🚀TL;DR

August 24, 2018
The Invitation

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation

August 21, 2018
Riffing

I’ve been doing a lot of coding and a lot of reading lately (I hinted to this in a previous post). As a result I need to apologize for not posting as frequently as I would prefer to post. Today’s is just a short thought as well. One of the books I just finished (so you know that means you can expect to hear about it Friday) was on the subject of originality and creativity. The idea of a solitary, lone genius working in a vacuum to create something revolutionary is a wrong idea. This misguided belief is prevalent and pervasive and also completely false.

Shortly after finishing that book I had a meeting where this thought was reinforced in a very relevant and direct way. The ideas were flying and the creativity in the room was high. It was an incredibly fun and motivating time. Some people refer to these sessions as brainstorming, or riffing, but regardless what you call them I can personally attest to the immense value and creativity which can start in those meetings. That’s a key emphasis. Start.

There are a few other thoughts which surface as a result of that interaction but I won’t take the time to share those with you here. Instead I’ll merely allude to the idea that the great idea may not come during one of those meetings directly, in fact the ideas generated may be completely and totally wrong. But they can spark something inside you which could grow into something unique, creative, and useful.

August 16, 2018
Ignored

In case you missed the recent news I feel its worth mentioning and drawing your attention to it again. This headline shouldn’t surprise you. In fact, I read it and felt vindicated in my constant and growing borderline paranoia. This is a problem but a solution is coming. I am so incredibly fascinated by this topic and can’t help but wonder how many times we have to hear about things like this before as a society we decide enough is enough.

It is my opinion we will see a shift in thinking once an alternative is made available and most importantly made easy to use. This is why I get excited…but you’ll have to wait to hear more about that in the future.

I admit I’ve been a bit quiet lately because I’ve been heads-down actually writing code! It’s been a real personal indulgence lately to dig into the world of programming again and I’ve lost a bit of my blogging (and reading) time because of this increase in code-creating…but I think I am on to something and I can’t wait to share it with you.

In the meantime, read this article. Add this one to the ever-growing list of similar posts that are being shared with greater frequency each and every day…and ask yourself…is this the tipping point for you? Aren’t you ready for a change?

Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

https://apnews.com/828aefab64d4411bac257a07c1af0ecb/AP-Exclusive:-Google-tracks-your-movements,-like-it-or-not

August 14, 2018
Originality

orig•i•nal, n A thing of singular or unique character; a person who is different from other people in an appealing or interesting way; a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity.

Years ago, psychologists discovered that there are two routes to achievement: conformity and originality. Conformity means following the crowd down conventional paths and maintaining the status quo. Originality is taking the road less traveled, championing a set of novel ideas that go against the grain but ultimately make things better. Of course, nothing is completely original, in the sense that all of our ideas are influenced by what we learn from the world around us. We are constantly borrowing thoughts, whether intentionally or inadvertently. We’re all vulnerable to “kleptomnesia”—accidentally remembering the ideas of others as our own.

By my definition, originality involves introducing and advancing an idea that’s relatively unusual within a particular domain, and that has the potential to improve it. Originality itself starts with creativity: generating a concept that is both novel and useful. But it doesn’t stop there. Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.

  • Excerpted from Originality by Adam Grant

August 11, 2018
Food For Thought

‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’

Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 22 October 1945

August 9, 2018
The Importance of Directions

There’s something oddly comforting about directions. A sense of confirmation that you’re doing the right thing. And this gives a feeling of confidence and empowerment to the directions-follower. Good directions offer guidance and support when needed without making the follower feel like they are being terribly restricted and still able to maintain a sense of freedom. Oftentimes good directions are almost naturally intuitive or make the follower feel as though they may have already known the right way.

But bad directions? Or missing directions? Few things are worse for the user experience. Regardless of whether the path to take should be intuitive. The label of intuitive design should be made by the follower…not the one in charge of leading the way or offering the direction. Directions should never be ignored. The result will always be a less than ideal user experience.

August 7, 2018
Alexa

I read a fascinating news article yesterday which highlighted something incredibly interesting about the use of Alexa in the real world. Curious? Here are a few stats:

  • Amazon has sold more than 50 million Alexa-enabled devices.
  • Only 2% of those people have made a purchase through Alexa.
  • And of the 2%, more than 90% never used it again for shopping.

Wow, that’s some terribly rough statistics for the voice-activated shopping future of the world Amazon suggested.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/the-reality-behind-voice-shopping-hype

August 5, 2018
Finite or Infinite Games

I know this is not a new concept or even a new video. But I would recommend taking an hour (56:05 to be exact) and listen to this application of the concept of finite vs infinite goals and objectives.

