What I learned last week (#113): A laboratory of improvisation

How to develop skills more quickly, Google and Facebook are not free, the price of beer in your country, and more!

Quote I was thinking about:

Our judgements about things vary according to the time left us to live.

André Gide

How to develop skills more quickly:

Interesting read throughout. The example of the Brazil football team sums up one of the essential points nicely.

Long known for their development of football players, Brazil figured out how to rapidly increase the velocity of development of its players. They found a way to increase the frequency of repetitions, the variety of situations, and improve the quality of feedback.

Brazil is the home of many of the world’s most skilled soccer players. So you might wonder how it develops its players? Brazil uses a game called futebol de salão (From: The Little Book of Talent):

This insanely fast, tightly compressed five-on-five version of the game— played on a field the size of a basketball court— creates 600 percent more touches, demands instant pattern recognition and, in the words of Emilio Miranda, a professor of soccer at the University of São Paulo, serves as Brazil’s “laboratory of improvisation.”

Brazil focused on learning the principles as opposed to specific techniques. For example, the principle is getting comfortable in tight spaces with the ball. The technique, on the other hand, might focus on how to get by a defender.

Read The Velocity of Skill Development: Quickly Closing the Gap on fs.blog


The price of beer in your country:

I love info graphics and these are on beer so this is a double rainbow for me. 🌈 🌈

The Czech Republic emerges on top in this regard, with 468 beers on average in a year—that works out to 1.3 beers per day. Spain and Germany are next with 417 and 411 beers, respectively.

Read World Beer Index 2021: What’s the Beer Price in Your Country? on visualcapitalist.com


Nothing is free, even Google and Facebook:

Before the internet, advertising subsidized all the media we consumed, from TV and radio to magazines and newspapers 1 . This ad-supported model made its way to the web and conditioned us to expect online content to be free. News organizations, for example, didn’t charge readers, in the misguided hope that more eyeballs on their stories would bring in more revenue from the banner ads they displayed.

In the past decade, however, that ad money has gone overwhelmingly to the search and social media giants. Last year, Google and Facebook hoovered up 74% of the $300 billion spent globally to advertise on the web, according to the World Advertising Research Council. That’s left everyone else who had been reliant on ads scrambling to make ends meet.

…the fact that even a new-ish media company like Twitter needs to add a paid layer points to a world where everything aside from Google and Facebook has a cost of entry.

That might not be a bad thing, but we should recognize the trade we’ve made from ad-subsidized media to ad-subsidized search and social networking. Perhaps now we can forge a better understanding of the value of content. It costs money to produce, so it should also cost money to consume.

Read The Whole Web Pays For Google And Facebook To Be Free on bloomberg.com


The weight of repetitive tasks:

In my work as a Happiness Engineer I think a lot about my workflow and being more efficient. I wish I would have paid more attention to efficiency earlier in my working life.

As I write this, they’re laying a brick wall outside of my window.

Each brick weighs about five pounds. There are a thousand bricks in this wall. And every brick is moved, one by one, from the truck to the cart to the wall. Over time, any inefficient move is costly indeed. Watching professionals do it gives me more admiration than ever for their commitment and grace.

If we’re lucky enough to work indoors, with free snacks and podcasts in the background, we might not get physically exhausted the way we would moving thousands of pounds of bricks. But the cognitive and emotional toll of repetitive tasks is real, even if doesn’t leave callouses.

The discipline is to invest one time in getting your workflow right instead of paying a penalty for poor digital hygiene every single day.

Hacking your way through something “for now” belies your commitment to your work and your posture as a professional. Get the flow right, as if you were hauling bricks.

Read The Weight of Repetitive Tasks on seths.blog


Other things I was reminded of, or thankful for, last week:

  • While we were reading a book my daughter asked me what inspiration meant – that was a hard one. I guess I described it as having a great idea and wanting to do it. And idea plus energy to do it = inspiration. That sounds good to me. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  • My wife and I had a lot of obligations last week and which required us to meet on Zoom for hours. I’m so glad I don’t have a job that requires a lot of online meetings. I would need to do more Zoom portraits.
  • I didn’t do much art last week but was able to get a figure drawing done: Slightly amused (figure #69)
  • Firepits. I’m grateful for firepits definitely. 🍻🔥🍻
Beer car on a table in front of a fire pit.
Still sitting outside in the freezing cold in Scotland but at least the beer is good.

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!