Digital Coffee #20

Happy Sunday 🚀

We’re now over 75% of the way through 2019; how are you doing against the goals you set yourself for this year? It’s never too late to start to make progress! 

Morning from a rather dull and grey London! With my flu now an ever fleeting memory, time permitting, I should be able to push out an audio version of this issue! 

You know the drill by now — if you enjoy reading this newsletter and think you know someone else who would too — forward it to them 🙏 failing that if you could tap the little heart icon, it’d also be greatly appreciated. 

Now have a great week, and onto the content 🚀


This week’s Digital Coffee is sponsored by 10 Minute Guides— and yes, that is my own project 📈. 10 Minute Guides are concise, practical, and beautifully designed books on topics that matter today. With the perfect blend of theory and practical, you'll be better equipped to further immerse yourself in whatever topic you choose. Each guide is written by a domain expert, and available in digital, physical and audio formats.


Some thoughts to ponder 

Second order problems — things are not always as they appear. Often when we solve one problem, we end up unintentionally creating another one that’s even worse. The best way to examine the long-term consequences of our decisions is to use second-order thinking.

On second order problems... Warren Buffet used a very apt metaphor once to describe how the second order problem is best described by a crowd at a parade: Once a few people decide to stand on their tip-toes, everyone has to stand on their tip-toes. No one can see any better, but they’re all worse off.


Tweet of the week


Five interesting links to kickstart your day

📝 How I generate $10K/month as an indie author...

ST: An interesting read on what it really takes to take home a comfortable wage through writing — as you’d expect it does take quite a significant amount of work to make your job by your sole source of income. I like how Nick diversified and derisked to a certain extent through the ancillary publishing business. Well worth the read for any of you city folk that want to quit and escape to the countryside. 

🔮 Is predictive text fundamentally changing the way we write?

Even though the technology has little understanding of what it’s saying, it could still compose phrases and sentences that we like better than our own. 

💰 Silicon Valley is trying out a new mantra: make a profit

Start-up investors are warning of a reckoning after the stumbles of some high-profile “unicorns.” Now turning a profit is in.

ST: This was inevitable as we get toward the end of the current cycle (i.e. we’ll soon be in recession). Competitive ‘cheap cash’ removed even the most basic requirement of starting a business — have a path to profitability. In the SoftBank era, profitability & positive economics were optional. $2 of ad spend to make $1 back from the customer... no problem, where do I sign! 

👩‍⚕️ Why I think we can predict the future 

ST: Transcript of Bill Gates’ lecture as the recipient of the 2019 Stephen Hawking Fellowship. Well worth reading, Bill has dedicated his life and most of his wealth to the topic he is talking about. The transcript offers a fascinating insight into his predictions.

🌍 Three big things: the most important forces shaping the world

How demographics, inequality, and access to information influence seemingly unrelated events.


Subscription auditing

Every quarter I take stock of what services I’m subscribed to — and I’d encourage you to do the same. $10 per month here, $20 there... and soon they add up to quite a significant chunk. Below I’m highlighting only my subscriptions for content, and whether or not I’m going to keep. 

Content subscriptions:

  1. Amazon Prime — no brainier, keeping. 

  2. Netflix — no brainier, keeping. 

  3. Audible — questioning the utility I derive, Blinkist maybe better.

  4. Blinkist — good, but constantly forget I have it.

  5. Spotify — good, but actually use YouTube premium more now. 

  6. Apple Music — not sure why I’m keeping this? 

  7. YouTube Premium — actually pretty good, no adverts, and long ‘chill playlists’ to listen too. 

  8. Medium — cancelled, too much clickbait, motivational writers and people with no experience dishing out advice

  9. Apple News+ — great new add this week, tonnes of great magazine and newspapers included for $10 per month


Want to become an AI Product Manager? 

I launched AIPMCourse.com, a free 10 week course that teaches you all the basics on how to build and launch artificial intelligence products. Check it out, or recommend it to a friend who you think would find it useful. 


