Inbox Zero

16 results back to index


pages: 331 words: 96,989

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam L. Alter

Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, augmented reality, barriers to entry, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, easy for humans, difficult for computers, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, game design, Google Glasses, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Richard Thaler, side project, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, telemarketer

If you open just twenty-five emails a day, evenly spaced across the day, you’ll spend literally no time in the zone of maximum productivity. The solution is to disable new email notifications and to check your email account infrequently, but most people don’t treat email that way. Many of us pursue the unforgiving goal of Inbox Zero, which requires you to process and file away every single unread email as soon as it arrives. And, as Chuck Klosterman wrote in the New York Times, emails are like zombies: you keep killing them and they keep coming. Inbox Zero also explains why workers spend a quarter of their days dealing with emails, and why they check their accounts, on average, thirty-six times every hour. In one study, researchers found that 45 percent of respondents associated email with “a loss of control.” This from a mode of communication that barely existed until the twenty-first century.

In 2012, three researchers wanted to investigate what happens when you prevent office workers from using email for a few days, but they struggled to find volunteers. They approached dozens of office workers at a U.S. Army facility on the East Coast, but only thirteen were willing to participate in the study. The vast majority explained that they couldn’t bear the pain of sorting through hundreds of unanswered emails when the study ended. Inbox Zero never dies; it just grows angrier while you try to ignore it. The researchers monitored the thirteen volunteers for eight days in total: three days as they continued using email as they usually did, and then five days while they refrained from using email altogether. At first the volunteers felt disconnected from their workmates, but quickly took to walking around the office and using their desk phones.

They were also better workers, switching between tasks half as often, and spending longer on each task without distraction. Most important, though, they were healthier. When checking email, they were in a constant state of high alert; without email, their heart rates tended to vary more, rising in response to brief bursts of stress, but falling again when those stressors passed. With email they were constantly on red alert. Beyond Inbox Zero, the Internet has also made it easier to stumble on new goals. Even just twenty-five years ago, goals were more remote than they are today. My family moved from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Sydney, Australia, when I was seven. Two months later my grandma visited from South Africa to help us settle in. As always, she brought gifts, and one of those gifts was the 1988 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

Of course, in that single session of email we probably won’t actually complete the tasks demanded by each message. Or even open every one. But we will at least scan the headers, deal with whatever is urgent, and make mental notes of the rest. It’s easy to reverse email’s biases, however, and to treat the list of messages like stored data and the messages themselves like flow. Some workflow efficiency experts have suggested that people strive for something called “inbox zero”6—the state of having answered all of one’s emails. Their argument, based on both office productivity and cognitive science, is that merely checking one’s email is inefficient. If the email is not processed—meaning answered, deleted, filed, or acted upon in some way—then it remains part of a growing to-do list. According to this logic, the time spent checking it was wasted if the message hasn’t been processed to the next stage.

You make sure you have enough money, you remind yourself that the store will still be open at that hour, and you consider what route will take you the least out of your way. Once you know how you’re going to accomplish the task, the loop is closed—even though the task has not yet been accomplished. There’s no more that can or need be done in the present, so the active part of the brain is freed up. This is a proved method of reducing stress. The inbox zero people see each message as a running loop. So they recommend we do something to create closure for each email—answer it, put a date on our calendar, add something to our to-do list, or even just delete it—rather than just leaving it sit there. According to Bit Literacy author Mark Hurst, if we don’t get our inbox empty, we won’t get that “clean feeling.”7 Given that the email inbox will nearly always refill faster than we can empty it, and that the messages arrive on everyone else’s schedule rather than our own, this clean feeling may be short-lived or even unattainable.

