I previously wrote about my thought process for why and how I’ve decided to publish my book Building a Second Brain with a traditional publishing house. I’ll try to share with you in as much detail as possible my journey, starting with my first challenge: crafting the book proposal.
The book proposal is the lynchpin of the entire publishing value chain. It is the starting point for all conversations and negotiations about the book. It is the calling card to any editor, agent, publisher, or publicist a writer might want to talk to. It is the only complete document in existence for most of the publishing process, until the finalized book pops out the other end.
For that reason, I’ve decided to hire the very best. I am working with Janet Goldstein, who worked with David Allen on his best-selling books Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything, to guide me through writing a compelling book proposal. My first task was to fill out a “client onboarding questionnaire,” an exhaustive brain dump of everything I know and have related to the “book project.”
It was a fascinating and eye-opening experience, because every question addressed the book as a business: which problems or pains it seeks to solve, who are the customers who will gladly pay for it, and which benefits it is intended to deliver to them. Completing the questionnaire helped me step out of the shoes of the writer caring for his baby, and into the shoes of a publisher creating a business model.
Most of the questions I already had existing material on, either in my notes (of course) or in blog posts I’d previously written. Even so, it was a grueling effort that took me about 3.5 full days. The experience was both encouraging – seeing how many incredible experiences and assets I already have to prove my credibility – but also sobering, seeing how many things could still be improved.
I’m sharing my responses to the questionnaire in full with you here, because I know many of you would someday like to publish a book. I hope it gives you an idea of the platform and social proof you’ll need to bring to the table if you want a serious publisher to consider your proposal.
Instructions: Please use as much space as you need. Feel free to adapt questions and add topics that are relevant for you and your work.
Key concept you are bringing into this consulting project
Working name/title and tagline/subtitle as well as a 1-2 sentence Keynote or Elevator pitch
Title: Building a Second Brain
• How to save everything you learn, organize your digital life, and take action on your creative ideas
• Capturing, Organizing, and Sharing Your Knowledge Using Digital Notes
• Unlock Your Creative Potential By Remembering, Connecting, and Creating Ideas
• Remember Everything, Connect Your Ideas, and Create Knowledge
• Using technology to enhance your productivity, creativity, and learning
Elevator pitch: Building a Second Brain will teach you how to save all the most valuable information you encounter, organize it in a trusted place, and then guide you in using that knowledge to complete your projects and achieve your goals
Goals for business and/or book
What are your biggest goals for this work?
- Personal impact/reward?
- I believe the ideas in this book can change people’s lives. The testimonials from hundreds of course participants have said exactly that. My top priority is to make these ideas as accessible and widespread as possible, especially for those that are not likely to take an online course.
- This methodology is my life’s work so far, and shepherding it into the world is the closest thing I have to a life purpose. I want this book to preserve my thinking in a form that it will cross borders and last for decades, even when the technology has advanced.
- Visibility/business development?
- I want this book to be a key driver for the entire business, serving as an entry point into my ecosystem of products and services and the beginning of a long relationship with each customer. As the most succinct and accessible format through which my ideas can be consumed, I want it to infiltrate organizations, government, schools, universities, and boardrooms not only to produce qualified leads and customers, but to spark a new conversation about the role of technology in our productivity and creativity.
- Creative experience and impact?
- I do much of my work solo, but also find tremendous benefits to working with others and learning from them. I’ve come a long way writing in my own style for my own audience, but I know that to reach the people who most need these ideas I need to speak to a broader audience. I’m seeking to fuse my creative process focused on intensive research and conceptual models with other approaches such as storytelling, metaphors and analogies, and boiling complex ideas down to their essence. The impact I want that writing to have on people is that their perspective on technology is completely revolutionized, seeing technology as a means to accomplish their projects and goals, instead of a source of distraction and stress. I want the attitude of information overload and Fear of Missing Out to be transformed into one of abundance and opportunity. I want reader’s habits around how they consume information, learn, take notes, and review existing knowledge to be far more intentional and systematic. I want educational programs to shift from imparting facts to be memorized, to equipping students with knowledge management skills. I want more people around the world to have the freedom and courage to go after what they most want in life, knowing they have a framework for using technology without being used by it.
- Personal impact/reward?
- Business concept
- Most important element of the business focus/business model?
- Here are a few things that come to mind:
- This book can be framed as a successor and complement to Getting Things Done, focusing on “reference information” whereas GTD focused on “actionable information.” The GTD community is a global, thriving community of avid practitioners already committed to the topic, and I am quite well known within it due to my online course Get Stuff Done Like a Boss (taken by more than 15,000 students) and my appearance on David Allen’s podcast.
- This book speaks directly to the users of Evernote and other digital note-taking apps, who constitute one of the largest categories of productivity software (Evernote alone has more than 220 million users worldwide). These people are often highly committed to their software, gathering notes over a period of years, and yet often don’t know exactly how to use them most effectively. I have a very close relationship with Evernote, having appeared on their podcast twice, in a live interview on their Facebook page, and several times on their blog. That said, my methodology depends in no way on Evernote, and my students easily implement it on other popular apps such as Microsoft OneNote, Notion, Bear, SimpleNote, Google Keep, Ulysses, and others (all of whom would be excellent marketing partners)
- This book speaks more broadly to people interested in productivity, organization, and technology, who are very numerous. It is very different from other books on these topics, advocating for an integrated methodology for knowledge management, rather than “tips and tricks” or a retreat from connectivity. The book argues for a fundamentally optimistic outlook on modern technology and the future of work, providing readers with a practical system that they can implement for themselves, learning their own lessons, rather than vague wisdom or overly rigid prescriptions.
- Here are a few things that come to mind:
- Revenue goals?
- I would like to receive an advance of between 50,000 to 100,000 dollars, which is what published authors in my genre that I’ve spoken to have suggested I could feasibly attain, given my platform. I don’t have a clear idea of what to aim for in terms of unit sales, and thus my expectations about recurring royalty revenue are unclear.
- When was it launched, or do you plan to launch?
- I’d like to have the book published in 2020. The holiday season would be ideal for the productivity and self-improvement genre, but I think this book is less sensitive to timing than other books, such as on habits.
- What 1- , 2-, or 5-year goals do you have?
