tag:k7v.in,2013:/posts Go Flip Yourself. 2021-02-28T17:42:51Z Kevin Straszburger tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1659980 2021-02-28T17:37:39Z 2021-02-28T17:37:39Z Listen to the experts

I've contemplated all the recent frenzy around the vaccines. Well, I should say the 2020-all-year-round frenzy in almost every thing, area and topic but let's breathe & stay calm for the moment. My birth country - France - was proudly last in the 'intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine' rankings. What a vote of confidence.

Meanwhile I was reading a good book - which was first a documentary - called: The Media The World And Me. A common theme was: how to (re)build trust?

I feel 'trust' might be the most & biggest missing component in today's society. Who to trust? Why? What to trust? How to learn to trust? How to regularly check where our trust is going?

I came across Arnold Schwarzenegger's comment when he got his vaccine.

I said this to someone in the comments, but I think a lot of you need to hear this.
I always say you should know your strengths and listen to the experts. If you want to learn about building biceps, listen to me, because I've spent my life studying how to get the perfect peak and I have been called the greatest bodybuilder of all time. We all have different specialties.

Dr. Fauci and all of the virologists and epidemiologists and doctors have studied diseases and vaccines for their entire lives, so I listen to them and I urge you to do the same. None of us are going to learn more than them by watching a few hours of videos. It's simple: if your house is on fire, you don't go on Youtube, you call the damn fire department. If you have a heart attack, you don't check your Facebook group, you call an ambulance. If 9 doctors tell you you have cancer and need to treat it or you will die, and 1 doctor says the cancer will disappear, you should always side with the 9. In this case, virtually all of the real experts around the world are telling us the vaccine is safe and some people on Facebook are saying it isn't.

In general, I think if the circle of people you trust gets smaller and smaller and you find yourself more and more isolated, it should be a warning sign that you're going down a rabbit hole of misinformation. Some people say it is weak to listen to the experts. That's bogus. It takes strength to admit you don't know everything. Weakness is thinking you don't need expert advice and only listening to sources that confirm what you want to believe.

This is beautifully written. I agree. My only concern goes towards people, institutions, systems that have a big audience and don't care about lying. They don't care about trust. They don't care about their impact long-term on other people's minds. They are dangerous. I don't think it's a good tactic to fight them directly. Our best option is to educate each others, giving our trust sparingly and staying alert. Utilmately, not being afraid of a 'I don't know' or another 'I changed my mind'.

Few recent examples that made me laugh [kinda].

My wife is pregnant. She needed a drug for something specific. I went to the pharmacy, explained what she was going through, told them she was pregnant and they gave me drug X. Few days later, she was still suffering. We called the doctor and told her everything, she recommended drug Y. I went to the pharmacy again and got it. We read on the package later that day that this drug wasn't recommended for pregnant women. We called the doctor again: "yeah but no worries the drug company just has to put this on the package for the insurance company, but of course in your case, this is harmless and exactly what you need". Hmmm. Interesting. Great way to build trust for sure [towards the pharmacy, the doctor herself, the drug company & the insurance company].

Politicians are the best at this. Sorry the one below is in french only. But @ 1min04, french minister literally declared "risk of importation - of coronavirus - from Wuhan is close to 0" & it goes on like this. Even worse @ 3min54: "the blue mask protects from nothing". Well it didn't age well [original footage was from late January 2020].

So, I'm all in to listen to the experts but honestly, it's getting harder & harder to know who's one.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1647188 2021-01-31T16:26:52Z 2021-02-01T03:08:01Z What I've read in 2020

I think I've found my perfect reading rythm: 2 books a month. I might read more but I don't want to feel any pressure to do so. Moreover, I do enjoy reading stuff online so I spend a fair amount of time on Feedly to go through my 170+ sources - be it blogs, newsletters, publications, mags. If you feel we might have some common interests by the way, feel free to reach out, I'd be happy to share them.

On the other hand, I don't want to read way less than that. Reading long-form content like books puts me in a deeper, thoughtful and slower state that I enjoy tremendously. Hence I kept that yearly goal of 2 a month for 2021. Since I did my own tail end, I realized I'd still have 1350+ books to read during my entire lifetime [at least if I read until my 90th birthday] which is not too bad.

So after reading 21 books in 2019, below are my 26 ones of 2020 [from the first I read to the last]:

  1. Libres [fr]
  2. Ce livre devrait me permettre de resoudre le conflit au Proche-Orient, d'avoir mon diplome et de trouver une femme - Tome 1 [fr]
  3. Ce livre devrait me permettre de resoudre le conflit au Proche-Orient, d'avoir mon diplome et de trouver une femme - Tome 2 [fr]
  4. Le petit livre rock [fr]
  5. Boxe [fr]
  6. Le bonheur etait pour demain [fr]
  7. Une autre fin du monde est possible [fr]
  8. Human machine [fr]
  9. Une vie choisie [fr]
  10. Deployer [fr]
  11. This could be our future [en]
  12. Confessions d'un assassin economique [fr]
  13. Le gout de Lisbonne [fr]
  14. Propos de O.L. Barenton - Confiseur [fr]
  15. The Startup Playbook [en]
  16. Startup Guide Lisbon [en]
  17. Silo [fr]
  18. Essentialism [en]
  19. Silo Origines [fr]
  20. Silo Generations [fr]
  21. L'art de la simplicite [fr]
  22. Le gout du vrai [fr]
  23. Lecture rapide [fr]
  24. Rayures et ratures [fr]
  25. The consolations of philosophy [en]
  26. Everything that remains [en]

I only read 6 books in english. I'm always surprised by this; even though it's still 3 times more than the year before. I read 4 comics. I haven't read comic books for a while and I actually enjoyed it a lot. Since most of the books I read are non-fiction it makes it harder to get on comics. I definitely want to read the Sapiens version by the way. 5 books are novels; compare to 6 in 2019. 3 of them are among the books I enjoyed the most: the Silo trilogy.

