Weekly Top 5 #52 – Habits, Greedy Brands and 30 days of Genius

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One Video Series: 30 Days of Genius

A series of amazing interview by famous photographer Chase Jarvis speaking with a number of top-of-their game creative types from Tim Ferriss to Kelly Starrett, Austin Kleon to Neil Strauss, sign up and get an email

One Video: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

A fascinating and funny talk on how deliberate procrastination can fuel creative thinkings. Well worth a watch, even if just for the entertaining values.

One Graphic: From Data to Wisdom

Data > Information > Knowledge > Insight > Wisdom. First mentioned to me by one of my lecturer at Kent University This article takes it this idea much further, such as this powerful quote “They used to say knowledge is power, but now there’s Google — information is everywhere, and cheap”

One Kickstarter Campaign: Pebble Time 2

Although I’m a tech geek, I don’t actually own too many smart devices, I’ve been pretty happy with my Fitbit Charge all along but this new generation of Pebble smartwatch with heart rate monitor actually sounds pretty interesting. Starting from $99 USD it’s not a bad of an investment

One List: Brands that does Good vs Bad

I don’t think I’m the only one that does this strange thing where I think of companies and brands as people, with attitudes and personalities. This list shows how people perceive these companies in terms of “the extent to which they stand for something other than making money”, some big surprises here.
 

Hertz Car Rental Service Experience

So we were going back to Suffolk (UK) for the weekend to spend the weekend with my parents, train tickets were stupidly expensive so I thought I would hire a car for the weekend. Decided to go with Hertz and this is a quick summary of my experience

On arrival

Once we finally found the location, we entered and saw LOTS of people waiting already sitting on sofas around the place, there was no obvious queues, so I wasn’t sure what the right thing to do would be. Walking around, I saw there are actually a ticketing machine at the OTHER entrance.

Tip 1. Clearly sign post all entrances about the ticketing machine, I wasn’t the only one who walked in confused

The Wait

This was by far, the most annoying thing, although I had pre-booked our car, I still had to wait over an hour, needless to say neither all the other customers and I were happy about waiting, but at least there was a water machine and clean bathrooms for us to use.

Tip 2. Show estimated waiting time and next ticket number. There was a display but it only show you what number it was on when it called someone out.

Tip 3. I can so imagine this to be an automated process like going to the cinema with pre-booked tickets in the near future. Get there first maybe?

The Upsell

I know it’s the staff’s job to upsell and make it frictionless, but one thing that wasn’t frictionless was when I was presented with the bill. I paid £55 online already, I was pretty much expecting to sign a piece of paper and walk away. To find out I was upsold to instead of just being asked to confirm my package wasn’t a nice surprise.

Tip 4. Upsell clearly, there’s no hiding from the bills. Be very clear

Tip 5. The receipt was a mess, with ‘estimated’ this and ‘expected cost’ that. I was nervously checking my bank account for the next few days to see how much it actually cost

Getting the car

Finally I got the car, I was told I just need to walk outside and the car will be waiting for me in 5–10 minutes. LIES I was outside for another 30 minutes, I didn’t know if I was suppose to do hand the document to someone, or if a mistake was made in the procedure. It turns out there were just understaffed and I had to wait.

Tip 6. Waiting is fine, but let me know I haven’t missed anything and am at least in the right place.

Expectation

(Not everyone would find this a problem) Its lovely to get a free upgrade for free, but not its not what you asked for. I ordered a “mini” car because:

  • Its a cheaper hire
  • Cheaper fuel
  • I haven’t drove a car for a while and were not particularly confident with a big car

I know it was nice gesture for the upgrade, but the truth was, it made me pretty nervous. I also understand this could be a supply thing, but I am writing from a customer’s perspective

Tip 7. Ask if customer would like the free upgrade

Leaving the Hertz carpark

I thought leaving Hertz would be as simple as driving out of any old carpark. Nope, I had to present a number of documents to the gentlemen at the gate, why wasn’t I told I need all this ready? Why did you make me search frantically after such a long wait?

Tip 8. Include clear simple instructions in the envelope on what I need to do at the gate, just a few drawings would do nicely.

Car Return

Again, what am I suppose to do? I got to that gate, am I suppose to climb out to reach the buzzer (my bad driving meant I couldn’t reach). It turns out it was all automated all I had to do was wait. The massive gate with ramp and barbed wired was intimating.

Tip 9. Simple sign… Please wait here for gate to open

Car Return, now what?

So I got to the “car return” area, now what am I suppose to do? There was a sign saying “park here” but that’s around a corner, not next to the bays… am I in the right place? Turns out I was, but now what?

Tip 10. A big sign over head saying “park in these bays to return car”

Tip 11. I’m parked, now what? No signs again. A member of staff then came over did a quick check and gave me a receipt. It was that simple, why didn’t you show/sell that? Now that was smooth.

