Weekly Update – #8 – February 24th, 2019

This week I have some quick updates on running, reading, and writing. At the end I’ll talk a little about innovation.

Running

This week I ran farther than ever. 16.5 miles I ran from home to work. My route runs along the California coastline from Manhattan Beach to Marina Del Rey, providing beautiful views of the ocean and mountains. Because it has been cold and rainy in LA, the mountains are snow-capped. I wish I took photos!

Stats from Strava.

Making some good progress towards marathon distance. 10 more miles! 4 weeks left until the LA Marathon. Let’s do it!

Reading

I’m reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. Tim is known largely for his breakout book “The Four Hour Work Week” and his podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show“. Holy cow, Tribe of Mentors is packed with so much wisdom. Tim asked 13 hard hitting questions to dozens of high performing people. Their backgrounds span a wide range of fields. Athletes to chefs to business executives, to film directors, … you name it. This book is not quick if you want to read cover to cover, it’s really dense.

Writing

This week I don’t have too much to report here. I published the 15th edition of Torrey’s Weekly Report, which covers some new technology being shipped by the team and some new projects spinning up.

I wanted to start publishing a public version of Torrey’s Weekly Report in January, but I’ve missed the target. This week, for the 16th edition I am breaking from the usual format to produce something I’m comfortable publishing on Medium.com.

Innovation

How do I accomplish more today than myself one year ago, five years ago?

I recently heard a story about a teenage girl working at McDonald’s. This employee stumbled upon “would you like some fries with that?”. It turned out some crazy number of customers answered ‘yes’ to that question. The store became an anomaly, selling unusually large volumes of french fries.

Word traveled up the chain to the corporate office, and eventually all McDonald’s cashiers were trained to endlessly repeat the phrase “would you like some fries with that?”. This is innovation. And anyone can innovate just like that teenage girl.

Innovation is just simply something useful that you didn’t do yesterday that you’re gonna do today.

Manoj Bhargava, Founder of 5-Hour Energy. Video.

The general strategy is to constantly experiment. What works is useful, keep that stuff and iterate. Develop systems that produce the results you want.

And when you take on a new job or hobby, start a new system. What worked elsewhere may not work here. You need a new set of behaviors and habits.

Experiment! Innovate! You can improve everything from your commute, morning routine, gym routine, evening routine. One thousand little changes compound into huge results.

Thanks for reading, and

Have a great week!

The Two Types of Laziness

Reddit user /u/CS-NL was called a scumbag. He was employed in data entry, data verification position. His team was responsible for entering and verifying records all day long. /u/CS-NL took it upon himself to use his basic computer programming skills to automate his job.

Between co workers, they have a 90% accuracy rating and 60-100 transactions a day completed. I have 99.6% accuracy and over 1,000 records a day.

There are two types of laziness. Lazy busyness and innovative laziness.

Lazy busyness. Doing things the way they have been done before and not bothering to look for a better way. Working longer hours to finish tasks that could be done away with altogether.

Innovative Laziness. Looking for better ways to do things that free up time to do something else. Eliminating effort.

/u/CS-NL practiced innovative laziness. His coworkers practiced lazy busyness.

How to apply this:

Analyze your daily routine. Find one step to be eliminated, delegated, automated, or optimized. Experiment!

The library of traveling books – What if books could walk and talk?

I am seeking partners to execute this idea; I don’t much enjoy solo projects. Would you like to join me on this venture?

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut, famously said: “You promised me Mars colonies. Instead I got Facebook”. For the past 20 years or so, the human race has been really busy exploring cyber-space. We took a detour from the real world, which I call meat-space. I am fascinated by cyber-space ideas that enhance meat-space. The idea I describe below is one such idea which combines elements of book-love and the sharing economy.

The idea is driven by two questions:

  1. What if books had legs?
  2. What if books could talk?

By pondering these two questions I ended up at: we could build the world’s most distributed library, and it would enable books to walk and talk. What if you could give away a hundred books and follow their travels?

How would it work?

We need a few technology elements to execute on The Library of Traveling Books. We need a website and we need stick-on labels.

The website would be the hub of our library. It provides guest books for all of the traveling books. It provides educational material, instructions for how to contribute to the community by adding new books to the library. The website must also encourage new guests to keep the books traveling.

The labels are crucial for educating new guests and connecting books to their unique guest book. Each book in the library requires a unique label, with a unique URL, and a unique QR-style barcode. The labels are the gateway, and they need to concisely explain and encourage new guests to make their way to the website.

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a 2 dimensional barcode. QR codes are great for connecting meat-space objects to their digital identities.

This is an example of a QR-code. When scanned, it leads you to this blog.

QR code for torrey.blog

The Fun Bits – We Love Books

As book lovers, curation of the library is exciting! Which books would be selected for traveling? Would we choose only classics? Books that change lives? Hardcovers only with protective covers?
How will this invention help book-lover community and connect like-minded people? Make the world a bigger place, spread gratitude and love?

The Problems – What could go wrong?

Of course, there are pitfalls to this approach. Problems make it more interesting! It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.
Books may end up on the trash

Books may sit on a shelf for a really long time.

Books get wet and books get damaged

How do we make super-durable books? Library-grade books, battle-hardened books. Books that will last forever.

Celebrate the Winners

While acknowledging problems will be run into, we will celebrate the successes. Celebrate the books that keep traveling. The books that are so remarkable that the reader insists on passing it to a friend, or giving it back to the universe, sending it on it’s traveling way.
What will be the longest book journey?

What will the guests say about the books in the travel log?

What Ifs

What if you put money in the books to incentivize book hunting, like geocaching.

What if it took off and we formed a 501c3, accepting charitable donations to add more books?

What if we went for-profit and used the attention to market to book lovers.

What if we turn the library into a sort of “perennial bestsellers list” which authors aspire to land on. We could position the list as a higher honor than New York Times bestseller.

What if we get really techno-fancy, and embed some kind of low power computer into the books, making them “smart books”.


Summary

What would it take to implement this:

  •  A website
  •  A printer
  •  Labels
  •  A Books
  •  A person to take a book to an airport.

Iterate! Experiment! Learn! Adapt! Evolve!



Thanks for reading. Together we build a world free of fear. What would you do if you were not afraid? Be legendary.