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003: The Long Game Podcast: Finding Your Creative Sweet Spot with David Kadavy

In this episode of The Long Game we interview David Kadavy, author, podcaster and self-publishing coach. 

He’s the author of three books: The Heart to Start, Design for Hackers, and most recently, Mind Management Not Time Management.

His podcast, Love Your Work, features both interviews with experts like Seth Godin, James Altucher, and Dan Ariely, as well as solo monologues on topics like the barbell strategy.

This conversation dives into his background growing up in Nebraska, moving to Silicon Valley, and eventually to Medellin, Colombia. 

We also cover productivity advice for creatives, the “creative sweet spot,” anti-optimization, convergent versus divergent thinking, and much more. 

You can find  “Mind Management, Not Time Management” on Amazon.

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[00:05:28] Alex: [00:05:28] Um, how long have you been doing your podcast?
[00:05:32] David Kadavy: [00:05:32] Five years at the same amount of time that I’ve been here in Columbia. I did my first few interviews, uh, while I was still living in Chicago and released a podcast kind of just before I moved to Columbia and then moved down to Columbia. And then from then on, it’s been like recording from my closet.
[00:05:53] Did you have any goals with the
[00:05:54] Alex: [00:05:54] podcast when you started it or has it evolved in sort of a natural way?
[00:05:59] David Kadavy: [00:05:59] Yeah, it’s, [00:06:00] it’s definitely evolved in a natural way and it certainly evolves in ways in which I had to recalibrate based upon my initial expectations. Um, I don’t know what my goals were. I guess it was more that, uh, I liked listening to certain podcasts.
[00:06:19] I enjoyed listening to the Tim Ferriss show. I enjoyed, uh, James Altucher show, but I still wasn’t hearing exactly what I wanted to hear. And so I, that was kind of my primary thing was to make a podcast. That is what I want to listen to. Um, and with, with thinking in mind that if I reach a point. Where I realize that there is something that I want to listen to and I can’t do it better than I won’t do it anymore.
[00:06:52] And I’ve kind of, I’ve kind of done that. And that I initially was doing, uh, interviews. I had interviews with a lot of great people. [00:07:00] David Allen, Jason fried, um, uh, huge lists and, uh, And I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I’ve thought, well, there’s a lot of really good interview podcasts out there.
[00:07:15] There that’s not necessarily like the thing that I want to be doing anymore. And so, as I was preparing to, to launch this latest book, my management, not time management, I decided not to do interviews. And so I’ve just been doing, sharing my own ideas as essays, uh, and. And I don’t think I’m going to go back to doing interviews.
[00:07:36] I might do like a few here and there, but I don’t think it’s ever, it’s going to be like a regular thing for me. Uh, just because I don’t feel that I have necessarily a lot to add, uh, in that area, uh, in part, because those who have gotten, who are really good at interviews, like it’s, it’s, it’s an art and to get really good at it and to be able to attract.
[00:07:59] The type [00:08:00] of people that you want to talk to as the market sort of saturates, it gets harder and harder. Like for me to get an, a seem to live on my podcasts is like not going to happen probably, uh, or have Jerry Seinfeld on my podcast not going to happen. I don’t think. Uh, and so I’d much rather, you know, maybe read, read it, read some books and do an, a, seem to lab.
[00:08:28] Summary or something such as that. So I’m currently just sharing my own ideas on it. It’s my intellectual playgrounds, uh, which I think has kind of been from the beginning. And, and now I’m starting to accept that that is what it is. And I’m not so concerned about downloads. I don’t even take sponsors.
[00:08:48] I’ve got, uh, enough Patrion supporters to, to keep it going at the level that it’s going. And I’m just enjoying myself.
[00:08:57] Alex: [00:08:57] I like that idea of the podcast. Isn’t [00:09:00] intellectual, intellectual sandbox of sorts.
[00:09:02] David Kadavy: [00:09:02] But
[00:09:02] Alex: [00:09:02] when, when you started it, it sounds like you had some idea in terms of like what the market wasn’t
[00:09:06] David Kadavy: [00:09:06] delivering.
[00:09:07] Was that just the
[00:09:08] Alex: [00:09:08] people that were being interviewed or was that the conversation style or what, what gap did you want to plug when you kind of started out, down that path with
[00:09:15] David Kadavy: [00:09:15] interviews? Yeah, I think at the, at that time it was more about, um, there was just seemed to be this obsession with. Like peak performance, you know?
[00:09:27] So James Altucher at the time was like peak performance. I don’t know what he says the offers now. And then Tim is like world-class performers. And, um, something about that I don’t, I’m not into, um, I don’t know whether that is just me, like. Uh, like self-handicapping because I don’t like the challenge of trying to become a peak [00:10:00] performer or, or a, a world-class performer.
[00:10:02] I’m much more interested and arriving at the point where you’re doing this thing that nobody else can do. Um, which is in a way peak performance, I guess, but I’m more interested in, uh, How do you find your own voice? How do you go off the beaten path and find yourself in this place where now suddenly nobody can do this thing that you’re doing.
[00:10:27] Um, and so that was what I wanted to learn from my guests. And I think I did. That was another part of it is that I evolved so much myself from those conversations and the things that I learned. That I kind of reached the point where I was like, all right, well, I don’t actually want to consult anybody. Uh, any more.
[00:10:49] I want to, uh, lean more into what is it that I have? What am I thinking what’s going on in my mind and what do I have to [00:11:00] offer? There’s something strange about the word performers
[00:11:04] Alex: [00:11:04] in that context? Like I’ve noticed that same thing. I think it was the art, no art, not art of charm, Jordan harbinger, his new podcast.
[00:11:11] He always says like, you know, seeking the art of high performance or something like that. And then implies that there’s like an audience and competition and like a rigorous kind of structure. But it seems like even your process of productivity differs from that. Um, I dunno, tunnel vision performance, uh, checklist checklist
[00:11:28] David Kadavy: [00:11:28] is station
[00:11:29] Alex: [00:11:29] of productivity.
[00:11:30] Like it seems like in mind management, that, that kind of feels like the whole point of the book,
[00:11:35] David Kadavy: [00:11:35] at least like, from,
[00:11:36] Alex: [00:11:36] from what I’ve read so far, it’s like different in getting new creative work.
[00:11:39] David Kadavy: [00:11:39] What out instead of like the, yeah. And it actually, it actually took me a while to arrive at that realization too.
[00:11:45] And it’s it. Yeah. It’s good that you, you mentioned Jordan because he’s somebody who. Is an interviewer and he’s interviewed Shaq and, and he gets these big guests. And like, that’s the thing, you know, he studies old tapes of [00:12:00] Larry King inter doing interviews and like, that’s the thing he does. And I’m not going to become as good at he as he is at it.
[00:12:09] And certainly not for as broad of an audience as he is serving because when you get to that broad audience, That’s what people were, are interested in is this sort of thing that you’re doing when you’re playing the America game, which is, is, is like almost this sense of desperation, which is understandable because it’s hard to survive in America, uh, of like I’ve got to get more, I’ve got to, I’ve got to be the best of the top of my field and, and it’s, there’s less emphasis or.
[00:12:46] Yeah, there’s less emphasis, less appreciation for what I see as more of an artistic process. Of, uh, finding what it is about you that’s unique and, and getting [00:13:00] really good at that. Like doing the, um, I guess Neval would call it your, your specific knowledge, like, um, keep changing what you do until you are the best in the world at whatever it is that you’re doing, because you’re also the only person who is who’s doing that.
[00:13:17] Um, and so. Uh, yeah, it, it, it, that, and it is an iterative process and doing the podcast has been that sort of exploration where I did finally arrive at the point like, Oh, this is what I’m trying to do is, is that, uh, we do have this unique challenge where if it is the checklist type of procedural, step-by-step way of getting things done.
[00:13:47] Well, there’s no point in being really great at that because, uh, if it can be done step by step, then it’s gonna be automated. A robot is going to be doing [00:14:00] it. Like there’s no point you have to figure out what makes you as a human unique. And we all have something, but, uh, the way that people talk, uh, Makes it impossible to see how to make that happen.
[00:14:17] And it’s not easy know, I’m still trying to figure it out. I, and this, I think this is one of the things that takes a longer, you need a longer runway for it. You need more space, you need a lot of opportunity to, to screw up and try things and still somehow stay in the game and not go bust. Uh, and, and so, and so, yeah, I think that it does tie into.
[00:14:42] What I’m saying in the book, which is basically what productivity isn’t any longer about doing things faster or, or even better. It’s about, uh, arriving at quality ideas.
[00:14:55] David Khim: [00:14:55] Yeah. Well, that’s, what’s interesting to me, there’s I think [00:15:00] talking about these peak performers, there’s this implicit implicit message of.
[00:15:05] If you can do X, Y, Z, you can become a peak performer, which kind of gets to this checklist that you’re talking about. Any, if it is a checklist, everyone can do it. It doesn’t, it’s not really special. And it sounds like what you’re saying is there’s this journey where you have to arrive to where you’re supposed to be.
[00:15:23] Which which caught my ear. You you’re saying arrive a lot, implying
[00:15:29] David Kadavy: [00:15:29] that
[00:15:31] David Khim: [00:15:31] there’s a process and a series of experiences that one must go through in order to figure it out, what you’re good at and no hack or, uh, body hacking or mind hacking or anything like that is going to really get you there. Unless if you go through that process, To figure out what it is you need.
[00:15:47] That’s, that’s sort of my big takeaway here, which is a really interesting reframe
[00:15:52] David Kadavy: [00:15:52] to, to borrow from Nevada. Again, I think he said something like, you know, you can’t teach it, but you can learn it, [00:16:00] you know, but you’ve got to find your own way. You’ve got to, you’ve got to throw away the map. You’ve got to get lost and like, you’re just, you’re just, it’s just not going to work out.
[00:16:10] Step-by-step there’s not a guarantee there. Uh, Either either. Do you, do you consider yourself primarily a writer
[00:16:19] Alex: [00:16:19] or how would you define yourself? And I know that probably changes or it’s nuance, but like what would you tell other people?