 

Side Note: Are you a great leader saying THIS is what I stand for? Or are you simply looking around, pointing, and saying “Not THAT.”

P.S. Want a short version? Simon also spoke on this topic at TED.

August 4, 2018
If Dreaming Is Dangerous

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.”
― Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

August 2, 2018
Nothing

Doing nothing often leads to the very best something.

July 30, 2018
Plans

Undesirable inevitabilities should never lead to unprepared outcomes.

July 30, 2018
Advertising

How do you know when advertising has gone too far? This is the constant question which continually comes up whether it’s in real-life B2B marketing or even in the digital world of Hollywood blockbusters. For example, I’m reminded of that scene from the recent movie, Ready Player One.

“We have determined that we’ll be able to fill 80% of the user’s display with advertising before inducing seizures.”

We all laugh at a line like the above when its used in the movies. And I admit, I laughed as well. I mean what a humorous and ridiculously preposterous line…right? Right?!

But then I find myself staring at a screen like the following and I wonder, who’s laughing now?

Can you find the content?

July 26, 2018
Demo

As I continue my conference experience sharing for the week I think this is a good time to share that I actually do more than just read, write, and work! But of course, even in this entertainment I couldn’t turn off my brain. Google Cloud Next 2018 is a massive conference with tens of thousands in attendance (this year was their largest year ever with over 25,000 attendees!).

On Wednesday evening Google put on a show. Not just a show, but an entire fairground, complete with a ferris wheel, graviton, food tents, and of course a massive headliner band. The evening was full of incredible sights and sounds and a chance for everyone to unwind and decompress after several straight days of intense conference sessions. The evening was wrapped up with a private and incredible performance by The Chainsmokers. And this amazing experience is what causes me to write this thought.

As I stood in the midst of a veritable sea of cellphone cameras I couldn’t help but join in taking photos and videos of this personal and powerful concert. And even as I took the photos I knew I was witnessing something magical. No, I don’t mean the artists on stage (yes, they were incredibly talented), nor do I mean the music or the atmosphere, or the weather (it was chilly!). No, the magic I witnessed was held in my hand. Here in the twilight evening, lit only by the flashing strobes from the stage, with my phone thrust in the air, while being jostled by hundreds of other excited fans, jumping enthusiastically, singing at the tops of their lungs; I snapped these pictures.

What’s the magic you ask? This was possibly one of the world’s most intense demo. Google was providing the most comprehensive and grueling environment to showcase the technology (both software and hardware) their world-class engineers had created. Each of these photos was shot on my Google Pixel 2 XL. Now I could tell you they did an amazing job, but instead I’ll let you  look at the pictures above and reach the conclusion for yourself. 

Thank you Google Devs. I couldn’t have been more pleased with this product and this live demonstration of the low-light, anti-jitter, fast movement, instant-focus, and AI-driven photography technology you’ve created.

Of course, after being #TeamPixel from the very first day, I was already very well-aware of this awesomeness. 😉

 

July 26, 2018
Proactive

I’m continuing to share little thoughts and snippets from my time here in San Francisco and as a conference attendee who also organizes and runs events I tend to pay extra close attention to the details (not to mention I am somewhat predisposed to observing the little things – because they matter).

This next thought comes from a recent interaction I had with one of the many event staff who happened to be overseeing one of the snack areas. As you might imagine the food bars are one of the hottest and most trafficked spots of an event particularly during that early mid-morning coffee and snack rush. This rush always puts a strain on an event to ensure there is food present and available for the swarming masses. As you might also expect nearing the end of this rush the supplies are dwindling. Event staff were clearly trained to direct traffic to the areas where food could still be found and share with them what food was present.

Sharing this type of availability information is the default, this is the expected, this is considerate and “does the job” effectively. But one member of the events team was going the extra mile. While everyone else was distractedly (and maybe robotically) pointing people to tables with the repetitious comment, “Fresh fruit and granola bars are all that remain” this young woman was going the extra mile. She was being proactive. She stood out to me. Because she was offering more. Her sentiment was the same as everyone else but she added something to the end of her comment. With a smile on her face she was adding, “There will be more snacks available at 10:30.”

Seems small right? Almost inconsequential. And yet this is so often the case with the proactive “surprise-and-delight” mentality. Sharing what is expected and what could be found is good, providing extra information about what is coming next and what time to expect it – well, that’s greatness. That changes attitudes, that informs people. That brings people back.

