March 25, 2021No Comments

Lessons Learned from 1 Year Working with Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is still in the early adopter phase; so when most people use it they don't see it's raw potential. After holding dozens of events, even interviewing one of the most important tech CEOs of the modern age- we have seen what will make VR more powerful than a Zoom call could ever be...

Last Thursday on The Vance Crowe Podcast, we published our first interview recorded in virtual reality, set in our own custom environment. We interviewed Jim Rutt. Jim was the CEO of Network Solutions during their fifteen billion dollar acquisition, a former chairman of the Santa Fe Institute, and current head of a movement called GameB. With that interview live and us now at a peak in our exploration of the virtual reality space, we have the opportunity to talk about some things we've learned so far. We explore virtual reality as part of the work we do surrounding the podcast. We host our monthly book club in VR, office hours with Vance and meet-ups between listeners and even past guests.

About a year ago when colliding with others in physical spaces became drastically more scarce, we started exploring ways to connect virtually. Like many others we were quick to hop to Zoom to connect with our audience and Articulate Ventures Network, but this medium lacked the spontaneity that comes from break off interactions in it's pass the mic for audio format. We eventually found, and in Vance's case, rediscovered, VR. Having already had a headset and messed with a few apps solo, Vance was adept with the technology. It was when we were invited to coordinate a custom experience in VR and I too got a headset that we were blown away by the social difference between connecting over VR and video/voice chat.

Physical Space

The initial reaction to the idea of connecting with another person in a virtual space using an animated character might be that it's more novel than genuine. This is 100% the opposite. If you jump inside VR to connect with someone socially via an app like Mozilla's Hubs, work with them over a productivity app like ImmersedVR or anything in-between, you will surprise yourself by how quickly your suspension of disbelief lets you see your peer through their animated character.

Observing hand gestures, body language in head and torso movement and perhaps especially the subconscious instinct to follow personal space norms all build the sense of immersion gained through connecting with someone through the medium that- even though you can see someone from a flat bubble, just isn't replicated over zoom.

Audio Proprioception

Audio proprioception is one of the most amazing things about connecting with others in VR. Because the format on Zoom and other video platforms is pass the mic to talk, there is no need to break volume to add a layer of depth, you simply watch and listen to the person speaking at full volume.

In VR, advanced meeting environments alter the volume of others in the space at a rate relative to how close you are to them physically. This is one of the main reason that we've built our AVN Underground Bar over Mozilla Hubs. Audio proprioception in our bar lets us hold a meeting with 10, 15 and often over 20 guests and attention of the group can be focused on more than one speaker.

The layer of depth added by connecting one on one with friends and small groups in VR is one important reason to take note of audio proprioception. It is another dynamic entirely to observe and take part in small breakout groups throughout the space. The ambient noise of others communicating paired with the local conversation with a handful amongst a large group creates a dynamic that is not far off from similar engagements in the real world.

Architecture and other Important Nuances

Many people building in VR think by default to build large, open spaces. We've learned that in order to cultivate conversations more like a group in the real world, it's better to build a smaller, somewhat tighter space to squeeze people together.

Vance and Jim talk about this idea and more nuances to think about when building in VR in this clip from their full interview —

Are you looking to explore VR but don't know where to start?

Individual —

Consider joining the Articulate Ventures Network. We hold regular events in VR as well as 'VR filed trips' where we set aside a block of time to discover something new together.

Corporation —

We build custom experiences to show thought leaders in a company the value of Virtual Reality. The format is a 1 hour Zoom meeting followed by an immersed experience for up to 7 internal team members.

December 20, 2020No Comments

Integral Character Traits | Christina Kohler Skyhook

Building in Public

There's a growing number of founders and companies in the start-up sphere that tote how they are 'building themselves in public'. The idea is that doing this will give founders not only an infinite supply of things to talk about, but also help them build trust with their customers, users and audience. The reason that this idea comes to mind is because constantly inside the AVN, we see Christina Hudson Kohler building her self in public.

She does this by sharing her far out goals in addition to progress as she moves towards them. From her small wins to bigger struggles, these tid-bits she shares in passing serve to make us more invested in her hero's journey. I for one, can't wait to attend a New York State Fair in which Christina Hudson Kohler is the head organizer.

