Sent from my iPhone
Sent from my iPhone
Reverend Tom Honey has been a priest in the Church of England for over 20 years. In 2004 he had to address his flock on a Sunday shortly after the tragic Indian Ocean tsunamis. Unspeakable suffering -- but how can you explain God's role? Countless tragedy and unimaginable suffering over eons.
How can an all-powerful God allow this to happen? It has long been a deep-seated theological and philosophical question in my mind. Is God a puppet-master, or some medieval tyrant? If so, then he is either not benevolent or not ominipotent.
Rev. Honey explains that perhaps this is the wrong frame. That maybe we're pretending to know God better than we possibly could know him. That he might not be an agent in the way we think of human beings as agents. That he does not, but is. The reverend goes on goes on:
To have faith in this God would be more like trusting an essential goodness and benevolence in the universe, and less like believing a system of doctrinal statements. Isn’t it ironic that Christians who claim to believe in an infinite, unknowable being, then tie God down in closed systems and rigid doctrines? Faith in God demands the huge step of saying, “despite all appearances to the contrary, I trust that there is a loving presence, but I will live without knowing.”
And that resonates with me. I accept that there is pain and suffering in this world. I would go further -- that we are called to recognize the divine within others and to serve and love and bring happiness to them.
I've been studying other traditions in my spare time of late, particularly the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Bhagavad Gita. And I'm struck by the common chord between them. Life is a tremendous gift, and it is so short. So we must try to live it in service to those of our tribe, be it our friends and family, our nation, humanity, or all life in the Universe.
I've had one of these for a couple weeks now, and they're awesome. It's a 3rd party external battery that weighs about a pound that hooks directly into your Macbook Pro MagSafe. It also has a USB outlet for charging your iPhone or iPad.
They let me get a ton more mobile battery life on the go -- so no more running out of batteries on cross-country flights and/or at conferences without power outlets. On average I get 8 or 9 hours of charge with my 15 inch Macbook Pro Unibody (circa 2009).
Not sure whether I should be angry at HyperMac for not properly licensing the power connector or Apple for refusing to license it.
This is a shame. But apparently they're being sold for the next two weeks before getting discontinued. If you've ever had problems running out of juice on the go, I recommend picking one up.
A new sharing-oriented economy is emerging. Imagine a world where we don't own 90% of the stuff we keep around the house. Sure, we'll have a TV and toothbrush, but we won't have a power drill. The average power drill is only used for 20 minutes over its entire lifetime. And that's just one of hundreds of things we have lying around the house.
We don't need to own it if we can have instant access to it at all times.
Think ZipCar. Or AirBnb. This is just the first wave.
Hat tip to my friend @krgaskins who also led the report for Latitude!
Above are my slides from my talk. It's pretty straightforward, in as few words as possible:
So that's what I got in a nutshell. I can't believe how many people have helped us along the way (and we are so far from done!) but it feels great to be able to give back and help more people get to fulfill their dreams.
Seattle is probably the biggest collection of amazing software engineers and product creators outside of the Bay Area -- but they're all locked up in massive vaults called Microsoft and Amazon. Come on out guys, the water's fine.
Science is about the external world: measurement, controlled experiment, data collection, empiricism. It tests hypotheses against the hard reality of repeatable experiments with objectively measurable results. Those who practice it are called scientists or empiricists.
Reason, by contrast, is internally generated. It’s building mental models of the world, starting with your internal sense for what is right and pure, from which further truths can be deduced. Those who practice reason are called rationalists.
Adam Wiggins of Heroku breaks down science vs. reason and how it affects business decisions in a startup -- and I was struck by how there are similarly very entrenched camps that are highly product (PG / YC-style / build something people want) oriented vs. highly metrics (Paypal mafia / Andrew Chen / Slide+Zynga) oriented.
When you build a product, you've got to have a worldview on what people want and what is useful and good. That's product sense. But once it is out in the world, you need to iterate and use empiricism to understand how your creation is doing. That's analytics.
As with science and reason, product and metrics are distinct things that happen to be extra valuable when used in conjunction.
As Freud pointed out, people spend a shocking amount of time in a continuous cycle seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Our internal monologue is but a continuous questioning -- how am I doing, and what should I be doing next? When we meet with friends and family, in between the great stories and moments of laughter and levity-- we ask how they're doing, how that food is, what are you going to order, how was that movie, what's new, and so on.In essence, when we ask each other how things were, we're comparing our experiences. How was that steak? Great? Awesome, I'm going to have that too. The Other Guys was a great movie? Sweet, I have to see it. It sucked? Thanks for letting me avoid that one. (It was awesome by the way)
But that's what Yelp is for. And the web. And Google. The arc of history is that of an ever-increasing amount of empathy -- and the web is merely the latest and greatest enabler in that. The beginning of this arc? Verbal language. Written language. Scrolls. Codexes. The printing press. Paperback books. Paperback computers. And now the infinitely vast and instantaneous Internet.
At first blush, the now-dominant social way we use the Internet seems shallow. Who cares what movie so-and-so watched? Or that they ate at that fancy new restaurant and it sucked. Why should it appear on my Facebook feed at all? But we should care. We do care. It allows us to live better lives. If there is less friction in knowledge, then the good restaurants and the good movies get the attention they deserve. Bad service is penalized. People don't get ripped off so often. Because a durable public channel for feedback exists, restaurants and services can get better.
Less spit in coffee, more awesomeness. We each have a voice in this, and if we pay into the system, we help each other live better... One blog post or Yelp review at a time.
Our challenge is to make as many of those experiences positive. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Now. Because it is easy to envision a distant future that is better. But until that future is realized, thousands or millions of other people will have to endure a bad experience before you can get your act together. They may be tiny grievances accumulated over hours and days, but in the meantime a better future is sitting in a Gantt chart or bug tracker or Excel spreadsheet someplace.
These are only the minor annoyances, though I'm sure there are a few major ones as well. But when you add it all up over time and frequency that is one heck of a lot of human pain. Luckily, it is within our hands as designers and engineers and experience creators to turn that pain into happiness. It is our job. We care and we are working on it. So should you.
Trader Joe's is no ordinary grocery chain. It's an offbeat, fun discovery zone that elevates food shopping from a chore to a cultural experience. It stocks its shelves with a winning combination of low-cost, yuppie-friendly staples (cage-free eggs and organic blue agave sweetener) and exotic, affordable luxuries -- Belgian butter waffle cookies or Thai lime-and-chili cashews -- that you simply can't find anyplace else.
Trader Joe's is an amazing place, and with very little coverage. But Fortune does an admirable job of filling us in.
Did not realize that the store had been sold to a German family that is better known for a large German chain of supermarkets. And that they're expanding like mad. Good on them. They rock.