Productive Consumption

Steven Kneiser
5-minute read ⚠️ Work In Progress

“I’m burnt out
I don’t have a Dream Job™

Corporations are the last thing I want to think about. What if I’m just broken & there isn’t a place for me in today’s economy?”

I hear you

The last century of civilization was so transformative, so unprecedented, that many have begun to believe anything is possible. Take a moment to appreciate how it takes a certain level of deep cultural optimism for you to get struck with such grief. I can already here you say:

“…I just said I’m burnt out. Society promised me utopia, yet each year somehow feels worse. These empty promises only fill me with dread for the future”

You make an excellent point
Sorry for putting you through that

It’s one thing to think “well duh, that’s how the world works”, but to grieve the loss of something that you could’ve felt within your grasp? When you see, hear, & read countless stories of people overcoming the odds, it’s perfectly natural to look back at yourself through the lens of:

“Well isn’t that special….
Why can’t I do ONE THING right?”

It’s the contrast that makes pain so unbearable:

“If you are morbidly depressed in a country where everyone else is really unhappy, you don’t feel that unhappy, right? … but if you’re morbidly depressed in a country where everyone is jumping up & down for joy, you are …REALLY depressed. That is a VERY-VERY-VERY-profoundly-serious place to be.”
–Malcolm Gladwell
(I embedded this lecture in “Waking Up With Dread”)

You see this all the time in the highest-profile athletes: imagine rising to the top of the world in your sport only to get 2nd place multiple years in a row


Whether you’re at the top or the bottom,
sometimes the story you tell yourself walks you off a cliff
& now you’re stranded with a broken hip

Not feeling so generous now, aren’t you?

But what if I told you
there was a way, a faster way,
to skip ahead to your next chapter?

Anything beats scrolling more job boards

No more Avalanche Advice™

What the heck do you do
when you’re burnt out?

The last thing you want to hear is some tone-deaf advice about “turning your life around”: “I mean– heck– IF I CAN DO IT, so can you!”

“Thanks? How is that supposed t–
Sir I only came here for the burrito”

In my head, this tale of unsolicited life advice came from a Chipotle cashier. But here’s my point: there’s something you can do to get back to the good times that doesn’t require such a heavy lift

You don’t have to “turn this boat around”
You don’t want an avalanche of advice
You want snowball advice

A tiny change at your own pace

Something you can roll down the hill
Something much more subtle
Something “Minimum Viable”
Something …passive
…& enjoyable

Minimum Viable Transformation

We’ll start with one of your worst habits

We’re not here to eliminate it, but to exploit it
like a parasite that only feeds on other parasites

It’s called Consumption™

What? Aren’t we supposed to hate Consumption™? Isn’t Consumption™ a complete, irredeemable waste of time.

But what if consumption could be productive?

The current stereotype of leisure & consumption is “Netflix binging”: that “people have nothing better to do than sit on their couch & watch shows on Netflix”. I’ll admit that have no shame being the weirdo in the workplace who doesn’t enjoy spending my free time watching fictional shows because that’s just not my kind of fun. Friends talk me into watching a great show here & there, but I grew up with video games which are TV on a whole ‘nother level of steroids. Frankly, I’m convinced people who watch nothing but TV simply have yet to discover “their” type of game yet. If only they knew it existed. I don’t even care if you strongly dislike games: as creatures of survival, we’re a distinct flavor of hyper-social. Even if you only care about non-fiction & “the real world” …wait until they realize that some of the most “real” phenomena to humans are functionally games (e.g. “power games”, “status games”, “political games”, “war games”, “the game of love”, “the rap game”). You love games. Woah, okay you didn’t come here to quench your “but what does STEVEN think about [insert trending topic]?” thirst.

“Leisure” masks a simple truth:

In a world of exploding choices, every unconscious decision about what to consume reveals more about you

Tech companies are scrambling to figure out how this can help them sell you more stuff, but you can benefit just as much from this self-discovery! I’m here to help you figure out how this can help you make more money […even if that only means they’ll have more stuff to sell you haha]

& here’s the best part:
the most passive choices are just as significant

You might say:

“Steven, you don’t understand:
literally 1 billion people share the same hobby”

…that’s still only 1 in 8!
Even if I granted you this excuse,
how many people share you’re unique combination of hobbies?

Your consumption is a sixth sense:
a nose for “interestingness” that leads you down paths less traveled

It’s easy to see this apply to leisure,
but how could this apply to work?
…how could this apply to career?

Revealed Preferences

Later on, I discovered an academic name for this: “Revealed Preferences”

You can’t help it
You’re always leaking information

It’s when you’re least focoused that your preferences become most clear. You’re not doomed to act them out in every environment, but they’re the habits you tend to return to whenever you’re overwhelmed …or underwhelmed.

There’s often a huge gap between one’s behavior & their self-perceptions. This is yet another tool in our self-awareness toolbox

Let’s put this new data on you to good use:

The Prosumer Pipeline

Could it be possible to convert this consumption potential into production?

What are we missing here?

Should we limit production to consumption …or the other way around?

There’s an old marketing meme about…

A “prosumer” is that rare “consumer who produces”

⚠️ Full story: coming soon…

Is this very relevant to you?

Did I offer a clear next action?

Should I write more on this?

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comments & questions!

Send me an email at
(I always respond with twice the word count)

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