Issue 5: Conversational Synthesis, The Polymath Manifesto and Balanced Leaders

💌Inner Transcript Aug 24, 2020

My Dear Friend,

Welcome to Issue 5. Let's start a conversation shall we?

Character Glossary:

  • Masahiro: Logic, Thought, Planning.
  • N.T. Cloever: Emotion, Imagination, Creativity.
  • The Fool: Curiosity, Conversations, Questions.
  • Podrick the Podcast Chicken: Podcasting.

---

Masahiro: Hello, comrades. How are you all doing?

Cloever: Greetings, brothers. We are...fine.

The Fool: Good day,

Podrick: Bok bok! Hello hello everyone!

Masahiro: Good to see all seems well. So...what happened this week?

Drafting the Polymath Manifesto

Masahiro: So here’s some exciting news: some tiny developments on Project Polymath.

Cloever: Fascinating.

Podrick: Ooo.

The Fool: What developments?

Masahiro: Nothing official yet, but, I've been testing out a few more things for polymathic conversation or at least enabling these conversations to happen. Touching base with a few PhDs in Polymathic Studies, I'll be chatting with them about seeing if we can have an extensive conversation about thinking wide and in range. We'll see how it branches out.

This is more on the architecture side: how do we convey or create the foundation for these conversations to happpen? Some brainstorming led to a virtual summit catered to polymaths to QnA's and fireside chats with a wide range of people. We'll see. All I can envision so far is that it must have three tracks:

  • Foundation of knowledge: Practices and principles for polymathic thinking.
  • Community: A place to meet with the curious and the wide-ranged.
  • Testing ground for discussion and experimentation: To create serendipity between minds.

I'm planning to emulate the Otium effect: a place to pursue intellectual curiosity and engagement. My Dear Friend, if you're interested in taking part in this, let me know by replying to this conversation! 😀

The Balanced Leader

The Fool: Ever heard of a guy named Rocky Romanella?

Masahiro: Sounds familiar. You’ve talked to him haven’t you?

The Fool: Yeah, I did! Great guy, extremely thoughtful and humble, yet with many years in experience under his belt (30+ years in UPS!), he's what you would call a Balanced Leader.

Podrick: So he doesn't fall over?

Masahiro: No, pff. By being balanced, you focus on become empathetic, empowering your colleagues, and becoming the leader people want. His book talks about tightening the lug nuts in one's life, by dealing with small problems quickly before they accumulate over time and become too overwhelming. We know what that feels like.

Cloever: Ah yes, emails.

The Fool: Emails.

Podrick: Sigh...

The Fool: Here's my favorite part about him: he also uses a character to convey wisdom to people! We can relate to that. Here's what he has to say about his character Joe Scafone on AntiFool:

Rocky Romanella: I wanted to applaud that behavior that you were thinking on your own and bringing a new idea...and (if) you're thinking outside the box with this concept, I want to challenge you not to stop at the first right answer.

How do I get you to move past that, that maybe look a little deeper, a little wider?...and so I felt for me when I asked that question, Hey, Norman, that's a great idea, but what if. So I just, I just created Joe Scafone, I'd say to you, Hey, I think it's a good idea, but you think Joe Scafone thinks that's a good idea? And we'd all kind of laugh.

So Joe became this person who I could challenge you in a positive way, not to stop at the first right answer. And throughout my career, people would bring me an idea and they'd say to me, Hey, I covered this with Joe. Joe thinks it's a really good idea. I said, well, that's cool, mate. Maybe I should hear it as well.

Masahiro: I love that. People recognize the importance of a third character to diffuse the situation. We're trying to do great things together after all.

The Fool: Here's another thing he said:

Rocky Romanella: You know, everywhere I go, people always ask me how Joe is. In fact, when the book came out, I had friends, email me (and ask), Hey is Joe in the book? I said, Hey, Joe writes the book, Joe narrates the book. So Joe became a part of Rocky Romanella.

