unless there's like a very specific reason.

01:41:20   So I can imagine that for the creative people

01:41:22   that you work with to create the videos,

01:41:25   it can be difficult to understand importance

01:41:28   and to weight that.

01:41:31   Yeah, and I think that one of the things that does make the videos different is like I'm

01:41:34   very happy to give them lots of time to try to make them as good as they can possibly

01:41:38   be.

01:41:39   And so yeah, like that I don't my business doesn't doesn't very often naturally have

01:41:45   a structure of like there's a deadline which which has an implicit kind of priority to

01:41:50   it so so this is different.

01:41:55   But the other thing I don't know if this is like too far in the weeds of the of the process

01:42:00   But the thing about Topic Lock that has been really interesting and it has happened three

01:42:05   times in a row now is back in a Q&A video a long time ago, I talked about this idea

01:42:15   of fractal creativity.

01:42:19   That in my experience, whenever you're working on a project, like my dad has this thing that

01:42:24   he's always said, like, everything is an entire world unto itself. Like, you can pick any

01:42:33   topic, any human activity, and there is like a whole world that is waiting to be explored

01:42:40   in no matter what you think is the smallest details of life, right? Mechanical keyboards.

01:42:46   How much of a world can there be? There is an enormous world, right? Everything is like

01:42:51   this. And creative projects are fractally interesting to me in very many ways. And so,

01:43:00   topic lock doesn't mean that the original idea for the video is going to be the final

01:43:07   idea for the video. And so, what very often happens is, "Oh, I think the video is about

01:43:14   And then in the process of working on it, you go, "Oh, this part of it is an interesting part of it."

01:43:21   And you can sort of drill down and find like a core of a thing that is interesting.

01:43:30   And so the Mercury video that came out a few months ago now, we discussed at the time how

01:43:36   that was a small part of a bigger thing. And that's an example of, "Oh, I have this much

01:43:42   bigger thing and while I'm working on it like, "Oh yes, that topic is locked," but I've gone

01:43:48   down a couple of levels in the fractal and then found, "Oh, this is a real gem," and

01:43:54   then that project gets completed.

01:43:58   I was like, "Did the Mercury video have anything to do with the original concept of what I

01:44:04   wanted to make?"

01:44:06   No.

01:44:07   When that video eventually gets made, will people even necessarily recognize that there's

01:44:12   a connection between those two?

01:44:14   Very possibly not.

01:44:16   But there's something about topic lock which I have found has really focused this idea

01:44:23   of fractal creativity.

01:44:25   And so the theme video that is going up right now, that was originally for me a topic locked

01:44:32   Q&A.

01:44:33   And so what happened?

01:44:34   It's like, "Okay, I'm working on a Q&A video.

01:44:37   Let me see if I can do this.

01:44:39   The Q&A video then turned into...

01:44:41   Oh, I actually have a bunch of good questions about productivity specifically.

01:44:46   So let me make it a productivity Q&A video instead of just a general one.

01:44:50   You're mentioning this now.

01:44:51   Right.

01:44:52   But like, okay, so I'm working on that.

01:44:55   And then as I'm working on that one, I go, actually, I think a video about productivity

01:44:59   works better if I remove the Q&A part.

01:45:02   So this is just going to be like, it's shrunk down again.

01:45:06   Like we've gone further down the fractal and it's like, "Actually, this is just a thing

01:45:09   about some ideas of productivity."

01:45:12   And then within that script, I found, oh, the theme stuff keeps expanding and it doesn't

01:45:20   make… like the theme idea is hard enough and enough on its own that, "Does this make

01:45:26   sense to have part of a general video about productivity?

01:45:30   Not really.

01:45:31   So let me make this thing the actual video that is going to be made.

01:45:37   So that's an example of going down the fractal, and the theme video ends up being this level

01:45:46   and this size of topic is the thing that makes sense to keep pursuing.

01:45:52   And so that's how that got made.

01:45:55   And the video that is going to go up after themes is the exact same thing of a, like,

01:46:05   Indians are topic locked, but I have a thing that is like seven layers down the fractal,

01:46:10   which seems totally unrelated to Indians, but is going to be like, "Oh, this is great.

01:46:15   Like here's a thing that's come out of this topic lock, and I'm going to make a video

01:46:19   on that."

01:46:20   So I think there's something about this which to me really hits this perfect level of constraint

01:46:31   but also flexibility.

01:46:35   You're not locked into doing the script as originally visioned, but you are locked into

01:46:42   either finding the really interesting gem in here somewhere, or deciding this topic is totally gone.

