Welcome to Fresh van Root newsletter #83 and to 2023!
I was 4 weeks on Gran Canaria island over the holidays and smoothly transitioned into the new year. Going offline is a challenging task for me. I deleted all social media apps and deactivated notifications, and that worked. I read books, hiked, and spent time with family and the kids. In short: How a vacation should be. Fully recharged, I came back to the office this week. Getting reminded that time is finite is an excellent thought to keep in mind when planning the year. If you think that, too, read the first linked article in this newsletter. And if you are using Google calendar, check out the app that generates a report on how much time you spent in meetings last year. Are you experiencing AI content overload? Check the Fresh van Root section. Stay fresh, Rolf
Hello to 35 new subscribers. Hello! 👋 I’m Rolf, exploring content and apps at the intersection of marketing, productivity, tech, content creation, and social media – for curious minds. This bi-weekly newsletter is a summary of that exploration. Let me know what you think about this newsletter.
🧠 Hand-Picked Content
Productivity: What Are You Doing With 4000 Weeks (Article, 15min)
That’s the average lifespan you got. Admit that you will never finish your to-do list and that no tool will help you free up time to get to the critical stuff finally. Instead, choose wisely how you spend your time, week by week. After outlining why we fail at managing our time, this article outlines 10 tips for improving it. The most relatable to me: Choose one piece of work that will make you proud when finished, and ignore the rest. More
Writing: How To Write Like A Human (Blog post, 10min)
AI-powered writing tools promise to create readymade copy for you. Hundreds of tools want to do that for you. Now, how can you make sure that your humanly written text does not sound like created by a machine? You will get easy-to-apply advice in this blog post. More
Career Growth: Closing The Taste Gap (Blog post, 5min)
Looking at the big players in your field can get you frustrated. You know what it would take to create something like your role models, but you need to gain the skills. What you got are your curiosity and taste. The journey is all about closing the gap with practice. This blog post reminded me of this quote: “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be” (Paul Arden) More
Social: Decentralized vs. a Few Big Players (Blog post, 5min)
The lesson learned from the Twitter meltdown is that we should carefully choose which platform we put our content on. But this blog post shares an opinion that humans always look for the easy way out – we will again join one big site that is most convenient to us and ignore its business model. It takes effort to gain new knowledge of a platform like Mastodon, its “decentralized” structure, and its features. More
🔥 Best Of The Fresh van Root Newsletter (Blog post, 10min)
Lena has done a fantastic job and sifted through all 20 newsletters sent last year, picked the most clicked stories, and organized them into categories. Revisit the top stories and spot the underlying themes of this newsletter. More
🛠️ Tools & Apps & Services
Analytics: Get A Company Profile With One Click
Rayst is a browser extension that provides statistics of a company and its tech stack with one click. Metrics include website traffic, the company’s founding date, employee count, and more. This is also interesting for marketers, as it reveals the tech stack a site is running. It works especially well for tech startups, which always try the latest apps/tools in marketing. To test how accurately it works, test it on your site. Screenshot | More
Productivity: Apps For Managing Your Meetings
In the last couple of months, I observed lots of new startups that reinvent how we work with calendars. Magical is a scheduling and meeting note app. The promise is not to need context switching in a meeting. You can create meeting invites using the app and provide time slots to choose from. Right now, created meeting notes are synced with Notion – so if you already use Notion, it might be an interesting product for you to check out. Magical works only with Google Calendar right now. More
Another app in that category is Vimcal. It is built on top of your Google or Outlook calendar. Like Magical, it allows an easy way to share your availability with your contacts. Vimcal also has native apps to install on your desktop or mobile device. I am curious to see if/how these tools can build lasting momentum. More
Collaboration: Team Brainstorming
I have shared several articles in this newsletter on brainstorming in meetings and why it does not work. Now, this app might be helpful if you can’t avoid it and want to do it as a team. Without an account, you can start a brainstorming session in Mimosa. At first, everyone does that in their own “room.” After finishing, you can join a “group room” and discuss/vote on the ideas. It’s also AI-powered, so you can click a button after adding five ideas in a category and get more suggestions. More
Social: AI Writing Tool For Your LinkedIn Posts
We still have to wait for a fully working Tesla autopilot. For LinkedIn, you can try Taplio to select and publish content. You can choose your interests, and Taplio creates text posts for you. It also shows trending LinkedIn posts and helps copy and rewrite them. I would be hesitant to embrace such a tool fully (mundane content alert), but it can be helpful to monitor LinkedIn and beat writer’s block. Watch the first two minutes of this demo video to see what it is about. More
Time Spent In Meetings: Your Year In Review (Google Calendar Only)
You can use this site to get insights into how much time you spent in meetings and with whom. The generated report only makes sense if you manage your calendar well – in my case, the most attended meeting in 2022 was “Watering plants” :) Screenshot | More
📣 Fresh van Root
🧠 A Thought on AI Tools: Have you heard about this AI app called …
You experience AI-content overload. ChatGPT dominated the news, social feeds, newsletters, and blogs over the last few weeks.
And now we get all those posts linking to 50 tools built on top of ChatGPT. And remember to try those out. And when you are done, move on to all the text2image tools like Midjourney.
In short, it’s crazy out there. AI will undoubtedly change how we do our jobs in marketing, content creation, and simply how we build things.
It would help if you ignore the noise, choose carefully what you want to try out and what to read, test one tool and not 10, and come up with your own thoughts.
The hype will flatten, and you will not miss much if you follow every example posted online. It is fun to read and comment on all those ChatGPT examples. But these daily bytes of information do not help to understand the bigger picture. Stand back and relax.
Are you on Twitter?
Are you still using Twitter, or did you close your account? Are you on Mastodon? How is that working for you? I am curious; hit reply and let me know.
🏞️ Your Next Wallpaper?
🔗 One More Link
New Look For Wikipedia
For 13 years, the look of Wikipedia on desktop nearly stayed the same. Now a new design gets rolled out. Its an evolved design, and that is a good thing. More
A Trip Through Japan (Photo story)
If you are interested in Japan, plan to visit, or are curious about it – check out this photographic report. I enjoyed the pictures and the short descriptions of different places. More