Here are a few things I've been reading and pondering lately. Enjoy this week's issue and if you're feeling inspired, pass it on.
1. Systems vs. Goals
I stumbled across this in Tim Ferriss' new book Tools of Titans (highly recommended) and I think it's the most important concept I've come across in several years. Systems mean there are no dead ends. No time is wasted. When you are the product, the system keeps you moving forward.
Scott Adams does a much better job explaining this:
One of the systems I use ... is what I’m doing right now: blogging.
When I first started blogging, my future wife often asked about what my goal was. The blogging seemed to double my workload while promising a 5% higher income that didn’t make any real difference in my life. It seemed a silly use of time. I tried explaining that blogging was a system, not a goal. But I never did a good job of it. I’ll try again here.
Writing is a skill that requires practice. So the first part of my system involves practicing on a regular basis. I didn’t know what I was practicing for, exactly, and that’s what makes it a system and not a goal. I was moving from a place with low odds (being an out-of-practice writer) to a place of good odds (a well-practiced writer with higher visibility).
2. Lazy: A Manifesto
This is a 12-min audio excerpt from Tim Kreider's book We Learn Nothing. In it, he explains why being "busy" is bullshit and the steps he's taking to focus his own life.
I've shared this in Swipe File before, but it's worth listening to every now and then.
3. First Timers Only
This is a site to help first-time programmers get involved in open source projects.
4. Shorter title tags, longer meta descriptions
An quick but interesting article from Etsy on some SEO tests they ran recently.
We found that changes in the meta description of a page can lead to statistically significant changes to visits. It appeared that longer and descriptive meta descriptions performed better and that conversely, shorter, terse meta descriptions performed worse. We hypothesize that longer meta descriptions might perform better via two possible causal mechanisms:
- Longer meta descriptions take up more real estate in a search results page, improving CTRs
- Longer meta descriptions give an appearance of more authority or more content, improving CTRs
5. Random Links
- "I feel both overworked and like I'm not working hard enough." — From an interesting discussion on Reddit
- My favorite tool these days is Airmail because I can easily add tasks to Wunderlist, Trello and iOS Reminders.
- Speaking of Wunderlist, I've started using it for everying from grocery lists to project management. The sub-tasks and reminders are incredibly useful.
- I've heard great things about Notion, but haven't had a chance to use it yet.
- Evernote launched a podcast
- Speaking of podcasts, I just discovered Dan Carlin's Hardcore History and it is awesome.
Have a great week!