01:46:52   And so that's another part of like, the clarity around that process has become more obvious to me,

01:46:58   and I find that it's very much working in my favour of, okay, what's locked? I have a little

01:47:06   folder in Ulysses for these are the three topic-locked scripts, and it's been really

01:47:13   helpful. Obviously, as something sort of shrinks down, that means like, "Oh, I have to make a new

01:47:22   page for this different script," and that boots out the parent topic from topic-lock.

01:47:28   And then when this thing is done, then I reassess. It's a really interesting part of the process,

01:47:34   and is at least something that I can try to talk about with some level of specificity about what

01:47:41   does Year of Clarity mean to me, this ridiculously broad name, but this is one of the areas in which

01:47:48   it's already made a really big deal and a really big difference for me.

01:47:52   [Music]

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01:49:39   So our listeners have been sending in via Twitter and via the CORTEX subreddit and on

01:49:46   the CGP Grey subreddit. They've been sending in their yearly themes. I've been absolutely

01:49:51   blown away this year by just how many.

01:49:53   Oh yeah.

01:49:54   has skyrocketed, which I'm so excited about.

01:49:56   I'm really enjoying seeing it.

01:49:58   - Yeah, I think this year is a critical mass of difference.

01:50:02   I have a suspicion that there's a lot of,

01:50:04   this is where, again, I think the theme idea

01:50:06   takes some time to bake, and I have a suspicion

01:50:09   that there are a lot of people who have heard us

01:50:11   go through one or two rounds of this,

01:50:14   who are on board the theme train now.

01:50:17   'Cause I was aware of that too.

01:50:18   Boy, there seems like a big increase

01:50:21   in the number of people doing it.

01:50:22   the journal's done it too though. Yeah, yeah, that's a good point. That's a good like focusing

01:50:26   point for the brain. I think there are people that are excited to like get on board with the journal

01:50:32   and like well I want this journal let me try this right or like people that wanted to do a yearly

01:50:36   theme but had no idea how to structure it and now we've given them a structure to work within.

01:50:40   I think those two things have kind of helped each other go hand in hand but I have just this very

01:50:47   minuscule selection of themes that I wanted to just go through very quickly.

01:50:51   Which ones stuck out to you? I want to tell you some of these because I

01:50:56   want to also tell our listeners to try and give a kind of a broad idea of some

01:51:02   of the places that these can go to maybe help spark some ideas more within the

01:51:07   cortexes. So Soya had the Year of Friends which was to strengthen

01:51:13   friendships and feel more connected to the people that they care about. Danny

01:51:17   had the year of clean. There's too much junk in Danny's garage, too many apps on

01:51:22   their phone, they want to eat better and deal with their junk email problem. So I

01:51:27   like this one because it's a bunch of things, right? Apps, so digital kind of

01:51:32   like reducing digital cruft, physical stuff, getting healthier and dealing with

01:51:39   junk email problem, year of clean, very nice.

01:51:42   - Yeah, I like that.

01:51:43   I think that's a really good example of a theme

01:51:49   that can adapt with you, right?

01:51:51   Of yeah, like, year of clean,

01:51:53   you start with cleaning your house,

01:51:56   but then it's also a word that has enough abstractness

01:51:59   that's like, I wanna eat clean, you know?

01:52:02   Like, what does it mean to have a clean,

01:52:04   you know, like clean physiology?

01:52:05   That's good, that's a really good one.

01:52:07   - 'Cause what I like as well is all of those

01:52:08   individual things that are already difficult to maintain,

01:52:12   but you've only got to hit one of those,

01:52:14   or a little bit of all of them.

01:52:15   Year of Poise from Aesthetic Podcast on the subreddit.

01:52:21   This is good, I like this one, all right.

01:52:23   I am a young private practice attorney

01:52:25   and want to build a client base

01:52:26   and reputation in my community.

01:52:28   To do this, I want to focus on my communication skills,

01:52:31   my work knowledge, and because we live in a society,

01:52:34   my physical appearance.

01:52:36   The goal is even if my life is actually a hot mess,

01:52:40   people will think otherwise.

01:52:41   - That's good, yeah, I like that.

01:52:44   - Right?

01:52:45   So this is one I mentioned earlier from Ethan, Nogon,

01:52:49   Jesse, many more, the year of intention or intentionality.

01:52:53   Don't get stuck in habits, plan things out

01:52:56   and follow through, try to limit distractions.

01:52:59   These are some of the ways that people are trying

01:53:00   to implement intention or intentionality into their life.

01:53:04   If you're doing this theme, please time track.

01:53:07   - Yes, definitely time track.

01:53:09   We talked about it before already,

01:53:10   but I really like intentionality as the concept.

01:53:13   There's a funny level in which this theme strikes me

01:53:18   as both a great beginner's theme

01:53:20   and also a really master level theme.

01:53:23   - Depends on your approach to it.