I use a french website named SensCritique to keep track of everything and give a rate out of 10. My average rate last year is 7.03; which is way better than the year before, 6.33. I rated only one book below 5: Une autre fin du monde est possible with a 3/10. I distributed 11 rates at 8 & higher [which is why the average got so high]. I gave one 10/10: Silo Origines & four 9/10: Propos de O.L. Barenton - Confiseurs; Silo; Essentialism and The consolations of philosophy.

If I had to choose my top 3 recommendation, I'd say: (1) the whole Silo trilogy (2) The consolations of philosophy (3) Essentialism.

I typically added Essentialism to our Objet Library; along with some other titles I did enjoy a lot like This could be our future. And since I decided to own 30 books maximum at any given time, if you'd like to get one of these, ping me. I found that donating books was a very joyful experience.

Onwards.

Photo by Jari Hytönen

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1634219 2020-12-31T17:50:49Z 2021-02-01T08:31:14Z Some goals for 2021

Let's lay out properly few of my goals for this year [business excluded]. Most important thing by far remains: my wife, my toddler and our second baby to welcome in few months. Growing as a family of 4 and enjoying everyday altogether is a challenge I embrace fully. Taking that situation into consideration, I'll try not to be over-ambitious this time.

  • publish 24 blog posts - I finally started to write again on this blog and I enjoy it a lot [about writing] - I'm currently in my longest streak so far with 12 posts published last year.
  • read 24 books - I read 21 of them in 2019 [details here] and 26 in 2020 [details here].
  • 30min daily exercise - I currently commute by bike everyday [dropping & picking up the toddler at kindergarten] which counts for around 30min total, 11km+ across Lisbon hills - it's not enough though so I might start running instead in the evenings.
  • reach an average weight of 71kg - I started tracking my weight every monday morning for almost 3 years. In 2018 it's been 79.44kg [yo-yo between 81.3 & 77.5]; it's been 81.61 in 2019 [yo-yo between 86.3 & 78.6] I felt miserable; it's been 75.84 in 2020 [yo-yo between 82.5 & 71.7] I felt way better. I'm currently at 74.9 which is a win following the whole Xmas holidays. I wouldn't usually recomend any read about weight loss but Mark's one is very good. Beyond the whole weight thing, this is a great reminder towards addiction, habits and how to be intentional about becoming a better version of yourself [which is - not surprisingly - our main thing with Objet].
  • limit my meat consumption to 36 meals - I proudly was 95% vegetarian in 2020. I'd like to increase my ratio this year.
  • own less than 500 objects - I'm currently at 800+ and I feel way too heavy. And yep, this screenshot below is from our app.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1622243 2020-11-29T17:07:36Z 2020-11-29T20:54:06Z My own tail end

I remember the first time I saw the human lifespan laid out in weeks by Tim. I wouldn't be able to describe exactly how I felt but I was intrigued nonetheless. Then I saw the pdf printed out on a friend's fridge. Somehow, I found it cool. Like a good reminder you only live once, not for so long, so you better make it count.

Later, I read The Tail End [Tim's work again]; what a slap in the face. I wanted to visually lay out few of my own tail end for a while. I finally took some time this weekend to do it. I took 90 years as my own lifespan.

Below is my own life in weeks.
Green cells: weeks I've already lived. White ones: weeks I've left. Darker green ones: weeks I've lived with limited freedom [i.e I was still living at my parents home]. Lighter green ones: weeks I've lived with unlimited freedom [living by myself; I was literally able to do whatever I want].
Grey cell: mid-life. Pink cell: when I started dated my other half. Blue cell: when our son is born.

Then I laid out few linear stuff. Like amount of books I still have to read - if I continue to read 2 a month = 1368.
If feels like a lot. Still - as Tim wrote it perfectly - I'll have to:

accept that I’ll sign off for eternity without knowing what goes on in all the rest.

I haven't played any video game for way too long [I used to be an avid gamer - and I collected a lof of video games systems as well]. I told myself earlier that 2021 should be the year I start to play again. A good pace seemed to be a game a quarter. In this scenario, amount of games I still have to play = 228.

Amount of soccer world cup finals I still have to watch = 14!

Now comes the most important part: relationships. Which is also the scariest one because nothing is linear here. I wanted to highlight 2 examples below. First one is with my mum. I can pretty much say I've seen her everyday of my life until a bit more than my 19. Then, I only saw her 5 days a year on average. If I'm lucky enough & she lives until her 90, it means I'll be 66. Below are the amount of times left to see & enjoy each other face-to-face.

That one was a shock. I'm in the last 3% of my time spent [physically speaking] with my mum. Tim wrote:

When you look at that reality, you realize that despite not being at the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time with some of the most important people in your life.
This made me realise one thing in particular. I better enjoy my time with my own kids as much as possible right now. By the time they turn 18 and decide to leave our house, we'd have spent almost 90% of our time with them!