Iterating > Marinating

@VisualizeValue on Twitter

Christina is an iterator. Over the last few months, she has consistently show up, put herself up for feedback on her ideas and speeches, and repeated. It is one thing to receive and marinate a piece of feedback or even an idea, but its another leap forward entirely to show back up and implement the change. At every opportunity, Christina takes that leap.

Mirroring Enthusiasm

We have a developing pattern language in the network of 'Do you see what I see?' and what we mean when we say this is roughly, 'here we are, 2 or more primates observing something, and we want to find common understanding in what we are seeing.'

More than words, Christina speaks this pattern language through her enthusiasm. There's an idea in public speaking that you need to roughly multiply your energy to match that of the audience in a given room. I once received this as feedback years ago, and I'm not sure I understood how to properly implement it until I met Christina. Almost like a poker tell, Christina's 'I see it' is spoken in nuance through how she mirrors the enthusiasm of the room in her interactions with the room. This makes Christina a standout character in a more populated setting because of how she communicates seeing what others see.

Whether it's her egg family farm in Syracuse, New York or her role as the New York Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Chair, Christina Hudson Kohler is an integral member of every system that it's she is a part of. While we haven't had the opportunity to see Christina in action directly in either of these roles, we are immeasurably grateful to have the pleasure of colliding with Christina inside of The Articulate Ventures Network on a daily basis.

Christina was among the first to join us in our little experiment we called the AVN. What started off as a beta pool of 10 users building the bedrock of our culture is now a growing community with members throughout the English speaking world. Christina has carried more weight than she knows in this initial effort, and we want to take the opportunity to skyhook her because we suspect that is the case in many of the places she plays a role. There are a handful of characteristics that Christina embodies that make this the case, here we've highlight just a few.

What traits make you an integral character?

December 9, 2020No Comments

No, we don’t need Critical Race Theory in Compulsory Education

The Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards will go before the Illinois State Board of Education on December 16th for a vote, and onto state lawmakers should it pass. The register contains a set of teaching requirements for primary school educators, which suggests how diversity should be made to be part of the curriculum.

The proposal reads like a Critical Race Theory training mandate inflicted at the k-12 level as opposed to when entering post-high school education and career paths where it's often more prevalent. Just this year, Critical Race Theory was banned as a part of sensitivity training in government agencies and companies that would hope to contract with the federal government.

Some excerpts from the proposal:

Leading Standard b) "Systems of Oppression – Culturally responsive teachers and leaders understand that there are systems in our society that create and reinforce inequities, thereby creating oppressive conditions.

Sub points 3 - 7 really go for it — 

3) Understand how the system of inequity has impacted them as an educator.

4) Know and understand how current curriculum and approaches to teaching impact students who are not a part of the dominant culture.

5) Be aware of the effects of power and privilege and the need for social advocacy and social action to better empower diverse students and communities.

6) Know and understand how a system of inequity creates rules regarding student punishment that negatively impacts students of color.

7) Know and understand how a system of inequity reinforces certain truths as the norm.

In regards to all the above, I can't say I'm even remotely a fan of promoting this sort of political indoctrination at the compulsory education level.

This is a luxury viewpoint however, I can't pretend to know about the experiences of others. I can only reply my gut feeling that teaching people that they're at a disadvantage in society because of their background and that the systems that govern them are inherently biased against them will push a generation into the world that will seek to change an external system as opposed to the tried and true human method that's promoted our progression thus far across the board — of being the change we want to see in the world.

I liken this to the broader empathy first agenda. Promoting external empathy and seeking problems in society over ourselves is like ignoring the shadow to think of it in line with Jungian psychology. The main idea here being that the problems we see in others are often more readily available in ourselves. This is the shadow, the traits not easy to acknowledge that are likely undesirable.

By promoting the maximum tolerance of those around us while having absolutely 0 tolerance for those without this new age rendition, we're implanting simultaneously an easy out for acknowledging and thereby improving our own faults. The strength of the individual comes in our ability to act in accordance with the good in our being over our bad. Think yin and yang, you cannot remove one or the other, but you can choose a side and take action in its alignment.

Returning to the more tangible issue of teaching that society is inherently off-kilter, this is what CRTLS wants to make part of the curriculum —

Society is inherently bad. It has wronged you and it is against you. You should know this as a facet of your learning prior to entering into this system.