Until next time, thanks for taking the time to check out this issue of Digital Coffee.

“Be a voice, not an echo” — Unknown

Digital Coffee #19

Happy Sunday — apologies for the radio silence last week, I was down with the flu. Truth be told, I’m still battling it to a certain extent. I guess it was to be expected with the change in seasons, and the fact that I was travelling — a recipe for disaster. 

I finally got round to buying a decent microphone to record audio with — depending on timing, I may even be able to push this out as the first audio version of Digital Coffee! 

You know the drill by now — if you enjoy reading this newsletter and think you know someone else who would too — forward it to them 🙏 failing that if you could tap the little heart icon, it’d also be greatly appreciated. 

Now have a great week, and onto the content 🚀


This week’s Digital Coffee is sponsored by 10 Minute Guides— and yes, that is my own project 📈. 10 Minute Guides are concise, practical, and beautifully designed books on topics that matter today. With the perfect blend of theory and practical, you'll be better equipped to further immerse yourself in whatever topic you choose. Each guide is written by a domain expert, and available in digital, physical and audio formats.


Some thoughts to ponder 

Take time every day to do something silly. – Philipa Walker

The only difference between stumbling blocks and steppingstones is the way in which we use them. – Unknown

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall at last unveil. – John Ruskin

When I grip the wheel too tight, I find I lose control. – Steve Rapson


Tweet of the week


Some interesting links to kickstart your day

🕵️‍♂️ Gross Domestic Product

This week I went to check out Banksy’s new installation in Croydon, I also wrote about it. But I like Colossal’s description a little more: 

Tony the Frosted Flakes tiger sacrificed as a living room rug, wooden dolls handing their babies off to smugglers in freight truck trailers, and welcome mats stitched from life jackets: rather than offering an aspirational lifestyle, one South London storefront window depicts a capitalist dystopia. Created by Banksy and appearing overnight, Gross Domestic Product is the latest installation to critique global society’s major issues of forced human migration, animal exploitation, and the surveillance state.

P.S. In case you live under a rock, Banky’s ‘Devolved Parliament’ sold for £9.9m in a Sotheby’s auction earlier this week. 

P.P.S. Keep a close eye on GrossDomesticProduct.com — you could end up snapping up one of Banky’s most recent creations. 

👩‍🎨 Why UX, UI, CX, IA, IxD, and other sorts of design are bullshit

This article caught my eye as I think we are “peak acronym” for the design function within teams that are focused on building digital products:

Let me ask you: what do you do? What title do you put on the resume and portfolio? Why these words? I invite you to an exploration of how design titles and design directions are (not) connected with the real world. So, let’s take a look at the current state of things. I guess you’ve seen different attempts to distinguish between UX and UI, UX and CX, user experience and product design, and so on

👨‍🔬 MDMA

Yet another article by Scott Galloway — this time entitled “MDMA”. In it he starts “the unicorn barn is on fire”... hot on heels of his recent articles on WeWork that got picked up by a lot of the major press. He’s continuing his dissection of unicorns (billion dollar plus tech companies) — stating that some of them could lose up to 80% of their value. 

The unicorn barn is on fire. Ablaze. A feckless FTC and DOJ, no longer countervailing forces to private power but co-conspirators, have enabled invasive species (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google) to devastate the ecosystem. What to do? No worries, just double up on the MDMA of our economy — charismatic CEOs cut with cheap capital — and the illusion of prosperity party rocks on into the morning. Not that I’ve done a lot of drugs in my life, but they make for gangster metaphors, no?

N.B. For added entertainment, check out the Twitter thread below, when a couple of VCs start to fight back on his thesis. 

👩‍⚕️ Almost everywhere, fewer children are dying

Giving this a shoutout due to the fact Bill Gates tweeted about it earlier in the week. The work that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is doing is nothing short of exceptional — if you haven't watched the mini-series on Netflix, I’d also highly recommend you check it out.

