This company pays kids to do their math homework | Mohamad Jebara


For as long as I remember,
I’ve loved mathematics. Actually, it’s not 100 percent true. I’ve loved mathematics for all
but a two-week period in senior high school. (Laughter) I was top of my class, and we were about to start
the Extension Maths course. I was really excited
about this brand new topic coming up, complex numbers. I like complex. My teacher was priming us for the concepts with some questions about square roots. Square of nine — three; square of 256 — sixteen. Too easy. Then she asked the trick question: What about the square root
of negative one? Of course, we were all over it — “Come on, Miss! We all know you can’t take
the square root of a negative.” “That’s true in the real world,” she said. “But in the complex world, the square root of negative one
is the imaginary number i.” (Laughter) That day, my entire mathematical world
came crashing down on me. (Laughter) “Imaginary numbers? Seriously? But mathematics is a source of truth, please don’t go abstract on me. I would have studied art if I wanted to play
with imaginary numbers.” (Laughter) “This is Extension Maths,
let’s get back with our program!” She didn’t, and over the next couple of weeks, I reluctantly performed
meaningless calculations, (Laughter) finding imaginary solutions
to quadratic equations. (Laughter) But then something amazing happened. We began finding elegant solutions to real-world problems
we previously had no answers to, starting with the complex world
of imaginary numbers. So some mathematician 500 years ago decides to have some fun
and make up these imaginary numbers, and because of that we can now
derive these amazing identities with applications in the real world, in fields like electrical engineering. Wow! I gained a whole new level
of appreciation for mathematics. And after my brief mistrust, I was now in love
with the subject more than ever. Francis Su, the mathematician,
sums it up beautifully when he says, “We study mathematics
for play, for beauty, for truth, for justice and for love.” But if you ask a student today, you’ll probably hear a different story. You might hear “difficult” and “boring.” And they might be right about difficult. But it’s certainly not boring. In fact, I’d say being difficult to master is part of what makes it beautiful. Because nothing worth doing is easy. So we need students to stick around
long enough through the difficult parts to appreciate the beauty
when it all ties together. Much like I did for that brief
couple of weeks in high school. Unfortunately, our school systems — we move students through mathematics
in a lockstep process. So those who fall a little behind find it near impossible to ever catch up
and appreciate that beauty. But why is this a problem? Why should we care? Well today, more than ever, our world needs every citizen
to be skilled in mathematics. With the advent of artificial
intelligence and automation, many of the jobs we see today
will either not exist or be transformed
to require less routine work and more analysis
and application of expertise. But we’re not producing
the extra mathematics students to fill these new roles. This graph shows the number of students taking Standard Mathematics and Advanced Mathematics over a period of 20 years in Australia. It’s clear that while we have demand
for mathematics skills rapidly increasing, supply is in steady decline. To put things in perspective, half of the students
completing high school today in Australia are not prepared
to understand any argument about rates of change in data. In this digital age where fake news can influence
election results, this is very concerning. Let me give you a concrete example. Let’s take a closer look at that graph. Can everyone see what I’ve done there
to stress my point? If you can’t, let me show you now, with the vertical axis
starting at zero, where it should be. There, you see it now, right? It’s the exact same data but I’ve manipulated the representation
to influence you. And that’s cool, that’s my job up here. (Laughter) But in all seriousness, unless we do something to drastically improve
student engagement with mathematics, we’ll not only have
a huge skills shortage crisis but a fickle population, easily manipulated
by whoever can get the most air time. So what’s the solution? There are a lot of things we have to do. We need curriculum reform. We need our best and brightest
encouraged to become teachers. We need to put an end to high-stakes tests and instead follow a mastery-based
learning approach. But all these things take time. And I’m impatient. See, I’ve been thinking about this
for eight years now. Ever since I left my job
as a derivative trader to build a web application
to help students learn mathematics. Today, our app is used
by schools across the globe. And we’re seeing big improvements for students who use
the program regularly. But here’s the thing — we’re only seeing it for students
who use the program regularly. And most of them don’t. So after years of developing
and refining the application, our biggest challenge
was not so much product related, our biggest challenge
was motivating students to want to work
on their gaps in understanding. You can imagine
in today’s attention economy, we’re competing against Facebook,
Snapchat and PlayStation to try and get these students’ time. So we went back to the drawing board and started to think about
how we could make it worthwhile for students to spend
some of their “attention budget” on their education. We tinkered with gamification elements like points, badges and avatars, and we’d see a temporary
spike in engagement but things would go back to normal
as soon as the novelty wore off. Then one day, my cofounder, Alvin, came across a study of students in Chicago led by the behavioral
economist, Steven Levitt, where they paid students
who improved on their test scores. He started telling me
about some of the things they tested for and the interesting findings they had. For instance, they found
that incentivizing students for inputs, like effort, worked a lot better
than incentivizing for outputs, like test scores. They found that for younger students,
you could win them over with a trophy but for older students, you really needed cash. (Laughter) And the amount of cash mattered —
10 dollars was good, 20 dollars — even better. But perhaps most importantly, they found that the rewards
had to be instant rather than promised at a later date. They went as far as to give
the students 20 dollars and say, “Touch it, feel it, smell it –” (Sniffing) “It’s all yours. But if you fail,
I’m going to take it back.” And that worked really well. I immediately got excited about the possibilities
of implementing this in our program. But once the excitement settled down, there were a few concerns
that crept in our minds. Firstly, was this ethical? (Laughter) Secondly, how would we fund this thing? (Laughter) And finally, would the results be sustained
if the students were no longer paid? Now, let’s look at the ethical part first. I’m a bit of a mathematical purist. So I’d be one of the first people to say
that we should study mathematics for the sake of mathematics. Remember — for play, for beauty,
for truth, for justice and for love! Not for money! (Laughter) As I struggled with this,
I came to see that, while it’s a way I look
at mathematics now, it’s only because I studied it
long enough to appreciate it. It’s very difficult to tell a student
struggling with mathematics today to work hard for a payoff
in the distant future. And it’s not so much bribery
that’s at work here, because I could bribe students by telling them about my big bonuses
in my derivative trading days as a reward for doing well at maths. But it doesn’t pay off
for a very long time. So it’s practically naught. Behavioral economists
call this hyperbolic discounting. And Levitt goes as far as to say that all motivating power vanishes when rewards are handed out with a delay. So, from a purely economic point of view: if we don’t use immediate incentives, we are underinvesting in student outcomes. I took heart from that,
and came to see that as a society, we’re actually quite used
to financial incentives. Whether it be by the government,
by employers or at home. For instance, many parents
would pay their children an allowance or pocket money
for doing chores in the house. So it wasn’t really
all that controversial. As I thought about that, it started to answer that second question
of how we were going to fund this. Naturally, parents are the most invested
in their children’s education. So, let’s charge them
a weekly subscription fee to use our program, but — if the students complete
their weekly maths goal, we’ll refund the subscription amount
directly into the child’s bank account. We chose three exercises completed over a one week period for a 10 dollar reward. That way we’re incentivizing effort
rather than performance over a short enough period and with a substantial enough payout
for the students to care. Now, I remember when I first told
my wife about this new business model. If she had any doubt left
that I’ve gone completely mad, that pretty much confirmed it for her. She said to me, “Mo … you realize that if everybody
does their homework, which you want, you’re not going to make any revenue,
which you don’t want. Great business model.” (Laughter) I say it’s more like
an antibusiness model, it’s free if you use it,
but you pay if you don’t. Now, I knew from experience that not everybody in the country
was going to jump on and do their maths homework every week. And if they did,
sure we’d go bust pretty quickly, but hey, we would have solved
the country’s maths skills crisis. (Laughter) As a company, we’ve always run
a double bottom line, looking to both make
a return for investors as well as improve student outcomes. We know that our path
to long-term profitability is through improving student outcomes. So our dual objectives
should never be at odds. So we’re always looking to make our product decisions around helping students reach
their weekly maths goal, effectively ensuring that they get paid and not us. Now you must be wondering:
How is this crazy business model going? You’ll be glad to know
we’re still in business. We’ve been testing this now
for the last five months on just our personal
home users in Australia before we think about
rolling it out to schools. And here are the early results. The green represents students
who are completing their weekly maths goal and the red those who aren’t. You can see a lot more
completing their homework than not. In fact, as our user base has grown, we found the percentage
to be pretty steady, at around 75 percent. So on average, we receive
our weekly subscription fee once every four weeks, and the other three weeks,
we’re rewarding the students. Now of course we’re leaving
some money on the table here, but guess what? It turns out these students are 70 percent more engaged
than students not on the reward program. Check. From a business perspective, they are less likely to churn and more likely to refer friends, so we’re hoping to trade off
a lower revenue per user for a bigger and more engaged user base. Check and check. Now for that final question. Would they keep coming back
if they were no longer paid? Mathematics is so much more
than just a subject you study at school. It’s a human endeavor. It’s what helps us to understand
the world around us. And the more you know,
the more you want to know. So yes, we’ve triggered initial engagement with a financial reward. But in the long run, the money won’t matter anymore. Because in the long run, the wonder of mathematics
will be the incentive and understanding it will be the reward. Thank you. (Applause)

