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Markus Anecdotes - What do you do? Making lists!

Written by Markus

August 2020

A friend of mine, not too motivated other than to lounge in front of the TV and go out for drinks with friends, is working for a Youtube channel in the US. I never asked what it is about or what he actually does there. It seems he doesn’t really like to talk about it. I imagined his job would be something in the space of video editing. Since he lives in Spain and the channel is in the US, I figured it had to be something that could be done remotely.

Recently I spoke with him over Teams Chat and he had the idea of filling the employment gap in Germany and the Netherlands by recruiting nurses and construction staff in Spain and send them to Germany and the Netherlands. As we started brainstorming, many subjects came up such as immigration laws, labor laws, housing and much more. As it started to be possible to translate thoughts into actions, I said: let’s make a list.

It went silent for 5 seconds and then my friend said: No lists! Let’s just start. Anything, but please no lists!

I was shocked, as in my work, the first thing we do is make lists of who needs to do what and when. So I asked: why not start with a list?

And then he finally gave the answer that made me understand what his work is. His work is making lists.

The Youtube channel he works for shows top 10’s of various subjects, most completely uninteresting and not relevant to anything you may encounter in your life and worst of all, without context or reasoning behind it, so he said. Lists with subjects such as “top ten overweight celebrities, top 10 of the smallest countries, top 10 of the nice candy, top 10 of the most unknown people and so on. In the beginning it was 'funs', so he says, as he could pick topics that were funny or interesting, but as one year has passed, he ran out of subjects and started to submit random lists of “nothing”.

He is to submit 10 lists every day, 7 days a week, to someone who then edits a slide show of semi random pictures behind it. And this has been continuing for year.

When I asked why he is complaining, he quickly reminded me that by now all he can think of submitting, is lists of lists.

I have it a few seconds of thought and carefully said: “okay, so no list then. How about we write down who will do what and when. But not line by line, not placed under each other, but in one long sentence”.

My friend started laughing and said “dude, I don’t make lists. I’m a programmer, programming in and have nothing to do with youtube. Let’s make that list”.

And this is why I like my friend. His sense of humor is random and gives a welcome laugh during work. After we both were done laughing, we continued our brainstorm with a fresh mind.

Laughter is key to productivity.

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