Life Designed: Differentiation, Crisis & Alternative Assets

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Welcome to another edition of Life Designed, where I share resources, insights, and notes on lifestyle design, future of work, and creative fulfillment.

Reads 📝

Everything I Know About Style Guides, Design Systems, and Component Libraries

Unless you think about your design and development process upfront, you will run into issues later as you scale. To prevent this issue from happening, or to fix the existing lack of consistency in your products, you need three things: (1) Style Guide, (2) Component Library, and (3) Design System.

Differentiation Strategy (and the Sea of Sameness)

Sameness is the combined effect of companies being too similar in their offers, poorly differentiated in their branding, and indistinct in their communication. Scott Brinker maintains the marketing technology landscape project. In eight years, it has grown more than 4,500%. There are more than 8,000 MarTech tools out there.

How to Feel Better About the News

If the headlines make you anxious, here’s what you can do.

Tools 🛠

Good (Crisis) Email Templates

During the current crisis, how can you make your customer communications effective, balancing business objectives with empathy, authenticity, and value for the recipient?

The MVP Experiment Canvas

A structured framework for turning your big idea into a Minimum Viable Product you can test and validate with potential customers.


Organize delightful Zoom events. Your event deserves more than an ugly registration form. Set the tone for a great time with a beautiful website.

Newsletters 📩

Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Ideas

3 fresh startup ideas (with data to back them up). Every week.

TL;DR Marketing

Keeping up with everything that's going on with digital marketing can drive you crazy. Luckily, Saijo George created a newsletter to get you a daily dose of marketing news in a quick TL;DR style.

Alternative Assets

A newsletter about alternatives to traditional investments. There's a million blogs about stocks, real estate and venture capital. This is about the wide world of options that don't get talked about as much - with a focus on digital properties, websites and micro-businesses.

Book of the Week 📖

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive 21st-century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep - spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.

Food for Thought 🧠

“When you are not practicing, remember, someone is practicing, and when you meet him, he will win. ” – Bill Bradley
“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.” – Albert Einstein
“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” – Rumi
“Beware the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.” – Ben Okri
“The most powerful control we can ever attain, is to be in control of ourselves.” – Chris Page

Playlist 🎧

Watchlist 🍿

The Most Underrated Country I've Ever Been To

My rating: 8

YouTuber Nathaniel Drew travels to Portugal and shares his experience.

15 Ways To Use TextExpander

My rating: 9

If you're looking for ideas and examples for how you can better use text expansion, this is for you. If you don't already know how TextExpander works, this video also runs through a brief introduction.

Thank You 🙏

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Stay safe and thank you for reading.

Sent on 26 August 2020.
Life Designed Newsletter

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