From the ancient Stoic Epictetus

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Photo by Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash

“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather, wish that everything happens as it actually will” — Epictetus

For those who don’t know, the ancient philosophy of Stoicism is all about finding peace and happiness regardless of your external circumstances. It does this by re-framing the way you look at events in your life.

Epictetus was one of the great Stoic philosophers and all of his teachings were around how to live a good life without suffering too much mental anguish.

The above quote, if understood, is one of his more insightful. He actually ends this quote with the words “then your life will flow” but I cut that part off because I find it understates the value of this idea. There is a lot more peace to be gained from this idea than just a life that “flows”, whatever that means. …


Two important concepts for any startup

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Photo by Vivek Doshi on Unsplash

Burn Rate

Burn rate is how much money your company is spending each month.

So that means that your burn rate is simply the amount that comes into your bank account, minus the amount that goes out, for each month. This number is usually pretty constant. If there is some variability you can average over several months to get a good representation of your monthly burn rate.

For startups, the burn rate is going to be a negative number. This is the amount you are “burning” each month to stay in business.

Runway

Runway is how long you have until you go bust. …


He uses this trick to repeatedly skirt accountability

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Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

As a kid I had a weird hobby. I liked to do magic tricks. My hands were so small back then that when I performed sleight-of-hand card tricks where you conceal the card behind your hand, much of the card would stick out on either side and ruin the trick.

But from that time there is one thing I remember well. Magicians call it misdirection. And even if your hands are too small to perform the trick properly, you can sometimes pull it off if the audience is looking elsewhere.

It’s a simple concept. You guide the audience’s attention. You distract with one hand while doing something in secret with the other. If you know where people are looking, you also know where they are not looking. …


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Source: Wikipedia

If this article is coming up for you at all I have no doubt you have seen this quote before.

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Just be one.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everyone seems to get some sort of Instagram-worthy good feels from this quote and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. There were so many profound things that Marcus Aurelius and the other ancient Stoics said (my preference being the works of Seneca), why focus on this single insipid, arguably tautological, line?

For starters, it doesn’t hold up very well to scrutiny. How can you be a good man if you don’t know what a good man is? No one would accept instructions like this for other actions. …


5 ways my digital nomad VanLife taught me to love apartments

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Photo by Silvio Bergamo on Unsplash

Since the start of the pandemic, there’s been a lot of interest and hype at the idea of fixing up a camper or small van and taking off to see the country. This desire is understandable — we’ve all been trapped in a hollowed-out version of our own lives for half a year now. The idea of being able to get out there and live while still having your own contained pod of safety is very appealing. But, having done it multiple times, I’m here to tell you it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. …


Or will we all end up back in the office

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Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

I live and work in Oakland. Just across the bay from San Francisco — arguably the startup capital of the world. And I work in a tech startup. Like almost every other tech company during this pandemic, my company quickly switched to working from home.

It’s been a time for discovery both at our company and for me personally. There are a lot of dynamics at play when abruptly switching to remote work — some good and some bad.

How remote work has worked well

Like many who switched to a fully working from home, I’ve noticed some great benefits. …


How does Tableau educate and on-board new users: the good, the bad, the clumsy.

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The first touch Tableau user experience (Image by author)

In 2020, the competition among BI tools is fierce. Tableau has long been considered the de facto market leader in business intelligence tools, but with more competition from challengers like Power BI and Knowi, having a clean onboarding process and good early UX is more important than ever— especially for people who are still in the consideration phase.

Different SAAS providers take different approaches to handle that first touch experience with potential users. How they handle it can be especially important with more technical products like business intelligence tools because onboarding isn’t as simple as showing them a news feed or letting them add filters to a selfie. …


Are we still underestimating him?

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Trump doesn’t seem that threatening at Disney Land (source: DepositPhotos)

“There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” -Lao Tzu

Trump has been called everything from Cheeto Jesus, to Angry Creamsicle, to F*ckface Von Clownstick. But over the course of his four years in office Donald Trump has shown himself to be something far more despicable and frightening than any of those; a fascist.

No Creamsicle has ever locked kids in cages. No Cheeto has ever converted the boarder patrol into a federal police force to assault and abduct protestors. …


Whichever way you turn, you get gored

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Photo by Thomas Evans on Unsplash

“A man is an angel that has become deranged, Joe Fernwright thought. Once they — all of them — had been genuine angels, and at that time they had had a choice between good and evil, so it was easy, easy being an angel. And then something happened. Something went wrong or broke down or failed. And they had become faced with the necessity of choosing not good or evil but the lesser of two evils, and so that had unhinged them and now each was a man.”
Philip K. …


A secret weapon to get your team passionate about their jobs

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

The promise of metrics has failed

We all want our companies to be data-driven. So why aren’t they?
Here’s a hint: it’s not just about software, it’s about habits.

We’ve all heard big promises about self-serve business analytics that claim to turn anyone into a data scientist. But the reality is that, after buying an expensive solution, this almost never pans out. Trying to get your employees to pay attention to company metrics by hounding them doesn’t work either — it just creates resentment.

The lack of analytics adoption isn’t due to a lack of enthusiasm or effort on the part of the employees. They just don’t already have data-driven metrics built into their day-to-day workflow. And without it already in their workflow, they have no trigger to go look at those metrics. People don’t do their jobs ad hoc, they do them based on processes — even if it’s just their own process that only exists in their head. To change that process and build new data-driven and metric-driven habits, employees need a trigger that makes them want to look at metrics and analytics reports. …

About

Sean Knight

Data Scientist, Physicist, Stoic, Growth Hacker.

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