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The Long Tail (book 10 of 12)

The Long Tail (book 10 of 12)

October 23, 2020
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in Tip
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I picked up The Long Tail by Chris Anderson from a please-take-a-book-for-free-shelf somewhere or other. Might even have been at Malmö city library at the end of TEDxSlottsparken, come to think about it.

”We have been trained […] to see the world through a hit-colored lens.”

It’s one of those books where the concept has been well-known to be, the term long tail one I’ve likely used many times, never actually having read the book, a bit like Simon Sinek’s Start with why.

”One person’s noise is another’s signal. If a producer intends something to be absolutely right for one audience, it will, by definition, be wrong for another.”

Written in 2006, me reading it in 2020, it’s a bit of a funny throwback to the time when life was just starting to get so digital that it is today. There are references to MySpace but not Facebook, to Netflix and BlockBuster, but these were the days when Netflix was more or less solely a DVD-rental-by-snail mail-company. Twitter, iPhone, Instagram… nonexistent. That in and of itself is both a bit fun, and all the same, makes the book a bit dated, very clearly written when it was written.

”Niche products are, by definition, not for everyone.”

The concept itself though, the long tail, is still highly relevant, even though I would venture a guess to say that many probably still don’t really think about it actively, but rather unconsciously.

”Because the tools of production have entirely democratized, the population of producers is expanding exponentially, and now there’s little stopping those with the will and skill to create from doing just that.”

This is not a book where I’ve made many a marginalia-entries, quite the opposite. A dozen, perhaps. One dog-ear, but one which didn’t even make it into this post. It’s not a book you should spend time reading, honestly. I probably shouldn’t either, but… alas, I have, I did, and here I am.

I do find the will and skill to create interesting though. But I will save that for another piece.

”Fundamentally, a society that asks questions and has the power to answer them is a healthier society than one that simply accepts what it’s told from a narrow range of experts and institutions. If professional affiliation is no longer a proxy for authority, we need to develop our own gauges of quality. This encourages us to think for ourselves. Wikipedia is a starting point for exploring a topic, not the last word.”

The long tail does enable us –you, me, everyone– to find the little niche markets suited specifically for our personal needs, wants and wishes. And yes, that’s a place where I can be encouraged to think for myself, it makes it easier for me to find more perspectives than I could before. Perhaps.

However, it also makes it harder. Look at the bubbles of confirmation bias that we all live in nowadays, or at least I do, bubbles where ”someone else has thought for me”, making it very easy to stay within the boundaries of said bubble. That is not helpful, and not, I think, a sign of a healthy society. Wanting that, a healthy society that is, is something that requires more from me. It means I have to be very active and deliberate in what questions I seek to answer, and whose answers I choose to listen to. That’s necessary discernment for me while developing my own gauge of quality, and it’s an ongoing, evergreen process. It requires continuous work, never finished. Because those gauges need to be calibrated and re-calibrated over and over again as the world (and I) shift around me. Around us.

And that’s an insight I am happy to have gotten, an insight which makes it worth my time to have read The Long Tail. So. Perhaps. You should read it too, because you just might be answering a different question than the one I’ve just answered, or you’ll provide another answer to the same question, once you’ve finished reading it. Only way to know is to find out, by doing it. By reading it. Or at least reading up on the concept. If you do, please share any question and/or answer that shows up in you.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Procrastination

September 14, 2020
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Procrastination, the action of delaying or postponing something.
From Latin: procrastinare, pro-, ‘forward’, with –crastinus, ’till next day’ from “cras“, ‘tomorrow’.

Starting off with a bit from Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility; it results from some ecological or naturalistic wisdom, and is not always bad–at an existential level, it is my body rebelling against its entrapment. It is my soul fighting the Procrustean bed of modernity. Granted, in the modern world, my tax return is not going to take care of itself–but by delaying a non-vital visit to a doctor, or deferring the writing of a passage until my body tells me that I am ready for it, I may be using a very potent naturalistic filter. I write only if I feel like it and only on a subject I feel like writing about–and the reader is no fool. So I use procrastination as a message from my inner self and my deep evolutionary past to resist interventionism in my writing. Yet some psychologists and behavioral economists seem to think that procrastination is a disease to be remedied and cured.

I read this, and went: Wait. Hey! Whaaaat?!

