Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

5 second impression

6th November 2011

I believe it takes less than five seconds for anyone to make up their mind about anything. I believe that the rest of our time is spent justifying our opinion made during those five seconds.

Whether we are meeting someone new or buying a new car or eating at a new restaurant or interacting with a new product, our first impression, those first five seconds, is the one that will forever anchor our opinion. We will always be looking for ways to adjust future messages about that person/restaurant/product to fit into our five second opinion.

Life is no longer binary

26th October 2011

There was a time when products really had only two modes. Either on or off. But as peoples needs changed so did products and different settings were introduced. You can now dim your lights for example. But we are now again at the point where people want more. Or, less really. Less thought and more action on the part of technology.

I came across a new thermostat via Hacker News called Nest. Nest changes the way one thinks about what is expected from a thermostat. It is not about turning your a/c or heater on or off. It is not ever about setting up a schedule as to when to turn on and off. It is about getting to your optimal temperature with as little input from you as possible. It learns from you and adjusts accordingly.

Life is no longer binary. Software matters.

Rocking the boat

25th October 2011

When meaningful change is required, rocking the boat is a critical action. If it’s not important, i.e. no one really cares, the boat will do nothing. It will just continue on its course and ignore your cries. It is when the boat starts to sway lightly that you know you are on the right track. It means you are making an impact and people are listening. It also means that no matter what, you can not stop for anything.

But what if no matter how hard you push, the boat doesn’t budge an inch? Maybe your message is wrong. Maybe you are pushing in the wrong spot. Maybe you are pushing without listening. Or Maybe you’re on the wrong boat. If it is none of these things, then it is time to find your mistake and adjust accordingly.

It’s once you get the boat swaying does it become important to listen to its rocking. You need to keep pushing until the swaying peaks, that is how you know your job is done.

Of course, sometimes you need to capsize the boat, but that is rare.

Concert videography

23rd October 2011

Back in high school my good friend Drew and I would film and interview local bands in Chicago. We’d go to places like the Fireside, the 3rd Floor, the Underdog Loft, VFW’s, and several other places all over the Chicagoland area with our Hi-8 camcorders and shoot away. After a set we would sometimes literally drag the band over to an area where we could interview them. Drew would then take the footage, edit it together nicely and copy it to dozens of VHS tapes. We’d then take those tapes to shows and sell them to fans like us. It was such a great time in my life.

What got me thinking about this was when I cam across Veokami, a site that collects video of live concerts taken by fans on their mobile devices. It’s a moden version of what we were doing, but pulling video from multiple sources of the same concert. It is a fantastic idea and site and I truly hope it takes off.

Bonus: Here is a video I took of A.F.I. performing File 13 at the FIreside Bowl on Nov. 25 1997.

I have no data

22nd October 2011

A great way to see if a book may be of interest is to search through Amazon’s list of most highlighted passages on people’s Kindles.

A great one being:

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

From The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

How to tell a great story

18th October 2011

If you are looking for a good example of how to tell a story, look no further than Joanna Wiebe’s article entitled How 1 HN post compelled me to leave Intuit and create a new startup for startups.


17th October 2011

Trello will end up being one of my favorite new web apps of the year. It’s a digital version of index cards mixed with a pin board. It is simple, really fun to use and I just cannot help recommending it to everyone I know.

Knowing what you’re working on

15th October 2011

Fred Wilson has a great post on how he came to fund SoundCloud, an online network for sound junkies. He was repeatedly approached by the SoundCloud team for funding, but it ended up being a single slide that finally sold him.

His post reminded me of what it was like being at art school and working on a new piece. Getting started was real easy, I just sort of had at it, little doodles in my sketch book until an idea would emerge. “Ok, portraits!”. It was not until my piece was done that I would get to sit and finally understand what I had been working so hard on. In the case of my portrait project I had been working on the idea of “permanence in time and place”. What it meant to “be somewhere”. The process I went through is very similar to working on a new idea for a business, something I am sure the SoundCloud team was going through.

It can take a long time, even years, to know what it is you have actually been working on. Not the problem you are solving, but the vision you are driving. This seems counter intuitive because it begs the question, has all your work been aimless?

It is a discovery process leading to a more solidified version of the spark that got you rolling. Ideas look very different in your head than when others begin to interact with it. It is rare to know what you’re working on from the very beginning. But it is certainly your job to to figure it out with deliberate persistence.

Happy Birthday Reader

13th October 2011

Happy Birthday Reader


12th October 2011

It’s surprising to me that more people I know have not dropped their cable television service. I’m not really sure why, but I do know that the cable and service provider landscape in five years or so will look nothing like it does today.

As online video grows so will its demand and one day will become our primary form of video entertainment. I can point to the success and growth of services like Netflix and Amazon’s Rentals, but these are just scratching the service. We will continue to see more and more interesting services released.

This means that television providers will look nothing like they do today and in fact new ones will emerge. The current providers and television manufacturers can run feeds in to a home and make a great looking tv, but this no longer matters. What matters is software as it allows for new forms of distribution and more interesting viewing experiences. And since software matters, it will be software companies that take over the reigns and create the layers of our viewing experiences.

This is going to continue to be a great space to watch.

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