Category Archives: Reflection

Very scary side effect of my job | 52 Tiger

Dave Caolo putting into words something that I’ve been pondering for months now.

Every day, I scan hundreds of RSS feeds, articles, tweets, emails and blog posts. Literally hundreds. It’s a skill I’m proud to have refined, but at the same time, I’m worried that I’m losing the patience to slow down and read a long article from start to finish.

273 feeds for me.

The Good: Peers, managers, and family ask me what’s happening because I’ve got my thumb on the pulse. Each day is uniquely colored by what the world is saying.

The Bad: If the word count is more than a few hundred words, I have to decide whether to read it or not. And it’s HARD to say yes.

The Gold: My goal is to find any gold nuggets but the self-imposed filtering game is so intense that it can easily become the end instead of the means to the end. Instapaper helps tremendously in this process. Potential gold gets added to my Instapaper queue and when it’s quiet, I really read.

Quietly read.

The End of Not Knowing

Fraser Speirs:

It’s not that GPS navigation systems with live traffic data are particularly new; it was just the contrast between my experience and the frustrated, anxious driver in the next lane that made me think about this. It felt like I had a sixth sense: data.

Imagine what happens when data like this is available to us in every area of life. This is a place where public information comes nose to nose with privacy.

Imagine your meetings being transcribed including the people attending and to do items with dates and assignments.

Imagine the traffic system knowing where you want to go and getting you there with greatly reduced risk of an accident all while you are being productive or resting.

Imagine attending a conference with people you have done business with but had never met. Your helper apps recognize them and feed you your notes on discussions, decisions, and their favorite vacation spot.

This is a world I can imagine because I think about it often.

It is Your Life. Own it.

You are AOL, a business living on past success.  You are trying to reinvent yourself to stay relevant.  What do you do?

Here is a my quick recap of the road AOL has taken.

  • AOL realized the value of creating quality content and architected the acquisition of Engadget and the rest of the Weblogs Inc. family of sites.  One of the chief architects of that deal was AOL executive Jim Bankoff.
  • Current AOL CEO Tim Armstrong saw nearer-term dollar signs and decided to pivot by implementing “The AOL Way”.  This new strategy dramatically lowers the bar when it comes to quality and causes AOL to cast the shadow of a content farm.  Review The AOL Way slides for yourself.
  • The top staffers of Engadget then exit AOL and reappear at SB Nation, a site passionate about quality content.  The SB Nation CEO is Jim Bankoff.

Kara Swisher on why they left:

All of the above had left Engadget in a series of departures of late, all due to increasing unhappiness with AOL’s management and content strategy.

AOL appears to be circling the drain.  Only time will tell.

Noted developer, Wil Shipley, posted a response to this situation using a farming versus mining analogy.  It is a great read. The message is that farmers are invested for the long-term, they care, and they leave behind something of value.  Miners remove everything of value, cash it in, and leave behind something without worth.  I agree with Wil that the people I most respect are farmers.

The most amazing thing about getting to go to TED was discovering that all the people I admire are farmers. The doctors and DNA-researchers and dancers and chocolate-makers and oceanographers and cosmologists and investors all have one thing in common: they are total nerds. They work on the thing they love literally all the time. You can’t talk to them without talking about their passion.

If you are a decision-maker in your organization, and you are, how can you become a farmer?  Care. Do it well. Create an extra test. Look it over again. Ask an open-ended question. Encourage and recognize quality.

It is your life. Own it.

Corporate Belief

Once you know my beliefs, you will have a good idea how I will behave.  When I know your beliefs, I can fairly predict your behavior.  The same is true in corporate culture.

Apple has a new commercial about their beliefs.  I am a sucker for these!  Although it is polished for public consumption, look back over the reign of Steve Jobs and you can see it is true.

xkcd: Probability

A poignant comic from xkcd showing that math can make you cry.

via xkcd: Probability.

The Molten Lake

Imagine an angry lake tossing and turning. Now imagine that the lake is filled with lava, not water.  The lake often overflows, making the shores higher and stronger.  Now view the image below (via The Big Picture) and find the man standing by the shore.  It is an awe-inspiring sight.

Nyiragongo Crater: Journey to the Center of the World – The Big Picture – Boston.com.