July 25, 2018
Exclusive

Here’s a quick thought which struck me this morning as I continue on my week-long conference in San Francisco. I fully recognize the time and effort required to build a demo for a presentation. I also realize there is value in repetition and there is the very real chance that many in the audience have not seen a particular presentation.

But at some point the reuse of the same content in multiple presentations tends to make the delivery polished but the demo stale. I would suggest a better solution is to create multiple similar yet different demonstrations. By doing this you can more than likely re-purpose a good bit of the underlying infrastructure while still creating a new and fresh demo experience for the audience. The story stays the same but the appearance can be varied.

As I’ve been learning more and more recently there is incredible value in the familiarity and the new. Creating a balanced mix of both is the best solution to grab the audience attention while not overworking the setup behind the scenes. This approach allows you to work smarter not harder as a presenter.

There’s value in exclusivity. There’s worth in a unique experience. Take the time to be thoughtful about each presentation, how it’s delivered and what content is re-purposed.

July 21, 2018
Top

Everyone loves cutting down the guy on top. I heard that originally in a country song, but it came to mind in recent news due to an article I read about Google and DuckDuckGo. Of course I’m not advocating for Google, in fact, there are many things they could do (and should do) differently, and I absolutely believe the future looks very different for Google and every other current tech monopoly (but that’s another post for another day). Instead I want to just quickly point out that when someone’s doing well, everyone else tends to seek out fault a little bit more intently. And another adage which also seems to come into play is the old saying regarding “kicking someone when they’re down.”

In case you’ve missed the news, Google was recently hit with a massive $5BN fine by the EC for anti-trust practicesI’m not weighing in on that discussion. Regardless of how big the company is that is a heavy fine.

But just because they’re getting hit with something heavy doesn’t mean everyone should pile on with every complaint they can dredge up. DuckDuckGo should demonstrate a bit more discretion in this case.

Reading the article caused me to go visit the website in question and I have to admit I was a bit surprised by what I saw.

That’s right, Google not only gives a full explanation for the domain name provenance (not required), but also provides extra links (extra mile), offers alternative advice (helpful), points to the competition directly (generous), and even sprinkles in a bonus link (humor).

Come on, let’s all have a little respect here. Even if we don’t agree with everything Google does; there’s a point where we should appreciate what they do…when they are under no obligation to do so.

July 19, 2018
Light Patterns

We hear a lot of talk these days about dark patterns, on the web, in apps, in UI and design. If you’re not familiar with the concept, here’s a quick example:

Dark patterns take a variety of forms and the example above is considered “Confirmshaming” – notice the “No thanks” option? There are several different types of dark patterns and thankfully they are becoming more and more recognized by users and the companies who employ them are being called out for their bad behavior.  You can see a full list of types here:
https://darkpatterns.org/types-of-dark-pattern

But I think it’s one thing to recognize and correct bad behavior. It’s a completely different thing to offer examples and suggestions for good behavior. I think we should take a more positive approach towards recognizing and offering good examples. In addition, maybe we should also start praising those who embrace light patterns. And maybe we should start to reward the companies who choose a user-centric, helpful and informative approach to their users. Wouldn’t the result be a better environment for everyone?

July 18, 2018
Direction

The other day (actually several days ago now) I was using a popular ride-sharing service and noticed the driver had just left my location at the airport when I requested a ride. I watched as his car turned around on my screen and made its way back to me. When I got in after exchanging the necessary small talk I asked him why he was leaving the airport without a fare. I told him in my mind it seemed to be a great spot to wait for the next rider as there would always be people coming off a plane.

He laughed before sharing with me his thought on the subject. It struck me instantly as interesting and I made a mental note to throw a quick TL;DR about it. Here was what he told me.

He said, “Every day I wake up, I find a rider looking for a trip to the airport or some other equivalent distance away from my home. Then, instead of sitting and waiting for another fare in a single spot (like the airport). Then I start making my way home again. I don’t move fast, and I certainly don’t ignore riders. Instead, I’ve found my mood improves, my attitude is better and I’m generally happier because I’m always ‘heading home’.”

This driver had realized the excitement over “heading home” at the end of the day, could be a way to make his entire day feel better. He wasn’t sitting stagnant in one location, he wasn’t waiting for another rider. He was going home. And inevitably he’d pick up a fair, which would take hime someplace else. He’d complete their route and once again “head for home”.

I thought there was something strangely positive in this thinking and approach and appreciated this rather unique way of focusing his mind on a positive result. It’s all about direction, it’s all about how you choose to see your future and how you get there. This positivity can be applied in other ways and areas of life too. What’s your direction? Are you headed where you want to go? 

