To transition from design consultant for governments to a location-independent company of one, making a living from internet products like SaaS apps.
I'll still do consultancy, but super selectively, limited to one project a year. The rest of the time, I'll be developer, designer, entrepreneur, marketing, sales, admin and plumbing all in one. I'd always been a generalist and I enjoy it deeply.
As with all new seasons, I always feel drawn to first getting new inspiration, before hunkering down to doing. So I'm taking a forced break in July from doing, to absorbing, imbibing, aspiring. Now I finally have the time to read all the books that I didn't have time for. And I'm sharing a list here so that I socially commit to sharing notes from it when I'm done reading. If anything, the notes are more notes to self, for my own future reference in this new season. YMMV.
Work, business, entrepreneurship & career
- I'm interested in new ways of working that doesn't confirm to conventional business thinking. Because the old school ways of entrepreneurship and even of startups don't seem to work for me. This is coming from not the lack of trying. Growing big, hiring, hustling, having playground offices, getting a million dollar valuation, getting VC money, just isn't my definition of success. Often it's repulsive, even. I like to stay small, be close to customers, be free and autonomous, but wealthy enough. I think the books below will help me gain some clarity. Can't wait!
Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business, by Paul Jarvis
Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy At Work, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss
The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit, by Marina Krakovsky
Podcasts and videos about ethical wealth creation, and tech-inspired wisdom by Naval Ravikant.
- I previously worked on a consultancy project where I interviewed managers and professionals in their 50s who got retrenched due to the economic recession. What I took away was that no one is safe from disruption if one doesn't continually adapt and grow throughout one's career. With the looming disruption from AI, this is made more pressingly urgent. I don't just want to be resilient - being able to bounce back after taking hits - but to be able to be 'lucky' enough to preemptively leverage on opportunities that come in a volatile and uncertain work landscape. Antifragility and planned luck is the key.
How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life by Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh
Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Productivity & lifestyle design
- I heard so much about the power of making small incremental changes, that I want to really start trying today. I'd always been biased towards big, paradigm-shifting changes, but with age, I'm not sure how many more major changes my heart can take. Moreover, a 1% improvement every day/week/month is severely under-rated. So I wonder, what can I do with a 1% regular increase, at 100% deep focus? Therefore, these 2 books:
Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, by James Clear
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
Random, fun & weird
- I like to add random into the mix because these are fun to read/watch! Much of what's considered mainstream used to be outside/on the edges of sanity, logic and correct, so why not?!
How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveller, by Ryan North
The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin
Videos and podcasts by Joe Rogan, about lost civilisations by Graham Hancock, alien tech by Bob Lazar, and many of the other intriguing guests he hosts on his talk show.
Let me know what you think of the books if you'd read them before.