[00:16:25] David Kadavy: [00:16:25] I, I just say writer now. Uh, it wasn’t something that I, I arrived at being a writer by accident.
[00:16:34] Uh, I was more interested in arts and design. I wrote a book about design. Uh, then I, and I was involved with entrepreneurship and, um, I sort of, I guess I arrived at this point where, uh, where I realized, well, writing is not something that I was innately passionate about. Uh, [00:17:00] but it is a creative process, much like arts or design.
[00:17:04] Uh, and I felt like the way that design was going, it was becoming kind of a commodity. Um, and I realized, well, with the lifestyle that I want to live, I don’t want to deal with clients. I want to be, I want to be location independent. I’m apparently decently given some kind of gift with writing because it wasn’t something that I enjoyed doing.
[00:17:31] As a kid or anything. I guess I, I, I got to this point where I, I said to myself, well, if I could just keep doing this every day, I enjoyed it enough. It affords me to do the types of activities day-to-day that I’d like to do, which is basically just sit and read and think about stuff. Um, you know, this is a, this is a good, this is a good, uh, Path to go down, uh, especially [00:18:00] given that, uh, w w when I was doing design and writing about design, I was thinking, well, the, the value out of design is that humans have to interface with computers.
[00:18:15] Um, and we can’t, we don’t have brain to computer interfaces. So the, the visual interface. Is the best way to do that, to reduce the friction between I have a thought and I’m going to get this computer to do a thing. Uh, and now I see it as now. There’s like libraries for designing. Um, I mean things, the, the field has advanced in ways that I’m, I look at that.
[00:18:42] There’s what, there’s a, there’s an Apple TV app for my, uh, smart TV. Like I’m so glad I don’t have to think about. There being a hundred different apps for something, but words are like they’re they’re platform independent, you know, you can put them in [00:19:00] anything. You can put it in a Kindle book, you can put it in a paperback, you can cut it up into tweets.
[00:19:05] You can make, put it on, on an Instagram post or something. And it, it affects people’s minds. You know, you could spend, you can invest all this time and effort in creating an app and a lot of apps. It’s like, well, it’s, there’s not a value add. There really it’s the, it’s the mental operating system that’s important.
[00:19:31] And so I also saw that as like a way to kind of contribute the way that I would like to contribute to humanity, which is to change people’s thoughts. And I can just do it with like words and the words are platform independent. They can go anywhere. And the activities of allow, allow the lifestyle that I’d like to lead, et cetera.
[00:19:50] So that’s sort of, uh, how I ended up being a writer. And so that, that is primarily what I think of myself as that’s super cool.
[00:20:00] [00:19:59] Alex: [00:19:59] So way back before you considered yourself a writer, you were writing books on design and probably blog posts and all that too.
[00:20:07] David Kadavy: [00:20:07] What
[00:20:07] Alex: [00:20:07] drove
[00:20:08] David Kadavy: [00:20:08] that? Well, I, uh, was in a great cubicle in Nebraska in, uh, 2004 and I was a designer and I had desperately wanted to get out of Nebraska.
[00:20:21] Um, but I failed at that and I ended up after college, coming back to Nebraska and getting a job in Omaha. I want to get out. And I was reading all these bloggers blogs was reading, um, Seth Godin. I was reading. Uh, Douglas Bowman, who went on to be a designer at Google and, and Twitter. Um, also David, I mean, a lot of these people, you might not even remember, but I was reading all these blogs and I was just thinking like, Oh, I want to start a blog too.
[00:20:53] It’d be so nice to like, just sort of reach out into, into the world, which was [00:21:00] kind of something that I, I always wanted to do because I grew up in a cul-de-sac. In Nebraska where the only friends pre-internet. So it’s like the only friends you can have are people who live in your neighborhood. Uh, and so I definitely like wanted to.
[00:21:15] Uh, reach out into the world. And so, uh, I just started a blog on blogger, uh, and then I started using that blog to practice web design. And you can still see the first blog post that I wrote. It’s terrible. It’s a run-on paragraph. There’s a misspelling in it, uh, in it. I’m talking about how, um, I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I just want to like barf it out there.
[00:21:41] I don’t want to get paralyzed over my own perfectionism, et cetera. And, uh, sort of one thing led to another. That was my playground for, for practicing design. Uh, and you know, roughly a year later, uh, I, I got discovered by a startup in, uh, San [00:22:00] Jose and they moved me out to Silicon Valley and that’s where I, I worked for a few years and got exposed to.
[00:22:09] Uh, the whole entrepreneurship worlds. I remember him talking about how he was raising money from a VC. I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. Uh, and so I did that for a few years and then I, I. Had learned how to sort of believe in myself from living in Silicon Valley, because growing up in Nebraska at the time, uh, if you had weird ideas or had had personal interests, people were very mystified by that.
[00:22:40] Um, you know, I remember starting my blog and my friends being like, well, why are you doing that? Somebody’s paying you. So to do that, um, like that’s actually how people think, like, you gotta tell me what to do. Somebody is going to, he’s got to pay you two before you’re going to do something you wouldn’t like, just do a thing, like, just cause you want to.
[00:22:59] But [00:23:00] that’s, that’s crazy. Why would, why would, why would you do that? And so it, it sounds so ridiculous now, because I think that that cult, this culture of entrepreneurship has spread to places like Nebraska or Omaha. I’m sure it’s completely different there, but at the time, at least it was, it was certainly, um, like that.
[00:23:16] So I had, I had. I had achieved. I had arrived at this point where I was, uh, I could believe in myself and I understood this, like ask for forgiveness, not for permission thing. And when you have an idea to pursue it. But I came to the realization living in Silicon Valley that I didn’t want to do this sort of VC scale thing where you’ve got to raise a bunch of money.
[00:23:39] And then you hire a bunch of employees. I don’t really like working with people. Um, I like to be independent. I want, I don’t want people breaking my toys. Uh, and, and, uh, and so I left Silicon Valley in 2008. Uh, and it was, I didn’t really have a plan, went to Chicago. Uh, it was going to be cheaper rent, [00:24:00] and I just wanted to, uh, give myself some space and explore whatever was in my, my mind, just whatever ideas I had.
[00:24:08] And so I moved to Chicago. I, um, uh, Build like 10 hours a week to clients in Silicon Valley. And then the rest of the time I tried to build a passive revenue streams. And then, uh, on top of that was just what I called speculative was I’ll just play and see whatever I come up with. Well, three years of being on my own, um, was the point at which I wrote a blog post.
[00:24:37] Uh, it was very popular. It was top of hacker news. And I got an email from a publisher saying, Hey, would you like to write a book? About this. And I said, yes, this is, this is what I’ve been waiting for.
[00:24:49] Alex: [00:24:49] That’s fascinating about the origin story in Nebraska. I think you and I have talked about this before, but I grew up in small town, Wisconsin and entrepreneurship was like the local, like [00:25:00] gas station owner, or like the, I dunno, construction guy or something like that who had his own
[00:25:04] David Kadavy: [00:25:04] business truck.
[00:25:06] And you go clear people’s driveways for, you know, five bucks a piece or whatever. And you know, there’s not. Yeah, there’s not, the
[00:25:16] Alex: [00:25:16] paradigm is so small in terms of like things as you could feasibly do for a living. I remember my big turning point was going to college and realizing that a couple of friends were building their own startups.
[00:25:25] Some were writing somewhere like teaching piano and like just doing interesting things that I thought like, Oh, I didn’t know, you could make money, good money doing these things. So it sounds like that was your moment. Once you started blogging, uh, while still in Nebraska, it seemed like when you basically got that job offer, you’re like, Wait,
[00:25:41] David Kadavy: [00:25:41] something came on
[00:25:42] Alex: [00:25:42] this,
[00:25:42] David Kadavy: [00:25:42] like, this is
[00:25:43] Alex: [00:25:43] there’s something to this, even though I didn’t see it before.
[00:25:47] David Kadavy: [00:25:47] Yeah. I don’t know. I do. I had, there were some forests there. Um, I certainly like there were people in Nebraska doing creative things. Like there was one big inspiration was, uh, [00:26:00] a, a record label called saddle Creek records. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with Conor Oberst or, or bright eyes. Um, they came out of Nebraska.
[00:26:10] And, you know, I would run into them at a bar or something and, you know, we weren’t like buddies or whatever. I had a friend who played in a band on that label. Um, but it was cool. They were, you know, they’re on a global stage. Uh, like my friend would just go leave for six weeks because he was touring in Asia or Europe playing drums.
[00:26:35] Uh, and so there was that sort of inspiration and, and. There were some people involved with that label who had websites and we’re, we’re not doing the great cubicle thing. And I was sorta mystified. Like, do these people make money? Like, I mean, it wasn’t, I couldn’t figure out how to like make friends with them or anything, but at least it was, it was, it was an example that at least got me [00:27:00] thinking like, okay, I need to like put my little spot on the web.
[00:27:04] And at first it was just flash experiments. There was this plugin called. Called Macromedia flash. I don’t even think it was Adobe might not have been, I don’t know, but they’re just like made little flash toys on my website. That was like 2003, maybe. Um, and then eventually did, did the blog on blogger and then migrated it over.
[00:27:27] And I do remember having thoughts like, Oh, you know, like when I drive by Warren Buffett’s house, And he’s got that house that he bought for, I don’t know what, $30,000 or $40,000 over on, on Farnam and Dodge. Um, and now that house is worth like, I don’t know, $700,000. Are you back at least early 2000? Like, well, maybe that’s something like that will happen on the internet where I can [00:28:00] just kind of be.
[00:28:01] Right. This is something I can like pass on to my grandchildren, or like, just like grab this plot here because everybody was telling me to buy a house and they’re just like, Oh, you got to buy a house. It’s the best investment you can make. You know, God’s not making any more lands. I dunno, something’s weird here.