Frame.io Masters: Episode 1 Mark Toia ART DOESN’T PAY


This question was posed to me… Why do I do it? Why do I do what I do? Straight up, no bull… Two things, the love of creating art, and getting paid for it I fell in love with photography the moment I looked into the viewfinder of a friends camera Watching that image slowly fall into focus was like… wow What started as a simple hobby quickly turned into an obsession with just wanting to learn everything I could. I was a below average student but a gifted child artist. I could pretty much paint and
draw anything at very young age I remember vividly a teacher pulled me aside, thinking he was doing the right thing… and said to me and is his very stern teacher voice,
“Art doesn’t pay” Forget about this art crap, get a real job. That’s stuck with me forever more Art. Doesn’t. Pay. I grew up the real wold took hold Got a real job as a steel worker. Girlfriend turned into a wife and turned
into a family With a hobby that was slowly turning into another career Over time people started to buy images off me I remember my very first check from a
small yachting magazine for $50 dollars. I was speechless. I literally stared at that piece of paper for an hour or more. My head was exploding with ideas This is a future I had no idea I could have Ringing in my ears was that bloody teacher Art. Doesn’t Pay. That single check made me shift into 4th gear at hit the gas Pushing myself into many late nights of just learning every photographic technique I could think of And moving from photography into motion… Watching my photography come to life was another great love Constantly building my knowledge and business skills, learning all types of computer programs Reinvesting all my profits back into
professional cameras, equipment, studios I just jumped on this huge monster and
just rode it around the world As the hunt and chase of capture of great projects from around world became even more intoxicating . It’s been 25 years since that check came
in the mail I’ve filmed around the planet many times over. Captured amazing faces, in the most amazing places The world gets small for me each year but my aspirations are getting bigger now than ever This is an industry not for the
meek and lazy As this world is fast and furious With affordable equipment
flooding into the marketplace there’s no excuses anymore It’s not about the tools you use it’s about your execution of your idea
and trying to get your imagination onto a screen I say learn and embrace of all new technologies As they’re all designed to
shape and craft your vision Share with the world and collaborate with others as ideas get bigger when like-minded people get together This is a new age and video content is
the new language of the day A thousand words can be thought or spoken of from a single image Video has built new empires and toppled old dictatorship And moved from dark rooms into the hands of 2 or 3 billion people Video is the quickest way to tell a story and the easiest way to share your imagination All this said, I did prove to myself… my teacher was wrong But it makes me smile because although he’ll never know it… His words are part of my verse And this is why I do, what I do I’m Mark Toia, and I’m a Frame.io master

