Tag Archives: Three Things

The Three Things #24

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

OmniFocus Setup: Do Stuff! — MacSparky

Michael on Productivity: David Sparks changed the way I work. For the longest time, I was overwhelmed by my task list. There was just far too much on it and no effective way to find what mattered. I’d use due dates to highlight what was important, but this only led to everything having a due date (usually when they’re not actually due) and nothing being important. Over time, I learned a few tricks and tactics for finding the right actions, but this was always a struggle, there was always far too much to consider. Then David came along and started evangelizing start dates. This approach hides what you don’t need to think about, shows you what you do and let’s you save due dates for the few times there actually is one.

You’ll often hear geeks, especially OmniFocus geeks such as myself, suggesting a start date centered approach, in this video, David shows you how it’s done.

The Harlem Shake: What’s in a Meme?

Howie on Memes Gone Wild: I find this fascinating. Doing work for a client in the pool industry, it seems many college swim teams have done Harlem Shake videos. The University Minnesota did theirs in speedos in the snow. Ball State did theirs underwater ending with swimmers lunging on bikes into the water. This is a big issue with big media today. People such as Gunther Sonnenfeld evangelize the freedom of content to be changed, retold, and shared as a good thing. But many brands are afraid of their intellectual property going off message even at the cost of more revenues and fans. So glad the owner of that famous Hitler video hasn’t felt the same. Oh and this is a boon for Harlem even if they don’t think so. When was the last time the country went nuts of something with the word Harlem in it?

Mayer Culpa

Gini on Culture: Howie and I are reading the same magazine this week! I know most of you are tired of hearing about Marissa Mayer’s mandate that all Yahoos show up for work in an office, beginning in June. But what I found most interesting about this The Economist story is not that, but the stats from Cisco and J.C. Penney for and against having people work remotely. Did you know a third of Penney employees spend their time watching YouTube videos instead of working? And they’re all in the “office.” It goes to show this isn’t about where you work, but about HR, operations, and your culture.

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The Three Things #23

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Amanda Palmer: The Art Of Asking

Michael on Monetization: I’ve always struggled with the idea of donations on blogs. I don’t think they’re wrong or anything. I just tend to be more product-minded. I tend to support those who offer something additional in return for patronage (i.e. Shawn Blanc’s Membership Podcast and Patrick Rhone’s old newsletter). The idea of supporting art for art’s sake is just something I have a hard time getting my head around. Not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just something I struggle to embrace.

I feel strongly those who create for the web also have the ability to create products they can sell (even if those products are created what they’ve already offered for free on their site). I’m not sure this video of Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on The Art of Asking is going to change my mind on this topic, but it’s certainly encouraging me to challenge some very stubbornly held assumptions… which is always a good thing.

Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed

Howie on Technology: In the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying an important lesson I learned was that only one thing is guaranteed. Impermanence. Change. Every time we get comfy in life, things change. One day phones will not be Apple or Android. Just like one day social will not have names such as Twitter and Facebook. Are you ready? You don’t have a choice. This is a great article about some developments in mobile. And keep in mind, at one point, the following businesses were invincible: Yahoo. Netscape. AOL. Myspace. Sony. EBay. Priceline. Motorola. All owned the Internet or technology per the soothsayers at one time.

Cycling’s Road Forward

Gini on Competitiveness: I’ve been waiting all week to share this article! It’s no surprise I’m a cycling advocate. I love everything about it, even the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong. I’ve been completely obsessed with his fall from grace and what that means (if anything) to the cycling community.

Enter Joe Dombrowski. He’s 21 years old and has just gone pro for Team Sky (the team last year’s TdF winner, Bradley Wiggins, rides). He’s spending his time in Nice, France, riding, learning the mountain climbs, and even being hazed. It’s nice to see the next generation of cyclists come up through the ranks.

But what I found most interesting about this article is not his thoughts on doping or cycling as a sport, but on why he thinks his generation won’t dope. It’s not because it’s illegal or because they want to clean up the sport. It’s because his generation isn’t competitive to win. They’re competitive to learn from the best, to ride, and to have an adventure of a lifetime.

Shelly Kramer posted a meme on Facebook a few days ago that said (I’m paraphrasing), it’s all great kids all get trophies these days, but what happens when they enter the real world?

I guess this is what happens. They aren’t competitive. They don’t care to win. They just want the experience. It makes me sad.

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The Three Things #22

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Sweating Commas — Professional Editing for Independent Writers

Michael on Writing: For the past year and a half, my wife has been kind and patient enough to edit the words on my site. You see I have the grammar skills of a chimpanzee and she has a masters degree in English.She loves me, yet hates poor grammar. Especially mine. Despite having little to no interest in a lot of the geeky crap I care about, she edits the majority of the posts you read to ensure my lack of knowledge doesn’t affect your level of enjoyment. She’s an amazing person. I do not deserve her.