Thinking back, I am guilty as charged. Having only, ever, looked at procrastination with scorn, disgust, dread, flagging it to be the culprit of tight (or even more horribly, missed) deadlines, of unchecked ToDo’s, endless lists written and never attended to… and add to that my worst sin: tardiness. Which, I must admit, I am only now realizing has a large factor of procrastination in it. ”I’m just gonna…” is one of the most common phrases out of my mouth (ask my children, they will verify it!), habitually postponing the next step in favor of what I am doing right now.

In the mornings, I want to write, read, do my Wim Hof-breathing rounds (three sets) and my morning Seven before I feel properly ready to meet the world. If I don’t exercise some proper discipline not only do I not write, not read, I spend the time scrolling my SoMe-feed, getting ready to do my Wim Hof around the time when I should be getting dressed to have breakfast, in order to meet whatever appointment/deadline I am ignoring… This has me doing my breathing, Seven and getting dressed, often skipping breakfast, and biking like a madwoman across town, arriving –winded and sweating– a few minutes after the fact…

I am n o t proud of this.
But. I. Just. Cannot. Seem. To. Shake. The. Habit.
Procrastinating like hell.
I am just gonna… do this, that and the other thing, before I get down to business and get myself to whatever-is-scheduled.

So when I read ”…seem to think that procrastination is a disease to be remedied and cured” I went: Wait. Hey! Whaaaat?! You mean it may n o t be? 

What’s the message for me in this?
What is it I am n o t doing, that would make me stop procrastinating?
Or, rather, what would have me use the procrastination as a message, a signal? Information to me, about the way I schedule my days, my weeks? The way I am keeping myself from doing some things I truly want to do (or do I? Is that the message?), avoiding… what?

There are so many layers to this, layers I am eager to lift up, explore and study, scrutinize and learn from. What serves me? What doesn’t serve me? When does/doesn’t it? How can I find ways of being in the world, that doesn’t have me waste the time of others (having to wait for me before getting on with it) while at the same time grant myself a life of less meddling?

So. Many. Questions.
Impossible (or not?) to answer?

What is procrastination to you?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
Join me and other patrons of the tankespjärn-community on a Zoom-call on September 23rd 2020 at 7 pm CEST, in conversation on the topic of procrastination.
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The energy is rising

July 2, 2020
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The pace is picking up, the energy is rising, and more and more people are getting active again. Responding to prompts for the first time, or –as I am doing– revisiting them once more, generously (as is wont to happen in The Creative’s Workshop!) sharing insights and questions and cheerings-on in comments to prompts and dailies, engaging with others to ensure there’s ”connectability” once TCW shuts down in 8 days…

and I still don’t want it too!

And yet…
I know. I will be there, every day, until it’s over.
And I know. I will miss it dreadfully, when it does.
And I know. I need it too.
I need the break.
I need digital sabbats. For longer than I’ve been taking them these past months (barely, honestly).

The increase and decrease.
After a massive surge –not least this past month with a lot of work as well– both work and TCW are set to decrease around the same time.
A massive deadline at work in 7 days, TCW ends the day after.

Perhaps, it’s even a godsend?

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Questions on tankespjärn?

April 25, 2020
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Do you have any questions on tankespjärn for me?
What it is? What it means? How I do it? Why I do it?
Anything else you would want to know? 

I’d love to hear them, your questions, as I am doing a live in my tankespjärn-community and I don’t know if I will be doing it with any of my community-members, or alone. I just picked a time that was open in my calendar, and I haven’t got a clue if anyone else will be able to join me, let alone if they want to. 

But hey.
They joined my community, so I presume they would want to join if they could!

So I figured, I can make this into a worthwhile exercise regardless because there’s so much on the topic of tankespjärn that I have yet to communicate, that just knowing I will be devoting myself to it for an hour this upcoming week, makes me happy! I greatly look forward to it. But any question you would like to gift me with would be of immense help for me! 

But hey (again)!
Perhaps you would want to join me and the others in the community?
If so, check out my Patreon-site, join my community, and you are good to go. Hope to see you there!


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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When I sound like me, what do I sound like?

April 11, 2020
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When I sound like me, what do I sound like? 

The Creative’s Workshop continues to prompt me with questions like this one. Questions that give me ample amounts of tankespjärn. Questions which cause me to back off for a few days, letting whatever my response will be percolate within, before actually sitting down to respond. Just did prompt 21 [out of a total of 35, dished out three a week], which I have been sitting on for the past week, and a g a i n I am astounded that there is so much value to them, a n d how they simply pull me into them once I give them my focus for but a few initial minutes. After that I don’t have to keep my focus on it anymore, because I am hooked. Hooked by the question, hooked by the challenge, hooked in eagerness witnessing what comes out of my fingers doing their dance across the keyboard.

