Category: Technology

Don’t Click the Bell

I have 42 unread LinkedIn notifications now. I had 20+ Facebook notifications the other day, and I have 20+ unread Twitter notifications now.  These platforms badly want me to click on their little bell. You can tell because they keep multiplying things about which to notify you.  Now the platforms don’t just tell you about […]

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Know the Basis of Your Technology

Jurassic Park is a wonderful movie, but you’re cheating yourself of some fine philosophy if you don’t read the book. In the original Michael Crichton novel, the mathematician and Jurassic Park skeptic Ian Malcom delivers a fantastic speech on the difference between power gained through science for the genetic engineers of InGen (power handed to […]

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Love the Very New and the Very Old

I love old farms and skyscrapers under construction, old cars and Elon Musk’s newest spaceships. I think my ideal way of living would consist of working on a farm (or hunting/gathering out in nature) during the day and working on a high-tech project at night (call it “Jeffersonian futurism.”) I love the very old and […]

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The Appeal of Steampunk

Steampunk, n. a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. Tonight I finished a rewatch of the early 00’s Disney film Treasure Planet, a retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island which replaces the high seas with outer space and combines Victorian culture and […]

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Introducing the How To Be Anything Show

Haven’t you wondered about what it would be like to drop your career and try something different? Didn’t you have a bunch of things you “wanted to be when you grew up” that you haven’t tried (yet)? I can answer “yes.” In addition to all of the skills dabbling and multi-hat-wearing I already do, I […]

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If You Want Companies to Innovate at Scale, Plan for Companies to Screw Up

The larger a community gets, the harder it is for that community to drive things together in the same direction. Scaling pretty much guarantees division and miscommunication (as well as a few sneaky evildoers hiding among good people). It’s hard enough for a family of 7. Yet many of us care about living in communities […]

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5 Reasons To Be Grateful for Facebook

It’s fashionable to hate Facebook now, and I get it. I would like to see a social media business model that didn’t rely on the sale of data. Breaking your own privacy policy is bad. But I also know that no company doing anything good at scale can manage a record free of errors. And […]

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The Silver Lining of Social Media’s Negativity Obsession (and How To Defeat It)

Shockingly evil things + news often seem to defeat good things + good news in the war for human attention, especially on social media, TV, etc. There’s one silver lining to all this, though: The good is going to have to become that much better to stand out and win. Good people are going to […]

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Music Is An Augmented Reality Technology

It’s one kind of experience to drive down a country road. It’s another to drive down a country road while listening to “Country Roads, Take Me Home.” It’s one thing to work on a project late into the night. It’s another kind of thing entirely to work on a project late into the night while […]

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You Can Talk To Anyone. Are You Interesting Enough?

Twitter is one of the best and worst things about being alive in 2019. But you already know what’s wrong with it. Let’s talk about what’s right. Gary Vaynerchuk compares Twitter to a cocktail party. You can mix and mingle around a room full of interesting people and conversations, if you know how to filter […]

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How Do We Make Truth Faster Than Falsehood?

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” A lot of people complain about fake news, but I’ve spent enough time in my career trying to debunk it that this is personal. And I don’t just want to accept that clickbait articles, rapid conclusion-jumping, uncharitable interpretation, […]

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A Glimpse of a Car-Less Urban Future: Atlanta Streets Alive

Atlanta is world-renowned for its awful traffic. Today we received a surprising receive: 9 miles of streets from Buckhead to Decatur roped off for use by pedestrians, skaters, bikers, and scooters (that’s what you call people on scooters, right?) Enter Atlanta Streets Alive. I couldn’t refuse this call to adventure. Today I got to see […]

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You Will Always See More Problems with Your Product Than Your Critics

After a few years in a small company, I’ve been through my fair share of user complaints, issues, bugs, service failures. When I first found out about problems with our product (I was young and naive) I would be a lot more freaked out. Over time, I’ve come to accept that problems (and fixing them) […]

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“Little Big Details” and User Experience at the Gas Station Restroom

User experience, n.: User experience (UX) refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. – Wikipedia You can’t swing a cat in the software world without hitting a software person talking about UX – user experience. And that’s probably a good thing. More and more parts of our lives have shifted […]

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Spring File Cleaning and Hard Drive Nostalgia

In the past few days I’ve been making a focused effort to clean up my computer’s hard drive and move more files into the cloud – where I have a slightly more organized system. More organization and less clutter is always a good thing, whether you’re finding them in real space or in digital space. […]

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I Don’t Want To Make the World Feel Smaller