- 1 year:
- Deliver 5 live trainings on Building a Second Brain to organizations doing important work at the frontier of knowledge and productivity (we currently have one such training on the calendar, for the Palm Beach County Library)
- Complete the book manuscript and have it published or on the way to publication
- Organize the first ever “Virtual PKM Summit” gathering the world’s best thinkers, founders, and designers in this space to share their knowledge and best practices
- Reach 2,000 students enrolled in BASB online course
- 2 year:
- Launch a train-the-trainer program that certifies “Second Brain Builders” in providing live courses, either on our behalf or as part of their own practice
- Publish a BASB “extended edition” that includes extra resources, guides, templates, and checklists for fully implementing my techniques
- Re-launch BASB online course with higher quality videos, graphic design, curriculum design, coaching support, and accountability mechanisms, while dropping the price to be more accessible to more people
- License BASB content to at least 5 educational organizations to incorporate or adapt into their own programs (we currently have one such agreement in the works, for Praxis internship trainees)
- Create a series of short videos explaining core BASB concepts to a novice audience, in a format that can be widely shared online and through social media
- Deliver a TEDx or similar talk delivering the essence of my methodology in a succinct, emotionally compelling way
- 5 year
- Honestly, I can’t even imagine what will be possible that far in the future
- 1 year:
- Is this your core business and/or how is it aligned with your core business or does it build on it?
- My core business is education and training on productivity, which I deliver through a variety of different media such as: online courses, live workshops and trainings, public speaking, ebooks, my subscription blog, and coaching/consulting work. This book is meant to distill and simplify the very best ideas and methods I’ve developed over the past 6 years, translating it into a form that doesn’t require tech-savviness, a lot of complex background knowledge, or a great deal of self-discipline. Thus I see the book as an introduction and gateway to a rich community of content and people I’ve built up, where once they’ve become interested in the topic, they can find all the resources and support they need.
- Most important element of the business focus/business model?
- Book concept
- Are you working on a book based on a business, or a book that you hope will lead to business development and a “thought leader” platform?
- The content of this book comes mostly from the 6 years of experience I’ve gained through my business, Forte Labs. Some material also comes from stories or experiences from my youth, from my previous jobs, and from outside interests. So yes, this book is based on my current business, especially the online course by the same name, Building a Second Brain. Almost 800 participants have paid between $500 and $1,200 to enroll in that course, including well-known thought leaders, executives and CEOs, and many highly educated and high-performing entrepreneurs and professionals from dozens of industries and 58 countries. Many of my most valuable insights have come from working with these people, and the significant and sustained demand for an online course at this high price point I believe indicates a deep interest among knowledge workers of all kinds. I believe that I already have a platform as a thought leader in the productivity space, but of course, am seeking to expand and extend it.
- How does the book concept and core content align with your current or planned business?
- My business mission is to “help knowledge workers transform their productivity,” and every product and service I offer is meant to accomplish that. That said, the Building a Second Brain online course has been by far my most successful product, both financially and in terms of reputation, and over the past two years I’ve pivoted the business to focus almost exclusively on it. Therefore, this book will be the centerpiece of an extensive content ecosystem that is designed to provide every kind of support people need as they “build their second brain.”
- Are you working on a book based on a business, or a book that you hope will lead to business development and a “thought leader” platform?
Messages/Big Ideas (or “Idea Sets”)
In brief, how would you articulate your “Big Idea/Promise” for your core work and the idea(s) you’re pursuing with the consulting project?
Here are the ways I am currently describing BASB, depending on the situation:
- Building a Second Brain is an integrated set of behaviors for turning incoming information into completed creative projects
- By offloading your thinking onto a digital “second brain,” you free your biological brain to imagine, create, and simply be present. You can move through life confident that you will remember everything that matters, instead of floundering through your days struggling to keep track of every detail. You’ll be free to imagine, to wonder, to wander toward whatever makes you come alive here and now in each moment.
- We can use technology to expand our memory and our intellect, so that we are systematically reminded of the most valuable ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections we’ve gained through a lifetime of experience.
- This book provides a clear, actionable path to creating a “second brain” – an external, centralized, digital repository for the things you learn and the resources from which they come – to preserve your best ideas and turn them into reality.
- Instead of trying to memorize everything you have to keep track of, which is exhausting and overwhelming, you can save your most valuable knowledge – personal discoveries, lessons learned, and actionable insights – in a personal knowledge library where it remains accessible forever.
- Digital literacy is no longer enough – success and peace of mind in the digital age requires digital fluency, a mastery of technological platforms and how to weave them together into a coherent system for managing all the kinds of information you encounter every day.
- With a little extra care and attention, you can turn “knowledge silos” into a centralized collection of knowledge that appreciates in value over time and can be re-used again and again.
- Your second brain serves as an extension of your mind, not only protecting you from the ravages of forgetfulness but also amplifying your efforts as you take on creative challenges.
- With all your most valuable ideas at your fingertips at all times, you never need to struggle and strain to remember everything you’ve learned, and to put it to use in your projects and goals
- Your second brain is like a mirror, reflecting back to you who you think you are, who you want to be, and who you could become. Because you know how to capture and make use of anything, every experience you have becomes an opportunity to learn and to grow.
- You will learn how to capture, organize, and share your ideas and insights using digital notes, with a systematic approach and tools that you trust to support creative breakthroughs in your work.
What are the key components, topics, principles (these could be chapter titles; elements of a model; or other ways of conceptualizing the main content)?
- The process of building a “second brain” has three main stages (fully explained in this 3,500-word overview):
- Part I – Remember: “Capturing” the ideas and insights you think are worth saving in a centralized digital tool, where they are free to intermix and intermingle, helping you see unexpected connections and patterns in your thinking
- Part II – Connect: Distilling your notes into actionable, bite-sized nuggets that can be easily reviewed, recalled, and combined with others to form valuable knowledge assets
- Part III – Create: Drawing on your reserve of valuable knowledge to produce results in the real world, whether through organizing projects, publishing your writing, producing deliverables, or reaching your goals
- Each of the three main stages described above has a corresponding “technique” that I’ve developed over years of trial and error, first on myself and later on my clients and customers:
- Part I – Remember: The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information
- Part II – Connect: Progressive Summarization: A Practical Technique for Designing Discoverable Notes
- Part III – Create: Just-In-Time Project Management: A Digital-First Framework for Modern Projects
- These three techniques form an integrated system for intaking, organizing, and deploying knowledge in a modern work environment, but they can also be used independently. I’ve recorded 12 in-depth case studies of how people have put these techniques to use, from a Phd researcher to a UX designer at Adobe to a GTD Master Trainer to a Stanford professor
- The subject of this book most closely fits with Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), which is an offshoot of Personal Information Management (PIM) and an established academic field with many published papers, models, and conferences. PKM is known in the business world but hasn’t yet entered mainstream culture, and I believe is ripe for popularization. PKM can be thought of as the intersection of three even more established fields: Digital organization (Remember), Knowledge capture (Connect), and Project management (Just-in-Time Project Management).