01:53:25   - Yeah, this is good at all levels because,

01:53:29   again, I think about the war of unintentionally is

01:53:32   you directing your attention and you becoming more aware of specifically deciding to do or not do

01:53:41   things is such a meta skill. Like it's such a foundational skill that affects everything else.

01:53:51   Yeah, I feel like that game can be played at a real intro level of, "Hey, I'm just gonna

01:53:57   pay more attention to the things I do this year or at a real master level of like,

01:54:02   I am going to be an intentional beast this year. And yeah, I really like that one.

01:54:07   Nick

01:54:07   year of the uncomfortable who are holding the tree so they say I have been

01:54:13   constantly putting away or shying away from uncomfortable actions which could

01:54:16   benefit me in the long run this includes socializing talking to my financial

01:54:20   advisor not hesitating to speak to the Germans around me since I'm trying to

01:54:24   learn German etc the point of the theme is to be constantly aware of when I am

01:54:30   actively avoiding something that is beneficial simply on the account of the

01:54:35   apparent slight discomfort it would cause me.

01:54:39   That makes me think of, I'm gonna forget it again, the book that I recommended in a really

01:54:45   odd way a few episodes ago, or I was like, there's a book, I don't know if I recommend

01:54:49   it.

01:54:50   It has words in it, it has sentences.

01:54:51   "Do the Work" by Steven Pressfield.

01:54:54   He has an interesting idea in that book about the ability to use, he calls it resistance,

01:55:01   like uncomfortability would be another way to talk about it as a kind of compass that

01:55:05   very often points you to exactly the thing that you know that you should be doing and

01:55:11   to like try to reframe this feeling in your mind of uncomfortableness as a direction pointer

01:55:18   instead of a feeling of a thing that you want to avoid.

01:55:21   It's like no no no this is this is the marker for things that you should probably pay attention

01:55:24   to in your life.

01:55:26   So that's interesting.

01:55:27   That's an interesting one.

01:55:28   We have the gear of pruning from Barefoot Beast.

01:55:30   I feel like my life has grown to include many things

01:55:33   that I do not want to invest any more time in.

01:55:35   - That's great, simple and direct.

01:55:37   - I like that one a lot.

01:55:39   And then I want to give you one,

01:55:40   there's actually two here.

01:55:41   There's two of the very best name themes

01:55:45   that I've come across.

01:55:46   These come from Reddit user Zosby.

01:55:49   So this year, the year theme is Year of the Anvil.

01:55:53   - Oh, that's great.

01:55:55   - But last year's theme was the Year of Forge.

01:56:00   - Ah, that's really good, that's really good.

01:56:02   - I graduated college, started grad school,

01:56:05   and I also started new hobbies to fill my time,

01:56:07   mostly picking back up Magic the Gathering, obviously,

01:56:10   semi-competitively.

01:56:12   I feel like if you play Magic,

01:56:13   you would come up with the year of Forge

01:56:15   and year of Anvil.

01:56:16   I feel like they are within your kind of remit

01:56:18   at that point.

01:56:19   - Yeah, yeah, and like picking up Magic at all,

01:56:21   you might as well do it semi-professionally,

01:56:23   which is the reason I always, like,

01:56:25   I keep toying with, like, I should get back into Magic.

01:56:29   But I also know you're only gonna do this

01:56:31   at a pretty serious level if you do it.

01:56:32   Like, don't, you don't need that.

01:56:35   - The idea was to forge a rough outline

01:56:38   of what I wanted life to be like as an adult,

01:56:40   or at least for the next few years.

01:56:42   Now I want to hammer out the details.

01:56:45   I wanna refine the things I'm already doing.

01:56:47   The anvil represents a shift toward more work

01:56:50   and working harder, as I spent way too many days

01:56:53   just daydreaming last year.

01:56:55   Working on an anvil also has a very distinct rhythm to it, so I will bear that in mind as my

01:57:01   weekly and daily routines evolve and use the theme to remind me to stay on beat and in routine.

01:57:06   Aren't those beautiful?

01:57:07   B: That is really beautiful. I feel like you need a really gorgeous picture of an anvil

01:57:13   mounted wherever you're working, you know? Like, as the wallpaper on your phone. Like,

01:57:18   that's also a great example of, like, the word meaning something to you versus, like, the literal

01:57:24   meaning of the actual word. Like that thing about the rhythm of the anvil, that's great.

