Weekly Review #100: A Shift From Thoughts to Essays

We’ve reached Weekly Review #100! Woohoo! Thank you for sticking with me.

I timed the release of my book The Habitual Hustler to coincide with this monumental date because I feel this is the best time to alter the nature of this blog.

So far, this is been where I think aloud. The blog allowed me to share the things I’ve found and wondered that I think are valuable to others, and it has done that beautifully.  It’s me thinking out loud – not professional, not perfect, but it gets the idea across.

This was a great strategy in order to keep me on deadline and keep me writing. I’d recommend weekly posting to any new writer who wants to make a name for themselves – it keeps you honest.

However, now that I’m writer with a paid piece of content to my name, I’ve decided to shift this blog to better match the presences of those I admire on the Internet. That means two things:

Longer Essays, Less Often

The best blog posts are longform, both in terms of content, lifespan, and virality. Big well-researched posts like that cannot be churned out as a side job every week, and so from here on out you won’t see a post from me each and every week.

Instead, I will continue to write regularly, and post here when I do. But it won’t be on a fixed schedule – maybe every two weeks, maybe longer. Rest assured a restless mind like mine won’t be able to keep my thoughts to myself – now I will simply marinate on them a bit longer and share with more background.

I’ve also noticed that nobody follows blogs anymore – either they trust the writer enough to receive their emails or they don’t read, perhaps only an errant post that crosses their social media feeds every now and then. There’s only two audiences – your email list, and anyone they share to.

This model fits in with the less often posting – I’ll email them to you first! So make sure to sign up below if you want to continue reading my work – you won’t catch them here on the blog until later. Plus, you want to sign up because….

Weekly Reviews Only On Email

Weekly Reviews will continue as scheduled, but only on email. You won’t see them on this blog anymore. Instead, the weekly goodies will be distributed solely to the email list. That way, you’ll still get good stuff from me regularly, and you won’t forget who I am.

If you’re wondering where Weekly Review #100 is, well, now you know! Sign on up and it will come out as part of Review #101 at the end of this week, like normal.

TLDR: My writing is moving to your inbox.  The best stuff in tech, lifehacks, and fun exclusively for you every week, and longer, juicier posts every now and then, delivered to you before the general public.

See you in the inbox,

Join CoreyBreier.com on Email

How and Why I Wrote a Book about Entrepreneurial Habits

HH Final 06

One year ago, I embarked on a journey to interview 50 self employed entrepreneurs about their daily habits. Now, the result of all those hours of research, outreach, and interviews hits the Amazon store (free Oct 12-13!). Here’s why and how I did it.


A Google search for Lifestyle design exposes hundreds of people making livings off the internet and doing whatever they want on a regular basis. You’ll also notice that these people readily share tips, hacks, and resources for you to do the same. The internet is awash in methods that promise to get you self employed.

However, there’s not much content on what your life looks like when you’re self employed. How does one stay healthy, happy, and productive when you can do whatever you want?

This was the question I found myself asking last September, when I lost my job and my girlfriend in the same week. Suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands, and I didn’t know how to apply it constructively. I knew I wasn’t the first person to face that problem, given my enduring passion for online entrepreneurs, but I realized I didn’t know what any of their daily routines looked like. Couple that with a reading of Mason Currey’s wonderful Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and I had a draft on my hands.

Interviewing self employed entrepreneurs would accomplish 3 things:

  • Answer my original question for me and the world (this content didn’t exist)
  • Provide a pre baked marketing solution (promote to their followings!)
  • Allow me to personally connect with dozens of my personal heroes.

Nobody wants to spend 25 minutes of their life talking to an internet stranger, but if it’s for a project that may increase their stature or following, it’s surprising how accessible people are.

Indeed, you can see this in the proliferation of modern podcasts where people talk to their friends and broadcast the result along with a sponsored message. I didn’t want to go the podcast route for a few reasons:

  • I’m a reader by nature – I take in information better through writing than listening. The best podcasts were the ones I had to listen to again to take down notes, so why add that extra step?
  • I noticed anecdotally (and from interviews) that the only people who listen to podcasts are those with commutes or workouts, and I saw no need to pigeonhole myself as such.

Worst case, readers would skim my book, but at least they would pay attention to it. With a podcast, your audience is far more narrow, commoditized, and requires a higher degree of commitment. Ergo, a book!


With the interview format, my task was not writing an actual novel but getting the attention of many internet famous individuals. This is an invaluable skill – I first learned it during my job hunt last year, and now as a marketer at a startup, you can boil my job down to 3 things: convincing investors, partners, and press to give me attention. Therefore the process of writing the book was intrinsically valuable, not to mention fun – I got to talk to my heroes, and find more!