- I’ve identified 3 levels of PKM which have proven valuable in framing how people should view their own learning journey. Each level represents a major step forward from being overwhelmed by the incoming flow of information, to effectively using it to produce results:
- Level 1: Storing information (most people are here by default)
- Level 2: Managing knowledge (putting some effort into saving information for future reference)
- Level 3: Enabling action (organizing and deploying that information to produce results)
- Another very effective way of framing this material is that GTD focuses on “actionable” information (such as to-dos, projects, and deliverables), whereas BASB focuses on everything else, or “reference information” (such as notes, project support materials, and research)
- Here is a short blog post I wrote with numerous quotes from the 2015 edition of Getting Things Done, in which David Allen extols the virtues of managing reference information effectively, before turning his attention to focus on actionable information (leaving a gap in the “integrated total life-management system” that he envisions)
Brief Description of Work
½-1-page descriptive copy (Think about the copy for a back cover, workshop description, or business proposal). You may want to include a table of contents or other key content elements not covered above.
This book is a guide to Personal Knowledge Management, an emerging practice for how to save, organize, and use the knowledge you encounter in your daily work.
In the Information Age, our information consumption often feels like trying to drink from a firehose. We are surrounded by an incredible wealth of knowledge, yet often don’t know how to effectively organize and make use of it. By combining proven principles with digital technology, we can be empowered to curate and triage our information consumption, instead of being overwhelmed by it.
In this book, Tiago Forte will draw on his experience teaching executives, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, writers, and many others how to design their very own system for personal knowledge management, otherwise known as a “second brain.” The book covers some of the easiest and most effective ways to gain control over your digital environment, curate your most valuable knowledge, and use it to advance your projects and goals.
By offloading your thinking onto a digital second brain, you free your biological brain to imagine, create, and simply be present. You can move through life confident that you will remember everything that matters, instead of floundering through your days struggling to keep track of every detail. You’ll be free to imagine, to wonder, to wander toward whatever makes you come alive here and now in each moment.
Tiago Forte is the founder of Forte Labs, an education company that has taught thousands of people around the world how to leverage technology to enhance their productivity, focus, and creative output.
The current Table of Contents can be found in this draft manuscript [link redacted].
Other Notable Content/Product Features, If Any
Are there illustrations, tools, video, or other elements that are part of the concept and approach to the material?
- I put a great deal of effort into creating beautiful, clear visuals for my courses and workshops, and I receive many compliments on them as helpful learning tools. You can see the PDF slides for my course here [link redacted], many of which could be adapted for the book or bonus downloads.
- I also create a lot of PDF guides, templates, checklists, and other useful resources. See an example here. I had envisioned these as part of an “extended edition” I could offer as a bonus download or publish elsewhere to keep the book itself as simple as possible, but some of them could potentially be incorporated into the book.
- I have an active YouTube channel with over 1,000 subscribers, where I regularly publish videos related to BASB. For example:
- A 45-minute summary of the methodology
- A 1-minute “trailer” for the course
- Interviews and case studies (such as this one on how a certified GTD Master Trainer uses my methods)
- Demos and walkthroughs of how to use specific tools (such as this demo of a customized Evernote template I created, or this demo of how to save Kindle highlights in your digital notes)
- Video testimonials by graduates of the BASB course (like this one)
- I publish other blog posts that, while not part of the official BASB methodology, are related in some way and could possibly be useful. For example:
- An in-depth post summarizing the use of “commonplace books” throughout history, which could provide interesting historical examples of note-taking in different cultures
- An in-depth analysis of “knowledge tagging” as a formal practice, which could support some of my recommendations on how to organize a knowledge repository
- A couple in-depth posts on the history of information technology and “information revolutions” – periods in history during which our relationship to information was radically changed – and what we can learn from them
- A recommendation of the “essential requirements” for any software program to serve as your second brain
- A post arguing in favor of the overall category of digital note-taking apps as essential productivity tools
- Another model I use for my work is the Digital Productivity Pyramid, which is a holistic framework for the education of a modern knowledge worker in productivity. It shows how different skillsets build on each other, from digital fluency at the foundation, to task management and workflow (i.e. GTD), to habit formation and behavior change (addressed by books such as James Clear’s Atomic Habits), to Personal Knowledge Management (the focus of BASB), to Just-in-Time Project Management (which is partially addressed in BASB).
- The journey of BASB began when I wrote this essay for the Evernote blog with my ideas on how to organize and use the program. A year later, I checked the comments and nearly every one said that the piece completely changed their views on the subject for the better. Speaking to Evernote’s team, they said the essay had become “legendary” within the company, and I was invited to appear on their podcast and to meet with their CEO. I used the essay as a starting point and developed it into the full course, but it remains a valuable window into some of the original key ideas.
Think about and list your key markets/audiences by industries/sector/role/mindset. What are your core current groups? Where are you expanding or looking to develop? How do these constituencies overlap or differ from the core audiences for this consulting project?
These seem to be the core constituencies for BASB, both from the data I have and from anecdotal experience:
- Creative professionals (makers, designers, and creators) seeking structure and a process to turn their ideas into reality
- High-performing knowledge workers seeking new ways of leveraging their time, attention, and impact
- Productivity enthusiasts who are always looking for new ideas, methods, and perspectives on how to work more efficiently and use their time more effectively
- Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed people seeking a systematic way to develop content, products, and services
- Technology-centric workers who spend a large portion of their day consuming, saving, managing, organizing, and making use of information, and are dissatisfied with their current practices
- Successful professionals who want more time and space to pursue more creative, more fulfilling passions, hobbies, or side projects while keeping their day job
- Personal growth enthusiasts who read books on self-improvement, spirituality, and philosophical topics but who also want to produce tangible results in their work
- Professional content creators seeking a reliable, repeatable system for turning their information consumption into tangible output (blog posts, mockups, videos, podcasts, websites, essays, etc.)
- Content marketers seeking a dependable process for consistently producing content that impacts business metrics
- Creators of information products (ebooks, online courses, webinars, seminars) who need a way to systematically summarize and distill their knowledge into sellable products and services
- Voracious readers who consume large amounts of written material, but feel they are forgetting what they’ve read and not fully putting it into practice
- People “with 10 million browser tabs open,” who are constantly starting new projects or pursuing new interests but rarely bringing any of them to completion, and who want to change that
Greatest Benefits for Audience—Emotional, Practical, Inspirational, Tactical
Why is your work compelling to your key audience(s)? What nerves does it touch? What problems does it solve?
This collection of student testimonials describes how students of the BASB course have benefited, in their own words. They often describe a transformational, life-changing experience that goes far beyond the mundane details of digital notes.
