Modern society is rife with excess. Everywhere we turn, seemingly at every opportunity, there is a social narrative, reinforced by advertising, to buy, use and own. The thesis of that narrative is the promise of a better life that’s enabled with each act of consumption. Go and get the latest widget, it will fix everything, and even better than the last one did, because at least this model has Wi-Fi. Yet rarely does that promised outcome actually eventuate. Minimalism is a way of living that bucks this false narrative, eschewing unnecessary items in place of the essentials that are chosen for the value they add, not the price they cost.


You might think that minimalism means decluttering your wardrobe or sitting in an empty room whilst wearing a black t-shirt and contemplating the meaning of life. Truth is, anyone can be a minimalist. You might even be listening to one right now….

Speaking of, our guest today is Paolo Garde, a lead strategist at a climate-tech startup and a rising YouTube content creator. Paolo produces a ton of interesting videos on the topics of minimalism, self-improvement and technology, which I recommend our listeners go check out right after this episode.

Throughout the interview we explore what it means to be a digital minimalist, how sometimes the old ways are best, the importance of focus and the extensive impact of algorithms – from both a consumer and creator perspective.

We also spent a lot of time discussing the benefits of wired headphones. Oh, and just for the record, neither of us wore black t-shirts for this one – you’ll have to take my word for it. Alright, let’s get to it.

The transcript of this episode has been lightly edited for clarity.

Paolo, welcome to New Ways.

Paolo: Thanks for having me.

I’m excited to speak with you today. A mutual acquaintance first introduced me to your work, and I am super curious to learn more about how you manage to navigate the world of tech as a minimalist, a way of living that I myself, as well as a segment of our audience, subscribe to. But let’s back up for a moment. How did you arrive at this point in your life and career?

I had a bit of an accidental sort of start with tech. My first job actually was in the food and beverage space. I worked at a fast casual food startup in the Philippines. And then I was assigned to more of like a systems heavy role of just figuring out operations, how things work and all of that. And I think that’s what helped me land my first tech job, which was with Uber in the Philippines. And my first job was in a customer support management role. I sort of stumbled into it, not really knowing what it was all about, it’s just that they paid me a bit more than my job in hospitality. I didn’t realise at that time how lucky I was that I got that initial opportunity, but that’s basically what kickstarted my career in tech.

Minimalism is not really about being cheap for cheap’s sake, but it’s more about just maximising what really brings value to your life and minimising everything else.

After a year, I moved into a role in Sydney, Australia, still with Uber, doing various things like strategy, operations, analytics, always thought of myself as more of like a generalist all-rounder, a person with a T-shaped skill set. That’s how I see myself. And so that’s led me into career in various different startups of different sizes, doing operations. I’ve dabbled with software engineering for a bit now. My role is at a climate tech startup called Trace, and I do product strategy and operations. So, I like to tell people that it’s everything that isn’t directly selling to a customer or coding. I sort of touch that part of the operation, so it’s been good fun.

Sounds as though you’ve seen every seen every angle of the industry.

Yeah, I think I’ve enjoyed a lot of the just learning new things. The fun thing about startups is that you get to see a bit of everything. And so, I’ve just liked tinkering with stuff and that’s led me to where I am today.

Along that journey you would have come across many different technologies, from coding, as you said, to physical products, apps and devices. It’s an industry known for innovation and thus new things constantly on the horizon. That said, how did you end up going down the path of minimalism?

I think the minimalist part sort of came out of like a very personal thing, I guess. I grew up middle class in the Philippines with not a ton of disposable income, so I think I was always raised to be frugal, which is a natural transition into minimalism. I think minimalism is not really about being cheap for cheap’s sake, but it’s more about just maximising what really brings value to your life and minimising everything else.