Mike Monteiro: F*ck You, Pay Me


You guys hear me okay? Who here— who—
Thanks for coming. Who in this room is now,
or has at some time,
been in creative services? Raise your hand — higher.
I’m old; I can’t see. Great. Who here has, at some time, had trouble getting paid by a client
for work they were doing? Alright. Raise your hand if any of these
are familiar to you: “We ended up not using the work.” Alright. “It’sreallynot what we wanted after all.” Alright. Who’s familiar withGoodfellas?Alright. “We got somebody internal to do it instead.” Fuck you. Pay me. “We cancelled the project.” Fuck you. Pay me. “We actually didn’t get the money that we—” “—the funding that we thought we were gonna get.” – Fuck you. Pay me.
– There we go. “We, uh, think we’ve already paid you enough.” Fuck you. Pay me. “It’sreallynot what we were hoping for.” Fuck you. Pay me. Thank you, that’s the title of our talk today:
“Fuck you. Pay me.” So, my name is Mike Monteiro. Some of you may know me from Twitter
as @mike_ftw, so the profanity shouldn’t be a surprise. When I— when Erika Hall
(who’s sitting supportively over there) and I… started Mule ten—
ten years ago now, we wanted to run our own design shop, because we… wanted to pick and choose the clients that we were gonna work with, and we wanted to be responsible, ultimately, for what we were putting out in the world. And we had worked together at a couple places, and we were naive enough to think
that we could run a business better than the people who we were working for. We didn’t— We were so excited about working together that it didn’t occur to either of us— or, maybe we each thought that the other one had it— but neither of us really had enough business experience
to be running a company. Because of that, we ended up
leaving a lot of money on the table. We ended up not negotiating contracts properly, we ended up notrenegotiatingcontracts
when we should have renegotiated them, but since we’re still here, and we’re doing pretty well, I think we’ve learned—
we’ve actually learned a little bit about how to run a design business. And if you’re running a design business,
this stuff is part of the job, as well as the creative work. Because this is a business.
And you gotta keep the lights on, you gotta pay people,
you gotta meet payroll, and most importantly,
you gotta get clients. We love our clients at Mule. They are people who have,
for the most part, worked their butts off to get a budget
enough to hire a design team to do the work, and of all the choices they coulda gone with,
they went with us. So, we wanna do really great work for ’em. And most— well, well, I—
All clients, I think, start the business relationship
with the best of intentions. And things go wrong.
Things that you weren’t expecting. The market changes, or the person who hired you leaves, or, y’know, somebody has a bad mood day, but things change.
And when those things change, you need to make sure that the relationship
between you and the client is set in place in something like a contract. We recently came across this on Quora, which is apparently a site for posting questions
to show how smart you are. So: “What is good advice
for how to deal with a client who refuses to pay for design work
because of obviously false, irrational reasons?” Let’s leave off the “obviously false, irrational reasons” ’cause we’re not doing therapy today. But the answer that we found
under this question was “you could try a heart-wrenching letter.” I’ma go get some water. Youcouldtry a heart-wrenching letter. And you could lose all credibility
that you have with that client. Because the minute that
you write a heart-wrenching letter, the minute you appeal to their emotions, you have given up any bit of leverage
that you had in that relationship; you have shown them your belly. You have shown them that
you don’t think you have a leg to stand on, other than playing upon guilt. You have become a bottom
in that relationship. It’s good, right? And more than anything,
I would like designers to stop being bottoms, and realize the amount of power
that they actually have in a relationship. I guarantee you that this person
did not have a contract in place, because this is the sort of thing that
a contract irons out immediately: what happens in a situation like this. And if this person had a lawyer… well, actually, if my lawyer were here… actually, my lawyerishere. Hi everyone. I’d like to sit on what’s been called “the Lawyer Perch.” Gabe Levine, everybody. This guy’s been keeping me out of jail
for about six years. I don’t know why I deserve applause, but when Mike asked me
to come participate in this, I said yes right away. My relationship with him has been great. He’s a fabulous client. A little bit about me, real quick: I started my law practice at a big firm,
as so many young lawyers do. After two years, I realized it sucked, I went and joined a small firm where I get to serve small companies like Mule Design, and I enjoy working with them, and what I enjoy most is
preventing problems.Because when you have
small companies as clients, you need to make sure that
you—at the outset—take care of issues that are going to arise. And in the context of your jobs,
as web designers, you do that in your
client services contracts.You make sure that if something goes wrong
and you’re not gonna get paid, that there’s a mechanism in there
for dealing with that. And to be blunt, with both Mule and other companies that have come to me in their early stages, their contracts can be—
if they have them—a mess. So today, we’re gonna talk a little bit about how you want to deal with that, have confidence in your business,
have confidence in yourself, structure your contracts to
make sure that you’re protected. We’re your favorite client, right? Absolutely my favorite client,
hands down. If there are other clients in here… Sorry. So the basic gist of a contract is:
clear definitions, clear expectations. Yeah, you wanna make sure that everybody understands
what they’ve agreed to. All too often,
when you’re negotiating, people don’t understand
what they’ve agreed to, and that’s something that I enjoy
about working with Mike and Erika and all of their employees. Because I can explain something, they listen, they don’t beat about the bush, and the other side and Mule
understand what they’re agreeing to when they go into a contract. You don’t wanna just ignore something
and make it muddled—not clear. Clear expectations, clear definitions. So we’ve put together a
“greatest hits” of bad predicaments… that Gabe and I have…
Gabe has helped us with. We were working for a large organization… we were working with a new division
for a new thing they were doing. And the project was going really great, they were all super smart, everything was going fantastic. There was absolutely no sign
that anything was gonna go badly. One day, we walked in for a presentation; we waited in the lobby for thirty minutes. And then finally, they walked us up
to an empty VP’s office, who came back in and said,
“I’ve had the worst day.” “I just had to lay off so many people.” Prick. That entire division that we were working with
was laid off that day. And we were told the project was over. At this point, there’s nothing left in the room. They’re gone, we’re gone… There was a contract
that stipulated they had to pay us. Had a contract not been in place, we would have spent a ton of time
and energy and money trying to get paid for that job, and probably ended up getting—
and we would probably end up getting paid a signification portion less. It’s a difficult conversation to have
when somebody comes to me and says, y’know, “I’ve got a job that I’m working on,” “I’ve donexhours,
and they refuse to pay me,” and my first question is,
“Do you have a contract?” “No” is a really bad answer. The situation you find yourself in there is that… The truth of the matter is, I can write a mean letter. Or, I can try the persuasive phone call. But if you have to file a lawsuit,
you’re gonna want a written contract. If you want to avoid a lawsuit and
have persuasion early in your talks, you’re gonna want a written contract. You’re gonna want a written contract
that has attorney’s fees, so you don’t have to worry about
paying me $20,000 if it’s gonna cost that much to collect $50,000. They know that they have to pay that
if they lose. So, yeah, you would have collected
significantly less without a contract. And the other thing to note
in this particular project was one of the people
who was actually laid off that day ended up sticking around
for a couple weeks, and ended up being
an incredibly good ally for us. And when they were trying to
get out of paying us, she basically told them,
“Fuck you. Pay them.” As happens often with their clients. How many people here
have been hired to do a project, and halfway through the project, project requirements change,
project goals change, it becomes a totally different project
than the one you initially agreed to? I see a lot of nodding heads. Thank you. At that point, the way our contract works,
at that point if you’ve changed goals
in a project that much, that project isdone.That contract closes, you settle up, and you open up a new contract. I’ve heard from way too many people who have kept on working for the initial job even though it turned out
to be something totally different than what was originally agreed to. Yeah, and this can be a sticky point, but again, one of the things
about working with Mule and clients that I generally enjoy is, they have confidence in their work, so when you’re negotiating
a sticky point like this, I’m able to say that you hired them for their presentation and the scope of work
that they outlined for you. So if you want to change it, you need to negotiate a new contract, or at least amend the scope of work, which can act as a new contract. This is the biggest red flag in client services. If you ever hear this phrase, just walk away. Yeah. It’s not a matter of trust. Lawyers frequently have conversations with each other where one says to the other, “What, you don’t trust my client?” No, that’s not the case. I don’t know your client. I don’t know him from Adam. If I don’t, as an attorney,
do my job to make sure that my client’s protected— which isassuming bad faith by the other side— I have to not trust them. And the fact of the matter is,
when you’re doing business deals— and that’s what you guys are doing when you’re agreeing to
provide services for money that you use to live— you don’t wanna
trust the person to pay you,necessarily, you want tomake sure that you get paid.We were actually negotiating
a pretty large project with a client that we were
very excited to be working with. We had agreed oneverything.
We were down to payment terms. And they didn’t want payment terms
in the contract. And they said, “You can trust us on that.” The project was scheduled to kick off,
like, two days later, and we ended up walking away from it because youcannotstart a relationship like this. If you agree to something like this
at the very beginning, you are going to have to agree to things
during the project that are as onerous as this. So let this be a sign of what’s to come, and walk away from it. I am surenobodyhas had this happen. Client brings in another client to work on the project? That’s a fireable offense. We have been hired
to solve a problem, It’s our job to solve that—
to work with the client to solve that problem. If the client decides to bring in somebody else, we’re now in competition for that person
for the client’s time, and we now have to compete with that person. That is not what we signed up to do. We’ve been in situations like this where we have had to fire clients. And, yes, you can fire a client, as much as they can fire you— it should be in the contract. We— one in particular, the situation had deteriorated
to such a point that we knew that
there was no way out of it other than to walk away. And it led to a very uncomfortable
phone call with the client, and they threatened legal action, and that’s actually how we found Gabe. – Almost six years ago, yeah?
– Yeah. – Mic.
– Mic. So, the two things that I hear most— Like, I get people who contact me, and they’re telling me, like,
“Hey, something just happened with this project,” “I’m having trouble getting paid,” “I’ve submitted my invoice weeks ago;
I haven’t heard anything,” My advice to them is usually, “You need to talk to a lawyer about this stuff.” And there’s two things that I hear most often: Lawyers are so—
a lawyer’s too expensive. I can’t afford to talk to a lawyer. And the second is, “Are we at that point already, do you think?” To answer the first, this guy makes me money. This guy has gotten our contracts
to such a point where… we’re no longer leaving that money on the table, we’re protecting ourselves really well. What I pay him is a pittance of the money that I would have lost… had I not had him taking care of this stuff. And secondly, you’re at the point where you need a lawyer when you’ve decided to stop
being a design amateur and become a design professional. It’s time to bring in a legal professional to at least look at those contracts
that you’re signing with clients. There are two checks that I write every month
that I’m very happy to write the first one is to him; the second one is to my therapist. And on the money front, that’s uncomfortable both
in your situation with your clients, and in my situation with my clients. It’s uncomfortable at least
for the clients that are coming in, so I try to make them comfortable,
and I think any good lawyer would. Ask questions. If you’re worried about
how much you’re gonna pay, I’m happy, and I’m sure
most lawyers are happy to tell you— at least decent ones, if that term
isn’t an oxymoron for you— what you’re gonna expect to have to pay
with regard to a particular project. And most attorneys will give you 30 minutes, maybe even an hour of free time. So, that’s not to say you should go around trying to get a bunch of free advice
from lots of different attorneys, but, y’know, interview a couple attorneys,
just like you would anybody else, do your due diligence on, y’know, there’s websites out there, I don’t know how much Yelp—
but other websites that talk about attorneys. And ask questions, and if they don’t answer your questions
about how much something might cost in a way that satisfies you,
go find another attorney. So we’ve got a quick list of the top six things
you need to know about contracts that we whipped together. We’ll go through ’em real quick. Number 1, most important thing: contracts protectboth parties.A contract is in place to protect you, and a contract is in place to protect the client. Should anything weird happen on either end, what to do is stipulated in that contract. Yeah, and we’ll actually hit this in a slide or two, but the process of negotiation
makes the thing fair. And if you roll over or you just sign blindly, whichever side does that, it’s not gonna be fair. Don’t start work without a contract. Starting work without a contract
is like putting a condom on after you’ve taken a home pregnancy test. It is just not going to help you at that point. You have lost any leverage that you had. Yeah. I mean… There’s not a lot more to say. I don’t know how you follow that. Don’t blindly accept their terms. We have had contracts handed to us