01:57:28   It's really well thought through this one. I've seen a lot of people actually turn their themes

01:57:32   into like a phone wallpaper and stuff. I think that's a really nice idea. Some kind of consistent

01:57:37   reminder. Yeah, yeah. That's great. Those are some really interesting ones. So speaking of themes,

01:57:43   Gray, I want to give you an update on the theme system journal because I've had a bit of a saga

01:57:48   over the last couple of months that I've not told you about yet. Yeah, I'm a little bit holding my

01:57:54   breath on this one because you've been making references to like, "Oh, there's something I

01:57:58   want to tell you, but I'll wait until the podcast." And it's been like, "Okay, I'll find out what this

01:58:06   is when I find out what it is." So the time has come. Our last episode, we put theme system

01:58:11   journals up for sale. I had an order placed for 3,000 journals. That was how many we ordered in

01:58:18   the last run. The print before, the ones that sold out super fast, we had 2,000. This time I

01:58:23   I increased it at 3000 as of recording right now. We have a small handful a couple of hundred left

01:58:29   who's for sale right now actually 398 of a sale right now as of recording so this 3000 order they

01:58:39   should have been ready to ship on November the 12th okay that was the plan because what I was

01:58:45   gonna do is we were gonna have them ship on November the 12th as soon as they arrived we

01:58:51   were gonna have half of them just up for sale so people could buy them in time

01:58:55   for the holidays. And then the other half we were gonna put on sale on

01:59:01   December 31st for our yearly themed episode. That was the plan. We had a

01:59:05   slight delay which just happens production delays or whatever then they

01:59:09   were gonna send me samples. We were still within our time though. We still could

01:59:12   have made it to have them on sale to be shipped before Christmas. The samples got

01:59:17   lost. A box of 40 turned into three, so I received a repacked box. So I didn't know

01:59:27   that any had gotten lost until the box arrived and there were three in the box and there

01:59:32   should have been 40 in the box. This happens sometimes, that boxes get damaged in shipping

01:59:40   and they just repack it, they put a piece of paper in the box and you find out when

01:59:44   you open it.

01:59:45   So I'm imagining, you know, just at a, you know, on a shipping container or in an airport somewhere

01:59:51   in the industrial area, the box gets torn, journals fly into the wind or, you know, like, yeah,

01:59:57   and the guy standing nearest by looks down and sees that there's three left and just picks them

02:00:04   up and puts them in a new box and writes a "we're sorry" letter. Like that's basically what happens.

02:00:09   Yup, and then there was three in a box. So I got the three, I opened them up,

02:00:14   and something wasn't right. Everything in the journals was enlarged a little bit.

02:00:21   So…

02:00:23   So it's just like the pure printing had been like… the image of it had been scaled up.

02:00:28   Imagine scaling everything by a small percent. Now, I did some measurements. What it did was

02:00:34   just like, so a line moved by like, I'm not kidding, like two millimeters. But I've

02:00:40   noticed this, no one else in the world will notice, but I noticed, right? Because nobody

02:00:46   knows this journal better than I do. Now everything was well within the margins, right? So we

02:00:52   build margins so this stuff can happen, right? So nothing was wrong. I decided that we were

02:00:59   good to sell them. The manufacturer couldn't really give an answer as to why this had happened.

02:01:08   It just happened.

02:01:09   Just like how they print upside down sometimes.

02:01:12   And I was asked the question, which I can't answer, of like, "Is this the right size?

02:01:17   Were they always being printed smaller before?" Like, I don't know, honestly.

02:01:21   Oh, oh, right, okay. Yes, I didn't think of that. That's a possibility.

02:01:25   Who knows what the right or wrong one is?

02:01:28   - So there is a benefit, I guess, in the sense

02:01:30   that now there's a little bit more space

02:01:32   to write in the boxes, but this is just one of those things.

02:01:34   Sometimes peculiar things happen in printing,

02:01:37   and this is one of them.

02:01:38   Everything was slightly different.

02:01:40   But I was happy enough that this was an error

02:01:43   that wasn't gonna cause any problems and was willing to go,

02:01:47   but was strongly advised to get more samples sent

02:01:50   because we're printing 3,000.

02:01:53   I'm supposed to spot check the production run.

02:01:55   Three is not enough.

02:01:57   So then we had to wait for more samples.

02:02:00   So they send them, samples arrive, I check them.

02:02:03   I now have a total of 43 notebooks, right?

02:02:07   That they've sent.

02:02:08   I open them up, I check them, they're exactly the same.

02:02:11   I get out a ruler, it's like, okay,

02:02:12   these are all, they've all been printed like this,

02:02:14   but that's fine, right?

02:02:16   We'll just go with it.

02:02:17   I really want to sell them.

02:02:18   I'm not going to ask them to reprint them.

02:02:20   It's not enough of a problem.

02:02:21   We'll just go with it.

02:02:22   I'm happy with this.

02:02:23   Two days later, another box shows up

02:02:25   with 37 notebooks in it.

02:02:27   - Oh, okay.

02:02:30   I presume that these are the found notebooks.

02:02:32   - They found them.