[00:28:20] This is early two thousands when everybody’s getting, uh, mortgages and you know, a few years before the real estate crash. And like that doesn’t, it doesn’t sound right. Especially because so many people are telling me this, it makes me even more skeptical. Maybe it’s something on the internet here. I said, I do, it did have some foresight there that like I, I realized I was in some kind of a momentous, like time where like there was this explosion happening that I could see that a lot of people couldn’t.
[00:28:58] Um, I [00:29:00] can’t say capitalized on it really great. Other than that, I did buy Google, uh, an Apple stock, which have been, uh, very important to allowing me to even pursue the path that I have.
[00:29:16] Allie: [00:29:16] So I’d love to ask more about your move to San Jose and the words you used. You said, I learned how to believe in myself.
[00:29:24] I want to know more about that lesson. And like, if there’s any fundamental things that happened out there, if it was just a bunch of mistakes that you made, because I think it’s interesting, you use the language, like learn how to believe some people don’t, they’re not born with that.
[00:29:39] David Kadavy: [00:29:39] Oh, absolutely. Cause.
[00:29:41] Cause, cause I didn’t, I didn’t believe in myself, you know, I. Uh, I didn’t grow up in an environment where, Oh, you have an idea. Like you should pursue that. It’s more like, Oh, you have an idea. Like, you’re weird. You have an idea. What’s wrong with you. Um, or [00:30:00] you, you even at work, you might be like, Hey, you know, we could, we could try this or whatever they like, ah, no, you can’t, you can’t that thing.
[00:30:07] And this, Oh, we should talk to a lawyer first or, you know, shooting everything down. Uh, just a very closed minded, fearful culture. Um, Primarily, you know, I, like I said, not everybody’s that way, but like, especially like the office I was in, when I told people I was moving to California, I couldn’t hear, I didn’t hear like a single good thing about it.
[00:30:34] Hardly. It was like, Oh, the people are so different. They’re like, yeah, it’s the idea. The traffic is horrible. Uh, if you ever watch the movie Nebraska by Alexander Payne, who was from Nebraska, who’s obviously a very creative person. Uh, the language that that is in that movie is just so exact. Um, because if people are like, Oh, w what, they just want to know the gas mileage that the [00:31:00] car gets, and is this a good deal and et cetera, there’s no creative pursuits at all.
[00:31:05] And so when I get to California, first of all, there’s, it’s just a sort of crazy, crazy entrepreneur, a guy who discovered me in Omaha. And I realized having conversations with him, like, I might have an idea and be like, yeah, okay, we should do this. And they would, you know, we would do it. Uh, maybe it didn’t work if we would do it.
[00:31:27] Uh, and it got to, and I remember being in arriving there in California and, and having, I had, you know, programming skills and design skills and, and working in the sort of corporate. Great cubicle world. It was like, Oh, you’re young. You’ve got to pay your dues. There wasn’t any appreciation of what you have as somebody who can master this technology.
[00:31:57] That’s currently changing the world [00:32:00] in 2003, 2004. Um, and so to arrive in Californians to suddenly have. My opinions or my ideas be treated as if they have value was a revelation. Uh, it was, I mean, it was a lot of, it was this world that I had pictured might exist and realizing that yes, in fact it did exist.
[00:32:27] Um, because for the longest time being in Nebraska, I thought this doesn’t add up. How, like, I feel like I’ve got something here. Yeah. But nobody else seems to believe that. Uh, and so I didn’t believe it, but then once I was in the Valley and, and, and, and, and got treated with respect and had my ideas treated with respect and had, and was in this environment where I would have an idea, and then my friend would be like, we’re doing this [00:33:00] today.
[00:33:01] And they would push you and you would go do it. Um, yes, that was just such a huge, um, uh, catalyst of personal growth to just simply, uh, have your unbelief in your ideas reinforced.
[00:33:26] Alex: [00:33:26] It sounds like environment plays a big role in a lot of your paradigm shifts. I know the Chicago, Michigan one played a big role in the mind management book.
[00:33:34] Um, I believe your words, or you want it to be in mind in a brain, in the jar on Mars. Um, so that was one environmental
[00:33:41] David Kadavy: [00:33:41] shift, the shift
[00:33:42] Alex: [00:33:42] from Nebraska to San Jose, and that you were allowed to like, let your creativity flourish
[00:33:46] David Kadavy: [00:33:46] and not
[00:33:46] Alex: [00:33:46] have it stamped out. So
[00:33:47] David Kadavy: [00:33:47] would you say that environment plays a pretty big role in,
[00:33:50] Alex: [00:33:50] in my management and.
[00:33:52] Productivity output performance, whatever you want to call like that kind of like end result that you’re seeking
[00:34:00] [00:33:59] David Kadavy: [00:33:59] for me. I don’t know if that’s true for everybody. I feel like I’m particularly malleable, particularly influenced my by my environment. Um, and that is something that you, that I think is, is, um, You examine it.
[00:34:17] You, you see that as you change your environment enough times, especially for awhile is coming here for a few months. And then I would go live in Chicago for a while, and then come here for you for a few months. And there’ll be sort of things I would notice about myself that I was a different person in these different places.
[00:34:35] And as much as one environment might shape me into a certain way, I’d come back to the other environment. I think, all right. Yeah. All right. I need to like, hold on to this and you just slowly become this other person as hard as you’re trying not to. Uh, and some of it stays eventually [00:35:00] over time. Some of it stays almost like you’re doing, uh, you’re etching something, dipping it in an acid bath or, or whatever.
[00:35:08] Um, and so. But yeah, I do think environment is important. And that is one of the reasons why, as I’ve experimented with this, this idea of separating myself from the time management paradigm has been so important to be here in Columbia. I don’t know how I would do it in the United States. Um, even as much as I’ve driven it into my mind, I think it would still be.
[00:35:36] It would be tricky. Um, here in Columbia it has just a completely different conception of time. And, uh, and it’s challenging for me even because I have that programming to, to be a little impatient, to being a little in a hurry and to, to value time, the way that, uh, we America North Americans [00:36:00] do. Um, and, and so, yeah, the, the.
[00:36:06] The environment is really important. And I, and that extends to how I might design my home office, uh, or the way I change my environment throughout the day. As I, as I tried to be in, in various mental States for doing different types of work.
[00:36:22] Alex: [00:36:22] Is this a simple delineation between, I think there’s, I can’t remember the academic’s name, but she has this concept of
[00:36:27] David Kadavy: [00:36:27] tight
[00:36:28] Alex: [00:36:28] cultures and loose cultures and tight cultures are going to be more rigid.
[00:36:31] They’re going to be more, um, you know, demanding on your time. So like, if you’re two minutes late, like it’s a big deal and then lose cultures are going to be a little bit more free flowing. There’s probably more dancing at family celebrations.
[00:36:43] David Kadavy: [00:36:43] Is that
[00:36:43] Alex: [00:36:43] kind of like the central paradigm that kind of creates openness for creative
[00:36:47] David Kadavy: [00:36:47] output?
[00:36:48] Alex: [00:36:48] Like just being a more open culture, having less of, I think the word you used in your book was time pressure. Um, so you’ve got like a 30 minute meeting, you know, you can’t go over, you can’t read any longer than that because you’ve gotta be here at this time. Do you think [00:37:00] that’s kind of the main thing, the main difference between the U S and in Columbia now?
[00:37:05] David Kadavy: [00:37:05] Uh, I’m not familiar with the concept that you’re talking about. I am, I am familiar with, uh, clock time event time. That is something that, uh, that I’ve certainly noticed that is that, that a culture like the United States is, is base is clock time. We, we want things to happen at certain times. We want to know how long is this going to take?
[00:37:25] How long are we going to be waiting in line, et cetera, place a place like Columbia is event time, culture, and. It’s just, this thing happens. And then that thing happens. And then, and then this other thing happens if we, if, if this other thing doesn’t have with me for this, we do this thing. Uh, and one way to think about it is that like in Colombia, if somebody wants to have a weekly appointment with you or that you just had an appointment and you’re going to see them again in a week, they’ll say an old chose G and in eight days.
[00:38:00] [00:38:00] All right. And so when I first heard this, I’m just like, this is wrong. What are you talking about? Like, there’s going to be, the earth is going to rotate seven times. And like, who am I to say that this entire culture has decided, has, has like, are doing it wrong, but that’s like, what your mind says like that doesn’t, that’s not, that’s just wrong.
[00:38:19] Isn’t it? Eight days it’s seven rotations of the year. And it wasn’t until I learned about event time that it started to make sense, which is that today as an event, There’s six days between now and the, and the next appointment. Those are events. And then the day of the appointment is another event.
[00:38:35] That’s eight days to one plus six plus one eight days . And so when you’re trying to think creatively, you are connecting disparate concepts. Um, it’s almost like a racquetball court with balls flying around. They have to, they have to run into each other. Um, And sometimes you’re going to have an insight.
[00:38:58] That’s good. Sometimes you’re not going to have on [00:39:00] this. Not that that’s not that useful, but you have to kind of experiment and figure it out. Well, when you’re doing procedural stuff, uh, it’s fine to go by the clock. Frederick Taylor who created scientific management, sat there with a stopwatch next to the industrial workers, broke down every single motion.
[00:39:20] If they, if they were, if somebody was, was putting up a brick wall, they would even have like a person who just put the scaffolding up so that that person didn’t have to stoop down to grab the brick. They would just pick up the brick, put it here, like follow these exact motions, follow these exact steps.
[00:39:36] You’re going to get the brick wall up faster. Well, we still have that mentality, but work has changed so much to where if you know, there’s machines that can put up brick walls, I’m quite certain. Um, if, if you could just follow a series of steps, it can be automated and machine can do it. It’s the quality of your ideas that matter?
[00:39:59] Um, I [00:40:00] think it was Nepal that said, said this, uh, that, you know, Warren Buffett’s spends a year. Deciding and one day acting Warren Buffett, my former neighbor, uh, like it doesn’t, it’s the decisions, the quality of the decisions that you’re making. It’s the actual execution doesn’t take that much time at all.