Teaching the next generation that a problem exists is not equivalent to teaching them the solution. Instead we should be saying something along the lines of —

YOU are a member of society, a part of the whole. The system in place has flaws but it is improving with each new generation. To continue to make it better, it is YOUR responsibility to be better.

In conclusion, I'd encourage you not to be among the lot to only point at the outside world and say, 'Get better'. Instead, look inside yourself and be better.

For more thoughts that make you think, subscribe to Conscious Repository or follow me on Twitter. I'm not always right, let's have a discussion.

December 2, 2020No Comments

Endurance or Sacrifice?

Mike Compston is a retired rancher in his 70's living in Nevada. In their full interview, Vance and Mike talk about how values are created and handed down, regrets he has from his life, the value of the Articulate Ventures Network, and what he thinks happens when you die.

In the below clip, they also touch on a dichotomy between 2 ideas that have been circulating in the network opposite each other, and are worth a deeper look into. There's the Three Quarter's End Concept which suggests an act of endurance is what you need to carry through a difficult situation, and there is also the Cain Sacrifice, in which you ask yourself, "What sacrifice am I not making to achieve my ultimate goals."

The Three Quarters End Concept

This idea comes from an interview Vance did with running coach Mark Spewak. In it, Mark explains this premise that can be applied at the micro or macro level in the things that we do. Looking at the micro first, Mark goes on to connect the concept to his native field of Running. The first quarter of the race comes with relative ease, the second quarter is when you start to hit something of a stride, but it's the third quarter where he sees runners struggle the most.

The reason in the micro example is that as a runner, you're far enough in that it's no longer easy, but you're equally far enough from the finish that the end isn't yet in sight. Mark goes on to note that this mental limbo is what causes many runners to 'check out' in the third quarter and start taking it easy either continuing that lull off effort until the home stretch burst of energy or worse off, riding it out until the finish.

Taking this concept then and thinking of it in the macro, I think that Vance did a great job of summing it up in this clip from full interview. Vance breaks reaching this junction simply into three steps:

  1. The euphoria of trying something new.
  2. The excitement of making it happen and seeing results.
  3. The long march down to the valley of disillusionment.

It is the decision of the individual to when they reach this valley, put their position into perspective and gather the energy to march forward in their objective.

In the macro, while valid in many cases, this idea starts to get a little murky dependent on the broader goals of the individual which is what leads to our dichotomy of ideas.

The Cain Sacrifice

Back to the above clip with Mike, during the interview, they touch on the perfect place to draw a murky example when talking about marriage. Having been together for ~50 years, Compston is able to talk about the subject from a position of authority. When talking about the sacrifices one sometimes needs to make in a lasting relationship is when Vance brings up idea of the Cain sacrifice as opposed to the three quarters end concept.

The idea in a sentence is that sometimes we need to give up something of value now, in order to obtain a greater return in the future. The Cain title comes from a story in the bible where Cain and Abel are both making their respective sacrifices, yet Abel is receiving dividends for his and Cain, none. God goes so far as to reject Cain's sacrifices because put simply, they aren't of great enough magnitude.

I'd first heard the concept from a Jordan Peterson clip which then came up in discussion with Vance when talking about an opportunity I'd had with WAND that fell short of the results I'd hoped for. The opportunity was a $50,000 grant where we'd made it to the final 40 out of some thousand submissions but didn't manage to seal the deal. In hindsight, this was for the best, even if not directly for WAND. Another member of the network and president of St. Louis Bank, Travis Liebig, had prompted me to ask myself, is $50,000 what's holding the business back? — Because if that's the case, then go out there and get $50,000 through a loan or some other arrangement and if it's not, then keep on keeping on and figure out what needs to be done. This prompted me to make my greater sacrifice in the form of bringing in a new team member to fill my day to day responsibilities and divorcing from WAND my time as the means of promoting its growth. This has allowed WAND to continue to grow at a pace where the team is happy as well as given me the freedom to continue to follow the path set forth by my daemon.

What's the takeaway?