Last one I laid out. One of my best friend I met when we were 11 y/o. We pretty much saw each other 5 days a week from our 11 to 18. Then, we both travelled a lot and we're now living in 2 different continents. If I look back the past years, let's assume we see each other 3 days a year on average. Being the same age & lucky, we'll both live until 90. Our time together looks like this.

I was shocked too. We're in our last 10% time spent together.

I don't see a better conclusion & takeaways than Tim's ones below.

1. Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

2. Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

3. Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1610578 2020-10-31T20:35:38Z 2021-02-28T17:42:51Z My experience donating books

I started last summer to count my stuff. As beautifully written by Mathilde here "[...] knowing I have too much is something, knowing what is too much is something else". At that point, I was able to put an exact number: I had 187 books. It felt too much.

Right away I decided to tidy this up and started to screen them all. Few questions were in my head to help me pick up which ones to discard: (a) do I think there is a 90%+ chance I'll re-read it again in the future? (b) am I even able right now to 'sell' that book to anyone? [i.e I remember enough what this is about and/or the emotion it created in me] (c) if one of my best friend were to visit me today and ask for a book to read, would I be proud enough to recommend that one? If the answer was anything else than an easy 'yes' [to all 3 of these questions], I'd discard the book.

Result's below. I today own 86.5 books [.5 because I co-own some of them with my other half]. And yep, I also love magazines and I do plan to sort them out next [even though I bought a new one 2 days ago].

To get rid of them in an easy & efficient way, I chose to give all of them away for free. I put few pictures on our local Buy Nothing group and few days later, 3/4 of them were out of the house.

The smiles and happy faces I got from people who came to our flat to pick up the books and the few minutes discussions downstairs to share few anecdotes [if any] made the whole experience very meaningful. Overall, I felt great. Almost 3 months later, I still feel great about this but I also don't really know how I should buy and deal with books in the future.

I decided that - going forward - a book should be either a learning or an entertaining experience. Period. So I literally said goodbye to the books as a piece of decoration or furniture at home. In other words, no such room for me as Karl's one below.


Yet, when I look at this, I've to admit I find it beautiful. I wonder why. I mean, is it only because I'd truly find beautiful that mix of colorful paper? In this case, such a room becomes beautiful whatever the titles would be pile up inside. Or is it more due to what books represent in our society? Like a way to tell people 'hey look how smart/cultivated I am - I read so much' or this kinda bullshit shortcut.


Here's something Naval says at min 6 that struck me.

When people are putting a photo on Twitter or Instagram of ‘look at my pile of books that I’m reading’, it’s a show-off thing, it’s a signalling thing. The reality is I’d rather read the best 100 books over and over again until I absorb them rather than read all the books.
Now - even though I stand behind that mindset 100% I still find challenging now and then not to pile up a new book [or magazine] and to give it away as soon as I finished reading it - unless that specific title should enter my top 100 of all time. Then I wonder what that number should be. Should I hold on to 10 books at home? 20? 50? 100? Few days ago I realised how space played a huge role in this answer [in my answer at least]. If I live in a tiny house or a van, my answer will literally be different compare to a few floors mansion. That lead me to think about my kinda perfect home in terms of space. Do I really want to live in a big flat for instance? Why? To pile up more stuff at the end cause I'd need to fill up all this space? Should I intentionally dramatically limit the size of where I live [at least the indoor size let's say; outdoor would be different; I'd use a garden to play or relax; not to pile up stuff]?

Okay - I digress now. It's not about books anymore.
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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1589368 2020-09-01T06:07:07Z 2020-09-01T06:07:07Z There is only now

How come most of us feel always trapped between the past and the future? Emotionally speaking it means we constantly oscillate between regrets [what we've done or not] & anxiety [what will come]. Most importantly, we forget to focus on the only one thing we control, the #1 thing we can act on, the only thing that truly exists: the here and now.

Unless you're living in a cabin off the grid you might have heard of The Last Dance documentary lately.

I personally had very high expectations for that documentary and I haven't been disappointed. This is a must-watch. One thing I didn't expect though was the introduction speech of the last episode, emphasizing one of the most important Jordan's character trait: how he's a master of the present moment. Mark Vancil - author of Rare Air - is talking:

Most people struggle to be present. People go and sit in ashrams for 20 years in India trying to be present. Do yoga, meditate, trying to get here, now. Most people live in fear because we project the past into the future. Michael’s a mystic. He was never anywhere else. His gift was not that he could jump high, run fast, shoot a basketball. His gift was that he was completely present. And that was the separator. The big downfall of a lot of players who are otherwise gifted is thinking about failure. Michael didn’t allow what he couldn’t control to get inside his head. He would say, ‘Why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t taken yet?
That last rhetorical question isn't to be underestimated. Mike Greenberg even calls that one 'one of the most profound statement I've ever heard' - full reaction below.


Below is an extract from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less written by Greg McKeown [yep, you can guess, this book resonated a lot with me].

It's natural and human to obsess over past mistakes or feel stress about what may be ahead of us. Yet every second spent worrying about a past or future moment distracts us from what is important in the here and now.

[...] It is mind-bending to consider that in practical terms we only ever have now. We can't control the future in a literal sense, just the now. Of course, we learn from the past and can imagine the future. Yet only in the here and now can we actually execute on the things that really matter.

Onwards.
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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1579877 2020-08-09T07:18:56Z 2020-08-09T07:46:40Z What matters most to you?

Everyday I go pick my toddler up at kindergarten. I fasten him on the back of my bike and we go for a ride. We stop in a different park each day and take time to play, eat, look at the fishes or turtles [sometimes]; we basically explore what the city has to offer.