And I think COVID was a big inflection point, as I’m sure it was for a lot of different people, a lot of life changing events for many different people there. But for me, because I was just staying at home all the time, I just realised, like, okay, I don’t need that much stuff to be happy. And that’s more from like a physical product sense. But then what COVID also let us do was we were just glued to our screens all the time because there was nothing else to do. Right? So, I got into digital minimalism then because I remember at some point, I think I was doing like nine-hours of screen time a day on my phone, just really addicted to certain mobile games with nothing else to do.

@amodernremedy

New Ways: Episode 2 🎙️ We spoke with Paolo Garde (@pgblanks) about what it means to be a digital minimalist, the importance of intentionality and the impact of algorithms (for both consumers and creators). 👉 Available now on Spotify. https://open.spotify.com/episode/6NL6RnEFQHYzWcOffnKpW2 https://amodernremedy.com/newways NewWays #tech #socialmedia #tiktok #youtube #twitter #digital #minimalist #mentalhealth

♬ original sound – A Modern Remedy – A Modern Remedy

Like, we couldn’t go outside, just scrolling through social media. I think my attention span got so bad that I couldn’t finish a single Netflix TV show anymore. I was just so distracted I would keep rewinding it. And then actually growing up, I was big on video games, and I couldn’t even finish a normal story-based video game. It had to be like those super quick 10-15 minutes bursts. So, I thought, okay, something’s wrong with my brain now. I did sort of a circuit breaker thing, which just involved getting a flip phone. I got a Nokia flip phone and actually made some videos on that. And that’s also what coincidentally started my YouTube channel.

I think just trying to figure out how to not really be beholden to just consuming content mindlessly and just being a bit more intentional about, okay, I need to do something a bit more creative. And that’s how I started learning about minimalism and ultimately creating content about minimalism. It all came together nicely there.

So, taking a step back there, minimalism to you is more of being intentional with whatever your spending time on?

Yeah, it’s about the intention of everything, time, money, where you buy, what purchases you make and all of that.

And if we were to look at your phone now, does minimalism extend to, say, the apps that you use or your screen time, things like that?

This is going to make me sound like a minimalist hypocrite now, but I actually have all of the socials on my phone. It’s just that I don’t use them as much now. I think actually taking that flip phone challenge has sort of rewired my brain in a sense and I just need to do it every few months when I feel like I’m slipping. I have TikTok on my phone… but I don’t open it! So, I think I’m in a pretty good place of self-control now, because the downside of deleting all of my apps is because I’m from the Philippines, I actually need social media to communicate with friends and family. And I remember when I was using my flip phone, I missed an Instagram DM from someone who had just visited Sydney who I haven’t seen in a really long time. And then when I reopened my phone months after, I was like oh my gosh, I just missed this message from a dear friend. So that was, I probably still need social media for some things that actually still adds value.

I wouldn’t say that’s hypocrisy, that actually takes a lot of resolve, especially when it comes to the more addictive apps like TikTok. You’ve got these things on your phone, just a click or tap away, yet you say no, not today, that’s not happening today.

Yeah.

I like tech that lasts long for a good price. We’ve been in such a culture of just upgrading to the latest iPhone or Samsung flagship, but then 99% of people don’t even need a flagship.

You’ve mentioned a flip phone, but what does your everyday carry look like?

Yeah, so I have a mid-range Android phone with me actually. This is a Nokia, it’s a Nokia G60. It’s like between the budget and mid-range phone. And the reason I actually got this phone is that I actually like tech. This maybe goes back to your question about how do I survive in the tech industry? I like tech. But I like tech that lasts long for a good price. And I think that we’ve been in such a culture of just upgrading to the latest iPhone or Samsung flagship, but then 99% of people don’t even need a flagship, and I got this because I wanted to make a video on it on my channel. Like you can get away with a phone that’s a third of the price of a flagship and you’ll still be able to do mostly everything. And people don’t even need a super fancy camera if they just want to take pics of their food and their dog and send it to their friends and family. So that’s what I’m daily driving as my phone.