[00:40:20] Um, and so as you’re, so you need a lot of space. There’s no way to, to rush this process. Of of arriving at that point where you’re making a good decision where you have a good idea. And so if you’re creating some sort of a, uh, Oh border, uh, uh, a deadline that you have to rush to beat, you’re putting yourself in an anxious state.
[00:40:53] Well, an anxious state is a killer of creativity. It’s we want to be [00:41:00] relaxed, um, positive mood, these things promote creativity, these things promote insight, but when you’re in like a vigilant state, you’re watching the clock. That’s a little better for you. Maybe if you’re like correcting the spelling on a paper or something, but, um, just use Grammarly or something instead.
[00:41:21] Um, and so. And that’s the type of culture that we have here is that it is very much present moment focused. Uh, and this is one of the things that, that, uh, Anne Marie and LAR seliar and Amar tab tablet, Mar tablet. Yeah. When they looked at clock time and event time people, um, found that one of the things that.
[00:41:53] Event time people were able to do is they’re better able to seize opportunities that come to them [00:42:00] in the moment. Like say, if you say, Oh, we’re going to give you a free vacation, but you have to go next week with your clock time person. You’re like, I can’t, I’ve got all this stuff scheduled. If you’re an event, time person, you’re more present with what’s what’s happening in that, in that moment.
[00:42:15] And that is great for creativity because you never know when you’re going to have. These insights that you then want to execute on them. So if you already have some sort of plan about all the things you’re going to be doing, then you’re not able to be present with those opportunities. Yeah. This is super hard for me because,
[00:42:35] Alex: [00:42:35] uh, I’m always ranting about this.
[00:42:37] If I had a meeting at like 10:00 AM,
[00:42:40] David Kadavy: [00:42:40] you could say, like, I could
[00:42:41] Alex: [00:42:41] wake up at six 30 and I have a couple of hours of creative free time. If you will, I can write whatever, but I look at that calendar and it gives me anxiety because I’m like, I have to like. Wrap up at a certain time, I have to like prepare for this meeting.
[00:42:52] So I ended up getting either no creative work done, or my creative work is not as good as I would like. So a kind of compromise
[00:42:59] David Kadavy: [00:42:59] it’s, it’s hard [00:43:00] to fight uphill
[00:43:00] Alex: [00:43:00] against culture. And
[00:43:01] David Kadavy: [00:43:01] especially if you work at a large company, Because
[00:43:04] Alex: [00:43:04] everybody else has incentives and those incentives tend to be appearing busy.
[00:43:08] So you throw time on other people’s calendars and externalize your own, um, you know, sort of incentives on appearing, busy onto others calendars. So then you get a stacked calendar. So it’s hard to fight against that.
[00:43:19] David Kadavy: [00:43:19] So what I’ve done is,
[00:43:21] Alex: [00:43:21] uh, this concept called sacred Saturdays. Where I just wake up and I have no plans.
[00:43:25] Like I never planned anything on
[00:43:26] David Kadavy: [00:43:26] Saturdays.
[00:43:27] Alex: [00:43:27] And if I want to work, I can, if I don’t want to work, I don’t have to phone to go for a walk. I’ll just go for a three hour walk and it’s been amazing. I’ve gotten my best work done on these sacred Saturdays. And I think David you’ve started doing them as well, just for
[00:43:40] David Kadavy: [00:43:40] basically stress
[00:43:41] Alex: [00:43:41] management, right?
[00:43:42] Yeah. I,
[00:43:43] David Kadavy: [00:43:43] I do a
[00:43:44] David Khim: [00:43:44] deep work Wednesdays, so entire days blocked off for no meetings. Granted something. Sometimes slips in and I make sure it’s at the end of the day. And I now have the sacred Saturdays as well. I go on a four hour walk and no music or anything, just walking, [00:44:00] observing some birds, sipping some coffee, watching some people just arguing, maybe on the street or something, but just not, not pressuring myself to do anything.
[00:44:09] And. I think that’s been helpful space where that creative thinking, connecting those nodes that I wouldn’t otherwise have, have noticed connections for.
[00:44:17] David Kadavy: [00:44:17] There’s a concept.
[00:44:18] Alex: [00:44:18] I think in the book on convergent and divergent thinking,
[00:44:22] David Kadavy: [00:44:22] does,
[00:44:22] Alex: [00:44:22] does that open space play into that where it’s like, you kind of need, you know, you have all the time preparing and researching and, you know, sitting down and focus work, and then you kind of need to lift your head up and.
[00:44:33] Go walk or take a shower or something for the actual
[00:44:36] David Kadavy: [00:44:36] concept to converge or there’s something about that
[00:44:39] Alex: [00:44:39] space? Right?
[00:44:40] David Kadavy: [00:44:40] Well, certainly like the divergent process is a process sort of, of collection of allowing your tentacles to reach out into the world and, and collect what they will, uh, like David was saying.
[00:44:53] Going on a walk, like going on a walk, no phone, no, you’re listening to a podcast. You’re not taking a [00:45:00] call. You’re just kind of looking around. And maybe even I, I try to do this where, like, you might have a walk and you have a destination in mind, but allowing yourself to say, Oh, well, wait, no, I want to go over here now instead.
[00:45:13] And, and, and exploring in that way. Um, whereas the convergent process is sort of the whittling down of all right. Well, I. I think of it. Like when I go on a vacation often, um, when I first arrive at a new location, I don’t know what it is about me. I want to like walk around and like, see what there is that like, as soon as I get there and the diverging process.
[00:45:40] Yeah. Yeah. Right. And then I feel a little more secure with like, all right, well, to have a successful vacation. I wouldn’t be able to do that and that, and that, and I can feel secure that I’m not like missing out. Right. That could go as a whole other way. Maybe it’s not, not good [00:46:00] to have that FOMO necessarily, but it does mitigate it for me.
[00:46:04] Um, so yeah, the, the convergent process is more like whittling down of, of, of things is that you, you, you’ve got an idea what your options are and, you know sure.
[00:46:14] Alex: [00:46:14] Um,
[00:46:15] David Kadavy: [00:46:15] homing in on, on one of them. Do you consider it with writing as an example, is, is the research, the divergent process
[00:46:24] Alex: [00:46:24] is the editing, the convergent process.
[00:46:26] David Kadavy: [00:46:26] It
[00:46:27] Alex: [00:46:27] right.
[00:46:27] David Kadavy: [00:46:27] Writing seems like it could hit a little bit
[00:46:29] Alex: [00:46:29] of both of those, depending on how you’re right.
[00:46:32] Allie: [00:46:32] I was going to say I’ve started, especially when I have to pull together like interviews and data points and all these disparate pieces of information I’ll spend like. A big chunk of time just absorbing it.
[00:46:44] And then I have to go away from my computer. Um, If I have the time, because yeah. And I’ve gotten some of my best ideas, especially when the piece needs some of my own opinion in it. Cause I can’t produce my own opinion [00:47:00] in like if I’m switching between the data piece and then, uh, a Google doc, um, I have to like let it all come together.
[00:47:06] So it reminded me with the whole, the walking and the convergent process. That’s. Something that’s helped me a ton because you get so close to it. It doesn’t make any sense. Like you can’t do anything, but just regurgitate what you’ve read. So that’s what it related to me the most when it comes to writing.
[00:47:22] Alex: [00:47:22] I
[00:47:23] David Kadavy: [00:47:23] wonder, uh,
[00:47:24] Alex: [00:47:24] I once wrote an article on brand awareness and I had to spend three months kind of chipping away at the writing. Like I would write a paragraph and be like, Oh, I don’t know this well enough. But I was mainly just thinking and researching and reading.
[00:47:36] David Kadavy: [00:47:36] Cause I didn’t know
[00:47:36] Alex: [00:47:36] what the term brand awareness meant at a core level.
[00:47:39] David Kadavy: [00:47:39] Like when people said that
[00:47:40] Alex: [00:47:40] it was kind of like meaning all these different things. So I actually had, now that I have these words to use and frameworks to apply, it was like a whole
[00:47:47] David Kadavy: [00:47:47] divergent process
[00:47:48] Alex: [00:47:48] before I actually sat down. And when I understood when I had my own ideas in my head, It was so fast.
[00:47:53] Like I just wrote it and it was like done, but like the three months before that was so laborious and just like, [00:48:00] I don’t know, information gathering and synthesizing and all that stuff.
[00:48:03] Allie: [00:48:03] There was something else in your book, David, you said that, um, we’ve associated productivity with producing and like having an output, like even a tangible output.
[00:48:14] And I personally that’s like if I have a productive day, I wrote a ton of words or I had a ton of meetings and. I need to stop associating that because going on a walk for four hours, thinking through everything you just learned, like that’s also productive, right? Because then you can sit down and write a piece in 30 minutes.
[00:48:31] So you have to start associating productivity with less personally. I need to stop associating it with so much tangibility.
[00:48:38] Alex: [00:48:38] Yeah.
[00:48:38] David Kadavy: [00:48:38] I mean, it depends on what you’re optimizing for. See what, this is something that I think about as a writer, as. Or recently I’ve been reading, I’m reading a lot of novel as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, but he just helped me realize, um, that I’m, I’m leveraging media.
[00:48:57] Uh, you can let there’s three types of leverage [00:49:00] capital labor media. So if I’m leveraging media, I can reach millions of people just. Moving my thumb on my phone and publishing a tweet. If that’s we is mind blowing, right? Like it’s gotta be amazing now. I’ve recently started focusing more on, on Twitter as one channel.
[00:49:29] Whereas before I would sort of spread myself thin, I’ve got to have this on, on Facebook. I’ve got to have this on Instagram too. I’ve got to have this on Twitter. I got to put on my YouTube channel. I’ve got to have all these places. Well, then you don’t have any, you don’t want, you don’t get to know the medium you’re competing with millions of people.
[00:49:46] In that, and it’s maybe some of them know them being better than you do. And a lot of them are just by random chance, they’re going to be lucky and they’re just going to naturally be better than you at it. And so this is why I think more about like, [00:50:00] well, just get really good at this one, medium and try to do it as well as you can.