After prompt 21, I opened prompt 22 and it flowed out of me like melting waters in spring flow into a mountain stream.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving (book 3 of 12)

March 16, 2020
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I really did not enjoy reading Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving by Roger E. and Stephen D. Allen.

And in a sense… that makes me happy. Oddly enough.
Bear (haha. Pun not intended, would you believe it?) with me, as I try to explain.

You see.
I have a tendency to enjoy most of what I read.
I love books. I read lots.
And I can as easily down a quick-read from the chick-lit genre as a fact-based non-fiction book on leadership and human development, a Science Fantasy-trilogy as a spiritual deep-dive into the world of Mary Magdalen.
And most everything I do enjoy. I find something in them that attracts me, keeps me reading.
Can be the wit of it, the beauty of the language, a totally engrossing story or facts that makes my mind boggle.

“Remember, good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad judgment.”

But more and more, I can discern (what a wonderful word that one! Discernment.) what I don’t like, what I don’t enjoy, where the language is not alluring, where I cannot get close to the characters (The Neapolitan Novels of Elena Ferrante is a great example), where something, whatever it might be, just seems off for one reason or another.

I had but read a few pages of this book when I knew it was off. For me! Which is an important caveat, as my taste is just that: mine. Noone elses. I borrowed this book from C, and he swears by it. But if I had not assigned this book a slot in my “read these 12 English books in 2020” I would have closed the book, returned it to C and never thought more of it.

But as I had chosen it, I made myself finish it, even though it took me more or less three months, with it laying on my dressing table as a constant reminder…

Perhaps it’s as simple as me not really being a Winnie-the-Pooh fan?
Perhaps the way the Allen’s emulate the way A.A. Milne writes (and is allowed to use excerpts from his books on Winnie-the-Pooh, both the written stories and the illustrations), but without being as great word-smiths as Milne?
Perhaps it was simply the wrong time for me to read it?

I don’t know, and don’t have to delve into it in-depth, but… at the same time, this is where my happiness comes in. You see, I am currently enrolled in The Creative’s Workshop (workshop run for the first time by Seth Godin on akimbo.com), and in several of the prompts (lessons you might say, three per week, over a 100-day-period) we’ve been asked to look at things such as these:
What is good, in my view? Why is it good? Who crafts good stuff (similar to that which I am working on)?
What don’t I think is good, and why? Who crafts “bad” stuff?
Who do I admire? Who do I want to emulate? And who’s the amateur, the professional and the hack in your line-of-work?

So.
Winnie-the-Pooh is helping me discern my responses to questions like these ones.
And that’s really helpful!

“…creativity […] is a way of being, of looking at things without judging them first, and that it can be learned and improved.”


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Three questions

May 22, 2019
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Finished another coaching conversation with coach Dave. A conversation much like any conversation really.
Flowing this way, then that way. Slowing down, sometimes stopping altogether, only to pick up speed, and rush forth!
Like a meandering river, conversations ebb and flow. Much like life, honestly.

Is that what coaching can be?
Yeah. Why not! Whatever serves in the moment, that’s what coaching can be.

Today, what served me the most was a meandering conversation, that has me popping ideas like crazy, on blog posts, sales pitches, other conversations to have and on and on…

Now, to ensure I don’t go off the deep end, Dave brought me back to the importance of three very basic questions. Questions I hereby vow to stick with for the next month (because boy… is it ever easy to skip these and start to build a house without having gotten the foundation well in place first!).

I will sit with them. Reflect upon them. Dig into them.
Write. Speak. Share. Listen. Learn. And… act!

The latter aspect might be one of the more important ones, given where I am at, and what I want to accomplish. So I will dig deep and act upon my findings. I will try it out, because I cannot figure this one out on my own, in conversation only with myself (and coach Dave). I have to (and want to!) put this to the test, something not done in silence, not done alone in my chambers and not done theoretically.

Three questions.
One month.

(Or more? Who knows… Or less?
Nah. I will give it a month!)

You with me in exploring this?

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Relevance and value?

March 14, 2019
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FB Live #134 🇬🇧🇱🇷 – Courage to dare?

FB Live #134 🇬🇧🇱🇷 – Courage to dare?

Publicerat av Helena Roth Torsdag 14 mars 2019

Filming myself while reflecting, actually transmitting it live as I speak – can that really have any value?
Is it relevant at all, and if so, for whom?