Recently, my friend Jason Rehmus launched Sweating Commas, a service for independent writers just like me. More to support a friend than anything else, I asked him to edit a longer geekier post. I figured it was a win/win as Jason was familiar with the subject matter and it would spare my wife from having to read a comprehensive post on OmniFocus (which she could not humanly care less about). I enjoyed the experience so much, I decided to go back for another 10 posts.

I’m fascinated by the concept of personal sites and professional editors. I’ve been fortunate to have one for some time in my wife. I know what her expertise has done to help make me a better writer. With Jason, I was able to see the benefit of occasionally diversifying the feedback you get on the ideas you’re trying to share (and I got to give my wife a well deserved break from my nonsense). I’m fortunate to have my wife, but if you’re looking for feedback and don’t happen to be married to an 8th grade English teacher, check out what Jason is up to with Sweating Commas. Working with a good editor will make you a better writer, or in my case, a passable one.

How Does Science Determine the Edge of the Universe?

Howie on Time and the Universe: I have a love of science. What Matthew Kleban doesn’t answer is if time moves at different rates in different parts of the multiverse, how does this affect the Facebook timeline? Other than this is eight minutes of mind-bending (and mind-hurting) insights about time and the universe.

How to Break Out of the Female Entrepreneur Trap

Gini on Women Entrepreneurs: I may have cheered out loud when I read this Inc. article about the female entrepreneur trap. What I’m about to say will not be popular, but it’s something to consider: The women entrepreneurs who are focused on growth are hustling, recruiting, making big things happen, don’t thrill in small talk, walk fast, and are too busy to be the token female at conferences and symposiums. She embraces technology, entrepreneurship, and the start-up culture and doesn’t consider herself a female leader, but a leader. Period.

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The Three Things #18

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and myself share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs

Michael on Experiments: I’m late to A. J. Jacobs’ collection of stories of his time as a human Guinea pig, but having just spent the past few hours flying cross country listening to the audiobook, I’m glad I wised up and got around to it. Not only is the book highly amusing, but it’s fascinating to see how these grand and temporary experiments make subtle, yet lasting change in the author’s life. I’ve never been prone to experiments, opting for an iterative approach to creating change in my life, but I’d be lying if these stories aren’t tempting me to think bigger.

Why Graph Search Could Be Facebook’s Largest Privacy Invasion Ever

Howie on Facebook Graph Search: While this article raises alarms about Facebook and their new search offering for privacy, it’s actually breakthrough technology. The problem is we don’t currently share enough of our lives on Facebook. I could have 20 friends see the same movie, but only one person will mention it. If that person has his or her profile set to “public,” the whole world will now know their thoughts on the movie. It’s both scary and fascinating. Note: I do not have this feature yet.

Jennifer Lawrence in Vanity Fair

Gini on Honesty: I loved reading the Hunger Games series. I’ve seen the first movie three times (and can’t wait for Catching Fire in November!). I thought Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic as Katniss Everdeen. We saw Silver Lining Playbook a couple of weeks ago and she was phenomenal in that. Because I’m such a fan of her acting, I couldn’t wait to spend some time reading the Vanity Fair cover story. Imagine my disappointment when I learned she’s uneducated, unfocused, and lazy. Of course, the article didn’t say those exact things- Woody Harrelson said to her, “I didn’t know there was another actor on earth who made me look like a hard worker” and she has zero desire to get a degree – but I came away wishing she’d been a little less honest in the interview.

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The Three Things #17

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and myself share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

‘Supporting Characters,’ Directed by Daniel Schechter – NYTimes.com

Michael on Family: I know, I know… I already spoke about my brother’s movie this week, but when the New York Times has nice things to say about your brother (or any other family member for that matter) I’ll understand you going on and on about it, I promise! Brotherly pride aside, it’s an amazing thing to me that you can have an idea for a feature length film, raise a shoe-string budget, and make something that’s worthy of praise in the Times, Interview Magazine and The Daily News. If my endless suggestions to check this movie out haven’t been enough, hopefully these reviews will get you to run over to iTunes and check out Supporting Characters (I’ll be quiet about my brothers career now… for now).

Intergalactic Croquet Cures Winter Blues

Howie on Community: Waterbury, Vt., is the birthplace of Green Mountain Coffee, Ben and Jerry’s, Alchemist Brewery, and is about 15 mins from where I live. Nothing replaces communities of real people. And it is hard to feel ‘community’ in a big city, which is probably why social networks do so well with city folks. The word community is thrown around online very loosely. This article about winter croquet – played on snow and ice – reminds us to get outside and celebrate our non-virtual communities.

