You can Google the Stars now

Continuing with the astronomy theme I’ve had over the past few weeks, I was sent Google Sky. Many thanks for this.

I’m known in both my NH and NS hometowns for spending lots of time looking at the sky, day or night. I remember my chagrin and shame when, sometime around 1994-5, I was standing on a NS neighbor’s deck in the afternoon and noticed a slight browning of the horizon…the same browning I’d been seeing climb up my NH home’s horizon for several years prior.

I asked my neighbor about it. It was smog, she offered, making its way up from the US.

So long my pristine Nova Scotia skies

Still, the air up there is still fresher and cleaner (at least in my mind) than in NH these days. One of the joys of both NS and NH locations is that the neighbors will often gather together for bonfires and map the skies or, often more enjoyably, sgeul gu latha.

Back to this post…sky reference software is nothing new. At one such bonfire I mentioned to our friends that there was lots of satellite tracking and similar software available. Really want to be blown away? Get Celestia or Orbitron.

And in all cases, enjoy.

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The Complete “Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast” Arc

Note: A nine part arc based on an podcast interview, all here

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 1

Email newsletters are incredibly goal dependant and email newsletter metrics must match their goals or they’re guaranteed to fail. That’s the rub; Is the email newsletter intended to contribute to a company’s revenue? Are newsletters part of the marketing channel (it’s not an obvious yes or no)?

I’ve written elsewhere about NextStage’s research into email newsletters and email marketing. Recently I was interviewed by’s Chris Bjorklund on the subject and that interview has become two podcasts (see links below).

I’ll also be posting the individual Q&A from that interview here for those who want a written record. Not everything covered in the interview is documented in print, so the best bet is to listen and take notes along the way.

First up, What are the key elements to think about in your design so that you get maximum ROI?

I think the thing I’d offer first is that, like everything else we’ve studied, certain rules and formulae emerge if you’re willing to put the time and effort into discovering them.

That said, the single most important factor was knowing what type of device your audience would most likely be viewing the newsletter on first. Let me explain that so your listeners understand.

We learned that it’s not uncommon for certain demographics to get their emails on mobile devices. Duh, right? But what we learned was that many people who get their emails on mobile devices either technically or mentally mark certain emails for “follow up”. Not in the sense of “I have to respond to this” but in the sense of “this is important so I want to devote some time to it when I have time to devote to it”.

One of the hallmarks of the mobile, pda, smartphone demographic is a metric we call “organization”. This means they value the concept of “organization”, of “being organized”. It doesn’t mean “they are organized” and this is crucial. We did a different and ancillary study that determined if this segment was more organized or less organized than other people and we discovered a micro-segment that actually used their device as a means of active organization. The rest of this segment pretty much all claimed their device’s organizational value and when you looked at their time-activity usage you saw that it was just another distraction and lowered their life-efficiency by measurable percentage points.

And this doesn’t begin to touch on the people who want to show you something on their iPhone, Smartphone or whatever. Sometimes these people (not all!) remind me of that Stuart character on MadTV that continually says “Look what I can do!”

So, whether these people are actually more or less organized than the rest of us, one of the things the majority seem to do is see something on their smart device and flag it as something they want to explore in a different setting.

This isn’t just true with mobile, pda style folks. Is your newsletter about family health issues and you know your demographic is 30-somethings with small children, for example? That email probably isn’t being read on a PDA. Also (and here’s a trick we learned), if you can time delivery to when you know someone in this (or similar) demographic is sitting at their family computer — note “family health” and “family computer” — and can deliver that email newsletter into their inbox when they’re sitting at their computer, you’ve just increased the relevancy of your newsletter to them.

This is a psychological factor that lots of people miss out on and it’s not specific to health. We saw it in finance, pet care, lots of places.

Once you get past knowing what device subscribers will be using when they first see your newsletter, you get into things like content, relevancy,

Relevancy is a demographic issue and it’s closely tied to distribution frequency and actionability. Distribution frequency is “how often will subscribers get a copy?” and actionability is “when can subscribers do something that benefits them based on the information provided within?”

Send out a daily newsletter without no immediately valuable action items and you can watch your subscription base go down to nothing. Send out a monthly newsletter that requires subscribers to act immediately to recognize value and watch your subscription base go away.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 2

This time out a brief note on color.