Two decades ago, nearly 10 million children did not live to see a 5th birthday. By 2017, that number — about 1 in every 16 children — was nearly cut in half, even as the world’s population increased by more than a billion people. The sharp decline in childhood mortality reflects work by governments and international aid groups to fight child poverty and the diseases that are most lethal to poor children: neonatal disorders, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. But the results are also highly imbalanced. In some places, children’s health has improved drastically. In others, many still die very early.


Smart living

Going to start adding sea buckthorn to my morning smoothies

Earlier in the week I stumbled upon an article talking about Sea Buckthorn, and it got me doing some research... One single berry contains 15 times more vitamin C than an orange. The sea-buckthorn berry is one of nature’s most powerful plants. It offers one of the widest ranges of nutrients from a single source found on earth, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, omega fatty acids, carotenoids, and more. I’ve just ordered a powdered version to add to my morning smoothies, I’ll report back on the results. 


Want to become an AI Product Manager? 

I launched AIPMCourse.com, a free 10 week course that teaches you all the basics on how to build and launch artificial intelligence products. Check it out, or recommend it to a friend who you think would find it useful. 


Until next time, thanks for taking the time to check out this issue of Digital Coffee.

“Be a voice, not an echo” — Unknown

Digital Coffee #18

Happy Sunday — wow, what a week, with quite a lot to cover! Welcome back to all of the loyal readers, and welcome if you’re new to the community 👋 . 

If you enjoy today’s newsletter and think you know someone else who would too — forward it to them 🙏 failing that if you could tap or click the heart icon, it would also be greatly appreciated. 

Now have a great week, and onto the content 🚀


This week’s Digital Coffee is sponsored by 10 Minute Guides— and yes, that is my own project 📈. 10 Minute Guides are concise, practical, and beautifully designed books on topics that matter today. With the perfect blend of theory and practical, you'll be better equipped to further immerse yourself in whatever topic you choose. Each guide is written by a domain expert, and available in digital, physical and audio formats. 


Some thoughts to ponder 

Stress comes from within; it is your reaction to circumstances, not the circumstances themselves.” – Brian Tracy

Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.” – Corrie Ten Boom

The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it.” – Julia Child

I don’t believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.” – Ronald Reagan


Tweet of the week


Some interesting links to kickstart your day

Climate strike

Millions of people around the world took part in Friday's climate strike, and estimates of total crowd sizes are still rolling in — some as high as 4 million. From New Delhi to Antarctica, protesters marched to draw attention to the climate crisis ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which kicks off Monday. Worth noting is the Economist running the image above on its cover and dubbed this week as “The Climate Issue”. 

The image they explain, “from one year to the next, you cannot feel the difference. As the decades stack up, though, the story becomes clear. The stripes on our cover represent the world’s average temperature in every year since the mid-19th century. Dark blue years are cooler and red ones warmer than the average in 1971-2000. The cumulative change jumps out. The world is about 1ºC hotter than when this newspaper was young”

Open AI — hide and seek

An AI learned to play hide-and-seek. The strategies it came up with on its own were astounding. This week, leading AI lab OpenAI released their latest project: an AI that can play hide-and-seek. It’s the latest example of how, with current machine learning techniques, a very simple setup can produce shockingly sophisticated results. I’d highly recommend you check out the video. There’s also a good deep dive on the science behind it here

WeWTF, Part Deux

A follow-up post from WeWTF, where Professor Scott Galloway jumps into the craziness behind the We Company and their proposed IPO (which has now been put on hold). Galloway puts it quite well in the intro “We has gone from unicorn to distressed asset in 30 days. In just seven days, We lost more value than the three biggest losers in the S&P 500 have lost in the last year combined: Macy's, Nektar Therapeutics, and Kraft Heinz.”

