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.


Things I’m slowly learning

Some quick lessons that I want to make sure I can easily remind myself about in the future.


I used to think I needed a cigarette and caffeine to function in the morning:

Now I’ve learned that even a couple of minutes exercise has a better effect – although I haven’t ditched smoking and sugary cola quite yet.


I used to think I just needed that one brilliant idea to come along:

Now I know that the journey to one brilliant idea is paved with lots of ideas every day, and working through each one to end up finding the best.


I used to think it would be scary to work and live alone:

Until two years ago, I’d always worked for large companies. And I’d never lived alone until last year – I went from the family home to shared student accommodation, to sharing houses, to living with by girlfriend.

Now I’ve realised that working for yourself isn’t scary. It’s not even difficult if you’re willing to put in the work.

And living alone isn’t scary, but it can get you down – so the answer is to make sure you put in the effort to be social regularly.


The important bit of learning these things isn’t reading them in a book, seeing them on a blog, or writing them here. It’s internalising them and making them part of my daily and weekly habits.


Ferris Bueller’s tip for digital businesses

The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”

It’s all about focus.

Sadly I still can’t afford a Ferrari 250GT Spyder California. Then again, neither could the makers of the film, as for understandable reasons a kit car was used for everything except the still garage shots. Not really surprising when a real one was bought at auction by presenter/DJ Chris Evans for just under $11 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold at auction.


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.