Imminent or not, it shares more characteristics with religion than its advocates like to admit, complete with an Omega point, a second life, an act of creation, a new calendar, and the dogged determination to represent itself as a total departure from all that came before. This response is a bit more like that of the impatient, reactive Tea Partier than that of the consensus-building Occupier. More like the “inbox zero” compulsive than the person who answers email if and when he feels like it. More the hedge fund trader looking to see how many algorithms can dance on the head of a temporal pin than the investor looking for a business to capitalize over time. More the fractalnoid conspiracy theorist than the pattern recognizer. The more appropriate approach to the pressures of apocalypto may be to let up on the pedal just a bit.


pages: 271 words: 62,538

The Best Interface Is No Interface: The Simple Path to Brilliant Technology (Voices That Matter) by Golden Krishna

Airbnb, computer vision, crossover SUV, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, impulse control, Inbox Zero, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, QR code, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tim Cook: Apple, Y Combinator, Y2K

You forget to change your password, your account can get hacked, and you lose your private pictures, or maybe even your friends all get porn in their inboxes attributed to you. No, I swear, that’s not my dick pic! Rarely do these digital chores involve creating or contributing to the world. Rather, they’re mostly made up of us serving the computer. We seek alluring, aspirational moments like Inbox Zero—a state of having an empty inbox because you’ve deleted, moved, or archived them all—which many desire and few attain. But for what? For happiness? The improvement of society? Nope, for the computer. For the interface. So that a count in a numerical badge floating above your application icon can diminish and eventually disappear. So that the application notifications go away. So that your most important documents are preserved.

So that your most important documents are preserved. So that your account stays current. So that you don’t get hacked. In this digital errand world of operating system settings, folders, badges, and notification centers, one of the absurdities of the job is that the more digital chores you do, the more new digital chores may arise. Reply to an inbox full of messages? You’ll probably get a lot of replies back, and your temporary state of Inbox Zero will quickly become aspirational all over again. In other words, the better you are at email, the more emails you get. Back up your photos? Now it’s time to rethink that cloud storage. Saving and preserving your memories can mean massive file management. Update your mobile operating system? Oh, well, all your applications need to be updated now, too. They don’t work with the new system, duh.

., 165–166 design, best results for, 80 devices, preventing failure of, 204 Dewey Decimal system, 165 digital chores eliminating, 156 performing, 155 dishwashers, washing cycles of, 153 distraction, consequences of, 61–62 Dorsey, Jack, 106 downloading songs, speed of, 30 dropdowns, disregarding, 137, 142 DSP (digital signal processing), 139–140 E EarlySense EverOn sensor, 179–180, 205 educational mindshare, capturing, 127 efficiency, increasing, 148 Elektro robot, 173–175 emergency room, sounds heard in, 178 energy, saving, 148 error message, example of, 131 EULA (end user license agreement), 192 F Facebook, privacy policy of, 190–191 failure examining fear of, 203–204 preventing, 204 solving, 204 talk of, 205 fields, requiring, 132 food, data related to, 136 G Gamestation, 193 Gates, Bill, 59 Gerhardt, Paul, 102 Gilmurray, Damian, 139 Glympse mobile app, 196 Goldman, Jonathan, 169 Goodyear app, 149–150 Google Wallet, 107 GPS (global positioning system), 142 GUIs (graphical user interfaces), 163, 168–170, 176–177, 197 H Hammerbacher, Jeff, 47, 169 hard drive movie storage in 2006, 26 movie storage in 2013, 27 Harter, Andy, 139 head trauma consequences of, 143 detecting, 144 reducing, 144 headlamp, use by doctors, 141–142 health care settings, improving, 178–179 Heron of Alexandria, 200 Hetrick, John W., 200 Hewitt, Lee, 200 history, learning from, 165 Hoffman, Reid, 169 Hopper, Andy, 139 Horton, Dee, 200 hours per day, working, 147 Humphrey, Jason, 62 I IBM’s Deep Blue, contest with Kasparov, 120–130 ideas, filtering, 208 IFTTT service, 157 Inbox Zero, 155–156 individuals, adapting to, 179 information, gathering, 136–137 innovation, 163–164 “innovation” centers, map of, 32–33 interaction, best results for, 80 interactivity, 196 interface examples cars, 35–36 refrigerators, 37–38 restaurant, 41–42 trash can, 39–40 vending machine, 43–44 interfaces best results for, 80 redesigning, 165 using sparingly, 114 Internet speeds in 2000, 28 in 2010, 29 iPhones, sizes from 2007-2014, 99 Israeli research on cancer, 65 iTunes terms and conditions, 189 J Jay-Z, 195 job listings, 45–46 JPMorgan Chase’s Blink system, 107 K Kasparov, Garry, 129–130 Kawasaki, Guy, 34 Kowalczyk, Liz, 178 KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers), 92 L laundry loads done weekly, 151 washing cycles, 152, 154 lazy rectangles avoiding, 120 drawing, 113 Leaf app for Nissan car, 117–120 learning from history, value of, 165 legal agreements, 187 light 6500k, 69 brightness of, 69 temperatures, 69, 71 light color, measuring, 71 LinkedIn, 170 Locket, research done by, 89 Lockitron deadbolt, 102–104, 205 lung cancer, incidence of, 65 M machine input embracing, 156 vs. user input, 139–140 using in health settings, 179 Manjoo, Farhad, 105–106 manual transmissions, decline in number of, 201 MasterCard’s Paypass, 107 Matyszczyk, Chris, 105 Mazda 929, 120–121 MC10 sensors, 144 McAfee computer security, 191 McCain, John, 148 McDonald, Aleecia, 189–190 McDonald’s, use of touchscreens by, 106 McKechnie, Alex, 181 McKinsey statistic, 111 media multitasking, effects of, 59–61 melatonin adjustment to pre-light exposure, 70 impact on sleep, 71–72 Metz, Rachel, 102 microphones, use of, 176 Microsoft Office, usage statistic, 189 mobile apps.


pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

A. Roger Ekirch, Atul Gawande, big-box store, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, post-work, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

That doesn't necessarily mean that you can discard it all, but some of it can be scratched off your list and the rest can be postponed until the important stuff is done. What matters most is to be doing something in that top 20% more of the time than not. Acknowledge the allure of completion and resist doing so much quick busywork that you fail to move your most important projects forward. The hope for an easy win can keep us coming back to our email inboxes to see what has arrived in the past few minutes. Before we spend any chunk of time questing for inbox zero, we need to look for and do the next actions from our goals. Picking three “Most Important Things” Discardia is a framework. One of the things I've frequently bolted onto mine is blogger and author Leo Babauta's idea of picking three “Most Important Things” for each day. Ideally, these should be derived from the top goals for your top priorities. Pick your three things before looking at email.

If you do add more labels, consider putting a distinctive character at the start of these key ones (e.g., “@waiting for” or “_waiting for”) to insure that they are always sorted to the top of the list for quick access. Why label instead of moving to folders? It avoids the risk of “out of sight, out of mind” while allowing you to tell at a glance that you've already handled everything that currently needs handling. You get the benefit of inbox zero without wasting a lot of time or having to establish new rituals to check special folders. For categories of which you don't want to be reminded until you're performing a round of that activity (for example, something like “to read: professional development”), folders or their equivalent are helpful. In Gmail, you can keep those pending things labeled appropriately and archived, always retrievable by selecting all messages with that label, which you remove from each one after reading it.

Downsize Challenge. http://downsizechallenge.info LeechBlock. http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html Leonard, Annie. The Story of Stuff. http://storyofstuff.com Lesser, Marc. Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2009 Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. New York: Macmillan, 1943 Mann, Merlin. 43 Folders: Time, Attention and Creative Work. http://43folders.com ____. Inbox Zero. http://inboxzero.com Marino, Gordon. “Kierkegaard on the Couch.” Opinionator, The New York Times. 28 October 2009. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/kierkegaard-on-the-couch Marsh, Nigel. “How to Make Work-life Balance Work.” TED: Ideas worth spreading. May 2010. http://ted.com/talks/nigel_marsh_how_to_make_work_life_balance_work.html Mason, Maggie. “Your Mighty Life Lists.” Mighty Girl. 30 November 2009. http://mightygirl.com/2009/11/30/your-mighty-life-lists/ Matheiken, Sheena.


