Greetings from Ovation of the Seas! 👋 🚢
My husband and I are currently sailing from Hawaii to Vancouver on our honeymoon. We only spent a few days in Hawaii, but I regret not cutting short the 8 days we had in Las Vegas and having extra time in Hawaii before be embarked on the ship. I think the saying goes ‘we live we learn’
For me, cruising is my all time favourite type of vacation. You get to meet some interesting and fascinating people. I was having a conversation with a couple who sit on the opposite end of the political spectrum as I do, we had a great conversation listening to each others side of the argument on issues such as immigration, covid, and the economy. Despite promising myself that I would not talk about politics. (That went well!) Though we disagreed, being face-to-face and not wanting to be rude, we took the time to listen to each other and found that we have a lot of similar interests, such as hiking, leadership and have had success in weight loss. We had more in common than not, and this got me thinking about the arguments on social media where everyone shouts their opinion without listening to the other side. People are complicated and we are more than our religion or political opinions. If we take time to listen, rather than wait for our turns to speak, we may find that we have a lot more in common that we realise.
Of course, being on a cruise ship, I did also see a woman cutting her toenails by the pool which was pretty nasty. Check out some cruising nightmare stories here (but don’t let these put you off if you’ve never cruised before!)
You’ll be able to get the full lowdown on our experiences on Ovation of the Seas later this year on our travel YouTube Channel. We are dancing around the 600 subscriber number and would like to hit 1,000 by the end of the year. (You know what to do 😎)
Meanwhile, this week has been full of leisurely reading and writing! One of the good things about being on a cruise is having a lot of time to catch up on the things I’ve been chipping away at.
📝 my abusive relationship with note taking apps
Earlier this week, almost as a way of personal therapy, I decided to sit down and write a manifesto of my turbulent relationship with note taking applications. Because I have tried them all and fallen down the rabbit hole of new shiny applications so often that as my notes pile up, they go unprocessed and the ongoing mess is getting worse. I think I have found a solution. Actually, I think I have found four. In the few days since this article was posted on Not Entirely Boring and Medium, it’s been getting some attention, in the PKM space. One of the things I have noticed with PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) enthusiasts is that they are REALLY passionate about the application they chose, and they’re always willing to help! The love for Obsidian and Emacs is off the scale. It does make me wonder if the choice of application can also come down to the community? Have you have found yourself attracted to an application or methodology that you know probably isn’t the best fit but you do with it anyway because the people are just so damn lovely?! Something to think about.
Anyway, if you’ve not read it, you can check out this article I wrote here.
💻 tana - thank you for the tutorials
When I first logged into Tana earlier this week, after waiting many months for an invite to the early access, I was very excited. I’ve been a passive observer from the sidelines. I have had plenty of experience using Logseq and Notion, but both had limitations that for me just didn’t fit right and also led to procrastination and trying to shoehorn in a workflow that just didn’t work as I intended it to. Tana is what happens where an outliner, like Logseq or Roam have a baby with Notion. I have covered this at a high level in my article mentioned above - but I’m going to put this out there right away. Tana needs patience. The use of supertags is insanely powerful and I’m getting my head around the basics thanks to articles from www.tananodes.com and CortexFutura Tools on YouTube- Tana has also released probably the most impressive capture application that I’ve seen to date. It’s build on a simple idea. Capture an idea in the application - be it in text, voice note, photo or scan and when you login to Tana from your browser (I can’t wait for a dedicated app) then your captures are there. This is not new. But to have it all under the hood and organised in a very clear way. The iOS application isn’t trying to emulate the web application. It’s literally got six options and when capturing on the fly that’s all you need. I’m very impressed. This application is, well… perfect.
I will be writing some long-form articles on my time with Tana, but for those who are coming from an Obsidian PKM here is a nice article I found on Medium comparing the two.
You can read these articles first on the Not Entirely Boring website or you can follow me on Medium.
🎰 the apartment block that never was
From an article that got hundreds of reads to one that didn’t get any 😎
In last weeks newsletter, I wrote at length about the process of getting hitched in Las Vegas and at the time we were staying at The Cosmopolitan. I have been recommending the hotel for years to anyone who will listen as for me it never disappoints. But since the pandemic, a lot has changed, including the legalisation of weed in Nevada. And after 8 days at the hotel (with one of the nights costing an eye watering near $800) what did I think as a man in his 40s? Was the hotel too young for me? Did I feel a bit out of it? Check out the ‘suitable for over 40s’ review here. - the video review is filmed and needs editing and should be released around mid-June.
🤖 automating the ceo
In the last couple of issues, I’ve talked at length about ChatGPT, the ambitions of OpenAI and this technological revolution that we are quite clearly on the cusp of. Since the Industrial Revolution and the automation revolution, the focus on job security has been on the doorstep of the workers at the bottom of the corporate food chain. In my own day job, I’ve started to wonder about how it may change with ChatGPT becoming this force to be reckoned with.