From the time I leave home to when we're back, it takes on average 2 hours. I made the choice early on to always switch on the plane mode on my phone during that time. That looked simple at first. Now I realise how important it was. I don't blame the parents we see who're just on their phone constantly while their kids try to interact / tell / show them something. I definitely know where that comes from. I feel sad for them though. We have such a hard time connecting to the present, the here & right now. It's a skill we all have to learn & practice.

When we're eating and you look at your phone, you're telling me 'that notification - while not knowing in advance what it is exactly - is more important than you'.

When we're talking and you keep screening the whole room for something / someone else, you're telling me 'I don't care about you'.

Like any skill, the less you practice, the harder it gets. And at the end, without even noticing it, you're just letting anything else dictate your life and you lose everything & everyone that matter most to you.

Below is a story I read last month from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less written by Greg McKeown. This is the Dad I want to be.

A woman named Cynthia once told me a story about the time her father had made plans to take her on a night out in San Francisco. 12 year old Cynthia and her father had been planning the 'date' for months. They had a whole itinerary planned down to the minute: she would attend the last hour of his presentation, and then meet him at the back of the room at about 4:30 and leave quickly before everyone tried to talk to him. They would catch a tram to Chinatown, eat Chinese food (their favourite), shop for a souvenir, see the sights for a while and then 'catch a flick' as her dad liked to say. They then would grab a taxi back to the hotel, jump in the pool for a quick swim (her dad was famous for sneaking in when the pool was closed), order a hot fudge sundae from room service, and watch the late, late show. They discussed the details over and over again before they left. The anticipation was part of the whole experience.

This was all going according to the plan until, as her father was leaving the convention centre, he ran into an old college friend and business associate. It had been years since they had seen each other, and Cynthia watched as they embraced enthusiastically. His friend said, in effect: 'I am so glad you are doing some work with our company now. When Lois and I heard about it we thought it would be perfect. We want to invite you, and of course Cynthia, to get a spectacular seafood dinner down at the Wharf!' Cynthia's father responded: 'Bob, it's so great to see you. Dinner at the wharf sounds great!'

Cynthia was crestfallen. Her daydreams of tram rides and ice cream sundae evaporated in an instant. Plus, she hated seafood and she could just imagine how bored she would be listening to the adults talk all night. But then her father continued: 'But not tonight. Cynthia and I have a special date planned, don't we?' He winked at Cynthia and grabbed her hand and they ran out of the door and continued with what as an unforgettable night in San Francisco.

As it happens, Cynthia's father was the management thinker Stephen R. Covey who had passed away only weeks before Cynthia told me this story. So it was with deep emotion she recalled that evening in San Francisco. His simple decision 'Bonded him to me forever because I knew what mattered most to him was me!' she said.

Photo by Olivia Bauso
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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1577247 2020-07-26T15:43:19Z 2020-07-26T16:10:06Z Fast

I live in Lisbon for 2 years this month [my longest time somewhere btw since I left my teenager bedroom in 2007]. And there are some work & renovation near my flat that have always been there since my first day. It looks like they haven't progress one bit. Now I laugh when I pass through them but the reality is: I find it sad. When I wonder wether we - as humans - are still capable of doing cool stuff at great speed I go back to Patrick's /fast project page and enjoy re-reading it. Here's an example I like:

The Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was built in 2 years and 2 months; that is, in 793 days. When completed in 1889, it became the tallest building in the world, a record it held for more than 40 years. It cost about $40 million in 2019 dollars.
Here's another one from a different time in a different vertical:
Thanks for the inspiration & the reminder. This feels very important these days.]]>
Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1575811 2020-07-25T21:29:17Z 2020-07-27T13:47:01Z Look, I'm 95% vegetarian

For a bit of context, I'll start with a historical fact: I'm a meat lover. I don't really know when & how it started but as far as I can remember, meat - and especially red meat; cooked rare obviously - has always been my ultimate favorite meal. I mean it. Even as a kid, if I had a choice between candies / ice creams / cakes / chocolate mousse [you name it] and a plate with a piece of beef cooked rare and some pasta.. phew! the choice was very easy: gimme the damn plate! And still today, if I'm in a restaurant with a great 'steak tartare' [raw meat] it's really hard for me not to order it right away.

Photo by Liuda Brogiene

I remember few times in some restaurants well-known for serving big portion of meat, I was only 7 or 8 y/o and I always asked what was the record of the biggest piece of beef eaten by someone - few kg always - and asked to be served this exact portion. Now that I think about this, I don't even know where that comes from. Sure, my grand-ma loved red meat as well and was always stoked to cook some but I don't have the feeling she ate more of this than anyone else in France actually. My mum then wasn't a big meat eater. There is something in our french culture though. I mean, a good meal - in the traditional sense; when you're invited somewhere or in the restaurant - implies some meat most of the time. I tried few times in the past, go serve something to people with no meat at all in the plate, most of them would look at you in surprise and asked if you haven't forgotten anything.

Then, growing up, there has been a first shift: I wanted to eat 'very good' meat only. Like the one you'd find only in the local butcher shop and not the one you could buy at the supermarket. Sure it cost way more but I told myself the story that I loved meat so much I didn't care about the price and I was consequently totally ready to decrease my consumption of other stuff [I didn't smoke, I'd buy some glasses of Pastis in the bar - pretty cheap alcohol usually in local french bars - instead of fancy cocktails etc.].

