The 42nd: The Mixed Bag, October Edition

Published: October 4, 2020

The 42nd | a MIXED BAG Edition

Every issue of Briefing Notes is theme-centered, except for when it’s not. 😊 In the course of doing the research for this publication (and happily going down many rabbit holes), I often run into stuff I’d like to share with you. But they don’t always align with our official themes here. Hence, The Mixed Bag edition, as this one is!

  • Find out how many people were born on your birthday. Logically the odds of being born on any given date would seem like they should be about one in 365.25. But birth rates don’t follow an even distribution β€” a lot of things affect when babies are born. Spoiler alert: Early to mid-September features the most common birthdays.
  • Is the internet conscious? If it were, how would we know? If the idea of a sentient web is something that intrigues you (or keeps you up at night), this Wired mag discussion is the thing to read. Just be forewarned, okay?
  • Logomisia. Defined as “a feeling of intense, irrational distaste for the sound or sight of a particular word or phrase”. Here are some examples of words many find distasteful. It’s not what you think and you might be surprised about the words on the list.
  • The Psychology of Kodak’s downfall. Four lessons about leadership that we can glean from Kodak’s demise. IMO, you don’t need to be leading a large organization for these lessons to make sense. You can be in charge of a 2-man enterprise and these words still apply.
  • How to escape a volcano eruption. Because it IS 2020 and who knows what we might need to be prepared for at this point. If you were visiting the Roman town of Pompeii on the morning of August 24, 79 AD, you’d have been there when Mount Vesuvius began erupting. “Instead of immediately evacuating, some Pompeiians took shelter from the falling ash. This may seem prudent, but it is a mistake.”
  • Video: The man living at an international airport | BBC. Takao Shito is a farmer living in the Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Unlike other farmers who left when the airport was built in the 1960s, he chose to stay and continue to cultivate his farmland.
  • Film: The Social Dilemma | a Netflix Original Documentary. Never before have a handful of tech designers had such control over the way billions of us think, act, and live our lives. #IHighlyRecommend


“The point of setting goals isn’t to reach them. It’s to change our behavior and teach us what we need to learn.” β€” Tara McMullin


Thinking of starting a podcast, sharing a message you’re passionate about, and building an audience? Fifteen years ago, few people would probably list “to be a podcast host” as their dream job/career. Fast forward to 2020 and it’s on people’s list!

This week, on Second Breaks πŸŽ™, a conversation with Jerod Morris, podcast host extraordinaire – of many shows including The Assembly Call and 7 Figure Small. We talked about the state of the podcasting industry and why it’s having its moment. Jerod also shares lessons learned through the many shows he’s created, as well as his advice for anybody thinking of starting a podcast (or keeping one in flight!)

Listen to Ep 143. Or read the highlights.


And before we knew it, it’s October. And we’re off to the races in this most unbelievable year. I do a quarterly review and planning session every… well, quarter ☺️. I’ve got my Q4 marching orders all set.

Planning for this last quarter felt easier compared to Q2 and Q3. I don’t know if it’s because I’m really, finally over the deer-in-the-headlights phase (it lasted a while; there was always something unimaginable happening). Or if it’s because I always get an energy burst toward the end of the year. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

Do you do any quarterly planning? Best wishes for a productive, safe, and sane week. Send over any comments, any words to add to your logomisia list, or your volcano-eruption preparedness checklist.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser

P.S. If you like this or find value in this newsletter and what to support it, you can buy me a coffee or two. 😊

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A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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