ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

May 5, 2012

I spend a lot of time on PandaWhale these days.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — ifindkarma @ 6:11 pm

If you’re looking for me, I’m on PandaWhale.

I’m stashing many things there.

And if you’re wondering why there are so many broken links on this WordPress, it is because I imported my Posterous here and when Twitter shut down Posterous it broke a lot of my old links and images. Thanks Twitter.

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January 12, 2012

Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY! #Harbaughisms

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 12:49 am
Joyce reminds me that 1/11 PandaWhale turned one year old.

Right now we’re working on awesomizing PandaWhale, building on what we’ve learned from our alpha.

We draw on inspiration from Jim Harbaugh:

Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY! 

I repeatedly watch 0:55 into this clip…

The 49ers reached the NFC title game because of three things: The Team. The Team. The Team.

What transformed The Team from 6-10 last year to the NFC Championship this yearJim Harbaugh!

I’m sad that Harbaugh hasn’t tweeted his philosophy recently.

That philosophy was imbued in Jim and his brother John “early on, an approach, a way of looking at things in terms of football, or life… That comes from our parents.”

Their dad Jack Harbaugh would chauffeur the boys to school each day and utter the same 20 words:

Ok, men, grab your lunchboxes and attack this day with an enthusiasm UNKNOWN TO MANKIND.

And don’t take any wooden nickels.

They turned out to be words to live by.

“In this world, you can choose to be positive or you can choose to be negative,” Jack Harbaugh says. “You can choose to see things through a set of eyes that sees good or you can choose to see things in life that aren’t so good.

“At least every day, they were reminded to look at it through a positive set of eyes. Let the lens of your eyes be positive.

We try to stay positive as PandaWhale navigates our creative process to create a masterpiece.

Like Alex Smith after a 27-yard QB sweep!

Alex_smith

So in honor of PandaWhale’s anniversary, here are 11 of my favorite #Harbaughisms:

11. “I don’t like that kind of football where you try and talk and intimidate. It’s not real. You play with your feet, your legs, you play with your hands. Just play football. Shut up and play football.

10. “I just like being the guy who throws the rocks at the beehive every now and then.”

9. “I didn’t want to be in any kind of comfort zone. I didn’t want to be in any kind of guaranteed situation. The fact that it was uncharted waters, try to figure out ways to do things, gave me energy.

8. “I don’t take vacations. I don’t get sick. I don’t observe major holidays. I’m a jackhammer.”

7. “As long as everything that’s said is said against us, we feel a certain assurance of success. It’s when they go the other way, when flowery words of praise start to be heaped upon us — that’s when we start to feel exposed before our enemies.”

6. “ALL OBSTACLES CAN AND MUST BE OVERCOME. That’ll be our approach without excuse.

5. “We’re not sustaining a gosh darn thing. We despise the word sustaining. We despise the word satisfaction.

4. “What’s YOUR deal?” (“I’m great.”)

3. “We want to win with numbing repetition.

2. “Attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.” (“EUTM” comes from Jack Harbaugh.)

1. “Who’s got it better than us? NOOOO-BODY!

It’s worth reading Jack Harbaugh’s story of “Who’s got it better than us? Noooo-body.”

To this day, it gets Jim Harbaugh all fired up.

Bay Area rapper Bailey even turned it into a rap.

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.

Nobody has it better than us. NOOOO-BODY!!!

And on that note, it’s back to the creative process we go, to create a better “masterpiece”…

Creative_process
Go Niners! Go Niners! Go Niners!

Go_niners

Meanwhile, special props to the 49ers Special Teams for being DELIGHTFULLY QUIRKY!

The 49ers Special Teams Unit can be seen dancing before every kickoff to a song by Future called “Tony Montana”

There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

Who dances better than us? NOBODY!

Who’s got a more colorful coach than us? Nobody!

Harbaughisms

Hail to Harbaughisms… 🙂

July 12, 2011

It goes to 11.

Somewhere, something incredible 
is waiting to be known.
      ~ Carl Sagan

Carve out one minute of your day for mindfulness.
Turn off the Internet and turn on the Innernet.
Every night as you fall asleep, plant a seed in your mind.
Every morning when you wake, take a minute to meditate.
It makes a world of difference.
     ~ Lili Balfour


Today I saw that a friend lost a baby unicorn.

And I realized, everybody hurts and everybody struggles sometimes.
Lost_one_baby_unicorn

We’ve been struggling at 106 Miles to create a charity event for the Nerd New Year (11/11/11) as we moved the event from Fox Theatre in Redwood City to the Redwood City Courthouse Square, and now (hopefully) to Broadway in Redwood City between the Caltrain and El Camino Real for a street party. See: NerdNewYear.com

Sometimes I ask myself, why even try do it?

