Author: Peter Kang

Exploring Daily Commitments

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daily-commitments

I recently signed up for an online fitness program called Athlean-X. It’s a 3-month plan that requires 5 days of workouts with 2 days of rest and recovery. I haven’t been able to keep up day-for-day with the plan, especially as I like to fit in basketball and running on some of the days, but I’ve tried my best to fit the 5 workouts every 8-9 days. The workouts themselves are not overly difficult or […]

Being Short and Embracing Setbacks from Astroball by Ben Reiter

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astroball

Sig had developed a theory—a hypothesis, to be exact—about undersized ballplayers, after so many years of watching Jed Lowrie and José Altuve, and now Alex Bregman. Most players with their skills but traditional pro bodies had lived their entire lives without having ever been told no and often without suffering any setbacks. So, when faced with the prospect of failing at a critical moment, they didn’t know how to handle it, because they’d never had […]

The Discipline of Joy & More Thoughts on Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam

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offtheclock-part2

I’ve compiled some additional thoughts on Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam. You can read about my time diary experiment here. Progress is motivational, and makes time feel expansive. In the time-perception survey, people who strongly agreed with the statement “Yesterday, I made progress toward my personal or professional goals” were 20 percent more likely than the average survey respondent to believe that they generally had enough time for the […]

Thoughts on Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam and My Time Diary Experiment

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time-diary

In Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam, the author writes about her study of over 900 participants in which she surveys them on how they spent a Monday in March hour by hour and how they felt both about that day and about time in general. She writes: First, people who feel like they have enough time are exceedingly mindful of their time. They know where the time […]

The Importance of Marketing to Existing Clients from Managing the Professional Service Firm

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marketing-to-existing-clients

Managing the Professional Service Firm by David H. Maister is a must-read book for anyone running a professional services business. For too long, I thought that a digital creative firm like Barrel was somehow special and played by different rules than consulting, legal, accounting, or architecture/design businesses. Wrong. It became quickly apparent in the first few pages of the book that Barrel operates in the same way as any other professional service firm and that […]

Lummi Island and The Willows Inn in Washington

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Lummi Island Baker Preserve Overlook View of Surrounding Islands

Melanie and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary with a trip to Washington. We spent a couple of days in Seattle meeting up with friends and doing touristy stuff around the city. We then drove north a couple of hours to Lummi Island and stayed overnight at The Willows Inn. We enjoyed an excellent dinner at The Willows Inn, enjoyed the amazing view from our beachfront room, and woke up the next morning to an […]

Systems Archetypes from The Fifth Discipline and How They Apply to a Digital Agency

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limits-to-growth-fifth-discipline

One of my favorite parts of The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge is the topic of systems thinking and how so many of the problems inherent in organizations (and even personal behaviors) stem from being unaware of the various systems at play and how these systems, when undetected and untouched, can control and determine outcomes, often in ways contrary to what you may have intended. In such situations, we’re likely to blame external forces for our […]

Personal Mastery from The Fifth Discipline

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personal-mastery

Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs. In Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline, one of the five disciplines is personal mastery (the others being systems thinking, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning). Senge equates personal mastery with personal growth and learning, espoused by those who “are continually expanding their ability to create the results in life they truly seek.” As […]

The Seven Learning Disabilities from The Fifth Discipline

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learning-disabilities

In Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline, he introduces seven learning disabilities that largely go undetected in organizations. Only by identifying these, he writes, can an organization take the necessary steps to cure them and become a learning organization. The Seven Learning Disabilities It is no accident that most organizations learn poorly. The way they are designed and managed, the way people’s jobs are defined, and, most importantly, the way we have all been taught to think […]

The Importance of Client Satisfaction

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customer-satisfaction

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we can best get a sense of the health of our business at Barrel. There are the usual metrics like inbound leads, deals in the pipeline, and expected revenue from signed clients. There are also in-project metrics like profitability and how we’re tracking towards meeting milestones and deadlines. But the more I’ve explored this, the more I am convinced that the most important metric is one […]

Halfway Through My Thirties, How’s It Going?

