Curatorial Issue #1

Unoriginal original content from October 2020

Hi friends,

Welcome to the 12 new subscribers who joined since my last newsletter—thanks for joining!

I’m replacing the weekly article with something new. I hope you like it!

Alright, let’s dive in.


Before we begin: If you’re reading this but haven’t joined the Path Nine community, hit the button below to join the entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, architects, psychologists, designers, and engineers that read Path Nine to learn the strategies reshaping our work and lives


Aggregators suck. Allow me to explain.

Aggregation is the cheapest way to combine ideas. It requires little thought and is fuel for listicles and much of the abhorrent content shared across the internet. To be an aggregator is not to study, understand, or learn.

But there’s a subtle process that transforms aggregation into curation.

Unlike aggregation, curation is severely underrated. If you look at successful creators on any platform, from Instagram to TikTok or YouTube, you’ll see that these creators are really curators and purveyors. What are they purveyors of?

Taste.

Taste is not earned through money, it’s developed over time and is difficult to replicate. Curation of any form requires a certain element of taste. It forces you to cut out more than you bring in. It is, by definition, limited.

But it’s a delicate dance to be a curator and not just an aggregator. The key differences:

  • Content curation requires more thinking, analyzing, and prioritizing.

  • Aggregation is mindless and easy to automate.

What does this mean for Path Nine? Starting today, I’ll be sending a monthly curation issue. Each issue will provide a curated mix of trends, ideas, and links.

Why not another article? Everyone is busy. I want to help Path Nine readers (and all creators) spend less time searching and more time creating.

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback, so please feel free to shoot me a note.

And now, on to issue #1.

In Case You Missed It…

If you’re new to Path Nine, here’s what you may have missed:

  1. Remote Boundary Management Styles — Four methods for creating your optimal work-life balance. Finding work-life balance is uncharacteristically difficult when there isn’t a natural physical distance between work and life. But boundary management is no longer optional. In this article, I break down the four boundary management styles and how you can use them to create balance.

  2. Work as a Sport (WAAS) — What sport psychology teaches us about mental health, productivity, and the future of work. Whether you consider yourself an athlete or not, the fundamentals of work and sport are the same — both are competitive, rule-based, and require collaboration and planning. If we want to succeed, we should aim to understand what sports teach us about work.

  3. Off-Campus Crusaders — Understanding Remote Hierarchies and the Future of Work. We’re all anxious to return to some form of normalcy, but the reality is that we’re not going back. The world is changing, and so are we. Instead of retreating, it’s time to set up strategies and plan for uncertainty. Whether you prefer the office or plan to work from home, be ready to adapt. Step one: learn the Remote Hierarchies of the #futureofwork.

  4. Learning to Block — The tools and techniques remote workers can leverage to block time and avoid burnout. Remote employees are particularly susceptible to burnout and must learn the offensive and defensive skills to ensure they don’t get crushed by work. Let’s start with blocking.

  5. #WhenRemoteWorks...and When It Doesn't — Facing the unexpected mental health challenges in the future of work. It’s easy to assume that the shift to remote work will be better for everyone. It won’t. Many will suffer in the transition. More will be displaced. Gaps will grow wider. We need to create space to breathe. Start by addressing the mental challenges of remote work.

What I’m Working On

Engaging and being engaged. I struggle to find the line between personal and professional worlds. I love sharing both, but I’m a fairly private person, so I do find it difficult to expose what I consider ‘my business.’ But, in the spirit of transparency, I wanted to share that I’m recently engaged to my longtime partner.

OnDeck Writing Fellowship. Education is important. Whether it’s reading a book, writing an article, building a product/business, taking an online course, talking to a friend, or actually going to a formal educational facility — it matters. Recently I joined OnDeck as a Writing Fellow. As part of this journey, I’m now writing more consistently and honing my craft alongside many great writers.

Re-Skilling. We need an escape from our day-to-day life. It’s too easy to get sucked into the vortex of work. I’ve started exploring new hobbies and reviving old ones — I call it re-skilling. My current winter re-skilling projects include expanding my guitar skills and building back my sketching skills.

Building. As if any of these ventures weren’t enough, we’ve decided to start building our house in Lake Chelan. This project is barely underway, but it is intensely interesting and invigorating. If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll share everything I learn along the way.

Venture validation. Many of you know I’ve been working on improving the way that companies validate product ideas, allowing them to save money on products that no one wants or needs. But it’s not just about the money, it’s about the goal of building a life that you enjoy. Too many people get locked into building products and services that they believe are important, only to realize that they’ve lost money, time, and freedom. With new technologies, it’s easier than ever to create products and services, but it’s harder to find the right market. I want to solve this problem. If you, or someone in your company, would be interested in learning more, shoot me a note.

