> Hello
> My name is Julian
> This is my lifelog
>
and digital playground  

Media Consumption (Oct 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 4 books (435 min, -30% MoM) and 34 long-form articles (+10%)
  • Listened to 390 songs (-29%) and 13 podcasts (580 min, -26%)
  • Watched 5 movies (700 min, +488%), 10 soccer games (1029 min, +74%) and 12 TV episodes (621 min, +613%)
  • Played 0 board games (0 min, same) and 0 video games (0 min, -100%)
>_ Books

The Price of Peace (Zachary D. Carter)
░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 52-100%

7 Powers (Hamilton W. Helmer)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Order Without Design (Alain Bertaud)
░░░▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 20-25%

The Marvelous Clouds (John Durham Peters)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-5%

>_ Recommended Articles

Daniel Ek on Productivity (The Observer Effect)

What Working At Stripe Has Been Like (Patrick McKenzie)

E-Commerce is a Bear (2013) (Andy Dunn)

Making Computers Better (Adam Wiggins)

Twitter, Responsibility, and Accountability (Stratechery)

Audio’s Opportunity and Who Will Capture It (Matthew Ball)

Six Lessons from Six Months at Shopify (Alex Danco)

United States v. Google (Stratechery)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Rahul Vohra – Using Emotion to Design Great Products (Founder’s Field Guide)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Endel (57 plays), Max Richter (50), Jon Hopkins (31), Daniel Caesar (17), Hans Zimmer (14)

Nov 01, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Sep 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 4 books (627 min, +1% MoM) and 31 long-form articles (-18%)
  • Listened to 551 songs (+15%) and 15 podcast episodes (783 min, +25%)
  • Watched 1 movie (119 min, +∞), 6 soccer games (590 min, -26%) and 2 TV episodes (87 min, -60%)
  • Played 0 board games (0 min, -100%) and 1 video game (25 min, +250%)
>_ Books

The Price of Peace (Zachary D. Carter)
░░░░░▓▓▓░░░░░░░ Progress: 30-52%

The Making of Prince of Persia (Jordan Mechner)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Order Without Design (Alain Bertaud)
░░▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 16-20%

Gödel, Escher, Bach (Douglas Hofstadter)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-2%

>_ Recommended Articles

Amazon: A New Kind of Antitrust Risk (Byrne Hobart)

Scarcity as an API (Mario Gabriele)

Why Are We in the West So Weird? (New York Times)

Roam’s road ahead (Nathan Baschez)

Fintech Scales Vertical SaaS (A16Z)

Lay of the Landscape (FutureBlind)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Modest Proposal – Better, Cheaper, Faster (Invest Like the Best)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Max Richter (42 plays), Hans Zimmer (39), Travi$ Scott (35), Frank Ocean (29), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (25)

Oct 02, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Aug 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 3 books (623 min, -29% MoM) and 38 long-form articles (+36%)
  • Listened to 481 songs (-17%) and 9 podcast episodes (627 min, -31%)
  • Watched 0 movies (0 min, -100%), 8 soccer games (795 min, +167%) and 4 TV episodes (215 min, -20%)
  • Played 1 board game (75 min, +∞) and 1 video game (10 min, +∞)
>_ Books

Algorithms to Live By (Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths)
░░░▓░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 24-26%

Big Business (Tyler Cowen)
░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 10-100%

The Price of Peace (Zachary D. Carter)
▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-30%

>_ Recommended Articles

My GPT-3 Blog Got 26 Thousand Visitors in 2 Weeks (Liam Porr)

Antitrust Politics (Stratechery)

This Is Not a Game (Real Life)

The UX of Lego Interface Panels (George Cave)

The Case of the Top Secret iPod (TidBits)

The Internet’s Most Undervalued Company (Not Boring)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

History Has Begun with Bruno Maçães (Venture Stories)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Max Richter (78 plays), Sufjan Stevens (594), Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (57), 2raumwohnung (34), Zoot Woman (21)

Sep 02, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Jul 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 7 books (874 min, +4% MoM) and 28 long-form articles (+22%)
  • Listened to 583 songs (+7%) and 13 podcast episodes (908 min, +128%)
  • Watched 1 movie (141 min, +∞), 1 soccer game (45 min, -93%) and 5 TV episodes (270 min, -45%)
  • Played 0 board games (0 min, -100%) and 0 video games (0 min, -100%)
>_ Books

Designing Games (Tynan Sylvester)
░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓ Progress: 87-100%

Dune (Frank Herbert)
░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 63-100%

Order Without Design (Alain Bertaud)
░▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 3-16%

Algorithms to Live By (Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths)
▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-24%

Underground (Haruki Murakami)
▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-12%

Very Important People (Ashley Mears)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Big Business (Tyler Cowen)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-10%