Advice from a 33 year old who wants you to stop worrying as much

Something I’ve really tried to reduce over the past couple of years is the amount I worry. Something within me gives me a natural predisposition to think the worst in some scenarios. The author of this article, Tim, puts it quite well in the opening: 

“If today was the last day of your life and you were going to be buried in a casket tomorrow, how much of what you are currently worrying about would no longer matter?” 


Want to become an AI Product Manager? 

I launched AIPMCourse.com, a free 10 week course that teaches you all the basics on how to build and launch artificial intelligence products. Check it out, or recommend it to a friend who you think would find it useful. 


Until next time, thanks for taking the time to check out this issue of Digital Coffee.

“Be a voice, not an echo” — Unknown

Digital Coffee #17

Happy Sunday — sorry for switching the days (again). I had a couple of free hours this evening, so thought why not write Digital Coffee!? 🙌

By way of brief update, I’ve just been head down trying to focus on completing my next book, ‘10 Minute Guide to AI Product Management’. It’s almost there, next week I’m going to be sharing the link to the site where you can download the first couple of chapters, for free! 

I’ve continued to focus on health, diet and sleep. At the moment my routine looks a little like this.. gym at least 4 times per week. Cooking at home Mon, Tues and Wed. Alcohol only on a Saturday night with a meal. Journal writing each morning. In terms of metrics — everything is going the directions you would expect them too, I’m going to be writing up a deep dive where I walk through all the graphs and the impact that changing the items above has had on my body.

You know the drill by now — if you enjoy reading this newsletter and think you know someone else who would too — forward it to them 🙏 failing that, if you could tap the little heart icon, it’d also be greatly appreciated. 

Now have a great week, and onto the content 🚀


Some thoughts to ponder 

”Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

”Worry is wasting today’s time cluttering up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” – Unknown

“The more you know, the less you need.” – Aboriginal Saying

“Procrastination, more than anything else I can think of, separates those who want to be successful from those who are.” – Lee Silber

“You can’t be too kind or too generous.” – Patricia Fripp


Tweet of the week


Five interesting reads 

🌍 (Via BrainFoodThe Story of Us

In case you aren't following his new series, Tim Urban (the writer behind the brilliant waitbutwhy.com blog) is sharing in weekly instalments his longest post to date. After nearly three years and two million words, he is tackling the difficult task of explaining the nature of our current society — by going all the way back to the beginning of time and the cellular level. With his signature hand-scrawled cartoons as literary sidekicks, this series is both educational and entertaining.

🤖 The US plans to spend nearly $1 billion on non-military AI

This week, the US government announced a commitment of $973.5 million in non-defense AI research spending for the fiscal year ending in September 2020. In accordance with the president’s AI executive order, the amount was laid out for the first time on an agency-by-agency basis in a supplemental report. Michael Kratsios, the US chief technology officer, said that the report would allow the government to better coordinate internal strategic investments as well as external collaboration opportunities with industry and academia.

But in response to the announcement, several business executives said the funding still wasn’t enough to maintain American leadership in AI. In addition, they said, the government needed a clearer national strategy, better data and privacy regulations, and more training programs to cultivate talent — as well as more AI roles within government.

🥦 The last conversation you’ll ever need to have about eating right

Mark Bittman and doctor David L. Katz patiently answer pretty much every question we could think of about healthy food. “It’s beyond strange that so many humans are clueless about how they should feed themselves. Every wild species on the planet knows how to do it; presumably ours did, too, before our oversized brains found new ways to complicate things. Now, we’re the only species that can be baffled about the “right” way to eat...”

📝 Bezos: A CEO Who Can Write

“The more I read Jeff Bezos’ twenty-one annual letters to Amazon shareholders, the more I like his views on growing Amazon’s business, on focusing on constitutionally discontented customers. I also became convinced that letters give us a unique opportunity to see a genius explain his work.”

🤔 How to write concisely

This link should help you identify wordiness in your sentences, paragraphs, and essays and offers strategies for writing concisely.


