70th birthday that too!
Who is Kevin Kelly, you ask? Lots of ways to begin, but my favorite learning from Kevin Kelly (so far) has been the idea of 1000 true fans:
To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. If you have roughly a thousand of true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.
I cannot for the life of me remember where I read about 1000 true fans first, but it most likely was via Tim Ferriss. (As an aside, Kevin Kelly has advice about this as well!) The extract above is an assertion, and if your reaction is along the lines of “but why is this assertion true?” – and I hope that is the case! – you will want to read the rest of the essay. It’s got spin-offs too, this essay, which only drives up my opinion of the original.
But Kevin Kelly is a person who you should spend time learning more about. Start with his Wikipedia page, listen to his multiple episodes with Russ Roberts over on EconTalk, visit the Cool Tools section on his website, subscribe to his related newsletter, listen to his podcasts with Tim Ferriss, and as a bonus, listen to Tyler Cowen’s podcast with Stewart Brand. And read his books, of course.
Long story short, he is a person worth knowing about, and trust me when I say we’ve only scratched the surface, if that. But today, I wanted to point you to his birthday gift to all of us, a lovely set of 103 observations that he has called “103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known“. It goes without saying that all 103 are worth a ponder, but I’ll list here ten that especially resonated with me right now:
- About 99% of the time, the right time is right now.
- Anything you say before the word “but” does not count.
- When you forgive others, they may not notice, but you will heal. Forgiveness is not something we do for others; it is a gift to ourselves.
- When you lead, your real job is to create more leaders, not more followers.
- It is the duty of a student to get everything out of a teacher, and the duty of a teacher to get everything out of a student.
- Productivity is often a distraction. Don’t aim for better ways to get through your tasks as quickly as possible, rather aim for better tasks that you never want to stop doing.
- The consistency of your endeavors (exercise, companionship, work) is more important than the quantity. Nothing beats small things done every day, which is way more important than what you do occasionally.
- Half the skill of being educated is learning what you can ignore.
- When you have some success, the feeling of being an imposter can be real. Who am I fooling? But when you create things that only you — with your unique talents and experience — can do, then you are absolutely not an imposter. You are the ordained. It is your duty to work on things that only you can do.
- Your best job will be one that you were unqualified for because it stretches you. In fact only apply to jobs you are unqualified for.
- It’s possible that a not-so smart person, who can communicate well, can do much better than a super smart person who can’t communicate well. That is good news because it is much easier to improve your communication skills than your intelligence.
- For the best results with your children, spend only half the money you think you should, but double the time with them.
- Don’t bother fighting the old; just build the new.
- You are as big as the things that make you angry.
- Efficiency is highly overrated; Goofing off is highly underrated. Regularly scheduled sabbaths, sabbaticals, vacations, breaks, aimless walks and time off are essential for top performance of any kind. The best work ethic requires a good rest ethic.
The observant among you might have noticed that I ended up picking fifteen rather than ten, but why short change myself and my readers? I didn’t bother culling out five – and to be clear, this is not to imply that the other eighty-eight are somehow inferior. These fifteen resonated the most with me, and I sincerely hope that your list is completely different from mine.
Note to self: of the ones I have selected here, the fifth one is the one where I really need to pull up my socks.
And speaking of hope, it would be nice if this list sparked conversations and your own lists!