Tings Newsletter #11
Who am I? I'm Michael Karnjanaprakorn. I created Skillshare and Otis. Right now, I'm taking a break before my next project. Each month, I write a newsletter about living a good life, personal holding companies, creativity, and random tings.
I created my version of a second brain on Notion based on the Notecard System. The goal is to be prolific and have quality and quantity output. This creative process reminds me of Virgil Abloh’s laptop: “his laptop was like a library of everything that was aesthetically beautiful and relevant.”
Without realizing it, I’ve been doing a variation of Monk Mode and 75 Hard. My own version: the 180 Method. Focus on one habit change every month for 180 days: 1) No Alcohol / Drugs, 2) Drink 1G Water (or Track Calories) 3) Meditate 20 Minutes, 4) Sleep 7+ Hours, 5) Exercise 30 Mins and 6) Work Related Input. You can go in any order to do a reset on your life, mentally and physically.
After watching a few videos from Wanhee on physical health, I began tracking my calorie and macro intake. The results have been remarkable. I have more energy and I'm less moody. The most significant change is my mindset: this is a long-term lifestyle change, not a short-term fix.
As I looked into my health, I found this Zone 2 training article. Over half my life ago, I used to be a track and cross-country runner. We always tried to push ourselves as hard as we could to get as fast as possible. Zone 2 training is the opposite. It's about keeping your heart rate below a certain level (for me it's about 132-145), and that helps you burn fat.
I've been getting into strength training, and Julian's handbook has been my go-to. It's got all the info you need - how much muscle to gain, supplements, workout plans, technique, and how to eat right.
I'm sharing one-minute clips from past podcast interviews on Instagram and YouTube. I'm exploring other platforms and trying out different formats to flex my creative muscles. I'm excited to see where this takes me!
This was a through-provoking article on the Leisure Class by Rob Henderson (who also has an excellent newsletter). In the past, people displayed their membership in the upper classes with luxury items and exclusive experiences. As these have become more accessible, the elite have shifted to displaying their status with moral beliefs. When these beliefs become outdated, the elite move on to new ones as a new way to gain status. Cycle repeats.
Some concepts are timeless. One of which is this Nike company manifesto from 1980. My favorite one is “#8: Dangers: Bureaucracy. Personal ambition. Energy takers vs energy givers. Knowing our weaknesses. Don’t get too many things on the platter.”
Lifestyle Businesses get a bad rap. I'm not sure when it became associated with "not being ambitious". It’s possible to both work on your own terms and build a large company. I admire entrepreneurs who strive for both ambition and a balanced life.
My friend Marshall Haas has put his company Peel for sale. The business has been around for 10 years and is famous for making the first super thin iPhone case. This can be a great opportunity to grow the business and add Creators as co-owners to help market.
This mass extinction prediction for startups has been making the rounds. In simple terms: After layoffs (my prediction for 2022), companies will shut down. After you cut costs and can’t raise any additional capital, the next step is to wind down your company. IMO, companies have a natural growth rate and injecting truckloads of cash to grow (similar to steroids) is never sustainable. The moment that cash drives, a lot of the gains are lost, and you end up back on the natural growth rate.
I’ve written about Personal Holding Companies (PHC) but I’m also exploring Personal Creative Studios (PCS). Work on creative projects. Make cool shit. Similar to Pharrell.
Rick Rubin's new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, is a great read. It sits at the intersection of creativity, philosophy, and spirituality. My favorite quote from the book is: "We tend to think of the artist's work as the output. The real work of the artist is a way of being in the world." Being vs Doing.
This isn’t fully fleshed out yet but I’ve been thinking about the four stages of spending money: 1) covering basic needs; 2) spending disposable income to have fun; 3) flexing your status; and 4) using money as a tool to live a good life. Related to what Morgan Housel has written about recently. The end goal isn’t to put money to work to “own” you. I see this all the time with friends who rent out their homes on Airbnb. They are constantly stressed out by guests to earn a little extra income, but the stress is often not worth it.
Sorelle Amore is a Youtuber who just put out a video called “I retired at 33”. She took a year off and called it her “semi-retirement” year (out of necessity) after she hustled for 10 years and reached her career goals. She documented the year from feeling lost to finding herself and then emerging with an entire new outlook on life. Pretty inspiring.
Cody Sanchez has a great formula for relationships called TEAM. The acronoym stands for Touch, Education, Appreciation, and Metrics.
Love this quote from Naval: “It takes time to develop your gut, but once it’s developed, don’t listen to anything else.” People often ask me for the best piece of advice I’ve ever received, and I often respond with “don’t take anyone’s advice”. Have the courage to go with your gut!”
All this new AI stuff is wild. I’ve been experimenting with AI from editing this newsletter, creating a mood board for a creative workspace, and replicating my voice 🤯. Others have uploaded 10 years of therapy notes and asked GPT-3 to pull out patterns. These tools have made the work far more efficient than anything I’ve ever done before.
If you need a mood booster, I created a Vibes playlist on Spotify. The mood? Driving down Highway 1 in Big Sur, in a convertible, on the way to a party in Los Angeles. Playlist album cover designed by DALL-E-2.
The Octopus is an incredible species. If I could be reincarnated as an animal, I would choose to be an octopus. Reminds of My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. Great documentary.
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Until the next one…