Fantastic Friday

Welcome to the first edition of Fantastic Friday for 2016.

Fantastic Friday is something I’ve been sending out for the past several months to subscribers of The Fight Spot newsletter, and the response to it has been great. But I decided that it was something I wanted to publish here on the site as well.

In short, it’s a link roundup and other personal notes from me. It’s “Fantastic” because it has just four links in it (get it?).

The links could be anything. From an awesome book, to a quote, new gadget, incredible video, productivity tip, and more. All to give you something interesting, helpful, and fun as you head into the weekend.

Savvy readers have no doubt noticed a change in publishing cadence here on over the past year. A lot of that is due to the work I’ve been putting into The Focus Course. But it’s more than just that…

The scope of Blanc Media has grown tremendously in the five years since I quit my job to blog for a living. In 2011 it was just this website and my members-only podcast. But now it’s much more.

A few months ago I was at a crossroads. While I have a world-class crew of contributing writers, editors, and photographers that make Tools & Toys and The Sweet Setup possible. But things were at the point where I needed further assistance.

I knew I couldn’t keep up with managing everything that was going on with the business. And so I had to decide to either scale back the work we were doing or to bring on additional help.

After speaking with several close friends and mentors, the choice was clear.

And so, just this week, I hired my first full-time employee.

His name is Isaac and he’ll be helping me with a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that goes in to publishing podcasts, newsletters, and more.

If you want to know more about the motivation behind those choices, and what is next for Blanc Media, you can read my Day One journal entry from early December.

All this said, there are some awesome things in the pipe for this year that I am excited to dive in to. Including a massive update to the scope and perks of the membership as well as a new product I’m working on that’s for creative entrepreneurs.

Starting next week, and for the rest of January we’ll be diving deep on the topic of Margin, and I’ve got something fun I’ll be giving away on Monday.

For now, I hope you have an awesome weekend! Enjoy the fantastic links below, and, as always, thanks for reading.

— Shawn

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Deep Work

Cal Newport has quickly become one of my favorite writers and thinkers. His book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, was one of the most impactful books I read in 2015.

A few days ago, his new book hit the shelves: Deep Work. The hypothesis behind Newport’s book is this:

The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

Amen to that. Now, I’m still working my way through the book, and I will certainly be sharing more about it later this month, but you can bet your britches that this topic is going to be one we come back to many times this year.

As I wrote about in my 2013 article on the rough elements of a successful creative business, I believe that roughly 75-Percent of a successful creative business should be spent on the art itself — the “content”. This is the hard and frightful work of actually making stuff. If you’re not spending the majority of your time actually making something, you’re doing it wrong.

Doing deep work is all about actually making something. It’s about doing the strenuous and difficult work that comes with focus, intentional practice, finding flow, and getting breakthrough in our skills.

+ Bonus reading from Cal: Resolved to Live a Deep Life

Fizzle →

On more than one occasion I’ve recommended the Fizzle podcast and their membership. Right now they’re having a huge sale on annual memberships to Fizzle. I highly recommend this site. In fact, Blanc Media just hired its first full-time employee, and one of the ways I’m doing on-the-job training for Isaac is to have him go through the Fizzle courses.

Lightning At 7,200 fps →

Just what it says on the tin. In GIF format.

My U-Turn Interview →

I was recently interviewed by Eric Jorgensen for his U-Turn podcast. It’s a show where he interviews folks who started out on one career path and ended up somewhere else entirely.
As you may or may not know, my career started out 15 years ago going to Bible college in Denver. I dropped out after my freshman year, life happened, and now here I am in Kansas City blogging from my basement.

To me, the path from there to here seems totally logical. There was a reason for each major transition in my life, and in retrospect I look back and can see the cause behind each major decision and how that moved me in this direction.

But, when you zoom out to see the big picture, the story seems more curious. So, all that said, if you’re interested in the “Shawn Blanc Origin Story”, or whatever it is, I think you’ll enjoy this show.

Fantastic Friday