Curated Links

I’ve started condensing my reading list to avoid information overload and improve productivity. I previously had dozens of newsletters, but with the help of Mailbrew and Feedly, I’ve been able to cut my reading digest. For Path Niners, I thought it would be helpful to share the newsletters that stuck on my list:

  • Not Boring by Packy McCormick. Packy is, without question, one of my favorite tech writers. He’s clear, concise, and always on-point.

  • Lenny’s Newsletter by Lenny Rachitsky. Lenny’s Newsletter is the most practical newsletter for anyone in SaaS. He intelligently curates questions via his Slack community and does a deep dive that is insightful and to the point.

  • Welcome to Hell World by Luke O’Neil. This newsletter is a recent find for me, and full transparency: it’s not for everyone. For me, I find that O’Neil brings to bear the apoplectic tails of modern society.

  • Grow Getters by Codie Sanchez. Similarly, Grow Getters is one I’m currently testing. So far, it feels down to earth and worth a read.

  • The Browser by Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton. Last, but certainly not least, is The Browser. If curation is an art, The Browser is the Claude Monet of newsletters.

What’s next?

Part of the reason I enjoy writing a newsletter and blog is that I can change content directions on a dime. I don’t need editorial approval to share a new idea or update post cadence. The goal is to create helpful content that sparks creative curiosity and motivates you to follow your path in life. Here are some topics that are on deck for the next few newsletters:

  • Spaces and Places

  • Decision Frameworks

  • Future Cities

Trends I’m Thinking About

In the spirit of community and collective enjoyment, I’m exploring a new tactic today. While I have a lot of articles en route to publication, I’d like to know what YOU think.

This is a chance to influence the direction of Path Nine content. Here’s how it works:

  1. Read the topics below

  2. If you like one and want to read more, click the link

Each click will be counted as an upvote for the topic and will influence my writing.

Health

  • Health and fitness (click to upvote). Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I walked a minimum of 2 miles everyday and did a workout 3-6 days per week. These activities kept me healthy, energized, and focused. Now, I’ve had to reinvent every aspect of my health and fitness strategy just to stay on track. If you’re experiencing the same challenge, let’s work through it together.

  • Mindset (click to upvote). We’re moments away from an incredibly important moment in American democracy. No matter which way the election goes, the facts of our world remain temporarily bleak. I don’t bring this up to be negative, but rather to encourage strength, diligence, and fortitude. Mindset changes everything. I’m spending time digging into reframing and rethinking to help myself and others live a happier, more fulfilling life. Related: Solitude vs. Isolation

  • Focus and productivity (click to upvote). Over the last few weeks, I’ve been in a flurry of meetings and conversations. Typically, I find these rapid-fire engagements invigorating, but recently, I’ve found them a bit draining. Here’s the thing, it’s not Zoom Fatigue. As an internet-diagnosed ambivert, I find the inconsistency of in-person and online meetings a bit jarring. I don’t mind Zoom meetings, but they often feel inconclusive. Every conversation feels never-ending. Does anyone really want to have a conversation for six weeks? We now speak in installments; each week waiting for the next updates from our favorite show. Related: Finding Flow

Wealth

  • Money and Finance (click to upvote). Financial education is the most underrated domain in early academics. As we get older, we learn financial lessons the hard way — by living through them. While many think this is the best way to learn, I completely disagree. The financial choices we make impact what we can and can’t do throughout life, so it’s important to hear these lessons early on to avoid unintended consequences.

  • Creating and Capturing Value (click to upvote). For anyone who wants to work for FAANG or a similar tech company, the options to gain and grow wealth are limitless. But for anyone looking to take a non-traditional path (you Path Niners), you’ll need different tools and techniques. I’m exploring these myself and would like to share my learning along the way.

  • Mental Wealth (click to upvote). What does it mean to be wealthy? We’re quick to calculate financial wealth because we can quantify it. The sad truth is that money can buy you freedom, but it won’t buy you happiness. Mental wealth is more important than financial wealth, so why don’t we build it together.

Wisdom

  • Decision-Making and Mental Models (click to upvote). Why do we find it so difficult to make and manage our decisions? I’ve spent years studying and researching decision-making frameworks to improve my own decisions and understand the pillars that support a more robust decision toolkit. Related: The End of History Illusion and Bias Blind Spots

  • Tools and Products (click to upvote). Writing is the most critical business skill. People need a way to capture and communicate ideas, without restriction. Sadly, many of the tools we have actually make us less productive. I’m always looking for tools to eliminate busy work and help me focus on deep work.

  • Future Trends (click to upvote). I love writing about the ways that technology reshapes our world and how we can use it to improve our lives. In recent months, I’ve been sharing my experience as a remote-first entrepreneur, but my aim is to study the ways our world is changing and share those insights with you. Related: Remote Boundary Management

That’s it for this week. As always, if you like the content, please do me a favor and share it with your friends — this newsletter runs on overpriced whiskey and reader engagement.


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Thanks for reading, and see you next week,

— Kevin K. (@kkirkpatrick)