Book Review

“Digital Minimalism” explores the challenges of our digital age, offering insights and strategies to reclaim time, focus, and genuine human connection amidst screen-dominated lives.

Idea Almanac

“No doubt you can recall a time when you were perplexed by a remote colleague’s behavior. Are they not answering your email because they are busy? Uninterested? Both? Maybe they didn’t get your email? When we are not collocated with our collaborators, we make up our own accounts for their behavior and infer what their motives might be. We engage in this kind of behavior because the digital tools that make our physical separation possible lead to what Catherine Cramton, Professor Emerita of Management at George Mason University who has spent her career studying digitally enabled collaboration, calls the “mutual knowledge problem.” Mutual knowledge is the information that we need to achieve mutual understanding. It is the common ground that people need to reach. Perhaps your colleague has not answered your email because they have taken the day off. Or perhaps they had to attend to a pressing project or your email landed in their spam folder. ”

Excerpt From: Paul Leonardi. “The Digital Mindset.”

Idea Almanac

“Toutiao’s early recommendation system, its so-called “personalization technology,” was, at the time, rudimentary. Open the app, and the user would be bombarded with top-read articles to keep them immediately hooked. Next, it would mix in more targeted click-bait articles appealing only to specific demographics to test and determine who the reader was. The user clicking on the article with a big preview picture of a female car show model is probably male. The other user consistently reading moralistic feel good “chicken soup for the soul” articles is probably a senior citizen. Supplementing this guesswork was basic information such as the user’s phone model, geographical location, and the time of day they opened the app.”

Excerpt From: Brennan, Matthew. “Attention Factory: The Story of TikTok and China’s ByteDance.”

Idea Almanac

“The point of this story, Wilson explained, is that “software alone is a commodity. There is nothing stopping anyone from copying the feature set, making it better, cheaper, and faster.” This is where USV’s investment thesis comes in. USV realized it did not want to invest in commodity software, so Wilson and his partners asked, “What will provide defensibility?” The answer: “Networks of users, transactions, or data,” Wilson explained. “That led us to social media, to Delicious, Tumblr, and Twitter. And marketplaces like Etsy, Lending Club, and Kickstarter.”

Excerpt From: Alex Moazed.” Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy

Idea Almanac

The first and most significant impact on human communication is actually body language. Bad news, he said. When you are selling over the phone to an Internet lead, body language is gone.The next is tone. This is where I shine. I am a wordsmith, but I’m also from the south and I talk slow. I sound super trustworthy over the phone, but also smart. Honest, but sharp. Educated, but not “better than you.” It is very difficult to teach people how to improve their tone, but let me make it very clear upfront that the words in the script that you will learn in this book work a lot better if your tone is great. In fact, if you add tone and body language, it is 93 percent of how humans communicate.

Excerpt From: Chris Smith. “The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales.”