“How do you take something really simple, and make it better not by adding more, but by stripping it down?”

This philosophy stands behind so many innovative, minimalist technologies* that are hitting the scene in a “big tech”-dominated world. People are realizing they have more options than the default, and they are willing to choose wholeness and intentionality in spite of these options being harder to assimilate.

These products exist, and they don’t carry the burden of the forbidden fruit in their design. Originals writer, Adam Grant, writes about why employees who use Firefox or Chrome on their work PCs are “more committed and better performers” in the companies in which they reside. These workers are “originals” because they reject the default tech (Internet Explorer) in favor of taking “a bit of initiative to seek out an option that might be better.”

How can we intentionally choose the products that we bring into our lives, instead of having them chosen for us?

And how can we educate those with less influence to see the injustice they are forced into? Executives from Silicon Valley have, for a long time, refused to give their children smartphone access as they know the effects their own products have. In the European Journal of Social Psychology, John T. Jost writes about the perception of merit-based economic systems saying, “the people who suffer the most from a given state of affairs are paradoxically the least likely to question, challenge, reject, or change it.”

Those in places of affluence who are able to see the dangers of technology are the ones who are in the place today to shape the future of those who cannot shape it for themselves.

It’s our job to become more intentional about this way of life that has creeped into culture so pervasively over the past two decades. Take steps towards choosing…

***And discover these creators for your own education!

*tech // Remarkable 2 and insider Blog

tech // thelightphoneII

tech // Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch

paper // Social inequality and the reduction of ideological dissonance

mover and shaker // Center for Humane Technology

previous read // lpII review

previous read // stg 3

read // not the end

not the end

As I’ve become aware of this space, I have followed, supported, and been enthralled by the Center for Humane Technology pioneering the discipline of ethical technology. Naturally, I was pumped about a docu-film on our Social (media) Dilemma directed and informed by CHT contributors, and produced by Netflix. I find the result problematic.

The Social Dilemma attacks our cultural and technological failures from within, pulling ammunition from former creators and exec’s in Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…

Tristan Harris, whom I cannot praise enough for his work reforming Silicon Valley and educating Capitol Hill, leads the charge in calling out what companies do with our personal data, attention, money, and time. We need the CHT approaching the trespasses tech companies make in our lives, but The Social Dilemma goes a step farther.

I’ve described its tone as “doom and gloom”, and “apocalyptic” also seems fitting.

I trust everything reported to be real, dangerous and in need of checks and balances, but the way this information is presented, I predict, generates one of two unhealthy outcomes: First, people shutdown. Attacking something that has been institutionalized as much as social media breeds friction. Natural defense mechanisms arise within us when actions we have contributed to directly are villainized. Look at the current polarization of racial injustice conversations.

Second, it runs the risk of becoming merely a hashtag to hound an institution that bandwagoners have been looking for reason to take shots at for years. I’m not saying hipsters are bad for veritable movement’s momentum, but the phasal and ‘fizzle out’ nature of their support wanes when needing wax.

Maybe this is the only way to approach this subject in our time, and in that, The Social Dilemma gets it right.

Ultimately, I believe the CHT plans to release a second campaign focusing on holistic and redemptive technology, and how we can use tech to grow closer to each other and more aware. I also believe a coalition of so many of these ethically-centric technology companies needs to be created to bring resources to a unified location. With these two things, I can understand and still support the grim scenario The Social Dilemma portrays, and we can all remember that this is not the end of technology’s progress in our world.

read // stripped

the part we create from…

Where does creativity lie?

Historically, creatives have been heralded 1%’ers who terraform our world into something new. Their skills in accessing innovation and out-of-the-box thinking are reportedly unparalleled. Gifted as “outliers”, they display the capacity for reaching deeper within themselves to dredge up a masterpiece of originality.

We all know and have heard that this skill is not exclusive. We can all be creatives. From the Zanders in their passionately crafted work, The Art of Possibility:

Suppose for a moment that vital, expressive energy flows everywhere, that is the medium for the existence of life, and that any block to participating in that vitality lies within ourselves.

But there’s too much congestion from our jobs, our life, our stress and trauma. We imagine this mars us from ever leading the truly creative life. We see the scars and know we can never be whole, this side of Eden.

But scars are external. They are not the thing we are loved for, not the thing we draw purpose from, not the thing we create from. As Pressfield writes, “The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did (or we did!!). That part is unsullied, uncorrupted.” Creativity lies here, beyond our failure and doubt, in a place only the God of the universe knows fully.

So, we can learn this. We can sit in our mess till we find who we really are, deep down. That’s where creativity lays its head every night, awaiting our awakening.

previous read // true voice

the ‘no’ practice

Saying no gets a bad rep. So pick a day, and say no to everything but one effort.

Believe it or not, you can get bad reactions to this idea. The reasoning can sound selfish when said. This implication creates need for apt presentation and justification of your drive.

What meaningful work is life distracting you from? What could you do to create space for that work? Given the space for it, would that meaningful work replace work that distracts from it and matters less?

These were the questions running through my head when I decided to say ‘no’ every Tuesday and devote the whole day to writing– a passion I wanted to follow unhindered. The things I say ‘no’ to include, email, meetings, entertainment and other work- writing is my work on Tuesday.

Saying no does not mean I “Tom Sawyer” my work. Saying no means I intentionally plan to say no.

As a student, I am blessed to be able to craft a schedule with one work day devoted to non-obligatory work. I relegate homework to other days as the worthwhile tradeoff for unhindered Tuesday focus.

Ultimately, I want writing to be my career (a fact I’m realizing more and more as I commit to the ‘no’ practice). This practice enables me to pursue the practice in my life that I want to the most. It could do the same for you…

read // skyscrapers

but, so, i mean, as far as…

We’ve all been there. Forming sentences is hard. Particularly the start.

It’s a struggle for me now and I have the benefit of deep thought, first drafts and revisions. When I overheard this (^title^) attempt from a table to my back, I felt it an appropriate start to examine patience in speech.

Talking is like computing. We, with our hardrives of knowledge, experience and memory, take time to spit out the things we want to say. We have to attempt many combinations of colloquial language codes (sometimes clich├ęs) to get across the right feeling, direction or thought.

We can cmd-alt-dlt 100% of the like, anyway and um‘s that enter our speech by taking a minute, and finding our footing before jumping into expression.

People are far more impressed by exact speech than rushed stumbling.

Take time. Be precise.