And the other, I guess peculiar thing I daily drive or on my EDC is I still use wired earbuds and again, this is me sort of stripping down to the bare essentials. My phone has a headphone jack and I like using it, and I’ve just realised that having wireless earbuds is actually a bit of a hassle because they’re really easy to lose and you need to charge them, and they always run out of battery when you need it the most! And also, the act of pairing, because I juggle a work device and a personal device, the act of pairing and unpairing is actually really painful. So, I figured out that it’s more of a convenience for me to just have these cheap wired earbuds.

That probably corresponds quite nicely with the mid-range phone situation, because the headphone jack is getting rarer and rarer, isn’t it? They are all but gone from the top-end phones.

The headphone jack is still there, yeah. And it’s interesting, like the whole headphone jack debacle, right? Because you’ve basically got a trillion-dollar company saying, no, this is now a solution to a problem you never thought you had, therefore buy $200 Air Pods…

And they just happen to be there with the solution, don’t they?

Yeah!

So often in technology we hear about simplicity and ease of use, but the industry is also notoriously complex for many of the reasons you’ve touched on, like all the extra devices, dongles, apps, services and such. How then do you find working at a tech startup? Is it difficult to maintain a minimalist lifestyle in your career?

Yeah, I think there’s a line between, I guess going back to the earbuds discussion, right? There’s a line between tech that actually solves a problem and tech that creates a problem for you, that they then solve. And I think honestly, it’s just being mindful. Like, when you’re consuming, whether it be technology or a product… is it that you actually have a problem that you want to solve for yourself or are you just buying it or consuming it because someone else told you to do it? And that’s sort of what’s led me down my consumer choices over the past few years as I’ve shifted into that mindset. It is worth noting that I’m working in the climate tech field, so there’s not really much of over consumerism in my side of things, so there’s not really much of a push and pull there. Luckily.

Sustainability is the aim of the game there, I suppose.

Exactly.

What about your colleagues, have they taken notice of your mindful approach to personal technology? Any comments or criticism?

I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, but there’s not really much pushback, or, people are just usually curious. There was a time when I was… did you ever use Windows Phone?

Yes, I actually have a closet with a few Windows Phones in there I have kept and cherished over the years. Lumia’s and so on.

Oh man, we’re like the same person! I bought a Lumia, I think it was a 650, because I wanted to try daily driving a Windows Phone this year. So, I tried it for a few weeks. I’m making a video on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that Windows Phone, like, the store, is basically shut down and the pre-installed apps all come from the store, so it’s basically a call and text brick, which makes it the perfect digital minimalism device, surprisingly. Because the UI is still like buttery smooth.

Anyway, that’s a bit of a segue, but I think that was, like, when I needed to take down someone’s contact. Maybe, can I just add you on LinkedIn? I’ll just type it there and I’m like, can you just type your phone number here? It was a bit of a chuckle, but yeah, surprisingly, I’ve been able to function at work even without a smartphone some days, because you just need to be strategic about it, where you might just bring a companion device that isn’t a smartphone, like an iPad, and you just need two factor authentication hooked in. But most two factor authentications, SMS, are call anyway. Yeah, I haven’t really experienced too many issues, surprisingly.

It really is just as simple as setting a goal and then talking about that goal to people and being accountable for it.

That’s good to hear. And speaking of Windows Phone, that’s really interesting that you were drawn to it, as it was positioned as a simpler OS. But it never took off due to the lack of apps, as I’m sure your aware. They worked around that with a UI that took the need away from having to download tons of apps, including social and all that. Apps wise, you’re not really missing out on much there.

My first smartphone was a Windows Phone, so I was always a Windows Phone fan. Then it just… at some point WhatsApp wasn’t working and I needed it for work and I’m like, I need to switch to switch to something.

For me it was the banking apps.

Yeah, exactly!

What’s a day in the life of Paolo look like?