Then 2 things happened: I moved to Singapore when I was still in my early twenties and I started to watch few documentaries about the whole meat industry. The latter made me deeply uncomfortable & questionned my own impact in that supply chain. The former changed my meat consumption entirely. While I still consider Singapore as one of the best place in the world for me in terms of cuisine, I don't remember it as especially good in terms of red meat. It was more about chicken, pork, fish, seafood etc.

Ultimately I read the book Eating Animals from Jonathan Safran Foer and this has been the 'coup de grace'. From then on, I committed to become a vegetarian. I don't remember which year it was exactly but I'd say sometime around 2012 / 2013. Since then... arrrrgh such an up & down journey. I experienced some periods of few months without eating meat at all [record was probably while in Berlin; something like 8 or 9 months total], and then, I landed in France for few days or weeks visiting family, ate a good tartare and - even though I tried intentionnally to keep my consumption as low as possible - went on eating meat for another 6 months. One thing I found hard back then was the very low choice of vegeterian options in french restaurants for instance [on the opposite side, being a vegeterian in Berlin was easy, so much yummy choices everywhere - even in a burger restaurant]. Like you get the menu and the only option is some type of salad while you could order a cheeseburger... for someone like me, it was literally impossible to pick up the salad [oh, yep, one thing to consider: the salad costs the same price!]. Obviously it has changed a bit.

I don't try to find me any excuse actually. Now that I write this, I think I just approached the whole thing the wrong way. I didn't want to be seen as a 'troublemaker' as well when I was invited somewhere. My mum always taught us that, as guests, you just eat politely everything you got served. Period. So I felt uncomfortable telling people, friends, even my family 'hey I changed my diet, no more meat for me, oh you cooked too much beef, well, too bad, I won't eat any of it anyway'. In retrospect, maybe I should have. I don't know. I think I have a deep problem with orthodoxy in general. Life should be flexible and I feel that the more orthodox you'd be, the more judgmental you might become and at the end, others would reject even more your beliefs. It's weird when I think more about it. Years later, I know some people still felt angry that no meat has been served at a specific family dinner because of us [my other half shared the experiment]. Or some stories I got from people who offered a vegetarian meal during their own wedding and people were mad it wasn't a 'proper special-meal'... hmmm at what point everyone just loves to fight and becomes so close-minded anyway? I digress.

I'm a bit older now [yep, harsh reality]. I might be a bit wiser too [I hope]. Ultimately I know myself more. I know how I react to challenges, new habits, change in general; I know how finding my own pace is the most important thing; I understood how discipline and rountine / rituals are keys [and not bad words to avoid only]. So when I started to try the app No Meat Today - and got lucky enough to talk to the founder & discovered his own story - it became a no-brainer. The goal of the app is dead simple: track your meat consumption. I set up a daily reminder at 9pm to input if yes or no I ate meat this day.

Few months later. Here's my status.

And since the beginning of this year, I tend to eat meat once a week only. So if we take the month of June as an example [like on the screenshot above], 3 meals a day x 30 days = 90 meals. 4 meals with meat out of 90 meals means a bit less than 5%. So I started to say 'yep I'm 95% vegetarian'.
In july so far, I've eaten meat only twice so I might be on track to almost 98% hehe.

And you know what - yep you can guess - I feel freaking good. I found out that being 95% [or 98% sometimes] vegetarian was my perfect equilibrium. I know that I can go the long way at this pace. It resonates deep down. I feel complete, in harmony with who I am and what I believe in. I even went hunting a year ago to see for myself what it meant to kill an animal to eat. That experience has been very interesting, in a lot of different ways - that's worth another post by itself.

Anyway, I know some hardcore vegan would hate me; some radicals would make fun of me or just debate if the formula itself 'XX% vegetarian' would mean anything at all. The thing is: I don't care. I know that I succeeded to decrease my meat consumption dramatically. After all, if the whole world turns 90%+ vegetarian tomorrow, the impact would be pretty huge right away. And guess what: if more people would introduce the change this way, it would sound way easier, almost sexier right away for more people. More importantly in my case, I found a pace I'm able to follow & commit in the very long-term. And that's where the biggest impact lies at the end.

95 / 98% vegetarian over the next 60 years will be so much more impactful, powerful and meaningful for me than a short period of 6 / 9 months as a vegan and then... nothing.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1566544 2020-06-30T04:19:57Z 2020-06-30T10:41:42Z About writing

I quickly mentioned the usual resolutions I'm taking every year in my reading list from 2019 here. The one I had the hardest time to figure out has always been the same: writing.

Photo by Anders Nord

Looking at the publishing dates on this blog now frustrates me. The longest streak - with at least one post a month - was from July 2014 to May 2015 [11 months in a row - not bad actually to build a routine] but then, it collapsed. Few posts here & there along the end of 2015 and early 2016 and... nothing until 4 years later: April 2020. I can't even explain how something like this happened. Not a big deal by itself, I can quickly find tons of excuses - mostly related to time, ressources & energy - but still, I haven't succeed to publish anything here.

The interesting thing is: I wrote a lot during these years. As a matter of fact, by the pure amount of words typed a day, I'm surely more of a writer than most of the people in history. All of us probably, typing thousands of words a day through email, slack, different chats & DMs services, few experiments on Medium one day, few tweets and so on so forth. I know I wrote a lot of long-form content actually on our skateboarding mag [it was mostly interviews though]. Still I miss something entirely different: writing my raw-thoughts [no editing, no second read] here on my own blog, my own space on the World Wide Web.

