Technology: Humanity’s Magnifying Glass

People do wonderful things with technology. They build digital communities, teach themselves new skills and raise money for causes. People also do terrible things with technology. They build atomic bombs, control botnets and cyber bully. Technology isn’t automatically good or bad. It just expands human’s capability for good and bad. We can wage war moreContinue reading “Technology: Humanity’s Magnifying Glass”

The Over Examined Life

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living”. This was the defense he offered for teaching kids about philosophy (a crime punishable by death). He was still executed. The American psyche has a pervasive belief that we should examine life to find the best possible existence.  The media is constantly offering glimpses into the livesContinue reading “The Over Examined Life”

Know Thyself

The best return on time I’ve found is reflecting on myself. Key areas of reflection: habits, motivation, productivity, strengths and weaknesses. I’ve written about experimenting with my diet, caffeine intake and how I think. There is an advice mill, amplified by the internet, of generic advice. As if there is a universal alchemy formula to life. A pet peeve is whenContinue reading “Know Thyself”

Learnings From Building A Dad Jokes Bot

I am currently learning about conversational UX’s. A few months ago, I built a Slackbot named Alan (RIP) in Python to do reporting at Dinner Lab. He was a worse UX than a dashboard so I got rid of him. Earlier this week, I built an SMS bot that tells Dad Jokes. It was a valuable learning experience.Continue reading “Learnings From Building A Dad Jokes Bot”

The Value of A Working Theory

Life and business are filled with open ended questions. There is a natural tendency to treat problems as discrete. On close examination, there will be patterns connecting decisions and outcomes. A working theory starts as a way to discover those patterns. A thesis eventually helps exploit them. In the pattern discovery phase, I rapidly iterate through working theories. TheyContinue reading “The Value of A Working Theory”

South Park Text Analysis: They Stopped Killing Kenny and the Rise of Randy

South Park is one of TV’s longest running scripted, primetime shows. It has won Emmys, sparked controversy, earned lots of money and given me some of my best laughs. The fact it has survived so long is remarkable. Fans might suspect that the show has made changes that have let it survive. It is impossible toContinue reading “South Park Text Analysis: They Stopped Killing Kenny and the Rise of Randy”

Jargon or Shared Vocabulary?

Jargon can be very helpful. At its best, jargon is shorthand for a complex idea. It allows humans to communicate about new topics, niche topics and sophisticated topics. That is jargon at its best though. Jargon is helpful when both people understand the vocabulary. In fact, we might just call that a shared vocabulary instead ofContinue reading “Jargon or Shared Vocabulary?”