Colors were very market, gender and age group specific. This wasn’t surprising based on other research we’ve published.

Another factor that was demographic-dependent was “Content Completeness”. This goes right up there with relevancy, distribution frequency and actionability. Content Completeness is a measure of how much work a subscriber has to do in order to recognize value from the newsletter. If the subscriber can derive actionable value just from the newsletter, that’s very content complete. If they have to follow a link that goes to a page that requires them to read something then click on a box to accept a condition that goes to another page…, that’s not at all content complete.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 3

This time we address “Your insights and advice about designing newsletters are based on studying more than 1400 Email newsletters, and then just 200 of those in depth.

What kind of patterns emerged?

What emerged was that the most successful — and success was defined by the newsletter authors — newsletters followed some very common patterns. We actually found six basic “styles”, if you will, that the most successful newsletters followed as far as layout, messaging, graphic element placement and so on. We call these styles “masks” because it didn’t matter what content was behind these masks, so long as your newsletter was wearing one of these masks it was going to work.

More significantly, different masks worked better based on audience, topic, distribution frequency. The one exception was the mask for mobile and handheld devices. Pretty much if you knew your audience would be oepning the newsletter on a handheld device there was only one mask to work with.

One group did something that I thought was very clever; they did some kind of programming that allowed the email to know what type of device it was being opened on. Don’t ask me how it was done because I’m not a programmer, but this was genius. The newsletter used the same basic mask if it was opened on an handheld, laptop, desktop, etc. This was done so that people who opened it on a handheld could then find the same information in roughly the same position on their desktop. But what the newsletter designers did was show more of each item’s story when the newsletter was being opened on a non-handheld device.

This was genius because people got hooked — as I mentioned before — using their handheld then got reeled in when the opportunity was there. Very nice.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 3a

This time more answers to “Your insights and advice about designing newsletters are based on studying more than 1400 Email newsletters, and then just 200 of those in depth.

What kind of patterns emerged?

In general different masks worked better for different purposes.

Things that worked and things that didn’t — this is literally a two-edged sword. I will never be able to emphasize enough that knowing your market, your audience is key to success in any marketing. Let me give you an example.

I just started a newsletter for several reasons and I used our research to help me figure out what to do. Evidently a standard for email blast subscription response is about 10%. I did three email blasts and got almost 90% buy-in simply because I designed my introductory email along certain principles.

First, it was very much a “Joseph” email. People who’ve read my other writings, talked with me, seen me present or listened to a podcast could quickly and easily recognize my tone, my voice, my language. In other words, I made it as One-to-One as possible. This is a significant factor in getting people to respond.

Psychologically, people will respond to a person, to a personal request, far more often and far more rapidly than anything else. Now, I don’t know lots of the people on my subscriber list and most of them know me. I can still make it personal even to those people I don’t know personally by (essentially) demonstrating that “person” they are responding to. This is easy to do with a little training and listeners can contact NextStage if they’re interested.

So anyway, I knew my audience and MORE IMPORTANTLY I knew what they expected and gave it to them.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 3b

We left off answering “What kind of patterns emerged?” with a discussion of delivering on audience expectations. We continue with a count of what’s important.

So let’s count things out know; 1 – Know your audience. 2 – know what they’ll expect and 3 – make sure they get it.

In my case I knew their first expectation was to get more of the “Joseph” experience and I made sure they got it. Also, in the first actual email, I told them what I’d be putting into future emails. Again, I’m setting expectations that I can meet.

Next, I gossiped. Not about the industry and not about people, but about a project I’ve taken on for fun but that also has pretty great significance in today’s social media world; I’m building a blog bullcrap meter for a company. They want to be able to determine if a person writing a blog believes what they’re writing about or is just, you know, cruising and making things up as they go along.

Note that we’re not talking about audience response. We’ve been analyzing if readers believe a blog is authoritative or not for a while now. This is a tool that determines if a blog’s author believes they themselves are an authority or not.

So think of it; does the person blogging about how safe an commercial airplane is really believe what they’re saying? Yes, take the flight. No, book another flight.