The correct model is subjective to your goals, the desired outcome, and especially how broad the frame of reference you're looking through. When pursuing a direct goal with a direct means for good as the outcome, the play of endurance to follow through via the three quarters end concept may be the right lens for you. If however, you're in a scenario where winning the day doesn't win you the year, it may be worth considering what sacrifice you aren't making to serve the longer term good.

I'm Benjamin Anderson, executive producer for the Vance Crowe Podcast. In this series of articles, I dig deeper into Easter egg ideas from the podcast. Here, I will explore the 'why' behind concepts mentioned on the podcast, where otherwise you may only get the 'what'. I want these deeper dives and info riffs to help us build a tighter relationship between you the listener and us the podcast creators. Please feel free to send me a note, feedback and especially constructive criticism to

November 24, 20201 Comment

The Character Flywheel | Miriam Hoffman Skyhook

Originally published at on November 24, 2020.

Miriam Hoffman is the type of individual that when you collide with her, you won't be able to help but receive a budding motivation to do what you can to promote her along her path. Miriam has a unique blend of humility and confidence that gives her a clear edge when it comes to her personal development. She's also recently become one of 6 National FFA officers and the first out of Illinois in 14 years. After watching her journey to this incredible achievement inside the AVN as she opened herself up to feedback and criticism to prepare for the competition, our whole community is ecstatic to continue to follow Miriam as she serves as the Eastern Region Vice President for the next year.

In this new series of AVN member Skyhooks, we're going to take the opportunity to highlight member achievements on no set schedule and relate them to ideas that we discuss inside the network. Because of Miriam's unique blend of humility and confidence, a noteworthy idea that came to mind is to plot these traits on a character flywheel, a concept pioneered by James Collins in his book Good to Great where he describes it in the following way —

No matter how dramatic the end result, good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop. In building a great company or social sector enterprise, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond. — Jim Collins

Amateur philosopher and friend of the network, Rob Long took Collins's flywheel concept and applied it to his own character to create what he calls his Stoic Flywheel. Long's flywheel consists of the following repeating cycle based on what he notes to be his core virtues, wisdom and courage —

  1. use wisdom to determine worthy goals
  2. use courage to accomplish those goals
  3. use transcendence to view the result of achieving the goal, which generates new wisdom
  4. return to the first step

Taking this same idea and mapping instead to Miriam's standout blend of humility and confidence, we can build a very similar character model —

  1. use humility to seek room for improvement
  2. use confidence to make those improvements
  3. use transcendence to view the result of having improved, which generates new humility
  4. return to the first step

When looking at the above 2 models, the pairings of wisdom with courage and humility with confidence look like synonyms. Knowing the terms individually however, and especially Miriam and Rob as individuals who embody these traits, the distinction becomes increasingly clear.

In a way, humility and wisdom are dichotomies. Rob has the wisdom to choose a course of action and know what challenges it may bring. He then has the courage to move forward despite these challenges. Take this opposite to Miriam who has the humility to see opportunities to promote growth, and she has this humility in tandem with the confidence or self assurance to pursue these opportunities. It is appreciable all the same that modeling both against a flywheel is a vivid way to understand how these two continue to make strides in their character development.

The fun question then becomes —

What are your flywheel traits?

To connect with a community of growth-oriented individuals like Miriam and Rob, check out the Articulate Ventures Network. We are a patchwork of thinkers that want to articulate ideas in a forum where they can be respectfully challenged, improved and celebrated so that we can explore complex subjects, learn from those we disagree with and achieve our personal & professional goals.

November 12, 20201 Comment

Obstructions to Truth

My Medium account has been suspended and is currently labeled as under investigation without explanation after I posted this article. No big issue, all my writing is still available on my independently hosted site which is most likely where you're reading this. However this does bring to my attention a larger concern I'm beginning to have for censoring of perspectives that are counter to the broader narrative.

I think we saw a modest version of this with Coronavirus when it rapidly became outside the Overton Window to consider the possibility that it had a synthetic origin. I feel that we'll be seeing it over the next few weeks as information continues to surface surrounding the recent election as well. To reveal the truth at scale, it's important to maintain the ability to consider all possibilities in a civil way. It's when we shut out the ability to communicate perspectives in the public forum, regardless of whether the outcome changes, that the intransigent minority I reference in my banned post are driven to radical action.

