Ilya Sterin's Newsletter #6

30 May 2020    4 mins read.

It’s been a while since I sent out a newsletter. I’ve been busy with family and trying to adjust to the new norms. In some cases the adjustment isn’t as hard, I’ve worked from home for the last 15 years of my career. The other parts take some getting used to. I love to travel, going out to explore new restaurants, and play basketball — all things which are now out of reach.

Thoughts on successful B2B products

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog post, “B2B buyers have emotions, too” about the role of emotions in the B2B buying decisions. It’s something I’ve learned through a lot of trial and error, and the subject probably warrants a much more extended essay than I had the time to write. My friend Bob Moesta is writing a sales book which will discuss this topic in more detail.

Business motivation in these trying times

On the lazy Memorial Day morning, I decided to reread the book,The Obstacle Is The Way. As I started reading the first part, I realized that the message was much more meaningful given today’s situation. The right situational context allows for a much more profound reading experience. The first few chapters had such a powerful message that I decided to sneak away for a bit to summarize it in an email to my organization. I then realized that I should probably share this with others, as we’re all in one way or another in a similar struggle right now. I published the content of my email here: Perception can make you or break you

Coming attractions (something I’m going mad about)

A few weeks ago, I randomly came across a few blog posts about note-taking. After a few nights of going down the rabbit hole, I realized that I don’t know how to take good notes. As a result of this epiphany, I realized that most of the knowledge from the books I read, the research I’ve done, and ideas I’ve generated over my lifetime, are mostly lost in the dark depths of my disorganized and forgetful human brain.

The method I came across for writing smart notes, or what I’d call a personal knowledge base/wiki, is called Zettelkasten. This method was developed by a German professor who throughout his prolific career wrote over 70 books and published over 400 articles. When asked, he attributed his incredible productivity not to his memory but to his notecards, which he accumulated and organized over his lifetime. The key was the way he organized and interconnected these cards. At any given point and time, he could pick out a notecard on a topic he was interested in, which then linked to other related topics. All the cards were interlinked. The method he developed allowed him to quickly gather all information he’s ever come across related to the topic he was thinking or writing about.

So I’m on a mission to redesign the way I take and manage my notes. I’m not diving into any more heavy reading or research until I figure this out, or it’ll all be a waste :-) I’ll keep you all updated as I further learn about and develop my note-taking method.

If you want to read about Zettelkasten, here are a few articles to get you started:

Products I’m using

Given the current social distancing orders, I can no longer play basketball, so to exercise, I ride my bike a lot. I wear a chest strap heart monitor to monitor the intensity of my workouts and adjust accordingly. I know many use their watches or other wearables, but I prefer the chest strap given that they are more accurate during rigorous exercise. I use the Polar H10, and it’s been rock solid.

I take my phone with me to monitor my exercise and chest strap data while I ride. I’ve always struggled with various bike phone holders; some obstruct the view; others feel less secure. I finally found a keeper! Quad Lock comes as a phone case that attaches to a variety of mounts the company offers. They have mounts for handlebars, fork stems, and your car. It snaps right in and feels very secure — definitely my best purchase in the last month.