Cloever: That's lovely. Joe's impact is reflective of the lessons they have learned through him.

Masahiro: Our internal characters are useful and beautiful. I'm an advocate of this.

Collective Intelligence and the future of the internet

The Fool: Have you wondered if we could read each other’s minds?

Masahiro: Umm...no? I don’t think I want to share my dark thoughts with everybody. Some privacy would be great.

The Fool: Let me put it another way: What do you think would come out of one huge database of notes all made by one community?

Podrick: That sounds like too much noise. So many people talking over each other.

Masahiro: Sure sounds like it.

Cloever: But remember: serendipity can happen even in chaos.

The Fool: Only notes, only notes. Well from what we talked about, Jessie Li shared her thoughts on a giant graph of information shared by many: on RoamFM, we talked about a variety of things: from starting up the Chinese Roam community to seeing what interesting things came out of it! You can check it out here.

Some conversations this week

The Fool: Had some interesting conversations recently! I’ll give you a teaser:

The first was with Ali Abdaal, a youtuber, former doctor and productivity guru focusing on Notion and now Roam! A very thoughtful person to chat with. I was surprised he doesn't think of himself as a creative person: I ended up challenging some of his points throughout the conversation. As much as the chat was about Roam and all, we went vulnerable during that talk. It was invigorating.

Podrick: The next is with Joshua Liston of Deadset Podcasting: he recently contacted me to get on an episode! It was really fun, esp. because we talked about the intricacies behind conversation and multicultural understanding.

He also caught some of the interesting thoughts that I’ve had when I was recording these questions. I tend to laugh a lot in my conversations.

I'm happy he did that, because it's true: I never wanted to do interviews. I wanted conversations. I wanted the person to hear the keyboards clacking, the unique thinking noises, the background drone (to a certain degree, not to make it too loud of course!) But I want the listener to be like a fly in the wall listening to these talks. The gold is in the intricacies of human connection, not the information presented.

Otherwise you’re better off reading an informational blog post or get the guest to upload the Wikipedia.

Cloever: Hearing is feeling. Silence is contemplation.

Season 3’s Podlovers Asia coming up!

Podrick: Season 3 is now currently in outreach mode! Now on the search for Asian podcasters, hosts, movers in the space. We're collecting more conversations with people across the Asian and the Asian-American markets, going micro and macro at the same time. So excited for this! Let me know if you have anyone in mind :)

Progress on the Podcast Rainmaker

Podrick: Landing a client this soon as a contract for my Rainmaker services!

Masahiro: Yay!

Cloever: Yay!

The Fool: Yay!

Podrick: Money! Phew. We are getting there in terms of keeping everything afloat. Need to pay back debts and get this thing off the ground. I'll have to start full-on pitching to others about getting their shows out there.

Masahiro: I noticed we are niching out to specific kinds of companies. There is a certain profile I want to build for: startups and creators at the frontier. Whether it’s related to the future of work or they are quick, agile and well-articulated, I'm happy to build something for them.

The Fool: I'm noticed there are new personalities wanting to start their own show too. Super exciting.

Masahiro: And with that, let's rest for now. Cloever, is there anything you'd like to say?

Cloever: I have been sharing this more often with friends recently, so I thought I'd share it here. Success is the pursuit of obstacles to victory. You are on the right track. Don't falter.

Masahiro: Excellent. Now, until next week. Stay safe and I'll see you all soon!

Cloever: Until next time, friend. I'll be waiting, by the fire.

The Fool: Stay warm and lovely!

Podrick: Bok bok! Goodbye!

Masahiro: And now, back to reality...

...

Me: Until next time, my friend.


Personal Note:

So sorry for this being a bit late! No excuses there. I wasn't disciplined enough. Let's see if I can make up for it next week...

-N

Tags

Norm

Norman Chella is the Podcast Rainmaker, Polymath in Progress and a very strange writer. His creative pen name is N.T. Cloever. You can find his words right here.

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