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Letter sent on Aug 22, 2016

Top secret robots, how to win 5 of my favorite books, the soundtrack that helped me write 1M+ words in a year, the future of video, and our upcoming live hangout

Dear Readers,

What a time to be alive, and what a week. This week’s newsletter is packed with some of the best media and tech I encountered last week, along with some small vignettes designed to help you crush the upcoming week…

1. Top secret robots… one of man’s new best friends?

2. A free story from one of the most underrated female writers in history

3. A 2500+ year old quote to positively re-frame any friendship or relationship challenge

4. The soundtrack that helped me write 1M+ words in a year

5. The future of video?

Bonus- We’re hosting an upcoming live hangout/Q&A/jam session on Saturday the 27th between 11am-noon EST (8–9am PST). Here’s the Facebook event for it.

During the hangout, we’ll be gifting 5 physical copies of some of my favorite imagination boosting books to one lucky reader. Find out how you can enter the giveaway at the end of this newsletter!

1. Top secret robots… one of man’s new best friends?

One of the first semi-autonomous robots I discovered in the wild was the one shown in the picture above. It’s a security bot that’s starting to appear in public places all around the country. The most fascinating part of the robot security drone was how the children in the area gravitated towards it. We’re approaching a time where robots that serve us will become our friends.

They won’t replace our people friends, or the classic man’s best friend (dogs)… but they will supplement them. They’ll be a new type of helpful friend that (if we build and program them successfully) will improve the quality of our lives.

I recently had a chance to get a behind the scenes look at a consumer robot in development by a company here in the Bay Area. The [Robot and Company Name Redacted] is still top secret, and I can’t tell you much, but what I can tell you is that the robot is adorable, and I can see almost every household in the Bay Area wanting one when it’s released. New consumer robots like this one are going to form symbiotic relationships with us to help us ‘hunt’ for opportunities in the modern economy.

It’s been fascinating to see some of the innovation in robotics behind the scenes, and I’m excited to cover and share a lot more on this subject in the coming months and years. Humans are going to have many more robotic friends and allies in the future, and it’s going to be sweet.

2. A free story from one of the most underrated female writers in history

I’m a huge speculative fiction fan (or sci-fi if you like to call it that) and this week I finally read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

Wow. This book could be interpreted in so many different ways, I don’t know where to begin. Shelley’s life seems like one hell of a struggle through adversity.

Here is a link to a free copy, pdf, or kindle version, and there are plenty of other free sci-fi books from archive.org here.

3. A 2500+ year old quote to positively re-frame any friendship or relationship challenge

Building meaningful, mutually rewarding friendships and relationships isn’t easy. It’s a tricky balance, and I need all the help I can get. I’ve found that memorizing a few quotes and being able to recall them during challenging times is a game changer. Here’s one of the the most powerful quotes I’ve found:

“To rank the effort above the prize may be called love.” — Confucius, 500 B.C.

I use this quote as a reminder to invest more effort into the present moment with friends and my spouse. If you find yourself at a moment of interaction with a friend or partner, try focusing on making an effort to create fun, joy, or a meaningful connection. For me, making more effort in those moments has lead to more happiness.

Reflecting on this quote has also helped me identify when I’m being an idiot in my friendships and my marriage.

4. A musical soundtrack that helped me write 1M+ words in a year… and possibly experience the 5th dimension

Okay, I’ll admit that I can’t be sure if I actually experienced the 5th dimension, but my go-to soundtrack for writing is the Interstellar Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, a legendary composer.

If you’re seeking to get more work done with music that tells a story… this is a good soundtrack to try. I’ve found that soundtracks like this quiet and distract the monkey mind (which helps me focus on writing).

Last year, I listened to this track on repeat hundreds of times while I was writing, and it helped me write over 1M words.

When I factor in the ~5 moleskine notebooks I filled, evernote notes, and phone notes, my count for the year was well over 1M.

I’m a big believer in word dumps, or writing with the expressed intention that no one in the near term will be seeing or judging what you’ve written. The best ideas tend to surface when you know no one will be seeing them in the nascent stages.

5. The future of video?


Imagine you’re looking into a video camera that is simultaneously livestreaming to Facebook Live, Livestream.com, and has an interface that allows you or your team to edit the live video in real time.

That’s what the brand new Mevo camera does. Video is an area we’re particularly interested in, and we’ll be publishing a bunch of articles around the future of video, livestreaming, and social platforms over the coming months.

The team at Livestream (the makers of Mevo) were kind enough to send us the brand new Mevo + filming kit, and we’re in the process of testing it out for our…

…Upcoming live hangout, Q&A, and jam session with our readers!


This Saturday, August 27th from 11am-noon EST (8–9am PST).

I’ll be giving away 5 physical copies of some of my favorite books to one lucky reader.

Here’s how to win:

Leave a response to this article with a question, idea, or statement you want fielded during our upcoming live hangout.

I’ll select, answer, and cover the best ones on Saturday morning.

From the ones I select, I’ll pick the most thought-provoking/inspiring one. That reader will win five of my favorite books courtesy of us here at The Mission.