pages: 32 words: 10,468

Getting Things Done for Hackers by Lars Wirzenius

anti-pattern, Debian, Firefox, full text search, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, Merlin Mann, security theater

Allen published his first GTD book in 2002, and for the next few years, there was quite a lot of buzz about it on the Internet. Something about GTD spoke to geeks, and they blogged about it, and dived into endless discussions about which color pen to use to write things down, or which software to use to keep an outline on what color computer. By 2007 the buzz had mostly died, and those who liked GTD kept using it. An influential blogger during that era was Merlin Mann, and his most important creation was “Inbox Zero”. It’s an elegant condensation of the GTD system for dealing with e-mail, and that may be all you need. Many of us hackers pretty much do everything via e-mail, so if you get that under control, you’ll be fine. Go read. Technicalities This book is written using an Ikiwiki instance at https://gtdfh.branchable.com/, hosted on the Branchable service. (I am involved in running Branchable.) Ikiwiki input is in Markdown format.


pages: 326 words: 74,433

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld, David Cohen

augmented reality, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software as a service, Steve Jobs

Reject and remove this excuse from your vocabulary because e-mail volume is no reason to suck at e-mail. In fact, entrepreneurs should want even more e-mail, especially from your customers. If you accept the notion that “you can't get too much e-mail,” you'll then need a system for dealing with it. We recommend something similar to the Getting Things Done (GTD) system by David Allen, which includes tactics such as “inbox zero.” Your goal should be to touch every e-mail only once and either respond to it immediately or put it on a to-do list with a due date to be dealt with later. Then, delete the item from your inbox. Do not use your inbox as your to-do list—this is a guaranteed path to e-mail misery. This simple solution will keep most people from sucking at e-mail. If your inbox has 2,000 new messages in it right now, you probably suck at e-mail.

Keep your e-mails about the business at hand, and don't let emotion get involved—which can be difficult if you're dealing with someone who sucks at e-mail. The last bit of advice I can give on this point is to remember that we all live in the real world. E-mail is fast and easy, but the reality is that not everyone uses it, and not everyone cares about it. I know it's scary, but if you're dealing with someone who sucks at e-mail, sometimes you just have to pick up the phone and call. David Cohen aiming for “inbox zero” on a summer Saturday at The Bunker. Use What's Free Ben Huh Ben is the CEO of The Cheezburger Network, owner of popular sites such as Lolcats, Loldogs, and FAIL Blog, and has made more people laugh than anyone we know. He's been a TechStars mentor since 2009. One way to get leverage over all of the big players out there that you're competing with is to build your business to be more efficient than theirs.


pages: 128 words: 28,129

Exercise Every Day: 32 Tactics for Building the Exercise Habit (Even If You Hate Working Out) by S.J. Scott

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, fear of failure, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, obamacare, Skype

Scott Level Up Your Day: How to Maximize the 6 Essential Areas of Your Daily Routine The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers and Aspiring 9-to-5 Escape Artists Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas for Getting Started) Bad Habits No More: 25 Steps to Break ANY Bad Habit Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less To-Do List Makeover: A Simple Guide to Getting the Important Things Done 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple: 10 Steps to Master Your Personal and Career Goals 115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time: Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and PC/iOS Desktop Computers Writing Habit Mastery: How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block Daily Inbox Zero: 9 Proven Steps to Eliminate Email Overload Wake Up Successful: How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve Any Goal with a Morning Routine 10,000 Steps Blueprint: The Daily Walking Habit for Healthy Weight Loss and Lifelong Fitness Resolutions That Stick! How 12 Habits Can Transform Your New Year