Here are the “painpoints” I’ve identified that people seek to solve by Building a Second Brain (from most to least painful):
- I want my digital notes to be organized and useful, but don’t have the time to follow rigid rules or spend hours cataloguing
- I feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume and intensity of the information coming my way every day, and feel like I can never quite get ahead
- I’m already creative and have a good imagination, but just can’t quite get projects finished and out the door
- I want my work to build toward a new business, career move, or side project, but don’t have the time and energy to dedicate to it
- I’ve used Evernote (or another notes app) for a while, but never felt I was using it to its full potential
- I don’t have time to do all the research that would help me perform at a higher level
- I don’t feel confident in creating and showing my work to the world
These are the 7 top benefits I believe that Building a Second Brain offers. The list was crowdsourced from several hundred of my followers, and then the final list was voted on from most to least valuable (as fully explained in The 7 Benefits of Building a Second Brain):
- Consistently move your projects and goals to completion
- Establish a creative process that helps you reliably produce your best work
- Transform your personal knowledge into income and opportunities
- Enhance your thinking and uncover unexpected patterns and connections between ideas
- Reduce stress, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and “information overload”
- Develop valuable expertise and credibility for a new job, career, or business
- Unlock the full value of the wealth of learning resources online
We could also draw on this list of benefits I have encountered in my teaching:
- A pathway to share your learning, get feedback, and make money passively so you can pursue other interests
- Total confidence in your ability to take notes and find them when you most need them
- Trusting your intuition to lead you where you need to go
- Using work and productivity as a vehicle for personal growth
- Doing work that is exciting, meaningful, fulfilling, and purposeful and pushes you to learn and to grow
- Relief from the stress and overwhelm of interruptions, distractions, and unclear priorities
- Focus and clarity around the direction you want to go in and how to get there
- Confidence in your ability to learn anything and put it to use
- Enjoyment of the learning process and a sense of progress from everything you consume
- Creating a platform to share your ideas and your work with the world, to have a positive impact on others
Academic interest/course potential
Is there university interest in your work?
Yes, considerable interest. A disproportionate percentage of my audience comes from education, research, writing, or academia, since they are often looking for better ways of learning and researching. I have in-depth case studies of:
- A Stanford professor in the business school who has incorporated some of my techniques into his classes, and his consulting work with the U.S. intelligence community.
- A professor at Guilford College in North Carolina, who has now taught BASB methods to 6 cohorts of undergraduate students and is seeking approval to introduce them to graduate students.
- A Phd in Communication Studies, showing how he’s used BASB to research and publish academic papers at a higher quality and rate.
- A college student who wrote a paper on one of my techniques.
- An educational non-profit in Argentina who is teaching BASB principles to low-income and disadvantaged immigrants and elderly people in Buenos Aires.
I am also in the initial stages of forming a collaboration agreement with Praxis, a company that trains young people in basic workplace skills and then places them in an internship at a startup that is designed to lead to full-time employment. They will be integrating BASB into their core curriculum with every new student taking the course as part of their training.
Other Specialized Markets / Audiences
Are there additional associations, organizations, businesses, venues, communities, audiences who are a good fit for your work?
These groups seem to be especially receptive to the BASB message:
- The “Rationalist” community (who frequent blogs and meetups such as Quantified Self, Effective Altruism, LessWrong, among many others)
- Ribbonfarm community (where I’ve published a series of guest posts)
- Social media pages, online forums, and user groups for Evernote, MS OneNote, Simplenote, Bear, Zoho Notebook, Notion, Bear, Agenda, and other note-taking apps
- Evernote’s certified consultant network
- Marie Kondo and KonMari community
- Communities of productivity apps I recommend (Cultured Code/Things, Todoist, Teachable, Otter, Superhuman, Unbounce, Omnifocus, Asana, Instapaper, 1Password, Moleskine, Google Drive, Pocket)
- Consciousness Hacking community
- Lean Startup community
- Tim Ferriss and 4-Hour Workweek community
- Farnam Street community
- Hacker News
- Product Hunt
- TEDx and TED-Ed
- Online business and course creator communities (such as Marie Forleo, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, Brendon Burchard, James Wedmore, Jenna Soard, Sean McCabe)
- Online course platforms (such as MIT OpenCourseWare, Khan Academy, edX, Udacity, Coursera, Udemy, Apple Education, Skillshare, Quora,
- Large tech-centric firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and others
- Facebook groups, Slack groups, and Reddit subreddits related to Productivity, Note-taking, Personal Effectiveness, Organizing, Memex, Extended/Distributed Cognition, Augmented Intelligence, Accelerated Learning, Online Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Freelancing/Self-Employment, Habit Formation, Writing, Research, Design, Knowledge Sharing, Personal Information Management (PIM), Digital Nomads, Science Fiction, Blogging, Content Marketing, GTD, Project Management, Goal Setting, Product Management, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Online Business, Meditation/Mindfulness, Philosophy, Software Development, Creativity, Reading/Books, Personal Growth, Wisdom
There are many other potential audiences for this work, but these are the ones I’m most familiar with and active in, so this is where I would start.
Who do you compete with and/or overlap with this work / book? List and annotate primary authors/experts, books, entrepreneurs/businesses, thought leaders?
- Marie Kondo
- David Allen
- Cal Newport
- Tim Ferriss
- Austin Kleon
- Eric Ries
- Michael Gerber
Which authors, competitors, or related experts, websites, newsletters, others you respect could serve as models? It is very helpful to look at business, publishing, and outreach models from comparable/competitive landscape. [NOTE: This is a major component to the way editors, marketers, and publishers position new titles.]
- Marie Kondo: Kondo has taken the world by storm with her organizing and tidying methods, but she doesn’t address the digital world. We now spend nearly 12 hours per day on our devices, which means we are living a major portion of our lives in cluttered, distracting, unproductive environments. My methodology parallels the KonMari phenomenon but in the digital world, with practical rules for where and how to store our digital files so we can find them when we need them.
- David Allen: Allen’s GTD method has been the biggest phenomenon in the productivity world over the last decade, but GTD doesn’t address a major facet of modern work: how to actively triage and organize digital “reference” information. My methodology addresses this facet head on, with a step-by-step process for capturing, organizing, and retrieving the knowledge that we collect on our computer, our mobile devices, and the cloud. By doing so, it also addresses the stress and information overload we feel from not having trusted tools in which to put all this information, causing it to “back up” into our workspaces and our minds.
- Cal Newport: Newport has started a movement of people minimizing their exposure to technology and returning back to the basics of “deep work.” But his approach can be too simplistic for plugged in, fast-paced knowledge workers who can’t retreat from modern connectivity if they want to get their jobs done. I present a more nuanced and balanced approach to using technology, advocating for practical techniques that maximize the benefits and power of technology, while minimizing the downsides.
