Holiday Break Homework, 2020

Sign up for Greg’s email list here

Hopefully you’re getting some time off in the next couple of weeks, and I’ve created some homework for you in case you have some down time this year – but don’t worry! It’s going to be easy. 

I shared a similar holiday break homework assignment in 2019 and got a lot of great feedback. Of course, it included assignments like going to a VR arcade and asking your family where they get their news – things that I do not condone for 2020.

But that doesn’t mean a little couch time over the break can’t be profitable for setting you up for success in the new year. And given all I’ve learned and challenged within myself this last year, I will also admit this advice is for white collar knowledge workers who have the privilege of taking some time off. So if that’s you and you can use your time or means to help others less fortunate and privileged while still taking a well-deserved break, please do so!

And if you able to take some time off to recharge, here are some suggestions how to spend a little of that couch time to get a leg up on 2021…

  1. UNPLUG: Pick at least two days you won’t check your work email. Delete it from your phone if you don’t have the willpower not to look. You’re on PTO. It’s okay to take TWO DAYS OFF from checking it. Maybe try for five and settle for two. If you’re like me your “surge capacity is depleted” and without recharging, you won’t be ready for next year.
  2. GOAL SETTING: Write down 1-3 goals for Q1. Share them with your mentor, boss, and/or post them online. Accountability goes a long way. Don’t worry about planning for the whole year or making them massive stretch goals. Setting some achievable goals for January, February and March is plenty. Especially in the middle of a pandemic. But be intentional.
  3. AMONG US 101: If you haven’t already, this is your time to download Among Us and spend at least 20 minutes playing with family and/or strangers on the internet with the purpose of exploring what it’s like to play a massive multiplayer game that is also a social network (a trend that will continue in 2021). Don’t be overwhelmed, just jump in. It’s surprisingly addictive, and playing with family members while talking on the phone/FaceTime is so much much fun. Links to play on iOS/Android/Steam/Nintendo here.
  4. GEN Z SOCIAL TRENDS CRASH COURSE: While you’re doing all the holiday Zooms this year and run out of things to talk about, ask your niece and nephews who their favorite TikTok, YouTube and gamers are to watch. Ask them to text you their favorites. Don’t judge. Don’t play the “I’m old” card, either. Just ask questions and learn. And if you can, play Among Us, Roblox, Fortnite or whatever they’re interested in with them. Spending time with young people and genuinely showing interest in what they care about is both the right thing to do and also will help you better understand and be prepared for emerging trends in 2021. Double bonus!

That’s it! Binge a show! Read a book! Play a game! Don’t pressure yourself to drive a ton of progress during some of your only days off during a global pandemic, okay?


SWAN of the Week, Number 135

Idk who needs to hear this, but there are no more teenage millennials. “Millennial” and “Gen Z” are not interchangeable terms.

– Kalhan Rosenblatt

Happy Friday!

January is almost over. How are you tracking to your quarterly goals?

Remember in December when we talked about how completing a plan isn’t living and it’s the journey that counts? Well, I’m already crushing one of my goals (YES!) but am pivoting off another. Just keeping myself accountable along the journey.
If you’re up for sharing, send me your personal or career goals for the rest of Q1. I won’t share them without your permission, but 1) I’m just genuinely curious, and 2) would love to know if there are ways I can help.
It’s an exciting time to do what we do. Let’s make each other better. 
Couple other things this week:

Mr. Peanut is dead. Long live Mr. Peanut. Nobody would let me kill any of our own brand mascots at the agency this week. So it goes.

Local artist Abraham Piper started a much-needed subreddit dedicated to all things Minnesota Art at r/MNart that’s worth a follow.

The stage for the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas will be on the water at the Fountains of Bellagio. The players will be transported to the stage by boat. It’s a damn spectacle, and it absolutely broke through the extremely heavy news cycle this week. This is a fantastic word of mouth idea. The bar for attention has been raised yet again.

Trent Reznor on Nine Inch Nails’ Hall of Fame induction: “It feels pretty good … I’m allowing myself, for a limited period of time, to feel good about this.”

You’ll see in the Social Pulse this week that Apple CEO Tim Cook again waxed poetic about how augmented reality is the next frontier. A good metaphor I learned from Marc Jensen is that we’re in the pre-iPhone era of mobile phones when it comes to AR, and it will only take a couple big breakthroughs to really push adoption into the mainstream.If Apple believes it, you shouldn’t be quick to dismiss it.

So in my quest to get smarter and smarter about AR and smart glasses innovation, this week I attended the MN VR and HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) monthly event and learned about emerging technology like foveated rendering. I think I’m going to need to learn a lot more about the human eyeball to understand the next generation of VR and AR trends. Time to order some more books.

As of next Friday there is only 11/12ths of the year left! The countdown to 2021 is on!

See you on the internet!