by clients that were written years ago
by people who are no longer working there. They have no idea what’s in the contracts. We’ve seen contracts that stipulated that work needed to be delivered
on 5¼″ disks when we were done; they don’t know what’s in ’em. You need to have your lawyer review them and make sure that they’re okay, and if something’s not working for you, strike it. Again, the process of negotiation
is what makes the contract fair. If you’re blindly accepting terms from your client, and particularly if your client is an established business, chances are they’ve had a lawyer
draft a contract for them, and when I’m doing that,
I usually start with my wishlist. and I tell the client that “these are items where
yourclients are going to push back,” and frequently, they do, so if you just sign on the dotted line, you’re going to be agreeing to a lot of things
that you probably can’t deliver, and you don’t want to agree to, and we’ll hit those points a little bit later. There’s always gonna be
some amount of negotiation, but there are things
that you shouldn’t back down on. This is the stuff that we don’t back down on: IP (intellectual property) transfers on full payment. This is the most leverage that you have on a project, is, the work that you’ve done is yours until the client pays you for it. If they use that work before
they’ve submitted a final payment, you can sue the hell out of ’em. Termination. Kill fee. Yeah, real quickly on the first point: again, if you’re getting a contract
from an established business, what you’re gonna get is two pages of
intellectual property assignment where you give them everything
and you keep nothing. And the way it’s gonna be written is, it happens instantly when you sign the contract. Y’know, I had some difficulty
when I started dealing with this at first in trying to parse out, y’know,
what transferred when, and blah blah blah. And I found that the easiest way to deal with this is just say, at the beginning of this
very long, two-page assignment provision, “Upon full payment for the services…”
everything happens. So in conjunction with that— that’s something that really does
help guarantee payment. In conjunction with that, you have a termination
(or a “kill”) fee in your contract. And this is something that I’ve seen in a lot of the web services contracts that I’ve looked at, so it seems to be something of an industry standard. You get your payment—your deposit— and then maybe you have a second payment,
or you break it out into three payments. And what the kill fee is is—
it’s an amount that the client is going to have to pay if the client terminates
without some very good reason that is over and above what they’ve already given you in the deposit to make sure that you haven’t done a bunch of work
and invested a bunch of time and turned away other projects
that you could have been working on for no good reason. – Liability.
– Liability. Which you told me is legal for what? Gosh, what did I say?
“You’re in trouble.” So, “liability” is just a broad term, one of those legalese that means,
“Something’s gone wrong,” “and now, you bear that responsibility
for dealing with that problem.” And in these contracts that you get
from established businesses, and sometimes,
not even established businesses you can pick ’em off the Internet now, so somebody could be
handing you a contract that, y’know, somebody from some giant law firm drafted
to protect their client, even though that wasn’t their lawyer, and what these contracts say is, y’know, you will have a couple pages of
representations and warranties that you make
about the work that you’re delivering, and it represents, y’know, and I’m not just talking about good work,
it’s, y’know, you’re not infringing on anybody else’s rights, maybe it says there’s no open source code in there, maybe it says, y’know,
there’s nothing that you’ve purchased such as stock pictures, and if you ignore that and just sign it, and you get in trouble later— some of them say there’s not gonna be any bugs.
“Nothing’s gonna go wrong.” If something goes wrong with the website
and it costs the company money, you signed those contracts without looking at ’em, you might have to pay that company money. That’s liability. Lawyers talk to lawyers. If I’m talking to a client and they tell me
that they have legal on the phone, we finish—
we wrap up the call. And we wait ’tilwehave legal on the phone.
With us. People hire lawyers to protect them. And they’re very good at it. He’s very good at protecting me. And if he’s not on the phone
with their lawyer, then they’re gonna be telling me things,
and I’m gonna be agreeing to things, because I’m nervous,
because there’s a lawyer on the phone, so the minute they show theirs,
I have to show mine. I didn’t mean it that way. I’m used to it. Be specific and confident about money. Money is anincrediblynerve-wracking thing
to talk about. But if you are trying to convince somebody
to give you their money, and that you’re the right person to give it to, and they’re asking you how much something costs, And the first thing out of your mouth is, “Um…” you just lost $10,000. If you know how much something costs,
stand up confidently and tell them. If youdon’tknow how much something costs, then say,
“I don’t know, but I’m gonna find out,” “and I’m gonna get back to you as soon as possible.” but just sound like
you know what you’re talking about, even when you don’t. ’Cause you can always find out later. A couple of… About a month ago,
I did a podcast with Dan Benjamin where I talked about being confident
about asking for your rate. And a couple days later, this came up,
this guy who I don’t know: It says, “I quoted a company an absurdly higher rate
than I ever have after listening to you,” “and I got the gig.” 1) I bet that wasn’t an absurdly high rate;
I bet this guy had been undercharging for years. But he had the confidence to go in and ask for the rate that he actually could have been getting all that time, and he got it. So that made me feel good. I just hope his client isn’t
following him on Twitter. – That was good; you got one off.
– Thanks. So to sum up
our three-point winning strategy: Contracts up front. Make sure you’ve got a contract in place
before you start working. Make internal allies when you can. You need to have somebody
working with the client who knows the ins and outs
of how the client runs their business and who to talk to, should something weird happen. And then work with advisors like this guy
on your side, who are helping you
and giving you good advice. I hope so. Yeah. And I know this wasn’t as much fun
as coming in here and talking about like, typography and color
and design and layout and grids, but if you learn a little bit about this stuff,
and just feel a little confident about this stuff, you can do that stuff,
the stuff that you really love doing, that much longer and that much better, if you just get this stuff locked up. Then, you can enjoy what you really love doing. ’Cause I love design, and I love designers, and I want designers to know
that they actually have a lot more power than they think they have. It’s Friday;
you’ve got one more day in the workweek. Go out there and
do something really awesome. Thank you. Alright, so I’m gonna let Gabe
use the mic here. We’ve got ten minutes for questions. If you want to ask a question,
please stand up and speak very loud. Are you still on? – Hello?
– Yes. Yes. Any questions? I have a question about
the scenario you talked about where the client goes rogue and they decide to change the project, and so you have to—
you’re in that moment, say you’re, like, halfway through, and at this point, you could either—
you could do the kill fee and charge them by the[indistinct]Y’know, like, I’ve done this kind of work for you now,
so I’m gonna charge you this, or do you just charge them for the whole project,[indistinct]this is what we agreed on, and even though you’re making me change
in the middle of it,[indistinct]The reason I ask is that
I’ve had that experience where I could do the kill fee
and charge you for what we’ve done, but then there’s all this opportunity cost – Right.
– Like, what I can be earning. Let me address one thing you said
before I turn it over to Gabe for the legal answer. Not legal advice. Disclaimer provided. You said the client was making you change something. A client cannot make you do anything. If you are not comfortablewith what a client is asking you to do, walk away. You are—nobody here is held hostage
to a client’s whims. Sorry, are you asking
how we have it structured in their contract, or…? So there’s various ways to deal with it, but I maybe misspoke, but it goes— when I talked about it, it goes over and above
sort of, y’know, what—the hourly work that you’ve done. Um, so there is, y’know—
say you’re in Phase 2 of three phases in the project and each phase is $10,000. The kill fee might just be—
you’ve got your $10,000 deposit. And then Phase 2 is gonna be $10,000, and they pay it upon some receivables deadline. If they kill it without a good reason
in the middle of Phase 2, you get the whole $10,000 for the second phase. That’s a somewhat common example of a kill fee. Does that answer the question? Okay. Anybody else? When you’re drawing up the contract, how do you approach late payment?[indistinct]You might have a, um… you know, a small… we don’t like to call it a “penalty” in the legal world, ’cause penalties aren’t enforceable, but it is a penalty. It’s a, y’know, call it interest or whatever you want, but it’s a small percentage for, y’know, something if you’re working net-30
that’s not paid 30 days after you send the invoice, and then if it’s out 60 days or 90 days or 120 days, Boom, you kill the contract,
you get the kill fee, and, if you have to sue ’em, your attorney’s fees.[indistinct]What’d he say? Do you have any tips on firing your clients? That’s such a softball. You need—
well, the reason that you’re firing the client needs to be solid. And it needs to be in writing. And the client needs to be very aware that they’ve… they’ve transgressed againstxthing in the contract,
and this is why they’re being fired, and do it quickly, and do it clearly. They should know they’re getting fired. And do it as kindly as possible. Because again, this isn’t somebody
who walked into a relationship with you to be a dick, this is just a relationship that went sour. So do it with as much respect as possible. Bet you weren’t expecting that. He’s learned. Horse head, in bed. And that’s what he did when I met him. Anyone else? In the back, Ms. Hamwood. Um, relationships. You were talking then about relationships. Well often, you really like the people, even though, y’know, like,
we do design work, and we’re, um… you try and tie up [indistinct],well, they’re doing work, and maybe their ability
to tie up contracts isn’t so great. So maybe they’re really messing us around, but it’s partly because
they just haven’t got their shit together. So we wanna keep the relationship,
but we wanna protect ourselves at the same time. So what about advice for handling those situations, where they are really messing you around,
but you want the relationship? I’m sorry, I didn’t really… Okay, they’re messing you around… Alright. Alright, the client’s messing you around, but in the same way that we don’t
have our contract shit together, they don’t have their contract shit together either, and they’re good people,
but they genuinely are messing you around, – so it is lawyer time,
– Lawyer time. but, but you—yeah. And, I—seriously, I’ve had to do that. I’ve had to lawyer up,
and it was the right thing to do, but how do you—
what’s advice around preserving the relationship, or, like, not just…
y’know, that aspect of it. First of all, I can be really nice on the phone, with— and lawyers—
and, one of the things that, y’know, Mike would acknowledge is, this sort of stuff makes him uncomfortable, still. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable, and it’s probably not gonna make the lawyer on the other side uncomfortable, so we can have a perfectly civil conversation about it. It’s not like pressing the atom bomb. So if things are being held up, I think you’re asking, “How do you preserve the relationship and deal with
the delay and the difficult issues?” Let the lawyers deal with the delay and the difficult issues, and everybody’s always telling me—
including these guys— “We need it done!” So the lawyers are getting that pressure. we know how to deal with it; I mean, the other side
has gotta turn it around quickly, and then I’ve gotta turn it around quickly back to him. Yeah, and even when things go wrong, our—the first thing we try to do
is preserve the relationship. In ten years in business, we’ve only ever had—
we’ve only ever fired two clients. And we’ve certainly had projects get weird. But most of the time, you can resolve that stuff
by talking it out with the other person. Don’t do it over email. On the phone if nothing else; in person if at all possible. There are plenty of client relationships that I’ve—that we’ve been able to fix
just going out and having a cup of coffee with somebody. And realizing that we both wanted the same thing, but we just had a different way of getting there. Anybody else? How do you deal with the acceptance criteria,
both for clients and contracts? That’s really tricky. And I’m still learning, to be honest, on it. But ideally, they have, y’know,
a certain amount of time to reject a deliverable, and they have to do it in writing, and if they don’t, it’s deemed accepted. and of course, you want that timeframe
to be as short as possible, but, y’know, I’ve seen 5–10 days,
or maybe 5–10 business days, I assume that’s what you’re talking about,
the deliverable acceptance? Yeah, and there’s also, on the flipside,
you working with a contractor that’s doing bad work. You don’t want to pay them. Oh youdon’twant to accept something from somebody? Yeah, um, I mean, I would—
same advice as Mike gave in firing a client: make the problems clear. Put it in writing. If you’re done with them. And if the relationship can be salvaged,
like Mike said, try and salvage it. But if not, yeah, make the reason for the rejection very clear. Hopefully, there’s something in writing to rely on, y’know, a contract, or maybe emails
that describe what was supposed to be done, Yep. We have time for one more. Mr. Sippe, in the front. Uh, this is for Gabe. Are you worried about what he does on Twitter? No, there’s been some ventures… From my standpoint, I don‘t want him to disclose anything
we discuss that’s privileged, So he knows that; we’ve talked about it. ’cause some of the stuff we discuss is funny,
and we’d like to disclose it. Just for pure entertainment value. But also, in full disclosure, I don’t follow Twitter that much.
I’m trying to get better, but, y’know, my stream is full of
San Francisco Giants stuff, and Mike. And so for me it’s just entertainment;
I don’t actually worry that much about it. Just as a rule,
I never, ever talk about clients on Twitter. That relationship is sacred, Twitter’s, um…
Twitter’s for dick jokes. So if a client…
Even if a client does something in my office that’s really funny, it’s part of our relationship, and it doesn’t go on there. That’s you and me. Babe. Alright. Thanks a lot.