Again, this is where I’m like, Is he even a minimalist? So I don’t really carry a routine with me. And despite what you might expect, I wake up pretty late, like 8-8:30. One thing I do always do, which is maybe stereotypically minimalist, is I make a cup of coffee via pour over and hand ground. That’s the only minimalist stereotype I carry with me. But, yeah, that’s the only part of my morning routine because I think it helps me just sort of set myself up for the day. It’s like a ten-minute focus thing of just like making a cup of coffee. That’s sort of where I do my meditation and all of that. But, yeah, I work between nine-ish to six-ish. Typically work from home three days a week. At 6pm when we’re clocked off from work, me and my partner would start cooking dinner. We usually trade dinner chores, but we’re pretty low key. Our main hobbies revolve around food. Sometimes we’ll just watch whatever’s on the television at night. That’s where I’m most productive on my personal stuff. I probably work on my YouTube channel like two to three hours a day.

That’s because night is just when I’m most focused and where my creative juices start flowing. So that’s where I’ll probably work at nights on my personal stuff, manage my channel, edit videos. That usually takes me to the next day, so nothing too exciting.

And do you find that intentionality helps you with that creative focus? How does it impact your motivation and workflow?

I think so. I think it doesn’t really manifest itself in like an intraday thing. But what’s really helpful me this year, especially on my creative pursuits, is just being a lot more focused on where I want to be on a bigger picture point of view. I’ve never really done any sort of goal setting with my YouTube channel until this year. I actually joined a creator community, we get together every week and just chat about, hey, have you uploaded this week already? And just having a lot more accountability and intentionality on that side.

How much of content do you consume on your phone that is just served to you by an algorithm versus something that you seek?

Like surprise, surprise, this is my most consistent run on YouTube. I’ve uploaded a video twelve weeks straight now. And it really is just as simple as setting a goal and then talking about that goal to people and being accountable for it. And that shame of like, okay, if I don’t meet my goal, I need to explain myself to people even though they’re not going to get mad at me or anything. But that psychological push just gets me going. So that’s been a big change for me in terms of getting a lot more intentional about having a creative outlet and not just like burning all of my mental and emotional energy with work, which I’ve been guilty of in the past.

Portrait photo of man smiling, wearing glasses.
Lockdowns led to a minimalist mindset. Credit: Paolo Garde/Supplied.

Sticking with the topic of consistency and routines, you’ve mentioned that the start of your day involves the ritual of making pour over coffee, no doubt in a black t-shirt, the classic minimalist uniform. Jokes aside, what are some other things that people could incorporate into their lives that may help them be more intentional, focussed and more present?

Yeah, I think going back to the phones, right, that’s a really big one, and I’m grateful that I’m actually not super addicted to my phone as much anymore, but that’s definitely something to start with. Just like, look at your overall screen time and ultimately the question to ask yourself is, how much of content do you consume on your phone that is just served to you by an algorithm versus something that you seek? And that’s a line that I’ve drawn for myself, like multibillion, trillion-dollar companies have gotten so good at just identifying how the human brain is wired. They’re so good at just hooking you in.

Even TikTok right? When you try to exit TikTok, it’ll serve you one more video before you actually exit. That is crazy. And I actually experimented with TikTok in January and was like, I remember, how fast will they catch on to me and understand who I am? Within a few hours it was serving me relevant content. So that’s just how good tech is now, at hooking you onto your screen. And so that’s where I would start first.

Just be honest with yourself. Do you find that you’re really distracted? Either, at your job, are you just scrolling instead of working? Or at dinner with your partner, with your friends? Are you just on your phone all the time? That’s where I would start. And I think that a lot of people will find a lot of benefit from that as an initial step.

Stay off TikTok, kids, it’s no good for you – you heard it here first.

They’re very good at knowing what they want out of you.

For sure. What about managing device usage when you’re out and about? Do you practice things like putting the phone face down, or even off the table altogether, when you’re in meetings or out to dinner?

I think one other thing just along those lines is… do you frequently come to the office when you’re at work?

About one to two times per week.

I think what I found helpful in a work setting is, when you have an office setting, actually trying to do no laptop meetings, you actually don’t realise how glued we are to our laptops when we’re meeting with someone. The typical view, when you have a one on one with your manager, right? If you both have laptops and you’re both typing notes and all of that. I’ve just tried pen and paper meetings with my manager sometimes, especially if there’s no specific tech we want to show. And I found that that personally, for me, keeps me a lot more present.

