Le Wagon’s Product Pitch

I’ve been pretty busy recently with Le Wagon Mexico’s boot camp where you have 9 weeks to learn about product development from the ground up.

The 5th week is done and the course has been all that I expected and even more. The program is really well done, the culture is enlightening and the meta learning will be useful for the rest of my life.

It is now clear to me that the future of education is in these kinds of ‘trade’ schools where you take on a topic and learn all its intricacies and take them to the limit in the shortest amount of time possible.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with my fellow course buddies and teachers and each time we’ve come to the same conclusion: the future of education is already here and we are experiencing it at Le wagon.

The ultimate goal of the course is for everyone (no matter their background) to be able to build any digital product from the ground up.

The program walks you through From the back end to the front and teaches you the way everything glues up together and shows you the tools that real world tech businesses and startups are using today to build their game changing ideas.

In that way, the course is arranged so that the last weeks are for building your own projects after having a week of pitching, voting and team generation to build the most popular ideas of the batch.

Today was our first day of working on the pitches and I just finished mine:

TARGET or who’s your customer?

As creative entrepreneurs we are always trying to create things that we like and that’s not bad at all but if we want to actually experience the joy of people using the stuff that we build we must focus on making things people want.

So the first step would be to clearly define the pain point (problem) and then create a solution and not do like most times and create solutions in search of problems.

This could be very simple: If you build something that you yourself would use because you are ‘scratching your own itch’ you sure as hell will find more people that will pay you for the solution to the same problem.

In this example I’m trying to scratch my own itch:

I’m an avid reader and I’m always searching for the ‘next big book’ to read and enjoy in a wide range of topics: historical Japanese novels and authors, business books, great transcendental biographies filled with lessons, sci fi stories that get you hooked, etc.

The first thing that I do is search for the best places depending on the category: I go to Product Hunt’s top book list or one of my favorite tech startup founders personal blogs if I’m in search of a business book.

If on another category then I just browse r/books or pray for a good book recommendation while browsing twitter which has happened maybe once before so it’s not a really good way of doing it.

I then browse through the top new books from Amazon, NYT or mainstream blogs (not a smart choice I know) but in spite of having all these different places and options I end up being more confused than when I started my search.

How do I know that those places are actually being transparent and fair in their reviews? How do I know that the book is actually any good and that the amazon stars are not fake?

There should clearly be a better way of indexing all of the information that we have available to make a buying decision for x category of books no matter if they are new releases or the top books of all time.

Why can’t I just go to a filtered lists that combines what people are really saying about ‘x’ book + its mentions and display it in a clear simple understandable way for me?

A sourced list of the best books to read by category with a mention counter + sentiment analysis indicator to know what people are really saying about the book would help solve the issue of really knowing if the book is any good by the average sentiment of people reading it.

It would also show the real ‘popularity’ of the book and would be useful to make a buying decision. If things are taken further it could even start aggregating new book recommendations based on the things people are saying about it.

By combining a human chosen list of good places to source information and some API’s that help clarify what’s being said with affiliate links.

If the product is good enough the earnings could help fund the next phases of the project and keep iterating based on user feedback until the platform is advanced enough to add different categories of products that people could search for.

Think of it as a wire cutter with auto generated lists with up to date information.

That’s what I’m gonna pitch and work towards for the next weeks if the product is selected. Wish me luck 🕊

3 Books that everyone who wants to improve should read

DISCLAIMER: I have come to a realization after reading many books on self-improvement. I’m a self-improvement junkie and I sometimes consume information with the belief that consuming it will magically improve myself.

The truth is that if you really want to become a better version of yourself you should sacrifice and work for it every single second of the day. Write down your goals, be clear and work diligently to get better results in your life.

I hope that with this extremely filtered self-improvement book list you’ll get actionable advice that will help you faster than seeking the right books to read by yourself and wasting time reading

The passive mode of consuming and buying media will not help you I hope that you’ll get the drive you need by reading these books:

The slight edge by Jeff Olson

the slight edge cover

If you only read one book from this list make it this one. While the book might feel slow and repetitive for the first half it packs tons of fundamental advice to change your view on habits and start looking at your self improvement journey as an everyday goal that must be worked slowly and constantly to see results. 