- Tim Ferriss: Ferriss is a phenomenon in the world of self-employment, biohacking, accelerated learning, and the “wisdom of the experts.” His groundbreaking book The Four-Hour Workweek inspired a generation with the possibility of achieving outstanding success while working less, but didn’t explain exactly how to accomplish that. My book will fill in one of the major elements to succeeding in the endeavors he describes: how to offload your best ideas from your brain to a trusted external system, and then systematically turn them into content, projects, products, and services.
- Austin Kleon: Kleon is on a roll with a series of books addressing each aspect of the modern creative process: how to borrow ideas from others, share your work, and keep going in the face of adversity. But his books don’t address the practical considerations of real-world implementation. Those details are left for the reader to figure out themselves, and so many don’t have the time or energy to do so. My book will speak to a more practical process of exactly how and where to save the ideas, insights, and other creative raw material in a digital-centric world.
Please list and describe any experience you have (approx dates or year/topic/outlet) including TV, Radio, Print, Online, Webinars).
I have contributed writing to the following publications (with links to articles):
- Quartz at Work (regular contributor on productivity)
- Thrive Global
- FogBugz blog
- High Existence
- Evernote Blog (3 articles)
I have been referenced, quoted, or appeared in the following publications:
- The New York Times
- The Atlantic
- Harvard Business Review
- GTD Connect
- CB Insights
- Verizon Wireless Blog
I have delivered talks or workshops as part of the following webinars or online events:
- ProdCon with Francesco D’Alessio virtual conference on productivity)
- Webinar with ProjectLab on Personal Knowledge Management (in Portuguese)
- Swissnex, San Francisco, CA: I delivered a live webinar for the Swissnex community, with approximately 100 viewers on the livestream
- Women of Power Virtual Summit, gave a talk entitled “Double Your Focus and Productivity in 21 Days” for an online event for women entrepreneurs
Describe the types of events you’ve sponsored or co-sponsored including size, cities/locations, dates you offer and have done. How many events per year? Attach schedule, if available.
I speak at approximately 3-5 events per year, of varying sizes and on different topics related to productivity. Major events over the last 5 years include:
- Inter-American Development Bank, Washington D.C.: I delivered 4 trainings over the course of a year for various departments of the bank, ranging from 15 to 35 participants each
- Toyota Motor Corp., San Francisco, CA: I facilitated a full-day training on design thinking for innovation to 12 executives from the Corporate Services division
- Genentech, South San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C.: I facilitated 5 full-day workshops over a period of a year for various divisions of the biotech company, with group sizes ranging from 7 to 25
- Barings (global investment management firm), New Haven, CT: I delivered a 1-hour talk on Building a Second Brain at their semi-annual “reading day”
- Resmed, San Francisco, CA: I facilitated a live 3-hour workshop on design thinking for product design to 8 executives from the medical device manufacturer Resmed
- InnovaLab, San Francisco, CA: I delivered a 3-hour workshop to 20 Brazilian employees of Instituto Euvaldo Lodi, as part of their Silicon Valley immersion
- PARISOMA coworking space, San Francisco, CA: I’ve delivered approximately two dozen workshops there over the last 6 years, on GTD, habit formation, and design thinking (approximate total attendance 700 people across all workshops)
- General Assembly, San Francisco, CA: I taught a one-time workshop on habit formation called “Design Your Habits” (25 people)
- Collective Academy, Mexico City: I delivered a live workshop on Building a Second Brain (about 30 people)
My consulting engagements often require a level of facilitation and public speaking as well. I have worked with organizations including:
- AB–Inbev (multinational beverage brand)
- Dow Agro (agricultural products)
- Fiat (Italian automaker)
- Nestle (food and beverage multinational)
- Social Fluency (training firm)
- Catnip (content discovery startup)
- Penxy (presentation software startup)
Describe the kinds of speaking events and conferences/expos you’ve participated in over the past 1-3 years and list specifics. How important is speaking to your goals? Include sponsor, audience, description of presentation or panel. Have you pursued other speaking opportunities, regionally or nationally? Are there events you’d like to be part of? Describe.
I have an extensive background in public speaking and it is a core part of my business. My speaking page describes what kinds of topics I speak on, and has 8 videos of speeches I’ve delivered.
Corporate and conference speaking engagements I’ve spoken at:
- Keynote at Reactive Conference, Bratislava, Slovakia: annual conference for the React programming community (1,000 people in live attendance and another approximately 3,000 viewing via live streaming)
- Keynote at Porto Tech Hub, Porto, Portugal: annual conference to promote the tech sector in Northern Portugal (approximately 800 people in attendance; the video recording was lost unfortunately but you can see an interview here)
- Singularity University Colloquium, Moffett Field, CA: gave a talk on innovation and technology for their guest speaker series (about 60 people in attendance)
- Keynote at the Genentech Innovation Forum, South San Francisco, CA: organized by the Evidence, Science, and Innovation division of the biotech firm Genentech (about 30 carefully selected people from across the company invited to participate)
- Genentech U.S. Medical Affairs Town Hall, South San Francisco, CA: I delivered a 45-minute talk at the division’s quarterly town hall (about 50 people in attendance)
Meetups I’ve spoken at:
- Getting Things Done, Quantified, Quantified Self Silicon Valley (about 80 people in attendance)
- Mapping Personal Habits Using Network Science, Quantified Self San Francisco (about 60 people in attendance)
Podcasts I’ve been on (starting with most recent):
- Get Yourself Optimized Podcast: The Secret Weapon of the Highly Productive with Tiago Forte
- The Ecommerce Influence Podcast: Why You Should Stop Organizing And Build A Second Brain
- Portfolio Career Podcast: Tiago Forte – Creating Products and Services to Fund His Learning
- GrowthCast Podcast: Os 5 Passos Para se Tornar uma Máquina de Produtividade (Interview in Portuguese)
- Rad Awakenings Podcast: Khe Hy interviews Tiago Forte (Part I), First Principles of Workflow Design (Part II), and The Privilege of Sharing Knowledge (Part III)
- Buddhist Geeks Podcast
- Super Power U Podcast: Creative Productivity
- Metalearn Podcast: Tiago Forte on Building a Second Brain, Using Design Thinking to Improve Your Life and How to Prepare for the Future of Work
- This Is Product Management Podcast: Getting Stuff Done is Product Management
- The Unmistakable Creative Podcast: Tiago Forte on Building a Second Brain
- Keep Productive YouTube Channel: What’s Next for Evernote?! with Tiago Forte
- North Star Podcast: David Perell and Tiago Forte, on Designing a Better Life
- Able Business Radio: Podcast Interview with Tiago Forte
- Evernote Podcast Interview: Tiago Forte’s Approach to Productivity (Part I) and Tiago Forte on Productivity, Provocation, and Layering (Part II)
- Facebook Live Interview at Evernote HQ: Habit Formation and Behavior Change
- Emerge Podcast: Emergent Creativity
- GTD Connect Members-Only Podcast: A Conversation with David Allen on Quantifying Productivity
Nearly all of these speaking opportunities have been inbound from people who discovered my work, or through contacts at these organizations. With this book I’d like to significantly raise my profile in the speaking business, hire a speaking agent, and pursue larger-scale and better-paid events. I am most interested in events for which Building a Second Brain will be most relevant and helpful: learning & development, personal information management, productivity, technology, creativity, entrepreneurship, content marketing, freelancing, employee engagement, etc.
