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When Life Gives You Lemons, Invest in Aluminum

I found this post by Jim Cuene the other day.  Part of it really resonated with some of my thoughts over the last year.

Finally, “make something great” doesn’t just mean “make something that exists better”. To me, i still believe that those that have been given talent, resources, opportunities and tools should have ambitions to make the world a better place. “Great” means having a social and historical impact. It’s not cool these days to be nakedly ambitious, but i’ll say it: I don’t want to leave the planet without trying to do something historically noteworthy. Even if it’s just in the company where i work, i want to leave a mark. I believe we should be shooting at making something, something that’s noteworthy, something that people will remember because it had a lot of impact or helped others, something that is great.

Life is all too short to settle.  Find the places where you can effect the most change for your talents.  History is a fickle SOB, so do what’s important to you.  I already know my biggest accomplishments are my children.  Here are my criteria for making a difference with the little remaining time I have left:

1. Does it extend a person’s life?

2. Does it provide a better quality of life?

3. Does it remove barriers for others to accomplish 1 or 2?

I think we all feel, at times, like Sisyphous.  Either you can smash the boulder, or find a different hill without a boulder.  The choice is yours.

Online Privacy is an Oxymoron

Businessman with a Briefcase

"Man with Briefcase"

Let’s get this out of the way. You either have an online footprint, or you don’t. If you have used a card with a VISA, Mastercard, Discover, etc… logo, you’re being tracked. Facial recognition technology is so prevalent, you’ll soon get automatically tagged in photos uploaded online. This is not the future, this is today.

Experian and Equifax have a pretty complete profile of you. Marketers only need your first and last name, and zip code to pull over 50 data points like, marriage status, purchase habits, if you have kids, etc… Pair this data with your social graph, and their prediction modeling will only become more accurate.

It’s only a matter of time before online listening tools become sophisticated and inexpensive enough to track individuals in real-time. These tools will alert listeners to mood, likelihood of purchase intent, location, or even predict major life changes like marriage/divorce, pregnancy, and death.

So you have two choices. Start erasing your digital footprint now, pay for everything in cash, and move to the Ozarks, or accept the fact that your personal data is valuable, and even Facebook is willing to sell it to the highest bidder. It’s your choice.

The iPad Review – From a Toddler

I buckled.  I had told people in the office that I wasn’t getting one.  I lied.  Saturday morning came, and I got up, drove down to Best Buy Roseville, didn’t wait in any line, and was out in 5 minutes with the 16GB iPad.  I had left the house with the intention of getting one, if there were any left, for my wife.  I’m more interested in how my wife and kids use the thing, especially my 2 1/2 year old.  She has a lot of experience with our iPhones, so I was really excited to see how she used this bigger screen, and boy was I surprised.

Here’s the thing.  Most of use grew up with using the traditional mouse input.  One hand performs multiple tasks, and at most, two fingers are used.  This is why the iPhone / iPod Touch were an easy transition.  There’s a couple gestures to learn, and you’re off to the races.  The iPad has the ability to throw that all out the door, but the app developers haven’t caught up yet.  We haven’t caught up yet.  My 2 year old, immediately wanted to use both hands, and all her fingers.  No dice!  The SketchPad Pro app is wonderful, but it only recognizes 1 finger while drawing.  To be fair, there are a few other drawing apps that do recognized multiple finger inputs while drawing.  We’ll all have to re-learn how to interface with the computer to unlock the potential of this 9.7″ screen.  It’s going to take some time, some tears, and a little bit of patience.  I can tell you that my youngest children probably will never use a mouse, and it’s about time.

Newspaper of the Future Questions

We’re about a week away from Apple unveiling a tablet computer, and the New York Times to announce some payment option.  There’s so many questions surrounding how the news industry will survive.  Online ad revenue is not supporting the news websites.  This leaves us with subscription service platforms like iTunes and Amazon to provide these services for traditional print news.  This leaves me with a lot of questions.

  • If all newspaper websites go to subscription services, will inbound linking diminish to a trickle?
  • Will news organizations police all blogs and social platforms for usage infringement of their material?
  • Will torrents play a role in distributing news like it did with the music and movie industry?
  • Will newspapers, magazines, and  local TV news start to look identical in product?  Newspapers with more video / TV with more writing

It seems pretty clear devices like the Apple Tablet, netbooks, and even future eReaders will provide a platform and distribution system for delivering rich content and experience, but does the newspaper industry have the chops to provide a product worth paying for again?

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