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Bending the tree

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I, a 47 year old white male, can help chip away at a system that is in place which unevenly distributes wealth, tools and access.

I linked to an illustration in the last issue, and have since found the high resolution images, with appropriate credit to Tony Hugh, the artist.

These images helped me put a little clarity to my thoughts. Mostly how I can help bend the tree.

Here they are:





I’m fortunate that I had some money that I was able to donate to Black Lives Matter. But money is only one thing, attention and action are others.

For example, I recall an organization looking for volunteer drivers to help get people without easy access to transportation to polling places in a recent election.

That’s the kind of thing I’d like to contribute my time to. To make personal connections and help chip away at the system. This is where my line of thinking is right now, and I hope to generate a list of these kinds of things by the next issue.

Small, personal actions I can frequently take to help bend the tree. Let me know your thoughts on that.


Some of the things I’ve sat around the digital campfire and talked about with folks.

Small Agile

Just a quick update on this. I got great feedback from some folks, and have updated the website accordingly. It’s a little more clear, but not perfect. I decided to ship it anyway. That’s the only way I’ll learn if there’s any value here. Enough value to eventual users for me to keep working on this.

  • If there is value, great, I’ll keep going
  • If not, great, I learned a lot and will apply that to the next project

This is a service for solo independent people or small teams who develop products and / or services. If that’s something you do, I’d love your feedback.


Master Mind Failure Club

A Master Mind Failure Club intends to bring “Peer strategy and support with failure as the goal”.

The book is a great and short read, and costs a couple bucks. If you’re a creative person looking for accountability and shooting for the moon, so you can learn and grow, grab the book and start a club. It’s easier than you think. You need good people (who you already probably know), a date/time to meet, and decent enough internet for a phone call or zoom meeting. I’m no expert here, as I’ve just started a group myself, but if I can help you start a club let me know.

I gained a ton from just one meeting, and can’t wait for the next one.

Here’s what I wrote to the author of the book:

A good friend and I have been talking for a decade about each other’s creative work, but not with the lens of failure clubs and certainly without the cadence and structure of the Mastermind club. One day he sent me a text that said “hey you should check out this Mastermind Failure Club book”.

I bought and started reading the book. I replied “I’m two pages into that mastermind group book and I’m in. When can we start one?”. :D

I gravitated to the low friction organization and setup. The people are the most important part. You only need enough technology so that you can regularly communicate.


Some of the things that I’ve found when dipping my toes into the digital streams.

The Money Tree

Chris Guillebeau tells a story of using simple principles to create a new source of income in a short period of time.

By using your existing skills and spending as little startup capital as possible, you can learn to dig your way to the fortune in your own backyard.

The Money Tree is an interesting read. I’m familiar with the author from his previous work, the 100$ Startup in particular.

His message seems to be, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make several small baskets you can control and have multiple sources of revenue. That’s investment strategies 101, isn’t it?

I like my day job a lot, but if it goes away for whatever reason, it would be difficult to recover.

Last I heard a quarter of the US workforce was out of work due to covid. The author has made the book available for free for anyone who might find it valuable and is out of work.

This book also points out that the best way to have these small side hustles is to provide some service that benefits another person. Something that they’d pay for that helps them. Win win.

In my first reading encounters with this author, I was worried that the strategies would be how to get rich quick, and lead towards zero sum game thinking. I’m glad to say that these are not true.

Another note on the book, it’s in a sorta new format. It’s really a non-fiction book, told with fictional characters. I’m not sure if there’s a name for this genre. There’s another book called Radical Focus which has the same narrative structure but is unrelated in subject matter. There’s more like this, most likely, right?

It’s an interesting way to express what you’d find typically in non-fiction “business” books but with characters and a narrative.

It’s given me some ideas for short stories that do the same thing. More ideas to test, I suppose.

I got a copy for a friend who’s side hustle business is being impacted by covid. He’s looking for new ways to do what he loves, which includes helping kids express their creativity. I’m looking forward to hearing if he thought the book was helpful.


Planting seeds, and helping them grow into ideas.

I’m still planting and watering the seeds of figuring out how to be a better note taker. This is my go to in terms of the systematic approach.

Recently I received my invite to mymind. It is awesome so far. I’m mostly using an iPad these days, so there’s some stuff missing without a dedicated app or safari integration. But it’s worth checking out if you too are looking for better ways to take notes and store all the things you come across.

A couple doodles to leave you with.

Delete your account

Beam me up

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. I’d love to know what you’re up to. Send me a reply, and let’s talk.

Until next time, take care.