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mid-thirties

I turned 35 today. I spent the day watching some TV, going for a run, doing the laundry, catching up on work, and eating delicious meals cooked by my wife Mel. It was a peaceful and restful Sunday, just what I wanted. Throughout the day, I found myself thinking about how I’ve hit the mid-point of my thirties. I was reminded of a blog post I wrote 5 years ago, Three Things to Consider for My […]

Lessons from Pricing Creativity by Blair Enns

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Lessons from Pricing Creativity by Blair Enns

Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour is a book that provides rules and tactics to help creative professionals charge more for new work and run a more profitable business. It’s by Blair Enns, the founder of Win Without Pitching, a training program that helps creative professionals win more business. I’ve been a follower of Enns for some years, having paid for access to his materials, enrolling in his online course, signing up for his webinars, and listening […]

What are My Deliberate Practice Opportunities?

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deliberate-practice

I recently paid for an online course called The Art of Focus (unfortunately, it’s no longer open to new students). It’s a series of videos and exercises designed to help increase my capacity for deep, focused work. In the introductory video, one of the topics is about Deliberate Practice. Here’s an excerpt: In the early 1990s, K. Anders Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University, studied experts and amateurs in an attempt to discern why […]

Themes from Our Partner Retreat

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retreat-themes

This past weekend, the four Barrel partners held an offsite retreat in Old Chatham, NY to plan the company’s priorities and initiatives for 2018. The two full days of planning were incredibly productive and we came away with a roadmap that we’re very excited to execute on in the coming weeks and months. It also helped that the AirBnB we were staying at was stunning. A barn-style home, the layout of the home, the high […]

The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence Josh Waitzkin (Quotes & Thoughts)

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art-of-learning

The real art in learning takes place as we move beyond proficiency, when our work becomes an expression of our essence. Josh Waitzkin grew up as a chess prodigy and competed at the highest levels of competition. In his early twenties, he left the chess world to pursue a career as a martial artist, specifically in Push hands, which is rooted in tai chi and a very popular competitive sport in Taiwan. His book, The […]

2017: Habits That Stuck

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2017-habits

As another year comes to a close, I like to take stock of the habits I built and also think about new ones I want to develop. I’m a firm believer in building a strong system comprised of good habits that promote healthy living, meaningful relationships, and continual stimulation for the mind. This also means being conscious of bad habits and finding ways to curb them, usually by replacing them with an alternative habit. In 2017, […]

Favorite Books of 2017

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favorite-books-of-2017

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to share my favorite books list of the past year. Hope you’ll give one of these a try during the holidays. The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football by S.C. Gwynne If you love football and want to understand how the game evolved from a stodgy, run-first sport into one that relies more and more on passing and spreading the field, this book […]

Netflix Culture Deck: 7 Slides to Remember

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netflix-cover

After listening to an NPR podcast about Netflix’s legendary culture deck (read here), I decided to take a look through the 125-slide presentation to get a better understanding. There were a lot of great points that resonated with me. Last week, I printed up the entire presentation for the Barrel leadership team and we read the slides together out loud. I know we’ll continue to discuss and adapt certain lessons in the coming weeks and […]

Managing Complex Change Applied to Projects

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managing-complex-change

Mel shared the Managing Complex Change model with me a couple years ago and it’s something that’s stayed in the back of my mind. I had trouble recalling all of its components, so I decided to make my own graphic version to help me remember it better. I like this model because it breaks collaborative change into five distinct elements: Vision, Skills, Incentives, Resources, and Action Plan. I also like it because I think it applies as […]

The Spiritual Journey

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spiritual-journey

I read Homo Deus by Yuval Harari back in March and one passage that stuck with me was his take on spirituality and why religions are anything but spiritual. Harari defines religion as such: Religion is any all-encompassing story that confers superhuman legitimacy on human laws, norms and values. It legitimises human social structures by arguing that they reflect superhuman laws. Religion asserts that we humans are subject to a system of moral laws that […]