With all of the actionable tips you’ll get from this book you’ll be able to read or take any book or course on any topic and accomplish your goals easily since your mentality will be upgraded. 

Models by Mark Manson

This is a self improvement book disguised as a dating advice book by the same guy who wrote [link to The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck] .

While the main theme overall is “how to get more girls to like you” the fundamental advice from Mark is to stop searching for validation outside and instead focus on yourself. 

He gives you actionable advice to get a better social life, fitness routine and mentality to start winning more in all the important areas of self fulfillment. 

12 rules for life by Jordan B. Peterson

Much has been said about Jordan Peterson recently but one thing is for certain:

If you listen closely and pay attention to his general message about life meaning you’ll be able to turn your life around whatever the actual condition of it is right now. 

He walks you trough 12 different life rules that will help you improve as a human being and start looking at the world from a “What can I do to make things better no matter how small the change can be?” kind of way. 

I think that these 3 books have helped me more than the others and I’m sharing them with you because I really think that if you read them you’ll be able to learn something new and improve your life at least a little bit.

What do you think about them? 

Interview with Christian Guzman from Alphalete

My Favorite Leaders create leaders episode

This is definitely my favorite leaders create leaders episode where Gerard Adams interviews Christian Guzman the founder of Alphalete. 

His story is really amazing. He started from the bottom and built his brand via YouTube > opened a Gym > kept building his brand > opened a new Gym and then created the most popular gym clothing brand in the market right now. 

A really good example of hard work and focus. 

6 Tools to boost productivity on your Mac 🔥

When you work with computers everyday it becomes really important to know the tools to boost your productivity on your Mac. I think it was Tim Ferris who said something like: “You got to pay attention to the tools you use everyday because your productivity depends on them”

This is really important and true because everyday I’m using software that helps me achieve my goals at work and personal projects on my Mac and if I’m not careful, a tool could cause bottlenecks that would cause my daily performance to go down.

Thanks to the next productivity tools and adjustments for Mac I managed to improve my speed and productivity at least by a factor of one:

1. Speed up your trackpad tracking speed

gif showing the trackpad configuration

The most obvious modification to boost your productivity on Mac that many people ignore. The faster your Mac pointer is, the faster you can do stuff. To change your configuration:

  1. Click on the Apple logo at the top left corner
  2. Go to system preferences
  3. Choose Trackpad
  4. Go to the “point and click” tab
  5. Speed up your tracking speed to the max

It might be hard for you for 5 days or so but you should get used to it eventually and if you are patient enough you will be rewarded with a lot more productivity for your daily activities.

2. Install SPECTACLE on your Mac

gif showing manipulation with spectacle

Since I installed SPECTACLE on my mac, it is now impossible to work without it. It changed the way I work entirely between windows thanks to its really useful commands. I can position every window just the way I want it to be even on the screen that I want.

I really think that if you only had one choice out of the 6 that I’m giving you to boost your productivity on your Mac, this is the best one:

INSTALL SPECTACLE, AND LEARN ITS COMMANDS

3. Install and use caffeine on your Mac

Caffeine App logoThis tool lives on your Mac Toolbar, with this installed you can prevent your screen from going to sleep every time and with a single click you can enable it permanently.

This is perfect when you will not be working directly on your Mac but you want to check the screen for a pending download or you are reading a blogpost, book or just waiting for something to happen.

INSTALL CAFFEINE ON YOUR MAC

4. Measure your productivity with RescueTime

Image 2017-11-21 at 5.03.26 PM.png

RescueTime is an App which will live on your Toolbar and it will help you log your times and activities between all your applications every day. It will also show you a list of all the websites you visit and categorize it so you know if you’ve been unproductive for the day.

