The Sunk Investment of (My) Time in Pursuit of Productivity

October 18, 2017

For those who share my 2017 focus on Emerging Markets, Early Stage Ventures, and enhancing Business Development skills, I am posting the educational resources I’m consuming this year to keep sharpening the productivity axe. So far, I recommend them all as noted. With more time I’ll append links to these, but for now I hope that you find them a helpful list.

For those who don’t share those interests… never mind.

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” – Gandhi

2017 Training:

  1. Blockmatics “The Business of Blockchains” – An in-person Blockchain business course that is like drinking from the fire hose – I liked this class from so much that I’ve offered to help the founders bring it from NYC to Boston’s Blockchain community.
  2. NLP4$ales – Understanding an individual’s communication preferences improves your sales pitch effectiveness – modular.
  3. Advertising on LinkedIn –  LinkedIn Certification
  4. Learning Salesforce – LinkedIn Certification
  5. Salesforce for Managers – LinkedIn Certification
  6. Google Analytics – too many to finish them all (various)
  7. HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification Course – by end of year

2017 Books I’ve Read:

  • Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City – Brad Feld (Local venture community development)
  • Mastery – Robert Greene (how Masters become Masters)
  • The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results: Gary Keller, Jay Papasan (get focus)
  • Secrets of Power Negotiating – Roger Dawson (More appropriate for negotiating your hotel room discount than a major deal IMO, but good tips)
  • ASK: The Counterintuitive Online Method to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy – Ryan Levesque (Helpful ways to use surveys to better understand customers’ true needs before attempting to solve them)
  • Managing Oneself – Peter F Drucker (Corporate ladder wisdom)
  • Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless– Jeffrey Hayzlett (No excuses, grind it out effective management action)
  • Left of Bang – Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program – Patrick Van Horne and Jason A Riley (Given what’s in the news these days, its best to learn how to identify public safety problems before they happen around you)

Books in Process of Reading Now (October 2017):

  • Will It Fly – Pat Flynn (Online tactics to vet venture ideas)
  • Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holiday
  • Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – Peter C. Brown (by the way, learning happens best through a diversity of parallel learning experiences and repetition – hence reading several books at the same time and revisiting passages is the way to best learn. This book’s writing is ”thick”.)
  • Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (latest edition) – Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson
  • Twelve Men of Action in Graeco-Roman History – Toynbee (great stories I’ve been reading off and on for years – the book JFK gave Jackie O)

Books Purchased to Start Reading by End of 2017:

Realistically, I’ll have to prioritize these

  • Principles – Ray Dalio – If you don’t know him, do a web search. He’s smart and generous in this book with his learning. I got the Audible version, and it is 16 hours! I may need to plan a road trip to get through it all.
  • Getting Past No – William Ury (for Sales – this one has been on my list for too long)
  • The Perfect Close – James Muir (for Sales)
  • As a Man Thinketh – James Allen (for Sales)
  • Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School – James Medina
  • The Inevitable – Kevin Kelly – Someone I would call an original thinker. It will be interesting to discover whether he or Elon Musk are right about AI job displacement. Thanks for signing my book! (see photo)
  • Where Good Ideas Come From – Steven Johnson

2017 Favorite Podcasts

If you haven’t tried podcasts, give them a listen. They’re available for just about every niche and a wonderful way to gain productivity or enjoyment out of mindless or autonomic tasks like laundry, clean up and highway driving.


Unchained – Laura Shin Forbes’ Blockchain Editor – She has great guests, is well-prepared, has a reporter’s instincts, and knows how to interview.

EpiCenter – The 2 hosts have been covering Blockchain longer than anyone and their great background leads to great questions and insights, but the accents may be a little distracting for a US audience.

11:FS – Host(s) are from the FinTech world so they bring that context, and of the 3 podcasts seem to also bring the most international context, although their Blockchain episodes are still limited in number.

There are other crypto-currency trading resources, but even so I find some large gaps exist for podcasts focused on the Blockchain domain.


The Full Ratchet – I enjoy Nick Moran’s style, his choice of guests, the format of his podcast, and he obviously is a qualified voice in the VC world. The title of his podcast is painful for Founders though.

This Week in Startups (TWIST) – The #1 Bay Area venture podcast, JC has just a tremendous work ethic in pumping out new, highly relevant interviews. He is a Bay Area personality with a New York call ‘em like you see ‘em approach that East Coasters like me find comfortable.

StartUps for the Rest of Us – Very on point and practical SAAS advice from the experts that do it every day.

AskPat – For Solopreneurs, it is hard to imagine anyone with a wider skillset or knowledge than Pat Flynn (and of course, a nice guy as well)


The Tim Ferriss Show – This all you can eat Brain candy is like sugar to polymaths, so you need to be selective or find yourself distracted. He welcomes being the guinea pig so that he can speak from experience, and he lives in the nuances between good enough and excellence.

The James Altucher Show – Same as above, but always with a unique way of eliciting his guests’ step by step “heart of the matter” techniques that got them from point A to Z. He values the individual.

Both Tim and James also get into emerging technology / ventures, and that makes them of high interest to me.

I probably should listen to podcasts like Mixergy, and consistently listen to other niches, but find myself short of time. I consider these all as career-intent podcasts, not niche personal interest podcasts of which there are so many.

Training That Probably Will Have to Wait Until 2018

  • Photography skills, specifically Portraits and Cityscapes* (abandoned in 2017)
  • Python or JavaScript followed by Ethereum Solidity
  • The rest I can chalk up to opportunity cost versus what I did complete

* Accepting any ideas on high-level Portrait and Cityscape photography books that won’t take up too much time. FYI My favorite on-demand resource has become ABC News Producer and Photographer @MeredithFrost on Twitter – highly recommended for photogs, not for technique or instruction, but for her eye for composition.

I hope those lists give readers helpful resource ideas to enhance your Emerging Market and early stage Venture knowledge, and Business Development/Sales skills building.

One last note, I have been scouring the web for sources that I consider to be experts in various fields. This exploratory method is great for gaining awareness in a new field, but at some point the shotgun follower approach becomes counter-productive. Unless you are trying to build up your own social media following for future monetization, I suggest that folks go though this process to identify the best thinkers in any new market/field, but that they eventually select a very few experts to follow because it is too easy to get distracted by the latest news in any field, and mistake just being well-informed on a topic for also being well-educated on that topic. If you examine social media accounts for some of the top 1/10th of 1% in any field, you’ll notice that they have thousands of followers, but only follow a handful of virtual mentors.

Kind regards,