Friends news: Meeting my VAs

Published 8 months ago • 5 min read

Hello Reader, from your friend Nick, author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party (paperback or Audible).

In this issue: viral videos from my trip to Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila, and Singapore; a kit for jet lag, my favorite jet lag app, healthcare in India, scientific study about people with tattoos, and a bunch more.

Why you’re getting this: I'm Nick Gray and this is my Friends Newsletter. I send this every month to interesting people I’ve connected with and friends I want to keep in touch with. You can un-subscríbe any time and I won't be mad. I won't even be notified!

Random Links

🩺. Healthcare in India: From the eyes of someone on the ground

My friend Nikhil wrote this. I enjoyed reading it, in part because India and Indian people have a special spot in my heart. Nikhil interviews a guy building a healthcare company in India.

🛩️ FLYKITT: Never have jet lag again

Someone shared this to me on Twitter when I was asking for jet lag tips. I still use and love the TimeShifter app to manage my jet lag, but I’d be curious to try their powders. Although $70 per trip seems steep. Note that I have not tried it yet and am not sure if it is legit.

🧔🏻‍♂️ Beardbrand Rebirths Amid a Tough Year

A lot of online business marketing is hustle, hustle, hustle. But this guy is showing his real and raw among a challenging year for ecommerce. "I am building for freedom. That’s what draws me to entrepreneurship — telling my own story, serving customers I want to serve, being around folks I want to be around..."

⏱️ What If We Had a 15-Minute City for Friendship?

"Living close to friends matters. Amid a loneliness epidemic, a popular urban planning concept offers a vision for proximity."

🩸 Tat will tell: Tattoos and time preferences

"We show that tattooed individuals, especially those with visible tattoos, are more short-sighted and impulsive than non-tattooed individuals." and: "Nearly twice as many women are tattooed (39%) as men (21%). This holds true for the rates of both hidden (30.2% vs. 16.7%) and visible tattoos (8.5% vs. 4.1%)." via Rob Henderson

🔍 WhatTheFont from MyFonts

This is a great free tool that's been around for so many years. Upload a screenshot of any text to determine which font is being used. They have a mobile app, for iOS and Android, which I have not tried and seems to get bad reviews. My recommendation is only for the totally free web version.

🔨 Check out Wonder Tools

I did a link swap with this guy and he seems sharp: "A free weekly newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. More than 26,000 readers rely on it to save time and stay ahead of the curve."

🎧 My First Million: Asking My Friend How He Went From $0 To +$100M Before Age 30

Syed might be the most successful guy you’ve never heard of. I gave him an airport ride once. He moved to USA from Pakistan and hardly spoke English. He built proxy servers to play games and websites to buy Mountain Dew. Then he bootstrapped a billion-dollar business selling WordPress plugins. My friends Sam Parr and Shaan Puri interviewed him on their podcast.

👬🏻 How to Meet Your Neighbors

Making new friends can be hard! But this woman Ying read my book and then hosted a little happy hour. She invited people from work and her badminton club, along with some neighbors. See how you can do it, too.

🍾 Andrew's Story: From “Will Anyone Come To My Party?” To 29 Guests

You are probably tired of hearing me talk about WHY you should host a little happy hour or meetup. But just read what this guy Andrew in Maryland did. Huge win.

📖 WorldCat Library Listings

This page lists all the libraries with a copy of my book! You can use WorldCat to find libraries near you to find any book.

🔂 Andrew Wilkinson's daily routine

Very detailed with supplements, diet, apps, routine, etc. Andrew is a friend. This is a good deep dive into his daily routine.

Good quote: Interesting people

People with interesting lives have no vanity. They:

  • swap cities
  • invest in projects with no guarantees
  • are interested in people who are their polar opposites
  • resign without having another job in sight
  • accept invitations to do things they have never done before
  • are prepared to change their favorite color, their favorite dish

They start from zero countless times. They are not frightened about growing old.

They climb on stage, shear their hair, do crazy things for love, and buy one way tickets.

– Martha Medeiros, translated by Gio Sguario

Manila Visit

I went to Manila, Philippines to visit my virtual assistants last month. We have worked together closely for over 1 year now. I could not run my life without their help!

They picked me up at the airport in a new car that one bought thanks to her hard work and job with me. Then I took them out for lots of meals, like the Chinese hot pot buffet at the top of my newsletter.

They taught me some words in Tagalog.

One day we had a big work meeting. We talked about all the things I do, future plans, etc. They asked me a lot of questions and it was helpful for all. We talked about my book “The 2-Hour Cocktail Party” and all the things we have planned next. They support my readers and helping people learn how to grow their networks and build big relationships at home and at work.

It was pretty great! I’m so glad that I went to visit them.

But I realized that calling them “virtual assistants” isn’t a fair term. It feels outdated, right? Especially with everyone doing remote work.

These are real team members — not a SaaS or a line item expense.

So I think I’ll stop using the term VA or Virtual Assistant soon.

I’m thankful for their help and plan to hire another person soon to continue to grow my team.

If you're curious what they do for me, see these posts on my blog:

Asia Travel Videos

I made a bunch of short travel videos. Here are the most popular ones.

Big Island, Hawaii

Tokyo, Japan

Bangkok, Thailand


Upcoming Travel

  • Boston: Sept 5th to 8th for INBOUND
  • Denver: Sept 27 to 29th for a conference
  • Orlando, FL: Oct 15th to 17th for BPCON
  • Houston, TX: Oct 28 to 30th for HostCon


"Always remember that at 42 years old, Lee Kuan Yew was sobbing live on television as his life's work collapsed into ruin: Singapore had been expelled from Malaysia. It is never over."
— [good thread on Twitter] @echetus

“You know when someone is super passionate about something and their eyes light up?? All I’ve been doing for my entire adult life is following people that have it and it’s never really let me down.”

“Behind every great relationship are difficult and uncomfortable conversations that we rarely get to see. Great relationships do not just fall into our laps. They require people to move through their fears and insecurities and do the hard work to move wounds to healing.”
Vienna Pharaon

The End

Thanks for reading my Friends Newsletter.

I'm typing this using Starlink satellite internet from a cruise ship in Alaska! I will be back to Austin next week.

🤠 Nick Gray

p.s. Here's the About Me on my website if you forgot who I am. We met [HOWWEMET GOES HERE].

An investor, entrepreneur, and author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. I started and sold two successful companies: Flight Display Systems and Museum Hack. Join 20,000 CEOs, investors, and founders and receive business tips, productivity tools, and other resources from me.

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