Also, who has more confidence in their industry? The company blog telling me that their baby medicine is safe better have more confidence in what they’re writing than the person blogging about their visit to Nova Scotia, don’t you think? But if they don’t, there’s a flag that medicine might not be as safe as taking part in Celtic Colors on Cape Breton.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 3c

So your listeners can benefit in their own newsletters by following some simple rules; know your audience, set expectations, meet expectations, create an extension of an already favorable experience. Another thing I did was reward them for simply signing up. I offered a discount on the newsletter research. The only way to get that discount is through the newsletter. We’re experiencing almost 3-to-1 newsletter to website conversion on that alone.

The reason all these things are two-edged swords is because — in my opinion — companies and individuals don’t do the right kind of market research to understand their audience. Especially in today’s world, this is imperative and is something I really emphasize when I talk on the topic; People want that human touch, that’s #1, and people want economy, simplicity, and are willing to pay any price to get it, that’s #2.

So know your audience, know what they want on every level — this is expectation — and give them what they want on as many levels as possible. This has often been called “managing expectations” and it’s really not. That’s old school and, although still useful in some situations, I think it’s losing its losing ground to waht we call “experience management”. This is tremendously important in today’s information-rich world. Give people the experience they want — indeed, they crave — and they’ll reward you by giving you more and more opportunities to manage their experience for them because they trust you to give them what they want.

This is basic.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 4

Here we answer “What are some of the ways to measure your audience’s response to your newsletter?

This is a hot topic right now – measuring response. To anything. I’m working with Eric Peterson and the WebAnalyticsDemystified group on what we’re calling “The Engagement Project” to come up with a metric and a way of measuring exactly what kind of response and how much of a response you should expect from your marketing efforts.

Measuring response at the machine level is fairly straightforward. Did they open the newsletter? On what device? How many times? Did they follow a link? Did they download something? Basically, did they do something the author wanted them to do?

Beyond that you get into reader psychology. This is where you find out why they responded the way they did and how to change that response, if required.

This is where Engagement and its different definitions begins to play a role.

Let me give you another example; did people get back to you about something in your newsletter that wasn’t a link or clickthrough? Did they call or email? With a comment or question. There are a few things in our newsletter that were placed just for this purpose, to get a very specific and very unobvious response because it allowed us to determine what was engaging them — what was driving them to perform specific actions, what was causing them to think, what were they reacting to and in what non-obvious ways.

This is a standard research method in cognitive science research and, amusingly, is also used in magic shows.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Part 5

Here we start the second podcast in the series and answer “If links are important — the next question is — how many of them should I have? (You said odd numbers are better.)

Again, this is something from cognitive science and psycholinguistics that is directly applicable to marketing materials. Give people a binary decision path — Yes/No, LinkA/LinkB — and they’ll essentially stop. Believe it or not, two links is too much information for most people to deal with.

But, three links? That’s fine. They can literally chose the middle road. This is something I talk about when I explain “Priming”, what magicians call “Forcing”. You can design a page or newsletter so that people will chose the link you want them to follow just about every time and not realize they’re doing it.

Once you get beyond three you start seeing Likert style responses. Likert and biasing responses are things researchers and questionnaire designers are very familiar with. You can basically force responses by the number of options you offer and their placement. Even numbers of options tend to be excellent for forcing results, odd numbers are good for getting real responses.

Key Elements for Maximum Email Newsletter ROI – Email Newsletter, Email Marketing Podcast Finale

Here we discuss how viral and newsletters merge.

Your regular listeners probably know we did a podcast about viral marketing. One of the things I wanted to explore was how viral “I” was in the newsletter. There’s a link in the newsletter itself to sign up for the newsletter. The only way to access that link is to have a subscriber send you their copy of the newsletter. There’s also a page on our website that’s a copy of the newsletter.

That web page is offered to people who are subscribing after the fact, so to speak. That web page also has a “sign up” link. We’re getting about double the subscription rate from that page being passed on as from the email itself being passed on.

This is what I expected. Companies that use NextStage regularly often consider us a trade secret and keep us on a short leash. This is an example of the same thing. People who got an email keep us close. People who find us after the fact tend to share.

