I’ve been experimenting with and thinking about meditation in recent years and thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you.
What this post is not: it’s not another “you should meditate” article. Even though I’ve seen quite a few valuable benefits, my practice is still semi-regular. And l debate how much time I’m willing to spend on meditation, given the opportunity cost.
Instead, I’d like to share a few observations and invite you to share yours. If you have never meditated, some of these ideas might intrigue you and spark an interest in trying. And if you have experience with meditation, I’d love to compare notes!
Here are some realizations I had over time:
1. Our thoughts and emotions largely determine our destiny. And unlike other factors, they are not entirely outside of our control. Of course, they also define our subjective experience.
Hi, this is an issue of my monthly newsletter. I’ve picked a few interesting articles on technology, startups, growth, marketing and other topics for you.
I hope you enjoy the read with your morning cup of coffee. Let me know what you think! ~Max
Technology and Startups
Growth and Marketing
This is an issue of my monthly newsletter. Main topics: technology, startups, business growth, and marketing. See other issues on my blog or subscribe. ~Max
Now, get a cup of coffee and enjoy!
Technology and Startups
- The best products launched in 2017 by ProductHunt.
- The list of 26 companies started by 1st or 2nd generation immigrants.
- CES 2018 summary by Steven Sinofsky. Big trends: voice interfaces, home electronics, robots, cars, and AR/VR headsets.
- AI and Deep Learning in 2017 – A Year in Review. A great summary of progress and links to online courses by UC Berkeley, Stanford, and others.
- Amazon opened a store with no checkout lines (NYT). Customers are charged automatically, thanks to machine learning and hundreds of cameras.
- Blockchain Governance: Programming Our Future by Fred Ehrsam. Setting up the right mechanisms for coordination and incentive structures can be critical for new blockchains.
- Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble (NYT). All the hype and crypto speculation aside, blockchains hold a promise of a truly open and decentralized Internet – the way it was meant to be.
- How an A.I. ‘Cat-and-Mouse Game’ Generates Believable Fake Photos (NYT). Generative adversarial networks at work. Getting AI to classify content is important but getting AI to create content is even more exciting.
- Twitter’s investigation of Russian interference in the US election. Twitter removed Russian government-linked accounts and emailed 678K people in the US who followed, retweeted or liked a tweet from these accounts during the election period. I’m glad social media companies start to accept more responsibility for how their platforms are used and abused.
- Facebook will show more content from friends and family and less content from publishers. Overall, it’s good that Tristan Harris’ “Time Well Spent” ideas are getting traction. I wonder what would happen if FB let users adjust defaults at any time by choosing % of content from friends vs. % of content from publishers; long-form vs. short-form; education vs. entertainment; text vs. video; new vs. old; from currently followed sources vs. discovery; as well as mute specific topics/keywords.
Growth and Marketing
- Intercom on Marketing (ebook). A good intro to marketing and, in particular, product marketing that will be interesting to those who are relatively inexperienced.
- How to Design Marketing Campaigns. Basics of marketing segmentation, messaging hierarchy, and campaign management – this article will be useful to those who’re new to marketing or looking for a refresher.
- HubSpot’s Pricing Page Redesign → MQL Conversions 165%↑ & Free Sign-Ups 89%↑. How: research first – usability testing, internal feedback, and customer intelligence; then design based on insights and A/B test.
- “What’s next in growth?” (video) talk by Andrew Chen who leads the rider growth at Uber. Andrew recommends you ignore “growth hacks” and focus on fundamentals that worked for decades. E.g. user referrals, shareable content, and using discounts to jumpstart demand for new products.
I just wanted to share some excerpts from Waking Up by Sam Harris that I listened to a couple of months ago. It is a great book that covers so many topics: mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, cognition, emotions and others. It is worth reading in its entirety and I am personally planning to re-read it. So here are some notes:
“Our conventional sense of self is an illusion; positive emotions, such as compassion and patience, are teachable skills; and the way we think directly influences our experience of the world.”
“There is now little question that how one uses one’s attention, moment to moment, largely determines what kind of person one becomes. Our minds—and lives—are largely shaped by how we use them.”
“My mind begins to seem like a video game: I can either play it intelligently, learning more in each round, or I can be killed in the same spot by the same monster, again and again.”
“How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives. Mystics and contemplatives have made this claim for ages—but a growing body of scientific research now bears it out.”
Finished listening to My Stroke of Insight by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor today. It appeared to be as interesting as I expected, so I’d like to share it with you.
Jill is a Harvard PhD who built a highly successful career in science. Everything went just perfect till the moment when she got a stroke on one of her mornings. As a result, she lost almost all of her cognitive and physical skills, but survived. Moreover, eventually she finally recovered which took more than 8 years. Step be step she learned everything: from speech recognition, to walking and reading.
The Book tells her personal story and gives a basic understanding of our brain. According to author our brain functions can be separated by hemispheres: left and right. Right one lives in a present moment and is responsible for our sensory feelings, intuition, and perception of universe as a whole. Left one in turn is our rational mind, future planning, past evaluation, speech, critical thinking, etc.
After the stroke Jill lost functions of left hemisphere. The most interesting part is that despite the loss of cognitive functions, she describes her experience with sincere rapture. She emotionally tells us about feeling of “deep inner piece and bliss” and expresses ideas that I highly connected with a topic of mindful meditation that kind of follows me last month. BTW, here are two awesome Google Talks about it: first, second. I even decided to listen to book of the latter one, but that’s a separate story.