HTML is actually the most well-designed user interface out there, and we’ve just been overcomplicating things as we usually do, as humans.

It’s crazy to think about it! Because, ten years ago, this was how meetings all were, right? It was just like face to face, pen and paper. But now that we all have laptops, we’re always so distracted as well. Again, like, Teams, Slack, all the notifications. That’s also a big distractor for me. Especially me. I’m a very distractable person. So that’s also helped me a lot. Just like, more offline meetings.

Shifting gears here, you’ve spent some time coding, you’ve got a GitHub profile packed with commits and contributions. You’re clearly someone accomplished in that field. Yet when I look at your personal website, I see something different. In fact, there isn’t much on display at all really, it’s a site that is about as bare bones as it gets. And I was wondering, why is that? What’s behind that choice?

It’s very generous to call me an accomplished engineer, by the way! I actually had a much flashier personal site, but since then, I don’t know, I’ve come to very simple websites that just do what they’re set out to do without additional flashiness. I think there’s a bit of a retro charm to them as well. There’s this website, actually, it’s called Motherfucking Website. Look it up. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but it just hilariously explains why plain HTML is actually the most well-designed user interface out there, and we’ve just been overcomplicating things as we usually do, as humans.

And yeah, I just like the aesthetic somehow. I don’t know, I’m a bit nostalgic that way, where I just like Times New Roman and plain text! It just gives me a bit of nostalgia as to how the Internet was when I started using it. There’s also this, not sure if you’ve heard about, this study-YouTube creator called James Scholz.

He’s also a guy who is sort of like into that retro tech aesthetic, but his website is also super simple. I was also inspired by that. But yeah, as a personal website, all I really need is, this is my face, this is my contact details, and these are all of the external links that you can reach me at. And that’s it. And I was like, I was spending way too much time designing this stuff where it could just literally be a bullet point of links. So, there we are!

It actually stands out quite a lot. You notice that it’s not one of those aggregate, Linktree-type pages, which everyone has nowadays. It forces you to stop and consider the meaning behind this minimal design aesthetic, which is a perfect echo of the lifestyle you’re living. Intentional content. The design certainly got my attention.

Thank you.

Biggest challenge as a minimalist?

I already talked about how companies are really good at figuring out how your brain works. So that’s one thing. It’s about being a bit forgiving of yourself as well. Like, you are up against TikTok, Meta, Instagram, all of that stuff. They’re really good at figuring you out.

It’s about being a bit forgiving of yourself as well. You are up against TikTok, Meta, Instagram. They’re really good at figuring you out.

I think as well, minimalism sometimes has a bit of, it’s almost dogmatic in a bad way. And you’ve actually seen a lot of minimalist creator’s sort of denounce that they’re no longer minimalist, right? Or like, there’s a big trend of the past one to two years on YouTube, like, minimalism is dead and all of that. And my view there is that it’s just evolved in its meaning. Like, maybe at the start, to get attention, it was all about wearing a black t-shirt, making pour over coffees, giving away everything, driving like a crappy car from 30 years ago as your daily car, and just, like, depriving yourself of joy, almost, and personality. But I think now it’s evolving a bit. And I think a big challenge for everyone is figuring out what minimalism means for themselves, because ultimately, it’s a very personal thing.

And no one can tell you how you should live a minimalist lifestyle because it really just depends on what gives you energy, what adds value to your life, and what are the things that you’re realising are just there and are just clutter. And it’s going to be different for different people. For me, I have, you can’t see it here, but I have studio lights in my room and you could argue that’s like a useless thing, but it’s not for me because I use it for something and I use it every week. If I just bought it and it’s just rotting in my closet, then, yeah, it’s useless. So, it’s a very personal thing and I think that’s where a lot of people might have gotten it wrong. And part of it is because there’s such an appeal to the aesthetic of the black t-shirt, really low, slow voice like this, listen to their podcast and all of that. The Minimalists are all about that. Those two guys whose names I forget. But really, I think it’s just evolved and it’s become a lot more personal. So just keep that in mind.