July 16, 2018
Monday

Every day is a fresh start, I get that. But I think Monday holds a slightly elevated level of this ingrained human inclination towards optimism. Monday is (for most) the start of a new week. A chance to start fresh. A new opportunity to become more of the aspirational self they desire to be. Whatever happened last week is done, it’s behind you, it’s gone. Today, right now, this is the first day of an exciting new chapter.

How will you spend it?

July 15, 2018
Hen

I posted recently a blog post encouraging community involvement and I used a classic fairy tale as the motivational allegory to illustrate a practical and easy to understand equivalency. But as I was writing the post I was struck with something that I believe I should highlight and focus on. It was too derivative of a point to draw out in the original post so I’m posting it separately as a TL;DR here. And I apologize it may be slightly longer than my typical short posts.

The story I shared was The Little Red Hen. And if you want the full story then you can read the post shared earlier. Instead, there is one line in particular I emphasized in the story as I shared it. Perhaps you caught it, probably you didn’t.

And she had an idea for something to be made.

It’s a simple short sentence and it’s right near the beginning of the story. But this line really made me think. In the story the little red hen does all the work herself and only when the product (bread) is completed does everyone else want to take part. But maybe the little red hen actually didn’t do things right. I’m not trying to point fingers, but she might not be the best community manager in the world. In fact, I might go so far as to say she’s actually quite terrible as a community manager! Let me explain.

The little red hen missed what I believe to be the single most important factor when building a community or gathering helpers to join in with her in doing the work. She neglected to share her vision. 

The community manager has to do much more than tell people of work to get done. The community manager has to share the vision and encourage, inspire others to share that vision and join in a combined dream. 

Imagine if the story had been written differently…

One day the Little Red Hen found a grain of wheat. And she had an idea for something to be made. She quickly called her friends: the cat, the goose, and the rat and told them she had an idea she wanted to share. When they all got together the little red hen laid out a plan. She had found a grain of wheat, but this little grain of wheat could become something incredible, something nourishing, something mouth-watering and tasty!

She told them she knew it would take hard work and a number of different steps to turn that little grain into something they could all enjoy; but if they all worked together and used their strengths they could make it.

The little red hen then did something spectacular, she asked her friends what they thought. She wanted to know if they liked her idea? Did they agree a slice of soft, hot, bread sounded delicious? What could they do to make it better? The cat said she thought she could find some butter and this made the goose realize she’d seen a jar of strawberry jam which they could spread over the bread. Even the rat began to think about what he could do and how he could help.

Now, with a shared vision and a common goal (a delicious slice of hot bread with melted butter topped with cool strawberry jam) they all knew what needed to be done and grew more excited with each step of the process. They took turns watering the seed, they shared the load carrying the wheat to the mill, they all pitched in milling the flour, and throughout the entire time they laughed and told stories and encouraged one another through the hard times….

And just like that the little red hen learned how sharing her ideas, encouraging questions, and sharing a dream helped grow a community of close-knit friends focused on working together for the greater good.


I’m not saying this is the perfect analogy and I would never suggest that a classic fairy tale was written incorrectly. But I couldn’t help but realize how easily this story could unfold differently if the little red hen had focused a bit more on communication and community.

Community management and involving others throughout a process and reaching a shared vision isn’t easy but the rewards are so much greater than sitting alone eating a piece of dry toast.

July 14, 2018
Rubber-Ducking

Some of you may be very familiar with the term. I have used it a lot in the past but I think for those that might not have heard the term let me share why I like the idea of rubber-ducking so much.

First, gotta start by understanding the term. It’s a verb and involves the general idea of talking to an inanimate object (e.g. a rubber duck). This is not because you’re crazy (though others might think so); instead this is a chance for you to verbalize thoughts, hear them out loud, and process through information in a different way. This is often done for the purpose of bettering your thinking on a topic or improving your points and how you share them.

Second, I can’t tell you the number of times i use this technique in a single day. There’s immense value in getting your ideas out of your own head (even if it’s only to that empty chair sitting next to you).

Lastly, there’s an even better version of rubber-ducking. This involves bouncing your ideas off another person. But there are some strings attached to this version. Your person has to be “your person” meaning they know they aren’t there to criticize or chastise your thinking. In fact, sometimes the recognize their purpose is merely to listen. As the idea sharer you have to feel safe to say whatever you are thinking no matter how ineloquent or scattered those thoughts might be. Your person has to be the right person to be able to do this. If you have someone like this you are blessed.

