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Millan Singh

Surprise company buys Lord of the Rings rights, sneak peak at my Odaat productivity system

publishedabout 1 month ago
8 min read

Hey there Reader,

Today is the end of my first week after leaving my job, and I have to say, I'm *really* happy I did this. This week has really reaffirmed that my decision was the right one for me.

My stress levels have been lower than usual, I've gotten quite a bit of stuff done, and I'm finding a lot of joy in re-organizing my life and figuring out how to continue living my best life with new/refreshed habits and shifting priorities.

I've spent a lot of time with my best friend this week, a lot more than usual. I'm planning on getting friends together this weekend, and in general, I'm planning more social activities with friends and strangers than ever before. This is huge for me, and it's a big goal of mine for the rest of the year to get out there more often, meet new people, and expand my horizons.

But alas, let's get to the topics of this week's issue, shall we.


Real quick though, I also published a story on Medium this week about my weight loss journey and some of the things I've learned about myself and about the human body/mind along the way. If you haven't read it, you should check it out: I Lost 75 Pounds by Focusing on My Emotional Health.

https://medium.com/in-fitness-and-in-health/i-lost-75-pounds-by-focusing-on-my-emotional-health-fda205ecb269

Sneak peak of Odaat

I mentioned Odaat in last week's issue, but today I'm going to share some more details around what it is and why it's so important to me. As a refresher, Odaat stands for One Day at a Time.

Competition -> inspiration

I was talking with Rina, my friend from Israel, about Odaat and my plans last week, and she mentioned that I should look for other productivity/personal growth apps and try them out so I could see what others are doing/make sure I was making something original and useful.

Well, she's a smart cookie. I downloaded a few productivity/personal growth apps from the Google Play store, and I was heartened by what I found.

First, I got a lot of great ideas from these other apps. Some ideas have re-shaped core aspects of how the Odaat system works, some have helped me focus the system better on its core aspects, and some have given me longer-term ideas for how I could scale the app and business behind it.

Second, I gained confidence that there is definitely room for Odaat in this market. What I'm trying to build with Odaat is unique from what I tried out of my "competition" and while they had some interesting ideas that have inspired me, none of them really solve the core problems I want to solve with Odaat.

So thanks Rina for pushing me to do that!

Odaat is a system for pursuing your aspirations

In the Odaat system, the first thing you do is set your Aspirations. Aspirations are "I am" statements that represent the version of you that you want to be. These Aspirations could (and should) span different areas of your life: career, social, passions, etc. Here's an example of one of my Aspirations:

I am the healthiest I've ever been.

This Aspiration is all about pursuing my health and wellness goals, and it represents what I want to embody: I want to be the healthiest I've ever been. However, key to this is phrasing it as an "I am" statement which makes it feel more present and impactful versus "I want to be" or even "I will be" which push off this Aspiration to the future. We want to embody this Aspiration today, not tomorrow, so we write it in present tense like this.

Previously, Odaat was focused on your day-to-day tasks which would basically ladder up into long-term Aspirations, but I realized that it makes more sense to actually go the other way. After doing my competitive research I mentioned above, I realized that it makes more sense to build and market Odaat as a personal growth app vs. a productivity app. Productivity is so narrow, whereas personal growth offers a lot of range for what that could be.

So, Odaat's central focus shifted to your Aspirations: everything you do within Odaat is all about helping you live out your Aspirations today, not tomorrow.

The layers of the Odaat system

As mentioned, the top of the Odaat system are Aspirations, but what about everything else?

Well, underneath Aspirations, you'll have Goals which are short to medium-term outcomes you're focusing on in pursuit of your Aspirations. The important distinction here is that these are about measurable outcomes which you believe will bring you closer to your Aspiration. Here's an example of one of mine:

Lose 33 pounds by my 28th birthday, or 1 pound/week (at the beginning of April).

Part of me living my healthiest life is pursuing further weight loss. As I mentioned in that story I linked to above, I've already lost a lot of weight, and I want to continue that trend, ultimately ending up at the healthiest weight/body of my life.

Goals are part of your Aspirations, and they live side-by-side with the rest of the system: Projects, Habits, and Tasks.

I won't get too into the details, but basically Projects are collections of related Tasks that are all in pursuit of one outcome: think like building a new website, an apartment renovation, etc.

Speaking of, Tasks are just individual things you want to do, exactly what you imagine they are.