Not because of synchronicity. That seems too far out to me.

And not just because it goes to 11, though that does help.

 


I’ve been excited about 11/11/11 ever since January 11.

Truth is, everywhere I go this year, I see elevens.

11s have no meaning except as a personal wake up call.

A wake up call to do something meaningful.

I hope on 11/11/11 to raise awareness for 11 causes.

In their honor, here’s a list of my favorite eleven lists.

8. Eleven Facts About Pandas (and then some!)

6. Eleven Inspirational Quotes (my favorite is the one from Albert Einstein, “I once thought that if I could ask God one question, I would ask how the universe began, because once I knew that, all the rest is simply equations. But as I got older I became less concerned with how the universe began. Rather, I would want to know why He started the universe. For once I knew that answer, then I would know the purpose of my own life.”)

All of those elevens really do wake me up.

We don’t know what will make us happy, but we think we do.

Life ebbs and flows. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

Life has many chapters, if you allow them to open.

Meaning is not something you stumble across. You have to build meaning into your life… And you build meaning into your life by the commitments that you make.

Commitments beyond yourself.

When we’re young, we search for identity: “Who am I?

Your identity, actually, is what you’ve committed yourself to:

We close with a short story passed to me by Shuqiao, whose song is the Dalai Lamas “My religion is very simple; my religion is kindness” as she shares “The Egg” by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered, you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point mincing words.

“There was a… A truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

Yo
u looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you God?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died, and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Some vague authority figure. More of a grammar school teacher than the Almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly reliveved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right.”

“All the religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strolled in the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just dont remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic then you can possible imagine.


A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold.
You put a tiny part or yourself into the vessel, and when u bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been a human for the last 34 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for longer, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives,” I said. “This time around you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 A.D.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You pondered.

“Oh sure!” I explained. “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there’s others like me. I know you’ll want to know what its like there but you honestly wont understand.”

“Oh.” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, could I have interacted with myself at some point?”

“Sure. Happens all the time. and with both lives only aware of their own timespan you dont even know its happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? Your asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well its a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked in your eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No. just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature, and become a larger and greater intellect.


“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you, and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

All you. Different incarnations of you.

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” you said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “You were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

“Why?” You asked me. “why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa.” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said. “Its just…”

“An egg of sorts.” I answered. “Now its time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way…

June 12, 2011

Be excellent.

I want to be truly great.

I want to do something great.

So the question is, how do we become excellent?

 

You don’t become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process. ~ xkcd 896

 

Interconnectedness takes me from that illustration, to a place that makes me want to watch a Tony Robbins video.

Tony says being great depends on tiny differences that put a person in a state of certainty, confidence, and flow.

 

To be excellent, we train ourselves emotionally. Get rituals.


Incantations, not affirmations, embody what we want.

Incantations help us navigate MUSTs vs SHOULDs.

 

As we move from within our own minds out to interactions with others, influence is essential.

Because when two people are having a conversation, the one who is more certain is going to influence the one who is less certain. Always.

 

This is why I’ve been thinking a lot about conversations lately.

And conversations are the foundation of 106 Miles.

106miles3

 

106 Miles recently had a conversation of greatness, which inspired me to find 11 great quotes…

11) “Greatness doesn’t take two months, or even a year. It takes years of focused practice to achieve even an ounce of it.” ~ Trizle

10) “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” ~ Albert Einstein

9) “On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

8) “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill

7) “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Will Durant, not Aristotle

6) “Excellence is not a skill; it is an attitude.” ~ Ralph Marston

5) “You do not possess a natural gift for a certain job, because targeted natural gifts don’t exist. (Sorry, Warren Buffett.) You are not a born CEO or investor or chess grandmaster. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.” ~ Geoffrey Colvin

4) “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

3) “Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” ~ Swami Sivananda

2) “It’s not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.” ~ Edward Gardner

1) “It’s not where you take things from; it’s where you take them to.” ~ Jim Jarmusch

Now, I am incanting to take excellence to me.

 

Be_awesome

 

I want PandaWhale to be excellent.

I want 106 Miles to be excellent.

I want my favorite pizza place to be excellent, too. (This will take time. Right now, people hate us on Yelp.)

People_hate_us_on_yelp

And in my state of incantation, I include greatness.

As if I’m climbing the Ron Swanson pyramid of greatness.

Pyramid-jumbo

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.

Don’t just be excellent. Be excellent to each other.

Be excellent. Go beyond a limit.

This takes my mind to an epic night. A really epic night.