Why China’s art market is evolving from knockoffs to new works


JUDY WOODRUFF: For the past week, we have
been reporting on China’s explosive growth and development as a world power. Tonight, we look at how Chinese artists are
recreating what they call the country’s cultural aristocracy by producing original art. That is a shift from recent years, when China
produced 75 percent of the world’s art knockoffs. The story is part of our ongoing arts and
culture coverage, Canvas, and also part of our series “China: Power & Prosperity,” produced
with the support of the Pulitzer Center. Special correspondent Katrina Yu begins her
story in the village of Dafen. KATRINA YU: Artist Zeng Muquan has never set
foot outside China, but he knows a lot about the streets of Paris. From his studio in the country’s southern
Guangdong province, he’s painted tens of thousands of European scenes. The 44-year-old earns a living duplicating
paintings, and has copied works by some of the world’s most famous artists, including
van Gogh. ZENG MUQUAN, Artist (through translator):
You know van Gogh’s Starry Night? I used to paint three to five copies per day. Every year, I produced 3,000 to 5,000. KATRINA YU: Artists here used to produce up
to 75 percent of the world’s duplicates. These were ordered by a souvenir shop in Amsterdam. Each canvas earns him just $5, though he knows
they’re sold for much more. He often spends 14 hours a day, seven days
a week painting duplicates. ZENG MUQUAN (through translator): People say
painters here in Dafen Village are no better than copy machines. We started before things became digital, and
the quantity was huge. Every copy was almost the same, as if done
by machine. But it’s not. It’s done by hand. And there’s a process. And by this process, we become better artists. KATRINA YU: He lives in Dafen Village and
dreams of making his mark on China’s art scene. His timing could be just right. Once notorious for forgeries and fakes, China’s
art market is now forging ahead. This isn’t a mad dash on Black Friday. It’s the race to grab a seat at one of the
country’s most prestigious auction houses, China Guardian. Last year, the firm says it closed $822 million
worth of sales. One-third of all art global sales are now
made in China. And the country’s new wealthy class are a
hungry market. Here, ink paintings, paper fans and calligraphy
can sell for millions. With traditional works commanding such high
prices, Chinese buyers are starting to see art as a more reliable investment than the
stock market. China Guardian is the country’s oldest auction
house, founded with the mission of recreating China’s cultural aristocracy. ZHANG QIAN, China (through translator): We
are now living in a flourishing age. We see more people visiting exhibitions, museums
and collections. This shows that the level of people’s artistic
appreciation and cultural quality are improving. PENG LIU, China (through translator): In China,
we say our nation has 5,000 years of history, and we can understand Chinese society and
humanity through our art and culture. KATRINA YU: Beijing-based artist Hao Liang
says China is slowly restoring its artistic legacy, something lost during the cultural
revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, when many artists were condemned as counter-revolutionaries. HAO LIANG, Artist (through translator): People
have loved to collect art since the olden days, whether it was royal collections or
private collections. China was a country which favored art, but
we had a break in our history. We are restoring it, this respect for art
and culture. KATRINA YU: The 36-year-old’s ink paintings
have sold to the likes of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou
in Paris. But contemporary paintings such as his aren’t
as sought after in a Chinese market dominated by traditional art, where some consider more
modern work heretical. HAO LIANG (through translator): I think it’s
fair and normal for people to criticize. After all, I’m doing what I want and don’t
think too much about cultural tradition or what’s popular according to the current climate. KATRINA YU: But that climate is changing,
thanks to younger buyers. Beijing gallery M Woods is popular with millennial
art lovers, and often showcases collections by Western artists, including British artist
David Hockney. Visitors to this gallery represent a new generation
of Chinese art enthusiasts, educated abroad and increasingly interested in Western work. But they are the urban elite minority. The majority of Chinese art buyers are middle-income,
middle-aged, and buying their art in places like Dafen Village. Art dealer Jack Ye serves a man looking to
decorate his home. Ten years ago, most of his customers were
foreigners looking to buy copies of European paintings. Today, he says they’re mostly middle-income
Chinese looking to buy original Chinese art. He says the change is thanks in large part
to a government push to shed China’s copycat label. JACK YE, Art Dealer (through translator):
Highly skilled painters or art school graduates were trained and encouraged to create original
work. Artistic taste and education is improving. And, in the future, it will be even better. KATRINA YU: It’s that future that Zeng Muquan
looks forward to. When his copies are complete, he works on
his own art, a fusion of Western and Chinese styles. Zeng says China’s growing art market means
it’s now more profitable for him to be original. ZENG MUQUAN (through translator): These days,
when customers are interested in my work, they’re more generous in what they’re willing
to pay. As an artist, I dream of producing excellent
art of my own, and leaving behind influential work for the next generation. KATRINA YU: As China’s art market develops,
artists like Zeng Muquan are producing art that’s more reflective of themselves, and
hoping for a life spent copying less and creating more. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Katrina Yu in
Dafen Village, Guangdong. JUDY WOODRUFF: Wonderful report. And on the “NewsHour” online: China is now
expected to surpass the U.S. as the number one film market in the world. We look at how the Chinese government uses
film industry stars as a form of influence on their public and what happens when these
stars find themselves in the crosshairs of Chinese authorities. All that and more is on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

