An audience of one

There’s one sure fire way to have an audience for your new product or service.

Build it for yourself.

If you do- you have a guaranteed audience of one.

It’s a glib remark in a sense as you of course need a larger audience for a viable business. However there is wisdom in the idea.

Firstly- if you’re building it to solve a problem that you have then the chances are others will have that same problem.

Secondly- if you yourself are the target audience then you’ll have a much better idea of what the target audience wants or needs. A big advantage.

More to the point… It keep it fun!

One big decision

I find it interesting just how much of life is impacted by a seemingly simple decision.

How to spend our time.

This could be the type of work we do.

Or who we choose to spend time with.

Or perhaps what we do during the weekend.

Each moment in isolation seems insignificant. But add them all together and the difference over even a year is astonishing.

A 1% improvement at something each day leads to not a 365% increase over a year, as you might expect, but a 3873% increase or 38.73x.

This is the power of compounding. Quite remarkable.

Abundance

For most of human history we’ve had a problem of scarcity. Of food, of shelter, of resources.

Today we have a new problem: Abundance.

There are parts of the world now where our problems no longer stem from not

enough of a resource but too much. Food, alcohol, drugs, entertainment. All available in abundance.

It’s the overconsumption of these things that causes much of the unhappiness in western society.

Restricting consumption and escaping the noise is now more crucial than ever.

Triggers

I’d say 50% of my day spent in quarantine is thinking about food.

My next meal. My previous meal. Lunch tomorrow. What foods I’m enjoying right now…

The list goes on.

I’m probably not the only one.

At the heart of this issue is the psychological concept of triggers.

Our brains are constantly looking to steer us towards pleasure and away from pain. They do this by taking cues from our environment.

For many of us, this work from home period has seen us consigned to working in our kitchen or dinning room.

When else do we spend time there?

During meals!

The hours previously spent in our kitchen revolved heavily around food. It’s no surprise that our bodies react to this additional kitchen time with a constant craving to check the fridge.

Bring on life after lockdown.

Short term thinking

Every day we are programming our brain.

With the content we consume. The conversations we have. Even the thoughts that occupy our minds.

We’re living now in an age of instant gratification.

Boredom is a thing of the past.

Equipped with our smartphones we’re never more than a swipe away from the next dopamine hit.

But there is a cost!

Short term thinking.

Our brains are being programmed to chase these short term rewards.

This is very much the case if you’re starting a company. A focus on Instagram followers or money in the bank comes at the expense of the bigger picture and building something that lasts.

Do the social media giants make the world a better place? I’m not so sure.

Hidden cost

Let’s talk about social media.

There is no doubt that social media has revolutionised the world. It has enabled millions to better run their businesses and billions to connect.

But at what cost?

Since the dawn of farming some 20,000 years ago we’ve seen a number of huge shifts in the way we live. Social Media is perhaps the latest.

For all this invention and innovation, are we better off?

Maybe not.

There has been extensive research in the last century on the native tribes that are still found dotted in quiet corners of the globe.

The research offers a valuable insight into the lives of the hunter gather- our lives, before it all changed.

The findings are truly remarkable.

They are happier, healthy and get far more joy out of life than their more “advanced” relatives.

And not just marginally!

It’s a landslide.

Farming. Social Media. The internet even. These all seem like great ideas.

Sure, there are clear benefits.

But at what cost?

Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

Pen and paper

I find there is nothing quite like pen and paper for easing my worries.

Whenever I feel uneasy or stressed. Grabbing a pen, some paper and writing whatever comes to mind does wonders!

There’s something about writing that helps objectivity the situation and make a mockery of my, usually irrational, concerns.

Getting basics right

All of my good days seem to have one thing in common.

They are the days I get the basics right.

The bad days? The days I get the basics wrong.

Understanding this is one thing. Doing something about it is something else entirely.

We’re built to be active, to meaningfully connected with each other, to eat, to get enough sleep, to switch off.

As far as I can see we each have vices against these basics.

For me, I tend to overeat, I spend too much time sitting at my desk, I waste time on social media & messaging platforms.

Whatever is going in on the macro of my life I find it’s these mirco battles that set my happiness level.

I get sucked into my laptop some days and lose the day. Not a good day!

Likewise, if I can resist the instant gratification of whatsapp or emails, and get outside, spend time solving problems, or having proper interactions with friends and family, then the days become richer and more enjoyable.

In quarantine this is tricky! The battle is fought everyday, and despite being armed with this insight, I get it wrong time and time again. There’s a lot to be said for leaving the house and changing environment.

Roll on post lockdown!

Blank Canvas

It will be a different world post lockdown.

In what way? That remains to be seen.

Will restaurants return to their former glory?

Are cinemas a thing of the past?

Will we drive and fly as much?

These questions will no doubt be decided by us, the people. And how we vote with our wallets.

It’s a blank canvas! To do with what we choose. It will be fascinating to see what we paint.