190k_receipt_perezsolomon

After a party like that, it’s difficult to focus.

I want to hear Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory“!!!

Sing it, Gaga!!!

I’m on the edge… of glory…
And I’m hanging on a moment of truth… 

And I’m dancing like no one’s watching!!!

Did YouTube invent Lady Gaga or vice versa?

No worries. Hakuna matata!! Or is that…

Hasa diga eebowai!!

Um.

Where was I?

Oh, right, dividing my attention.

Unlike attention, happiness is something that multiplies when it is divided. (Thank you, @aaker @padmasree @paulocoehlo!)

 

Now, where does motivation come from again?

Tony Robbins says understanding motivation is the key to happiness.

 

Daniel Pink says we are happiest and most motivated in our work when we have the opportunity for mastery.

Now, I’ve been told it takes 10,000 hours to master something.

That said, being good at something makes us like it more.

And there is much power in perseverance aka “grit”.

Thinking about all of this puts my mind into a state of flow.

Challenge_vs_skill

 

Which brings us back to where we started: xkcd 896.

Repeat after me: Do something so hard that you become great in the process.

 

May 6, 2011

Whatever you can do, or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 6:11 am

Apparently that line is not from Goethe.

We shipped the pre-alpha (alphalpha?) of PandaWhale on Cinco de Mayo 2011.

Our alphalpha is at 106miles.net so startup folks can have conversations.

Every week we simplify and improve PandaWhale for 106miles.net …

For now, we need more time. And more pandas

May 2, 2011

CONFACIMUS!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 6:11 am
.
.
When we know better, we do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
.
.

It has been a wonderful weekend of conversations.

From Royale with Cheese, through Zoya and Sharks, to Osama on Obama action, conversations meandered…

Oh, the humanity!”

America, fuck yeah!

“Hey man, is that Freedom Rock? … Well turn it up, man!”

Homer

 

Speaking of conversations, in case you were wondering…

We’re knee-deep developing PandaWhale, since 1/11/11:

We will ship as soon as we can.

PandaWhale, fuck yeah!

We’ve proudly proclaimed fuck yeah from PandaWhale’s start.

Naturally, we’ll build this affirmation into our coat of arms.

And an awesomesauce family crest is inked in Latin…

4mgiy

So how does “fuck yeah” translate into Latin?

To the Qloud!

A friend asked a friend who is trained in the classics.

There’s “SIC FUTUE” which translates to “THUSLY, FUCK!” as if it were a command.

Which doesn’t seem quite right.

Nor does “COITUM ITA” which translates to “SEX YES” as if it were a lifestyle choice.

Not quite right, either.

Which brings us to “CONFACIMUS” which is literally, “Fuck it!” but in the first person plural, kind of like a royal “We fuck it!”, or “LET US FUCK
IT!!
” …

AMERICA, CONFACIMUS!!” has a nice ring to it as it rolls off the tongue…

Let’s try confacimus on for size.

PandaWhale? Confacimus!

Mike Brown tweets? Confacimus!

My friend Scott’s son plays hard? Confacimus!

Confacimus

Fuck yeah, I could get used to confacimus in my vocabulary.

Let’s try a more intermediate use of the word.

“Confacimus Navegamus” could mean “Fuck it, let’s go sailing!

But isn’t “SAILING, FUCK YEAH!” significantly awesomesaucier?

Rectangle_sticker

Btw, I think the pronunciation is “con FACK i mus“.

I’ve checked with a few scholars familiar with “street Latin”. 😉

I do know there is a wonderful world between profound and gibberish.

So let’s try an advanced employment of confacimus.

Chalant and plussed and gruntled, cogito ergo confacimus.

Come to think of it, confacimus has myriad uses…

Conversations? Confacimus!

Hot Sauce Committee Part 2? Confacimus!

Barbie Computer Engineer? Confacimus!

Kittens in bowls? Confacimus!

Dreams that go to 11? Confacimus!!!

Pandawhale

I dream of organizing public conversations for 106 Miles.

I dream of PandaWhale.

Fuck yeah!

It’s the dream that we all share. It’s the hope for tomorrow…


 

Alpocalypse‘s “Perform This Way“? Confacimus!

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold? Confacimus!

Fear and Consumption? Confacimus!

Apple’s ToS is a PoS? Confacimus!

Enlightenment? Confacimus!

Happiness? Confacimus!

Love? Confacimus!

Marvelous. 😉

 



February 12, 2011

PandaWhale — Frequently Asked Questions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 7:11 am
Somewhere, something incredible 
is waiting to be known.
      ~ Carl Sagan

Since being named Fortune’s Best Networker, I’ve been barraged with questions about PandaWhale.