Mailing list and communication
How do you currently promote your business? What size is your mailing list, and is it broken into categories? How do you currently communication with your list/clients? Do you have communication and content marketing plans in development? Have you tried activities in this area that have been successful and/or disappointing?
My business Forte Labs is primarily an online business, and I promote my content, products, and services through a variety of means, including:
My email list is my primary means of communication with my audience and I regularly send out updates to my audience. My list has approximately 6,000 subscribers, divided into 4 segments:
- Forte Labs general newsletter (3,286 subscribers; 40.2% open rate, 10% click rate)
- BASB course participants (719 subscribers, 59.9% open rate, 15.8% click rate)
- BASB leads (1,340 subscribers, 45.7% open rate, 9.8% click rate)
- Teachable students (613 subscribers, 52.5% open rate, 9.6% click rate)
I have an extremely dedicated, loyal audience drawn from elite knowledge-centric professions. For example:
- Both my open rates and click rates for all segments of the list are far above industry norms
- Over the past two years I sold approximately $363,000 in online courses alone from this list, which is nearly $60 per subscriber, far higher than industry standards
- My blog is partially paywalled, and approximately 500 subscribers pay $10 per month to read members-only posts, which is almost unheard of in the blogging world
My secondary means of communication with my audience is Twitter, with 7,854 followers. I tweet very frequently and maintain a strong two-way connection with my followers there.
Other platforms and channels I use actively include:
- Medium: 5,700 followers
- YouTube: 1,093 subscribers
- Forte Labs Facebook page: 615 likes, 674 followers
- LinkedIn profile and Forte Labs page: 67 followers
My main form of marketing is content marketing, mostly via posts on my blog. I am extremely prolific in my blog publishing, averaging one post per week throughout 2018. Posts include in-depth explorations of productivity topics, video interviews with influential thinkers, live demos of productivity apps and techniques, case studies of customer success stories, announcements of new projects and products, recordings of talks I’ve given, summaries and overviews of my ideas, and guest posts from others.
Over the last 12 months, my blog has received 76,906 unique visitors (6,408 per month), who generated 241,189 pageviews and spent 2 minutes on the site on average. I have about 500 subscribers to my Praxis membership program, which costs $10 per month for access to exclusive posts and other member benefits. These subscribers constitute my most dedicated and loyal group of followers, and I will be drawing on them for my “street team” for book promotion.
The main Forte Labs website received 13,526 unique visitors over the past 12 months (1,127 per month), with 20,459 pageviews.
My online course website received an additional 17,006 unique visitors (1,417 per month) with 65,645 pageviews.
I don’t have as detailed analytics for the Building a Second Brain website, but the total number of visits since January 2017 has been 60,962 (2,257 per month on average). This site will of course be redesigned to direct traffic to purchase options for the book.
My Medium publication receives about 5,000 unique visitors per month.
Thus my five largest owned and operated websites jointly receive more than 16,000 unique visitors per month, and this is a trailing figure for the last 12 months that doesn’t take into account recent growth, which has been significant. I will redesign and repurpose all 5 of these sites to direct traffic to the book.
Overall, I would say my content marketing efforts are very successful. I’m able to generate a healthy six-figure income purely from online content and promotion, which also fuels my consulting and speaking business. I don’t do any paid traffic or ads, and rely completely on organic traffic and word of mouth recommendations from my customers. That said, I’d be willing to explore paid promotion as a new marketing channel.
Do you have in-house or outside person(s) for marketing activities, materials, business development and planning?
Currently Forte Labs is just me and my wife Lauren Valdez working full time. I have strong relationships with a wide array of consultants and contractors for such things as video production, graphic design, marketing and SEO, coaching services, event facilitation, course management, photography, affiliate referrals, and others, but none on a continual ongoing basis.
I would be interested in hiring a publicist, online marketing expert, and/or personal assistant to help plan and execute the marketing and promotion of this book. I have extensive contacts in the online marketing world and would have easy access to some of the top online marketers in the world.
I also plan on recruiting a “street team” of about 50-100 of my most dedicated and loyal followers, incentivizing them with bonuses and special access in exchange for helping spread the word in the communities they are a part of.
Please list recognized experts, authors, businesses that you have relationships with, or could network with, who might help in your platform-building efforts. Who are the “right names” for the book project(s) you’re focused on right now? Annotate those you know personally. (NOTE: You could think of this in terms of more niche-market book and broader market book.)