This Isn’t the Petition Response You Want

Gini on Star Wars: This is a couple of weeks old, but I keep reading it because it’s so funny. You know how the White House said they would support any petition signed by 25,000 people? Well, a petition for the government to build the Death Star was signed by nearly 35,000 people. This is the response from the White House and it’s brilliant. They turn down the petition stating (my favorite), “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?”

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The Three Things #16

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and myself share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Measuring Success — First Today, Then Tomorrow by Randy Murray

Michael on Influencing Others: Much as I derive gratification from my own efforts, my greatest sense of fulfillment comes from the small influence I have on the work of others. Perhaps I undervalue my own work, or more likely I just can’t keep my eyes on my own paper, but one of life’s greatest pleasures comes in the form of offer feedback and occasionally having an affect on the ideas and creations of others. It seems I’m not alone in this pursuit. Randy Murray has found, after having many of his own successes, his lasting joy comes from being able to applaud those who he helped find a spotlight. Unlike Randy, I still doubt my own accomplishments. I’m believe I’m yet to realize them. That said, I just don’t believe they’ll ever be fully realized unless I put equal measure of effort into helping those around me realize their own.

The Web Just Got a Little Darker

Howie on the Dark Web: Well it really isn’t dark per se. I know it sounds ominous, but I found two very interesting thoughts on this article. First is that so little  of the web is indexed. What is indexed is freaking huge…and that is an understated. The second thought is someone actually feels all human information needs to be cataloged and saved. But that would include talking and texting and more, all that would be impossible to catalog/index. I mean 99 percent of our communication is drivel. Why should we save ‘checked in at Starbucks’ or every single blog about Justin Bieber, when three would be fine for history’s sake?

It’s All About the Lies

Gini on Lance Armstrong: It’s been a long week for this cyclist and fan of Lance Armstrong. When the USADA news broke last year, I wrote a blog post about what he needed to do to repair his reputation. His interview with Oprah followed that advice (it wasn’t unique advice; it’s crisis communications 101) and he went on the air and answered “yes” in the first two minutes to 10 or so questions about his doping. I still have a lot of emotion wrapped up in this so I’m not ready to provide my take on it, but I have read nearly everything everyone else wrote. This ESPN article by Rick Reilly is my favorite. Not because I agree, but because it shows how huge this has become for more than just Armstrong and his former team.

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The Three Things #15

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and myself share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Tenth of December author George Saunders in conversation with his Random House editor, Andy Ward. – Slate Magazine

Michael on Writing: The more you write, the more you think about writing. The more you think about writing, the more you talk about writing. The more you think and talk about writing, the less you actually find yourself writing, but that’s another story for another day.

The only thing more enjoyable than these moments of contemplation and conversation about writing is the gift of getting to listen in as others share their own ideas on and approach to the subject. This exchange between former GQ writer George Saunders and his current editor Andy Ward is one of the best I’ve read (thanks to Todd Chandler, who was kind enough to share this). To some, these conversation seem like little more than pontification, to me, they offer a lens into how others accomplish their goals with their words. It’s a must read for anyone, who like me, cannot help but talk, think, and learn about writing as we do our best to actually make some of our own words appear on the page (or screen, if that’s your thing).

Biggest New Media Trend is Analytics Transparency

Howie on Media Transparency: This is very interesting. I have clamored for this forever. This started with print. Bundling. A newspaper will say ‘we have one million circulation’ but I would only read sports and business. So the brands advertising in lifestyle can’t reach me. But they still had to pay for one million readers. With digital this data is available. But media still bundles. We have no idea how many pages are read – a lot or a little. We have no idea how many Facebook users are logged in and active right now. There is an app called Social Bro that tells you how many of your Twitter Followers are active (tweeted in the last five mins) and it ranges from 30 to 80 for my nearly 1,800 followers. Transparency will cut to the heart of what is the value of a media property, content etc to advertisers/marketers.

Gone Girl

Gini on Fiction: Again. I’m reading a ton of long-form right now and my Vanity Fair, New Yorker, and Atlantic subscriptions are sitting quiet. My friend (and reading buddy) Christina Pappas suggested I read Dark Places (by the same author) last summer. It was decent enough and, at the end of the book, the first chapter of Gone Girl was there. I read it…and then had to buy the entire book. It was a little bit Scott Peterson kills his wife and baby, with a twist of phenomenal fiction and storytelling. It was in my top three books read last year.

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