Each year I wondered: why are you still putting that resolution on your list? I felt frustrated. I still am today actually. Even though one way to look at 2020 would be: kudos kev, you succeed to hit the 'publish' button few times this year, you made the hardest part, you awakened your muscle, now you just have to keep it going. Another voice in my head is still shouting: boom, you're a loser, it's still a painful process, you haven't progressed one slice, you're still staring at your screen for too long and you don't really know how to organize your thoughts in a proper manner; I could go on for hours. Fortunately I choose easily the first angle.

This year, I realised that the fist step in order to get back successfully to writing was: giving myself enough time to do it. Like literally I started to block slots in my calendar, on a weekly recurring basis, just to stop everything else, to think, pause, think again, and from there, start to open a draft here and write. I don't mind the outcome [a pusblished article per se], I just celebrate the time to think with no distraction and nothing else to take care about. I knew this. I read a lot about how to form new habits. I succeed re: reading, playing sport, sleeping and so on but somehow, always neglected the same formula for writing. I suspect the medium made it harder. I'm writing on the same computer I'm working with, browsing the web, digging into my feedly, having so much stuff one click away; it was harder to commit compare to sport where once I'm outside on my board for instance, or in a ring with my pair of gloves on, nothing else matters.

Now that I successfully published few posts this year, I can already feel the whole process being easier, my mind fitter, my whole body focusing more on the enjoying part of it rather than the challenges. I know what the next trap is: setting up the expectations too high and getting discouraged. So I'll keep it easy for the rest of the year [way enough challenges this year anyway]; and I'll slowly increase my pace going forward.

2 more things I'd like to add right now. One is my own personal reasons to write:

  • this blog acts as a personal record of my thoughts; it felt great to go back to few stuff I wrote 5 years ago for instance; it was like a true time-machine in my own mind -- exhilerating
  • writing is like fitness for your brain: it helps me organize my thoughts, articulate them better, in one word: it helps me think; it improves my communication skills as well
  • I got convinced very early on to write publicly online [10 years ago by Tristan]; it makes me learn 100x more / faster thanks to others; people react, comment, share, criticize and by doing so, they make me think more deeply, dive deeper, understand more nuances, they literally teach me some stuff
  • over the years, I also met awesome new people -- outside of my 'regular background' growing up let's say

Second is a collection of stuff I read recently about writing that I felt relevant.

  • Why write by my friend Gian. Very well articulated. I can't agree more. By the way, we both write in a language that isn't our mother tongue.
  • 'Like all skills, we improve with practice and with feedback.' by Seth about The simple cure for writer's block

To be continued

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1559279 2020-06-14T15:16:52Z 2020-06-14T15:34:42Z Black Lives Matter

I'm enraged by the current situation. I'm deeply sad that we are still guilty of such injustice. I'm concerned by the lack of empathy. I sometimes wonder wether we're truly able to be humanist - as a society.

Now I'm obsessed with one thing everyday when I look at my 1 year-old son: what can I do exactly / what should I show him / how to make sure he's actively & fully part of something much better. I believe my wife and I are capable of such a thing. Actually, we have to succeed. 

Below are first thoughts we had, we'll go through some iterations for sure, we'll need to confront this against reality, to adapt and progress. I read a lot of good intentions these past few weeks but haven't gone through much things towards babies, kids & education as a whole. How school should start tomorrow to teach differently for instance? I haven't read anything impactful on the topic so far; which saddens me. How everyone at home should start right now to raise awareness among the whole family? The list goes on.

I do think that education is key here. After all, as parents [but not only, as grand-parents as well, as godfathers, friends, brothers & sisters, aunts & uncles, teachers, etc.] we do set up examples & give some backgrounds & context for generations to come. My son isn't born racist. I see him today treat 100% equally his black & white friends at kindergarten. If we're not active & intentional though, I'm afraid he might become at some point. Because it's sneaky, it's part of our culture. Let's pause. Writing this hurts me. I want us to change. Then, I want his generation to finally experience a real humanist & peaceful world.

I'd love to know your thoughts on the topic, your realisations too, your own blindspots, your actions. It'll obviously be a continuous work-in-progress on our end.

In no particular order:

  • we want our son to develop strong ties with some black kids; since I don't believe we could force any specific friendship or love; we could influence his environment though; and that's where it becomes a number game at the end. Few areas we're thinking about: geography [which type of neighborhood, city, country are we living in], school, social activities [like personally I met most of my black friends through boxing].
  • this applies to ourselves as well; today our son is playing with a black friend because we met her parents and became friends with them. Though we realised we don't have a lot. Let's be more intentional with this.
  • speak out against anything racist we will hear - always; coming from anyone; 'jokes' included; no matter the context: family, professional, etc. And let's be radical about it.
  • get deeply involved in the historical lessons our kids will get along the way; and always provide few other angles. I remember how enlightening it was for me during my years in Singapore to read & learn about World War II through a South-East Asian angle, it felt like a totally different event [and it was a humbling experience].
  • be extra-careful with the set of aspirational examples he'll get growing up [like these athletes, artists, leaders, entrepreneurs, etc.] - this one looks challenging and will also depend on the geography I think but this is very impactful. Growing up in France in the 90's I realise: highest politicians = all white; leaders in biggest corporations = all white; black people? hmmm... few in the soccer team, few artists here & there - this is bad because it doesn't reflect the reality of the french society.

Photo by Kadir Celep - we used to live in this neighborhood in Berlin

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1543657 2020-05-13T04:53:02Z 2020-06-14T10:33:27Z The dinner party of our dreams

I think we bought this book few years ago, while randomly wandering around Berlin. It's called Me, You, Us by Lisa Currie. With such a title, baseline & cover, obviously it caught our eye [& easily convinced us].

