Jonah Peretti of HuffPo and BuzzFeed fame on Internet publishing and exponential growth

One of the first Internet businesses I started was in content publishing by a blogging network back in the early 2000s. Although I am no longer involved with that business (exited to someone who knew more about this that I was interested in knowing) I got to follow the evolution of blogging and publishing quite closely.

The thing is, if you care about having an impact on the world, the too-early mode is the highest leverage point because you can have an idea, build a mock or a prototype of it, and then have those ideas find themselves in products that other people build that then scale up to massive.

Scaling things, and building a business, and the data that you have when you grow something to a large scale, does allow you to learn certain things that you can’t learn in a lab.

If you do something and make a splash and build something interesting, then people will give you money to do more stuff. They come to you and say, “Why don’t you take this to the next level? Let us invest.” And then you generate revenue, and that allows you to explore more ideas.

The Jonah Peretti interview by Felix Salmon is a 90-minutes-read Q&A spread over 4 meetings and many Internet, publishing and behavioural psychology. Definitely a worthy weekend read.

Putting a label on things

For the sake of research, I’m wearing this activity tracker wristband that fits too small (they only had it Medium where I got it from) and looks rather goofy. But apparently it tracks my steps and my sleeps and it’s going to make it all sugar and spice and everything nice.

But I would not really mind that at all if it didn’t ask me to put a label on things. Is me sitting in bed just laying down for a minute or is it a nap? Do I intend to sleep long, as then I need to tell it beforehand I’m going to be sleeping longer so it doesn’t wake me up by vibrating continuously after my “power nap” is done.

Those quantified self do-it-all bands are nice, but someone should start a smart pillow company already.

Later Edit: Somebody did, but the end result doesn’t look pretty.

Ten things I learned by age 25 and appreciate dearly

Young enough to know I can. Old enough to know I should’t. Stupid enough to do it anyway.

Abilities are developed. You can learn and grow them yourself by doing things.

What people think of as “talent” does not help much outside an accelerated initial learning. Mastering any skill requires hard work, discipline and motivation. There is no such thing as innate abilities – we work really hard to master skills and crafts that are important for creating things of meaning.

I love making people happy.

Listen to what others care for, express gratitude towards those that do good and show genuine empathy. Expect nothing in return – if everybody would be doing this the world would be a better place.

What you think you know is actually your perception created from limited experiences and it is probably stopping you from creating something genuinely great.

There is beautify in looking at things you do not understand with an open mind instead of dismissing them as wrong. Many things do not make sense right away, but if given some time and openness to understanding where they come from one can learn new thinking patterns and ideas. People are rarely wrong – it is usually the receiving party rushing to conclusions too early based on insufficient context.

Focusing ones philanthropic efforts on education of others makes for the greatest positive impact.

This is something I rarely talk about, but one of the projects I am most proud of is an education initiative I sparked and I am funding. I’m both proud and grateful for the opportunity of providing hundreds of students every year with the education I wished I have received when making my first steps in the information technology business.

Time is not money. One can recoup or make more money, but time is lost once wasted. Spend yours carefully.

Account for more than short term and potential long term financial incentives when choosing where to invest time. It is easy to make money, but more difficult to make them from things that you love and that make you wake up with a big smile and tremendous excitement every day.

Common sense is more important than formal education and much harder to obtain.

I look as common sense as the instinctive ability to make good decisions in random situations. Good instinct comes with observing patterns and repeatably making good decisions. For many people this is hard to obtain, especially when formal education is so guided and structured.

Love and happiness are pretty much the same thing and tend to come and go together.

If you do not understand this yet I suggest you find a bottle of good red wine and discuss it with your someone special. :)

Surround yourself with people you want to have very long term relationships with.

The people I am closest with, personally and professionally, are people I want to have close and create with in the long future. Trust and understanding are built over time and there is always a deep personal connection first that enables such continuity.

Being physically active pays off more than the time you invest in it.

On top of good health and sleep, improved work productivity and good posture I always enjoyed using sports as inspiration and motivation for breaking personal limits. Over the course of the last couple years I went from having modest physical strength to bench pressing more than my body weight, gain twenty kilos in lean mass only to drop most for better triathlon form. The human body is just incredible machine and most of us fail to explore it to its full potential.

If it feels good you should probably do it. Sometimes making mistakes feels better than living with regrets.

Stop worrying and start living. Worst thing that can happen is that you are back from where you started, with more experienced and possibly some proper battle scars. This sounds better to me than constantly asking myself what could have happened if.

Today I turn 25. I am happy, healthy and working with inspiring people on ideas I care deeply for. I am building my most recent company from London, which is in many ways a good step forward. I am deeply grateful towards everybody who is helping me follow my dreams. Thank you for such a beautiful beginning.

The nicest birthday present you can make me is sharing this article with your friends.