10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week

What schools secretly taught you, social media experts won’t tell you, and Millennials believe about you.

Each week I share 10 ideas with my newsletter subscribers. Following is this week’s newsletter — sign up here to get future issues.


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” — Albert Einstein


What will you say when the opportunity presents itself?

When you discover the path is long and grueling?

When others say you can’t? That you won’t? That it’s not meant for you?

When you’re scared? Weak? Unsure?

When you realize what it takes to get what you want?

What will you say then?

Think about it, because then is now.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. 30 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO MAKE YOUR NEXT MONTH BETTER THAN THIS ONE

“The best way to ensure our lives change in the directions we want is to reflect on the choices we’ve made and make deliberate decisions moving forward.”

A lot has happened in the last 30 days of your life and a lot more is about to happen in the next 30. Here’s a way to make the most of your next month.

I’ve come up with 30 questions to help you improve your life in 30 days including to consider what assumption of yours was proven wrong this month, how you hope to summarize your next month in a sentence, what big idea you want to explore in your work, and more.

2. 100 WAYS TO BE MORE CREATIVE

“One hundred little things. They’re divided into 10 categories: read, write, create, make, connect, watch, stretch, learn, stop, and start.”

If you’re looking for inspiration, I bet you’ll find it somewhere in this list.

Shaunta Grimes has compiled an eclectic collection of 100 ways to be more creative that includes everything from thoughts on how to write a manifesto, to a 3-step plan to find your tribe, to how to become a better people watcher.

3. HOW TO WRITE A GREAT ONE-SENTENCE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

“Leading with the need is an extremely effective way to position your product as solving an important problem for your customers.”

The first step to getting traction for a product is to communicate what it does in a way people can easily understand. That’s why this David Bailey post is an important one.

He uses early descriptions of Facebook and Uber as examples of how to craft a great one-sentence product description.

Both followed a simple formula — “You do X and Y happens.”

4. THREE THINGS SCHOOL TAUGHT YOU WITHOUT YOU REALIZING IT

“Growing up, everything you’re told to do is for no other purpose than to earn the approval of others around you. It’s to satisfy somebody else’s standard. Our system is performance-based and not purpose-based. It teaches mimicry and not passion.”

There are a lot of reasons I think our educational system could use a serious overhaul and this Mark Manson post points out three of them.

It breaks down three things school taught you without you realizing it including that success comes from the approval of others, that failure is a source of shame, and to depend on authority.

5. SIX THINGS MOST SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTS WON’T TELL YOU

“Social media is just a tactic you can use to help achieve a goal. The point of a strong social media strategy is to accomplish a real goal, not to just be ‘good’ at social media.”

I’m a social media consultant who wrote a post about why you probably shouldn’t hire a social media consultant. It’s a good post, but a slightly less brilliant career strategy on my part.

Anyway, I suggest you read this before you hire a social media expert and learn why social media metrics don’t matter, that you shouldn’t overpay for management and underpay for strategy, and why a social media strategy without a conversion strategy is meaningless.

6. WATCH THIS BEFORE YOU START SOMETHING

“There is no need to sharpen my pencils any more. My pencils are sharp enough. Even the dull ones will make a mark.”

Ze Frank is currently the head of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, but back in 2012 when he made this video he was still just a trailblazing internet pioneer.

This video is titled An Invocation For Beginnings and is equal parts inspiration, motivation, and call to action for anybody embarking on a new project.

If you’re about to start something, watch it. And if you’re not about to start something, watching it may just give you the courage to do so.

7. A LIFE’S WORTH OF LESSONS IN 300 WORDS

“Everybody is interesting if you give them the chance to be.”

It’s amazing what you can say in 300 words if you choose the right words.

Patrick Wiltse is “usually an optimist” and a writer who compiled this list of everything he’s ever learned about everything in less than 300 words.

It includes observations that both life is easy and life is hard are equally true statements, that complaining is typically a waste of time, that cynicism is weakness and more.

8. HOW CNN MAKES US DUMBER BY TREATING POLITICS LIKE SPORTS

“CNN’s approach to covering politics often prioritizes drama and spectacle over serious truth telling.”

This isn’t about fake news.

It’s about news as entertainment — and more specifically how CNN president Jeff Zucker has molded the network in the image of ESPN’s sports coverage and the impact that move is having on the world.

This Vox video breaks down how CNN treats politics like sports and the way that strategy influences its coverage including that sports TV staples like commentator arguments, countdown clocks, and assorted other tricks make for “cheap, easy TV” that requires no original reporting.

9. HOW ANYONE CAN MAKE BETTER PRESENTATION SLIDES

“You don’t have to center everything. Often left-aligning can create more visual interest.”

Most Powerpoint presentations are painful to look at and often just as painful to create.

This Sean Johnson post proves anyone can make better presentation slides by following simple advice about font choices, layouts, presentation of information, and most importantly understanding the story you want to tell.

10. THIS IS WHAT MILLENNIALS BELIEVE

“86% of millennials say, ‘Fans have at least some ownership of the things they’re fans of.’ 50% of millennialls say, ‘Someone should make a movie about my life.’ 33% of millennials say, ‘There isn’t really such a thing as the truth.’”

If those stats haven’t already convinced you this Fast Company article about a recent study of what Millennials believe is worth your time, then there’s nothing I can say that’s going to change your mind.

MEANWHILE, IN OTHER AWESOME NEWSLETTERS…

This week’s Weekend Briefing newsletter breaks down a happiness experiment and explores the concept of the expert-generalist.

This week’s Postanly newsletter includes recommendations of books lifelong learners should read and productivity tools entrepreneurs love.

This week’s New & Next newsletter has advice on how to develop discipline and explores the most common marketing mistakes startups make.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

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