24/7 friends

People have a lot of different friends. Work friends are 9-5 friends. You have friends that are a few hours on the weekend friends when you want to let loose. You have friends you want to be around when you are trying to have intelligent conversations.

 Then there are 24/7 friends. Friends that you want to be friends with all the time.

A startup not an experiment

After launching and then selling my first business, I took my a year off from entrepreneurship. I worked on a few side projects, some worked, some didn't. I interned at an incredible tech company in New York City and I took fifteen college classes in a year. 

For the past six months, I've been doing research on a marketing automation project. When people asked me what I was planning on doing in the fall, I said I'd be experimenting with a no project. That was bullshit. I was calling it an experiment because if an experiment fails it is an experiment. Their little pressure. I'm starting my next company, Influencia, a growth product for advertisers looking to connect with the millennial audience. I'll be entering in the saturated market of influencer marketing. Aside from class at NYU, I'll be working on Influencia full-time. This is my first tech startup and this first B2B business. The only thing that I know how little I know. I'm excited for the journey.

being productive by planning less

This fall, I’m making an active effort to schedule fewer meetings and be less constricted. I write on an index card three-five things I want to do in a day the night before I go to bed and I do them. That’s about as structured as I get. It’s freeing. I work on whatever is most interesting or important. 

Before the fall, I worked on a strict schedule. Thirty minutes for breakfast, a call from 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM. It was exhausting. I realized that laying out a calendar resulted in accomplishing “nice to have” tasks. This created an illusion of being productive rather than get stuff done that matters. If a task too long or if I had to move back a call, the whole schedule was ruined.

This practice came from ideas in Marc Andreessen’s Guide To Personal Productivity pmarchive.com/guide_to_personal_productivity.html

my iphone; unplugged

In the past six months, I transformed my iPhone into a flip phone. 

We are all witnesses to how these tiny objects reduce social interaction. A lack of social interaction leads to a decrease of social skills. Why have a conversation with a stranger when I can text to someone I know? Why put effort into continuing the conversation at dinner when I can go on Facebook? Why meet up with the girl I have a crush on when I can send her a text? Why spend time educating my young child when I can give him an iPad?

A phone creates a blockade from the real world. 

I realized I only needed my phone to communicate. About six months ago, I deleted Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. Why? One, because I downloaded an app called Moments which tells you how much time you spend on your phone. I was disgusted with myself. Two, because the social media network that I had wrongfully built for myself was more of an unnecessary cut throat competition than a positive place. Who could edit their photo better to create an illusion of what they looked like? Who had more wealth? Who was in better shape? It all seemed a race to reach a level of perfection that is portrayed by a modern day "flawless" celebrity.

The first couple weeks I felt left out. I'd listen to my friends referring to a post that I didn't know about. To combat the fomo, I would re-download the apps once a week to catch up on what I had missed. What I realized was that all the posts that I'd spend hours a day reviewing only were about fifteen minutes worth of content. The bite sized dopamine hits that social media produces turned me into an addict. It got to the point where I would catch my fingers moving to where the apps were previously located without consciously thinking about it.

As time progressed, I stop re-downloading the apps. I realized that it didn't add value to the quality of my life. The people that I wanted to keep in touch with, I did. I spent less time on my phone than I ever had.

Fast forward to August and I noticed another pattern with my phone usage. Replaced with the addiction to social media were three applications: Mail, Safari, and Spotify. I deleted them. I'd find myself checking my Mail twenty times a day. I'd listen to the same song over and over again on Spotify. I found myself looking up useless information on my phone while being mid conversation with a human being. What I came to realize, was that like social media these three apps provided minimal value. I only need to check my email about twice a day. Listening to the same song took time away from the learning I wanted to do via Podcasts and AudioBooks. And as far as surfing online goes, if I had to look something up, I'd add it to my notes and do it when in front of my laptop. Deleting Safari created a filter for spending less time looking at things that didn't matter. 

I am the proud owner of a phone without Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Mail, Spotify, and Safari. While this may not be best for everyone, it helped me focus on human interaction and keep me unplugged for a few hours a day.