Finally, we have Habits which are special Tasks that basically allow you to complete them many times. These are not necessarily meant to be for simple habits like brushing your teeth when you wake up, but rather for new habits you want to get to stick like a morning yoga routine or calling a friend every day. Habits are also good for routine calendar events like weekly therapy (preach) or regular doctor's appointments. In Odaat, Habits don't need to have a regular cadence but can if you want (might not be a feature available in the app for a little while).

Projects, Tasks, and Habits all live under an Aspiration and can be linked to a Goal if they're supposed to be things to do to pursue that Goal or can be left without a Goal too.

So when can we use it and how much will it cost?

If you're wondering when this app will be available, first of all, I'm glad. I've been playing around with this idea for years and really believe in it. I'm excited to bring it to you.

The answer to your question, though, is less clear. My vision is for Odaat to be a best-in-class personal planner, growth catalyst, and organization tool. But this vision is likely going to take years to really come to fruition.

For right now, however, I'm aiming to have a solid beta version that's ready for public consumption with the most essential features of Odaat's growth system by the Holiday Season (November). I want to ship as fast as possible and grow with my earliest users, so I definitely want a solid version of Odaat ready for the New Year when people are setting new goals for the year (I think the New Year will be a natural high-point in sales of Odaat as it matures).

As for pricing, it's obviously waaayyyy too early to set anything in stone, but I am planning on making Odaat a premium SaaS product. In other words, there will be no free version of Odaat. The subscription won't be expensive, and it will definitely be cheaper in the early years as the feature set materializes and the app matures.

For the early beta stage, Odaat will be free. If things work out well, I hope to start charging a small subscription by the New Year. At the end of the day, this app does need to make some money so I can continue working on it, and I want to build a business around it too, with a team working on the app, so we can build one of the best tools for personal growth out there.

As always, my A Hero's Journey subscribers will get updates on the development process, so stay tuned for more details.

A gaming company has bought the rights to Lord of the Rings

Okay let's make a sharp left-turn here into an interesting news story I stumbled on this week: Swedish gaming conglomerate, Embracer Group, has acquired Middle-earth Enterprises, along with many of the entertainment rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise for a lot less than you might think.

If you'd like to read the full story, you should check it out: https://www.polygon.com/23311153/the-lord-of-the-rings-the-hobbit-film-game-rights-embracer-group.

I won't get into all the details, but basically, it's a little unclear what rights Embracer managed to acquire, as there are several carve-outs like long-form TV/web shows (like Amazon's upcoming "Rings of Power" show). The film distribution rights are also still contested, as Warner Bros claims to still have those rights but there's some dispute over whether they have any projects in development (which is a pre-condition for keeping those rights, this is common in the entertainment industry). They're apparently making an animated film in the Lord of the Rings universe which I had never heard of until today, probably in an effort to retain the film rights. The sale also doesn't include publishing rights to the written works which remain with the Tolkein estate.

But, Embracer managed to acquire the rights they got for something like $500M which is not much considering how big of an IP Lord of the Rings is. That can easily be made back just in the gaming side of things.

Anyways, this story is an interesting look into how the rights behind your favorite entertainment franchises work. I've been fascinated by this stuff for a long time, so this is all pretty standard to me, but if you aren't too familiar with how the business of the entertainment industry works, you might find this story interesting.

Journey Update

There were a few developments this week. I've already discussed the Odaat stuff at length, but here's the rest:

Editorial plans for August

I mentioned last week that I wanted to set up a new editorial practice where I try to keep three stories in active development (writing or editing) at any given time so that I always have something I could work on depending on my mood (they would be different topics). I am still working on getting this up-and-running.

The story I published this week on weight loss I ended up writing and publishing in just three days: two days to write and edit it, reviewed and published by the publication on day three. So it wasn't on my list for long haha.

Still, I have one in-progress story, another one that's "on deck" (will start writing shortly), and then I just need to find another to round out the three...and then a story gets published and another gets brought into the rotation, ad infinitum. And more importantly, I published something, so I just need to publish one more story this month to hit my goal for August.

Website launch this weekend

It's actually happening this time, for realsies. I'm working on the final 4 tasks left before I launch the new site. Sometime this weekend, https://millansingh.com will be updated to a brand new design and content reflecting the current stage of my career (rather than where it was 3 years ago).

2022 goals update

I know I promised a goals update for the remainder of 2022, but this issue has already gotten quite long, so I will save it for next week. Plus, I'm still refining them anyway. But next week for sure will contain a goals update for 2022.

That's all for this week's issue. Thanks for reading, and you'll see me in your inbox again next week!


If I can ask you to do just one thing, consider sharing this newsletter with a friend or family member. Here's the link so you can pass it along: https://aherosjourney.co/.