I realize that the PandaWhale Posterous does not say much yet, because we’re heads-down developing software.

So let’s start at the very beginning: 

Next, here are answers to 11 Frequently Asked Questions.

Confacimus!


1. When was PandaWhale, Inc., incorporated?

Joyce Park and I incorporated PandaWhale on 1/11/11.

We picked that date because it’s binary and because everything in PandaWhale goes to 11.

She’s mirthful like that. Doesn’t she look mirthful?

 

2. What is PandaWhale’s mission?

3. How will you expand the Web through social sharing?

PandaWhale is starting by building the website 106miles.net to organize the public conversations among the members of 106 Miles.

4. What is 106 Miles?

106 Miles is a networking group that started in January 2005 but has exploded since we changed to a meetup format in August 2010.

As of right now, we are 1100 technical startup people in Silicon Valley that have conversations over cocktails twice a month.

The mission of 106 Miles is to educate and empower entrepreneurial engineers.

PandaWhale serves the mission of 106 Miles by developing the software to organize our online conversations.

5. What’s a panda?

The term comes from a Posterous post I wrote in July 2010 called Pandas and Lobsters.

Pandas are Internet users who are self-interested foragers, spending their time searching and consuming.

We are developing PandaWhale to be loved by pandas. PandaWhale’s conversations will be searchable, lurkable, and transactable.

106miles1

6. What’s a whale?

The term comes from a Posterous post I wrote in August 2010 called Whales and Lobsters.

Whales are the biggest Internet users. Whales have many followers and are always wanting more!

We are developing PandaWhale to be loved by whales like me and Scoble and Ben Parr.

Whales-are-the-answer

7. Are Twitter and Facebook compatible with PandaWhale?

Yes.

PandaWhale conversations will connect with Twitter conversations around interests, bringing more value to all.

And PandaWhale conversations will connect with Facebook conversations around people, bringing more engagement to all.

8. What does “Save the Pandas, Save the Whales, Save the Web” mean?

In December 2010 I said that Facebook is shrinking the Web.

1 in 4 Web pages in the U.S. are now viewed inside Facebook.

At PandaWhale we love HTTP and trust HTTP.

So we believe the creator of the Web Tim Berners-Lee, who wrote Long Live the Web in Scientific American.

TimBL says that the time to Save the Web is now.

We are ready to do our part.

9. How will PandaWhale help to Save the Web?

Public conversations are the key to expanding the Web.

We believe this after many conversations with John Battelle about the Twitters and the Facebooks and the YouTubes and the Blogs and the conversational marketing movement, which gets me bloviating until you tl;dr… So don’t get me started.

Let’s just say that social media has had a great start.

We want it to go to 11.

10. Who funded PandaWhale?

As of right now, Joyce Park and I are funding PandaWhale ourselves.

Until someone wants to invest $11 million dollars. 😉

 11. What date should I save for a PandaWhale party?

Save Friday 11/11/11 for a party for 1111 of our friends. Still figuring out the details!

Like all things PandaWhale, it will go to 11

 

And on that note, we go back to developing

January 11, 2011

Incorporation Day: 1/11/11.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — ifindkarma @ 7:11 pm

This morning I woke up thinking about true happiness.

True happiness involves the pursuit of worthy goals, Csikszentmihalyi said:

“Without dreams, without risks,
only a trivial semblance of living
can be achieved.”

In other words, the spice must FLOW!

So today, 1/11/11, at 11:11am, Troutgirl and I are incorporating PandaWhale.

That’s right. It goes to eleven.

What is PandaWhale doing?

We at 106 Miles want to bring our cocktail party online.

PandaWhale is writing the software to make that happen.

Our mantras at PandaWhale are simple:

1. Love HTTP(S).
2. Trust HTTP(S).
3. Save the Web!


To learn about saving the Web, see Tim Berners-Lee.

We want to do our part to Save the Web by organizing public conversations among the members the 106 Miles community, so that our conversations are searchable, lurkable, and transactable across the Web.

Meanwhile… back to work!


 

P.S. — If I don’t answer your email, it’s because I’m busy. Please keep pinging me if it’s important. Thank you!

And till we ship, you can join 106 Miles on Meetup.

We will ship as soon as we can.

PandaWhale, fuck yeah!

Feel free to sing along…

January 1, 2011

In 2011 I resolve to…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 9:11 am

1. OWN AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. I will be more thankful for who (and what) is in my life. I will not take my health or my happiness for granted.

2. THINK ABOUT WHAT I WANT, NOT WHAT I DON’T. Inclusion says my brain doesn’t understand negation so my thoughts will be more about what I want to attract, not what I want to avoid.