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

For many, the number of unread messages represents a sort of goal to be completed. Yet to feel rewarded, the user must have a sense of accomplishment. Mailbox, an e-mail application acquired by Dropbox in 2013 for a rumored $100 million, aims to solve the frustration of fighting what feels like a losing in-box battle.20 Mailbox cleverly segments e-mails into sorted folders to increase the frequency of users achieving “inbox zero”—a near-mystical state of having no unread e-mails (figure 26). Of course, some of the folder sorting is done through digital sleight-of-hand by pushing some low priority e-mails out of sight, then having them reappear at a later date. However, by giving users the sense that they are processing their in-box more efficiently, Mailbox delivers something other e-mail clients do not—a feeling of completion and mastery.


pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, digital map, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

the source HTML of Google’s homepage: See Randall Munrose, “DNA,” xkcd, November 18, 2015, https://xkcd.com/1605/. Slate interactives editor Chris Kirk: Chris Kirk, “Battling My Daemons: My Email Made Me Miserable. So I Decided to Build My Own Email App from Scratch,” Slate, February 25, 2015, http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2015/02/email_overload_building_my_own_email_app_to_reach_inbox_zero.html. laws and regulations are technologies: The analogy between computer code and other kinds of codes—legal, moral—can be pushed quite far, but treating these as distinct types of systems is probably best. to establish the postal service: Constitution of the United States of America, Article I, Section 8: “To Establish Post Offices and Post Roads”; “Title 39—Postal Service,” Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition), revised July 1, 2003, available online: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2003-title39-vol1/content-detail.html.


pages: 288 words: 66,996

Travel While You Work: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Business From Anywhere by Mish Slade

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, business process, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Inbox Zero, job automation, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Lyft, remote working, side project, Skype, speech recognition, turn-by-turn navigation, uber lyft

What tools, equipment or tactics do you rely on for travelling while working? Zoom (www.worktravel.co/zoom) for video calls with screen sharing. Slack (www.worktravel.co/slack) for great team chat and file sharing. Omnifocus (www.worktravel.co/omnifocus) for personal task management. Asana (www.worktravel.co/asana) for team task management. Trello (www.worktravel.co/trello) for project status monitoring. Inbox Zero (an approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty – see www.worktravel.co/inboxzero) for email management. Lewis Smith: Freelance developer and app creator Tell us a bit about you and what you do – both in terms of your work and travel habits. My name is Lewis (aka the Itinerant Dev: www.itinerantdev.com) and I've been travelling with my wife Jenny (www.theadventuresmith.com) since September 2012.


pages: 258 words: 74,942

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis

Airbnb, big-box store, Cal Newport, call centre, corporate social responsibility, David Heinemeier Hansson, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, follow your passion, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, Inbox Zero, index fund, job automation, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Naomi Klein, passive investing, Paul Graham, pets.com, remote working, Results Only Work Environment, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, uber lyft, web application, Y Combinator, Y2K

But then again, if you sit with your thoughts for a while, they can reveal some mind-set-changing ideas. But scaling down wasn’t just a plan for getting rid of our physical belongings; it was also a plan for achieving mental clarity. In creating a personal life that was bare of all but the essentials, parallels to my work started to become evident—what was truly necessary and what wasn’t. By decluttering my thoughts (creating an “inbox zero” for my brain, if you will), I was able to look at my day-to-day business much more clearly because the distractions were now gone. I hadn’t been able to clearly express my reasons for the way I had been working until that moment. This clarity highlighted something I had unconsciously been doing for nearly twenty years, even before going out on my own, and that was building a business full of resilience, driven by a desire for autonomy and, on most days, enjoyment.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