I have to add that, while this is just audio and there’s no way to prove it, neither of us are wearing a black t-shirt. Actually, we’re both kind of wearing white. So total opposite there.

Yeah. Personality, right?

That’s it! So, speaking about The Minimalists, people like Cal Newport, Matt D’Avella, I could definitely see you in that circle as well, in terms of being a leading content creator on the topic of minimalism. Is that something you have in your sights?

I think this is going to sound very snobbish, but I’m not really inspired by those guys in that sense. I think a big part of my recent growth has been to stop idolising personalities and more of, like, just take advice that could actually work with me. So right now, I’m actually a lot more inspired by people who are within my reach and within my network. Like, just friends, coworkers, loved ones. Whenever I see something that they do, something really cool. Or like I’ve had some friends who just recently had a kid, and it was really inspiring to see them go through that journey. And yeah, it’s a bit cheesy, but right now I’m in that space where I’m more inspired by things that are actually in my overall personal environment, rather than being inspired by a stranger, in that sense. Does that make sense?

Absolutely. You can relate more to the people around you, especially if you’ve known them for a long time and as you said, a significant life event had happened. You see their growth, their challenges, how they won, the lessons learned, the good and the bad. Whereas if you’re following someone online, you see a pre-packaged narrative experience, snippets that are carefully curated to tell a story. But you’re not getting the full picture, are you?

Yeah, definitely. Maybe you felt this as well. Like, being a creator who publishes online, you sort of start to see that it’s really easy to just make up a persona of yourself, even. It’s not really you. That’s actually, like, what got me, you might have seen on my YouTube. I’ve sort of drifted away a bit from minimalism as a topic because I don’t think it’s that relevant to what I’m pursuing at the moment. I could continue making content about minimalism, but I’m no longer on that journey of seeking personal growth.

I actually had a bit of an existential crisis on YouTube. The YouTube algorithm, as a creator, was just incentivizing me. Make more, Paolo, make more.

Like, I feel like I’m in a decent spot where I don’t really have an immediate goal and so it’s not really me to then talk about it anymore. And I think you’ve seen that with some of the other like, Matt D’Avella, for example, he doesn’t really talk about minimalism anymore within the sphere of minimalism. He talks about self-improvement experiments nowadays. So, yeah, I think being in that space has sort of unveiled a bit of like, oh, it’s actually really easy to just become a persona. And if I wanted, I could just have white walls and I could just point my camera at my white wall, and no one would ever know that there’s this junk beside me. It’s interesting being on that other side, being a creator, you start to see what could be on people’s minds.

It’s awesome that you have the transparency about you to say that, because you could very easily play up that persona. Although, when you come to think of it, wouldn’t the act of no longer making videos be the most minimalist thing you could do?

Yeah, exactly. I actually had a bit of an existential crisis on YouTube where I just stopped uploading because I was like, I could not milk this flip phone content anymore. I think I made three videos on my flip phone. The YouTube algorithm, as a creator, was just incentivizing me. Your flip phone videos are doing well. Make more, Paolo, make more. And I’m like, I cannot talk about this anymore because I literally just used this phone and I stopped using my smartphone and what else is there more to talk about? But, yeah, it’s interesting how the algorithm also feeds content creation that way, right?

The algorithms are everywhere, impacting both consumers and creators it would seem. You mentioned the rough direction you’d like to take with your content, but beyond that, what’s next on the horizon for Paolo Garde?

On a more personal side, I want to continue my momentum on content creation. I’ve actually made it into a side income this year already. It’s not much, but I’m monetizing it, so I just want to focus on that. And I think as a creator, focus is the most important part, especially when you’re just getting into it. I’ve burned myself out in the past trying to do multi-channel right away, like shorts, TikTok reels, like creating on those alongside long-form, but then I’ve just realised I don’t even enjoy consuming short-form content, so why should I make content that I wouldn’t even consume myself?