[00:50:06] And so with something like, like for example, with Twitter, Twitter is like, Trying to write a play while sitting on a stage. Well, where somebody else is performing another play, like the box that people compose in is right there. And there’s actually tweets coming in underneath the box. So, but there’s, you can cheat if you.
[00:50:40] Right. Your tweets separately in a different place. And you even might, you might spend like weeks on a tweet storm or on a tweet of like, thinking that thing through wait. Okay. W w what about this one word? Is that the right word? Are the other words I could use and to like, dig deep on that, where you’re spending hours on [00:51:00] us unsweet, and maybe it doesn’t pay off for this one, but you do that enough and you start getting better at it.
[00:51:05] And, uh, I don’t know, I could be wrong. This has been my main focus over the year is just trying to write better tweets and I’ve gotten better at it. I’m not a master. Um, but if you, if you’re, if you’re leveraging something, leverage is all about turning your force into more force. But if you’re on something like Twitter, Where you have a lot of competition.
[00:51:34] Like you’ve got to have a lot of force, even though there’s the leverage because everybody else is using that same leverage. And so you’ve just gotta be really, really good at it. And so with content it’s a little bit, sometimes I worry that I’m fooling myself because I have had those periods where I say, I’m just going to sit down and I’m going to write every morning and 500 word, medium posts.
[00:51:57] I’m going to put it out there. And during those [00:52:00] times, my platform has, has grown and I’ve had, uh, some good ideas come from it as well. And I see people kind of like scaling their writing where they make sure they’re on LinkedIn. This goes to Instagram too. And this goes, and so there could be a bit of a bias of, well we’re we’re in the machine age, you just have to get your words into all the machines.
[00:52:26] There could be a little bit of ads. But I also think like that if you can get past that local, maximum, past that dip somewhere beyond there, there is just the will. You’ve got to be on Twitter because that’s the one place you’re going to get novels tweets. Because they’re that good things? No. It’s if the plays the game, you’re playing question on PR
[00:52:51] Alex: [00:52:51] in the pursuit of that.
[00:52:52] Perfect, brilliant tweet. That’s going to reach
[00:52:54] David Kadavy: [00:52:54] the most people.
[00:52:55] Alex: [00:52:55] Is there. You actually mentioned this in the book too. I think his name is Dean [00:53:00] Simonton. He did some research on quality and it turns out Picasso painted thousands and thousands of paintings. And we only know a couple of them. So. Is there a trade off or is there a better strategy between really meticulously crafting one piece of work?
[00:53:16] Whether it’s a tweet, whether it’s a blog post, whether it’s a
[00:53:18] David Kadavy: [00:53:18] podcast.
[00:53:19] Alex: [00:53:19] Or shipping really, really fast because one, maybe you get better through iteration and two, maybe,
[00:53:25] David Kadavy: [00:53:25] maybe it’s just really hard to predict what people
[00:53:27] Alex: [00:53:27] want. And like, maybe you just have to like throw enough out there that like one resonates, like, do you, like, how do you see those two
[00:53:33] David Kadavy: [00:53:33] in terms of the
[00:53:33] Alex: [00:53:33] dichotomy in
[00:53:34] David Kadavy: [00:53:34] terms of like
[00:53:35] Alex: [00:53:35] practice and art?
[00:53:36] David Kadavy: [00:53:36] I, yeah. I’ve asked myself this so many times and I don’t think, I guess my strategy is. Is both is like spend time where you’re worried about volume and then spend time where you’re worried about quality and in a way it is randomness. You’re throwing spaghetti against the wall. You’re trying to breed [00:54:00] black swans and a good way to do that is just more iterations, more you’re playing more hands of poker.
[00:54:09] Um, I said rolling the dice once, but. Adam Conover, who is a comedian said he didn’t like that analogy very much because it implies complete randomness. So maybe poker’s a little better because you actually get there’s a little more skill, I think, involves something like poker. And, um, so yeah, I, I think it, I think it’s, it’s both.
[00:54:33] And certainly like with the Simonton reason there are counter. Examples. There are kind of always are there’s like Harper Lee wrote kill it to kill a Mockingbird. That was the only book that she completed in her life. The woman who wrote, uh, gone with the winds, like she did that and was like, no, I’m never writing anything again.
[00:54:58] Like that was horrible. [00:55:00] Um, and so is my part of, it might be your personality. So like for myself as somebody who. Still sometimes struggles with believing in himself. Um, and I think for a lot of beginning writers, the volume thing helps because it, uh, helps remove that hesitation is that you’re forcing yourself to sit down and write and publish things.
[00:55:31] And so you’re, you’re building the muscle, not just for the writing, but also for the publishing because that’s. That’s a big thing to get through because you can come with a million reasons not to publish. Um, and so I see it as three stages of being a writer is, is, is, is one, is, is can I, and w I think I had a had anyway, like, can I write, can I actually sit down and pump out words?
[00:55:57] Can I publish, do I have the guts? [00:56:00] To put my, my work out there. And can I make it good? Is, is a final stage. I just recently started reading books about writing, um, after finishing my third book, um, to actually, you know, I’m realized that I there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about writing that I probably wouldn’t have written as much if I had known and it’s making me a better writer, but I can only get away with it because now I have the confidence.
[00:56:26] I just wanted to stage, right.
[00:56:28] David Khim: [00:56:28] That, that, uh, the three stages of being a writer is really interesting to hear, because I actually had a different question at that kind of set it up, but. Just compensation. It’s been the steam of arriving, and I feel like that’s going to be your next book arriving by favorite right.
[00:56:43] Academy versus becoming by Michelle Obama.
[00:56:48] David Kadavy: [00:56:48] But,
[00:56:49] David Khim: [00:56:49] but you know, looking at my notes here, you mentioned looking at Warren Buffett’s house and seeing that, Oh, this went from 30 K to 700 K over how many [00:57:00] decades? I’m like passive income, right? Uh, you led, you arrived at this learning to believe in yourself. Um, and that seems to have filtered in to the rest of your life, where you felt confident enough to move to Chicago, moved to Columbia and even had this.
[00:57:20] I don’t know if you’d call it a mission, but this idea of knowing, understanding that words are platform agnostic and you want to affect people’s minds, which is inherently. A long game to do. You don’t do that overnight most of the time. And I know your book is about like mine management, helping people move away from these productivity hacks and focus more on kind of re rewiring their brain, essentially to, to think a different way.
[00:57:47] So in the same way, you’re talking about the three stages of being a writer, how would you identify those stages of arriving to this point where you’re. You’ve learned to learn, to [00:58:00] manage your mind versus, you know, feeling that time pressure of trying to do productivity hacks and doing something in the next minute and delivering something immediately.
[00:58:07] Like, what was your, what were your stages of getting to that point?
[00:58:14] David Kadavy: [00:58:14] Yeah, it was a little bit for trial by fire, I think because, um, I had a book deal and I didn’t have to believe in myself too much. Because I at least had a publisher who believed in me and gave me money and created that pressure. And I don’t, I would have really struggled to write that first book without that vote of confidence.
[00:58:38] Um, but then once I started trying to do it, I realized it was really hard to write a book in six months when you haven’t written a book before, it would be hard. It’d be hard to do it now. Um, And, and, and, and at the time I, at least I was, I, I, I had a [00:59:00] lot of desperation, um, to prove myself, uh, and, uh, that was a big, that was important fuel.
[00:59:08] And I got by with that. And I think that’s why I couldn’t repeat it now, because I don’t feel a need to prove myself, uh, to anybody really anymore. So I wouldn’t feel as motivated. To do it, but, um, but it was just in that process of writing that I realized that I was banging my head against the wall 12 hours a day.
[00:59:30] And I would just have these moments where suddenly the writing would come easily. And within 15 minutes I would have like a whole chapter written. Uh, and I, I thought, well, if that took 15 minutes and all day I was doing pretty much nothing. Like why couldn’t I just. Sit down and, and do that. Um, and so I guess I’m kind of glad that I got to, I had the pressure there for, to, to allow me to [01:00:00] discover what that felt like.
[01:00:02] Um, hopefully with my book, I can avoid some other people having to find themselves in a situation like that in order to discover this. Uh, so I think the first thing was just trying to find that, that, that, that moment. When the creative work would come easily. And in part of that was also just letting go of, um, like Allie was talking about that, that you can’t just sit down and do the research and have the output come all at once.
[01:00:35] And having that permission, having that, being comfortable with that, that you are going to sit down and you’re just going to like write some. No, it’s about sort of the facts of what you’re dealing with or, or whatever sort of thoughts you have going on about this thing. And you’re going to accept that a lot of it’s going to be wrong and it’s going to be really poorly written, et cetera.
[01:00:58] Uh, just being [01:01:00] comfortable with that. It’s a huge load off of your, um, your nervous system, which if you have a load on your nervous system is going to be a blocker. It’s a creativity. So I think that’s the number one thing. So if I were to make it three things, then it would, it would be, um, it would be
[01:01:27] well finding your, finding your sweet spot, um, respecting the four stages of creativity, which we can talk about. But I talked about it in the book, which is just accepting that, that you’re not going to sit down and do it. All at once. Um, and then after that, I would, I would say it is, it is recognizing the S the cycles, uh, that happened in your work, whether that is your shipping schedule or the way that the rhythm of your energy works throughout the week, [01:02:00] um, or, or seasonal variations in your particular business, things like that.
[01:02:07] So if I break down the three, um, those, those would be my three. I’m gonna, I’m gonna disappear for one second. Did you guys, um, the
[01:02:18] Alex: [01:02:18] creative sweet-spot is such a cool idea, cause I feel like
[01:02:22] David Kadavy: [01:02:22] it’s very difficult.
[01:02:24] Alex: [01:02:24] To have like a fully, I guess, event based calendar,
[01:02:27] David Kadavy: [01:02:27] um, as opposed to a time-based one, especially if you work
[01:02:30] Alex: [01:02:30] at a big company like com spot, uh, you know, you’ve got a bunch of meetings, obligations, deadlines, et
[01:02:34] David Kadavy: [01:02:34] cetera, but it feels like the creative sweet spot is something
[01:02:37] Alex: [01:02:37] that you could pretty much anybody could do, especially since typically early in the morning, this, according to your book, that is.