But I read a very interesting article from Hustle this week, it talks about the Hong Kong based firm NetDragon Websoft who takes in a not insignificant $2.1B in annual revenue. The interesting fact is that that the company has been outperforming the Hong Kong stock market with a a CEO who is not human.
When we think about automation and AI taking over jobs, one of the industries that has been brought up as potentially under threat in the short term is customer service. Though I think we can all agree that currently when we need an issue sorted and we’re presented with a very basic chatbot, we know our issue will go unresolved until we speak to a human person. How this will evolve with ChatGPT and other AI software is yet to be understood, and businesses have had to learn that in the end, getting back to basics and improving the foundations is very important, without agenda or prejudice.
One of the key takeaways from this article for me is the disparity between the salaries of some CEOs and the actual performance of the business that they lead. For example, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav earned $247m in compensation in 2021 and was subsequently named “the worst CEO of 2022” after executing a number of massive strategic bungles that plummeted the company’s stock by 37%. If an artificial intelligence can replace the CEO in the boardroom at a cost of $0, perhaps there is an argument here. There is already evidence that financial success of a business can be achieved with an AI CEO, once the questions regarding the robustness of AI are answered and the social impact is assessed, perhaps it’s not the customer service operators who should be looking over their shoulders, but those in the board room.
🎧 listen to this podcast
Keeping with the leadership theme, I have been finding myself dipping in and out of Chris Williamson’s podcast Modern Wisdom quite a lot recently. In this episode, Ben Francis, the CEO of Gym Shark, a popular clothing brand for fitness enthusiasts, talks at length about leadership and the huge success that he’s had since starting his business. The growth of Gym Shark has been nothing short of astonishing in my opinion and unlike a lot of businesses that grow very quickly and then fizzle out, Francis has been able to navigate the business though covid and for it to incredibly relevant in a crowded market.
why am I recommending this?
I am often inspired by leaders who are able a have huge accomplishments and stay grounded in their own values. In this episode, Ben talks about being a father of twins and how this has effected his daily workflow, but not tempered his ambitions. One of the moments that really spoke to me was how he says that he is creative but terrible at organisation and he suggests that we surround ourselves with people who compliment our weaknesses.
You can check out the podcast here:
📱snipd is the best app for learning from podcasts. period.
Podcasting meets AI. I have been using the podcasting app Snipd for about two months now. I’ve always listened to podcasts and have even hosted a couple in the past. I think that podcasts aren’t just a great means to entertain, but also a great tool to learn and challenge ourselves. However sometimes you hear something that resonates and if you’re like me, that piece of new knowledge soon evaporates. But not with snipd. The application can easily import your podcast playlists and as you listen you can ‘snip’ the last minute. A (somewhat) accurate transcript is available and the AI that is built into the app can give you key summaries from the segment you’re snipping. On opening the application you can also get highlights from popular snips and follow others. You can find me on Snipd by searching for AJGifford.
What I also do is utilise a paid service called Readwise that collates all the snips and then sends them to Obsidian, however you can use most note taking applications with Readwise. It’s a wonderful tool to take advantage of, especially if you listen to educational podcasts and want to return to the key points at a later date. (This is not sponsored!) - You can check out the app here
📚 a leadership book worth reading
"Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek is a book that explores the concept of leadership through the lens of empathy. Sinek argues that great leaders prioritise the well-being of their team members, creating a culture of trust and collaboration that leads to better performance and job satisfaction. This book was originally recommended to me by my PT, at a time where my teams that I manage in my day job were growing. I have always believed that a persons time at their work is driven by the culture, that our leaders need to champion (and this isn’t the same as ‘forced fun’). In a post-covid world our mental health and work/life balance are more important than ever. I personally strive to make the work environment for my teams as frictionless as possible whilst giving them the autonomy and recognition they deserve. In fact, I have a habit tracker and each day I get a notification to remind me to compliment (at least) one of my colleagues every day. This is a great book for anyone who leads a team or aspires too.
📺 youtube updates
I seem have to gone from being ultra productive in YouTube production on this trip to not being productive at all. Something about a cruise, I guess. I just want too sit around with a Long Island Ice Tea and read, so whereas we not got 8 films in the can, and 2 currently filming now, I’d of liked to have 10 completed. I dipped into Tana last night to go though the videos as and to make a lost plan. I’m very much a planner and scheduler for YouTube filming because I try not to be disruptive. So tomorrow morning, as you’re reading this, to play catch up, I will be forcing myself out of bed before everyone gets up for breakfast to walk around the ship and get some B-Roll.
So it turns out that twitter is quite useful to promote this newsletter and other writings, so I rebranded by old account and will be using it to promote Not Entirely Boring and YouTube content. Feel free to follow it here
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