Want to become an AI Product Manager? 

I launched AIPMCourse.com, a free 10 week course that teaches you all the basics on how to build and launch artificial intelligence products. Check it out, or recommend it to a friend who you think would find it useful. 


Until next time, thanks for taking the time to check out this issue of Digital Coffee.

“Be a voice, not an echo” — Unknown

Digital Coffee #16 — atomic habits, climate change debate & great products

Happy Monday!! 🚀 It now seems like Monday morning is the ‘new regular’ for Digital Coffee — what do you think? Do you prefer reading it on Sunday or the work commute is a bit more interesting if it goes out on a Monday? 

Once I’ve finished my writing backlog that I mentioned last week, freeing up quite a lot of time, I’m going to attempt to start a podcast on the back of this newsletter — so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled!

You know the drill by now — if you enjoy reading this newsletter and think you know someone else who would too — forward it to them 🙏 failing that if you could tap the little heart icon, it’d also be greatly appreciated. 

Now have a great week, and onto the content 🚀


Some thoughts to ponder 

“Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.” – Benjamin Franklin

”The fact is, everyone is in sales. Whatever area you work in, you do have clients and you do need to sell.” – Jay Abraham

”The really happy man is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.” – Anonymous

“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” – Henry J. Kaiser

”Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt


Tweet of the week


Five interesting links to kickstart your day

📕 Book Summary: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Our habits shape our identity. Atomic Habits by James Clear offers a step-by-step plan for building better habits for a lifetime. The backbone of the manual is composed of a four-step model which includes: cue, craving, response, and reward. The book is full of practical advice, stories from famous leaders and worldly recognized athletes. A must-have for everyone looking for a way to change their life and direct it towards greatness.

💨 Four tech takeaways from the climate town hall

Ten US presidential candidates expounded on the dangers of global warming and details of energy policy on cable television last week. For seven hours! The fact that CNN’s climate town hall happened at all offers one of the most concrete signs yet of just how far and how quickly US public and political sentiment has shifted. Climate change scarcely came up in the presidential campaigns or cable coverage four years ago. But this time around Democratic candidates have scrambled to outbid one another in announcing plans with bigger dollar figures or faster timetables.

🕵️‍♂️ Deepfake crimes are now a thing

In a sign we're already beginning to live in a far-flung high-tech dystopian future where nobody can tell what's real anymore, a $243,000 heist has been pulled off by thieves using deepfake audio technology. The Wall Street Journal reports that the first-ever crime using a voice generated by AI has already taken place. According to the report, an unknown scammer managed to convince a CEO of an unnamed UK energy company that he was on the phone with the chief executive of their parent company in Germany. The voice asked that the CEO transfer $243,000 into the bank account of a supplier in Hungary immediately in order to avoid "late-payment fines", which the CEO proceeded to do.

🤖 Artificial intelligence is changing every aspect of war

AI is “poised to change the character of the future battlefield”, declared America’s Department of Defence in its first ai strategy document, in February. A Joint Artificial Intelligence Centre (jaic) was launched in the Pentagon in summer 2018, and a National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence met for the first time in March. The Pentagon’s budget for 2020 has lavished almost $1bn on ai and over four times as much on unmanned and autonomous capabilities that rely on it.

🚀 Great products do less, but better

When feature bloat can hurt more than help your business goals. Products start small and focused. They do one thing really well — and that’s the primary reason they become successful. A few years later, the team behind the product comes to the conclusion it has to do more. Features are added, new use cases are covered, and functionality becomes more sophisticated.


Want to become an AI Product Manager?

I launched AIPMCourse.com, a free 10 week course that teaches you all the basics on how to build and launch artificial intelligence products. Check it out, or recommend it to a friend who you think would find it useful


Until next time, thanks for taking the time to check out this issue of Digital Coffee.

“Be a voice, not an echo” — Unknown

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