Questions that popped into my question, as I was in the midst of my Live. Perhaps because this was the first live in a long time where I actually just spoke, without really knowing what I would be speaking about. I had written the title of the live Courage to dare? but didn’t have any definitive thoughts on it. Until I pressed Start livevideo. Then I found myself following the energy of the moment. Courage to dare took me for a seven-minute journey, taking twists and turns that I had not envisioned at the get-go. 

Perhaps that in itself shows some courage? Or it might just be plain dumb. 🙂
I can not speak for anyone else, so I do not claim it to be neither relevant nor having value for you. But for me it does. This type of Live is sort of like my favorite type of writing. When I put my hands to the keyboard… and all of a sudden, there are words amassing on the digital page, revealing something to me, which I didn’t know was there. And I love that! So having found yet another medium which can give me the same type of sensation as writing does, has me thinking I’ll be continuing with my Lives.

But they are very me-centered, I admit. Just like my blogging.
I blog. (For me.)
I vlog. (For me.)

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy them so much?
Because these forms of expression are a way for me to create value for myself?

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Stepping into the closet…

March 4, 2019
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Most commonly people step out of the closet… but not me. Instead, I stepped into it. Literally, that is, as I’ve been recording a few intro and outro-snippets for the upcoming Doing Gentle with an edge-podcast soon to be released, inside a closet. Makes for great sound isolation. It also ensured Søren Lassen Andreasen, who’s my audio producer, could continue working away while I did my thing in the closet.

There are many possible traps.
So much to decide upon, and getting lost amongst all these choices would be very easy:
Name of the pod?
Music for the pod?
How to release it – all at once, or one episode at a time?
If not all at once, what day or days to release episodes?
Make a big thing of the release, or sneak it out there?
How to go about it technically?
Where to host the pod?
Is there anything I haven’t thought about that will cause me to crash and burn technically? 

Then there are other aspects as easy to fall into:
What will people think?
Is this really a good idea? 
What if no one will listen to my pod?

Well…. the thing is that the first set of questions I’m finding out as I go along. As this is my first time ever releasing my own pod, I’m learning for possible (probable!) future pod-releases as well. And the second set of questions can only be answered if I release my pod.

So in a few days, you’ll be able to listen to Doing Gentle with an edge.
And I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when the time comes!

 

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On the issue of the day

November 20, 2018
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in Tip
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I often return to blog posts of the past. My blog posts of the past. As I’ve been blogging for 6 years – more or less daily for 5 of those years – there are quite a few blog posts to choose from.

When there’s an interesting article or question or observation asked, many times I am reminded of something I’ve written that is relevant to whatever prompted the connection being made in my mind. So I search for it (and oftentimes find what I am looking for. Not always though) and can share what I’ve written and pondered about… about whatever really. Fear. Mistakes. Dancing. Coaching. Existential questions. Anything really!

And what is apparent, is how timeless many of my posts are. They can be recent or have 5 years to them, and still be as relevant today as when I wrote them. It’s not valid for all of them though, and listening to Seth Godin on Good Life Project, I got some insight into why that is. Seth was telling Jonathan Fields about “the issue of the day” and how he makes a point n o t to write about is – in specifics (listen from about 49 minutes in):

I care enough about my vision of the world that if I thought that I could change the way we did things by blogging about it, specifically, I would do it. But I feel like, a) chiming in on the issue of the day is a trap because it protects us from having to take responsibility for a larger view. […]
I think you can read at least half my blog posts as political, but none of them are saying Today, I think this person is wrong and this person is right, because as soon as I do that it’s so easy to ignore what I said because I am not on the right team, what ever team you want to be on. And so, I don’t want to play that sort of short-term tribal thing. Instead I want to say thank you to people from where ever you are coming from for giving me two minutes of your time, think about this. And if you think about this and still want to support that, well that’s your choice because you are a grown-up. Because I don’t believe what you believe, I don’t know what you know, I don’t want what you want. But here, here is a thought that feels to me coherent, and hard to argue with, and I notice things, do you notice this? And I know that that kind of input has influenced my life coming up, particularly as a teenager and surely thereafter, way more than when someone says this person is right, that person is wrong.

This is truly food for thought for me, and in how and what I write. Because I do chime in, now and again, on the specifics of the issues of the day. And those are posts that have a much shorter lifespan than posts that take the larger view.

I love how a new thought can open up for new perspectives – will this lead to changes in how and what I write? Or not?

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