When you get to the end of your verbal stream of consciousness there’s the opportunity for your person to ask questions. Not challenge you (remember you need to feel safe). Instead, they may ask for more explanation or a repeat of certain thoughts. This is why having “a person” is better than a “rubber duck”.

Regardless of the method, the outcome from engaging in this activity is highly beneficial and I recommend you add it to your thought process daily!

July 13, 2018
Sharing

Here’s your interesting thought for the day. Shamir’s Secret Sharing. This topic of secret sharing I believe holds immense value for the future of passwords and encrypted data on the decentralized web. Consider this approach in an applied environment akin to the P2P file-sharing of yesterday. In this new ideal system you could have a decentralized fully encrypted setup where private data could be stored securely in a public blockchain or other distributed, decentralized format.

Shamir’s Secret Sharing is an algorithm in cryptography created by Adi Shamir. It is a form of secret sharing, where a secret is divided into parts, giving each participant its own unique part, where some of the parts or all of them are needed in order to reconstruct the secret.

If you’re interested in learning more you can see the mathematical algorithm on the associated Wikipedia page.

July 12, 2018
Sensitivity

The concept of data privacy and security grows daily in importance and urgency. I’m personally heavily focused on these topics and I find particular interest in relating them to things such as open source code. There’s a lot to be learned and there are many different paths which could be taken. This recent paper took a novel approach and I loved the concept of elastic sensitivity.

Elastic sensitivity introduces the idea of approximating local sensitivity of queries with general equijoins. This elastic sensitivity is an upper bound on local sensitivity and thus can be used to enforce differential privacy using any local sensitivity-based mechanism. Ultimately, this yields generalized results with negligible performance loss and increased privacy without significant loss of accuracy in query results.

If you only read one research paper this week. Make it this one. Here’s a snippet to make you more curious:

This paper proposes elastic sensitivity, a novel approach for differential privacy of SQL queries. In contrast to existing work, our approach is compatible with real database systems, supports queries expressed in standard SQL, and integrates easily into existing data environments. The work therefore represents a first step towards practical differential privacy.

The best part? The researchers have released their work as an open source tool for computing elastic sensitivity for SQL queries.

Research Paperhttps://arxiv.org/abs/1706.09479
Open Source Codehttps://github.com/uber/sql-differential-privacy

Want me to elaborate further? Drop me a note and I’ll expand this one into an actual post. I think the idea is incredibly interesting.

July 11, 2018
Together

The combined results of several people working together is often much more effective than could be that of an individual scientist working alone.  – John Bardeen

July 11, 2018
glass.venue.smiles

I just discovered something which has apparently been around a little while. The concept is specific geolocation based on 3×3 meter squares and 3 word assignments. As I have learned, this is the thesis behind what3words.com which has mapped the entire planet in a 3×3 meter grid and then assigned each a 3 word “name”. This level of specificity on a global scale is mind-blowing and has use-cases in a surfeit of applications.

If you’re thinking what I thought at first…what about other languages besides English, then you’ll be interested to hear this team has created this nomenclature in 14 languages and growing all the time. 

I can tell you personally this has tremendous opportunity to provide real value in so many instances. Even down to the simplicity of where to meet someone to watch the Boston fireworks. Or, where to gather the next time you’re lost in Fenway park.

You can take a look at the map and find your address here: https://map.what3words.com – or the next time you’re in my little town outside Boston and want to grab a coffee you can say, I’ll see you at glass.venue.smiles

July 10, 2018
Free

There’s a common misconception in the world that anything which doesn’t require a fiat currency as payment for goods is somehow considered to be “free”. However, there are many other ways in which a business can “charge” for something. The beauty of this correlation exists when a business is able to capitalize on this feeling or sentiment that they are getting something for free when in reality they are simply paying a price in a different “currency”.

I’m reminded of this in particular today due to the unique and highly successful free marketing campaign held by the restaurant, Chick-Fil-A. If you live in an area where this chain operates then you probably are very aware what today is. For the rest of us, today is colloquially known as Cow Appreciation Day. 🐄 In other words, should you choose to assemble a few bovine accoutrement (dress like a cow) and plod into one of their establishments you will be herded towards rewarded with a free meal.

The allure of free at the low, low cost of your personal dignity and a few cow spots dotting your personage. 😉 Bravo to Chick-Fil-A for a brilliant and highly successful marketing campaign. They have identified a marketing campaign which maximizes their brand visibility while also meeting the free mentality of their customers.