02:02:33   I now have close to 100 unopened theme system journals

02:02:38   in my office.

02:02:39   (laughing)

02:02:42   Which I have not yet worked out what to do with.

02:02:46   I could ship these to Cotton Bureau,

02:02:48   but it's a heavy box and it's really expensive to do that.

02:02:53   When we have them shipped, we get an economy of scale

02:02:57   on that shipment, which does not work out

02:02:59   for 100 notebooks, right?

02:03:01   - No, no, it doesn't work out at all.

02:03:03   - Talking about that, actually, freight shipping is bananas.

02:03:08   We're at like a weight class now,

02:03:11   when now that we've gone over those 2,000,

02:03:13   where things start to get really different

02:03:17   in like ways that don't make sense to me.

02:03:20   First off, it is bananas amounts of money.

02:03:23   So it costs a little bit less per book now,

02:03:26   but sending 3,000 notebooks costs a lot of money.

02:03:31   It costs us over $3,000 to ship these notebooks.

02:03:33   Which is like, that is, that amount of,

02:03:38   it's just such a large amount of money, right?

02:03:41   But that's what it is.

02:03:42   But it was less than last time.

02:03:44   We're making some economy of scale back on that.

02:03:48   But the difference this time to get the price

02:03:51   that we wanted, to get the weight that we wanted,

02:03:52   there was no tracking information.

02:03:55   - Let me just, right.

02:03:56   So when you send something in the mail

02:04:01   and it costs you $3,000 to send that item in the mail.

02:04:06   - Yes.

02:04:08   - And they say no tracking for you.

02:04:12   What do you get?

02:04:15   Do you get like a receipt with just a little promise

02:04:17   that it's gonna show up or like?

02:04:19   - You will get told.

02:04:22   OK.

02:04:22   Whenever anything happens, right?

02:04:25   So like--

02:04:26   OK.

02:04:27   Oh, the notebooks have arrived in America.

02:04:29   The notebooks are going through customs.

02:04:32   But like, you were being told this information

02:04:35   by the freight company.

02:04:39   Right.

02:04:39   What I don't have is a tracking number to look myself.

02:04:44   So anytime I want to know where are the notebooks,

02:04:48   Somebody has to contact the freight company and ask them,

02:04:52   where are the notebooks?

02:04:54   - And this does seem a little bit like

02:04:56   someone is looking up that the plane has landed.

02:05:00   You know, maybe not even very specifically,

02:05:04   oh, your container was scanned in, right?

02:05:10   It's more like, yeah, the flight landed.

02:05:13   Oh, the train with them left, that kind of stuff.

02:05:15   - I assume so.

02:05:17   This is the thing where working with multiple layers

02:05:19   of people to get this stuff done

02:05:21   is I'm still not very well versed.

02:05:22   This was very different.

02:05:24   Last time we had a tracking number.

02:05:26   I could look at it myself.

02:05:28   Shipping was incredibly slow this time.

02:05:31   Super slow because of the holidays.

02:05:34   We were shipping over the holidays.

02:05:36   It was very slow, very slow.

02:05:39   They obviously did not arrive in time

02:05:41   to get any on sale before Christmas.

02:05:45   And then one of the slowest parts was after customs,

02:05:52   getting them to Cant Bureau.

02:05:53   I didn't know when they were going to arrive, right?

02:05:56   But we had to have them on sale on December 31.

02:06:00   Yes.

02:06:02   So I kind of just decided that we would go for it

02:06:08   and do a pre-order.

02:06:10   Right.

02:06:11   I was incredibly nervous about this

02:06:14   because even on that, right,

02:06:18   like having them for sale on December 31st,

02:06:20   I was unhappy about that because it meant

02:06:22   people wouldn't have them on January 1st.

02:06:24   Like people that wanted to have the theme system journal

02:06:27   on January 1st couldn't.

02:06:29   And it was like, all right, so I've learned something now.

02:06:32   We now have to have these notebooks shipped

02:06:34   in like October next year to make sure we have some,

02:06:38   if we need to do a restock for the holidays.

02:06:42   being told that they'll be ready in the middle of November is not good enough.

02:06:46   You need even more time than that, which I thought we had time, but we obviously didn't.

02:06:51   Yeah, I think, for listeners who've been with us since the beginning of this,

02:06:56   the lesson of shipping and manufacturing physical goods is

02:07:01   take whatever your time estimate is, double it, and then multiply it by a million.

02:07:06   Like you need such long buffer periods.

02:07:11   It's, uh...

02:07:13   - But like I gave us the longest buffer period that I have done so far, right?

02:07:18   - Right.

02:07:18   - And it still wasn't enough.

02:07:20   - It still wasn't enough.

02:07:20   - Because then you're dealing with the holidays.

