Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Personal Efforts to Create a Sacred Economy

The last big thing I was in, was putting a team together. At some point the decision was "yes, I need a team". Two friends expressed interest in being on board, one of them has been involved for a couple of months now, and another one came in very recently. The process however has been slow if not stagnant: We still are trying to get us 3 to email our personal visions and goals with this project, not even the shared vision yet. So I figured it was going to take way longer that what I had thought it would...if anything happened at all. 

Another factor that came to mind was the comment by one of them who told me in relation to this post "we can't really wait...the world can't wait until you finish a Ph.D...that's between 3 to 7 years!!". It made complete sense. I started to hear a lot about the word "solopreneur" and I thought maybe that's what I am, or maybe that's the role I need to play right now. That doesn't mean I'm saying no to others, or that I decided to forget about the team. It means that I'll start (again) while the team gets moving. If it doesn't move, then I'll have something to keep working with rather than just sitting and waiting.

So...that's probably the front page of the newspaper. I'll give it a go as a solopreneur. After reading Business Model You and in combination with inspiration from the book Sacred Economics by Charles Einstein, I started to think that my blogs are my products and the general "hub", The New Economics for Humanity, is my organization. If I am a solopreneur, then I need to understand and make the appropriate changes to my personal business model. I need to understand what sort of value I provide within my own organization, that is, who do I help? How? How do I interact?? How do others know me and how do I deliver? how do I interact with them? What do I do?? Who Am I and what do I have?? Who helps me?? What do I give and what do I get?? These are the building blocks of a personal business model. 

That's my new standing point. Now the question is, how can I make of this blog a business that is aligned with what I believe, that allows me to behave like a cell of the earth??. I also have to start drawing a business model canvas for the NEH as an organization. Here is where I'm going to start applying the concepts of Steve Blank (customer development), Alexander Ostenwalder (Business Model Generation), Tim Clark (Business Model You) and Charles Einstein (Sacred Economics). These books are what I call my business combo. 

In the midst of all this, I found myself inspired by a friend whose recent story pushed me to explore a new idea. And this new idea can actually make use of some skills I've been acquiring since 2005. It involves sports (ultimate disc) and Aboriginals, from whom I'm hoping to learn about cash less economics and understand who they are. If it all starts moving, it will be interesting to see if and how the club incorporates indigenous traditions and western culture specially to be able to overcome some potential financial issues that may arise (think about getting uniforms, flying to and paying for tournaments). Find the proposal here

The journey looks promising and daunting at the same time. I have restrained myself from writing enormous amounts of blog posts until I start something officially. My new addition to the library is now home with me (The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank) and looks like I have a hell of work ahead of me. I never thought it was gonna be easy though.

Improving Productivity: Emails

My Gmail is clutter free and now...I don't check it every day!! Thank you activeinbox!!! I went from 2000 emails to 0 in one afternoon. Boring at the beginning, then I got the hang of it and started trashing things like it was the last day of my life....great feeling that of getting rid of so much stuff. I guess it feels the same when you finally face the house big clean up project that you've been avoiding for so long. Now I have another task...get my 3 old yahoo accounts in order and forwarding and filtering emails to gmail. I already started with one and still feel comfortable with getting so many emails and not really processing them straight away. Once I get to a number that looks kind of big (somewhere between 40 and 100 emails), then I go and process them all at once. By "processing" I mean, I open them, if they have links for me to read, I click the links and let them sit there until I finish with Gmail. Once I'm done with gmail, then I go to the open pages, if they are something I only need to skim, then I do so. If I'd like to read it properly then I use klip.me extension for Chrome wich pushes the article from the web to my kindle (it's been amazingly useful!! you can push things to your mobile if not a kindle user, check www.klip.me). Usually, there is one day in the week where I find enough time to read the articles I've been pushing and I don't have to be in front of the computer.

With Activeinbox I can set up pretty useful labels in Gmail. So what I did was: In Nozbe I had a look at my projects and categorize them in my mind by "active", "inactive" and "closed". Then I went to Evernote and created the tag "Projects" with 3 subtags (active, inactive and closed), and in each subtag I created the relevant sub-subtags with the names that correspond to my Nozbe projects. Then I went to Gmail and configured my label types (C/ for Contexts, R/ for references P/ Projects and S/ for Status). The P/ type is consistent with what I have in both Nozbe and Evernote. 

When I create labels, then active inbox adds them at the top, integrated with Gmail's horizontal menu. The  good thing about it is that I can spend less time thinking about what I want to do with those emails or where I want them to go. If I've decided what it is that I need to do about it, then I click on "next action", which is a S/ type. I can also click on the Contexts drop down menu to assign it whether that task is an errand, call, at computer, etc. If the email belongs to a specific project, then I click on the "label" drop down menu and assign it accordingly. This "label" menu is the one that lets me assign emails to active, inactive and closed projects. I don't really understand why it assigned "label" as opposed to "projects" but, so far, it works for me like this so I'm not worried about it.

I'm not going to go much further because writing about it is probably not the best way to share the experience. I would be happy, however, to have a skype call, or call conference and share my screen to play a bit with the three tools so that you have more of an idea. Again, I'm still learning tips about all of them but I'm definitely making progress. It has reduced my "email checking time" considerably (to between 2 to 4 times a week as opposed to everyday and many times during the day) and I'm getting used to seeing emails piling up in my inbox until I make the decision to clean up. When I decide that "that's big enough a number" I go and get rid of them all in one go. 

At the moment I have a free account with ActiveInbox. When you're ready, you can start a 2 weeks trial of their premium service. I plan to do that once I have migrated all my emails into my gmail account to test the premium at its maximum. Give it a go if you are a Gmail user.