And it was showing in the quality of work. So just being a bit more intentional about my content creation. My recent deep dive has actually been around barefoot shoes or minimalist shoes, which might be an overlap with this topic, actually. Have you heard of that? Like barefoot shoes?

Is that where there is very little tread? Is that what that is?

Do I actually want to watch this or am I just being served by the algorithm? Being mindful about how much all of these big tech companies are incentivized to take both your time and your money.

Yeah, the product that people will have most recall are the five fingers. Like the toe shoes, the most extreme version of them. But recently there’s been a bit of a movement around, as you said, shoes that just don’t have any cushion on them, they don’t have a heel lift and they have a wide toe box. And the thesis behind that is that the shoe industry has sort of just evolved into a purely aesthetics focused industry, where it’s like, very narrow toe box, very high heel, is very, like, lots of cushion, and it’s actually trained our feet to become weak. And so the feet is like one of the most complex appendages that we have in our body, I guess, and we’ve just sort of, like, been coddling it’s, like sort of wearing mittens all day instead of using our hands, if you want to think about it that way. So, I’ve been doing a bit of a deep dive there over the past few months and that’s where my content is evolved into, so I actually want to just pursue that a bit in the near term. It’s a very interesting topic.

So, next time we catch up, you’ll be painting with your feet or something?

Exactly! There’s a lot of feet videos out there on the internet which somehow coincide with this. Let’s not talk about that…

So, barefoot shoes help to solve the problem of weak feet, right? Digital minimalism helps to solve the problem of escaping the algorithm-driven online experience. Many of the things we’ve talked about today are about solving problems, which leads me to the signature question I like to ask all of our guests. There are a lot of challenges that we face today, a lot of issues in society and the world or even just personally, a lot happening. What would you say is a modern remedy for those issues.

I want to talk about consumption. There’s overall consumption both from a physical product consumption and obviously like tech content consumption. I think it starts from within and it starts with, just really defining what are your core values as a person and what actually adds value to your life. And just be aware how much you’re being influenced by external factors because if you know your core values and if you really know yourself, you’ll be a bit more mindful of like, oh, I’m being served an ad. Do I actually want to buy this or is it just some really smart marketer on the other side making me think I actually need to buy this? Or with content, right?

Like, do I actually want to watch this or am I just being served by the algorithm? And it’s just making me want to watch it. And it is a bit of a push and pull as we said, unless you want to go down the route of just being purely offline, which I don’t think is practical nowadays in this modern society, unless you have your friends and family around with you within arm’s reach. I think the internet is definitely I think it’s a net-net good thing for the world, but just being mindful about how much all of these big tech companies are incentivized to take both your time and your money.

So, be more mindful of your consumption habits and experiences?

Yeah, I think tying it back to a personal value, I think that’s something that I’ve recently just sort of been digging into. There’s a thing called self-determination theory. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it, but the nutshell is like just understanding what are extrinsic motivators and what are intrinsic motivators and I think that can apply to consumption as well. Like, is it really something that you need or want, and will it improve your life or is it just something that is just there because someone else told you that you need it?

That dovetails nicely with the whole minimalist, I won’t say aesthetic, but lifestyle where you mentioned that you have studio lights because they add value to you as a content creator, they serve a purpose. Not just because it looks nice, or, as you said, I think I needed to buy it because the ad I was served told me to do that.

Yeah, exactly.

Well, Paolo, it has been an absolute pleasure chatting with you and it’s been a fascinating dive into your minimalist approach to technology and life in general. Really appreciate the content you are putting out as well. How can people find you online?

My website is Paolo Garde dot com, but actually, I would love it if you can go straight to my YouTube channel. And if you want to have a longer chat, you can also add me on LinkedIn.

Thanks for your time, Paolo, really appreciate it.

Cool, thanks so much.


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