3. CONFIDENTLY TAKE A STAND MORE. When I disagree, I will be assertive in my position instead of politely demurring. When needed, I will be more fierce. I will get up one more time than I am knocked down.

4. BE EXCELLENT. Do something truly great. In the real world, not just in the online world. I want to show up, be part of an insanely awesome endeavor, and help make it even better.

5. BE PRESENT. I will be here now and spend more time engaging people and less time with my head down staring at a mobile device.

6. CONNECT MORE. And not just connect in a 106 Miles sense, but in a human-to-human, compassionate sense. Only connect. With empathy.

 

 

 

7. LET GO. And look to the future, not to the pasture.

Let_go

 

8. MASH UP. Mash up my music. Mash up my life. All Day.

9. BREATHE. Just breathe. This time baby, I’ll be bulletproof.

 

10. BE HAPPY. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

11. BE KIND. Only kindness matters in the end.


 


—— …reposted from my Quora; here’s an update… ——

In the comments on this post, Albo P. Fossa adds: ‘A caution. I saw an interesting ecard for New Year’s this morning: “I can’t believe it’s been a year since I didn’t become a better person.”

‘[Also] I saw on the Today show this AM (12/31/10), an interesting idea for resolutions. Instead of proposing “godlike” aspirations doomed to failure, choose discrete (maybe even one-day’s-worth) goals. Such as, “I will make a $5 donation to xxx charity.” Or “I will wash my dishes on January 11th.” …’

So my discrete goal in 2011 is to buy Lucas and Joyce some Psycho Donuts in Campbell, CA on or before April 1, a date we picked together for shipping the first software for the 106 Miles community to use to connect with each other online. (Code name: PandaWhale!) Til then, it’s 106 Miles to Chicago …

For now, I leave you with this kitten in a box.

July 13, 2010

Pandas and Lobsters: Why Google Cannot Build Social Applications…

After researching what pandas do all day, I was struck by how panda-like we are when we use the Internet.

Roaming a massive world wide web of forests, most of our time is spent searching for delicious bamboo and consuming it. 40 times a day we’ll poop something out — an email, a text message, a status update, maybe even a blog post — and then go back to searching-and-consuming.

For a decade, Google has trained us to optimize our pandic selves:

The kind of application that Google knows how to make well are the kind that embody a panda’s “eats, shoots, and leaves” model of Internet behavior. Pandas spend every waking hour foraging — aka searching — and consuming. The most successful Google applications serve such a utilitarian mandate, too: they encourage users to search for something, consume, and move onto the next thing. Get in, do your business, get out. Do a Google search, slurp down information, move on. Pull up Google maps or Gmail or Google news, do something, leave. Where Google does not excel is in making applications that are by their nature for lingering and luxuriating — the so-called social applications.

What’s the main difference between successful Google applications (search, maps, news, email) and a successful social applications? With Google applications we return to the app to do something specific and then go on to something else, whereas great social applications are designed to lure us back and make us never want to leave.

Consider this example: Google Answers focused on answers and failed; Yahoo! Answers focused on social and succeeded. The primary purpose of a social application is connecting with others, seeing what they’re up to, and maybe even having some small, fun interactions that though not utilitarian are entertaining and help us connect with our own humanity. Google apps are for working and getting things done; social apps are for interacting and having fun.

Put another way, Google designing social apps is like Microsoft designing iPod packaging.

Now, consider the Four Horsemen of Hotness in 2010: Facebook, Quora, Foursquare, and Twitter. Think deeply about why none of these four could have been developed inside Google.

Facebook is a lobster trap and your friends are the bait. On social networks we are all lobsters, and lobsters just wanna have fun. Every time a friend shares a status, a link, a like, a comment, or a photo, Facebook has more bait to lure me back. Facebook is literally filled with master baiters: Whenever I return to Facebook I am barraged with information about many friends, to encourage me to stick around and click around. Every time I react with a like or comment, or put a piece of content in, I’m serving as Facebook bait myself. Facebook keeps our friends as hostages, so although we can check out of Hotel Facebook any time we like, we can never leave. So we linger. And we lurk. And we luxuriate. The illogical extreme of content-as-bait are the Facebook games where the content is virtual bullshit. Social apps are lobster traps; Google apps do not bait users with their friends.