>_ Recommended Articles

The Garden of Forking Memes (Aaron Z. Lewis)

The Freud Moment (Alex Danco)

The TikTok War (Stratechery)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Charlie Songhurst: Lessons from Investing in 483 Companies (Invest Like The Best)

What Dan Romero Thinks About Basically Everything (Venture Stories)

The Tyler Cowen Production Function (North Star Podcast)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Slut (85 plays), Sufjan Steven (54), Hans Zimmer (53), Trent Reznor (34), Tocotronic (33)

Aug 02, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Jun 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 3 books (840 min, +16% MoM) and 23 long-form articles (-15%)
  • Listened to 544 songs (-19%) and 8 podcast episodes (397 min, -36%)
  • Watched 0 movies (0 min, -100%), 10 soccer games (660 min, +65%) and 9 TV episodes (495 min, -59%)
  • Played 2 board games (305 min, -18%) and 1 video game (15 min, same)
>_ Books

Designing Games (Tynan Sylvester)
░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓░░░ Progress: 53-87%

Dune (Frank Herbert)
░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░ Progress: 11-63%

Order Without Design (Alain Bertaud)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-3%

>_ Recommended Articles

Marc Andreessen on Productivity (The Observer Effect)

Why Figma Wins (Kevin Kwok)

The End of OS X (Stratechery)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

John Collison: Growing the Internet Economy (Invest Like The Best)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Endel (183 plays), Sufjan Steven (37), Travi$ Scott (25), Portugal. The Man (19), Paul Kalkbrenner (17)

Jul 01, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (May ’20)

>_ Summary
  • Read 4 books (725 min, -45% MoM) and 27 long-form articles (+23%)
  • Listened to 675 songs (+12%) and 11 podcast episodes (623 min, +68%)
  • Watched 1 movie (73 min, +∞), 4 soccer games (400 min, +∞) and 22 TV episodes (1217 min, -35%)
  • Played 2 board games (370 min, +∞) and 1 video game (15 min, -92%)
>_ Books

Designing Games (Tynan Sylvester)
░░░░░░▓▓░░░░░░░ Progress: 42-53%

Dominion (Tom Holland)
░░▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 12-16% (stopped reading)

The Plot Against America (Philip Roth)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Dune (Frank Herbert)
▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-11%

>_ Recommended Articles

Contemplating calendars (Devon Zuegel)

Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage (Ranjan Roy)

The Rise of TikTok (Turner Novak)

Communication in World 2.0 (Daniel Gross)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Alex Danco: Funding the Future (North Star Podcast)

Tobi Lutke – Building a Modern Business (Invest Like the Best)

Shishir Mehrotra – The Art and Science of the Bundle (Invest Like the Best)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Radiohead (108 plays), Mikel (75), Max Richter (41), Hans Zimmer (30), Nine Inch Nails (26)

Jun 01, 2020  ×  Hamburg, DE

Inventory Update (Q2/20)

This is a quarterly update and review of new tools and products I have recently added to my personal productivity stack.

Glyphfinder
I used to spend at least five minutes each day on Google just searching for specific unicode characters – especially when I was writing or designing. Until I found Glyphfinder. Glyphfinder is a Mac app that gives you instant access to more than 30,000 characters and emojis. The best part: Super fast and well-designed search that just works. (Whoever is building Alfred 2.0 – good unicode search has to be a key feature!)

Nototo
I stumbled upon this app in John Palmer’s article on Spatial Software and it’s one of the most unique products I’ve seen recently. The best way to describe Nototo is probably as a cross-over of Notion and Minecraft. Instead of writing down notes on a blank canvas like in any conventional note taking app, Nototo gives you a game-like map on which you place and group your thoughts. The idea is that visualizing your notes makes it easier to connect and remember them. As someone who loves working with post-it notes, I definitely subscribe to that idea.

Zelda and Chill
This playlist of Zelda soundtracks remixed with lo-fi hip hop beats is my new go-to productivity music.

Other apps I’ve played around with in the last couple of weeks but don’t have an opinion on yet: Pitch, Centered, Clay.
May 09, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Apr 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 7 books (1325 min, -34% MoM) and 22 long-form articles (-31%)
  • Listened to 605 songs (+25%) and 8 podcast episodes (370 min, -49%)
  • Watched 0 movies (0 min, -100%), 0 soccer games (0 min, -100%) and 34 TV episodes (1875 min, +33%)
  • Played 2 video games (195 min, +457%)
>_ Books

Tools for Thought (Howard Rheingold)
░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓ Progress: 73-100%

Designing Games (Tynan Sylvester)
░░▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 11-42%

The Glass Hotel (Emily St. John Mandel)
░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓ Progress: 78-100%

History Has Begun (Bruno Maçães)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Fatherland (Robert Harris)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Dominion (Tom Holland)
▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-12%

