Hello, hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, whatever time it is, whenever and wherever you are tuning in. My name is Ysmay, I am the host of That Podcast Ysmay Hosts, and it is currently Sunday afternoon in upstate New York, where I live, and I’m doing this episode in my living room, which, as I mentioned yesterday, I don’t exactly have the quietest house.
We live on a busy road, I’ve got loud neighbors, there’s all sorts of things that could be popping up in the background. So I do apologize that this is not going to be the cleanest audio, but perfectly honest, I am a little unwell today. I have a chronic illness; my heart is not what it should be, and I have a nervous system disorder that causes that and other wackiness.
I just wasn’t feeling up to going up to the university to go sit in my little office space there, so you’re getting today’s episode from my living room.
Today I wanted to share with you a few things that I have been reading about or enjoying or learning about this week. If this is something that you find interesting, let me know on social media, because I’ve been considering making these episodes a weekly thing for you. The first thing I want to share with you is a book called POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything, and this is written by Sam Horn. I first got this book when I was building MetroSeeker, because I needed to come up with a name for MetroSeeker, and this book helped me accomplish that. This book is just… It’s a trove of amazingly good advice for how to create, as the tagline says, the perfect pitch, title, and tagline for anything. This book sits on my business bookshelf, it’s always within arm’s reach, and I refer back to it over and over and over again.
One of the best things about this book is it’s broken up into easy-to-follow exercises, so Sam takes you through an easy-to-follow and an easy-to-understand framework for coming up with the perfect title, tagline, and so on for anything. What I love about this book is that Sam takes you through her perfect proven framework for naming things, and she makes it so incredibly easy that even if you are not a copywriter, even if you feel like you’re not creative, you can come up with a great title. And the reason this is so important for digital entrepreneurs, or any entrepreneur, really, is that the name is critically important when you’re developing a product to sell. Your name needs to be able to either stand the test of time or be easy to pivot, or also, it needs to fit in with the other products and services you offer. And if you’re just pulling something out of thin air, you don’t know if it’s going to meet those criteria.
So Sam, in this book, has you fill out something that she calls a W9, and it’s nine questions that will help you get to the heart of what it is you’re naming, why you’re naming it, and then you reference back to those questions throughout the exercises in the book. One of my favorite exercises is about sniglets, which was a term coined by comedian Rich Hall in the 1980s, and I learned that from this book years ago, and over the years, I’ve been seeing Rich Hall on British comedy shows. My husband and I watch a lot of those, like 8 Out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie to You? and QI. We watch a lot of British television, and I never put two and two together that that Rich Hall that I’d been seeing on TV is the one who came up with these sniglets.
One of the best things about sniglets is they are humorous, but also can be used quite effectively in business. A couple of examples of sniglets from this book that I found to be amusing are “intaxication,” euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to begin with, and “giraffiti,” which is vandalism sprayed very, very high up on a wall, and “déjà view,” which is when there’s nothing but reruns on TV.
Now, these aren’t necessarily business terms, but it gives you an idea of how you could apply sniglets, and how they could become something that you can develop while you’re working on creating the perfect title, tagline, pitch for anything. If you want to start naming things better, I suggest you go pick up a copy of this. Again, it’s called POP! and it’s written by Sam Horn.
The second thing I wanted to share with you is a podcast episode I’ve been listening to. This is on the show called Knowledge@Wharton by the Wharton School, and the episode is with author and professor Cal Newport. In this episode that I just found rather fascinating this week, the topic is Digital Minimalism: How to Choose a Focused Life in a Noisy World, the premise being that American adults spend more than 11 hours a day watching, reading, listening to, or simply interacting online with media, social media, and just basically in front of their devices.
Cal Newport, who is an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, reflects on this study by Nielsen and shares ways that we can reduce the amount of time that we spend on our digital devices and consuming digital content in his new book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.
In this book, he offers lessons on how to set rules and boundaries that help us find quiet in the tech-saturated world. This amazing interview with Sam… Sorry, with Stew Friedman on work and life is really eye-opening for me, because I am just… I’m so connected all of the time, but I feel that I don’t want to be, and I really don’t want to be using Facebook.
Unfortunately, I have to, because that’s where I get a lot of work from. I don’t want to be glued to my devices, but I have a digital empire, so how do I balance creating meaning, and delivering meaning and value to my clients, to my customers, without being attached to my devices all of the time?
Because quite frankly, there are things I would rather be doing than sitting here and going through Facebook, and engaging with people in groups all the time. I don’t always want to be doing that. Sometimes I would rather make art, or I would rather go for a walk, but there’s this pull to engage and to interact that those of us who are in digital business have a very hard time resisting. Not to mention the fact that these apps and these social media sites are designed to make us engage, so they are designed to trick us into using them more. I mean, if you have ever been scrolling through Facebook, and you look up and it’s an hour later, and you were like, “Whoa, where did the time go?” That was intentional. Facebook did that to you on purpose.
And as a libertarian and somebody who believes in freedom of choice and autonomy, I find those manipulative tactics to be extremely unsavory, and I would go so far as to find they’re unethical, because Facebook is literally removing the choice from the user. They’re manipulating us into taking actions that we don’t necessarily want to take, and they’re doing so in a way that steals our time, and our time is our most precious resource. We can never get more time back. We can make more money, but we cannot get more time. Once we’ve spent time, once we have done whatever it is that we are doing in that moment, that moment is gone, and we cannot go back and recapture that.
Now, my physicist husband I’m sure has many fun things to say about this, but speaking purely from a layman’s perspective, time, once consumed, is gone, and I cannot go back, and I can’t manufacture more time, so when these social media sites, and Facebook is not the only one, they all do it, start stealing our time in a way that detracts from our lives, I have a big problem with that. And that is what I found so fascinating about this interview with Stew on Knowledge@Wharton.
Stew and Cal talk very in depth about this concept of how to turn off your social media more, how to disconnect more from your phone in a way that gives you meaning, but also in a way that doesn’t detract from your ability to prosper. Cal’s book Digital Minimalism is next up on my list of interesting things to read.
So, that’s it, that’s what I wanted to share with you today.
I am off to go work on some sales pages and some copywriting, so I will be seeing you right back here in your podcast player tomorrow. If you have found any of these shows interesting, I would love it if you would hop on over into your podcast player and leave a review, and subscribe if you haven’t already, because those signals connect to iTunes, and they tell iTunes, “Hey, people are digging this, maybe we should show it to more people who might like it,” and that would be just… That would be amazing if I could get people to listen to the show who would benefit from the things that I am sharing. With that said, I hope you have a beautiful Sunday, whatever is left of it, and I’ll see you tomorrow.