[01:02:43] The sweet spot in terms of the grogginess to get into that creative, uh,
[01:02:46] David Kadavy: [01:02:46] brainwave state.
[01:02:47] Alex: [01:02:47] Um, so do you, do you still follow that? Do
[01:02:49] David Kadavy: [01:02:49] you write every
[01:02:50] Alex: [01:02:50] morning? Do you, you don’t drink coffee, just wake up and put pen to paper,
[01:02:55] David Kadavy: [01:02:55] certainly slightly more relaxed. Uh, now that I’ve finished a book that [01:03:00] I’ve been working on for so long, but yeah, every morning time is certainly the time that I, that I try to, um, I try to, to write.
[01:03:09] And I, I see it as well. If I don’t right now that I’m probably not going to write a lot later, so that kind of doesn’t go away. It continues to be important for me, but when I do have other priorities going on, like as I’m, uh, promoting this book, for example, or preparing the, uh, audio book, um, sometimes I’ll, I’ll let it something else.
[01:03:37] Take priority over it. Or if it’s something that’s like incredibly unpleasant that I need to do that I don’t have a, that I need to have enough mental energy to motivate myself to do. Sometimes I’ll make a little bit of a carve out a little bit of an area for that, but, um, kind of like David’s, [01:04:00] uh, deep work Wednesday.
[01:04:03] My Mondays and Tuesdays are. I pretty much no meetings. I just try not to schedule anything just because to, to really get lost in something and to not feel any need to watch your clock at all is, is incredibly valuable. I think it’s, and this is something where I, I think my behavior sometimes mystifies people, um, Because I placed so much emphasis on that.
[01:04:37] Like just for example, I had, um, somebody offering me, um, money to, to like write four articles a month for a few months. And, um, and I could probably, I could like use content that I already had [01:05:00] and I like turned it down. And it wasn’t bad money. Um, but I turned it down simply because I didn’t want to have that obligation
[01:05:14] taking up any mental space. And so while there are ideas such as a, an aspirational, hourly rate, um, you can also place a, almost like a dollar value on certain mental States. And that can be very high sometimes. And it can be kind of in consequence, seemingly inconsequential things that can intrude on that.
[01:05:40] Another thing I recently decided was that I’m not going to do talks. I’m not going to do a presentation. Um, if somebody invites me to a conference, unless it’s like, I don’t know, it could be negotiable, but, uh, I don’t have a presentation that is, don’t have a slide deck. That’s ready to go. And part of it is just [01:06:00] that, um, while I have spoken around the world, uh, I don’t, and I don’t like having a talk coming up, like, there’s just this sort of like, Low-level anxiety that takes over where you’re like, thinking about this thing, that’s this event that’s going to happen.
[01:06:22] And like, yeah, it’s only going to take you 20 minutes or something, but it is, um, it’s taking up like CPU. I think I still saw Shane Parrish, uh, tweet something about that, about working with people you can’t trust is like, Um, running with 25% of your CPU, uh, you know, taken out by some other program. So there’s these mental load, uh, considerations to think about too.
[01:06:52] So Holly, you and I
[01:06:54] Alex: [01:06:54] talked about this with, with work
[01:06:56] David Kadavy: [01:06:56] that feels like
[01:06:57] Alex: [01:06:57] an obligation or work that kind of sucks [01:07:00] energy away. Um, it’s not just that it sucks energy away in that moment that you’re doing the work. Or even before it, like, even with the looming anxiety, but actually after the fact, I actually find myself less interested in the work that I want to be doing.
[01:07:12] So it’s a total drain, like, and it’s
[01:07:14] David Kadavy: [01:07:14] something that you can
[01:07:15] Alex: [01:07:15] justify by saying it’s just a 30 minute meeting. Like, whatever, let’s do this, put it on the calendar, but it’s got reverberating effects both before and after that event. So it, it, it really is like the, the capital that you have allotted for your actual mind mindset and your mind space, like you’re taking away from, from that finite pool there.
[01:07:32] David Kadavy: [01:07:32] Yeah.
[01:07:34] Allie: [01:07:34] Sorry, go ahead.
[01:07:35] David Kadavy: [01:07:35] Oh, I was just gonna say that it is a, um, it it’s something that plays into decisions a lot, and it’s something that I struggle with and actively try to mitigate, which is, is like almost opportunity costs or loss aversion, um, where there might be things where I’m making money and it might actually.
[01:07:59] Yeah, I’ll [01:08:00] just take an example. I had a, a path, one of the passive income sites that I set up when I moved to Chicago, uh, that eventually made me money that really like made the design for hackers stuff possible. I made like $150,000 passively. Um, it was continuing to make me a little bit of money, like a tiny, tiny amount, but I didn’t have to do anything.
[01:08:25] Um, But I, I thought about it. I was like, I should just kill this thing. Cause it wasn’t, it didn’t, um, feed anything that I wanted to learn about. It didn’t feed into any of my longterm goals. And while I wasn’t actively thinking about it, I felt like it was taking up some mental, real estates. And then maybe I felt like it was, um, Maybe a safety net for me as well.
[01:08:54] And even I even had friends who were like, you know, this domain’s got a pretty good [01:09:00] authority, is that you should sell this domain. You should sell the side or where I’m like, well, I don’t want to learn how to do those things. It’s not a thing that I’m going to do in the future. And so to just. Go into a WP engine and like turn off the site and this left the domain expire and ignore all the emails from Namecheap regarding it, uh, was tough.
[01:09:25] I think it was the right thing to do. And I’m finding myself in this situation where the mantra that I have for myself is to burn your boats. This is supposedly some kind of military strategy or, or some strategy that, um, Maybe it was Cortez used it where they arrive in the new world. And, uh, they scuttled the scuttle, the ships, which in some cases you burn the ships, which is just basically saying you’re not going back.
[01:09:52] Um, so something about that image, like helps me through those [01:10:00] cases where I, I wonder to myself like, okay, well I’m gaining something here it’s even harder to do when it’s something that you already have. Because I think that’s loss, aversion taking over there too, is like, you already have it already making you something, but it’s taken up just a little bit of whatever you’ve got and you’ve got to cut it out.
[01:10:20] Um, it’s hard to do
[01:10:23] Alex: [01:10:23] that. True.
[01:10:25] David Kadavy: [01:10:25] Do you, uh, do
[01:10:26] Alex: [01:10:26] you believe in rituals and habits, like, do you have a
[01:10:29] David Kadavy: [01:10:29] set
[01:10:30] Alex: [01:10:30] miracle morning or something like that and kind of the Tim Ferris
[01:10:34] David Kadavy: [01:10:34] stuff? Um, Yeah, I try to, uh, I guess come up with sequences for things that I do regularly. Like when I moved into this apartment, um, and kind of set my new routine, living with my partner, um, I wrote down like exact [01:11:00] steps of getting up in the morning.
[01:11:03] You know, doing whatever my routine is, like something like 80, some steps before I like get to sitting here at this desk and writing and like, they actually wrote them down and thought about, okay, well wait, which one is it? Just, just simply writing it down. You, you think, Oh, actually it’d be more efficient if I did this before I did that.
[01:11:24] Um, and it’s, it’s part of, it’s an intellectual exercise, but I also find that when you have those steps to follow, you consult that you, uh, it gets programmed into your, um, basal ganglia. So you’re just not using that energy. So I use that’s sort of stuff is systematize. I mean, we have a cooking system, which is basically like, Same stuff pretty much every day, like mixed in.
[01:11:53] And, you know, there’s some combinations that we make different, but like it takes 10 minutes or something to make a meal. [01:12:00] Uh, and it’s just routine just goes on total, totally on repeat, which a lot of people will find super boring. Um, but just anything I can do, uh, to make. Tips to reduce any, um, having to think about stuff that I don’t want to think about.
[01:12:21] I
[01:12:21] Alex: [01:12:21] want to build a morning routine again, I used to do this, but it kind of made me stressed out cause it was too rigid. So when I would travel and not be able to do it, I would kind of feel extra stress and extra anxious. And I’m like, well, this is kind of a fragile system. Uh, so I want to build in a little bit more robustness, a little bit more flexibility.
[01:12:38] And that’s why I like your book seems really crucial and really like aligned with
[01:12:42] David Kadavy: [01:12:42] this because you can set
[01:12:43] Alex: [01:12:43] aside your morning for creative work and leave it
[01:12:45] David Kadavy: [01:12:45] spacious. You can set aside afternoons for
[01:12:48] Alex: [01:12:48] sort of synthesizing and editing things. And then it seems like evenings and nights for collection reading, researching and all of
[01:12:55] David Kadavy: [01:12:55] that stuff.
[01:12:55] So
[01:12:56] Alex: [01:12:56] if I have these broad buckets and I can be a little bit more flexible with how I like do the [01:13:00] incremental, uh, my new activities within that, but back in the old day, when I was super obsessed with like the, you know, optimization, bio-hacking all that stuff. I had this, like, you know, it’s like read for 30 minutes, uh, Bulletproof coffee meditate for 10 minutes.
[01:13:14] And if I miss a step, it
[01:13:15] David Kadavy: [01:13:15] would feel. It would feel extra guilty or something like that. So toxic productivity. Yeah.
[01:13:21] Alex: [01:13:21] Yeah. There’s a balance.
[01:13:24] Allie: [01:13:24] There’s one thing I started doing actually like a couple of weeks ago, I have been waking up and just like on my email right away. And some emails I’ve been receiving are not the best thing to start your morning with.
[01:13:37] So I will leave my phone at home and just go. On a walk, which I know we discussed the value of walks, but it’s like 20 degrees here in Chicago. So I’m like bundled up with the coffee. And before I leave, I like take a look at what I’m doing that day. And then I just like, think through the day, like, I, I spent some mental energy on work, so then I’m like, Oh, I’m working.