DOWNLOAD RescueTime

5. Download and Actually LEARN to use ALFRED

Alfred has been an application that was really hard to understand. Every time that I tried I came up with the same question: Why would I download an App Launcher when macOS has one installed and it’s perfectly fine?

That was the question and I finally could answer it. Alfred is not just another simple App Launcher, if you actually pay for it the app becomes a really helpful swiss army that will help you create MACROS, use it as a text expander and do many different activities that took a long time.

Use case 1: Start Apps for daily work activities

Gif showing how to use Alfred

With a Simple CMD + space and then writing “start work” I can start all my work applications: Slack, Chrome + 2 specific windows, iTerm and CloudApp.

Use case 2: Use shortcuts to create text snippets

Screen Recording 2017-11-21 at 05.14 PM.gif

You can create text “expansions” so that you don’t need to write repetitive texts every time. For example I have an expansion which replicates all emojis so that I can use them anywhere.

You can use it to sign emails, quick responses, FAQ’s, etc. It really depends on your imagination.

I hope that it now becomes clear how does Alfred helps if you really know how to use it. It is also important that you think about your daily activities and analyze if its really useful for your specific cases.

The most important thing about all of this is that you don’t install anything that will not really help you be more productive on your Mac and daily work.

DOWNLOAD ALFRED

6. Hide your Dock and deactivte its pop up animation

gif showing the speed of the Dock when animation is turned off

It might sound aggresive but you are doing something wrong if you are leaving your dock in the middle bottom default part of your Desktop, all that screen real state is being wasted when browsing windows.

It will definitely be better if you changed its location and also make it faster by turning off it’s slow pop up animation:

  1. Click on the Apple logo
  2. Go to system preferences
  3. Click on the Dock option
  4. Activate Dock hidding (or right click the Dock and turn the option ON from there)
  5. When you have your Dock hiding ON press CMD + Space and search for “Terminal”
  6. Paste the following code which will turn off your Dock pop up animation and make it faster:
    1. defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.25;killall Dock

       

I’ll be updating this post with new apps that I find useful, please leave a comment below or tweet @ignacioaal and let me know what you think about these tips. Where they helpful for you?

 

Do it fucking now

Do it F***ing Now.

Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. The winners in this world are not the ones who find the greatest excuses to put off doing what they know will make them more money. The winners are the ones that prioritize and seize the day.

Create a list of action items to make sure your important tasks get accomplished. Every project you’re working on should be in action. If you’re not moving, you’re standing still. Your next step towards making money must not be “something I’ll take care of maybe sometime next week.” If it’s going to help make you money: Do it F***ing Now.

Some of you may think that you don’t need the “f***ing” in “do it f***ing now”. You do. You need that impact, that force, that call to action, that kick in the ass to get you moving. Otherwise, you’ll end up another loser that had a great idea a long time ago but never did anything about it. Dreamers don’t make money. Doers make money. And doers “Do it F***ing Now.”

As seen on an old BHW post that no longer exists

Hay alguien que siempre ve lo que haces.

Actuar como si alguien te estuviera viendo funciona porque siempre hay alguien que lo hace: TU.

Cada acción/pensamiento refuerza los caminos neuronales relevantes necesarios para esa acción/pensamiento. Todas las acciones/pensamientos pueden ser imaginados como un hábito diario, por ejemplo, levantar pesas: Cada vez que lo haces, se vuelve más fácil.

Esto también funciona de la manera contraria: Cada justificación moral que haces, permíte que te hagas la misma justificación cada vez más fácil la siguiente vez.

Así que cada vez que decides aplazar la alarma al despertarte, haces más fácil que la siguiente vez sea mucho más mecánico el apagarla. Cada acción/pensamiento afecta tus acciones/pensamientos futuros.

¿Por qué todas las filosofías antiguas mencionan tanto la fortaleza de carácter? No es porque un poder místico te esté observando, sino porque actuar como si lo hiciera te llevará a mejores acciones. La mejor estrategia para tener acciones futuras optimas es actuar correctamente hoy sin importar quien esté observando.