The beginning was easy – I started with the least famous entrepreneurs, who were a simple friendly cold email away from saying yes. Much of their audience is found through podcast interviews, guest posts and the like, so I was just another half hour Skype interview in their schedule.

I asked them what their daily routine was, how they shaped their workspace and mental processes, tools and information they’d recommend, as well as the single habit they’d most recommend to an aspiring hustler. I also asked them whose habits they’d like to see next, which allowed me to have each interviewee refer me to the next with a warm introduction.

Once I got farther up the pecking order, things got tougher. Many interviewees were authors and creatives who knew they needed to shut out intrusions from strangers like me in order to get work done, and there was nothing I could say to get around that. However, for the top of the chain, I found that many of the answers to my questions were already online, just scattered throughout several locations. So with them, I gathered as much public info about their days as I could, and then used warm introductions or blatant tweets to get their permission to be included. Nobody said no to that!

The trickiest ones were the famous people who didn’t have info online. I ended up asking them to record themselves talking through my questions and sending the resulting voice memo to me to transcribe, which took around 7 minutes and didn’t require scheduling, unlike 25 minute Skype interviews. This worked, but resulting in less detailed profiles.


In retrospect, I could have made this book much more easily, by focusing solely on quick interviews or recorded voice memos, having FancyHands assistants transcribe them, and having Upwork assistants edit and format the thing into a book. With a format like this, there’s no reason to give yourself more work than necessary. But it was a labor of love, so I don’t regret it.

However, I did notice my interest in the project lagging towards the end. By the time I had completed all interviews, I had kind of answered my original question, and all that remained was grunt work and book marketing. I had written the book I wanted to read, and now that I read it, I didn’t care enough to go big on marketing, which is a problem because book marketing is just as big of an undertaking as the book itself.

I decided to use Amazon for the increased visibility and distribution, rather than hosting it on my own site, where few if any people would find it after the launch. I decided to make the book free for the first two days, to make sharing and downloading easier, and to shoot it up the charts. It’s a common practice I learned from two of the interviewees: Taylor Pearson and Scott Britton. We’ll see how it works out.

As for the marketing, interviewees Ryan Holiday and Charlie Hoehn have fantastic guides on that. However, I measure success like Ryan: “Authors should measure success by the assets they’ve accumulated via the platform they’ve built. This means emails collected, partnerships made with influencers in your space, speaking gigs, evergreen content placements on blogs”. I’ve already got partnerships with influencers and evergreen content ready, so all that’s left to do it put it to work. Sales and profit are less important than connections, and with smart promotion, those will come in spades.

What next?

So, what next? I know what a well-structured day looks like, and I’ve mapped the self employed creative space to my satisfaction. However, interviewing smart people to spread their knowledge and create connections is a winning formula – I could see highlighting self employed entrepreneurs who fit into timely themes, like snake people or the sharing economy, or startup founders with actionable tactics. We’ll see.

Anyways, go read my book! You’ll learn about tons of successful habits, discover new self employed entrepreneurs, and be awash in resources to continue the journey.

Weekly Review #99: Secular Sunday service, virtual 9/11, and the mermaid economy

I attended the Transformative Technology Conference this weekend, full of quantified mindfulness and people-mimicking AI startups. Very interesting group of people! One company had a backpack that would shake your spine with the bass of music, and another had something you attached to your head and could apparently make your brain vibrate in a calm or excitatory way. My favorite was the guy trying to reverse engineer enlightenment using brain feedback – stick ‘enlightened’ people in an MRI, then play a game of hot and cold with the normals, to get them closer to the sample size. Clever!

I also attended Sunday’s Finest, a church service for the nonreligious. I love the idea, but there’s only so many gimmicks you can pull out of a normal service – gospel pop songs, spontaneous healings, and acrobatics are fun, but it becomes a cheap Cirque Du Soleil. Just like any event, its really all about community, and that’s hard to hack!


The 10 unscalable tactics Quibb used to build community – scarcity and feedback are king!

What Ben Franklin can teach you about Business Development – quite a lot, actually. Speaking of which, never negotiate piecemeal – do it all at once.


Dann Berg shares how he built and launched an app with little coding experience.


China’s second generation millionaires are despised by everyone, but lack meaning in their life. What’s left for them?

New VR game lets you experience 9/11 from inside of a Twin Tower. Eerie….

Thousands of Americans are full time mermaids. No joke. Hear from them.

Carve your pumpkin in style with Emoji templates!

Using AI to Reduce Social Friction

from Katie Harbath

Running off my Friendly CRM idea, here’s another first world problem many young urban professionals have: not enough quality time with friends.

We’re all so busy living our own lives that we can’t find time to meet with the people we care about. Without proactive effort, your social network narrows to workmates and housemates. We have calendar reminders and Facebook events to keep us professionally and personally occupied, but this is all reactive, not proactive. I may want to spend time with a nearby friend, but the friction of reaching out, finding a time, and scheduling a place to meet is just too much.