July 9, 2018
Unbinged

I think I made up the title, but that’s okay. I think I like what it means and apparently I’m getting better at making up words. Here’s what I mean by unbinged. We all agree some things in life are worth waiting for, or said in a different way, some things are too good to consume all at once. You want to savor it, soak in it, enjoy it. Some times you need to give your mind a chance to develop a thought or an idea.

For this reason I think Netflix should release a new feature called Binge Lock. Here’s what it would do. As a viewer I would have the choice on a particular series to select Binge Lock. If I choose to activate the feature Netflix would not allow me to watch more than one episode per week of that series. And there would be no way to turn it off…for that series.

I was thinking yesterday about AI and how we are in danger of a world with an unmoderated AI because it will appeal to our revealed self instead of our aspirational self. This is a perfect example of that. I know I would love the “ideal” of making myself wait for something, but when the system gives me an auto-playing “Next Episode” in 30 seconds this appeals to my revealed self (sadly, one which loves the idea of instant gratification).

A feature like Binge Lock would give me the power to develop my aspirational self a bit more.

As a nice side benefit Netflix would have a way to encourage more chatter about their shows, the idea of “spoilers” becomes real again, and who knows maybe subscriptions would increase as well.

July 8, 2018
Unmoderated

The danger of unmoderated artificial intelligence is that as it learns human behavior it will adapt and modify its output to serve the revealed self of the individual rather than the aspirational self; understanding greater satisfaction is derived from pleasing the revealed self, although often in juxtaposition to the greater good.

July 8, 2018
Behavior

“People’s behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of their goals, needs, and motives.”
Thomas Mann

July 7, 2018
Switching

“Every time you shift your attention from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. So if you’re attempting to multitask, you know, doing four or five things at once, you’re not actually doing four or five things at once, because the brain doesn’t work that way. Instead, you’re rapidly shifting from one thing to the next, depleting neural resources as you go.”
Dr. Daniel Levitin

July 6, 2018
Next

I’m constantly reading the tech headlines and always looking to see what’s new in the world of interesting tech. I am particularly interested in seeing what new or innovative things have been discovered or worked on. I like to think about how they might be used in the future and how new tech can be applied to old problems. I absolutely loved reading about itty.bitty sites. I have no idea at the moment of the many use cases for this idea but it’s a fascinating concept!

July 5, 2018
Inspiration

Inspiration can take many forms. Sometimes it’s a slow burn in the back of your mind building each day into a well-formed thought or plan. Other times it may be something as simple as a firework popping in your brain into resplendent and immediate color. Be on the looking for inspiration however it forms!

 

June 20, 2018
Ranting

It’s easy to think that sometimes we just have to let out our thoughts and everything will be okay. It’s also easy to think that there’s no harm in ranting. Don’t be fooled. The words you say are important, they can affect people. Even if you simply need to vent some frustration, find a safe place (or a safe person) with whom you can do this. If you just start unloading on whomever is close by you risk damaging a relationship, or at the very least, their opinion of you. Don’t foolishly share your spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff heated feelings. Even when ranting, think before you speak.

 

June 19, 2018
Crisis

“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”

June 18, 2018
Elephant

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.

June 15, 2018
Connected

The paradox of the connected world is that we have more ways to reach people but it’s becoming harder to connect with them.

June 13, 2018
Watched

The social networking platform also admitted that it collects information about operating systems, hardware, software versions, battery levels, signal strength, available storage space, Bluetooth signals, file names and types, device Ids, browser and browser plugins (which is almost all of the information available on and about your device), from the users’ phones, TV and other connected devices.”
Facebook

June 13, 2018
Perspective

It’s our nature as humans to see everything from our own point of view. We’re instinctively protective of our own selves. Physically, emotionally, mentally, in every way we are wired to “put ourselves first”. This works great on the survival basis. But in relationship management and relationship building. This is quite possibly the most detrimental thing we can do. The next time you’re talking to someone. Don’t think about yourself. Put yourself in their shoes; imagine how they see the situation. Grow your empathy. It’s not easy, but the reward of a deep and lasting relationship are worth the effort. 

June 10, 2018
Cake

Important lesson. Stay creative. Don’t go easy into that dark night of adult-life-blindness.

 

June 9, 2018
Data

June 8, 2018
Imbalance

June 5, 2018
English

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).” — I truly appreciate the wit and style of Lewis Carroll.

June 5, 2018
Think

June 4, 2018
Animoji

What does it say about our culture and society in general when one of the biggest tech / developer conferences of the year announces the addition of additional animal emoji faces as one of their great highlights and achievements to be touted. Is this what we represent? Is this the culmination of everything we’ve achieved? Does this truly encapsulate the “why” we have believed in? 