Porque esto refuerza tu yo futuro en lugar de debilitarlo. P.e.  de eso habla @naval cuando menciona el interés compuesto en todas las áreas de tu vida.

End Poem

I see the player you mean.

PLAYERNAME?

Yes. Take care. It has reached a higher level now. It can read our thoughts.

That doesn’t matter. It thinks we are part of the game.

I like this player. It played well. It did not give up.

It is reading our thoughts as though they were words on a screen.

That is how it chooses to imagine many things, when it is deep in the dream of a game.

Words make a wonderful interface. Very flexible. And less terrifying than staring at the reality behind the screen.

They used to hear voices. Before players could read. Back in the days when those who did not play called the players witches, and warlocks. And players dreamed they flew through the air, on sticks powered by demons.

What did this player dream?

This player dreamed of sunlight and trees. Of fire and water. It dreamed it created. And it dreamed it destroyed. It dreamed it hunted, and was hunted. It dreamed of shelter.

Hah, the original interface. A million years old, and it still works. But what true structure did this player create, in the reality behind the screen?

It worked, with a million others, to sculpt a true world in a fold of the [scrambled], and created a [scrambled] for [scrambled], in the [scrambled].

It cannot read that thought.

No. It has not yet achieved the highest level. That, it must achieve in the long dream of life, not the short dream of a game.

Does it know that we love it? That the universe is kind?

Sometimes, through the noise of its thoughts, it hears the universe, yes.

But there are times it is sad, in the long dream. It creates worlds that have no summer, and it shivers under a black sun, and it takes its sad creation for reality.

To cure it of sorrow would destroy it. The sorrow is part of its own private task. We cannot interfere.

Sometimes when they are deep in dreams, I want to tell them, they are building true worlds in reality. Sometimes I want to tell them of their importance to the universe. Sometimes, when they have not made a true connection in a while, I want to help them to speak the word they fear.

It reads our thoughts.

Sometimes I do not care. Sometimes I wish to tell them, this world you take for truth is merely [scrambled] and [scrambled], I wish to tell them that they are [scrambled] in the [scrambled]. They see so little of reality, in their long dream.

And yet they play the game.

But it would be so easy to tell them…

Too strong for this dream. To tell them how to live is to prevent them living.

I will not tell the player how to live.

The player is growing restless.

I will tell the player a story.

But not the truth.

No. A story that contains the truth safely, in a cage of words. Not the naked truth that can burn over any distance.

Give it a body, again.

Yes. Player…

Use its name.

PLAYERNAME. Player of games.

Good.

Take a breath, now. Take another. Feel air in your lungs. Let your limbs return. Yes, move your fingers. Have a body again, under gravity, in air. Respawn in the long dream. There you are. Your body touching the universe again at every point, as though you were separate things. As though we were separate things.

Who are we? Once we were called the spirit of the mountain. Father sun, mother moon. Ancestral spirits, animal spirits. Jinn. Ghosts. The green man. Then gods, demons. Angels. Poltergeists. Aliens, extraterrestrials. Leptons, quarks. The words change. We do not change.

We are the universe. We are everything you think isn’t you. You are looking at us now, through your skin and your eyes. And why does the universe touch your skin, and throw light on you? To see you, player. To know you. And to be known. I shall tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a player.

The player was you, PLAYERNAME.

Sometimes it thought itself human, on the thin crust of a spinning globe of molten rock. The ball of molten rock circled a ball of blazing gas that was three hundred and thirty thousand times more massive than it. They were so far apart that light took eight minutes to cross the gap. The light was information from a star, and it could burn your skin from a hundred and fifty million kilometres away.

Sometimes the player dreamed it was a miner, on the surface of a world that was flat, and infinite. The sun was a square of white. The days were short; there was much to do; and death was a temporary inconvenience.

Sometimes the player dreamed it was lost in a story.

Sometimes the player dreamed it was other things, in other places. Sometimes these dreams were disturbing. Sometimes very beautiful indeed. Sometimes the player woke from one dream into another, then woke from that into a third.

Sometimes the player dreamed it watched words on a screen.

