Plan Your Next
Plan Your Next
PYN - Asymmetrical timing

PYN - Asymmetrical timing

👋 Hello! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #47 of Plan Your Next. It’s a newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.

Every Sunday, I aim to make this newsletter as timeless as a cup of perfectly brewed cold brew. If you’re new here, join us!

Asymmetrical timing

What’s new this week?

📺 Finished Halt and Catch Fire for the second time through. Still one of my favorite shows. The third season is a bit forgettable, but don’t miss the first two.

🎤 It’s Gotta Be the Mic #13: Reza and I chat about the pros and cons of cohort-based online courses.

📖 90% finished with The Three-Body Problem. Loving it so far.

Good morning from Los Angeles!

In late June of 2007, I stood in line as the Las Vegas sun was clenching me in its fist, squeezing every last drop of water from my body. It was 114 degrees, and there were 40 people ahead of me in line just outside of a Cingular Wireless phone store.

We were all waiting to be among the first to purchase the first iPhone.

Months earlier, Steve Jobs had unveiled to the world this brand new device, and I had to have one. In the days after the announcement, you could sense this was big.

I remember that feeling of standing in line, and how you were about to see the future in your hands.

A year later when the ability to create apps for the iPhone was announced, I had decided to take a chance on my gut instinct. Years earlier I took a similar chance to learn how to create a website from nothing, knowing how to design for a new device felt like the right gamble.

At that moment, the timing was everything. The confidence to make that decision wasn’t based on a whim, but having an understanding of the landscape, and mitigating some of the risks by having other sources of income. I felt like I couldn’t waste any time.

I call this having asymmetrical timing.

Asymmetrical timing consists of learning just enough to understand the landscape, recognizing the upside, and forcing a decision earlier than most when your risks are low.

The same could be said about cryptocurrency. Those who learned the landscape early on, read Bitcoin’s white paper, and placed low-risk bets were able to capitalize on the upside years later.

In Robert Greene’s popular book, The 48 Laws of Power, law #35 states to master the art of timing.

Time is an artificial concept that we ourselves have created to make the limitlessness of eternity and the universe more bearable, more human.

Robert says there are three kinds of time we can solve with skill and practice.

  1. Long time: The drawn-out, years-long kind of time that must be managed with patience, and should be mostly defensive.

  2. Forced time: The short-term time we can manipulate as an offensive weapon, upsetting the timing of others.

  3. End time: When you must execute a plan with speed and force.

Knowing when to sit back and play the long game, when to upset and manipulate the timing to your advantage, and when to execute are all parts of creating asymmetrical timing for yourself.

Getting an iPhone early on led me to create our first app, and sent me down a path that changed my career.

Your mastery of timing can really only be judged by how you work with end-time—how you quickly change the pace and bring things to a swift and definitive conclusion. —Robert Greene

How can you find ways to have asymmetrical timing in your life?

⚡️ Inspiration for this week

🧠 Timing in entrepreneurship

A great reminder of how poorly timed launches of specific companies have led to billion-dollar industries, like online delivery, online pet supplies, and social networking.

👯‍♀️ Social Capital in Silicon Valley

This essay by Alex Danco heavily informed my thinking a couple of weeks back on building social capital. I still refer to this whenever the topic comes up.

🤷‍♀️ David Perell speaks about how we’re all imposters

“When you do ambitious and important work. You are far beyond your capabilities. So by definition, you are an imposter. If you only did things you were ready to do in your career, you would end up doing nothing.” — David Perell

📸 Just my dream home

Just a shot of my dream home to send you off into the week.

👋 See you next Sunday

If you’ve forgotten who I am, here’s a little bit about me. As always, my calendar is always open to chat about your crazy ideas or if you’re creatively stuck.

And if you’re creatively stuck because you ran out of coffee, save 10% on Flow State coffee. Flow State uses l-theanine and raw cacao to lower anxiety and support creativity. (Affiliate link)

Have a great week,


Twitter: @kadlac

Plan Your Next
Plan Your Next
I'm Nate Kadlac, designer of Plan Your Next. A weekly newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.