#63 - Launching "Reinvent", 10k Independents > Amazon & Life Prototyping
Are 10,000 self-sufficient independents better than one Amazon?
August 24th, 2019:
Greetings from Taipei! Here is a rainy view from Wulai last week.
📰 I launched a new episode on the podcast after taking a short hiatus this summer. If you have any guests you’d love to see, let me know?
🙏 Thank you the the many people who offer a small gift each month like Noel, Jeff, Tricia, Jodan & John as a vote of confidence for me to keep going with this newsletter and journey. If you’ve like to join them, you can do so by hitting subscribe at the bottom or joining them on patreon.
🔥 🔜 Reinvent: Life & Work Beyond The Default Path
After last week’s essay on creative projects, I thought it was a good time to use public commitment to push myself into action. I’m finally taking action on a course I’m calling “Reinvent: life & work beyond the default path.” I’ve mapped out 36 modules so far that I plan to create over the next month before I take a small trip to Japan. You can follow along on twitter if you’d like:
I’ve been spending the last week learning more about video, lighting and creating the videos and material with the intention to create something that is kick-ass. While I plan to “ship” a complete course October 1st, I will use this as a container to create events, digital workshops and tools to share with people over the next several years.
I’m pre-launching the course for $149, which will increase as I get closer to launch. Early supporters will be able to give feedback on the curriculum and pick topics for me to go spend 8-10 hours understanding. You can check out the intro video and curriculum at the following link:
🦘Essay: Life is (incorrectly) framed as all-or-nothing leaps
We glorify the leap. The person that takes a bold leap into something new. We wish we could be them, but shit that looks scary.
We tend to judge people’s actions by an external interpretation of whats happening. One day they’re working full-time and the next day they are not. One day someone is working as a glorified telemarketer at a startup and the next day they are in nursing school. I was thinking back to leaving my job in NYC. I really didn’t have a plan or anything lines up. It must have seemed like madness.
What people can’t see are the years of small experiments, the new connection I made through my writing, the mindset shifts and dreams about carving a new path. Once I did all that, leaving was the easy part. I just had to pick a day.
Some of you may have listened to the podcast I did with John Zeratsky. He wrote a viral article titled, “I Quit My Job to Sail Around Central America for 18 Months.” When I talked to him, the truth was a bit more nuanced. He and his wife had dreamt up the plan five years prior and had already delayed the trip once by two years. Prior to taking the big leap, they tested their plan:
“Before we left…we would take small sailing trips, we would go somewhere for one night…later that year we would do that for a long weekend, then for a week and then for two weeks. A couple years before we left on the “big trip” we went for two months.”
Instead of taking a leap, they “prototyped” their life seeing how smaller trips felt, what skills they needed to learn and to see if they wanted to keep going.
What is the dream you have that you might be able to prototype?
🎙 Podcast: Alex Hillman on Coworking That Works & Why 10k Independents Are Better Than One Amazon
" coworking at its best isn’t an occupancy based business at all. If the only time your members can get value from their membership is when they’re in the room, you’re limiting the potential of your community "
Alex Hillman runs one of the longest running co-working spaces in the world - Indy Hall - in Philadelphia. He thinks the word "coworking" has lost some of its meaning and that many companies are running "spreadsheet businesses" rather than cultivating community.
"That level of dependence on a single employer is brittle at best and dangerous at worst. And that single source of 50,000 jobs being Amazon, who is notoriously one of the most ruthless businesses in the world, is the WORST worst way to generate those jobs. "
We also dive into Alex's working model of a new project, the 10k independents project. Hear about why he thinks self-sufficient independents are better than Amazon (I tend to agree)
Three Things Worth Sharing
#1 On Growing Old (Bertrand Russell via Maria Popova)
Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.
#2 What is a business for?
Its interesting to look back at a certain period of time filled with hope for a new kind of future. This HBR article fom the post-Enron fallout contemplates what a business is for:
A good business is a community with a purpose, and a community is not something to be “owned.” A community has members, and those members have certain rights, including the right to vote or express their views on major issues. It is ironic that those countries that boast most stridently about their democratic principles derive their wealth from institutions that are defiantly undemocratic, in which all serious power is held by outsiders and power inside is wielded by a dictatorship or, at best, an oligarchy.
A contradiction I talked about in my podcast with Luke Kanies, discussing his article “why do people hate working for big companies?”
#3 Is WeWork Total Work or Something Else
Every WeWork I have been in seems a bit frenetic and dystopian. The signs on the wall telling me to “hustle harder” just make me want to run. The spreadsheet optimized conference rooms where I am scared to move and hit a wall make me feel like I’m part of some office experiment that I didn’t sign up for.
It’s also what makes my podcast with Alex Hillman and his radically different approach so impressive (listen here).
There were a number of analyses of WeWork this week. Probably the most entertaining was NYU Professor Scott Galloway’s “WeWTF”. Some other tidbits:
Rebekah Neuman, Co-Founder: “We don’t have a line at all between work and life,” she told Fast Company. “It’s not even a blurred line. There is no line.”
Enron or WeWork?
👋 Hey there! I'm Paul Millerd and I write Boundless each week. I typically sit down for a few hours on Friday or Saturday and share what I’ve been thinking and interesting things I’ve read as well as use this as a space to work out half-baked thoughts which may or may not go anywhere.
I left my fancy corporate consulting career behind in 2017 to experiment with working as a freelancer. That experiment turned into a longer journey where I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t default to designing my life around work.
Here are some projects and other things I am working on:
✍Boundless is where I share lessons on building a life beyond the default path,
💫 Reinvent Course Helps people imagine beyond the default path
🏫 StrategyU is where I run a digital course and do in-person workshops teaching people strategy consulting “secrets.”
🙋♀️I have a few no-agenda curiosity conversations with people each week.