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Situational Awareness, Too Much Information Too Fast, and Voting v Voting with your Feet

Research is fascinating stuff for me and one of my joys is discovering that research NextStage has done either points to research done elsewhere or that research done elsewhere points to research Nextstage has done. It’s kind of a joyous serendipity type of thing.

Case in point, my posts about Voluntary Simplification, Email Bankruptcy and Happiness. These posts all deal with how people adapt to the amount of information coming at them in their lives.

It turns out — and many sources point to this — that the adage “Think Globally, Act Locally”, meaning “The more information you have the better you’re able to deal with a given situation” isn’t accurate at all. The more information people have about something the less they are able to act upon that information, it seems.

Knowing a lot about what’s going on is sometimes called “Situational Awareness” and that is something NextStage has researched greatly, specifically how to get the right amount of information to a decision maker formatted in the most easily digestible yet unbiased way so that the decision maker can quickly make an optimal decision. It’s not necessarily that there’s too much information, it’s often that the information isn’t formatted so that the individual can quickly determine its relevance. This is something my dad use to say as “When someone’s hanging onto a cliff by their fingernails, don’t ask them to play football.”

One strategy for dealing with information that I find fascinating is to move it from action to opinion. Let me give you an example.

Action based information is something like instructions for making my chicken soup. Opinion based information is what I think of my soup. I’m probably going to have a high opinion of my soup and a lesser opinion of your soup unless there’s non-action based reasons for me to favor your soup. Maybe you have something I want (your soup recipe, your business, your friendship, your children), maybe I’m afraid of you and don’t want to incur your wrath, maybe you’re a friend and I don’t want to offend you or hurt your feelings.

In all cases, opinion based information’s value is more political and social than it is actionable and doable. Opinion based information is one of the ways we recognize who is “like” us and who is “different” from us, as in Friend or Foe. Actionable and doable are the province of action based information.

Action based information can exist by itself. The instructions for making chicken soup are the instructions for making chicken soup. It doesn’t matter if you like chicken soup or not, the recipe is the recipe is the recipe.

Opinion based information, however, has trouble existing by itself. An opinion without a follow up action doesn’t serve the general good very well at all. It’s great to learn what someone thinks about something because it can serve as a whetstone for your own thoughts and beliefs…and actions. That’s the key. Opinion based information is “I think such and so” and is fine until someone asks, “What are you going to do about it?” That’s where opinion based information breaks down. Business meetings that don’t end in take-aways and action plans and ownership items don’t move businesses forward at all.

The strategy of moving information from action to opinion as a throttle on information overload is very simple; Opinion doesn’t require you to act. In fact, it’s quite easy to ignore. People may talk about opinion based information (“Did you hear what he said?” “Did you see what she was wearing?” “Did you see that tv show last night?”) and that’s pretty much all they can do.

But act upon it? There’s a world of difference between “I think such and so” and “I think such and so and am going to do this about it.”

The latter is something all Americans are familiar with as I write this. We’re in the middle of presidential campaigns. All we hear is what the candidates think about something and what they’re going to do about it. Doesn’t mean they can or will, only that they’re indicating they will. Why is this so important? Because now doing something is their responsibility, not ours. Our responsibility ends with voting. Once we vote we are again safe, only having to offer opinions and not having to act upon anything other than to nod or shake our heads when others share their opinions with us.

So here’s to that incredible strategy that helps people buffer themselves against the onslaught of information in their lives; All hail The Opinion.

And do let me know when you’d like to get something done.

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The Complete “Who’s In Control?” Arc

Note: Another arc, this one eight posts long. Amazing, isn’t it?

Who’s In Control?

A friend told me he is in therapy because his life is out of control. Too many demands on his time. A cell phone and a pager and a PDA and children and a wife and a job and a …

I listened. I congratulated him on deciding this was a problem for him and seeking help. I didn’t want to tell him that his immediate solution to the problem — too many demands on his time — was to add another demand to his schedule — a regular therapy session.

People who work with me call me a workaholic. Another friend tole me last week that I’m always busy because I’m always doing something, always active. People have repeatedly either told me they’re amazed at what I’ve done in my life or asked how I could achieve what I have. Some of it is nature (my musical ability or lack thereof, for example) and some is nurture (a family and culture where solving problems and core elements of solutions was prized, a family of readers, homes full of music and song, a family and culture that taught by storytelling and process modeling).