The science and art of productivity, creativity and wellness at work


We work hard. We do it because we want to make a difference
in the world, we want to build great careers and make impact with the work we do. The thing is, the way we work is stopping
us from achieving our full potential and causing increased levels of stress, anxiety, illness
and burnout. In today’s world, we’re rewarded for
the quality of our ideas, our creativity, and our mindset. Yet, we spend our days in distracted workflows where creativity is almost impossible. There is a better way to work. I’ve compiled the best research from the
fields of behavioral neuroscience and cognitive psychology – and condensed it into the most
important things we can do to dramatically increase productivity, creativity and the
quality of your work. I’ve seen through my own experience and
through leading a large team of digital and remote workers, that we can increase our capacity
by as much as 50%. Beyond increasing our capacity, we can establish
a better sense of balance. We can feel healthier, more relaxed, and ultimately
happier in our work and our lives. There is a better way to work, and I look
forward sharing it with you.

Baby, My Whole Work Is to Confuse You


silence shared in words presents Baby, My Whole Work Is to Confuse You! I’m confused hearing you say there is no God. There have been many beautiful moments in my life when I feel something moving through me which I know is not me. I used to call it God, now I call it godliness. But I still don’t like hearing that there is no God. Can you ease my confusion? Baby, my whole work is to confuse you! Unless you are utterly confused, you are not going to drop your knowledgeability. What do you mean when you ask me to “ease your confusion”? In other words, you want certain, settled knowledgeability. You want to convince yourself that you know it. I cannot commit that crime. You do not know it. So first I have to remove all your knowledge which is bogus anyway. You have not earned it, you don’t deserve it. It has not grown within you, it is all rubbish that you have collected from books, from people. I am going to confuse you more and more. And look, what is your confusion? You say that there have been moments in your life which you used to call God you cannot deceive me. I know you may have experienced a few beautiful moments; everybody experiences a few beautiful moments of well-being, of great uplift. Seeing a sunset, suddenly you are silent. Or listening to the tidal waves of the ocean shattering on the rocks on the shore, suddenly you feel almost a nobody before this vast existence. Looking into the sky and the stars you may have had certain moments, and you may have called them God. Don’t make God so cheap. I am raising God Higher than he has ever been. The Jewish God says, “I am a jealous God. I am a very angry God. I am not nice, I am not your uncle.” Jesus tried to raise the Jewish God, and that was his crime. He said, “God is love.” Now, this is very contradictory. The Jewish God says, “I am jealous, I am angry, I am not nice,” and Jesus makes him a goody-goody: “God is love.” This man should be removed before he destroys their certainty that God is jealous, angry. You have to be afraid of him, because that will keep you on the right path. If God is love, then who bothers what is right and what is wrong? A loving God cannot punish you in hell for eternity. But Jesus on the one hand says, “God is love,” and on the other hand he is a Jew after all the eternal hell remains. He cannot see a simple fact, that if God is love then eternal hell should be removed because you need not be afraid of love. Love gives you freedom to be yourself; and sandwiched between heaven and hell you cannot have any freedom, any individuality. I am trying to raise God. When I say there is no God, I mean there is no person as God, there is no personality in God. You have to understand clearly that personality is something false. The word personality comes from the Greek persona persona means a mask; in Greek drama the actors used to have a mask. You know sona means sound; a sound coming through a mask was called persona. You cannot see who is behind the mask; hence the actor has a personality. And if you all have personalities you are all actors you are not being authentic, sincerely yourself. Personality and individuality don’t mean the same thing. I am taking the personality of God away. I don’t want him to be an actor you have so many in Hollywood. Strange, that the place is called “Hollywood”… all gods, personalities, great personalities. I don’t want God to be a Hollywood actor. I am trying to destroy his mask, and once the personality drops what is left is godliness. That is the true individuality of existence. I will not say, “God is love,” because that still keeps God as a person. On the contrary, I say, “Love is God.” You can forget all about God. If you can understand love, that’s enough religion; more than that is not needed. I use the word godliness and you are confused, because those moments… have you seen anybody in those moments that you can call God? You have not seen anybody in those moments, because there is nobody. You were using a wrong word, I am correcting you. Those moments you can call moments of godliness. I am changing God from a quantity to a quality. God is a quantity; godliness is a quality. And you are confused by it? Just a hangover. Shake yourself well slap yourself and shake yourself and all confusion will disappear. Copyright© OSHO International Foundation www.OSHO.com/copyright OSHO is a registered Trademark of OSHO International Foundation

