What You Need to Know Today: February 2

Good afternoon, Early Risers!

Here’s what you need to know


What Facebook can teach you about success. Before I reveal the tipping point to Facebook’s success over the past four years, we need to go back to 2012 — when consumer habits took a hard left. “People started viewing websites and using apps on their smartphones much more often than they used desktop computers,” says Mike Isaac. This shift in consumer habits set the stage for the next four years of Facebook’s record-breaking profits. Here’s why: Early in 2012, as he prepared for the I.P.O., Mark Zuckerberg finally realized that Facebook had to have a better mobile strategy. I think that’s the key thing to credit him for; when he finally understood the importance of mobile software, he went all in. He forced Facebook’s iPhone team to completely redo its app. When it did, Facebook’s App Store reviews shot up from 1.5 stars to 4. The rest is history, says Farhad Manjoo. History is Facebook’s total ad revenue from mobile quadrupling since 2012.

Related: Alphabet aka Google reports earnings today.

For days when you can’t even. Every Saturday morning I get an email from ETR Editor Craig Ballantyne with links to articles Daily Brief readers might find interesting. This Saturday was no different, except Craig sent me something extra special. “Meet Nina Keneally, the founder of Need A Mom. For $40 an hour, she’ll listen to your problems, dispense advice (if asked), cook chicken soup from scratch, iron your shirt, keep you company at a doctor’s appointment and do all sorts of other ‘mom’ things that 20- and 30-somethings may crave.” How this is a viable business idea is beyond me. Brb while I go rent-a-mom and talk it over with some homemade chicken soup.


The power BuzzFeed and Reddit have over you. Your smartphone is the opposite of dating Selena Gomez. It’s bad for you. Smartphones are distracting, so is your email, and the Internet — looking at you BuzzFeed and Reddit. But you already know this. So what’s a smart person like you to do about distraction in the 21st century? Follow Cal Newport’s advice in his new bookThe New York Times’Molly Young writes, “Six ­pages in, I powered down my laptop. Twenty pages in, I left the house to buy an alarm clock so that I wouldn’t have an excuse to sleep next to my phone. A hundred ­pages in, I asked my brother to change my Twitter password so that I could no longer log in to my account. Nothing like starting the new year off with a renunciatory spree!”

How to leap ahead of your peers and competitionCharlie Munger: We’ve learned how to outsmart people who are clearly smarter [than we are]. Warren Buffett: Temperament is more important than IQ. You need reasonable intelligence, but you absolutely have to have the right temperament. Otherwise, something will snap you. Munger: The other big secret is that we’re good at lifelong learning. Warren is better in his 70s and 80s, in many ways, than he was when he was younger. If you keep learning all the time, you have a wonderful advantage. Buffett & Munger estimate that they spend 80% of their day reading or thinking about what they’ve read, says Farnam Street. The best way to get smarter is by reading, but not reading the way you were taught in second grade. Here’s how to read like a pro.

Beyond the book: What true lifelong learners do differently.


How to deal with millennials *cough* narcissists. If your camera roll has more than 10 selfies in the last month, then you’re probably a narcissist. Don’t feel bad; embrace it. Almost all 20-somethings have narcissistic tendencies. The good news is there are 5 secrets backed by research to deal with your narcissistic behaviors. These work on any narcissist, not just millennials.

Ironically… beyond the Sepia filter: A day in the life of a male Instagram star.


13 Things to Know About the Alpha Generation

From AdAge

Members of the Alpha Generation, on the heels of Generation Z, are only 0 to 2 years old today. They account for absolutely no purchasing power. But they will soon take over the world — because that’s what subsequent generations supposedly do.

I have spent thousands of hours observing one member of the Alpha Generation, and I have done meticulous ethnographic research on her peers in playdates, at family gatherings, and at the cutest baby ballet classes ever. Here, for the first time, I am publishing critical insights about the Alpha Generation — dubbed “alphers” to ensure that they forever resent their forebears.

1. They hate the sharing economy. Keep reading.

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