There’s also the fact that I realized at a very early age I was different from my peers in ways I couldn’t explain. I’ve wondered, in retrospect, if this awareness I had has similarities to the young boy or girl realizing they’re gay.

Aside from the anatomical confusions that are part of adolescence, what are the external physical manifestations of what amount to completely functional yet decidedly differently neurologic structural adaptations to… what? Are the neurologic adaptations required to alter physiologic manifestations Nature’s way of testing a theory? Easy theory to test: are there more gay people per capita in the world now than elsewhen in recorded history?

If yes –> homosexuality is an adaptive model that is working for the here and now. If not –> then not.

The concept of adaptive modeling is a challenging one for many people. Especially those who don’t study how things evolve over time (my thinking? Everything evolves over time). Nature (like me, I guess) is always testing theories and providing solutions to problems. I’ve heard it said that the age of the dinosaurs was Nature testing whether big teeth and big muscles were the way to go and eventually decided no, they weren’t.

Who’s In Control? (part 2)

We left off wondering if big teeth and big muscles was an experiment that failed. Here we pick up with how Nature really tests theories…

Well, close and no cigar. Nature found a solution that worked in the environment of the time. As things changed, old solutions didn’t solve the new problems (something I’m hoping to communicate in my comments on Starting the discussion: Attention, Engagement, Authority, Influence, …, but that’s another blog entirely and literally) so come up with some new solutions. Right now it seems Nature is testing to learn if big brains (comparatively speaking) are an adequate solution to the current problems.

My guess (in this anyway) is that the cure is worse than the disease. Big brains seem to causing more problems than they solve (see The World Without Us for a good read on this subject). And big brains’ current run is something less than a million years. Dinosaurs had several million, at least two orders of magnitude the run of big brains.

So maybe, just as big teeth and big muscles evolved to insure a good, long run, so shall big brains.

Who’s In Control? (part 3)

Here we question if homosexuality is another one of Nature’s experiments.

So if homosexuality is a test on Nature’s part, so be it. I’ve mentioned a childhood acquaintance, Andy, before. One of my strongest memories of Andy involved a third child whom I’ll call “Robert”. Andy never played with Robert because, when Robert played house with little girls, Robert often offered to be the “wife”.

I still remember, when Andy told me of Robert’s role-reversal play, how Andy wrinkled his nose, how his lips and face tightened, how his body tensed. I realize now he was merely demonstrating something he learned from his family, didn’t realize it then (it was only third grade). The message was quite clear — Robert was diseased, somehow wrong and wrong in an incredibly terrifying way because, while Peter, another friend, had an obviously club foot, Robert had no outward signs of his deformity. You couldn’t be sure by looking if someone else was wrong the way Robert was wrong.

Oh my! Scary Scary!

Who’s In Control? (part 4)

Here we deal with some of childhood’s mysteries. Just as Robert’s tendencies weren’t obvious in the way Peter’s club foot was obvious, so my tendencies, my “wrongness”, wasn’t obvious to those I played with.

My grandmother Sadie, when I was two or three or so, use to call me her Little Professor (another very involved post dealing with obvious evidence that remains unseen) because I seemed to study every thing around me. Grandma Sadie rejoiced in my wrongness but Andy, when he shared Robert’s wrongness with me and I replied, “So?” because men did a lot of the cooking in my family and performed other “traditional female” chores (I still do my share of the cooking, do the laundry, vacuum, …) turned that same look of fear, disgust and repulsion on me. The unspoken “Oh, God! Not you, too!” was as wounding then as the pod person’s signaling of “Other! Alien! Stranger! Intruder!” in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Andy’s mother spent a lot of time on the phone with my parents attempting to understand me or have my parents get me the help I needed to be a normal child. She was a very sweet albeit extremely prejudiced woman. I wonder if Andy ever grew beyond her lessons. For that matter, I wonder if I have.

I’ve written before that I now make a living out of thinking differently. My different neurologic wiring, whether an evolutionary adaptation, a simple sport, a stray gamma ray or not, is something I’ve managed to turn to profit. I can only hope Robert has done the same. In life.

