Thanks to you, the BrainPint community is now over 2,000 strong. When I started writing earlier this year, I had no idea how much this little newsletter would change my life. It has enabled me to meet so many interesting people, think critically about what I consume and crystallize my learning. BrainPint opened so many opportunities for me and I'm so grateful.
This week's newsletter brings 2020 to a close. It's been a tough year for many, but there are loads of silver linings. This year has drastically transformed the way we think about the future of work. It has lit a fire in new generation of entrepreneurs, who will go on to create world-changing companies following the rally cry of Marc Andreessen in It's Time To Build. I'm excited about the acceleration of innovation.
If 2020 has dealt you a bad hand, consider reading this. At some point early in the year, I felt lost. But I learned the art of the counterpunch. In life, "every difficulty carries with it a corresponding opportunity of equal size"
Here's to a wonderful 2021, may it be a year full of growth.
With gratitude, Janel
2020: It's A Wrap
Year-End Review Templates Rounding up the best year-end review templates for you to reflect on 2020 and be intentional about 2021.
He believed that this year, COVID would unlock creativity and progress by:
Serving as a global catalyzing event for the internet generation
Uniting people around a common mission and shared experience
Demanding new tools, processes, and social norms for online collaboration
Themes I'm Watching in 2021 Besides creating & writing, I love exploring trends. This helps me to better understand the world around me, and hence make better investment decisions.
I'll be watching these themes closely next year:
Cloud powered companies
Telehealth & Genomics
The Passion/Creator Economy
No-Code, Low-Code & Automation
Education (see Erik Torenberg's writing below)
P.S. Would you like me to explore themes like this in BrainPint too? Let me know by clicking here.
Opportunities In Education About opportunities for investment & innovation in education, and thoughts on how we can build education institutions in the future.
Education as we know it is broken. "Schools do an excellent job of training for excellence, where there are clearly bounded domains, and it’s known exactly what has to be done to be successful. But they’re terrible at training for genius — innovation no one can predict."
The world is changing at a rapid pace, so everyone should be learning, unlearning and relearning. There's a new wave of startups unbundling education, and I'm excited to see how the landscape shifts in the coming years.
Some things that excite me:
Cloud powered schools - Using the right technology to build schools with quality at scale
Peer learning - Peer-powered learning. Learning by watching what others in your network do.
Future of Credentialing - When being part of a network affords you a credential. A seal of quality. We all know that people go to top tier business schools for this privilege, but surely there are better ways to do this.
I also hope that schools teach two things close to my heart: 1) mental models 2) financial literacy. It seems like a crime to not have these as mandatory subjects!
The Age Of Infinite Leverage "We live in the age of infinite leverage – an era where anyone with a laptop can choose to build and scale without permission. Follow your intellectual curiosity more than whatever is the current shiny flashy thing. If your curiosity ever leads you to a place where society eventually wants to go, you’ll get paid extremely well."
You don't have to trade your time for output if you find ways to increase your input-to-output ratio. I highly recommend that you find ways to unlock your own leverage. Maximize the output of your work. A newsletter is a great way to start.
UX Toast Learn the fundamentals of UX & UI Design. One of them is Hick's Law, which states that the more options a user is presented with, the longer it will take them to make a decision. I often caution product builders against providing too many options as this increases decision-making complexity.
Resources & Tools
Yeps - A free bar that you can add to the top or bottom of your site to promote content, collect emails and more
Visual Hunt - Search 354 million high quality photos with Creative Commons licenses (h/t to Shawn, who created a wonderful Github repository full of useful resources called Spark Joy)
Secrets For Successful Creators - A 137 page e-book featuring 256 proven strategies from the world's most successful creators you can use to produce, promote, and profit from your creations. For the wonderful price of pay-as-you-want (or free)
To cap off the year, I want to amplify some high-signal newsletters with smaller subscriber counts (<500). Check them out! Modern Museum - A curated newsletter that helps you to become a smarter, bolder, and more resourceful creator. Dalos shares key takeaways for every link that he posts.
Goodnote - Essays that spotlight the world’s most impactful brands using business as a force for good.
The Pocket - About thoughtful revelations to inspire the busy seekers among us. This newsletter explores tools, concepts & mindsets to navigate complex pockets of time.
Take A Brain Break
Lose The Very - Combine "very" with a simple adjective and get a more concise adjective. It's not "very smart", it's ingenious. Useful for non-native speakers. Expand your vocabulary.
r/mealtimevideos - Want to watch something entertaining & quick while having a meal? This subreddit has you covered with short, educational and interesting videos.
Quote Of The Week
"Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete” — Paul Kalanithi (Share On Twitter)