Category: Life

Managing your inbox

Tim Ferris spent a couple of hours with Loic Lemeur and had a conversation about how to start a business, how to build your community and how to manage your email.

Of particular interest to me is how to manage your email. I am notorious for taking for ever to respond to emails – I respond but it may take me a year to do that! It all has to do with interruptions! My days are typically a total sea of interruptions…The moment I am interrupted, the task I was working on is gone. It will take time to get back into the groove of things and time to be in the frame of mind to think about the problem at hand and articulate a response. I also multitask which is a killer for your productivity. A total killer.

I have been using a focused approach for two weeks now and things have tremendously improved. I respond to emails 2-3 times a day. I set time aside to do that and when I am doing it, that’s all I am focused on doing. No interruptions. It has already made a difference for me: my inbox is down to less than 3,000 emails to respond to. I am also more careful about the emails I respond to: if my response is not going to significanly add to the discussion at hand (in our product development for example), I just abstain from responding to emails. In this video Tim has a few more suggestions:

WineCamp – Toronto version

WineCamp is tomorrow and I am looking forward to some wine learning. I am a wine snob – read does not drink Ontario wines, but not because I don’t think they could be great, oh no, simply because my knowledge of Ontario wine is limited. Sandy Ward is going to fix that tomorrow! After being in Canada for so long, it is about time I learned something about its wines! I am afraid France will always have my heart and my cheese plate!

Mezcal

I am a big Mezcal fan.

When something bad happens, drink mezcal; also when something good happens’ and, ‘If there’s no solution, drink a liter and a half.’

Talent is (seriously) overrated

I have a gigantic pile of books to read and I am looking forward to the holiday break to catch up on some of my reading. Yesterday I randomly started with what was on top of the pile-o-books: Talent is overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. I like Goeff Colvin’s writing – he is a brilliang journalist – so I am not surprised that I was still finishing up the book in the wee hours of the morning. Now that said the first thing I thought when I read the title was: everyone talks about talent, firms hire talent, there is a shortage of good talent, but… we all know that what’s really happening is that “hard work is under rated” or even overlooked!

As a youngster I used to play basketball so so much that it sometimes affected my school work. For those of you who know me, you know that I am short – I envy all the tall 6 foot ++ geeks – but I am short and there is very little I can do about that (except consider some stilettos!) but when I was young I used to bet people that I could score a 3 pointer on the basketball court.  I always won the bet, because acquaintances would take one look at me and bet I could not get a 3 pointer in. Ha! What fun and great pocket money while it lasted. How did I do that? Practice. Hours and hours and hours of practice. So  much practice that some days I could not lift my arms as I would have spent hours dunking balls. I loved it and I had one single goal, one single desire: scoring a 3 pointer. I asked my coach for feedback, I asked him to watch me shoot the ball, I asked him to suggest exercises to correct my shoots etc. until I could score practically with my eyes closed. It was sweet.

In those days I was obsessed with scoring a 3 pointer. Obsessed to the point of carrying my own basketball ball to practice any chance I had. That’s when I realized as a kid what my mum meant when she said: “sit your ass down and practice the score!”. I hated music but loved basketball. My mum would not hear any of it. I continued to practice music poorly escaping to my real practice: basketbal!

Colvin’s book settles the question of whether great leaders are born or made: they are made. Through deliberate practice. Florida State University researcher K. Anders Ericsson, writes: “Until most individuals recognize that sustained training and effort is a prerequisite for reaching expert levels of performance, they will continue to misattribute lesser achievement to the lack of natural gifts, and will thus fail to reach their own potential.”

To become the very best you need to spend more time learning how to and practicing and not less. Hommage to hard work if I ever saw one.

Need to get going on applying this to my running!

Baking goodies in the ideeplex

We sometimes bake up a storm in the ideeplex. Today it is blueberry banana bread. Why? Well simple: we usually buy too  many bananas at Idée and I can’t bear to see them go to waste but I am not a big big fan of just plain banana bread. My banana breads always include something else: say cranberries, blueberries, nuts, chocolate or even lemons! This time around I had blueberries handy and bananas. It turned out to be an awesome loaf. Here is the recipe I used for anyone interested (this is one of my fav recipe site). I am not a big follower of recipes actually (!surprise!) so I made a lot of changes: I used 3 eggs instead of 2, did not use cranberries but blueberries; I also added my trademark strawberry french syrup (instead of sugar). Oh la la I know this is sounding complicated but hey, just do whatever you like when you look at the recipe and don’t be shy: substitutions are A-OK.

There is nothing like putting something in the oven late at night as you sit down for a long night of work 🙂