Quora is restaurant that serves huge quantities of bacn and toast. Quora is a dozen people running dozens of experiments in how to optimally use bacn to get people to return to Quora, and how to use toast to keep them there. Bacn is email you want but not right now, and Quora has 40 flavors of it that you can order. Quora’s main use of Bacn is to sizzle with something delicious (a new answer to a question you follow, a new Facebook friend has been caught in the Quora lobster trap, etc.) to entice you to come back to Quora. Then, once you’re there, the toast starts popping. Quora shifts the content to things you care about and hides things you don’t care about in real-time, and subtly pops up notifications while you’re playing, to entice you to keep sticking around and clicking around. Some toast is so subtle it doesn’t even look like a pop-up notification — it just looks like a link embedded in the page with some breadcrumbs that appear in real-time to take you to some place on Quora it knows you’ll find irresistible. For every user’s action, bacn’s and toast’s fly out to others in search of reactions. (Aside: if I were Twitter, I would be worried. Real-time user interfaces are more addictive than pseudo-real-time interfaces; what if Quora took all of its technology and decided to use it to build a better Twitter?) Social apps are action-reaction interaction loops; Google apps are designed just for action.

Foursquare exists in a dozen dimensions. That statement is ridiculous on its surface; after all, even String Theory has only 11 dimensions. (Technically, it’s 10 dimensions, beca
use they start numbering at zero.) Whatever higher-than-the-highest reality Foursquare thinks it’s building, one thing is clear: this company is more about chemistry than physics. Foursquare has studied the works of David A. Kessler, who studied hyper-palatable foods that had various combinations of salts, fats, and sugars that stimulate the diner’s brain to crave more, rather than satisfy their hunger. The more a person uses Foursquare, the more a person wants to use Foursquare: the points are salts, the badges are fats, and sweet sweet mayorships are sugars that we fight over like we’re
 Sneetches. Ok, so Foursquare’s leadership thinks they’re only 10% of the way there — I guess they have 11 other combinations of salts, fats, and sugars to perfect so that all we do all day, every day, is check into Foursquare. Social apps offer a steady diet of junk food to keep us addicted; Google apps offer mostly bamboo.

Twitter is a giant blue ball machine. Even the New York Times says not enough people understand what the heck Twitter is, for them to be willing to use the word tweet in polite company. But that doesn’t stop lots of people from using Twitter. Perhaps they are enamored by a word that sounds ornithological in nature. I tried to explain it to my brother like this: tweets are little blue balls, and they get bounced around by a giant machine so others can enjoy them. Those people can react by copying the balls (retweets), swinging at the balls (at-replies), or beaning the originator in the head (direct messages). There are also lots of whales on Twitter — celebrity whales to attract us, and fail whales to repel us. As opposed to Facebook, which hates whales because whales distract the lobsters from the traps. At this point, my brother gives me a blank stare and says he’s going back to Facebook. Which goes to show that a social app doesn’t need lobster traps, bacn and toast, or 12 dimensions to be successful; it just needs balls. Social apps are whimsical and fun; Google apps are whittled and functional.

So why can’t Google build social apps? Because Google’s core values (“be useful”, “do good by users”) reject the very notion of lobster traps, bacn and toast, a dozen dimensions of junk food, and giant blue ball machines. Understanding those concepts is not easy. It takes lots of practice, and lots of patience, and lots of learning.

2010’s leadership of Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter struggled for YEARS learning from FriendFeed, Dodgeball, and Odeo, respectively. The main mythical man month mega mantra — “build one to throw away” — isn’t just a clever way to gracefully fail on the first iteration; it’s the way we learn. I believe those collective experiences have given them the humility to know that most things don’t work; the confidence to know that simplicity is more important than features; and the stamina to see their visions through the good, the bad, and the ugly that accompany startups.

Does Google have the patience to launch social apps that aren’t widely used so they can learn from them? Not Lively.

Does Google have the ability to launch social apps that aren’t utilitarian? Repeat after me: “A Buzz is a high-frequency Wave.” And neither pandas nor lobsters know what those are, other than wacky experiments gone awry.

Has Google’s culture-of-facts ever learned from Orkut? Good question for the triumvirate. A humbler panda than me once tweeted:

So, to summarize: Google is responsible for Orkut, Wave, and Buzz. Ex-Googlers are responsible for Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter. Discuss.