OSHO: Spiritual Growth and Enlightenment …


OSHO OSHO TALKS: silence shared in words OSHO International Foundation presents: OSHO: Spiritual Growth and Enlightenment Source: The Last Testament Volume 3 # 16 This talk is complete in itself. These discourses are the foundations of your meditation. Sitting with me in these discourses is nothing but creating more and more meditativeness in you. I don’t speak to teach something — I speak to create something. These are not lectures — these are simply a device for you to become silent — OSHO You have often said that no improvement is needed, no goal is there to be achieved. And you have also spoken about how, in the buddhafield, a person can be helped by those who are further along the path, and can help those who are a few steps behind them. Are there different stages of spiritual growth? And if so, can you talk to us about them, and how people in these different stages can be helpful to each other? In one sense, it is indivisible reality. Because what it is on the first step, so it is on the last step. It is pure witnessing. But on the first step, you are witnessing only the activities of the body. On the second step, you are witnessing the activities of the mind. On the third step, you are witnessing the activities of the heart. And on the fourth, you are simply witnessing your witnessing itself. So if you look at witnessing, it is just the same reality — indivisible. But if you look at the objects of witnessing, then you can divide it into steps. So the person who is witnessing only his bodily activities can be immensely helped by the person who has passed that stage, and is witnessing his mind, thoughts, dreams, imaginations — all the activities that the mind is capable of. The person who is on the third stage can help both — the first stage person and the second stage person, because now he is witnessing very subtle moods, feelings, emotions — very fine, very subtle, very slippery. And the person who has come to the fourth and the last can help all the three. The help is a kind of encouragement. First, he can explain to you that whatever hindrances you are feeling are natural. He has experienced them himself, so don’t be worried. Go on working on them, however hard they look. They may be rocks, and your witnessing may be as soft as water, but in the long run, the water wins and the rock simply disappears into sand. At the first glance it seems that there is no way for the water to win. How can it win over the rock? But finally, that’s what happens. Just somebody who has seen it happen has to help you, that “Don’t be discouraged by the rock, it’s strength. It is nothing before the water. ” Lao Tzu used to call his way the watercourse way — a beautiful name, so soft, so liquid, no rigidity. You can put it into any form. It is always ready, gives no resistance. You put it in a bottle, it takes the shape of the bottle. You put it into a jar, it takes the shape of the jar, with no resistance at all. Such a non-resistant element finally destroys the rock. But somebody has to say to you, “I have faced the same situation. Don’t be discouraged. The rock will disappear, will have to disappear. That is the way of existence.” So as far as objects are concerned, you can divide the way into three steps: the body, the mind, the heart. The fourth happens on its own accord. Nobody can do it. If you can fulfill three steps totally and completely, suddenly: a quantum leap. You find yourself at the very center of your being. The seer is there, but there is nothing to see. The awareness is there, but there is nothing to be aware of. When awareness has nothing to be aware of, it turns upon itself. It becomes its own object. And this is what we call realization. You have known thousands of things; for the first time, you know your knowing. You have been conscious of many things; for the first time you become conscious of consciousness itself. You have arrived home. So remember, whenever I say that it is indivisible, I mean witnessing. And whenever I say that people can be more advanced, less advanced, I mean their objects of witnessing… they can be gross, can be subtle, can be very subtle — or there may be nothing as an object. That is the moment of revolution, and that’s the only revolution there is. It opens the doors of all the mysteries of existence. It allows you to feel the deathlessness, the eternity. It gives you the taste of pure existence. Yes, it is a taste — that’s why there is no way to say it, no way to explain it — one can only experience. Your emphasis has always been that every human being has the birthright to become enlightened, that it is nothing special. However, not many people claim this birthright, or are even interested in it. Why not? Is there some ingredient, some quality which makes some people more interested in the inquiry than others? Just because it is the very birthright of every human being, it prevents people. It gives no challenge. The ego has no interest in it. It is your birthright. It is not something that the ego can brag of. It would like to go to the moon, which is not your birthright. Howsoever silly it will be, but it would like to go to Everest. That is not your birthright, but the ego gets interested only in things which make you superior, higher, special, famous, celebrities. The ego is not interested in something which you are carrying, from the very birth, with yourself. It is interested in extraordinary things. The more difficult the job, the more the ego becomes interested in it. And enlightenment is the easiest thing in existence, the most natural thing. Hence, ego has no interest in it. This is how the problem arises. The moment a child is born, nobody is interested in the child’s nature, his potential, his possibilities of growth. Nobody is interested in the child’s birthright. Everybody is interested in making of the child something very special — an Alexander the Great, a Beethoven, a Picasso, an Albert Einstein, a Mao Zedong — somebody who is going to be in the history. Everybody — your mother, your father, your teachers, your priests — all are helping you to move away from yourself as much as possible. And this distance is the strength of your ego. The farther you are from yourself, the bigger is your ego. I remember I was in a very beautiful place, Ajanta. The whole mountain has been cut, perhaps it must have taken thousands of years, and thousands of artists, sculptors. These caves are Buddhist, so Buddhists must have done that. Just before you go into the forest and into the caves, in the city, a small place, I was finding somewhere to stay. Because there are so many caves — and I am not a tourist who can go within half an hour and come back — so I wanted to stay for a few days, because each cave may take days for me…. If the cave has taken hundreds of years to make — the carvings, the statues of thousands of meditators — then it is not that you just go in and have a look and you are finished. It is not a tourist place. You have to be in that cave one day, two days, three days to be acquainted with its vibe. It must be still vibrant with those thousands of meditators who had worked for hundreds of years. Generations of meditators… and they have not just painted like modern painters, they have made those statues with a certain specific aim in mind: that they will convey to people something which cannot be said in words. Otherwise, there are so many scriptures, what is the need to carve these beautiful statues in different postures, lotuses, flowers. Seems to be a sheer waste of time. So I was looking where to stay, and then I came across a small temple. I went in and I asked the priest, “If you allow me to leave my luggage here, and — it will be very kind of you — if you can allow me to sleep here for two-three days, because in your town there is no hotel.” The priest said, “But nobody stays here. People come and within an hour, or two hours at the most, they are gone.” I said, “I am not a tourist. I am one of those who have carved these statues. ” The man looked at me as if I am mad! He said, “My God! Then it is okay, you can leave your luggage in the temple.” As I entered the temple, on the door of the temple there was a sentence — that’s why I remembered it — a very famous quotation from the Vedas, that “The king is respected in his own country, but the enlightened one is respected in the whole world. So strive to become enlightened.” I asked the priest, “Please remove this sentence from here. You have spoiled the whole thing. ‘A king is respected in his own kingdom.’ The emphasis is on respect. ‘The enlightened one is respected in the whole world, so strive for it.’ You are making enlightenment also an object for the ego. Who cares about respect except the ego? And ego is the only barrier which does not allow a man to become enlightened. So if a person is trying to become enlightened to be respected all over the world, it is impossible that he will become enlightened, ever.” But I can understand; whoever made that sutra must be aware that unless you make enlightenment an object of the ego, nobody is even going to try. I can understand his idea, that make enlightenment so respectable, far better than becoming a world conqueror, that the ego becomes interested in it. But whoever made the sutra is a fool. He does not know that if ego is interested in becoming enlightened, then there is no possibility for enlightenment. The only barrier is the ego. So, whether one becomes respectable or not, whether anybody knows or not, whether your name is written in golden letters in the history or not does not matter. Only then, when respectability does not matter at all and you are perfectly happy just being yourself, your very ordinary self…. The phenomenon is very simple, that’s the trouble. It is your birthright: that’s why nobody seems to be interested in it. If it was far away, as the moon is, then many idiots would have been trying to reach there. But it is within you. You are carrying it day in, day out, wherever you go it is there with you, within you. Even while you are committing a crime, a murder, it is there. If you can witness your murder, you will become enlightened. It does not matter what you are doing. What matters is: are you doing it as a witness? Perhaps as a witness you cannot murder, you cannot commit a crime. But that is a separate story. Witnessing you have brought with your birth. But the society, the educational system, the family, all are trying to make you ambitious. My father never knew — he had eleven children — he never knew which child is attending, studying, in which school, in which class, and whether he has passed this year or failed. He never inquired. Even for our progressive report, we had to tell him, that “You have to sign it.” And he will say, “You could have signed it yourself — my signature is so simple. But I will sign.” And he will sign without reading whether I have passed, failed, any recommendations from the teacher, from the principal? He will not read it. When I topped the university, that was the first time I told him, “You will be happy to know… you know me, that I am good for nothing, but by some coincidence I have topped the whole university and received the gold medal.” He became very serious. I said, “It is not some crime that I have committed. You need not be so serious.” He said, “No, I am serious, because that simply means in your whole university, if you can top the university then the people who are studying there must be far worse than you! That makes me serious. I was thinking only you are good for nothing. This proves that your whole university is just good for nothing. And you topped — that means you are at least better.” I said, “That’s true. I never thought about it, otherwise I would not have told you. I thought you will be happy.” To get such a father is very difficult. He never imposed any ambition on me. If some of my brothers failed in a class and they came home crying and weeping, he will say, “Don’t cry and weep. What is the matter? It simply means in two years you will become far more stronger and far more wiser than you can become in one year. And what is the loss? And what is the hurry? If you cannot come out of the school one year earlier, there is no problem. You can take your time, you can fail as many times as you want. One thing is certain, the more you remain in one class, the wiser and stronger you will become — nothing is lost. Don’t unnecessarily cry and weep.” The principal will come just to console my father that, “It is not our fault that your son has failed, but he never pays any attention to the studies. He is continuously interested in games, and almost always he is absent. So you just tell him to be present. He is intelligent, there is no problem about it. But my father will say, “But what is the problem? Let him play, let him not be attentive. Let him not be present, what is the hurry? I am still alive. He can take his time: one year, two years, three years, as much as he wants. He will come out far more mature, and failure is also a great experience in life. In life you cannot succeed in everything. So this is good, he will know some taste of failure and will be able to absorb it in his life. There is no need to be worried and no need to console me. Nothing has gone wrong.” But to find this kind of parents is very difficult. Ordinarily they are all ambitious people, and because they cannot fulfill their own ambitions, they project their ambitions on their children. They wanted to become something special, they could not become — at least their son will become. I used to know a very famous politician, Seth Govinddas. He had a very ambitious mind and wanted to become not less than prime minister of India. And the man who became the first prime minister of India, they were both friends, and very intimate friends. Both have been together in jails, both have come from very rich families. The father of Jawaharlal Nehru, Motilal, in one of his speeches has said, “I have two sons. One is Jawaharlal, another is Govind Das.” Naturally, he was thinking to become the prime minister. If he cannot become the first prime minister, then after Jawaharlal, his must be the second chance. But he could not manage even to become a cabinet minister. He could not manage even to become a governor, a chief minister of a state. He had tried everything, but he was not basically a politician — very simple, almost a simpleton. So the desire was there, burning his heart. He had two sons, and he was trying hard that they should become what he has missed. And he had all the connections, political, so he helped his first son to become a deputy minister. He was hoping that soon he will become minister, then he will move to the cabinet of the central government, and then he will become a prime minister. If he has not been able to become the prime minister, at least he can claim to be the father of a prime minister, which is far better. But the son died as a deputy minister in a state council. He was only thirty-six when he died. But ambition is such a thing that this old man tried to commit suicide, because with the death of the son all his ambitions have failed again. I told him: “You have another son. Give him a try. You have all the best connections in the country, from the lowest to the highest. It is just very easy for you.” And suddenly I could see his eyes shine again, as if life returned to him. He said, “Yes, I had never thought about it. I was simply thinking to die, because what is the point of living? I missed, my son has died.” So he managed for his second son to enter into the same post — he became the deputy minister. But neither of his sons had the ability to be politicians. They were his sons, just as stupid as he was, perhaps a little more. And you will be surprised that the second son also died. And the man was now seventy-five or seventy-eight, and this was too much of a shock. Again he started talking about suicide. His wife phoned me and said: “You come. Last time you had done something and he dropped the idea of suicide. Now you do something, again he is talking of suicide.” I said, “Don’t be worried. People who talk of suicide never commit suicide. People who commit suicide are those who never talk about it. But I will come.” I went. He was sitting again in the same posture, and I said to him: “If you want to commit suicide, commit! Why do you harass the whole family by talking about it?” He said this, “Everybody, the mayor of the city, the chief minister, all have come to console me. Indira Gandhi’s telegram has come.” And he was sitting with a pile of telegrams from all the ministers, and governors and — India has thirty states — and chief ministers — and he was showing them to everybody who was coming. I told him, “You don’t seem to be interested in the death of the son. You are more interested in these telegrams.” Just one man has not given him a telegram, and about that he was feeling very hurt. He was one of his old colleagues, but then later on they became enemies in politics. He joined another party, and became a chief minister. Only he had not, so he was continuously telling to everybody, “Only Dwarka Prasad Mishra… his telegram has not come. And I have made the man.” And it is true, if you think that Dwarka Prasad lived in Govind Das’ house, financially was supported by him. But it is not true that he has made the man. That man was capable on his own to reach to the post, to any post. He was a very ambitious, very cunning, very clever man. He used him, he used all his friendships with all the great politicians. And I said, “You are so much interested in telegrams, and you are not interested in the death of your son. Can you understand that you have lived your whole life in ambition? You failed, your first son died, your second son died, but your ambition — it continues. You are ready to commit suicide but you are not ready to drop the ambition. As if ambition is far more valuable than life!” And I said, “If you just want to project your ambition on somebody, then why not your son-in-law?” He said, “You are a genius, certainly! I never thought about my son-in-law.” He had only one daughter and two sons. And because he was so rich the daughter was living with him, and the son-in-law was also living with him. I said, “He lives with you. He is just like a son to you. Make arrangements, make him deputy minister in the cabinet somewhere and see whether he dies or not! Then we will think… Why have these two sons died? It seems they were not capable to withstand the political pressures, challenges, worries. And they were both young and there was no need to die so soon. And there was no reason except that politics proved poisonous to them. Let us try this one.” And he tried. And this time things went well. The man became deputy minister and Seth Govind Das died! And the moment he died, his son-in-law was thrown out of the ministry, because he was just taken in because of his pressure, that he will commit suicide. So all the politicians had known him throughout his whole life. And he had been in the freedom struggle, and he was known as “father of the parliament.” He was the only man in the whole world, except Winston Churchill, who has been a member of parliament so long, continuously from 1916 to ’78, continuously, without a break. So he was known as father of the Indian parliament. Everybody knew him and everybody was obliged in many ways to him. But the moment he died, the son-in-law was thrown out. I said, “This is far better, because if you were thrown out before, again he would have striven to commit suicide.” And he was not capable of committing suicide either, because still ambition was there, some hope, from some corner. All the parents are ambitious. The whole educational system is ambitious. All the religions are ambitious. They are all promising and giving hope to people that their ambitions will be fulfilled after death. That’s why people are missing something which is very simple, which needs no ambition, which needs no ego, which needs no effort, which needs a simple, very simple understanding — just a little clarity, a little intelligence, and your whole life is transformed. The whole earth can become enlightened. Just, we have to change the educational system, we have to change the organized religions of the world, we have to change the political structures of the society. And we have to allow every child his way. Whatever he wants to become, let him become. Even if he turns out to be a beggar, he will be far more fulfilled than when forced to be a king. He will not be happy to be a king, that will not go according to his heart. Let something happen according to his heart. If he wants to play guitar, let him play guitar. He will not become Yehudi Menuhin — how many people can become Yehudi Menuhin? But there is no need for everybody to become Yehudi Menuhin. He can play and enjoy. If he enjoys himself without disturbing the neighbors, there is no problem. I have heard that a man who was practicing Indian classical music, his neighbor came to him and said, “Tonight we are going to have a party. Can we have your harmonium?” He said, “There is no problem, you can take the harmonium.” Just after a few minutes the neighbor’s wife came, and said, “It doesn’t look good, but we don’t have a set of tablas. Can we have your tablas?” He said, “Yes, you can have. But when is the party going to begin?” The wife said, “What party?” The man said, “But your husband has taken the harmonium and he was saying, ‘We are going to have a party so some music will be happening.”‘ The wife said, “To be true, tonight we want to sleep. Music is happening too much! So he had taken the harmonium, then we remembered you may start playing on the tabla. I have come to ask for the tablas because what will we do with only the harmonium? — tablas are also needed. There is no party. Just for so many days we have not been able to sleep. Just once in a while, let us have sleep.” So if you are not disturbing your neighbors, there is no problem. You can play your guitar, your sitar. You can play anything you want, and even if you don’t become famous — I don’t understand what it is going to give to you, becoming famous. Twenty people know you, what are you getting? Two hundred people know you, you will be getting ten times more, but what are you getting with twenty? Two thousand people know you, then you will be getting still more, but what are you getting with twenty? Just think of that: the whole world knows you, but what will you be getting out of it? Just start with twenty and go on multiplying and you will be clearly able to perceive that it is simple nonsense. Ambition is a very stupid game in which there is no victory, only defeat. Only defeat because you will never become what you are born to become. And you will never know your birthright, the ultimate bliss of being enlightened. Often you have spoken about your rebellious childhood and how it gave you such freedom, how you insisted on discovering your own individuality. How did you know the need to rebel at this early age? What about those people who didn’t have the courage to rebel and who had a hampered childhood? Is a rebellious childhood necessary for enlightenment? No, not necessary. A man can become enlightened without having a rebellious childhood, but nobody can become enlightened without becoming rebellious before it. If one is fortunate enough to be rebellious in his childhood, enlightenment will be coming sooner. I became enlightened when I was twenty-one. Gautam Buddha became enlightened when he was forty-two, because up to his twenty-ninth year he had never rebelled against his father’s wishes. At the age of twenty-nine, he had to rebel, because he could see that these twenty-nine years have gone just without any meaning. Because the astrologers have said to his father that he should not be allowed to see a dead body, a sick man, an old man, a sannyasin. And he was the only son of his father, and born at his very old age, so the whole kingdom belonged to Gautam Buddha. And the father was very much afraid because the astrologers said, “If you don’t manage rightly there is every possibility he may renounce the world and may become a seeker of truth. If he remains in the world and becomes the king, then there is a possibility he may even become the king of the whole world, he has such a great potential. Either he will become the great conqueror of the world — in Sanskrit it is called chakravartin — or he will become an enlightened one… between these two. And we cannot say right now what will happen, but if you can manage to avoid a few things from his knowledge, then he will never renounce the world. Bring the most beautiful girls of the kingdom. Keep him surrounded with the girls, with music, with dance, with wine, with good food. Make beautiful palaces for him for different seasons in different locations. In summer he should be in a cold region. In winter he should be in a warmer place. So make three palaces.” Because India has very clear cut three seasons: summer, winter, rains. And the father was so rich, he managed beautiful palaces. The gardeners were told that he should not see even a pale leaf or a dead leaf. No idea should get into his mind that things get old or things die. For twenty-nine years he lived almost a prisoner in utter luxury. The rebellion came because he was going to open the ceremony, annual ceremony of the entire kingdom, some kind of Olympic Games for youth. On the way in his golden chariot, he saw an old man for the first time in his life. He asked the charioteer, “What has happened to this man?” The charioteer said, “I cannot speak a lie to you. But what has happened to this man happens to everybody — he has become old.” Immediately Gautam Buddha asked, “That means it is going to happen to me also?” He was at his prime of youth, a beautiful young man. The charioteer said, “I would like it not to happen to you, but nature cannot be changed. It is just the law of nature. One who is born will become old, it cannot be prevented.” And then came a dead man’s body being carried to the crematorium. And Buddha said, “What is happening?” The charioteer said, “This happens after old age. This is the last stage. After this nothing happens. This man is dead.” Buddha had not even heard the word death. And then he saw a sannyasin, who was just following the dead man’s body. And he said, “This man looks strange — shaven head, orange clothes, with a begging bowl in his hand — I have never seen such a type. What is his profession?” The charioteer said, “He has renounced all professions. He is a sannyasin. He is a seeker of truth. Realizing that life becomes one day death, he wants to know, ‘Is there something within us which does not die, or does everything die?’ He’s on an immense journey, a search for himself, his eternity.” Buddha said to him, “Return the chariot back to my palace. I’m not going to open, inaugurate the function — because I have already become old, I am already feeling as if I am dying and suffocating. You just take me back home. I have been deceived.” And this was the first time a great rebellion was born in his mind. That very night he escaped from the palace. But twenty-nine years were lost. He could have become enlightened long before. But one thing is certain: whether one is rebellious in his childhood or not, nobody becomes enlightened before it being preceded by a rebellious approach. Because he will have to fight against the conditioning of the society, he will have to rebel against the beliefs of the society. He will have to rebel against his own ego, against his own ambitions. Rebellion is certainly a necessary part. It cuts you from the ordinary social world, and makes you an individual. Rebellion is the fire, passing through which one gains freedom, individuality, integrity. And only after that one can relax and be oneself, be simple, be innocent. It is a new birth. And then enlightenment is not far away. Hindrances removed, enlightenment is always there. It is your birthright. You’ve said that your sannyasins live individual lives in freedom. Doesn’t everyone live an individual life? What is the difference that makes a person a sannyasin? Is it meditation? There are many things that make a person a sannyasin. One is a deep frustration with life as it is available in the ordinary world; a sense of meaninglessness in whatever one is doing. A despair that one does not know even who he is — a deep anguish that “Life is slipping out of my hands. Death can happen any moment, and I have not even started the journey yet.” These are the first circles of a necessary milieu that makes one seek and search for someone who may have a different quality of life, who may have found some meaning, who may have reached the oasis. While you are in the desert, somebody may have found the sources of living waters. And if one looks around, one is always bound to find someone. And it is not a question of any intellectual conviction. Just the meeting of… such a person, and there is an instant communion. One knows, one cannot give any explanation why, but one knows that this is the man. It is not of the head, otherwise reason could have been supplied. It is something of the heart, almost a love affair. Once you have found a man whom you can think of as one who has arrived — any name you can give it — who is enlightened, awakened, simply one who has no more any problems, no anxiety, no anguish, no boredom — one’s every breath is full of joy, one’s every moment is a rejoicing. This synchronicity makes you ask and inquire about the way — call it meditation, the journey towards one’s own self, the search for meaning, for truth. This meeting is very significant. It ignites something in you. Something that was dormant in you suddenly becomes active. The presence of this man is enough, it is a catalytic agent, and you start flying with him into new dimensions of being. I had started alone, and then people went on coming and my caravan began to become bigger and bigger and bigger. Then everything becomes totally different, because now you are no more zombies. The whole world is full of zombies, sleeping people, somnambulists. Now something has awakened in you, and that something is enough as a seed. It will grow, it will come to fruition, to flowering. And when so many people gather around such a man, naturally there arises a commune. All this happens without any planning — I had never thought of any commune. I have never thought even about teaching anybody anything. I was fulfilled and happy. But you cannot avoid — something like a magnetic force pulls potential people around you. And soon it is going to become a vast ocean. And then the work becomes very easy, because all these people are at different points in the journey and they start helping each other. They become sharers of my work, they relieve me of much work. They start helping each other. The commune becomes almost many bodies and one soul. Everybody’s growth somehow helps your growth. Everybody’s enlightenment is going to help everybody else’s enlightenment. It is a kind of invisible sharing of energies. So communes are immensely important, otherwise it is very difficult: how can I help millions of people? And the world needs now more and more communes. People can come here, have a little taste of what it is all about, go back to their own commune and spread the fragrance. So this place has already become a world capital of all the mystics, of all the seekers of truth. It was for many reasons that I declared that it is not a religion, not an organization — because I want it to remain a very liquid, free, flowing, energy… not solid, rocklike, but like a breeze. So we can start these vibrations around the earth and all our communes can become both receivers and broadcasters. If we can create around the earth a circle of conscious energy, that is the only hope for the world, for the new man. Otherwise, this century is going to see the end of all life on this earth. But we are taking the challenge, and I don’t think that death is more powerful than life, that hate is more powerful than love, that nuclear weapons are more powerful than mystic experiences. We have to prove it — and I am certain that we are capable of proving it. Source: ‘The Last Testament Vol 3 # 16’ Copyright OSHO International Foundation, Switzerland. OSHO ® is a registered TM. For more information: www.osho.com

