The Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage: one vital lesson for success from 99u’s Pop-Up School

imageIt’s hard not to feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland these days, perpetually anxious and reaching into your pocket to look at your gadget and fretting, I’m late, I’m missing out, I need to catch up.

This anxiety only intensifies when you’re trying to get a project, your business, or even yourself off the ground. It’s tempting to always look outwards as you try to launch, because that seems like a smart, finger-on-the-pulse competitive approach. “Am I getting further than them? Am I catching up to them?” you wonder while looking into your telescope.

But all this fretting and fussing can be as much of a distraction as the always-receiving-information, always-working, and always-have-to-be-doing-something-itis that’s afflicting our culture. And when you pay too dearly for these distractions with your time and energy, you never get to really soar.

Then how do you take flight? These days, “self-awareness is the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

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Find Joy in your Work: The Best of the Internet

Cats at work

Here’s the weekly round-up of the best of the blog & links we’ve shared on the interwebs!

We have a guest blog post over at Buffer on the science behind what motivates us to work hard.

How we help Reddit get stuff done.

Mike Sun wrote about security and Google/OpenID Integrations.

We wrote about how we need more quiet and slower web to create better, transcend, and find joy in our work.

The struggle to help your employees find larger meaning.

Talent isn’t enough.

How the President gets stuff done.

How Reddit Builds a Progress Record (and the Front Page of the Internet)

Reddit, the popular social content site and community, hands power to the people to decide what’s important and what’s not. iDoneThis likewise hands the reins to Reddit’s team to use how they see fit.

With the Reddit team scattered, from San Francisco to New York and in between, the challenge may be to get a virtual team on the same page. Yet, the main use of iDoneThis for the Reddit team is as a personal record, and then by extension, as a reference for the team.

Reddit’s general manager Erik Martin explains, “We all wear a lot of hats. We’re only about twenty people. All of us do a bunch of different things, so it’s hard for us to jump around. It’s nice to be able to track how that’s going, maybe not what we’re spending time on as much but what we accomplish on any given day.”

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How We Got Our First 5,000 Users

Celebrate — this week we got our 5,000th user!  This is the most users either of us (Rodrigo and I) have ever had for any web project of ours.  In the past, we’ve taken the “build it and they will come” attitude towards web development … and they never came!  Here’s the story of how we did it by constructing custom narratives for influential communities.

Hacker News.  At 9am PST on January 3rd, we posted a “Show HN” article on Hacker News with the hook that we built the site to keep our New Year’s Resolutions.

Note that our Show HN post was made as an external link to idonethis.com and we made a comment on that post that described the project.  We decided to do that instead of submitting a text story to HN with the first comment as a clickable link.  We had anecdotally observed that posts without external links were not making the front page too often after HN added “Ask”, and some of our friends had observed this also.

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