02:07:23   And I just thought I knew it would be busier,

02:07:26   but I didn't think that it would basically make every estimate given incorrect.

02:07:31   - Yeah.

02:07:31   Right, 'cause I figured that the timelines

02:07:34   are being estimated with the idea of increase,

02:07:39   but then there was stuff that like,

02:07:41   we would have made it in time

02:07:42   if I didn't need more production samples sent to me.

02:07:45   Right, but stuff got lost.

02:07:48   So now it's like, all right,

02:07:49   now I need to know that things can get lost.

02:07:52   Right, and then you need to have more samples sent.

02:07:55   So basically the thought was,

02:08:00   When we decided to do the pre-order,

02:08:02   I was told that the delivery company

02:08:04   would deliver on the 31st of December.

02:08:07   So my thinking was, worst case scenario,

02:08:11   they will arrive, there's something horrifically wrong.

02:08:13   We would have had a bunch of orders,

02:08:15   but we can just refund them

02:08:17   and just apologise to everybody, right?

02:08:18   Like if something's wrong.

02:08:20   But I made the executive decision

02:08:24   that there should be a page available

02:08:26   to buy a journal on that day.

02:08:28   If they would have told us that they weren't gonna be in

02:08:31   for a longer period of time,

02:08:32   then we maybe would have had to reassess that decision.

02:08:35   But we were told that they would be delivered

02:08:38   on the day we put it up.

02:08:39   So the period of time between us having the page available

02:08:44   and knowing the books were gonna be okay

02:08:47   was probably gonna be hours, right?

02:08:50   So I was happy to take the risk on that one.

02:08:55   Now, the problem with December 31st

02:08:59   was that Cotton Bureau was closed.

02:09:01   So our fulfillment partner, Cotton Bureau,

02:09:06   they were closed for the holidays.

02:09:08   But they were very gracious in agreeing

02:09:11   that they would have someone go there

02:09:15   to arrange for the collection to happen on the 31st, right?

02:09:20   But then the truck showed up on the 30th

02:09:23   and nobody was there.

02:09:24   We arranged the 31st, but the truck showed up on the 30th, but luckily we were still able to arrange them to come again on the 31st.

02:09:35   Oh god, right, okay.

02:09:38   So, shipping started on Jan 6th, which was not what I wanted, but it's the cards that we were dealt and it's the best that everybody could have done.

02:09:46   And people have them now, right? Like if you ordered it and you're in the US, you've definitely got it.

02:09:53   got it. If you're outside of the US you've probably got it by now. And do you know what

02:09:58   though the thing is I have not had one person say to me like oh I wish I could have got

02:10:03   it sooner and that was what I was really worried about but people were being very gracious

02:10:07   in that and they didn't even know why. Oh by the way we had a palette this time which

02:10:13   I'd not seen before because Nate at Cotton Bureau sent me pictures of unpacking the literal

02:10:20   palette of boxes that was delivered this time, which is just absolutely wild to consider.

02:10:28   Seeing the physical scale of this operation increasing is really mind-boggling to me.

02:10:35   Yeah, yeah.

02:10:36   Three thousand journals.

02:10:39   It becomes a thing you have to think about, "Wait, what does this look like when it

02:10:43   actually gets delivered?"

02:10:44   Oh, of course.

02:10:45   This is why palettes were invented.

02:10:48   We need machinery to help us move this around.

02:10:50   - As far as I'm aware, like the van that delivered them,

02:10:53   like that was the only delivery that van was doing that day.

02:10:56   Right, 'cause it filled the van.

02:10:58   (laughing)

02:11:00   - We had a private van for our journals.

02:11:02   - Yep, now what you don't know at all

02:11:05   is how well they sold.

02:11:07   - Okay.

02:11:07   - I've told you now that I have 300 available.

02:11:10   - Yes.

02:11:11   - We put on sale 2,700, there were 2,800 delivered.

02:11:17   We know what happened to the rest of them, right?

02:11:20   They were with me or were completely lost.

02:11:23   So that's like another thing.

02:11:24   We don't put them all on sale

02:11:26   in case there are returns and stuff needed

02:11:28   or books get lost in shipping.

02:11:30   We sold 50% of that in 24 hours.

02:11:32   - Oh, wow, okay.

02:11:34   - We sold 66% in 72 hours.

02:11:38   Now I wanna give you some numbers here

02:11:41   to compare to the trajectory of last time.

02:11:44   So restock number two, so that was the last stock of 2000,

02:11:49   we sold 1,649 books in four days.

02:11:53   - Hmm, okay, interesting.

02:11:57   - Restock three, we sold 1,800 books in four days.

02:12:01   So we sold faster this time,

02:12:04   which I would not have told you was the case.

02:12:07   - That is not what I would have predicted.