We decided to slowly fill it up recently - we set a routine like one page a week more or less and I've to say: this is really fun. One of the latest page was titled: the dinner party of our dreams and the goal was to create the 'guest list'. So the way we approached it was: 'okay we already experienced the most amazing dinner of our lives: our wedding one. Period. But if we got the superpower to invite everyone we wanted right now, what would that guest list look like'.

I want to share it here for few reasons: (a) I'm a deep fan of the 'tell me what you eat/buy/watch, I'll tell you who you are' things so I find that fun here to see what that guest list could tell about me, us, at this moment of our lives (b) because obviously we change over time I wanted to keep it here and be able to get back to it in few years, see who else I might invite (c) I'd find it interesting if some of you would share yours in the comment [or send it to me directly as you prefer].

Here it goes:

  • there are both of us
  • Jesus
  • Magellan
  • Freud
  • Maria Montessori
  • Marie Curie
  • Yuval Harari
  • 2 of our friends
  • Dolores Abernathy

Yep, that's what we could call a fantasy kind of dinner.

Looking at our list right now, I could quickly extract few themes that I know are currently running wild in our own minds and that we find particularly interesting: adventure, myth, cult, education, science, psychology, subconscious, friendship, love, history, rebellion, freedom, change, exploration.

I do think it reflects us. Let's see how it evolves.

Zeng Fanzhi -- The Last Supper, 2001

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1533160 2020-04-20T04:01:20Z 2020-04-21T02:12:22Z Love, family and invention

There is a surprising thing I don't succeed to achieve nowadays: listening to podcasts [probably among some other stuff but I'd need to think more about it]. I now realise how much that activity is tight to my commute, be it on a bike or in a bus / subway or just walking [yep, these are my only ways of commuting, no car policy at home -- some Uber rides sometimes but it's only a handful of them a month generally speaking].

Anyway, one of the last one I listened to was a discussion between Andy McCune & David Perell in the North Star Podcast. Okay I'll try to insert it directly at the bottom of this post [yep, be cool, I'm just coming back to this].

One thing struck me -- if you wanna jump right into it, it's happening at 1h37min -- Andy referred to it as something he heard 'from a friend the other night': Love, family and invention. Like his friend would have said 'if I have love, family and I've invented something, that's all I need'.

He explained it as:
- love: feeling you have people who you see, who warm your heart, who make you hair stick up [...] you see them and it's like life is whole when you're with them
- family: people that you trust, people that you know that no matter what happens they're always gonna be with you
- invention: feeling that you're an individual, that you were put on this planet for a reason

And he finally wondered wether 'what if those were just the 3 things to strive for'. I do think there is a kind of wisdom to this. I'm not entirely sure about that 'invention' part - I mean, I'm not sure about that word and if it translates the whole feeling, but I get the point. I like the fact they put creativity in that word, and beyond creativity, they include curation also. At least, that broadens the concept but it doesn't feel enough. It's maybe something more around 'building'. Like, to me, it seems less about if I've invented something rather than if I've built something. This word sounds more team-oriented as well. I'm happy to be a 'cog in the wheel' when that wheel is building some heavy stuff for society. I'm less into individuality actually [maybe that's a cultural difference]. In that regard I can't recomend enough Marc's latest essay: It's time to build. I digress.

Bottom line, thanks to Andy & David for that discussion, I enjoyed it a lot. And in a world that looks more and more complex to the most of us, getting your happiness down to such 3 'basics' [whatever the 3rd word and nuance you pick up] resonates a lot.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1530297 2020-04-13T04:44:07Z 2020-04-13T04:44:07Z What I've read in 2019

I played with the same sort of resolutions the past few years and it always looks liks this: 

  • spend more time with closed friends
  • talk more to the family
  • read more
  • go back to writing
  • more sport

I've tried to be more specific in 2019 and pretty much succeeded in 4 out of these 5 points. Yep, you could easily guess it by looking at the publishing dates on this blog, I haven't written for a while but hey, it's not what I want to talk about this time.

One thing I've nailed down is my reading habit. I told myself last year to read at least 1 book a month [total being 12 at the end of the year - yep I know, I'm good at maths indeed]. I finally read 21 books in total. It made me very happy so I decided to read at least 2 books a month in 2020 [spoiler: I'm heavily on track].

Below's the list [from the first one I read to the last]:

  1. Papa pour la premiere fois [fr]
  2. J'accouche bientot: que faire de la douleur? [fr]
  3. Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du cafe [fr]
  4. Le journal de moi... papa [fr]
  5. Men, Love & Birth [en]
  6. Revenir a Lisbonne [fr]
  7. Barbarian Days: a surfing life [en]
  8. Ce qu'il reste de nos reves [fr]
  9. L'ecologie en bas de chez moi [fr]
  10. Une colere noire: Lettre a mon fils [fr]
  11. Petite Poucette [fr]
  12. L'alchimiste [fr]
  13. L'espionne [fr]
  14. Le tour du monde du roi Zibeline [fr]
  15. Check-point [fr]
  16. L'aventure, le choix d'une vie [fr]
  17. Le rugissant [fr]
  18. Hotel International [fr]
  19. Le grand roman des maths [fr]
  20. Montessori a la maison [fr]
  21. Electrochoc [fr]

Yep there is something funny indeed looking at this list: 5 books are related to birth & parenthood. Quite easy to guess what we went through last year haha. I also realise that I actually read a lot in french - only 2 books were in english - way more than I would have thought first [and this is probably due to the fact I read in english mainly everyday on the web]. 6 books are novels, which isn't bad for someone who never read this type initially [this is changing though]. My family always makes fun of me because they think I only read biographies but this represents only 5 books last year. There is actually one main topic included in most of these titles [parenthood aside]: travel. It's in 10 of these books [including the highest grade I gave]. 2 books are related to music.