Consider that nearly every outlet you use to consume information is a private entity subject to influence by outside motivators. It's worth a beat of extra effort to validate what you see as fact on the onset and come to conclusions independent of any one outlet. It's safe to say that the major social platforms can no longer be trusted as unbiased information filters on behalf of the public. Internal activists and trolls have already been shown to make tweaks to the platforms without supervision. Hop on Twitter and give 'loser' a search —

Or maybe you caught the furor surrounding Winston Churchill back in June of this year. Around the same time, the former British Prime Minister's profile photo and a critical information block was temporarily missing from google search —

If you haven't listened to the recent testimony with the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google about whether their technology enables bad behavior and how they filter truth, it's worth pushing back the block of time where you'd usually listen to Joe Rogan and lend an ear. You can check it out here:

Take stock in assessing how you come to conclusions. It's worth expanding the net with which you usually take in information. If it's being based off of what comes up in a digital feed, it's highly mutable and especially subject to internal bias. Rugged Montana social observer Lyle Benjamin points out a more zoomed out concern in this line of thinking —

I have predicted that our current age will be the least documented of the last five hundred years. Our digital archives will be fragmented, corrupted and censored in ways both accidental and malicious. By turns there will be more bits of data, and less usable information than anytime since the Bronze Age.

— Lyle Benjamin | June 14th, 2020

In short, we have access to more noise than ever but it's becoming increasingly the responsibility of the individual to find signal. The scarcity of individuals taking up this responsibility to read deeper than the surface is equally a factor in the nation's current divide. The issues we are discussing as parts of the whole are more complex than the binary tags we're giving them and need to be exchanged as such. It takes effort to pursue the truth. The broad inclination to avoid this effort is being massively taken advantage of as a means of serving up easy to find, false truths.

We're identifying too much as members of a party and too little as individuals in a society. A greater emphasis on the latter would promote the breadth of empathy that we are pretending to encourage through depth.

I promote no partisan perspective. I only encourage you to take the effort to seek the truth and I'm confident you'll find it worthy of your attention. My pull to be a cairn to others on this path is what excites me most about being a part of the Articulate Ventures Network. We are a patchwork of thinkers that want to articulate ideas in a forum where they can be respectfully challenged, improved and celebrated so that we can explore complex subjects, learn from those we disagree with and achieve our personal & professional goals.

For more ideas like this or to stay up to date, Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to Conscious Repository —

November 5, 20202 Comments

The Last President Paradox & The Intransigent Minority

I'm Benjamin Anderson, executive producer for the Vance Crowe Podcast. This is the first of an on-going series of articles that reveals the Easter egg ideas from the podcast. Here, I will explore the 'why' behind concepts mentioned on the podcast, otherwise you may only get the 'what'. I want these deeper dives and info riffs to help us build a tighter relationship between you the listener and us the podcast creators. Please feel free to send me a note, feedback and especially constructive criticism to

On his recent podcast with Jeremy LaKosh, Vance mentions my Peter Theil Paradox perspective that “(Ben Anderson) believes that Trump will win the election and be the last president under our current system of democracy.” Since this Easter egg directly references a viewpoint I had, I thought it'd be a great candidate to start off this series.

Jeremy LaKosh is a savant historian and host of the Historical Context Podcast. I'm happy to have the opportunity to interact with Jeremy offline through our Articulate Ventures Network, he's a deep thinker who has a knack for exposing truth through primary sources. In the full interview, Vance references this prediction I made in July while discussing a concept pioneered by Nassim Taleb, “Fractal Localism.”

My prediction Trump will win is the less interesting perspective here and grows less definite with each passing hour. At the time of writing this, we're heading into the 2nd evening of counting ballots and results could swing either way. I still think that if he does and maybe even in either scenario, the winner will be the last under our current system because of the power of another buzz phrase Vance mentions with regularity on the podcast — The Intransigent Minority.

The Intransigent Minority in short are the subset of the population who are loud enough in their perspective, that they are able to cause waves of change that effect the majority. Take this as opposed to the other way around which is how we usually expect democracy to work. We've observed for some time now how a subset of the population can steer the national conversation. 

