Future of Life (not Work)! (#6)
No one cares about Future of Work - we care about quality of life!
Every Sunday I publish a newsletter featuring the best hacks and insights I discover on my journey as an entrepreneur and investor.
I’m an early adopter of ‘Future of Work’ tech. Whether it’s Zoom, Loom, Notion or Slack, I used them years before most. This week I wanted to leverage my interest in these tools to see if I could spot the next big thing. I started by reading reports and mapping out the ‘Future of Work’ startup ecosystem.
But I came to realise... No one cares about incremental productivity gains, which tool they use to manage a to-do-list, or a bullshit 2D logo! We care about the quality of our lives, and the freedom these tools afford us work whenever, wherever and however we want.
The Wheel of Life is used by professional life coaches. It identifies the most important areas of our lives. By considering each area and ranking it out of 10, the Wheel helps us assess what's off-balance.
The areas are Family, Health, Finance, Recreation, Social, Romance, Spirituality, Work. With this in mind, my advice to ‘Future of Work’ entrepreneurs is to shape your company’s value proposition around the benefits your technology will have on its consumers’ lives - not just their working lives.
Of course, early benchmarks for start-up success look similar across all verticals. A strong brand, great PR, networked growth, DAU/MAU >60% and net revenue retention >140% are all important. But, more so than in other industries, the je ne sais quoi of a Future of Work founder’s storytelling ability will be key for an initial team and funding to come together.
This is a proven recipe for success! Krisp, for example, is an AI-powered button that removes background noise on calls. This month, they raised a $9M Series A led by RTP Global. Rather than go into the technicalities of their AI, Krisp's website outlines the benefits it will have on our day-to-day lives.
Another example is Otter.ai, an AI transcription tool. This week, they raised a $50M Series B from GGV Capital and Horizon Ventures. On their website, Otter highlights its benefits outside of work.
Finally, Range is a virtual office. They raised a $6M Seed Round from First Round and General Catalyst. Again, they explain their tech in a very human way, using statements like ‘restore your sanity’ and ‘cut the fatigue’.
I’d love to hear from you
I’m actively searching for early-stage ‘Future of Work’ investments and I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favourite remote work tool? And how has it changed your life? You can reach me on Twitter or email: email@example.com.
The Book I Read This Week
👽 The Martian by Andy Weir. 5/5. Goodreads. The Martian is the survival story of Mark Watney, a NASA Astronaut who's been abandoned by his crew on Mars. Fittingly, the book's first words are 'I'm pretty much fucked'. Mark is a genius-botanist, amateur comedian, and all-around nice guy. Written as a series of journal entries, his unique personality and sense of humour in light of the tragic challenges he's presented with truly shine through. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi, loves a survival story, or wants to learn more about space and space exploration. As always, feel free to grab my full review and book notes from my website.
My Favourite Podcasts This Week
🚀 7am on The Colonisation of Space. The early era of space exploration was dominated by romantic ideas of universal connectedness. But the increasingly privatised nature of the space industry has obscured that vision. This podcast got me thinking about the dystopic possibilities behind what space industry entrepreneurs are planning. (16m 56s).
📈 Shane Parrish interviews marketing guru Seth Godin. There’s a lot of hype around Seth, but this interview does him great justice. It’s nuanced, insightful and thought-provoking. They discuss creative work, fear, shame, trusting yourself, what it means to be a professional, how to become an observer of reality, emotional labour, how we learn and so much more. (1h 24m 20s).
🎙️ SPI on The Surprising State of Podcasting in 2021. In this episode, SPI interviews Buzzsprout’s head of marketing. He shares a tonne of insight on the podcast industry, where it’s going, and how to leverage social media for growth. As someone very keen on starting my own podcast, this was invaluable. (34m 01s).
My Favourite Articles This Week
🤑 What Ray Dalio Thinks of Bitcoin. Ray is no Crypto expert, but I value his measured and objective thought-process. TLDR. “Bitcoin looks like a long-duration option on an unknown future that I could put money in that I wouldn’t mind losing about 80% of… We see it as more like buying an option on potential “digital gold”— it has a wide cone of outcomes, with one path leading to it becoming a true institutionally accepted alternative storehold of wealth.” (5,900 words).
🏴☠️ Solve Problems Before They Happen by Developing an “Inner Sense of Captaincy”. Too often we reward people who solve problems while ignoring those who prevent them. This incentivises creating problems. According to poet David Whyte, the key to taking initiative and being proactive is viewing yourself as the captain of your own “voyage of work”. (2,100 words).
🔮 Is the World Becoming Better? Inspired by Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, Paras Chopra examines our distorted views about human progress and offers a cautiously optimistic assessment. (1,500 words).
Tools I Discovered This Week
🐦 Twemex is a free Chrome extension for Twitter. It automatically surfaces the most interesting ideas and helps you spend less time mindlessly scrolling, and more time developing your thoughts.
🐊 Gator is a scheduled delivery tool for your Slack messages. With Gator, you can schedule a message to be delivered in your recipient's time zone. It comes with a 6-week free trial and remains free for <10 messages/month.
Nomad News This Week
🇵🇹 Madeira launches a ‘digital nomad village’ with free workspace and wi-fi. The pilot programme offers travellers free communal workspace, wifi and exclusive events. Members also have access to a Slack community and a village hosting team.
🇭🇷 Croatia opens its doors to digital nomads with a special visa that includes healthcare rights. I’ve been dreaming of sailing the Croatian coast this summer, and it’s nice to know my health needs will be taken care! Will this lead to more countries offering favourable healthcare services to digital nomads?
🏦 Goldman Sachs CEO rejects work from home as the ‘new normal’. It’s disappointing to see such a high-profile company resisting the inevitable. But, having left the banking world 3 years ago, driven out by bureaucracy, this is also somewhat vindicating!
🐦 Excerpts From The Twitterverse
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