One of the biggest and most noticeable changes brought about by AGI is a sharp increase in sophistication across most facets of human existence. We can thank the G-MAFIA for how much the quality of life has improved. What used to be time-consuming, difficult challenges—like trying to schedule a time that works for everyone, sorting out an after-school activity calendar, or managing our personal finances—is now fully automated and overseen by AGI. We no longer fritter away hours attempting to hit “inbox zero”—AGIs work collaboratively to facilitate most our low-level thinking tasks. We finally have simple household robotics that make good on their promises to keep our rugs and floors clean, our laundry put away, and our shelves dusted. (We think of 2019 as a much simpler time, one full of tedious and monotonous manual tasks.) The common cold no longer exists, and neither does “the flu.” In fact, we marvel at the naïveté of earlier doctors.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, industrial cluster, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay, William Langewiesche

Gianmarco Ottaviano and Giovanni Peri, “The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities,” NBER Working Paper No. 10904, November 2004, http://www.nber.org/papers/w10904. 9. LIFE 1. Franklin’s discussion of his virtue journal is in Part Two of his autobiography (New York: Henry Holt, 1916 ed.), available online at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20203. 2. John Bach McMaster, as quoted ibid., n. 70. 3. Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind (London: Penguin, 2015). 4. Merlin Mann, “Inbox Zero,” talk delivered at Google Tech Talks, July 23, 2007, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9UjeTMb3Yk. 5. Jorge Luis Borges, “John Wilkins’ Analytical Language” (1942), Selected Non-Fictions, ed. and trans. Eliot Weinberger (New York: Viking, 1999), p. 231. 6. Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman, A Perfect Mess (London: Orion, 2007), pp. 156–157. 7. Maria Popova, “Order, Disorder, and Oneself: French Polymath Paul Valéry on How to Never Misplace Anything,” Brain Pickings, October 30, 2015, https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/10/30/paul-valery-analects-order-disorder/. 8.


pages: 561 words: 114,843

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype

I need to cut back on travel!” or “I wasn’t in-market enough last quarter.” The kinds of shifts you can make are to be proactive instead of so reactive; to cut meetings, shrink them or group them when appropriate internally; to use videoconferencing instead of travel where possible—and to be just a little more selfish and guarded with your time. Management Moment Don’t Be a Bottleneck You don’t have to be an Inbox-Zero nut (though feel free if you’d like!) but you do need to make sure you don’t have people in the company chronically waiting on you before they can take their next actions. Otherwise, you lose all the leverage you have in hiring a team. Don’t let approvals or requests pile up. I worked for a guy once who constantly had a line of people at his door waiting for his comments or approvals on things.


pages: 425 words: 112,220

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, young professional

(This urge is also how technologists keep us engaged in applications like LinkedIn, using progress bars that track our percentage toward a “successful” profile.) “Chipping away at our inbox gives us a sense of satisfaction precisely because the act includes such clear progress indicators. You started out with 232 email messages and now you have 50—progress! You’re advancing toward that holy grail of email productivity, inbox zero, and your brain is compelling you to see the job through,” Glei writes. “The problem is that while winnowing down your inbox gives you a strong feeling of progress, it’s just that—a feeling. Because unread message counts do not obey the golden rule of progress bars: Thou shalt not move backward. Instead, your unread message count is always a moving target. While you attend to it, you have the false sensation of advancing toward a goal, but the moment you look away, the target shifts farther into the distance as more messages roll in,” she continues.


pages: 389 words: 112,319

Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

13 We discourage curiosity also because it requires an admission of ignorance. Asking a question or posing a thought experiment means that we don’t know the answer, and that’s an admission that few of us are willing to make. For fear of sounding stupid, we assume most questions are too basic to ask, so we don’t ask them. What’s more, in this era of “move fast and break things,” curiosity can seem like an unnecessary luxury. With an inbox-zero ethos and an unyielding focus on hustle and execution, answers appear efficient. They illuminate the path forward and give us that life hack so we can move on to the next thing on our to-do list. Questions, on the other hand, are exceedingly inefficient. If they don’t yield immediate answers, they’re unlikely to get a slot on our overloaded calendars. At best, we pay lip service to curiosity but end up discouraging it in practice.