Never Normal Newsletter

Creator Cabins, Charisma, and Carving Your Own Path 🪓

Last week I shared my latest Never Normal podcast episode, How to Take a Year Off and Balance Your Life with Vikram Seth.

We got some great feedback and questions (“how do you afford to take an unpaid sabbatical?”, “what happened after the one year ended?”), so Vikram and I just recorded a follow-up episode.

A decentralized city built by creators, for creators

I also recorded a new episode with Jonathan Hillis. Jon is at the forefront of so many interesting areas in technology right now.

He’s the founder of Creator Cabins, which started as a single cabin in the Texas Hill Country, a place to gather face-to-face with friends from the internet. But it’s morphing into something much bigger…

In the future, our hope is that it becomes one node in a network of decentralized properties, owned and operated by small groups of independent online creators and entrepreneurs. The density of creative energy of San Francisco or New York, but wherever and whenever you want it to be. If you were designing a 21st century city from scratch, why would you put it all in one place?

Both podcast episodes will be out soon. In the meantime, I recommend checking out Jon’s essay, A brief history of decentralized cities and centralized states.

I’m excited about the idea of creating a digital country, so naturally Jon’s essay caught my attention. Jon does a great job of putting our current era in the context of a grand historical narrative. History may not repeat, but it does rhyme, as they say.

At the end of a cycle, civilization faces two choices: devolve into chaos, or plow forward with new tools for coordination to rebuild decentralized organizations from the bottom up. With eyes wide open to the historical precedents behind us, we are a generation that has been handed the tools to build the next iteration of local self-governance and the federated structures of decentralized cities that will form the basis of the next era of human prosperity. Let’s get to work.

Speaking of things written by Never Normal guests…

Paul’s Pathless Path

Paul Millerd, who you might remember from his Never Normal podcast appearance (ep. 15) just published his new book, The Pathless Path.

When I read Paul’s writing, it feels like he’s taking the words right out of my own mind:The pathless path is an alternative to the default path. It is an embrace of uncertainty and discomfort. It’s a call to adventure in a world that tells us to conform. For me, it’s also a gentle reminder to laugh when things feel out of control and trusting that an uncertain future is not a problem to be solved.

You can read a free sample chapter here. You can also find links to buy the book and get behind the scenes with 10 reflections on the process of writing and publishing the book in Paul’s latest post here.

Charisma on Command

Charisma is one of those nebulous words that people use, but no one seems to know exactly what it means. Or maybe that’s just me?

I never thought much about it, until I had a conversation with a friend about a decade ago… I had suggested that he take some action, and his response was, “easy for you to say, you’re the charismatic one, that would never work for me…”

I was surprised, to say the least. Me, charismatic? It feels awkward to write those words, even now. But I’ve had several similar conversations since then. And as a result, I’ve learned that I know quite a few people who feel like they are lacking charisma, and that it’s holding them back somehow.

Enter Charlie

Charlie Houpert runs a YouTube channel and an online course, Charisma on Command. This past week Charlie was on one of my favorite podcasts, Modern Wisdom, with Chris Williamson.

Chris and Charlie talked about how to overcome being shy, make a great first impression, flirt better, and what makes people like Russell Brand and Bill Clinton so magnetic.

That’s all for this week. More soon…

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I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

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