Magic in everyday technology…

If you’re not familiar with Arthur C Clarke’s ‘Three Laws‘, they’re well worth knowing…

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

It’s number 3 that I was reminded about today. Of all the modern gadgets and technology I use, probably the most magical thing to me is still buying a Kindle book from Amazon.

As someone who has spent countless hours in bookstores, libraries and comic book shops it’s still very strange that I can go to via a link from a recommendation, select 1-Click purchase, and the next time I happen to carry my Kindle anywhere near my router, that book will almost instantly appear on it, ready to read.

It’s a good reminder anytime I get jaded or cynical. And gives me a magic level to aspire to with my work…



The Tao of Blogging?

When one is not expressing himself, he is not free.

Thus, he begins to struggle and the struggle breeds methodical routine. Soon, he is doing his methodical routine as response rather than responding to what is.

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

The same is most definitely true of writing and blogging, even when it’s being done for other people. If you don’t have the passion, desire and wish to know everything about your business, client or subject, then you won’t do a great job.

bruce lee

It’s why I’ve run my own blogs and sites for years. Here I can play around with the format, technology and styles, before using what I’ve learned on more business-critical sites.

Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impressions he is making or about to make


Fenceless farming and flexible technology

I was fascinated by this article on The Atlantic website about virtual ‘fences’ and how they could change farming. By using a combination of GPS and deterrents, livestock could be moved around a territory to the best places for natural resources in real-time, which opens up a lot of possibilities for areas which were cost-prohibitive, as well as increased collaboration by groups of livestock owners, for example.

It’s well worth taking a look – I tend to find I get more inspired by seeing how technology is being used in non-marketing applications, and then applying that to my own areas of expertise, than simple watching the latest marketing trends and tools.

It’s interesting to think that in 20+ years, fences could be a symbolic symbol for humans, rather than required for animal control.

I also loved this insightful quote:

Anything that I can do in my profession to encourage flexibility, I figure I’m doing the correct thing. That’s where this all came from. It never made sense to me that we use static tools to manage dynamic resources. You learn from day one in all of your ecology classes and animal science classes that you are dealing with multiple dynamic systems that you are trying to optimize in relationship to each other. It was a mental disconnect for me, as an undergraduate as well as a graduate student, to understand how you could effectively manage dynamic resources with a static fence.

Given that humans are dynamic resources, it makes sense that flexibility is as important to us, whether that’s building businesses, or working with employees, etc.


The quote above my desk…

Today, I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside

Marcus Aurelius

It’s a handy reminder when things might seem overwhelming, and the temptation is towards anxiety and paralysis.


David Heinemeier Hansson on your life’s work

I’d be happy if 37signals is the last place I work….
Committing myself to this long-term focus has led to a peaceful work atmosphere and an incredible clarity of purpose. If this is the last job I’ll ever have, I damn well better make sure that I like it. I won’t just tough things out.
If you’re not committed to your life’s work in a company and with people you could endure for decades, are you making progress on it?

David Heinemeier Hansson from a post about work at 37Signals.

Since working for myself, I’ve noticed a similar process going on, especially as things have started to grow and become viable and sustainable. I doubt that any large companies are going to pick up a small virtual marketing agency in Peterborough, and I can’t really think about letting go on the niche websites which are like my children…

Even if there is a change and a pivot, the people and processes that are being worked on now will continue to be valuable, and the core will stay the same even if the ultimate output evolves over time.