"In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.", Georg Cantor
Pixabay license from Gerd Altman at pixabay
A couple weeks ago, and again today, I listened to the podcast, How Pat Flynn Starts With Service – Episode 13 | Answers with Joe. Normally, I'm not a big fan of podcasts, but this one caught my attention and I was fortunate to be able to listen to it at my desk while I was working on other activities.
In the podcast, Joe Scott (@answerswithjoe) interviews another podcaster, Pat Flynn. Flynn was laid off from his architecture job during the "Great Recession" of 2008 and made lemonade out of lemons. He launched an architectural training program that expanded into a much larger media presence, including YouTube, Podcasting, and a variety of other sites. His smartpassiveincome.com podcast now aims to help people get off the ground with their small businesses.
As I was listening to it, it seemed to me that many of the concepts that the pair discussed can be useful for Steemizens. The hour long conversation covers a lot of topics, but if there's an underlying theme it would be the idea of "anti-hustle culture" or achieving "work-life balance" through the use of automation, collaborators, and assistants.
In this post, I'll summarize some of what they say about those topics, and then I'll close by discussing how I think these ideas apply to the Steem ecosystem.
In the talk, Scott discusses the fact that he enjoys his activity as a YouTuber, and notes that this enjoyment makes it hard for him to break away from the business. Flynn replies by agreeing that it's hard to disconnect, but it's also important in order to avoid negative consequences from the eventual burnout that follows from overwork. He also notes that if we spend too much time working, then we're short-changing our family and friends.
To create the proper balance, Flynn suggests establishing a schedule and maintaining the discipline to follow it. He also suggests that a dedicated workspace is important in order to create a sort of time and space boundary that separates the personal life from the professional life.
Finally, Scott discusses his observation about Flynn that Flynn's entrepreneurship always seems to focus on service to others. As Scott sees it, Flynn's business seems to revolve around helping other people succeed. Flynn responds by suggesting that the "Law of Reciprocity" is an important guiding principle for his activities.
When the topic of "mentorship" comes up, Flynn suggests that it's possible to start with a "virtual mentor". Basically, he suggests that a person can find someone who is living the life that we want, and we follow the things that they do. Flynn started with that approach until getting involved in communities where people of various levels of mastery interact and help each other.
Now, he says that he has a coach and a group of colleagues with whom he meets formally on a weekly basis, where each member of the group has a goal of helping the others to succeed.
The conversation about mentorship leads into the final topic that I want to cover. Flynn said that he was finally able to "let go" of some aspects of the business by building a team and sharing the workload. At this point, he discusses the book Rocket Fuel, which introduces the concept of combining an innovator and an integrator. Basically, some people are creative and others are better at management and implementation. He suggests that pairing these types of personalities is a powerful force multiplier.
The concept from this conversation that really caught my attention here was the concept of a "virtual assistant". There are web sites that exist where people can hire virtual assistants from around the globe. In the Philipines, for example, Flynn says that you can hire an online virtual assistant for 40 hours per week at about $400 per month. He recommends the site, virtualstafffinder.com. Another site he mentions is https://www.onlinejobs.ph/.
By making prudent use of Virtual Assistants, the pair suggest that it is possible for the entrepreneur to realize an immense gain in productivity.
This concept does have its challenges, though. First, it is necessary to train the virtual assistant, and second, the virtual assistant should be expected to do exactly what is requested, and do it well. There is, apparently, a cultural resistance in the Philippines to going "above and beyond".
Why does this matter to Steemizens
Even more than Web3.0, Steem can be thought of as (Social Media)++. Yes, it's possible to blog and interact with other people in a peer to peer, censorship resistant manner. Unfortunately, however, most people don't care about peer to peer or censorship resistant, and online interaction has been possible at large scale since the 1990s. If that's all Steem is, then it's a niche product.
I don't believe, however, that Steem is a niche product. I think it has an amazing universe of unexplored possibilities. The idea of the "virtual assistant" really resonates with me when I think of the Steem blockchain.
We already see the beginnings of it with Steemit's Crypto Academy, and I've even dipped my toe into it with the weekly word search puzzles and creativity challenges that I've been posting. It's about using blockchain incentives to direct and engage the human mind in a productive way.
Instead of investing $400 per month in a virtual assistant, what could a person accomplish by investing $400 per month in Steem and then using that investment to collect rewards on one hand while simultaneously directing other rewards to people who will solve simple problems or answer simple questions? It could be something like a decentralized version of Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
In that case, the power of the Steem blockchain is determined by the quality and importance of the problems that we use it to solve. They key is to ask a question that is important and difficult in proportion to our ability to direct rewards.
Does this mean I think that problem-solving should replace social media on the Steem blockchain? In short, "no". In my opinion, finding new uses for the blockchain will complement and strengthen the existing uses because it will bring a larger audience for Steem's bloggers and content creators.
So what do you think? How can we learn to strengthen Steem and ensure our own success by serving others? How can we make better use of Steem as a platform for productivity enhancement and problem solving?
- 10% of this post's author rewards are being directed to @answerswithjoe through a beneficiary reward setting.
Thank you for your time and attention.
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Pixabay license, source
Steve Palmer is an IT professional with three decades of professional experience in data communications and information systems. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics, a master's degree in computer science, and a master's degree in information systems and technology management. He has been awarded 3 US patents.