Should we really want travel make our world feel “smaller”? Last week I took a flight on Delta Airlines, and their pre-flight advertisement followed this theme of a smaller, more accessible world as it showed beautiful images of people frolicking in tropical water paradises. etc. I don’t blame the good marketers of Delta for pursuing this theme: it’s […]

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The Shared Lyft Ride Should Replace Public Transportation

There are many people who feel the future of transportation is public transportation. I shudder at the thought. Sure, I’d like to reduce negative human impacts on the environment, too. But I’m also not a big fan of drab, boring, bureaucrat-administered travel experiences – not to mention the non-consensual funding, political manipulation, and supply/quality problems […]

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Why Thrillseekers Should Be Driving for Uber and Lyft

If you want a thrilling Saturday night adventure, start driving for Uber on the weekend the Super Bowl happens in your city. Even though this technology is years old (and I’ve been using it as a consumer), you can still got a hefty dose of adrenaline from trying it out for the first time as a […]

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Google, Information Abundance, and Why You Haven’t Learned Those Skills Yet

“Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” – G.K. Chesterton  My generation has access to more information than any generation before it. The Internet gives people like me astonishing access to everything from ice dancing results and fast food […]

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Free Business Idea: Gamify Travel (And All the Things)

Wish your average plane flight, cruise, or hotel stay could be more than just checking in and consuming? I think we all want more of an element of play and adventure in our lives. There’s a great opportunity emerging in the world we live in to gamify real-life experiences in ways that excite wonder and […]

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Use the Tools You Have: Professional Skills You Can Learn On a Macbook

Want to learn more skills in the new year? Good. But before you range far or spend much to get new tools, books, or other equipment for learning, consider what you have right in front of you. If you’re an Apple computer user (Macbook, Mac, iPhone, or iPad), you probably have free, open access to […]

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Organize Social Media Around Your Quests, Not Yourself

Social media is so often full of stress, trolls, self-aggrandizement, and comparison. If you’re the kind of person who reads this blog, you probably agree. Maybe like me you’ve mostly let your social media accounts lie, or killed your newsfeed, or something of the sort. I’m still a big believer in what social media can […]

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The Adventure of Enterprise Software: Salesforce, Mascots, and the Heroic Customer

Is your software cumbersome and complicated? Does it require months of training to use and years of experience to master? Make the challenges into an adventure. Salesforce does. If you’re not a sales or marketing person, you should know that Salesforce is the world’s #1 customer relationship management software. Being #1 doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to use […]

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Cheap Google Sunglasses, Over the Top Startup Bro, and Leaning Into Tech Stereotypes

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 2 of that challenge.  Hanging up by my desk at work you’ll find a broken pair of Google-branded red, blue, green, and yellow sunglasses. I first got these sunglasses […]

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Use Better Tech (Not Laws) To Reduce Texting and Driving Deaths

In the past year or so I’ve started to notice a new feature on my phone: with simple artificial intelligence the text messaging app is able to auto-generate simple, relevant replies to text. So if someone says “hi”, you can say “hi” right on back. But it’s actually more sophisticated than it sounds. It can detect, […]

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Why Entrepreneurs Should Be Studying Anthropology

“Anthropology is the study of humans and human behaviour and societies in the past and present.” – Wikipedia “Everything old is new again” and “there is nothing new under the sun.” It’s hard to think that these could be the unofficial slogans of innovations in human wellbeing, but (increasingly) they are. Thought leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk have observed how the open and […]

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Free App Idea: Uber for Teenage Entrepreneurs

I’m a big fan of summer jobs. In fact, I wish more people had them than just teenagers. But I can only imagine that these days (even with the wealth of information available) many teens have little clue about how to start getting work outside of the traditional fast food or retail/service employment tracks. The real […]

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Free Feature Idea: Potluck – For Pitching In

Potluck dinners are one of the great inventions of humankind. So why not bring the potluck concept to more (or all) parts of life? People want to connect with each other, and they do it best when they’re helping each other. We all have skills we can share with each other, and platforms like TaskRabbit have taken […]

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Safety Regulations Could Kill the Scooter Revolution (But They Totally Won’t)

If you live in a major city in the US, you’ve probably already borne witness to the scooter revolution. For short distance trips down city sidewalks, the motorized, smartphone-unlockable scooters provided by companies like Bird and Lime are kicking butt and taking names. The scooters are easy to ride, easy to access (they’re just lying […]

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The Adventure of Phonelessness

Have you ever been doing your best to do door to door selling in a small, strange Florida beach town when your smartphone dies on you? I have.* There are few things more stressful – and I really needed to get to a meeting at some beachfront restaurant. And yet I remember that time fondly.  From […]

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