People and organizations I have a close relationship with, who I believe would provide significant support:
- David Perell (up-and-coming podcaster and blogger; we co-created and teach an online course on writing together)
- Taylor Pearson (entrepreneur and author of The End of Jobs; we’ve co-created and launched a course together and communicate frequently)
- Khe Hy (blogger and thought leader in finance, known as the “Oprah for Millennials”)
- Stacey Harmon, certified Evernote business consultant and note-taking thought leader (we spent a weekend retreat together and have collaborated on several joint promotions and course launches)
- Francesco D’Alessio, host of website and YouTube channel Keep Productive with 65k subscribers (my courses inspired him to start his own business, and I’ve appeared on his YouTube channel and a virtual conference on productivity he organized)
- Rich Schefren, one of the early internet marketers who trained many of the current leaders (we’ve had a series of calls where we coached each other on our respective areas of expertise, and he has expressed his support for BASB)
- Doug Crane, head of the Palm Beach County public library and influential librarian blogger (Doug hired me to deliver a full-day live training for the library staff, and has consistently promoted my work to the library profession)
- Srinivas Rao, host of the Unmistakable Creative podcast and serial author (I appeared on his podcast and have had several calls to share ideas and get his advice)
- Doug Toft, writer and editor on personal growth (has strongly supported and shared my work for years)
- David Chapman, influential thinker and blogger on Buddhist spirituality and rationality (has strongly advocated for my work many times to his audience)
- Chuck Frey, mindmapping and content marketing expert and writer (he gave a guest lecture for my course)
- Daniel Thorson, host of the Emerge podcast (which I’ve appeared on)
- Vincent Horn, influential meditation instructor and host of the Buddhist Geeks podcast (which I’ve appeared on)
- Venkatesh Rao, founder of Ribbonfarm blog and influential tech commentator (I did a writing residency at Ribbonfarm and Venkatesh has become a friend and mentor)
- Lisa Betts-LaCroix, speaker and consultant and host of the Super Power U podcast (which I’ve been on)
- Teachable, the top online course creation platform (I’m a longtime customer and have published 5 courses on their platform; I am in talks to potentially speak at their annual summit in September and they’ve offered to support me in other ways)
People and organizations I have some relationship with, who I believe would provide some support:
- James Clear (habit formation expert and author of Atomic Habits; I reviewed a draft of his book and believe he would be willing to help)
- Nat Eliason (online marketer and SEO expert; took my course and we interact frequently online)
- Barbara Fuller, digital organizing expert and founder of Simplify Days (we collaborated on a set of GTD templates for the Evernote blog)
- Frank Buck, productivity and time management consultant and expert (he has been a longtime follower and provided in-depth feedback on some of my ideas)
- Sol Orwell (serial entrepreneur and founder of Examine.com, who has been profiled as a success story in books such as The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business and Company of One, who I’ve met for coffee; I will be attending his invite-only networking event in Toronto in June)
- Mike Williams, CEO of The David Allen Company (we’ve met for coffee, and he expressed support for the work I was doing)
- Jeff Sauer, online analytics and marketing expert (we did a very successful joint venture course launch together)
- Chris O’Neill, former Evernote CEO (we met for a lunch and brainstorming session at Evernote HQ; Chris has offered to read a draft of the book)
- Paul Jarvis, freelancer and author of numerous books including the recent Company of One (we had a video call and he gave me advice on the book publishing process)
- Timothy Kenny, #1 best-selling productivity instructor on Udemy (I interviewed him for my blog)
- Tucker Max, #1 NYT best-selling author of numerous books and founder of Scribe Media (has taken my course, and we had a call to talk about collaboration opportunities with his ghostwriting business)
- Stephan Spencer, online marketing expert and host of the Get Yourself Optimized podcast (which I’ve been on)
- David Allen, productivity expert and author of Getting Things Done (I teach an online course on GTD that’s been taken by more than 15k people, and appeared on his members-only podcast)
- Chris Messina, influential designer and inventor of the hashtag (we’ve met and have a lot of mutual friends)
- Brett Harned, author of Project Management for Humans and founder of the Digital PM Summit (we had a phone call and shared some resources)
- Nasos Papadopoulos, host of the Metalearn website and podcast (which I’ve been on)
- Joel Runyon, entrepreneur and fitness influencer (we’ve had many exchanges on Twitter)
- Nick Denton, founder of media publications such as Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and Gawker (we’ve exchanged numerous messages and tried several times to meet)
- Sam Hinkie, former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers (he took my BASB course and said he was interested in helping me promote it)
- Mike Rohde, designer and author of The Sketchnote Handbook (we exchanged a few messages on Twitter and he sent me his books)
- Ben Thompson, founder of tech analyst newsletter Stratechery (we’ve exchanged messages a few times on Twitter)
- Nir Eyal, behavior design expert (I attended his Habit Summit conference and we spoke about our common work)
- Alan Cooper, author of design consultancy Cooper and author of About Face (we’ve exchanged messages on Twitter)
- Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street and The Knowledge Project podcast (we had a call in which he expressed his support and we plan on doing a joint collaboration)
- Aaron Dignan, founder of The Ready and author of Brave New Work (we had an introductory call and talked about our work in common)
- Kevin Simler, influential blogger (we’ve exchanged ideas many times)
- Kate Kendall, tech entrepreneur (we have a close mutual friend and have spent some time together)
- Derek Sivers, serial entrepreneur and best-selling author (we’ve exchanged a few messages)
- Scott Berkun, serial author on the future of work and creativity (we’ve exchanged a few messages)
- Paul McKellar, serial entrepreneur and investor (we’ve spent time together)
- Joshua Zerkel, Head of Global Community at Asana and former head of business at Evernote (we met at the Evernote conference)
- Tony Stubblepine, founder of Coach.Me (I helped him promote one of his launches and we’ve exchanged messages)
- Opher Brayer, entrepreneur and consultant (we had an introductory call and he offered to review a draft of my book)
- Marjolein Hoekstra, one of 7 “OneNote MVPs” worldwide (she is an admirer of my work, and has offered to introduce me to the OneNote development team at Microsoft and support me however else she can)
- Mike Vardy, productivity thought leader at the Productivityist website (I was introduced through a mutual acquaintance and have a call pending)
- Thomas Frank, productivity thought leader and YouTuber with 1.4 million subscribers (I reached out to connect with him and we have an introductory call pending)
- Singularity University, an executive education company and think tank co-founded by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis to promote scientific progress and “exponential” technologies (I gave a talk at one of their colloquium events)
Acquaintances or people I can get an introduction to:
- Russell Brunson and Jay Abraham, two of the world’s top online marketers (they are former clients and collaborators of Rich Schefren, who I’ve had a series of calls with, and he’s offered to introduce me)
- Eben Pagan, top online marketer and course creator (who a mutual acquaintance and high-profile entrepreneur Opher Brayer has offered to introduce me to)
- Michael Nielsen, an influential researcher on memory and consciousness
- Gary Vaynerchuk, media mogul
- Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp and author of best-selling productivity books
- Tyler Cowen, leading economist and author
- Tristan Harris, leading advocate of digital minimalism
- Eugene Wei, influential technology leader
- David Kadavy, host of Love Your Work podcast and serial author
- Brent Beshore, author of The Messy Marketplace
- Kim-Mai Cutler, TechCrunch contributor and housing expert
- Michael Hyatt, best-selling author and productivity expert
- Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress
- Kevin Kelly, highly influential writer and thinker on the future of technology
- Seth Godin, influential marketer and author
People I plan on reaching out to who I believe would be receptive to my message:
- Matt D’Avella, YouTuber with 1.2M subscribers who interviews many authors in the productivity space
- Tim Grahl, well-known book marketing expert
- Scott Belsky, author of various books such as The Messy Middle
- Brian Johnson, a writer and thought leader on human potential
- Patrick McKenzie, influential blogger on tech and the internet
- Jake Knapp, writer, designer, and author of Sprint