A friend's dad and mentor once told me that 'Those who are the loudest, are often not the majority.' I believe that this same subset would seek to impose radical change in the wake of a Trump victory. Social media has created an outlet where the lay observer may look at the broader conversation and get a skewed view of the facts of a given scenario based on the echo chambers created by these platforms' algorithms in their feed.

The form that I foresee this radical change taking, is an overhaul of the system that instigated it. The least drastic scenario would be the abolition of the electoral college. There were calls to action to do this back in 2016 under similar circumstances albeit less disputable than they are now. The most drastic being a larger overhaul to how we elect and what it means to be a leader in the United States. Like many things I think, I hope I'm wrong. In either case though, I have a cautious optimism that in times of chaos, we are annealed into stronger structures. Hopefully this too is only another opportunity to weather chaos in exchange of a stronger structure.

To stay up to date on future write ups like this, follow me on medium or subscribe to the podcast:

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November 1, 20202 Comments

100 Days with Visualize Value’s Daily Manifest

The Daily Manifest in Visualize Value's own words is — a distillation of the "best of" many different habit tracking apps, journal formats, coaches and time management systems. Everything you need, nothing you don't. Subjectively to me, it's been a habit forming tool and a system for personal accountability. You can check out the tool here and ask yourself, "Why would I pay $20 for a product I can copy from the images it uses to promote itself?" I did exactly that when I first looked at it but I dropped the practice of writing out my DM all of 2 days later.

What got me to actually buy the Daily Manifest?

I first checked out the product because I follow Jack Butcher on Twitter. Jack is the genius behind Visualize Value and seems to spend most of his time creating unique visuals to promote mental wealth as well as building things once to sell them twice. I caught a short video from Jack one day in my feed, and the way he pitched his DM was so spot on, I bought it right after the video, because he'd nailed what caused me to give it up initially after 2 days. He said something along the lines of:

"I could send you this PDF for free, but then you'd neglect it. Instead, I'm selling it for $19 so that if you do buy it, you'll have a mental/financial incentive to put in the work to fill it out every day for at least a week, and I'm confident that after that, you'll see the value and it'll become a regular practice."

— Jack Butcher (paraphrased)

He was right there too. At the time of writing this, it's Sunday, and I've already filled out my 102nd DM to guide my Monday tomorrow.

How do I use it?

At the end of the day, how you use the DM is subjective. Jack has put together a quick explainer of some of the core concepts that you can checkout here —

Aside from the concepts he highlights above, here are some of the ways I've used mine over the last 6+ months —

  • I use a printed copy of the DM and write it out in the evening before the day of.
  • I don't use the DM on the weekend. I leave this time completely open to enjoy leisure or to pursue the work of my daemon.
  • I usually do my reflections before filling out my next day's DM in the evening but often the next morning also.

My main takeaways —

With filler and background info out of the way, here's a few breakdowns of the biggest things I learned using the DM for 100+ days.

Better Grasp of Time at Micro and Macro Level

Within my first day of using the DM, I realized how little I understood how much time it actually took me to do things.

At the micro level, this was evident after just a couple days. I'd give myself an hour to do something that took 15 minutes like type an important email or mock up some social content or worse off, 30 minutes to do something that'd take 2 hours like program an improvement for the WAND app or write a decent blog post.

At the macro level, it took me a little longer to get a grasp of this but the same concept applied. I gave myself 90 days to achieve things like run 10 miles in a row or obtain 1000 followers on a novelty project, both of which took around 30 days and would have been great mezzo goals. Then again, I'd give myself 30 days to achieve things that in hindsight seem completely foolish like be conversational in Ukrainian or achieve $1,000/mo in passive revenue, both of which eventually became 90 day goals and have since been accomplished.

The DM has made it so that in the future, and on a daily basis with tasks I fill out, I have a much better understanding the time it takes for me to achieve something in a handful of different verticals.

Over Productivity → Complacency

Before I used the DM to give myself a better framework of what I should be doing at any given moment in the day, I used to bullet out my priority tasks, punch these out in the morning, and then work with as much discipline as a self-employed, ADHD individual could muster. After a few weeks of using the DM, I became self aware of a problem I knew I had before being on a regular schedule. If I have a hyper productive morning, subconsciously, I'd use this as an excuse to be less intense the remainder of the day.