Ok, I’ll discuss. I have three main points:
  1. Google cannot hire a Head of Social because no individual can change Google’s DNA of building applications for pandas, not lobsters. Googlers who wanted to develop great social applications had to leave Google to do so.
  2. Google cannot buy Twitter or LinkedIn or Quora (or all three!) because Google’s culture has no respect for successful social applications. YouTube’s office is still far from the Google campus to avoid the toxic attitude described by a former Orkut employee, “[Google has] an environment that viewed social networking as a frivolous form of entertainment rather than a real utility, and I’m pretty sure this viewpoint was shared all the way up the chain of command to the founders.
  3. Google cannot focus group its way to successful social applications. Henry Ford opined, If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
And three reasons why Google should be concerned:
  1. Facebook serves 3 billion LIKE buttons a day, serves one-sixth of all U.S. ads, has more traffic than Google or the next 99 sites combined, has 100 million mobile users and five times as many web users, and when it launches a Facebook search engine, it will be the second biggest search engine in the world right out of the gate.
  2. Twitter’s search engine is bigger than Bing and Yahoo combined. Not only is Twitter doing 800 million searches a day, but apparently they’re the fastest growing search engine in the U.S.
  3. Bing actually seems to have a better relationship with Facebook and Twitter, and in addition, Bing has gone out of its way to partner with Amazon as well as Apple and its soon-to-be-100-million iPhone OS devices.
So… Now would be a good time for a bold move from Google. YouTube is the only social application Google has ever bought that was and remains #1 in its category. What can we learn from that?
  1. Google FAILED going head-to-head against YouTube. Buying YouTube in retrospect was a great idea, and keeping YouTube separate from Google HQ was a great idea.
  2. Google FAILED in acquiring and integrating other social products. Blogger, Picasa, JotSpot, Dodgeball, Jaiku. None are their category leaders now. Some are dead. Why?
  3. Google FAILED to create Google Contacts that are easy to edit and integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Why then should we believe Google can do something simple, entertaining,  and interesting with Google Profiles?
Google is filled with adrenaline now that Facebook and Twitter are juggernauts in social advertising and searching. Google is ready to fight, but social applications are about loving not fighting. Google is from Mars, and social applications are from Venus. Anyone know someone who can build a rocket ship so Google can ride to the world of social applications?

My advice for Google’s Trinity is to put on your thinking caps about social apps. Think really carefully about what you need, and why. Look to the glorious words of jwz:

“Social software” is about making it easy for people to do other things that make them happy: meeting, communicating, and hooking up.

And for all us lobsters, I just have one thing to say: “Yeah, you’re all gonna be okay.

June 8, 2010

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

“We are feedback loops; we are the stories we tell ourselves…”
~ Doc Jensen on LOST  

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder…”
~ M.C. Escher

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. We all were one.

And then we said, “Oh haiLet there be light.

Cieling_cat_creates

And then we LOOK closer and more carefully. We could see that there was nothing. Which is a funny thing to say because sometimes words are inadequate, and sometimes words have two meanings.

And then expansion started… Wait!

And we added things. And the universe expanded. And we added more things. And the universe kept expanding to accommodate adding more things. And everything was awesome. Fundamentally.

It might seem like everything was added randomly. And perhaps that is the case. But that’s not what we believe.

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

This idea was kept in the dark for billions of years. Instead, the reigning belief was detachment: “I don’t really want to know how your garden grows, ’cause I just want to fly.” And so, we lived forever…

…and life was but a dream. Edgar Allan Poe waxed poetic, “All that we see or seem… is but a dream within a dream.” (Thanks Ankita!)

And we thought about the words of Rumi…

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your
perception.

They say there is a doorway from heart to heart, but what is the use of a door when there are no walls?

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

And the Primitive Radio Gods whispered quietly in the corner…

Am I alive, or thoughts that drift away?
Does summer come for everyone?
Can humans do what prophets say?
If I die before I learn to speak,
can money pay for all the days
I lived awake but half-asleep?

Suddenly we woke up with a kick. And we were no longer detached when we woke up with the idea. Not to spoil Inception, but merely to praise Inception:

What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.

For our idea, Douglas Adams offered enlightenmentSpecifically, Dirk Gently illuminated us.

I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson. Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs Rawlinson? No, neither do I, Mrs Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs Rawlinson. Goodbye. 
    — Douglas Adams, Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency

And then Tim Berners-Lee — or was it Dan Connolly? — distilled the words to their essence:

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

And then Jamie Zawinski reflected on the Vannevar Bush-influenced words of Ted Nelson:

Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged —
people keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t.

Everything is deeply intertwingled.

And then the Internet developed its own connective tissue. Which itself is unsearchable.

And then I couldn’t believe what happened next. Free association. Say what? We’ll see.