02:12:09   - Because we were together on New Year's Day

02:12:13   and sales were slower.

02:12:14   We didn't sell as quickly in 24 hours,

02:12:20   but we sold more over that period of time.

02:12:24   Does that make sense?

02:12:25   So the sales were much more steady, but didn't peter off.

02:12:30   So it took us eight days to sell out in restock two,

02:12:35   which was 1959 books.

02:12:38   In eight days this time, we sold 2080.

02:12:42   So, whilst we still have a few more on sale now, we are now into what I was hoping would

02:12:49   happen last time, right?

02:12:52   We sold a bunch and then we had an amount to sell for a while.

02:12:57   Now the amount that we have to sell, they're gonna be gone, so we would have sold all of

02:13:00   them in a month, right?

02:13:01   That they will be gone by the time this episode has been out for a day because there are people

02:13:06   that are like, "Oh, there's some available I could get," and they'll be gone.

02:13:08   So by the time you're hearing this,

02:13:10   we've probably sold the 300 that we have.

02:13:13   Now, there was a difference this time to last time,

02:13:16   actually two differences.

02:13:17   So this time we did promote it on an episode.

02:13:21   Last time we didn't, we just put them up for sale

02:13:24   because we were doing our episodes out of time.

02:13:26   But last time the stock notification list

02:13:29   was significantly larger than this time.

02:13:32   So that's kind of like the differences.

02:13:36   but where we are right now is okay,

02:13:39   so I'm starting to get a better picture

02:13:43   of what it looks like to put these things on sale

02:13:46   and have them sell and then have a tail.

02:13:48   I am still nowhere near with enough information to know

02:13:53   for sure about anything, but what's happened this time

02:13:58   was interesting, but also not what I expected.

02:14:01   I expected we would still have more in sale right now

02:14:03   than we do.

02:14:04   I would not have expected that they would have sold

02:14:06   faster, but they did overall because it felt especially once we started selling them that they were selling well, but not selling with the same

02:14:14   ferocity as last time, right?

02:14:16   But what happened was that in the same period of time we sold more books once it got past that like two or three day period

02:14:22   Right, right. So I have ordered two thousand more

02:14:26   so I've dropped it down a little bit because I

02:14:32   expect that we will always have a peak at new theme time.

02:14:37   Right, that it would be, I feel like, not a great idea

02:14:40   to order more because, all right, so I've ordered 2,000

02:14:44   more of the current notebook that should hopefully

02:14:48   be ready to ship by April, but it's Lunar New Year.

02:14:52   I got my order in before Lunar New Year, right?

02:14:56   But everything's closed now in our factories,

02:15:00   But I got my order in and they gave me my time frame, and my time frame, if they stick to the time frame, makes me feel confident that we will have them on sale by April.

02:15:08   But we'll wait and see on that one. You can mark this conversation.

02:15:11   And we are still working on the second edition with layout tweaks for some time in 2020.

02:15:17   This keeps changing wildly because there's a lot in the air around this one right now.

02:15:23   I will just say for anybody that's thinking, "Oh, I'll wait."

02:15:26   The system itself is not changing.

02:15:29   I am merely making some tweaks, mostly to the general layout of the page, but very small ones,

02:15:35   and the amount of pages in the book is going to slightly change.

02:15:40   Still to keep you with 90 days, but we're just refining how many pages there are for each section.

02:15:46   Yeah, again for the listener, why we're so focused on how much sold and how long is because

02:15:55   We're still trying to figure out the place that a store with merchandise should be able to be at,

02:16:01   which is, "You want to buy a journal? And we have one to sell you."

02:16:05   Right? Like, it seems like such a simple thing.

02:16:08   But when you have to deal with the realities of stock management and order times,

02:16:16   it becomes very difficult to do.

02:16:19   But there's also another factor of how much it costs.

02:16:23   So right now, things are going great because we're able to sell the books, right?

02:16:29   But is there going to be a point where I make an order that we can't afford to pay?

02:16:36   That's the thing that we're always trying to balance, right?

02:16:41   Yeah, I mean really what we're doing right now is a little bit like we have a roulette wheel

02:16:48   called Theme System Journal.

02:16:50   And, you know, every time it wins, like every time we have an order, it's like,

02:16:57   okay, put it all back on, you know, blue 42 and like spin again.

02:17:02   And this is, this is also like the terrifying, the terrifying danger of like,

02:17:08   like, what is an order that's too big or wrong?

02:17:13   And it's, it's partly why we're trying to manage.

02:17:17   How many do we order right now versus how many do we order after the design tweaks,

02:17:22   which where we should save up to like, hopefully be a larger order

02:17:28   to last us a longer period of time.

02:17:30   But it's still all so much guesswork.

