Categories
Evernote Thoughts

On Evernote alternatives

A while back I wrote a post on how I use Evernote.

A few days ago, Evernote announced a pretty significant price/plan change. To overly simplify the changes, you’re basically encouraged to upgrade to a paid plan, which now costs more as well.

I don’t have any objection to paid plans, after all, they need revenue in order to stay in business, but the product itself hasn’t changed or improved much over the years. Colin posted some good thoughts on this.

A while back, it deteriorated significantly that I started to switch away, but say what you will about Evernote, but depending on your use case, it’s hard to find a decent competitor.

Key features of Evernote I need (without taking into account stability etc) are:

  • Web clipping
  • Note links
  • Offline notes
  • Rich content notes

While the alternatives out there like Apple Notes, Microsoft OneNote do a great job, they’re all lacking a little in specific areas, which really makes it hard to leave Evernote.

Looking forward, I’m hoping Evernote continues to improve its product and service (which does seem to be happening) to justify the new price tag. Though at the same time, I hope some decent alternatives start to crop up. Competition is always good.

Side note: On the basis of pure text notes, Simplenote is the undisputed king for me.

Categories
Thoughts

The earth would probably be better off without humans

This indicates to researchers that chronic exposure to radiation from the explosion has had no impact on overall mammal populations. Whatever fallout may have come from the initial explosion was completely offset by the benefits of life without humans.

via In eerie emptiness of Chernobyl’s towns, wildlife flourishing

Call me super villan crazy, but I often feel that the world would be much better off without humans pillaging the land of its natural resources for material gains.

Categories
Productivity Thoughts

On being a Jack of All Trades

Stumbling upon an article from Tim Ferris on being a Jack of All Trades, reminded me about my decision to become a generalist a few years back.

I can’t quite recall whether it was after reading a Robert Kiyosaki book, or the 4-hour Work Week, or something else, but I did make the decision, and looking back, I’m glad I did.

There were definitely some downsides, but I think it’s worth it. One downside that I’m always encountering is that coming from a technology background, it’s still incredibly frustrating when I don’t understand something tech related and need to ask for help. It’s even worse when I don’t understand the explanation. Depending on the situation, I could either pay someone to solve the issue for me, or spend more time to better understand the situation and work on a solution.

Is the CEO a better accountant than the CFO or CPA? Was Steve Jobs a better programmer than top coders at Apple? No, but he had a broad range of skills and saw the unseen interconnectedness. As technology becomes a commodity with the democratization of information, it’s the big-picture generalists who will predict, innovate, and rise to power fastest. There is a reason military “generals” are called such.

The upside of all this is I understand a lot more things now across a different categories and can piece the experiences together, giving me a better or broader view of things. Being a generalist also required me to be nimble, catching up and learning different trades quickly to make up for lost time against others who have been practising it for years.

Not that I’m against mastery of any field. However I do feel that once you pass a certain point, there are diminishing returns for your time spent on it, and unless you’re absolutely certain that it’s your one true passion, your time might be better spelt elsewhere.

Generalists recognize that the 80/20 principle applies to skills: 20% of a language’s vocabulary will enable you to communicate and understand at least 80%, 20% of a dance like tango (lead and footwork) separates the novice from the pro, 20% of the moves in a sport account for 80% of the scoring, etc. Is this settling for mediocre?

Not at all. Generalists take the condensed study up to, but not beyond, the point of rapidly diminishing returns. There is perhaps a 5% comprehension difference between the focused generalist who studies Japanese systematically for 2 years vs. the specialist who studies Japanese for 10 with the lack of urgency typical of those who claim that something “takes a lifetime to learn.”

It’s important to note that being a generalist isn’t for everyone, and I’m glad that there are specialists in this world. It’s great that the world is filled with different types of people, and my choice is to be a generalist.

The jack of all trades maximizes his number of peak experiences in life and learns to enjoy the pursuit of excellence unrelated to material gain, all while finding the few things he is truly uniquely suited to dominate.

I also happen to think that it’s more fun this way, so there is also that.

Categories
Minimalism Thoughts

The story of the Mexican fisherman

The mexican fisherman

This is a story that I read in a book somewhere. I can’t recall which book it was, but it’s a story that has stuck with me, and understanding it just makes me want to scream in frustration even more in this jail cell of modern society.

I managed to find a version of it at Be More With Less, which I’ve reposted below.

The story of the Mexican fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Categories
Thoughts

Our mobile addiction

Simpsons mobile lifestyle

via ParisLemon

Unfortunately this is how most modern families are nowadays.

We need to learn to disconnect ourselves from our gadgets and distractions.