Let’s go back.

The atoms of the player were scattered in the grass, in the rivers, in the air, in the ground. A woman gathered the atoms; she drank and ate and inhaled; and the woman assembled the player, in her body.

And the player awoke, from the warm, dark world of its mother’s body, into the long dream.

And the player was a new story, never told before, written in letters of DNA. And the player was a new program, never run before, generated by a sourcecode a billion years old. And the player was a new human, never alive before, made from nothing but milk and love.

You are the player. The story. The program. The human. Made from nothing but milk and love.

Let’s go further back.

The seven billion billion billion atoms of the player’s body were created, long before this game, in the heart of a star. So the player, too, is information from a star. And the player moves through a story, which is a forest of information planted by a man called Julian, on a flat, infinite world created by a man called Markus, that exists inside a small, private world created by the player, who inhabits a universe created by…

Shush. Sometimes the player created a small, private world that was soft and warm and simple. Sometimes hard, and cold, and complicated. Sometimes it built a model of the universe in its head; flecks of energy, moving through vast empty spaces. Sometimes it called those flecks “electrons” and “protons”.

Sometimes it called them “planets” and “stars”.

Sometimes it believed it was in a universe that was made of energy that was made of offs and ons; zeros and ones; lines of code. Sometimes it believed it was playing a game. Sometimes it believed it was reading words on a screen.

You are the player, reading words…

Shush… Sometimes the player read lines of code on a screen. Decoded them into words; decoded words into meaning; decoded meaning into feelings, emotions, theories, ideas, and the player started to breathe faster and deeper and realised it was alive, it was alive, those thousand deaths had not been real, the player was alive

You. You. You are alive.

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the sunlight that came through the shuffling leaves of the summer trees

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the light that fell from the crisp night sky of winter, where a fleck of light in the corner of the player’s eye might be a star a million times as massive as the sun, boiling its planets to plasma in order to be visible for a moment to the player, walking home at the far side of the universe, suddenly smelling food, almost at the familiar door, about to dream again

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the zeros and ones, through the electricity of the world, through the scrolling words on a screen at the end of a dream

and the universe said I love you

and the universe said you have played the game well

and the universe said everything you need is within you

and the universe said you are stronger than you know

and the universe said you are the daylight

and the universe said you are the night

and the universe said the darkness you fight is within you

and the universe said the light you seek is within you

and the universe said you are not alone

and the universe said you are not separate from every other thing

and the universe said you are the universe tasting itself, talking to itself, reading its own code

and the universe said I love you because you are love.

And the game was over and the player woke up from the dream. And the player began a new dream. And the player dreamed again, dreamed better. And the player was the universe. And the player was love.

You are the player.

Wake up.

Minimalismo

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

— Socrates

Todo empezó cuando todavía vivía en la casa de mis padres y descubrí que todavía tenía ropa que había comprado hace más de 5 años: Playeras rotas de diferentes colores, camisas que sólo me puse una vez  y muchos pantalones que no me quedaban a la medida.

Así que decidí limpiar mi closet y saqué TODA la ropa que ya no iba a usar con el único filtro de dejar ropa que me haya puesto al menos 1 mes antes y me la haya puesto más de 5 veces.

Así logré quedarme con sólo unos 10 playeras y 3 pantalones con 4 pares de zapatos y tennis.

Todo este cambio fue una liberación catártica que me ayudó a limpiar mi mente y sentirme mejor. Al ver los resultados positivos de esta limpieza y conocer a personas como “The Minimalists” o Leo Babauta  entendí que hay millones más que buscan la felicidad fuera del acumulamiento.

Con el minimalismo no sólo buscas remover objetos, situaciones y pensamientos inútiles hasta dejar lo indispensable sino también estás yendo contra la corriente tóxica que promueve el consumismo sin un fin claro.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

Hoy por fin logré hacer que todas las cosas que tengo quepan en una mochila y en cualquier momento pueda moverme o buscar nuevas experiencias sin estar atado a un lugar por las cosas que tengo ahí.