- Gabby Bernstein, best-selling author and speaker
- Chris Guillebeau, writer of numerous books on entrepreneurship
- Ryan Holiday, best-selling author and marketer
- Allen Gannett, author of The Creative Curve
- Brennan Dunn, founder of Double Your Freelancing
- Graham Allcott, author of How to be a Productivity Ninja
- Tynan, a serial entrepreneur and influential digital nomad expert
- Pieter Levels, founder of NomadList
- Craig Mod, writer and influential media expert
- Tony Buzan, inventor of the MindMap
- Stepan Pachikov, founder of Evernote
- Sebastian Thrun, artificial intelligence expert and President of Udacity
- Marie Forleo, founder of B-School and various media outlets
- Robert Scoble, tech commentator
- Steven Johnson, author of 11 books on creativity
- Dave Gray, author of numerous books on collaboration, creativity, and games
- Maria Popova, blogger and writer
- Per Håkansson, speaker and technologist
- Kate O’Neill, advisor and commentator on technology issues
- Joel Gascoigne, founder of Buffer
- Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt
- Bret Victor, influential designer and creator
- Tim Urban, speaker and influential long-form blogger
- Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab
- Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- Naval Ravikant, philosopher and CEO of AngelList
- Clay Shirky, influential media expert and writer
- Andrew Chen, investor and product marketing expert
- Kathryn Minshew, founder of The Muse and expert on the future of work
- Gretchen Rubin, serial best-selling author
- Simon Sinek, influential speaker and writer
- Ev Williams, co-founder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium
- Kelly McGonigal, psychologist and serial best-selling author
- BJ Fogg, Stanford behavioral scientist and writer
- Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal
- Noah Kagan, top marketer and founder of Sumo
- Ramez Naam, author of Nexus series of books on expanded cognition
- Charles Duhigg, best-selling author of The Power of Habit
- Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project
- Thomas Frey, futurist and speaker
- Daniel Pink, serial best-selling author
- Annalee Newitz, sci-fi writer and journalist
- Paul Minors, consultant and writer on productivity and self-employment
- Justin DiRose of The Productivity Guild
- Mike Schmitz of Faith-Based Productivity
- Carl Pullein, YouTuber and speaker
- Scott Friesen of Simpletivity
- Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator and influential tech leader
- Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator
- Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, professor and note-taking enthusiast
- Stewart Butterfield, founder of Flickr and Slack
- Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media
- Chris Anderson, founder of TED
- Phil Libin, co-founder and former CEO of Evernote
- Leo Babauta, minimalism expert and founder of ZenHabits
- Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
- Belle Beth Cooper, content marketer and blogger
- Erik Fisher, productivity expert and podcaster
- Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe productivity app
- David Asprey, the “father of biohacking”
- Brad Feld, influential VC
- Marc Andreessen, one of the world’s top investors
- Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web consortium
- Ricardo Semler, founder of Semco and influential author on employee self-management
Companies and organizations I plan on reaching out to, who I believe would be especially receptive to my message:
- NOBL Collective, a future of work consultancy that shares many similar principles
- Pinboard, a leading note-taking app
- Indie Hackers
- Unclutterer, blog on organizing and decluttering
- IDEO, an experience design consultancy
- D.school, the design school at Stanford
- Asian Efficiency, influential productivity blog
- Plus many others I follow on Twitter and interact with regularly
Podcasts I plan on reaching out to:
I believe there would be a lot of sales potential for this book in Latin America for the following reasons:
- My family is Brazilian, I have a very Brazilian name, and I speak Portuguese with native fluency
- I have lived and worked in Brazil throughout my life and have extensive personal and professional contacts throughout the country
- Brazil is undergoing decades-long growth in its middle class, with millions of people entering the knowledge economy and having to learn new skills to manage the flood of information
- There are relatively few Brazilian thought leaders and books on productivity, despite it being the largest country in Latin America and one of the largest in the world
- I travel frequently to Brazil for personal and business reasons, and would have many opportunities to do workshops, talks, interviews, and other events
- I also speak Spanish and live and work in the second largest country in Latin America, Mexico, and am developing a range of professional contacts in Mexico City
- Between Spanish, Portuguese, and English, I can cover the entire continent and take part in conferences, interviews, podcasts, events, and live workshops
Contacts in foreign countries:
- Mesa, an influential consultancy that facilitates intensive work sprints for large multi-national companies in Brazil (we’ve been working closely together for years, and they hired me to self-publish a book on their method and to help them develop their online course)
- IBMEC, a network of private universities in various cities in Brazil with a business-focused curriculum (I delivered a day-long guest lecture at the São Paulo location and believe they would be open to others)
- ProjectLab, a technology training company in Brazil (I spoke at their annual summit last year and did a live guest workshop for their community in São Paulo)
- Max Peters, host of the Growthcast podcast and one of the top content marketers in Brazil (I appeared on his podcast and he offered to support my work in Brazil)
- Collective Academy, an education company based in several cities in Mexico which teaches topics related to entrepreneurship and technology (I taught a guest workshop for their community in Mexico City, and plan on future collaborations)
- CENTRO, a design and technology school in Mexico City (I met with the head of the futures program who expressed interest in hosting a guest lecture or workshop)
- Jan Gondol, consultant and advisor to the United Nations on data and privacy issues (we’ve traveled together in three countries and he knows many of the most influential people in the European technology sector)
- Reactive Conference, the top conference on the React.js web development framework in Europe (I delivered a keynote speech at the conference in 2017 and have been involved with their community ever since)
- Organizers of Porto Tech Hub, an annual conference promoting the tech industry in Northern Portugal (I delivered a keynote at their 2018 event, which is organized by many of the top tech firms in the Porto region, which has become a European hub for technology)
Which 3-4 books do you wish you’d written?
In your direct category, and a few surprises.
- The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss
- You Need a Budget, by Jesse Mecham
- The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt
- The E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber
What would be the ideal outcome of this consulting project?
That we make consistent progress on this proposal, end up with a compelling and powerful proposal by September or October, and have it purchased by a major publisher in a competitive bidding process for at least $100,000 within a reasonable timeframe. And that the proposal provides a clear pathway and foundation for me to develop the full manuscript, with all my open questions answered and doubts relieved.
What are your burning questions, stuck points, issues you’re debating that are not already covered in our working plan? Share whatever would be helpful or that’s weighing on your mind.
These are some of my open questions about the book:
- Should I frame Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) as a mainstream, generalist skill for everyone, or a targeted, niche skill for specialists (like researchers, writers, entrepreneurs, and content creators)?
- Should I use the term “Personal Knowledge Management,” or abbreviation PKM, at all?
- Should I use or emphasize “digital notes” as the ideal tool for building a second brain, or leave the implementation details to other formats like the online course?
- Should I emphasize doing fulfilling work and making a positive social impact, or focus on getting things done and being effective?
- Should I emphasize more the “pain-solving” benefits, or the aspirational and achievement benefits?
- How much emphasis should be on the underlying principles of each stage of PKM, or on the practical techniques for implementing them?
- Should I present each of the three “techniques” as THE way, or as one possible approach?
- How closely should I tie this book to GTD?
- How closely should I involve Evernote in the marketing and promotion of this book?
- How do I make this book broad enough to reach a wider audience, without losing the finer points and subtleties that make it so attractive to my current audience?
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