June 3, 2018
Feathers

“…when the Titanic went down in 1912, the most valuable and highly insured merchandise in its hold was forty crates of feathers, second only to diamonds in the commodities market.”
The Feather Thief

May 24, 2018
Platform

This is ultimately the most important distinction between platforms and aggregators: platforms are powerful because they facilitate a relationship between 3rd-party suppliers and end users; aggregators, on the other hand, intermediate and control it.


May 24, 2018
Words

I’m writing a lot, and I recognize that word clouds are a bit dated and not quite the “it” thing so much any more like they once were. However, I believe there’s some unique value in them when it comes to self-analyzation or better understanding what topics are important to me. With that being said, here’s a snapshot from my blog as interpreted by my RSS feed of recent posts. 

May 23, 2018
Artisan

I’m striving daily to become more of an artisan.
Definition: Artisans practice a craft and may through experience and aptitude reach the expressive levels of an artist. — Wikipedia

May 11, 2018
Difficult



May 6, 2018
Success

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. 
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

May 2, 2018
Imagination

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. 
— Mark Twain

April 28, 2018
Warriors



Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. — The Art of War

April 28, 2018
Debate

I have never been a fan of debates or challenges/confrontations. It’s not easy for me to hold them, whether I feel strongly about something or not. It’s just always been an area where I have preferred for everyone to just “get along”. But as I’ve grown in my own knowledge and understanding I begin to recognize the immense value in these types of debates and heated talks. It challenges me. It challenges me to back up what I’m thinking and feeling and to examine more importantly why I feel the way I do and think the way I do. It makes me better. It makes the other person better. And so I’ve come to appreciate the tremendously positive aspects of discussion. Although I admit I still get knots in my stomach. It’s worth the challenge. Growth is good.

April 26, 2018
Dreams



We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. — Jesse Owens

April 22, 2018
Innovation

“The best, maybe the only, real, direct measure of innovation is change in human behaviour.” 
— Stewart Butterfield, Co-founder, Slack.

April 22, 2018
Bet



…a lot of good can result from someone saying, “Wanna bet?” Offering a wager brings the risk out in the open, making explicit what is already implicit (and frequently overlooked). The more we recognize that we are betting on our beliefs (with our happiness, attention, health, money, time, or some other limited resource), the more we are likely to temper our statements, getting closer to the truth as we acknowledge the risk inherent in what we believe. 
—Annie Duke, Thinking in Bets

April 19, 2018
Odd

I love this quote. A bit nonsensical, but it is Dr. Seuss. 

April 16, 2018
Bee


“It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.” 
– Mary Flannery O’Connor

April 13, 2018
Happiness

People’s happiness in their work is not about gourmet salads or sleeping pods or foosball tables. True and abiding happiness in work comes from being deeply engaged in solving a problem with talented people you know are also deeply engaged in solving it, and from knowing that the customer loves the product or service you all have worked so hard to make.
— Patty McCord, Powerful

April 7, 2018
Better

“We should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best.”
– Dallin Oaks

April 7, 2018
Hour

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” — Richard Whately

April 5, 2018
ABT

Every story can be reduced to a simple ABT template.
________, and, _________, but, ________ therefore ______
“I can tell you the story of a little girl living on a farm in Kansas AND her life is boring, BUT one day a tornado sweeps her away to the land of Oz, THEREFORE she must undertake a journey to find her way home.”
– Randy Olson

March 21, 2018
Thinking

Everything you think is a response to what someone else has thought and said. And when people commend someone for “thinking for herself” they usually mean “ceasing to sound like people I dislike and starting to sound more like people I approve of.”
– How to Think, Alan Jacobs

March 20, 2018
Forums



Let it be known, here and now, there are few things I like less in the world of software than forums. The message boards from the 90’s turned into the forums of the ’00’s and the fallback failure of the ’10’s. Search engines have made forums remain relevant simply for SEO benefits and purposes and for some misconstrued belief that there is untold wealth in the knowledge shared through the forum softwares of the world. Rather, I suggest these are nothing more than a gigantic waste of time and effort by moderators and knowledgeable humans as they wage meaningless war against the bots and the spam for the sake of a page rank. Highly curated, useful information can be shared and contributed to by the whole in many more profitable ways than a forum. We should be replacing them, not killing ourselves working in them. 

