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North Star Podcast


Jan 25, 2021

I have two guests today: Tiago Forte and Will Mannon.

Tiago is my business partner and the creator of an online course called Building a Second Brain. The two of us record a podcast like this every year to reflect on what we’ve learned about the online education industry. And this time, we invited our Director of Student Experience: Will Mannon.

Will oversees all aspects of the student experience with the exception of curriculum design. He’s at the frontier of thinking about live online learning, from how assignments should be delivered to how live sessions should be structured.

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Show Notes

3:21 - Why hiring your first employee is one of the most important steps you'll take in your business.

5:38 - How sharing a workforce and resources with another business or entrepreneur can help fast-track personal and professional growth.

11:00 - How running an online course is like organizing a music tour.

13:30 - The role of the alumni mentors in Tiago's courses, and how they have changed from his first to his most recent cohort.

17:16 - What different mentors can bring to the table and why the differences between them all brings strength to the program.

21:03 - Why giving as many people as possible the ability to lead allows much more effective learning for everyone.

25:04 - The nature of burnout and why creatives are so prone to experiencing it.

31:04 - Discovering the right size for a cohort and how to scale effectively.

37:13 - How to help students find each other and make meaningful and lifelong connections with each other.

40:28 - The "beer mode" and "coffee mode" of productivity.

44:32 - How to increase your focus by never giving yourself enough time.

51:02 - Why David and Will organize Write of Passage to have attendees "come for the ideas and stay for the people".

56:23 - Why running a course should be about empowering leadership in students, not in building dependence on the teacher.

1:02:33 - Why the element of shock is so fundamental to deep learning.

1:06:43 - How friendship can come so readily out of hardship and pain.

1:11:33 - The unusual growth of David and Tiago's online brand this year and what sparked it.

1:14:45 - Why writing a book summary for Tiago is so integral in internalizing the information and the message contained within it.

1:24:22 - What hands-on education and perseverance in the face of extreme difficulty can teach us that traditional education never can.

1:32:30 - What we can learn about education from businesses and markets outside of the educational sphere.

1:36:33 - Why success in a new business should not be focusing on competition, but on radical differentiation.

1:39:23 - The importance of finding your community online and curating it to inspire and inform you.