>_ Recommended Articles

Spatial Interfaces (John Palmer)

Spatial Software (John Palmer)

IT’S TIME TO BUILD (Marc Andreessen)

Nintendo’s Little-Known Product Philosophy (Adam Ghahramani)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Creating Tools For Networked Thought (Venture Stories)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Mikel (97 plays), Sufjan Stevens (47), IAMX (42), Travi$ Scott (40), EOB (32)

May 01, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Mar 2020)

>_ Summary
  • Read 6 books (2015 min, +540% MoM) and 32 long-form articles (+68%)
  • Listened to 483 songs (-26%) and 11 podcast episodes (732 min, +55%)
  • Watched 2 movies (+∞), 3 soccer games (290 min, -74%) and 28 TV episodes (1413 min, +9%)
  • Played 1 video game (35 min, -36%)
>_ Books

The Design of Everyday Things (Donald A. Norman)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓ Progress: 85-100%

Tools for Thought (Howard Rheingold)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░ Progress: 0-73%

Designing Games (Tynan Sylvester)
▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-11%

Disunited Nations (Peter Zeihan)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

South of the Border, West of the Sun (Haruki Murakami)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

The Glass Hotel (Emily St. John Mandel)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░ Progress: 0-78%

>_ Recommended Articles

The Most Important Media Businesses of the (Past and) Future (Matthew Ball)

How Hip-Hop Helped Cash App Grow Faster (Trapital)

Cyberpunk: Then and now (The Dork Web)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Ross Douthat on Decadence and Dynamism (Conversations with Tyler)

Building Prosumer Software with Rahul Vohra and Todd Goldberg (Venture Stories)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Tame Impala (58 plays), Endel (44), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (26), Cage the Elephant (21), Destroyer (21)

Apr 01, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE

Music for Productivity

As part of my ongoing work on a personal operating manual, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Tyler Cowen would call the “Julian Production Function”. Namely, a list of all the habits, routines and things that make me more productive.

One element of my personal production function I find particularly interesting is the impact of music (or audio more general) on my productivity.

Based on almost 15 years of Last.fm data, I know that music consumption overall is a pretty good proxy to measure my productivity. The graph above shows the number of songs I listened to on a monthly basis (the gray bars) as well as the monthly average per year (the black line).

My music consumption peaked in years where I did lots of deep work such as studying, writing or coding (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017-2018). Years with less screen time correlate with a lower number of songs I listened to (2014-2016, 2019).

Of course not every type of music is necessarily great for productivity. When I dug a little deeper into the data I found another interesting trend: Over the last ~10 years, I have increasingly listened to ambient music and soundtracks. These two graphs essentially represent my efforts to optimize my music consumption for further productivity improvement.

The problem is that I haven’t found a good way to measure if (or which of) those attempts to improve my productivity have actually paid off. More music consumption tells me that I worked more – but it doesn’t tell me if I worked better or more efficiently.

It’s hard to quantify actual productivity or focus work: I’ve tried using productivity proxies such as RescueTime, number of emails sent and GitHub contributions – but all of those are pretty vague. Rating each day with a “perceived productivity”-score also hasn’t really produced any meaningful data.

Nevertheless, I will continue to experiment with different music to improve my focus. Here’s a list of music apps and playlists I’m currently using:

AMBIENT MUSIC
Brian Eno’s Music for Airports is great for productivity – I especially like this 6 hour time-stretched version. Someone put together a fantastic Spotify playlist of similar airport music. Max Richter’s Sleepis meant to be listened to at night” but I find it perfect for focus work. (I also tried listening to it at night to see if it would improve my sleep. It didn’t.) If you like Richter’s work, you might also enjoy Nils Frahm and Jóhann Jóhannsson.

SOUNDTRACKS
I can recommend pretty much everything by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (the new Watchmen OST is particularly great). The Black Mirror soundtracks have a similar dystopian feel – Jason Kottke compiled all of the songs in a playlist here. Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar and Dunkirk soundtracks are also great for productive work.

NATURE SOUNDS
You can find endless nature sound playlists on Spotify and YouTube. I prefer thunderstorm and rainforest sounds. Noisli is great to mix and match different sounds.

LO-FI ANIME BEATS / CHILLHOP
I’m subscribed to ChilledCow and Chillhop Music on YouTube, but to be honest this type of music has never really worked for me.

FOCUS MUSIC APPS
My go-to productivity app these days is a service called Endel which “creates personalized, sound-based, adaptive environments that help people focus and relax” based on a variety of inputs (including time of day, weather, heart rate and location). I have also heard good things about Brain.fm and focus@will.

Last but not least, Flow State is an excellent newsletter that sends you a daily focus music recommendation.

Do you have any other recommendations?
Please let me know on Twitter!

Mar 16, 2020  ×  Berlin, DE
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