March 19, 2018
Creativity

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. 
– Steve Jobs

March 18, 2018
Paper Tigers

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
– Amelia Earhart

March 14, 2018
Chance



“It wasn’t that I was no longer afraid, but now my excitement was bigger than my fear.”
— Kobi Yamada

March 10, 2018
Downtime



Nobody should work non-stop. Everyone needs some downtime and a break. It’s important to remember this simple fact. It’s also more important to remember that not everyone requires the same thing. Some people find respite and a chance to recharge by reading a good book, others by watching a movie, some by playing video games, and even others by socializing with friends. And just like the mechanism is unique to an individual so also is the length of time. Ten minutes for one person may be the equivalent of 1 hour for someone else. But everyone needs downtime.
Make sure you avoid burnout by identifying what works best for you. Finally, once that time is passed, get back to it, renewed and recharged. 

March 7, 2018
Egg



Columbus being at a party with many noble Spaniards, where, as was customary, the subject of conversation was the Indies: one of them undertook to say: —"Mr. Christopher, even if you had not found the Indies, we should not have been devoid of a man who would have attempted the same that you did, here in our own country of Spain, as it is full of great men clever in cosmography and literature." Columbus said nothing in answer to these words, but having desired an egg to be brought to him, he placed it on the table saying: "Gentlemen, I will lay a wager with any of you, that you will not make this egg stand up as I will, naked and without anything at all." They all tried, and no one succeeded in making it stand up. When the egg came round to the hands of Columbus, by beating it down on the table he fixed it, having thus crushed a little of one end; wherefore all remained confused, understanding what he would have said: that after the deed is done, everybody knows how to do it; that they ought first to have sought for the Indies, and not laugh at him who had sought for it first, while they for some time had been laughing, and wondered at it as an impossibility.

March 6, 2018
Exaptation



An important part of Gutenberg’s genius, then, lay not in conceiving an entirely new technology from scratch, but instead from borrowing a mature technology from an entirely different field, and putting it to work to solve an unrelated problem.
Excerpted from Where Good Ideas Come From

March 5, 2018
Invictus



Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul. 
WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

March 5, 2018
Hustle



The idea of ‘hustle’ when it comes to startups is one that is frequently discussed and rarely seen. Startups that don’t have a hustle mindset will either meander along their path at a mediocre pace until they are no longer a “startup” and have entered the slog of mid-business or they will fizzle and die. For most startup founders neither of these outcomes is a success. As a result most startup founders have an innate sense of ‘hustle’ and what it means. It’s unique, and it’s different, and it’s surprisingly hard to manufacture in others. New talent hired to fill roles within a startup have a low probability of holding this ‘hustle’ mentality. That’s not to say it’s an impossibility, but it is rare. 
If you’re a hustler you know what I mean. If you aren’t – you may never understand. For those hustlers, don’t give up. Keep looking, keep hiring, keep finding those people with the spark in their eye and the fire in their gut. Hustle is a thing and when you have a startup filled with hustlers you had better be ready, big things are going to happen!

February 25, 2018
Done



“Done is the engine of more."
I loved this quote when I first read it. I think a lot of the time we focus on the concept of shipping something and being “done”. But we have the wrong concept for what the word means. Done is not complete and finished. Done is not the end. Done is not the goal. Done is the engine. Done is the first step on the path to success. Done is the motivator and the driving force to encourage the next step. Done empowers. Done enables. Done amplifies feelings of success to enable greater accomplishments. 

February 20, 2018
Opinions



“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” – Einstein

February 18, 2018
Courage



“A good idea is meaningless without the courage to act."

February 16, 2018
Impossible



"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” 
Muhammad Ali

September 3, 2016
Motivation




The early pre-dawn morning air is cool, just the faintest nip against your skin. The sun just starting to peak over the distant hills. Warm against your face you feel the rays soak into your soul. This is truly the best time of the day. Alone with the world, alone with your thoughts. What a time to recharge, regenerate, and renew your spirit. This incredible peaceful morning is yours. This day ahead is yours. This life….is yours. Take the early morning run, feel the cares like the miles slip away. Clear your head and run. Run into the sun. Run to the light. Run. Today is your day. Do something courageous today. Do something daring.

June 5, 2016
Communication



Limitless possibilities for societal progression occur when people are given the opportunity to collaborate and combine their excess, untapped, personal knowledge. Just as a cord of many strands is not easily broken; the combined strength of individual strands of human experience and previously unused personal talents form an unbreakable mesh upon which the world’s commerce can be upheld. This collaboration and combination never occurs in a vacuum. Only through an open philosophical approach to life and fulfillment of basic human needs can this social good be realized. Communication is the vehicle to drive this open revolution forward.  Through clear, concise, collaborative dialog each person is allowed the freedom to articulate their value and gain from the shared values of others.