[01:13:57] But it doesn’t feel like very [01:14:00] heavy work because I’m just like, okay, this one I’m writing about today. Like, how do I feel about this? Like I have to work on this thing. Um, And it’s such a good way to start the day. And maybe I’m late to the game here, but it feels good not to even listen to a podcast or listen to music and just like exist and it’s dead outside.
[01:14:16] Cause it’s freezing and it just feels like you feel so refreshed. And then by the time you get to your desk, you feel like prepared, but you don’t. You know, you start fresh, you don’t have anything ready to go. So you’re just like, you’re not rolling out of bed and walking into the office, which sadly I have done
[01:14:32] David Kadavy: [01:14:32] many times the email.
[01:14:34] I feel like I don’t even get that many emails, but I treat my email inbox. Like I’m like disarming a bomb almost when I, when I open it, like mentally prepare myself to not react to whatever I’m going to see. And to be ready to just sort of triage. Um, [01:15:00] so, and I like I’m, I’m, I’m very, uh, I just create all these filters and stuff.
[01:15:05] So like anybody who like wants to be in my podcast, it just like automatically goes, I just don’t see it because we don’t even have guests, uh, things like that. But, uh, yeah, it can be, I think it’s helpful to like collect things. And to have that, that, that, uh, ability to think about things. That’s what I’ve found with.
[01:15:25] Uh, I don’t know, on day 89 now, a meditating, uh, an hour a day, um, in the morning novel thing I did the 60 days. I’m on 89. Either tomorrow. I might not do it tomorrow, actually. Like I just, I don’t want to, I don’t want it to be into it, become this big streak thing. Like, Oh, I got to 90 days or like, I’m not going to do it soon, but I have found that even though I’m sort of giving up an hour a day, the things I do, I do them a [01:16:00] lot more crisply.
[01:16:01] Um, and I, and I don’t waste as much energy. I think, doing things that. That don’t matter. Are you
[01:16:08] Alex: [01:16:08] purposefully breaking the streak? So you don’t feel obligated to continue it? Or why are you not
[01:16:12] David Kadavy: [01:16:12] doing it? Just to okay.
[01:16:16] Alex: [01:16:16] I feel like I’ve done Duolingo so many days in a row that I have to do it now, even if I don’t want to continue learning this language.
[01:16:22] David Kadavy: [01:16:22] Yeah. I think that’s how they
[01:16:23] Alex: [01:16:23] get
[01:16:25] Allie: [01:16:25] the gamification aspect of
[01:16:27] David Kadavy: [01:16:27] it, for sure. Yeah. That idea of purposefully
[01:16:29] Alex: [01:16:29] breaking it.
[01:16:30] David Kadavy: [01:16:30] Right. And this is one of the reasons why I liked, uh, Nepal’s sort of no Everett meditation from the beginning is that I have realized that meditation can be a toxic productivity thing.
[01:16:40] It’s just like another thing for me to feel bad that I didn’t do it right. Or I didn’t have a good session today. And I did string together 60 days. Uh, mostly because I’m just curious about the, the neuroplasticity affects that, like you kind of have to string together days to really see what the effects are of something [01:17:00] like that, but I don’t want it to become, um, some sort of streak things.
[01:17:05] So I don’t, I might, I might start not doing it tomorrow.
[01:17:10] Alex: [01:17:10] I love that. Maybe I’ll break my Duolingo street too.
[01:17:13] David Kadavy: [01:17:13] I think this could be a thing streaker street breaking, just like street protest thing of just like, I’m not gonna, there’s an anti optimization
[01:17:21] Alex: [01:17:21] movement afoot.
[01:17:23] David Kadavy: [01:17:23] Yeah. I kinda like this. Have your data.
[01:17:26] The
[01:17:26] David Khim: [01:17:26] first, the first time you mentioned toxic toxic productivity. I think we all were like,
[01:17:32] David Kadavy: [01:17:32] Oh yeah,
[01:17:32] David Khim: [01:17:32] that thing, the big takeaway I’m getting from this, at least in the short term is like, Being aware of that, like, you might feel pressured to like complete some tasks or do some project or whatever. And then at the end, while we’re doing it, we might ask ourselves like, is this actually being productive?
[01:17:53] And is this actually a net negative on
[01:17:57] David Kadavy: [01:17:57] my productivity doing this task?
[01:17:59] David Khim: [01:17:59] Or like [01:18:00] productivity in terms of my, my mindset and mental health. And will this actually ruin, ruin my day. If I try to stress out and finish this thing. Um, I think that’s, that’s something I’m going to revisit after this conscience.
[01:18:13] David Kadavy: [01:18:13] Yeah. I feel like there’s there’s um, when you get sort of a, a rejection of productivity or, or, uh, sort of a revolt against productivity, there’s one school that’s sort of like, Oh, isn’t that so sad that if you’re, if you’re, you know, everything in life is. To make yourself more productive. Um, but I think that that’s like the wrong way to think about it.
[01:18:45] Um, because it’s sad if everything you do in life is to be more productive. So you can like make somebody else rich or, you know, meet the quarterly goals. So shareholders are [01:19:00] happy sort of thing. Like that’s consent. But if you have something that is that you do, that means something to you, then it’s not sad at all.
[01:19:12] Y’all to have everything in your life kind of feed into your, your productivity. And so I think that’s a good question is like, is this thing that feels productive, actually productive. It’s actually counterproductive to this thing that is important to me. I
[01:19:31] Alex: [01:19:31] want to follow up with
[01:19:32] David Kadavy: [01:19:32] kind of a related one.
[01:19:34] Alex: [01:19:34] So let’s say I’m working on something meaningful important for my own business. Uh, but I want to work. More. So like there’s probably a certain amount of hours. I can stretch creative workout in a day. I think maybe some of the estimated two hours, four hours, depending on like what tasks you’re doing. Is there a role for nootropics to stretch that?
[01:19:53] To give me a little boost, can I take Modafinil Adderall, a Bulletproof coffee, or am I [01:20:00] fooling myself by doing that?
[01:20:02] David Kadavy: [01:20:02] I do not have the answer. Um, I think for like a slow, uh, a small stretch, it can be helpful. I, you know, I, I tried Modafinil once you can get it over the counter here in Columbia. Um, and I wrote one of my most popular articles ever.
[01:20:19] Uh, but I haven’t done it again. And that was years ago. I do, I have little, um, nicotine lozenges. I try to do maybe one a week. , I’m very sensitive to caffeine. It’s not a good one for me. So even if I have like a green tea in the morning, you know, in the afternoon I’ll be anxious or maybe the next day, uh, something I, if I use something like that, it’s, it’s probably not going to be, to extend, uh, my time.
[01:20:52] It would probably be more to, uh, enhance, but. I, I I’m certainly think [01:21:00] a lot about recovering, just mentally recovering, um, changing my body position. I’ve got a reclining chair stand up, like move around, go for walks. If I’d go for a walk, I might listen to a podcast or I’m working on my audio book. Now listen to my audio book while I go for a walk.
[01:21:16] So sort of multi-channel multitask in that way. I’ve got a hammock. I’ll go lay there. Just like trying to find a way to mix things up. So that I can sort of work longer, but I’m not stressing my I’m not overstressing my body or my mind, um, in such a way that, yeah, I worked more today, but tomorrow I’m useless type of thing.
[01:21:42] There’s no free lunch, essentially. Like you’re taking something away
[01:21:45] Alex: [01:21:45] from the next day or your own
[01:21:47] David Kadavy: [01:21:47] body’s energy levels essentially. Yeah, I think so when I, I that’s the way I think, no, no, no free lunch. I think that that is a good way to think about it. I’m not [01:22:00] a doctor or, you know, physiologist of any kind.
[01:22:02] I don’t know. I’m not qualified to answer a question like that, but the way that I think about it is is that whatever I’m taking, even when, if I’m working on a book and I’m working on it for years, Um, which I just finished one I’m like taking it way easier now because I’m trying to recover from that.
[01:22:22] I’m trying to like open my mind again and step back so that I can hopefully find whatever my next big idea is. Uh, and it’s like, yeah, you’re drawing from a pool that, um, replenishes. Uh, but if you, if you, you keep drawing from it more and more and more to the point that like it doesn’t replenish, then you’ve got a problem.
[01:22:48] It’s almost like, Oh yeah, don’t think about this the other day. Like you can, you can drive your car until the oil light comes on. Um, but as I [01:23:00] understand it, once that happens, you’ve like screwed up your car. But if you like change the oil before the oil light comes on, then you can go for years and years and years.
[01:23:11] So like trying to avoid hitting that point where you just burn out, uh, is, is what I’m kind of always trying to do your whole
[01:23:21] Alex: [01:23:21] as coaches. Is going with the flow of like human behavior and environmental factors. Whereas a lot of what I see in Silicon Valley is sort of like fighting uphill against bad habits that shouldn’t be there in the first place.
[01:23:32] It’s like, Oh, I’ll just drink Soylent to like power through lunch. I’m getting no sunlight. So I’ll take a bunch of nootropics and supplements, like. Chemically balanced that out. I’m tired because I was coding all night trying to stretch it on. So I’m just going to like IB some caffeine and it’s like, well, wait, wait, wait, wait.
[01:23:49] Instead of doing all that, how about we just get some sun, get some sleep and like go with their actual brainwaves. It seems like more of a naturalistic
[01:23:56] David Kadavy: [01:23:56] approach. And if you talk to most of those people, [01:24:00] Uh, they’re all working from the same mental source code and, uh, they have their heads up their asses.
[01:24:07] They’re just like, ah, I mean, it’s like why I have to, I had to leave Silicon Valley was because every conversation it’s almost like this alternate reality gets created in any culture. Uh, they’re just, they just create their own matrix where, um, there’s these certain thought patterns or ways of. Of deciding what is true or important in the world.
[01:24:33] Maybe it’s values that it could be that. And, and, uh, if you could step outside of it, you just see like, okay. Yeah. You’re, you’re like working really hard. You lose, you stayed up all night coding that thing. That’s actually a really terrible idea that isn’t going to be, be anything. Um, I dunno, maybe it’s just because.