02:17:35   And, and it really, it really does feel like, you know, again, just putting

02:17:39   it down on blue 42 and roll and we'll see if it sells again, but the danger

02:17:45   of a business that is a physical product with actual inventory is way overestimating that

02:17:53   amount. And then like, "Oh, you've spent all of your money on stock no one wants." And

02:18:00   just like with an actual gamble, it's like, "Well, it doesn't matter that you won six

02:18:05   times in a row, you're broke now. You've lost this." So it is an uncertain game and it's

02:18:13   fantastic that the journals are selling so well, but there is very much a part of me which feels

02:18:19   like, man, I wish we had more journals that we were still able to sell, which again seems like

02:18:25   a crazy thing for someone to say, like, oh, I kind of wish we sold fewer of them. But it would mean

02:18:31   that we were closer to understanding when are we no longer gambling on a big order. And after the

02:18:39   design refinement like we're going to have to gamble on a big order.

02:18:43   - That's the plan. - And that is the like,

02:18:46   hold on to your butts kind of moment. - Which is why like, again, we might get to April and

02:18:54   we have those 2000 and put them up for sale and they're all gone again. But it's, I'm trying to

02:19:00   imagine that not everyone that buys one of these is gonna buy another one.

02:19:03   - Yes, yeah, yeah, there's always going to be some attrition rate with any kind of product.

02:19:08   - And there's gonna be some people

02:19:09   that don't need one every three months.

02:19:11   I need one every six months.

02:19:12   So we can't keep ordering the same or more,

02:19:16   and I have to try and work out what to order,

02:19:19   and I don't wanna sink all of our money

02:19:23   into another reprint, and then it takes us too long to sell,

02:19:26   and we can't afford to buy more of another reprint.

02:19:28   It's like, ugh!

02:19:30   And also, I hope that this tale here

02:19:33   that I have given to our audience

02:19:36   can help people understand why we don't do pre-orders

02:19:39   for this product.

02:19:41   I made the initial order that arrived on December 31st

02:19:44   on October 18th.

02:19:46   Now, I'm just not comfortable at taking somebody's money

02:19:50   on October 18th and delivering them a notebook

02:19:52   on January 18th.

02:19:53   - I completely agree.

02:19:54   - Because I can't give you a timeframe.

02:19:56   Like if I could say that I knew the timeline,

02:19:59   like that our timelines were fixed

02:20:01   because of experience or whatever,

02:20:03   and if I felt like I could say to you,

02:20:05   "Okay, if you really want to make sure you get one of the next ones, give me some money now and

02:20:09   you'll have one between this date and this date." But I just don't feel like I can do that because

02:20:15   every single print has had wildly different delivery times. So I'm just not comfortable

02:20:21   at saying to someone, "Give me money now and you'll get one eventually." Like that just doesn't...

02:20:25   I don't feel comfortable about that. Yeah, yeah, I agree with you. I don't feel comfortable about

02:20:30   that because it's still too uncertain. And it's also just a bad experience for the user of,

02:20:38   you know, no amount of qualifications on an order page can change the subjective experience of,

02:20:46   I quote, bought something now and didn't get it for four months, right? Like that's,

02:20:53   that's not a good experience. Like you cannot even begin to understand the anxiety that I had

02:20:59   of taking orders on the 31st and shipping on the 6th, even when we knew we had them.

02:21:03   Yeah, a lot of those details I didn't know about like the truck, Jesus Christ.

02:21:07   I'm glad you didn't tell me that on New Year's.

02:21:09   Like I just didn't want to know.

02:21:10   But we did have a big conversation about the pre-order of like, can we

02:21:16   put them up for pre-order and, you know, obviously it worked out to be the right

02:21:20   call, but there still is an element of nervousness there of like, there are

02:21:23   pre-orders, but there's a little bit of space where something could go wrong.

02:21:27   And let's like, we got to cross our fingers and take this risk.

02:21:31   Yeah.

02:21:31   And we made the right decision there because it worked out,

02:21:34   but there could have been a situation where they showed up

02:21:36   and all of the boxes had been broken in transit again

02:21:39   and there was only five.

02:21:40   - Yeah, yeah.

02:21:41   - Which we know can happen.

02:21:44   So that is where we are

02:21:45   with the Theme System Journal right now.

02:21:47   I hope that the people that have them enjoy them.

02:21:50   If you don't have one and you've missed out again,

02:21:53   go to thethemesystem.com and there is an email list

02:21:57   and you can subscribe to the email list

02:21:59   and you'll be amongst the first to know

02:22:00   when we have more in stock.

02:22:01   - Go to thethemesystem.com where you cannot buy a journal,

02:22:04   but you can put your name on the waiting list.

02:22:06   - And read about it if you want.