I use a french website called SensCritique to keep track of what I read and rate everything [out of 10]. Average of these 21 books is 6.33. I gave two 9/10: J'accouche bientot & Le tour du monde du roi Zibeline. And I gave two 2/10: Papa pour la premiere fois & Le journal de moi... papa. I'm really disappointed so far in everything written for dads anyway. It's like the only angle for men if you want to tackle parenthood somehow is to treat them like dummies. I've no doubt there are great stuff out there but I still have to dig.

So, my top 3 recommendations from last year would be [parenthood aside of course]: (1) Le tour du monde du roi Zibeline (2) L'alchimiste (3) Le grand roman des maths.

Enjoy.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1024389 2016-04-03T17:53:40Z 2019-11-29T10:33:05Z Sex, Rock'n'Roll, Gangs, Stars, Surfing... here's Sunset Boulevard ]]> Kevin Straszburger tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/1010998 2016-03-10T20:56:21Z 2020-03-29T16:49:40Z Neon Noir Art

I just discovered Kate Hush today and... I'm in love with her work. That one above was like a slap in my face! Don't even know why... the bloody hands maybe... or the hair... the retro-bathroom Idk.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/950445 2015-12-17T16:22:12Z 2016-02-14T21:25:54Z Max Schaaf | This Time

Max Schaaf | This Time from Mark Choiniere on Vimeo.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/951353 2015-12-16T21:33:06Z 2016-02-14T21:26:13Z Ali Boulala

pic by Boonphotography

Epicly Later'd is conseidered by many of us like one of the most authentic and relevant skateboard documentaries. The show is produced by Patrick O'Dell and published on Vice.

Latest episode features Ali Boulala. All the 4 parts are online now and this is a must-watch by everyone, not only skateboarders. As Patrick said: "This is a heavy episode, and I want to thank Ali for his honesty".

You dig into Ali's personality right in the introduction. Ali's words: "When I like something a little bit I only wanna do that all the time everyday. If you do one thing only then eventually you get good at it. And that's what happens with skateboarding. I could not not do it all the time everyday because I'm an addict.".

Via these 4 parts you discover the rise and fall of Ali. From the Original Baker Boy to Being a Piss Drunk to The Crash That Ruined Everything to The Life After Skateboarding. Although Ali's story could be viewed as tragic (and like Erik Ellington said: "he has seen the worst") it might serve now as an example for the younger generation and save some lives. RIP Shane.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/950437 2015-12-15T15:01:38Z 2016-02-14T21:26:25Z Off-the-grid lifestyle

This following sentence resonates with me: "People talk about chucking their jobs. They say they will leave behind the madness of the city and hit the road. [...] But nobody ever does it. Nobody. Except for one guy."

"He [Foster Huntington] is an outdoorsman entrepreneur who has invented his own career. The treehouses serve as his home and as an alluring backdrop for advertisements for himself."

You can read the full story here: Escape to Bro-topia.

Meanwhile, enjoy the video. Pretty inspiring.

The Cinder Cone from Farm League on Vimeo.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/947985 2015-12-11T20:27:05Z 2020-04-01T06:52:12Z DTLA

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/947982 2015-12-11T20:24:23Z 2020-04-01T06:53:02Z Nice

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/947970 2015-12-11T19:41:22Z 2016-02-14T20:51:45Z Lille

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/947969 2015-12-11T19:27:38Z 2016-02-14T21:26:39Z Everyone / style is welcome in Berlin!
"ist mir egal" = I don't care :) Proud to be based in this city!

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/898211 2015-08-27T09:24:08Z 2016-02-14T21:26:52Z A new model?
If you wanna digg a bit deeper, here's their website: Kalu Yala. Enjoy!

Kalu Yala - Building a New World in the Panamanian Jungle from What Took You So Long? on Vimeo.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/895727 2015-08-20T09:17:11Z 2016-02-14T21:27:39Z LA from a drone

Los Angeles from Ian Wood on Vimeo.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/895461 2015-08-19T16:43:58Z 2016-02-14T20:51:57Z Street art in Berlin

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/895459 2015-08-19T16:40:58Z 2016-02-14T20:52:19Z Walking around Berlin ]]> Kevin Straszburger tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/895457 2015-08-19T16:35:30Z 2020-04-01T06:53:34Z Few days in France

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/895452 2015-08-19T16:30:10Z 2016-02-14T20:52:56Z Alex Tower

This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

"The Fernsehturm (English: Berlin TV Tower) is a television tower in central Berlin, Germany.

Close to Alexanderplatz in Berlin, the tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the administration of the German Democratic Republic. It was intended as a symbol of Berlin, which it remains today, as it is easily visible throughout the central and some suburban districts of Berlin. With its height of 368 meters, it is the tallest structure in Germany."

Here is the article if you wanna read more.

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Kevin Straszburger
tag:k7v.in,2013:Post/862476 2015-05-28T22:42:46Z 2016-02-14T21:27:52Z A sound decision

A Sound Decision from brian frank on Vimeo.

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Kevin Straszburger