Why not use technology to remove this friction? My social network is already online in a database, so a machine solution should be able to make meeting up truly effortless.

Reconnect with a Single Button

Maybe I hit a button, and it goes through my contacts (Facebook, email, whatever) and finds who I haven’t spoken to in a while, but who I have had close contact with before. It then finds a hole in my schedule (since it’s attached to my calendar) and searches for Yelp locations within a suitable distance. Bam – person, place, and time are found, and it reaches out to the person in question with the details to determine the final answer. We’ve got Clara for scheduling, so there’s no need for me to be a part of that process.

I see this as being very valuable, as trite as it may seem. There are plenty people in my life who I want to spend time with, but can’t find the time for. Except it isn’t that I don’t have the time – it’s that I don’t have the attention to spare, to find the time and make it work. This app could take care of the attention and find me the time.

All the data is already there in Facebook, your calendar, and Yelp – it’s just a matter of connecting them.

This ‘one button to solve social problem’ solution could be applied to other angles as well. Remember the couple that arranged their entire wedding through sharing economy services? They rented a venue with Airbnb, did catering with Instacart, and had servants from Taskrabbit. Final budget was under ten thousand dollars, in compared to astronomical normal wedding prices. I’m sure all of that required a lot of managing, but what if you made it easy?

Dinner Party with a Single Button

We already have operator boutiques like Magic – what if you took one of those workflows and streamlined it with trusted venues and Taskrabbits? I can tap a button, and a gourmet dinner is prepared at my house ready for my return, along with guests preselected. The what and how parts are easily solved, but the who part is tricky.

There you face the same issue as before – involving other humans complicate matters. But I think I could still hit a button, and it would search my contacts for recently non interacted people the same way, and send them casual invitations “Hey, hosting a dinner at my place on Friday, can you make it?”. Then Clara-ize the feedback until you arrive at a desired number or attendees. Hire the food with Munchery and boom, we’ve got dinner.

Apparently Factory X did something just like this – dinnr.io, and found that they couldn’t get people to show up. Even with human-curated gatherings with new people and down payments of 5 to 10 dollars, people said they would go and then didn’t.

But you could easily solve that with a human aide checking in, or bigger down payments, or people that they know they want to know. Don’t make it blind introductions. Tell them exactly why they chose this person to have dinner with them. Or use the curator’s personal network to facilitate their existing wish lists – maybe garnered from Twitter.

The system could even allow me to select certain types of gatherings using its machine data. I could select categories of friends, like ‘college buds’ or ‘professional friends in the same industry who should know each other’. Or it sees how many friends they have in common, to see who should know who but doesn’t.

My life is easier, my social capital is higher, my friends get to know each other, and it’s all without any extra work on my end.

I suppose what I’m talking about here is a way to add AI to social networking. It was a big jump to put our social circles into databases, but we haven’t yet leveraged that fact and put the databases to work for us yet. It sounds impersonal, but at the end of the day, it will encourage more social interactions. And that’s something we all want, right?

Weekly Review #98: Secret Uber Parties, Third World FB Growth, and Playa Sandwiches

TechCrunch Disrupt was this week, but my experience wasn’t nearly as impressive as its reputation would indicate. It sounds like it’s getting more noise and less signal every year, which is a problem every event has, but it’s too bad.

The only startups worth mentioning that I saw were UrbE (tiny electric bicycle that goes 20 mph), PIF (pay it forward model of introductions, trade intros for intros), and Snapshirt (make all over print shirts with a simple picture).


Two other events of note – I attended a free secret Uber party on Thursday with top DJ Arty, by swiping the call options over to the limited edition ‘Party’ option and going to a secret location. Clever partnership!

I also dropped by the infamous Folsom Street Fair, a completely NSFW leather fetish event in the middle of SF. It was a little overwhelming and I didn’t stay long, but I did see a guy paint a (admittedly talented) portrait of JFK using only his paint-dipped penis, no hands involved. Impressive?


Facebook’s growth strategy isn’t novel – it’s Dave McClure’s startup metrics for pirates repurposed, along with a few extra helping hands for developing countries. Nevertheless, it’s a good rundown of evergreen growth tactics

Comparison of SEO link building tools is a comprehensive look at the art.


HuffPo article on habits of entrepreneurs rings some bells to me, given mywork on the Habitual Hustler. Planning, reflection, blurring of work and play, and working for a higher purpose are all spot on.


Quiznos ad spoofing Burning Man in the style of the Maze Runner nails every single joke. Hilarious, and all for sandwiches. Meanwhile, Rinse and Repeat is “a male shower simulation game” that somehow isn’t entirely NSFW (spoiler – you rub his back and that’s it)