Who’s In Control? (part 5)

Here we discuss finding teachers who honor differences rather than attempt to beat them out of you (with apologies to Indian Schools, Catholic schools and all the other educational institutions that are stereotyped correctly or incorrectly as not dealing well with differences in the student body).

Part of recognizing you’re different is deciding if you will foster those differences or not. In my case it meant either finding or being offered teachers who could help me decide if I wanted to foster my differences or not.

That is an important point. Not “teachers who could foster my differences” but “teachers who could help me decide if that’s what I wanted”.

Disciplining the mind is (technically) no different than disciplining the body. There’s the Nature v Nurture limitations again and that’s about all. True teachers know the student’s limits as well as their own. If there’s any difference between mind and body it’s that muscles grow and tighten as discipline’s applied. The mind? Does the skull reform as more training’s applied? Do we grow a sixth finger as knowledge grows?

I sometimes wish it were so. Instead disciplines of the mind — often closely tied to disciplines of the body — manifest themselves in the looks given when the obvious is to others not so, when order leaps from where others can only see chaos.

Who’s In Control? (part 6)

Here we explore one of the things I was taught early in my studies; Every weakness is a strength, every strength is a weakness (one of the early people who worked with NextStage couldn’t understand this. Their tenure was unfortunately short).

The most I could ever benchpress was 350# ten times and that was years ago. I have talked and laughed and trained with people who could benchpress me, the bench, that weight and a hundred pounds more all day without breaking a sweat. I’ve also met, studied and worked with people whose intellectual capabilities make me seem a driveling fool. I don’t know who I pity or envy more.

But weaknesses are strengths just as strengths are weaknesses (remind me to tell you about moving safes sometime).

A problem, once solved, bores me — great for research, lousy for productization (and Susan, the truly intelligent one in the family, suggested a reframe of this such that it’s also great for productization. I always tell people she’s the really smart one. Wish they’d believe me). A question, unanswered, requires research — It was suggested I check [[(a now defunct)]] blog twice a day and post to it. Post what? It takes me two weeks of study before I begin to understand the questions being asked. Coauthoring a blog has given me the opportunity to analyze the thought processes of others personally, sans the objective distance the NextStage Toolkits provide me. I’ve learned why people are sometimes impressed at my ability to focus and other times accuse me of not appreciating a situation’s complexity.

Who’s In Control? (part 7)

This section begins the round up and offers some solutions for my friend who’s confession got me started on this arc.

So how do I, with all my physical and mental training, help my demand enshrouded friend?

  1. Put yourself first in your life. Until you know how much space you take up there’s no room for anyone else.
  2. Work towards Joy. (ask a semanticist or a linguist to explain the humor in that one)
  3. Understand that you can’t recognize joy unless you’ve experienced sorrow.
  4. Recognize that you can’t choose everything that happens to you and that you can choose how you respond to it.

Less euphemistically?

Who’s In Control? (finale)

We conclude with some expansions of what was offered yesterday in part 7.

  1. Make yourself the most important demand in your life. Are emails a time suck? Don’t get them for a day. People will call if they need you. The phone ringing too much? Shut it off. People will knock on your door if it’s important. Too many people knocking? Take a day and tell no one where you go. Are you too important? Then you’re not. Not to yourself. Until you’re important to yourself you’re not important to anybody else, you’re a crutch.
  2. It really is that simple. No, really, it is. Is it not that simple? Do I not understand? Back at you. It is that simple and it’s you that doesn’t understand the true, real nature of the problem. Solutions are obvious. They always are. You just need to look in the right place to find them. Finding solutions isn’t the challenge, it’s knowing where to find them that is. Learn how to do that and you’ve learned it all. Take a lesson from the US Naval Academy. Take time to learn what’s important and focus on it.
  3. Make a list and keep to it. Realize there are only so many hours in a day and fill your list accordingly. Get a lot of items? Then you’ve made a two-day or week long list. Add to or reorganize your list only for items 1 and 2 above and in that order.

There you have it: Carrabis’ 3 Laws of Humans. Consider them Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics for those of us who don’t want to be robots.

And now my hand tires from all this writing. I compose on paper, review, rewrite and edit on paper before I type it into the computer and post it online. Not always. Only the important ones.

And the solution? Quite simple. Time to stop.

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