What caught my attention – week of 9 March 2020

1. Hearth Math research

Title:  You Can Change Your DNA
Link: Heart Math

When we are born, the deoxyribonucleic acid/DNA in our bodies contains the blueprints for who we are and instructions for who we will become. For example, it can tell our eyes to eventually turn from blue at birth to hazel later on, our length to grow from 20 inches to 70 and direct a multitude of other changes over the course of our lives. Many people have mistakenly believed that the DNA with which we are born is the sole determinant for who we are and will become, but scientists have understood for decades that this genetic determinism is a flawed theory. The field of epigenetics refers to the science that studies how the development, functioning and evolution of biological systems are influenced by forces operating outside the DNA sequence, including intracellular, environmental and energetic influences.

Individuals capable of generating high ratios of heart coherence were able to alter DNA conformation according to their intention. […] Control group participants showed low ratios of heart coherence and were unable to intentionally alter the conformation of DNA.

2. Geopolitics

Title: Episode 124 – Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World | Peter Zeihan
Link: Hidden Forces

In Episode 124 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Peter Zeihan, a geopolitical strategist who combines an expert understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to help his clients prepare for an uncertain future. Before founding his own strategy firm, Peter helped develop the analytical models for Stratfor, one of the world’s premier private intelligence companies.

He’s also a critically-acclaimed author whose first two books — The Accidental Superpower and The Absent Superpower— have been recommended by Mitt Romney, Fareed Zakaria and Ian Bremmer. His latest book, “Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World,” hits bookstores tomorrow.

3. Geopolitics (part 2)

Title: Disunited nations maps
Link: Peter Zeihan

Related to the above this link houses a collection of highly informative maps from Peter Zeihan’s new book.

4. Remote work

Title: The Holloway Syllabus on Remote Work
Link: Holloway

This is a fantastic resource for remote working (both for individuals and teams), which as many people are finding out now is quite timely.

Depending on who you ask, remote work is either the Future of Work, or a trend that’s mostly a time-sink for employers and boondoggle for their employees. It’s also not clear what exactly remote work is. Is it Mary in Accounting working from home a couple days a week, that startup that claims to have “no management levels or titles” and never opened a physical office, an old school conglomerate with offices all over the globe, or that “digital nomad” guy who set up his temporary workspace at an entire table in your neighborhood coffee shop? It’s all those things (and more), which can make it hard to get your arms around how to undertake and manage it as a business leader or manager, or how to find and succeed at a remote job as an employee.

Our goal in creating this syllabus was to help people with zero to some knowledge on the subject of remote work and distributed teams learn key concepts and strategies, and familiarize themselves with the benefits, pitfalls, and unexpected side-effects (like when remote employees in foreign countries have to be independent contractors).

A lot of the resources in this syllabus focus on the benefits and challenges for remote workers and the companies they work for, but the principles and concepts are relevant to anyone who is interested in better understanding what distributed teams mean for the future of work. We cover everything from the very basic (“What is remote work?”), to common pitfalls, suggested coping mechanisms for employees and best practices for companies, plus newsletters, podcasts, and more.

5. Global health

Title: The Man Who Saw the Pandemic Coming
Link: Nautilus

How, ideally, should we move forward? These viruses inherently have the ability to mutate. What we’re looking at today isn’t necessarily what we’ll be looking at in a few months. It could become more deadly or it could attenuate and disappear, like the common cold. The big issue is, Are we tracking that? Do we have enough data and transparency and the availability of samples? What’s showing up in Iran? What’s showing up in Israel? What’s showing up in Italy? What’s showing up in the United States? Is there enough open transparency in real time that allows us to keep our finger on the pulse? I’m an internationalist. Figure out how to care for our people. Pay attention to communities around the world that need assistance. We’re all part of the same ecosystem. This is a global issue. We either prepare for it and respond to it in the context of a global lens, or we don’t. If our preparations and responses are country-centric, we’re in for some serious trouble.

+1 Book of the week

Author and title: Nir Eyal – Hooked

This book came out before (or just as) the debate around the addictive nature of some social networking tools/apps started (think hijacked attention, variable rewards, dopamine response etc).

The book – aimed for the entrepreneur, designer, marketer – lays out the ‘Hook Model’ ie a 4 step feedback loop that makes products go viral and/or addictive. These are: trigger (action required to get users to use your app) -> action (once users are using your app what’s the least amount of action they can take to feel they are participating) -> rewards (variety, mystery etc; think approval, social proof etc) -> investment from the user to keep using the app (e.g. creating content, user generated data etc). It’s all about creating and encouraging new habits (and new habits are simply behaviours carried out with little to no thinking).

You may or may not like what the book is saying but it’s simply the messenger; once you are aware how these tools go after your attention you become more conscious of their usage.

This is not all bad. Another way to look at this book is creating these feedback loops and patterns for forming better habits in the various areas of your life – relationship, work, learning new skills (or how about exercise?).