The DM not only helped keep me accountable if I had a day's worth of tasks lined up to stay on track after a morning that would otherwise make me complacent, but it helped me to learn this behavior in myself. Now I usually space out my most mentally intense or productive tasks throughout the day and put some filler work chunks in between to stay engaged my whole day.

Maximize My Value

I have a new rule with anything I do, but it started mainly within WAND. If I'm doing something for more than 4 hours per day, or in my head, half of the average 9-5, it's time to build a process or outsource the work. This is probably the most abstract of the 3 concepts I'll share in this article but the one that was personally of highest value to me.

In the same vein as the first idea on time tracking, eventually, I began to understand how much time I was allocating to certain areas within my business where it was not best spent. The first for example was catering to customer service requests. After a couple weeks, I was consistently getting backed up on other tasks and determined that it was because at random, I'd get thrown off course in 15-30 minute blocks by a call, text or email to our customer support line for WAND. Individually prior to the DM, these didn't seem like much and could be chalked up as part of my day-to-day, but after a few rough days of wondering how I lost hours of my time, this became a tangible issue. We've since solved it by upping our game through automation and now I now check for requests that need my attention for just 15-30 minutes a day.

This is one of many examples and I continue apply this model of thinking that the DM helped me identify in programming, marketing or anything else that warrants my focus on a daily basis. My time is my most valuable asset, so the value I've received from the DM to be able to identify where I can save more for higher functioning output, has been immeasurable to say the least.

Sound worth it?

It was for me, 100%. I should point out that this post was in no way sponsored by Jack Butcher or Visualize Value. I mention in passing the value I've received from not only the DM, but the VV community at large regularly so decided to write this up as something to share or point people towards. If you do decide to checkout the DM, I also recommend the VV community which I've been a part of since I got the manifest. I do get a kickback if you join through that link. The ongoing signal I've received from Jack and his community through weekly office hours, models of thinking and connections has inspired much of what my day to day looks like now and especially the work I'm doing with The Articulate Ventures Network. Even this post is a example of his Permissionless Apprenticeship concept.

I encourage you to checkout both, or at the very least, hope you've consumed a concept worth the price of admission. If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter or Subscribe to Conscious Repository —

October 27, 2020No Comments

How > What | Why

It's not uncommon for me that I enter into a stall in action because I focus too deeply on the latter 2 words in the title rather than the first. Whether it's 30 minutes or multiple hours, often carrying into my evening or until I go to sleep, there have been moments where I'm unable to choose a definitive course of action because I'm too distracted by the loop in my internal dialog asking myself what I am doing and why I am doing it. Instead, as I've been learning to condition myself over time, the question to prompt yourself to action should be questions that begin instead with how.

A series of content I've consumed over the last few weeks prompted me to think deeper on this concept that I read originally in The Bhagavad Gita. There, Krsna originally expresses the idea to Arjuna that one can more quickly find the path to doing His work by asking questions that begin with how rather than what or why. This theme is carried heavy throughout the book and eventually evolves into the Trichotomy of Nature, The Enjoyer and Consciousness which is the title of chapter 13.

Hovering for a moment here on what is meant by 'His work', this is something I think we read in many places under different words of choice depending on the medium. The Bible might call this 'God's work or following in his footsteps', I interpret it as what Cal Newport calls 'Deep Work' or even what Steven Pressfield refers to in The War of Art as 'Listening to his muse'. In the Articulate Ventures Network, we commonly refer to this as something along the lines of 'Following the path of our Daemon', a layering of Pattern Language on what Plato originally called the 'daemonic'.

Back to Krsna's instruction, again he suggests the asking of a how question as a means of hearing this call to one's path. Pursuing a how question is similar to engaging in a novelty search. Put briefly, this means not to plan where you are going(what), but to instead follow what you find interesting. What you find interesting as the how in this example may be easy to confuse with framing a why, but the easy way to make that distinction is to properly identify the why trap as 'why do you find it interesting?'

Having your what or why in mind is never a bad thing, but unless you engage the how, your pursuit as a whole will remain stagnant, regardless of the validity of the what or why. Alternatively put in The Bhagavad Gita is this idea as Knower, Knowledge < The process of knowing. Say you are a knower who has knowledge, if you don't continue your pursuit for what's unknown, even that unknown just to you, you will remain in a constant state for the rest of your life which is arguably equivalent to not being there at all. In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the way Persig describes quality as the knife's edge of experience is not unlike the view I'm proposing of how as a means of transcending what is an what ought and choosing the path to increased the whole.

