Weekdays Only?

Here I am, trying to post something for the 32nd day. And I’m thinking that maybe posting everyday is too difficult. Maybe just posting during the week is the right thing to do.

But how am I going to fill up the internet if I only have five posts a week?

Russell warned me that this would be hard.

Now here I am, laying on bed, furiously trying to keep the streak going while I can still see through eyelids that are slowly betraying me.

Easy Fiction

I’ve had a really hard time getting back into reading fiction. Over the past two years, I’ve started several books that I didn’t, couldn’t, finish. It was awful.

So after I heard enough positivity about the Expanse series, I picked up the first one and set out to conquer it.

It worked. I’m now well into the third book in the series. All it took was something a little less dense, and a little less likely to end up on the New Yorker’s reading list.

Not to say it’s dumb or bad, but it’s an easy read.

And I’ve been able to replace a lot of social media scrolling with actually reading a book. It’s been great. I feel like I’m getting reading in, I’m not wasting time mashing heart shaped buttons.

Interesting thing about The Expanse is seeing the authors projecting our current technology into their future world. In the same way that Star Wars made futuristic space technology look like knobs and flashing lights, the Expanse features everyone using iPhones … Or “hand terminals.”

Surveillance Capitalism

Maciej Cegłowski makes Pinboard.in. It’s one of my favorite places to put articles that I’m never going to read. He’s also a gifted writer and really thoughtful about the role of technology in society. I don’t know how to pronounce his name. Either of them.

He recently gave a talk about The Moral Economy of Tech in which he argues that social media is becoming a requirement of modern life, but using it is putting all of us in a bad spot: 

Companies that perform surveillance are attempting the same mental trick. They assert that we freely share our data in return for valuable services. But opting out of surveillance capitalism is like opting out of electricity, or cooked foods—you are free to do it in theory. In practice, it will upend your life.

The reality is, opting out of surveillance capitalism means opting out of much of modern life.

He then goes into “THE INEVITABLE LIST OF SCARY SCENARIOS” in which data is used against people. The scariest scenario being the one where we have to pay more attention to LinkedIn at international borders.

What we’ve done as technologists is leave a loaded gun lying around, in the hopes that no one will ever pick it up and use it.

I used to be in the camp of “I don’t care if anyone knows what I’ve checked out of the library,” but that was before we saw the extent to which crazy ideas could get crazy amounts of crazy people excited. Before Brexit and Trump and removing headphone jacks.

Better you, or worse them?

The Brandcenter kicked-off our Friday Forum series last week with Wendy Clark, the recently hired CEO of DDB.

She was really good. Watching her present, it was easy to see why she has been so succesful. She’s clearly playing on another level.

She spoke about the work that DDB is doing, and what it’s been like to take over as CEO there. She also spoke about her time at Coke, including the call she got from Matt Weiner when he wanted to use Hilltop in Mad Men. No spoilers.

She also had some great advice about going through life and career. This bit stuck with me:

“You can be a worse them or a better you.”

This is great advice for anyone in creative business. Advertising in particular is filled with a wide variety of extremely talented people who are broken in their own unique ways.

Trying to mimic someone’s particular and personal genius will only get you so far. The secret lies in finding your own peculiarities and learning how to use them to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Which is why I like to drink coffee at the gym.