Issue 16

Kevin Rose
May 29, 2017 · 6 min read

Welcome to a previous issue of The Journal. To get the latest issue delivered to your inbox, once a month, sign up for the newsletter here.

Big news this month!

After two years in NYC, I’m heading back to San Francisco and joining True Ventures. True has been a great partner over the years (our largest investor at Hodinkee) and I’m thrilled to be joining as a Venture Partner. This role will give me the flexibility to invest in new startups as well as build projects (like the Oak Meditation app) on the side. Get the full story here.

New podcast:
I sat down w/ Ryan Carson for a new episode of The Journal podcast. Ryan is the Founder & CEO of Treehouse. I’ve long admired Ryan’s drive and obsession with continual self-improvement. There is a lot of great practical advice in this episode.

Be well,


PS. — I’m on Instagram + follow Oak’s Instagram for inspiration!

Book: Essentialism

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This book really resonated with me, and I will certainly incorporate many of these principles into my work and personal life. What is an Essentialist?

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” ~Greg McKeown

I too have found myself saying “Yes” to the trivial many, only to feel overwhelmed later from overcommitting my time. This book helps you weigh the tradeoffs of every decision you make. I highly recommend this book to anyone that needs focus and takes on too much.

Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less ($12.99)

This is how I keep my coffee warm for 1.5 hours

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My friend, Marc Hemeon:
“Kevin, what’s your address? I have something that will change your life.”

Marc sent me my first Hydro Flask during our hot New York summer. I started by using the 32 oz wide mouth w/ straw lid for ice water. The insulation for both cold and hot beverages is outstanding. It keeps my coffee hot for over an hour (open lid) and keeps ice frozen for 20+ hours (covered lid). I purchased the 12 oz version (pictured above) for my morning coffee.

Perfect for coffee (12 oz — $21.95)
Wide mouth w/ straw lid (32 oz — $44.95)

Online Mac Emulator

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Now you can boot an old Mac in your browser. This collection contains applications, games, and operating systems from 1984–1989. Boot it up for a fun journey into the past.

Jeff Bezos explains the perfect way to make risky business decisions

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I worry about consensus driven decisions when it comes to embarking on new bold ideas. Consensus decisions typically settle on the safe bet. I believe this is partially due because ownership is then distributed, making everyone feel more secure and comfortable.

Instead of seeking “buy-in/approval” around decisions, Bezos pushes his team to “disagree and commit.”

“If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, ‘Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit? If you’re the boss, you should do this too. I disagree and commit all the time. We recently green lit a particular Amazon Studios original. I told the team my view: debatable whether it would be interesting enough, complicated to produce, the business terms aren’t that good, and we have lots of other opportunities. They had a completely different opinion and wanted to go ahead. I wrote back right away with ‘I disagree and commit and hope it becomes the most watched thing we’ve ever made.’” ~Jeff Bezos

I’m a firm believer in hiring the best talent and then empowering them to make big decisions, even if there isn’t full team support. Make sure to read his other tips in the article.

Jeff Bezos Explains Risky Decisions (Business Insider, 6 minute read)

A simple but powerful workout app (iOS)

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After a couple months off, I’m back in the gym three times a week. I’ve been looking for a new routine and app to help track my progress. A friend recently recommended I try Fitbod. Fitbod uses machine intelligence to learn from your workout history and ability. This allows them to create a personalized routine to improve your results.

To get started the app asks you a couple goal questions then quickly builds a custom workout routine. In the past, I’ve had issues here, as apps tend to recommend routines or exercises I’m uncomfortable with. Fitbod addresses this by offering video instructions, or if you’re still uncomfortable, a “replace” feature which lets you swap out any exercise with a complimentary one.

While the design of the app is very utilitarian (good or bad depending what you like) it’s usability is outstanding. Data entry is also surprisingly easy with weights and repetitions copied between fields automatically.

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense workout app, I’d give this a try.

Fitbod (iOS, Free for basics, Elite: $6.99/mo.)

Life as an Alaskan fisherman — in pictures

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“Corey Arnold is a fine art photographer and a commercial fisherman, working the stormy waters of the Bering Sea by Alaska. His latest work documents life in this remote wilderness, both at sea and on the shore, capturing trawlers, foxes, eagles and the grandeur of the scenery. Aleutian Dreams can be seen at Charles A Hartman Fine Art in Portland, Oregon, until 27 May”

See all 13 photos


“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

~Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

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The Journal by Kevin Rose

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