What made me want to write this today was a No Country for Old Men Explained video from YouTube. In it, the narrator points out that the characters who rejected a coin flip put forth by the antagonist, whether it be on the premise of why they should answer or what they'd stand to gain if they did, were killed by default rather than having any chance at all.

The main idea here is that how is the only path forward. If you have a problem and you focus on what it is and why it is, then it won't go anywhere. If you have a goal, and you know what that goal is and why you want to achieve it but don't engage your how, you will never achieve it either.

I encourage you to look at a problem or a goal in your life right now & ask yourself —

How will I solve it or How will I achieve it?

October 19, 20202 Comments

Escape the Echo Chambers

An echo chamber is a closed system where the variables inside are amplified by their own reverberation because they are insulated from rebuttal outside that system.

The major social platforms are doing their users an injustice by acting against the highest value that they could hope to offer — the free exchange of ideas, by placing their users inside of an algorithmically driven echo chamber the second that they join the platform. These categorizations help determine which ideas to expose you to in your feed. Every action you take further cements and narrows who you are in the eyes of the respective platform and which ideas to send your way to generate engagement from you in the form of a 'Like' or some similar metric.

I think a lot about the negative effects of an echo chamber when it comes to social mediums because of recent work I've been doing with the Articulate Ventures Network. Here, we've created a culture and medium to promote the free exchange of ideas and a place where even disagreements become constructive. Individuals communicate with the intention to gain a deeper understanding of each other's perspective. We refer to this in our own pattern language as a 'Town Hall' effect.

When a group of people come out to a town hall, they are prompted to exchange ideas around a given set of issues regarding the future of their community. Thoughts are turned over in the palms of each other's brains and while dialog can get heated, individuals know that these are people that they must see and be civil with again in the future, so there is a positive incentive to not burn bridges in this setting that is not equally prevalent through most massive online mediums.

We've willingly walked into the major social media outlets' echo chambers as the algorithms that run them feed in new ideas and agents for the artificial goal of engagement rather than true interaction and exchange. The segmentation of these forums makes it so that alternative perspectives are unwelcomed and unable to anneal the ideas of it's members thus the echoing begins to amplify the strongest idea node that brings the group together, too often to a negative pole from the rational center.

It's easy to advertise to known niches which is the main incentive in this case, the more narrow, the better, but advertising at it's root is purchasing the attention of it's audience. When you're able to purchase someone's attention, which Rob Long calls one's 'bandwidth for changing the universe', there's an opportunity to place before people false truths that can determine their future actions. All the more disastrous is when a negative agent takes the opportunity to throw a venomous concept into this chamber and watch it bounce around until the conversation reaches a climax, converting to an action that has negative consequences to the members outside it's group.

A few weeks ago in a separate post, I noted that I look often at the world and feel anxiety when I see others spending their attention & acting in response to false truths that the cabal has placed before them as a false incentive mechanism. I want to do what I can to bring people together to independently amongst each other, discover what they deem to be true with all the information available to them so they can best act in accordance with how they are capable of making the biggest positive impact on the world.

It's for this reason, I'm so passionate about the work we're doing within the network I mentioned above, but ours is far from the only one. We are a patchwork of thinkers that want to articulate ideas in a forum where they can be respectfully challenged, improved and celebrated so that we can explore complex subjects, learn from those we disagree with and achieve our personal & professional goals. Check us out if you're interested HERE.

I encourage anyone reading to seek a similar forum to have your ideas challenged and to expose yourself to new perspectives. Here are the most powerful communities I'm a part of that are worth checking out:

Visualize Value — Helping ambitious people master their mental health and build independent income. ($99/year)

The Portal — We are a project-driven community spread over many interest areas and a variety of backgrounds. (Free by invite only to the main server)

Farnam Street — A community that shortens the path to wisdom by connecting you to other eager self educators. ($149/year)

Lex Fridman's Server — Conversations about science, technology, history, philosophy and the nature of intelligence, consciousness, love, and power. (Free)