[01:24:55] Maybe it’s just cause I’m, I, maybe I’m jaded. I’ve been I’ve I’ve been at it too long [01:25:00] or something, but, but, uh, but yeah, I, I, I also, I think part of it also is, is trying to, um, be aware that I’m probably fooling myself in some way. And like the more time that I can spend away from things, I can maybe fool myself a little bit less.
[01:25:22] Like, if that, like, it’s different, if you already have the plan and you have to execute this thing and for some, for whatever reason, you know, maybe you have to push things a little harder. And that’s what I do when I write a book is yeah, I’m trying to replenish myself, but I go through these longer projects where you just, you just push yourself a little harder maybe than you should.
[01:25:42] And that’s just kind of the nature of my personality sometimes. But I try to mitigate it when I can definitely
[01:25:52] Alex: [01:25:52] found
[01:25:52] David Kadavy: [01:25:52] I’ve read all the productivity, books and
[01:25:55] Alex: [01:25:55] articles and, you know, kind of went down that rabbit hole and I found your approach remarkably [01:26:00] refreshing and it resonated, I think, with all that.
[01:26:04] David Kadavy: [01:26:04] No, that is good to hear. Um, so Allie, David, do you have
[01:26:10] Alex: [01:26:10] any more questions otherwise? Um, I, I have normally a list of. Kind of rapid fire, overrated, underrated ones, but I actually only want to ask one,
[01:26:19] David Kadavy: [01:26:19] well, two actually. Cool.
[01:26:21] Alex: [01:26:21] I’m just going to do, I’m not going to do the whole list of overrated underrated,
[01:26:25] David Kadavy: [01:26:25] but because you live in Chicago
[01:26:27] Alex: [01:26:27] for a long time, I got to ask a couple related to that.
[01:26:30] So a Gino’s East,
[01:26:33] David Kadavy: [01:26:33] I don’t eat pizza, unfortunately. Oh, so overrated for sure. My next one is pizza. Pizza is good. Pizza is really delicious. I just, I there’s like three things I can eat. I just, my, my health just sucks. And so I just can’t. I just we’ll just do a
[01:26:52] Alex: [01:26:52] pass on that one. Wait, so can I ask about bond data pacer
[01:26:57] David Kadavy: [01:26:57] Monday have pizza?
[01:26:58] Uh, [01:27:00] yeah, I also can’t really eat that. I don’t know. Oh, damn. All right.
[01:27:05] Alex: [01:27:05] So my overrated underrated, um,
[01:27:10] David Kadavy: [01:27:10] anyways.
[01:27:11] Alex: [01:27:11] Okay. That’s yeah, overrated, underrated.
[01:27:14] David Kadavy: [01:27:14] Uh, gosh, it’s so hard. You know, I’m going
[01:27:18] Alex: [01:27:18] to pick what, whether it’s Venezuelan or Colombian
[01:27:20] David Kadavy: [01:27:20] salad are really bad, you know, like when you first have a rape, uh, and it’s like as hard as a hockey puck and then there’s other ones that are really good.
[01:27:29] So. Underrated
[01:27:34] Alex: [01:27:34] America, at least I believe in the States. We don’t see those too often. So, um,
[01:27:39] David Kadavy: [01:27:39] I’ll just do the rapid fire ones.
[01:27:41] Alex: [01:27:41] Uh, since all of my questions were kind of food-related it seems like,
[01:27:45] David Kadavy: [01:27:45] yeah, I don’t really eat food. So I have like the, the, nah, I, I eat like the natural equivalent. Just storyline.
[01:27:56] Basically. I probably couldn’t tolerate storylines, so
[01:27:59] Alex: [01:27:59] that’s [01:28:00] the worst
[01:28:00] David Kadavy: [01:28:00] I stopped for a bit.
[01:28:02] Alex: [01:28:02] It’s not good.
[01:28:02] David Kadavy: [01:28:02] I love the idea. I find eating very inconvenient. So I like the idea of Soylent, but I practice.
[01:28:10] Alex: [01:28:10] Um, who do you admire professionally and why?
[01:28:17] David Kadavy: [01:28:17] Nobody just kidding. Uh, professionally. Professional. What is professionally mean? Like that they’re really good at it, or they’re good at it. And they do it ethically or they’re they’re uh, they’re just whose work do you
[01:28:35] Alex: [01:28:35] admire?
[01:28:35] David Kadavy: [01:28:35] I guess? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That makes it a lot easier. I would say right now, I just, I I’ve been, uh, consuming a lot of, uh, of the seem to labs work.
[01:28:48] I think that it’s. Important, um, to the challenge that we have of trying to navigate uncertainty and do [01:29:00] creative work and, and re recognize that we’re harnessing randomness. Uh, we don’t know what’s going to work. Um, and yeah, basically that, do you have a favorite book? Um, I feel like I almost came to appreciate them after reading them.
[01:29:25] And so. I almost need to reread them, but I’d say right now, since I recently did a black Swan summary, that I would say the black Swan, mostly because I think that that’s what, as a creator or as a writer, um, I’m trying to do. And I think that’s what I have done without necessarily knowing it in the past is, you know, you write a blog post and Oh, you started blogging.
[01:29:50] You know, you. Get moved to Silicon Valley, or you write a blog post and you get a book deal, or you write another blog post. And then Dan Ariely, Ellie reaches out to you and you work on a [01:30:00] productivity app together and you sell it to Google out of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of, uh, attempts. Only some of them actually work out.
[01:30:10] And I think that that’s a very important thing that a lot of people don’t think about. Yeah, that
[01:30:18] Alex: [01:30:18] influenced me a lot in terms of
[01:30:20] David Kadavy: [01:30:20] how I look at AB testing,
[01:30:21] Alex: [01:30:21] uh, when I was doing experimentation and also with our content approach, we’ve obviously built out the barbell strategy where we do a lot
[01:30:28] David Kadavy: [01:30:28] of, um, I guess, predictable stuff, and then
[01:30:31] Alex: [01:30:31] try to capture the serendipitous upside of that 20% basket as well, but maybe testing it taught me, you can’t really predict the magnitude or the amplitude of a given a win.
[01:30:41] So you want to get as many. Uh, sort of cheap experiments or cheap iterations as you can out there. So you can be surprised by the ones that you weren’t expecting to give you that huge lift. And I think it’s similar with creative work. You don’t know which one is going to be that huge serendipitous,
[01:30:54] David Kadavy: [01:30:54] uh, result.
[01:30:55] And I think it ties in with like, I’ve had a vendetta against AB testing for a really long time. [01:31:00] I actually have an article that’s relatively popular where I ran AA tests for eight months on just like the same. Subject line, same email on MailChimp for eight months. And I compiled it all and it just showed like, look at all the effects.
[01:31:14] I found my like increased conversion, whatever. And I think that was like maybe my best expression of my problem with AB testing. But I think that that’s part of it as well, is that you’re not, you’re not this, you’re not quite comparing apples to apples here. I’m mean look at like the reason we even connected was because you were with a barbell strategy article.
[01:31:34] I’m not going to say that I’m a black Swan. But who knows what will come of this relationship, but, uh, I assume you don’t get a lot of traffic, inbound search traffic to that article because nobody’s searching for that. But I am well, so it’s like this I’m one person on your analytics, but here we are having this, you know, two hour long conversation or whatever.
[01:31:58] Uh, thanks to the [01:32:00] article that you wrote. We, we,
[01:32:01] Alex: [01:32:01] we read that literally this point up about this article, uh, in our Slack channel,
[01:32:05] David Kadavy: [01:32:05] because we had a previous article that David wrote
[01:32:07] Alex: [01:32:07] about DTC content marketing. And we got a lead from that, even though there’s no search volume, no traffic on it, but the people who
[01:32:14] David Kadavy: [01:32:14] were searching
[01:32:15] Alex: [01:32:15] were so qualified, so high intent that it was worth writing that article
[01:32:18] David Kadavy: [01:32:18] because it was so specific, but
[01:32:20] Alex: [01:32:20] we couldn’t have predicted that
[01:32:21] David Kadavy: [01:32:21] before.
[01:32:21] And if I can keep expanding, like David mentioned the, the long game about, um, influencing people’s thoughts. Uh, that’s something that doesn’t show up in analytics is that you can, you can increase the attention that you get. Like, Oh, you’ve got more page views. You’ve got more likes on this thing. Um, and then maybe some down, somewhere down the road, you’ve got more actions.
[01:32:45] Like people you’ve got more leads or something, but there’s the black box that happens. And that happens when people sleep on their, their shower while they’re talking to other people. It can take days and years and months for that influence to actually occur. And, uh, [01:33:00] and the, the fewer risks you take, the more you’re going for the middle, the more you’re going for, let’s make sure we get the page views and the, you know, the output for our input.
[01:33:10] Uh, the, the less you’re going to take the risks that it takes to actually, uh, affect people’s thoughts. I love
[01:33:19] Alex: [01:33:19] it.
[01:33:19] David Kadavy: [01:33:19] That seems like a good place to wrap
[01:33:21] Alex: [01:33:21] up here. So as we’re winding down, do you have
[01:33:25] David Kadavy: [01:33:25] any places you’d like to point people to
[01:33:27] Alex: [01:33:27] online
[01:33:28] David Kadavy: [01:33:28] website? Um, obviously check
[01:33:30] Alex: [01:33:30] out your book, mind management, not time.
[01:33:33] David Kadavy: [01:33:33] Yeah. I sign up for my newsletter. I’ve got a newsletter called love Mondays. This is where I kind of navigate or share my ideas and how to navigate this extremist and world of. Being a creator. You can find and then I’m on Twitter at and I’m on the other ones.

You can find David on Twitter or visit his website.

Alex Birkett

Alex is a co-founder of Omniscient Digital. He loves experimentation, building things, and adventurous sports (scuba diving, skiing, and jiu jitsu primarily). He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Biscuit.