February 24, 2014 at 5:57pm
Inner peace or outer success?
I was tired of going to bed at 4am to wake up at noon the same day. ‘Working from home’ rarely has to be treated literally. Not being attached to an office gives lots of freedom, but it comes with a few caveats. Ideally you have 2-3 favorite coffee shops in your neighborhood (but not too close to each other). Before going to bed, you separate all the tasks you have for the next day in 2-3 distinct groups  (one per cafe) so that each group takes an approximately equal amount of time. Once you cleared the last item in your first group of to-dos, you pack and walk for around 30 minutes to get to the next coffee shop. Having a clear finish line brings so much focus and you end up accomplishing way more than in those fuzzy days with no clear-cut goals. Plus, you are ideally done by 7pm and can do more relaxing things in the evening.
Why I want to build Lyft for Kazakhstan and why it can fail
Expected read-time: 7-10 minutes
Update: Having torn a page from the lean playbook, we just launched [-1] an MVP for the taxi service described. No surprise here - WE are the drivers!
Part I: Peace
On January 14, I came back to my hometown of Astana, Kazakhstan after an awesome month long vacation in the US. One service I unexpectedly fell in love with while there was Lyft. After 4 days in New York City and 4 days in San Francisco Bay Area, we arrived in San Diego International Airport where we got picked up by our Airbnb host. She mentioned coupons from Sidecar and Lyft - a little unassuming event which led me down the cab catching ‘rabbit hole’ as the last time I used Uber was a year ago - back in December 2012. The distributed city of San Diego is very conducive for taking cabs. I gave everyone an equal chance, from Christmas to New Year’s Eve having cumulatively spent $133 (7 rides, 53 miles, 115 minutes) on UberX, 43 bucks on two rides on Sidecar and $198 (13 rides, 81 miles, 181 minutes) on Lyft. Well, almost equal - Sidecar and a few cars it had in San Diego didn’t hold up to the fierce competition. Lyft won my heart over and the next year - from January 7  to January 12 (the day we flew out from SFO), I spent $243 (10 rides, 77 miles, 178 minutes) solely on Lyft rides .
January 22, 2014 at 6:37am
How 3 years in I finally paid to Evernote
Photo by me - instagram.com/armansu
My experience using Evernote is an illustration of something more fundamental than a single use case. I registered back in Sep 16 2010, but only started actively using it about a year and a half ago. At the moment Evernote is my lightweight text editor, a project management tool, a planning tool, the place where I store the ideas for startups or future essays, insightful realizations and quotes, scans of business cards, and just about anything textual.
December 18, 2013 at 9:56pm
The most impractical advice for meeting new people
Photo by http://woodburynationalkarate.files.wordpress.com
Since I’m not particularly active (nor good) at making the first step when meeting new people, I’m always surprised when asked, ‘You seem to know everyone. How do you go about meeting people?’ I’ve never given much thought to this, but the repetitive question makes me wonder how and why. All the way through high school and college, I’ve always had quite a limited comfort zone preferring a group of friends to any strangers (aka new people). Being very social and comfortable in your friends zone, but at the same feeling awkward and incompetent among the people you don’t know is something common among many of us. Occasionally it feels like both introvert and extravert live within you substituting each other based on the context. Two opposing forces remind me of the following stages of cultivating the Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. It’s important to reach the unity of two running extremes, and then go beyond it towards the ultimate - the absence of any form.
December 17, 2013 at 8:52pm
How to deal with popularity, or In the pursuit of higher ‘n’, be thankful for ‘1’!
When you have an abundance of attention , it’s very easy to ignore any one person in this craze and chaos. Say, you were lucky enough to have the privilege to give a talk to an audience of 200 people on the topic you’re both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about. The talk generates a lot of attention and lots of people start coming to you with questions or requests for photographs. Having been on both sides of the table, I first-hand know how easy it is to take this attention for granted and not give your full focus (and attention!) to any single person approaching you. It’s the trap of maximizing the width (of your reach) forgetting about something way more valuable - the depth of the connections you make. Be mindful, and don’t fall into the trap of this proverbial busy loner.
Why Snapchat is more expressive than Instagram
I was super late in the whole Snapchat craze  having installed it only a month ago or so. I knew the app was about self-destructing photos all along, but couldn’t get what the appeal was. For those who still don’t understand Snapchat, I encourage you to give it a try before blindly dismissing it. You’ve got to see to know.
My boring list of 29 writing tips (and occasional life lessons) from Neil Strauss and Tim Ferriss
Expected read time: 4-6 mins
Discuss on Reddit
I believe in a good storytelling, but today out of laziness and
utter respect for Buzzfeed sense of adventure I’ll resort to the cheapest and the most unimaginative way to present information. I’ll just give you a concise list of lessons I learned from watching Neil Strauss and Tim Ferriss talk for an hour at one of the creativeLIVE seminars. Here it comes. In my own words:
November 20, 2013 at 6:22pm
Sagmeister: are you ready to take one year off every 7 working years?
Most of us live our lives following the fairly predictable trajectory:
Have you ever thought about adopting this trajectory instead where you distributed some number (five in this example) of those retirement years among the working years?
November 15, 2013 at 7:47pm
Avoid the paralysis of long negotiations
Photo by sourcesofinsight.com
Don’t let any kind of negotiation last too long. On Monday you tell the party you’re negotiating with that you’ll make up your mind and converge on the decision by the end of the week. Not surprisingly you fire an email declaring the conditions you’ll be happy with on Sunday. Unless you make special efforts, the entire week leading to that Sunday would be spent in unproductive two-player non-cooperative game simulations in your head. Then the next two days are spent weighted down by the background process responsible for waiting for an email and wondering what the reply would be. You get the reply on Monday evening next week, think about its contents and a day later send off the updated list of your terms. A couple of days later you get the reply promising a phone call at some point that or next week. Just think about it: two weeks and counting are wasted on the low-intensity process which doesn’t let you focus on anything else.
How to develop new positive habits without any willpower: a beginner’s guide
Photo by deviantart.net
It’s no news today that the willpower is the finite resource. Here’s a clever experiment described in “The Art of Thinking Clearly” - wonderful book by Rolf Dobelli - to illustrate this: