I hate to-do lists

To-do lists annoy me. They’re a list of things I’m accountable for in the future, most of which I’d rather not do. It’s not that I don’t want the outcome. Aside from paying parking tickets (shit!) I want to achieve almost all the tasks on my list, but those tasks feel like debt.

To me to-dos feel like a weight on the future. A drag on the potential of the next moment. They’re depressing.

Which makes the fact that I recently left IDEO to join Orchestra.com somewhat ironic.

Orchestra is your to-do list shared with the people in your life, with realtime chat embedded in each tast. Social. That’s why I left to work for Orchestra. I’m social. I hate doing chores, but doing tasks with a friend feels like hanging out. Remembering to do that thing I almost forgot because a friend or fiance reminded me feels like we're working together. And getting things done in a timely manner feels like a joint accomplishment. A cause for a celebration.

See that difference? Tasks went from a depressing drag on the potential of the future to a cause for celebration by flipping a switch, sharing and socializing around the task with others.

I work on this problem constantly at Orchestra because I can’t get enough of enjoying life with others, which is exactly what we’re trying to do to the world, make accomplishing things more enjoyable, while creating more time for appreciating life together.

Pic via foggodavid


I do love Nike, but...

I love Nike, anyone who knows me knows that. Anyone who meets me can see that.

I’ve been inspired by the Just Do It spirit, ingenuity and fire since I was young.
I interned there three summers and at their ad firm Wieden&Kennedy, trying to understand and absorb the ethos of competition and sport.

And I’ve worn Nike nearly every step of my way for well over a decade. You just can’t beat their technology, style and flair.

And yet, somewhere over the past year I began to stray.

It started with trail shoes. I purchased New Balance 100s because they’re great and Nike doesn’t make trail shoes. Neglecting the thousands of miles of unpaved wilderness seems unexplainable, but oh well.

And recently, at the suggestion of a friend I tried on the New Balance Minimus Road. They took a bit of adjusting to because they ask a lot of your lower calf and ankle muscles. But, true to the minimal running philosophy and biology, my body adjusted and I’ve felt better on runs recently than in a long time. Now I can just cruse, which is all you want as a runner.

So now I find myself a Nike lover who runs in New Balance every day.

Honestly, it feels odd.

How did New Balance get here? From what I understand they did it by listening to runners, carefully. They brought the best shoes on the market to distance runners and experimented together till they had something ideal for the basic motion of running.

Little technology to speak of, not much left to brag about actually.
They made something that works for people, by working with people.

“But what about the Nike Free?!” you’re asking. I own a pair, and run in them, but they’re not as good. Plain and simple, there’s too much going on with them technologically. They get in the way. I’m sure Nike doesn’t agree, they’ve sold millions and made millions. But ask runners, real runners, fast or slow who hit the roads and trails frequently and you won’t hear a lot about the Free. Mostly you’ll just hear, “no thank you.”

So Nike, I haven’t given up hope on us running together again, but right now we’re not in synch and I’ve found someone who’s listening to me better.

You taught the world to live by three words, “Just Do It.”
Well, I’ll offer you three in return, “Keep it simple.”


Follower Fatigue

Follower Fatigue

I recently received an email from Google asking if someone I know could be my “friend” on Google Places…and I just about lost it.


You know that bad dream where you’re on stage, everyone is watching and you freeze? You don’t know what to do, everyone is disappointed and you run off in horror.

I’m beginning to feel that way online.

So many new services, and for each come new requests and notifications to connect and follow. And for what? What are these followers expecting from me? Do they even know? What if I’m not worth following? Do I even know how to be a good Followee or Friend?

Facebook. Twitter. Foursquare. Scribd. Quora. Pinterest. And now Google Places. The list just keeps growing.

I’ve been posting to Facebook for so many years now it just comes naturally. Judge me by my wall, feel free. But my new Pinterest page? What does it say about me? Before I’d even “pinned” a thing a friend made fun of me for having nothing. I was boring before I could figure out how to be interesting. Feels like middle school all over again.

Signing up for each new service is like moving to a new achool – you’re a no one all over again.

But what to do? Reject followers? Reject friends? Or reject the new sites?

I’d like to begin as a follower before becoming a followee. Like in Middle School, I want to join a clique before having to create my own identity. This is possible on Twitter, you can follow without an account. But once you enter your name…BAM, here come the followers, the requests and the expectations.

Oh, those expectations…


Wait...WHAT? No.

Bob Costas greatest pet peeve about sports has always stuck with me. When the famous sports announcer was asked in a round table discussion about what bothered him about sports, he replied,

“I get annoyed during those times in sport when someone passes away and the broadcaster fills a moment during the game with ‘Well, that really puts everything in perspective now doesn’t it?’

No! No it doesn’t!”

Costas went on.

“What have we done in society, have we so lost touch with reality that it takes someone dying for us to remember that sports isn’t life and there are things that matter more than who wins?”

For some reason that quote always stuck with me as a caution against disingenuous questions. And it comes to mind recently in relation to social networks.

I’ve heard several people recently posit themselves as thoughtful by pointing out what is supposedly the newly evolving concept of friendship. Something that I don’t personally believe is newly evolving.

These people assert,

“People are realizing that instead of accumulating 500+ friends, what’s more important is creating meaningful relationships with a small group of people they can trust. They’re even going so far as to unfriend people.”

My reply?

No shit.

At what point did ANYONE speak sincerely about the fact that their accumulation of digital social network friends was more important, more supportive or more fundamental to their happiness than their closest daily friendships? Friendship is certainly evolving for some people. To each their own. But to tear apart the straw man of “new friendship” as a construct of the last decade is weak, and honestly we all deserve better discourse about the evolution of friendship and emotional connection. We deserve to extend each other the credit that we each know the meaning of a true friend and that that hasn’t been diluted by the digital connected with hundreds of acquaintances.

So next time someone makes a blanket claim about how friendship has been rocked by the blow of technology, ask them to be specific. Ask them to dig in and engage with what they're seeing and what they mean. My guess is this will be a much more intelligent discussion a step away from the false questions or general claims.


The comeback!

It's been waiting in the wings for years.

Rejected by a generation.
It was only a matter of time.

The utility is too great, the quality of life to grand to be denied.

And those F@CKing GenXers were too whiny, too weak to be apathetic forever.

Announcing...the return...of the MINIVAN!!!

I'm not married.
I don't have kids.
But I want one. SRSLY.


The Economics of Peaches

These peaches aren't ripe.

Not yet anyways, but I'm eating one anyways.
Cause why not? It's still pretty good.

These peaches are put out at work for anyone to eat when they please. There aren't ALWAYS peaches, but in the summer time there are frequently. And these peaches get taken quickly.

This means that I have little to no incentive to leave them and wait for them to ripen. If I do wait they're likely to be gone by the time they're ripe. I could take one and let it sit by my desk, but then I run the risk of forgetting about it and letting it rot.

The quality of these peaches is that they are here, right now, to be eaten, even if they're subprime.

Is there an economic principle that explains this behavior?

It's not the Problem of the Commons, I know that. That's the explanation for when I eat too many free peaches and have a stomach ache while others are left without peaches to enjoy.

Thoughts or suggestions? Chime in please...


We should all be Gaga

This quote from Lady Gaga seems true for everyone:

"When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl," she says. "Then I say, 'Bitch, you're Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.' "

In most ways each of us is getting up in the morning and fulfilling an expectation that we’ve set for ourselves – embodying the persona we’ve created.

I admire Gaga for her intelligent blatancy. Her unabashed celebrity creation IS a mash up of all of the past celebrities she is accused of copying, and that’s the point. The banal critic adores pointing out influences for current stars, as if it establishes his credibility or lessens the star’s current stature.

It doesn’t. It’s the opposite. We live in a mash-up culture where reinvention and amalgamation is prized.

Each day that Lady Gaga gets up in the morning and out does her phenomenally extravagant self from the day before she is an inspiration to anyone who’s trying to be something new. Anyone who’s trying to grow.

Which should be everyone.