…continuing. LOOKWe didn’t start the fire. America, fuck yeah. Freedom isn’t freeTerrible Disney lessons. The virus of faith2000″ TVYou’re the man now, dawgBlue ball machine. Facebook is a lobster trap, and your friends are the baitTrue happiness comes from within. It comes back to you, you’re gonna get what you deserve… lovin’ is what I got, remember thatThe ride does not require an explanation, just occupants. Imitation of lifeNoah’s photosI’m expressin’ with my full capabilities, now I’m living in correctional facilities. Now let me welcome everybody to the wild wild west… California love… Regulators!!! I want it all: brand new socks and drawers. Why do I live this way? Heeeey, must be the moneyAlright stop, collaborate and listen. How can I find a woman like that? Guitar: impossibleFrench bulldogs. OMG pwnies. Ready, set, bagSpeak with meMeditate. Mediate. Kick. Things that make you go hmmmShow me how to dance. Alejandro. Ra ra ra ah ah ah roma ro ma ma gaga ooh la la. Cameron Diaz dancesStephen Hawking rocks. Time travel is horrifyingOuter space sucksCrumbling cities. Pink housesIconic bras. Mad menAh, l’amourDisney perversionsEpisode 200. And 201. FreedomUnconscious trumps free will. Disney deathsSerial killers. Corporate slogans. At-atCanned unicorn meatWhat if you’re wrong? The purpose of purposeThe empathetic civilizationEmma BatesQualia. Reid HoffmanHegel’s philosophy of history. The unexplainable. Time-traveling brandy thievesLife on Mars. LOST. The Little Prince.

I love The Little Prince. Whi
ch reminds me of some of my favorite words that Robbye Bentley has posted recently

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Life and Jah are one in the same. Jah is the gift of existence. I am in some way eternal, I will never be duplicated. The singularity of every man and woman is Jah’s gift. What we struggle to make of it is our sole gift to Jah. The process of what that struggle becomes, in time, the Truth.” ~ Bob Marley

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” ~ Stephen Covey

Thank you, Robbye. I have some favorites of my own, too.

The words of Rumi echo in eternity, “The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception.”

Which takes me full circle…

Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for” ~ Bob Marley

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

If success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… How would I be? What would I do?” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends. How high can the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know…” ~ Colors of the Wind

And Scott Adams said, “The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.”

So it goes…

 

And then a lot of peoples’ brains exploded. Such is rock n roll.

And then we rested. Or at least, we tried to relax and breathe and reflect

And appreciate that nothing can ever be truly, fully understood. Seriously.

Still, three fundamental questions remain:
  1. If everything is everythang, are being and becoming just limited beings’ perspective of the oneness?
  2. If happiness is part of the oneness, why is it so difficult to be here now and connect to that happiness?
  3. If lessons are repeated until they are learned, is learning just finding the right connection to the oneness?

And are there things we can never learn? We’ll see.

If some connections cannot be made, perhaps there is no spoon at all.

If Internet is the substrate for interconnectedness of all things, perhaps The Architect knows.

And are there things that cannot be taught? Richard Feynman refuses to explain how magnets work. Feynman concludesI really can’t do a good job, any job, of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else you’re more familiar with, because I don’t understand it in terms of anything else you’re more familiar with.

Breathing is neither learned nor taught. It just is. And yet sometimes we must remember to breathe. And to be here now. And to be grateful for every breath.

And then when that gratitude gets us reflecting about the meaning of life, we learn to let it go; this too shall pass

It’s one who won’t be taken, that cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live, sang Bette Midler.

So it goes.

Savor every second; enjoy every sandwich, as the dying Warren Zevon put it.

So it goes.

You need to live before you die, said Steve Jobs…

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have
to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

So it goes…

It is through death, too, that we make a connection with Randy PauschCon te partiro.

In the end, there is no greater job than enabling the childhood dreams of others.

And in the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

And in the end, only kindness matters.

So we dance. And LOOK. And simplify. And reflect. And breathe.

Which takes us back to the beginning.

And then… Bazinga!

April 9, 2010

My bucket list.

1. HUG PANDAS!

2. Drive On the 10s across the USA, coast to coast. DONE

3. Build a successful Internet business and Save the Web.

4. Ride the San Jose Sharks Zamboni.

5. Take a private jet to Hattiesburg, Mississippi so that for once it doesn’t take an entire exhausting day to get there.

6. Write a children’s book based on the many adventures of intrepid, majestic Bob the Cat and his brother Beavis.

7. Make enough money to rent a blimp to take to Chengdu to do #1. And do #5 in good conscience. Dirigibles and private jets are not cheap.

8. Own a successful bar or restaurant where people like to gather. (Update: Working on it.)

9. Stay at Yosemite between Labor Day and Halloween on at least one occasion. Reflect on happiness under the stars.

funny pictures of cats with captions

 

BONUS BUCKET ITEM. Make enough money to buy the New York Islanders and rename them the Long Island Iced T’s. New logo: polar bears sipping tall drinks

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