Customer’s POV

Car hiring, especially from Heathrow where I imagine would include a lot of travellers would probably include a lot of tired and possibly foreign travellers. They are probably not in the best of moods to be confused, so please just pay a little more attention and sign post what we are actually suppose to do. Don’t let us feel lost or like an idiot.

My experience with Hertz wasn’t awful, it just didn’t feel as nice as it could have. I’m gonna try another place next time, just to compare the experience.

Disclaimer, this was only the second time I hired a car, the first was in Tasmina.

Weekly Top 5 #51 – defensive judgements, Axe Design and First Impressions

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One Video: La maison en petits cubes (The House of Small Cubes)

A sad but so incredibly a beautifully story about an old man ‘diving’ into his old house and past to see all the beauties in his life.

One Danger: Ideacide

We are probably our own worse critic. It’s not really our fault, we are just protecting ourselves from embarrassments and chance of failure.

One podcast: Myths and Legends Podcast

If you enjoy mythological stories, you really should check out this fantastic podcast. From Japanese legends to the ‘real’ Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales.

One Physical Tool: The amazing Leveraxe

Who said there are no more space for innovation? A tool that was first used in 4,000 BC can still be radically redesign for a much more efficient chop.

One Article: How people judge you

Keen on impressing someone you just met, if you and it to be a long term relationship, don’t just show off how smart you are, you also need to demonstrate you are trust worthy. Someone smart whom I can’t trust is not going to be a friend or business partner.

My Week

[The Good] I wrote a post on Medium about my experience with the car rental company Hertz #serviceDesign
[The Good] Finally worked up the courage to try a round-off, back tucks 🙂
[The Bad] Haven’t been sleeping well
[Next Week’s Goal] Keep up with the daily journal and try the Wim Hoff method at least 3 times a week

Weekly Top 5 #50 – Writing Well, Fixing Routers and What Does Old Look Like?

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One Awesome Library: On Writing Well

Want to do something well and don’t know where to start, copy the masters. This is a wonderful and comprehensive collection of effective email copies from some of the best marketing companies.

One Tool: Online Markdown Editor

If you haven’t heard of Markdown, then maybe it’s time to pay attention, it’s very easy to learn, and makes your text formatting so much faster. It turns plain text to super beautiful formatted HTML. I’m actually writing this article on Dillinger online markdown editor right now.

One Tool: Router Auto Reset

Ever had that annoying problem with your home wifi router dying on you and the only way it would work again is if you switch the power off then back on again? Well this little device can actually do that for you, perfect for the lazy and those who needs access to your home computer when you are away. #FirstWorldProblem.  This could be specially useful with you have smart appliances.

One Video: What does old look like?

A nicely made video that asked millennials to answer what age is ‘old’ and what does ‘old look like’ I was very glad to see some of them were proven to be very wrong. It’s only 4 minutes long, give it a watch.

One Mobile Keyboard: Slash

If you have ever used Slack, you would understand the power of the ‘slash’ command (/giphy Dancing Cat anyone)? This app basically supercharge your keyboard connecting Foursquare, GIFs, Spotify, Stickers, YouTube, and even twitter. Checkout the examples
 
This Week
I’ve had a pretty good week, an excellent weekend with friends and a productive week at work. I realise I’m much happier with my work when I have well defined objective to work toward. I focus better and are generally more productive.
[The Good] I might be involved in a very interesting project at work, Fingers crossed
[The Good] I’ve been writing in my 5 mins journal every day and night for over a week. I like how it forces you to think what actually went well.
[The Bad] The hot again, rainy again weather is causing me to not sleep so well #grumpy
[Next Week’s Goal] Keep up with the journal and try the Wim Hoff method at least 3 times a week

Weekly Top 5 #49 – New words, magic leap and journalling

One Habit: 5 mins Daily Journal

So I started a daily journal this week. I’ve kept a journal in one form or another for years, but never so consistently. I’ve heard this is suppose to help with anxiety, so I’m giving it a go. But since I’m cheap, I’ve opted for using a Muji white spiral notebook instead of buying the official Five Minute Journal.
 

One Website: For Travellers

Going travelling but hate to be disconnected? Here’s a very helpful website for you to find information on prepaid (or PAYG) mobile phone plans from all over the world.
 

One Future: Magic Leap

The future of technology is pretty darn exciting, specially when you have insanely innovative companies like Magic Leap, no outsider actually know what their end product would look like, but what we do know is that they plans are so impressive they already have $1.4 billion in investments.
 

One List: New Words for Emotions

Ever had that ‘Monachopsis’ feeling? (The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place) I get that pretty darn often actually, but that’s not the point. This is a list of 23 New Words for Emotions That We All Feel, but Can’t Explain. It’s surprisingly fascinating and also good to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
 

One Article: How To Design Happiness

Happiness is a three-act structure of anticipation, experience, and memory. “We are hardwired to enjoy the anticipation of a joyous event, and savor the memory. But in that actual moment of an experience? It can be hard to tell” We are strange beings, read this!