Day in the Life – Working as a Creative Professional in LA


Every day is an opportunity to do your best work, to learn something new, and to give value to the lives of those around you. I aim to do this every day, so I can put my signature on the efforts I do, and feel good about the impact I make daily. Hello, I’m Matthew Encina.
I work as a creative professional in beautiful Los Angeles, California. In a previous life, I was a designer, animator, and a creative director working on TV commercials. Now I teach and create content at The Futur, where I help creative professionals sharpen their skills and earn money, doing what they love.
While no two days are exactly alike I hope to share a glimpse of what the world looks like, through my lens. This is a typical day in my life.
I set my alarm every day at 6am… and a second one at 6:30. I don’t always get up on the first one, so I have a backup. I love the early mornings because I have the most energy, and space for myself.
Before anything, I must have coffee. I usually have coffee in one of two ways.
When I want Hot coffee, I use my Aeropress, which takes about 2 minutes to make.
When I want something chilled, I enjoy a smooth glass of cold brew, which I steep 8 hours overnight in my fridge. Most people say staring at a screen the
first thing in the morning is a terrible way to start your day. However, I find
because of the quality of the people I follow I’m often inspired, learn new
things, and can engage in some stimulating dialogue. This helps to wake
up my brain and gets me ready for the next part of my morning.
Once I’m fully awake and caffeinated, I work out my mind or my body. Most days
I’ll head to the gym where I lift weights, rock climb, or do calisthenics.
Working out helps me to keep mental clarity because of all the mood-boosting
chemicals that are released in the process. I know in the long run I’d like
my body to be as sharp as my mind so I make sure to work out at least three to
five times a week to stay healthy. On the day’s I don’t work out my body I stay in
and right to work out my mind. Writing helps bring order to the chaos of my
thoughts. It gives form to what I’ve been thinking
about and helps me clarify my ideas. Lately, I’ve been thinking and writing
a lot about my creative career how I got here, and the process behind it. That’s
because I had to give a talk on the subject recently at a local event. So
it’s been on the top of my mind. After my morning workout I do a quick check of my
email before I head into work. This helps me understand if there are any urgent
matters that have popped up, to help me frame and organize my day.
I usually roll into work around 10:00 a.m. on Monday we do all of our weekly planning so the
entire team can use the rest of the week to work. As one of the managers here I
lead the discussion on what needs to get done for the week. Recently, we’ve been
using these meetings to run Design Sprints to focus on improving the user
experience on the digital products we sell. Design sprints are a facilitated
way of problem-solving and innovating using the collective brainpower of a
group. It was developed that Google years ago, and has been popularized by Jake
Knapp’s book. I’ll leave more resources about this in
the description if you want to learn more. After I’m done meeting with the
team, I recollect my thoughts and plan out my own week. I crack open Notion, my
favorite organization tool, to manage my to do’s for the week. This includes the
content I need to produce, people I need to follow up with, and plan for a little
time to chip away at some of my long-term goals. Monday mornings are when I get the most email. And if you’ve seen one of my previous videos you, know how easy it is to get sucked into a black hole of wasted time… sorting and
responding to your inbox. To save time I use email templates to help me respond
faster to common inquiries. And to manage all of my meetings and calls I use an
app called the Calendly. It’s a link that I send out to people so that they can
book time with me whenever I have an opening. This syncs with all of my
calendars, so I spend less time coordinating appointments and avoid
double-booking a timeslot. One of my favorite times of the day is lunch.
Luckily here in LA we have so many good food options– especially if you’re trying
to eat healthy. My usual go-to is a well-prepared protein with vegetables on
the side. When I get back to the office I prepare for a long afternoon of deep
work. Before I start I make another cup of coffee to fight the 3 p.m. energy
slump. We have the Chemex at work and I usually make enough for me and a
co-worker. Focus ,focus, focus. From the afternoon till the end of the day, I
focus on writing and making content. Wy role as the chief content officer at The
Futur is to lead the editorial team, produce content, and help create the
curriculum for the educational products we sell. This takes a lot of brainpower
to do so I close my door and run a few focused sprints in 90-minute blocks. This
helps me get my work done uninterrupted from my co-workers, and free from the
distraction of the internet. At 5:00 p.m. music plays on the overhead speakers.
This is a cue for the entire company to step away from their work and take a
break together. This helps break up the day and spur up some camaraderie with
the team. One of our favorite activities at the moment is to play Super Smash
Brothers on Nintendo Switch. When I return to my desk I check my email
once again to see if there’s anything I need to respond to. I also spend time
here responding to people in the community. I reply to comments on our YouTube
videos, and answer questions in our private Facebook and Slack groups. For
the rest of the day if I still have creative juice in me, I do one more
sprint of work to wrap up any lingering to-do’s, and close any open thoughts.
During this period I also review the work of my team and give them feedback.
So when they come in the next day they have a clear direction on what to do
next. I usually end my day around 7 or 8 p.m. When I get home I like to cook. It
helps me to relax because it has nothing to do with my busy day. It helps me to
empty my mind and focus on making a good meal. On days when I’m completely spent,
I order takeout Los Angeles has some of the best diversity in food, and we’re quite
spoiled, because every place in town delivers. I usually like to close out my
day playing an hour of video games or catching up on a show. This helps me
detach and escape from thinking about work. It allows me to slow the momentum
of my thoughts and spend some quiet time with my wife. Sometimes she likes to draw during the evenings, which is perfect because I like to chill on the couch.
Once my energy and thoughts have slowed down, I head to bed. I set my alarm and do it all again the next day. And that’s a day in my life. The composition of the
days don’t always look like this. I like to spend one or two days of the week
working from home, or out of the office. Breaking up the regular routines help
me refocus and introduce new stimuli from other environments. If you’re
interested in learning more about how I organize my life or about my creative
process, let me know in the comments, and if you have questions, ask, and I’ll do my
best to answer them. If you’re curious about anything I spoke about in the
video, I’ve left links and resources for you in the description below.
With that out of the way, it’s time to get back to work.

Deep Work: How to Develop the Most Valuable Skill of the 21st Century (PART 1)


Some books you read, and then forget. Others
change a small part of your life. Then there are the rare gems that fundamentally change
the way you think, live, and work. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a
Distracted World by Cal Newport is one of the latter.
As the world advances, three kinds of people will survive and prosper:
Owners of capital or people with access to it
Those who can work with intelligent machines and technology
Superstars in their field of work Deep Work focuses on the third type. To become
one, you need to develop two skills: the ability to quickly master hard things and the ability
to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.
Deep Work is the concept that interlinks these two skills.
Hard things are complex and you need to give them all of your attention and focus.
The batching of hard but important intellectual work into long, uninterrupted stretches is
key to high productivity. The new law of productivity is:
High-Quality Work Produced=(Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)
So why aren’t we all performing Deep Work? “Deep work is hard and shallow work is easier
and in the absence of clear goals for your job, the visible busyness that surrounds shallow
work becomes self-preserving.” Our goal is to systematically develop your
personal ability to go deep – and by doing so, reap great rewards. Each task on your list can be divided into
two main categories: deep work and shallow work.
Cal Newport defines deep work as: “Professional activities performed in a
state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their
limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”
On the other spectrum, we have shallow work: “Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style
tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend not to create much new value
in the world and are easy to replicate.” These are the rituals of the modern workplace,
such as meetings, emails, and reports. While they are hard to escape, you should make a
conscious effort to diminish the time spent on them in order to maximize the time you
have for deep work activities. The world is a distracting place and we are
more distracted than ever. We constantly engage most of our time on shallow
work activities, thus reducing our capacity to perform deep work. As a result, this ability
is becoming increasingly rare and increasingly valuable in our economy.
Only the few who cultivate this skill and make it the core of their working life will
thrive. Deep Work is about working smarter, not harder.
It is the superpower of the 21st century. In order to make this guide easier to follow,
I’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps: Choose Your Deep Work Philosophy
Make Deep Work a Habit Execute Like a Business
Remove Distractions Use Downtime to Enhance Deep Work Efforts
Let’s get started! In an environment and culture that makes Deep
Work difficult, we have to add smart routines and rituals to our working life. Design them
to minimize the amount of our limited willpower necessary in transitions and maintain unbroken
concentration. There are four philosophies to integrate Deep
Work into your life on a sustained basis: Monastic: maximize Deep Work by minimizing
or removing shallow obligations. Isolate yourself for long periods of time without distractions;
no shallow work allowed Bimodal: divide your time into some clearly
defined stretches to deep pursuits and leave the rest open to everything else. Reserve
a few consecutive days when you will be working like a monastic. You need at least one day
a week Rhythmic: the easiest way to consistently
start deep work sessions is to transform them into a simple regular habit. The rhythmic
philosophy involves creating a routine where you define a specific time period — ideally
three to four hours every day — that you can devote to Deep Work
Journalistic: alternate your day between deep and shallow work as it fits your blocks of
time. Not recommended to try out first Decide on your philosophy and start designing
your work accordingly. Only you know what works best for you. A strategy
that may work for one person can be a failure for another. After choosing your work philosophy, you must
ruthlessly commit to scheduling Deep Work blocks into your calendar and sticking to
them. Scheduling in advance takes away the need to use willpower.
“The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add
routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited
willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.”
To make the most out of each session, build rituals and routines to minimize friction
in your transition to depth: Where: identify a location used only for depth,
such as a conference room or a quiet library How Long: set a specific time frame for each
Deep Work session. Always have an end time rather than keeping it open-ended
How: your ritual needs rules and processes to keep your efforts structured. Should you
ban internet during Deep Work sessions? Are there metrics like pages, words, etc. that
you can use to measure your work productivity? Support: to maximize success, you need to
support your efforts to go deep. For example, the ritual might specify that you start with
a cup of good coffee, or make sure you have access to enough food of the right type to
maintain energy