All Things C

Towards a leisure society: Information overload


The new inequality will be an information absorption inequality.

You can’t switch the information off. You can’t opt out without the trade off being that you will be dumber and less informed and thus probably more rubbish at making investment choices.

Life is moving forward and sometimes it means leaving things behind. Success is for those who understand that and embrace the future, love the present and remember the past and don’t dwell on it.
— Me telling a very young friend about the reality that is life. (via om)

And Then, Suddenly, It Works


Chris Dixon:

An idea getting tried over and over tends to be a positive signal (which is one reason that competition is overrated). It’s very easy when you spend lots of time around startups to get cynical. You could tweet and blog predictions that every new startup will fail and how the ideas are derivative and you’d be right 95% of the time. The hard part – and what matters for founders and investors – is figuring out the right mix of timing and execution to finally get it right.

This is exactly right. Once you’ve been deeply embedded in the technology scene for years, the easiest thing in the world to be is cynical. But that’s a mistake. So often, great ideas don’t take off simply due to a mixture small imperfections in execution and mostly, timing

But great ideas are still great ideas. They always find a way. If not today, then tomorrow.

(via nicolaerusan)

when people use iPads they end up just using technology to consume things instead of making things

The Gift

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit. You’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - those of family, health, friends, and spirit - they are made of glass. 

If you drop one of these, they will be forever scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. Please understand that. 

So, strive for balance in your life. How? 
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. 
It is because we are different that each of us is special. 

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life. Without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.

Don’t give up, when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying. 

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.

Don’t forget that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.

Life is not a race. It is a journey to be savored each step of the way.

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery and Today is a gift. That’s why we call it - The Present.”

- From a commencement speech given by Brian Dyson, former CEO Coca-Cola Enterprises

Skim.Me Blog

Most of my limited blogging brainpower happens these days on the Skim.Me blog. I’ll occasionally crosspost but you can checkout the latest here

Skim.Me team exhibiting terrible posture in our new digs at the Varick Street Incubator View high resolution

Skim.Me team exhibiting terrible posture in our new digs at the Varick Street Incubator

Back from the Dead

Repost from the Skim.Me blog

Has it really been six months since we wrote a real update? It’s really all a blur. Sorry for the radio silence, we’ll be updating much more frequently now. To be honest, we’ve been silent mostly out of my fear. Fear cause we were confused on what we were doing, on where we were going, and on how we were going to get there. We find out a little more each day and we’ve gritted our teeth to get to where we are now.

I won’t take you through all the highs and lows. All you need to know is that we’re almost ready with something that we believe will change the way some of you feel when trying to keep up with stuff on the web. Info overload, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, fear of missing out, filter failure, whatever you want to call it, we think it’s all pretty intertwined and that it’s only going to get worse.

So for over a year now, we’ve been trying to zone in on what the hell exactly we’re building. We’ve been circling around groups of related topics but finally think we’ve found the real pain points for many routine web users. A year ago, I think I had about 180 LinkedIn connections. Today, I’m sitting at 942 - most of which are from people I’ve met to get feedback on Skim.Me from. Thanks to everyone who has spent the random 15 minutes to hours talking with us. The feedback has been invaluable and somehow has all come together into what we have cookin’ now. I also use those meetings in lieu of psychiatrist sessions.

Some of the initial credit for the path we’re headed down goes to Dan Porter of OMGPop, Draw Something, and now Zynga fame. If it works, I’ll give him some credit, if it doesn’t, maybe I’ll try blaming it on him. Dan spent that random 30 minutes with me and gave me his thoughts on why RSS hadn’t caught on with him personally. Somewhere in that conversation the negative appeal of manual on-boarding/curating one’s sources and the lack of intelligence behind static readers struck a chord. After talking about it with Daren, we realized we were well on our way to creating a better RSS reader that still no one would want.

A.D.P (After Dan Porter), we went back to the drawing board and out came something that was a lot more technically sophisticated then we had the chops for at the time. We’re talking things that have never been done before by some of the best and brightest technology companies out there. In all honesty, we’re still unclear how much of the full vision associated with the predictive personalization technology we’re building will be realized but even if we come close, it will be pretty awesome.

Then again, consumers don’t care much about the cool technology going into a product unless it adds real value to their lives but we think the tech combined with our UX will do the trick. We’re on a mission to leave  you feeling self-assured, content and in-control of your browsing routines on all your devices.

That’s all for now. Back to working in the new digs. Will send a pic!

(This was written while listening to the viral hit, “Call Me Maybe,” on our Skim.Me homepage. That video is holding the place for a future Skim.Me tutorial video.)

Much Love,

Clinton, Daren, Shawn, Neil, Eric & others

Nerds & Athletes


B. Creators or Fighters?

In thinking about building good company culture, it may be helpful to dichotomize two extreme personality types: nerds and athletes. Engineers and STEM people tend to be highly intelligent, good at problem solving, and naturally non zero-sum. Athletes tend to be highly motivated fighters; you only win if the other guy loses. Sports can be seen as classically competitive, antagonistic, zero-sum training. Sometimes, with martial arts and such, the sport is literally fighting.

Even assuming everyone is technically competent, the problem with company made up of nothing but athletes is that it will be biased towards competing. Athletes like competition because, historically, they’ve been good at it. So they’ll identify areas where there is tons of competition and jump into the fray.

The problem with company made up of nothing but nerds is that it will ignore the fact that there may be situations where you have to fight. So when those situations arise, the nerds will be crushed by their own naiveté.

So you have to strike the right balance between nerds and athletes. Neither extreme is optimal. Consider a 2 x 2 matrix. On the y-axis you have zero-sum people and non zero-sum people. On the x-axis you have warring, competitive environments (think Indian food joints on Castro Street or art galleries in Palo Alto) and then you have peaceful, monopoly/capitalist environments.

Most startups are run by non-zero sum people. They believe world is cornucopian. That’s good. But even these people tend to pick competitive, warring fields because they don’t know any better. So they get slaughtered. The nerds just don’t realize that they’ve decided to fight a war until it’s all over.

The optimal spot on the matrix is monopoly capitalism with some tailored combination of zero-sum and non zero-sum oriented people. You want to pick an environment where you don’t have to fight. But you should bring along some good fighters to protect your non zero-sum people and mission, just in case.

(Source: blakemasters)

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