This week

Hello everyone,
It looks like spring has finally arrived in London. Woohoo. Recently I’ve been thinking about what does it mean for me to be a grown up, between responsibilities and expectations it’s not always an easy road. What have you been up to?
[The Good] Proud that I’ve managed to drive a suv around London for the weekend.
[The Bad] summer is here and it’s starting to show how little I’ve been exercising
[Next Week’s Goal] Keep my daily journal just that. Daily

Weekly Top 5 #48 – Confidence, Travel Hack and Yoga

One Question: What would you do if you were confident?

Thanks Danny for recommending the book The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris to me. Just the question above alone is worth every penny. How different would your life be if you were confident? What would you do differently?

One T-shirt: For travellers

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, so what could 40 icons say in a country where you don’t speak the language? Simple but incredibly functional t-shirts.

One Hack: Yoga for Stress & Anxiety

To me, yoga is about focusing on the breathe and your movement, so that you can finally let go of everyday trouble. This is a fantastic ‘hack’ article to know which yoga pose to do for particular issues. (It is still of course best to take your time and really practice)

One Video that made me cry: Denali

Oh my this is such a beautiful video. The story of Ben and his dog during the Dog’s last days due to cancer. All narrated from the dog’s perspective. Its heart warming and wrenching at the same time. Please watch

One Simple Article: On value of time

Have you thought about how many winters you have already lived through? How about the number of in-person time with your parents? The author illustrates some interesting graphs to demonstrate how much of our life we have already lived through.
 

Final Words

Apologies, I’m changing the design of this newsletter again, the colours just didn’t make sense when the site is more of a dark blue. I’ll try introduce more images into the newsletter next week. Thanks for reading 🙂
This week
[The Good] Better understanding of the near future
[The Good] Sent this email out on time 🙂 Thanks Jason for the encouragements
[The Bad] Sad that we will be leaving UK soon
[The Bad] Started House Of Cards season 1 on netflix…
[Next Week’s Goal] More handstand practices

Weekly Top 5 #47 – My failure, 5 years and Clever Dumb

One Failure: Me with this newsletter

Some might have notice I’ve actually not been sending these newsletters out weekly. I have no excuse for this, I just haven’t been disciplined enough lately and I’m not proud but I have own it. I’ve started a new routine which I hope would help.

One Product: It’s clever and dumb

Imagine you can only write with the top 1,000 most commonly used English words, would that make writing easier or harder? Well, you can try it with the amazing ClearText Editor. It’s also worth checking out this link by the app’s on “Dooming mankind”.

One Article: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

This probably isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Impost Syndrome, and most likely won’t be the last either. It’s something I really struggle with personally and I really hope some of these links would help at least one of you in a tiny way.

One Video: Forget about the Pecking Order

A funny analogy about chickens and super chickens that wonderfully demonstrate what it really takes to build good teams and great companies.

One Collection: Vintage Design Porn

[NOT REAL PORN] Some genius(es) decided to put together this site with all sorts of physical control panel designs. Majority are from what people in the past thought future products would look like, some of them are still so beautiful.

My week

Where did you expect yourself to be 5 years ago? Are you where you expected or hoped to be? On our recent trip to Switzerland, I had a bit of time to reflect on the past I wanted to understand what motivates and stresses me out.
I think a big part of it is because I had pretty high expectations for myself for where I will be today and the fact that not only I’m not a millionaire yet, I’m actually still regularly struggling with money. Life has a tendency to get pretty complicated, looking back I’m pretty happy with what’ve done, my expectations were just a bit too simple, causing me to question my own ability and self worth.
This week
[The Good] Started to go to bed earlier
[The Good] Getting back into exercising regurlarly and I’m already feeling the energy and mood change
[The Bad] Money trouble and not knowing where I’ll physically be in 3 months
[Next Week’s Goal] SEND OUT NEXT WEEK’S NEWSLETTER ON TUESDAY
 

Weekly Top 5 #46 – Important Play, Flexbox Game and Kneeing Chair

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One Product: A Desk and Kneeing Chair

Sitting straight has probably been one of my biggest daily struggles. I would normally sit up straight first thing in the morning but as the day progress I would just slouch more and more. This seems to be a pretty darn good solution (I’ve tried standing desks but would get restless pretty quickly)

One Game: For learning Flexbox

If you are a frontend developer, you are bound to have at least heard of Flexbox, the relatively new CSS3 layout methods as an alternative to abusing floats and tables. It’s not too hard to use, but it’s not the easiest to remember. This game is a pretty good game to help you learn to remember the syntaxes.

