Modern Makers #42 - How to Find Stillness

🧘 How Stoicism can help you achieve stillness 🤖 Airtable now has an integration with Salesforce

Welcome to issue #42 of Modern Makers.

This week in the agenda:👇

🧘 How to achieve stillness - 5 learnings from Ryan Holiday’s book
🤖 Airtable now has an integration with Salesforce
🎤 A no-code conference this Tuesday organized by Formstack
🇺🇸 Bryter raises $66M to accelerate US expansion


Welcome to the new makers who have joined us since the last newsletter.

I ran more tests with Rows, a tool I told you about a few weeks ago. Rows is like a spreadsheet on steroids. Here are some examples of use cases that I find particularly interesting:

  • find someone’s email by typing their first name, last name and the company they work for

  • track the growth of a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account

  • automatically retrieve the stock price of a company

  • create a list of Youtube videos on a particular subject

  • identify new startups in the Crunchbase database

I like that Rows allows you to easily export to Airtable or Google Sheet for example. Rows doesn’t yet have a Zapier or Integromat integration, so these exports will be very helpful to make the most of your data. The free plan is currently very generous and allows you to trigger up to 1,000 automations per month. I invite you to take a look and test this tool for yourself.

PS: as a reminder, you can send me your favorite book quotes via this Airtable form 📚

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📚 Book of the week

Stillness is the Key: An Ancient Strategy for Modern Life

Author: Ryan Holiday
Release date: 2019

Ryan is the author of several books on stoicism, including Stillness is the Key and Ego is the Enemy. Ryan also hosts The Daily Stoic podcast. Stoicism is a school of philosophy that originated in Athens 300 years BC. If you read Ryan's books, don’t be surprised then to see the names of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca or Epictetus mentioned very often.

Stillness in your life will inspire new ideas, help you resist temptations and let you enjoy the most important things. To do so, we must focus on three domains: the mind, the body and the soul. Here are 5 essential points:

  • 🌳 The importance of walk, nature and solitude - I'm missing these three things (especially nature) since the beginning of the pandemic. Going for a walk in the park on a daily basis is something I'm trying to do moving forward. It helps you clear your mind and can provide you with new perspectives or ideas to solve some of your problems. Solitude is a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds. It happens when you're alone with your own thoughts (listening to a podcast doesn't qualify as solitude then). These moments of solitude are important and very rare in our current society. Try to go for a walk on your own. Admire the incredible beauty of nature. Feel grateful to be alive.

  • ✅ Know when it's enough - The feeling of never having enough might motivate you to achieve great things, to keep pushing for more. Yet, it will be destructive in the long term. And you never reach true happiness. Every time we achieve something, we start aiming higher. You get one million on your bank account and you want five. You get five and then you want ten. It's a never-ending game. If you keep comparing yourself to others, you will never feel you have enough. Enough must comes from inside. By taking the time to reflect on your life, by realizing how much you have already achieved, you can start appreciating things. And get a feeling of enough.

  • 🐌 Slow down - We are bombarded by information. All the time. "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention". We always feel like we are in a rush. That we have to deal with and take care of our tasks. Or react to the latest news. Ryan suggests that we instead try to slow down. The things that are important will always be important by the time you start taking care of them. By slowing down, the non-important things will disappear and become insignificant. The time will show what truly matters.

  • 🏃 Empty your mind and move your body - Journaling helps you purge your mind. To silence it. "The journal is a weapon for spiritual combat". To reflect on your day and to prepare for the day ahead. “The best journal isn't for the reader, it's for the writer.” Write down your feelings, your emotion. Currently, I try to take 15 minutes every night after dinner for this exercise. I use Roam Research for my journal, but any note-taking tool (or notebook) will do. Find a physical activity where you can focus on an action you repeat (throwing something, golf practice, running or even building brick walls, an activity that Winston Churchill used to do). It's a great way to achieve stillness and will allow you to feel refreshed when you go back to work. As for every habit that you want to maintain, try to block some time in your calendar for this activity and schedule your work around it.

  • 👎 The importance of NO - Your time is your most valuable asset. It is thus important to understand what concessions you are making when you accept something (a new project, a diner invite, a new job). What are you being asked to give in exchange for these things? You can never get time back. So ask yourself: is it really something that I want? why should I say yes? what are the hidden costs? will I regret it later? It's only when you know what to say No to that you can say Yes to the things that truly matter to you.

Three other content that caught my attention this week:

  • 🐙 My Octopus Teacher - Netflix - a documentary about the unlikely relationship between a man and an octopus. The direction is incredible, perfectly highlighting the wonderful underwater world and the beauty of nature. I highly recommend it ❤️

  • 🚀 Surely We Can Do Better Than Elon Musk - Current Affairs - a long and well-argued article that dares to criticize the iconic Elon Musk. The author is not a fan (to say the least) of the Tesla and SpaceX CEO and makes us wonder about this character who is always praised by the media. His management style and his behavior with his employees seem rather execrable. And do we really want a future like the one Musk is trying to build?

  • 🧠 How to Unleash Your Super Brain & Be More Efficient - In the last edition of Modern Makers, I gave you my summary of Jim Kwik's book Limitless. In this interview, Jim explains in detail some of the key concepts in his book to help us learn faster.

🌎 What’s new in the world of no-code

The team at Airtable has been busy in the last few weeks. Some of these new features may have gone unnoticed as Airtable is generally rather discreet about its announcements. Airtable Automations now have new triggers & actions with the Google Suite (Sheets, Form, Calendar). The new feature that excites me the most is the integration with Salesforce. It allows you to create or update records in Salesforce directly from your Airtable base. I can't wait to try this!

New features also include: the email digest (an email summary of all records that match with a certain condition), new sources to sync your data (Google Calendar, Box and Jira Cloud) and a calendar view on the Android app.

More details on these new features on Airtable’s website

Formstack is organizing a conversation about no-code with a panel of prestigious guests: Vlad Magdalin (CEO of Webflow), Emmanuel Straschnov (CEO of Bubble), Lacey Kesler (Head of Education at Adalo) and Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack. The following topics will be discussed: the future of no-code, how to take advantage of the emerging no-code economy, the impact on companies and the development of no-code jobs.

Grab your ticket here. You will also receive the study "The Rise of the No-Code Economy" that Formstack will publish next week.

Berlin-based startup Bryter has announced a $66M Series B, ten months after a $6M Series A. Bryter is a no-code platform for companies to develop internal applications, set up automation processes or create documents. The solution is used by teams at companies such as McDonald's, Telefónica, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte. This round of funding will help the company to accelerate on the American market, a few months after the opening of its New York office.

📦 And also…

As always, if you're enjoying Modern Makers, I would love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. I do my best to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it!

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I also invite you to contact me if you have questions or need help with no-code tools. Or if you want to have a virtual coffee with me ☕

Have a great week and keep building!


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