One Ted Talk: Play is more than Fun

Having fun and playing is serious business. Plenty of play in childhood for happy, smart adults, keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. So get playing and stop being so serious 🙂

One Indiegogo Campaign: FormCards

This product reminds me a little of Sugru but in a reusable format, you can soften it with heat and reform it to whatever you need. I don’t have an exact idea what I will need it for, but I’ve already pledge toward it to make sure I get some

One Freebie: Photo Editing Software – Nik Collection

Photo editing software comes in all shapes and sizes, some are free but hard to use, others are expensive yet complicated. Nik Collection WAS expensive and easy to use, but since Google bought this company up, it is now FREE.
This week
[The Good] Work is interesting,
[The Good] Successfully Practicing Peak App hopefully I’m getting faster
[The Bad] Hurt my calf during a quick jog
[Next Week’s Goal] Meditate for 3 days this week

Weekly Top 5 #45 – Pencils Reimagined, Touch Screen MacBook and Writing

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One Inspiration: Reimagining Pencils

If I ask you to redesign or redefined pencil as you know it, what would you come up with? These students from the Holon Institute of Technology has came up with some pretty darn amazing redesigns, definitely worth checking out.

One Surprise: Writing notes by hand lets you understand more

If you are as geeky as me, there’s a good chance you can type much faster than you can write by hand. However, just because you can type notes fast, it doesn’t mean you should. A study by Princeton University suggests that when we type up notes, we are just transcribing what we hear instead of actually understanding the subject at hand.

One Product: The Air Bar

At first this laptop add-on that allows your monitor to “become a touch screen” to be pretty darn amazing, but then I realise my own finger prints would drive me insane. Still a pretty darn cool idea

One Crowdfunding Campaign: Second e-ink screen phone case

I’m tempted to switch from Android to iPhone just for this amazing e-ink phone case Popslate 2, wonderful use of back of the phone as real-estate for notifications and always available information

One Book: Ready Player One

A wonderful sci-fi novel set in the future where virtual reality has become as important as reality itself. A fantastic geeky adventure. I’m so looking forward to seeing the movie next year

Final Words

How’s it going guys? The past week2 has just flown by for me, days are just blurring into one big blur. I’ve been trying to remind myself to slow down and take-in the good times and stress less about the bad ones.
How do you manage with stress? For me, it’s taking slow deep breathes and reminding myself whatever obstacle I am facing now, it probably won’t matter in a week, a month or a year’s time. It doesn’t always work, but it helps most of the time.
 

This week

[The Good] Went to my first gymnastics class in several years, was really nervous to begin with but felt pretty OK by the end
[The Good] Finally near the end of a long and slightly painful freelance project. Can’t wait for it to be over and get paid
[The Bad] Haven’t been getting much sleep, focus has been a bit off.
[Next Week] Meditate for 3 days this week
[Last Week] Successfully managed to work on Peak App everyday last week

Weekly top 5 #44 – An Dangerous App, Saddles and UX Behaviors

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One Workout: Peak, brain training

I’m a bit of a quantitative-self nerd, so this app which both track and train your cognitive abilities was perfect for me. I’ve only just started using this app and are already looking forward to comparing my performance with sleep quality and quantity from my Fitbit.

One Model: BJ Fogg’s behavior model & UX

New Behaviour = balance between Motivation, Ability (ease of use) and Trigger. This model helps gives a helpful reminder for product designers when trying to design ‘sticky’ products.

One Video: Facebook’s Business Design Principles

Facebook’s Product design director share the 4 key design principles they use to help them design enterprise focused products. There’s also a slightly older text version on Medium, well worth a read/watch

One App: Most Dangerous Writing App

I love the name of this website, I love how it works even more! One of the best tip I’ve heard for those wanting to create and write is pretty simple… just write and don’t stop. This website does just that, you set how long you want to write for and as soon as you start, you can’t stop. When you do, everything you’ve written would be deleted, so brilliant.

One Article: Creating the Right Product

A memo from founder of Slack weeks before their ‘Preview Release’, so many brilliant insights from motivating your team, working with your customers and selling innovation. If you an entrepreneur or product designer, just go read it now.

Extra: What do you think of the new design?

I’ve decided to add a bit more branding to these emails, do you think it’s a good idea? Maybe you prefer the previous simpler design?
 
Final Words
Hello,
How was your week? I’m not too bad, although it has been bit of a challenging week for me. Consisting of new challenges and old problems that has evolved in complexity and depth. I’ve also been having a lot of self doubt lately; “am I good enough to be where I am currently working?”, “am I good enough to create what I’m promising to create?” Not sure what caused these thoughts, but I am putting up a good fight against them.
Have a good week y’all
This week
[The Good] Getting a much better picture of the company I’m working in.
[The Bad] Lacking mental energy, must sleep more.
[Next Week] Meditate everyday with or without Calm.com app