Posts Tagged ‘life’

Living Like An Online Swan

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Paul Jarvis raises a point on Medium that is always worth repeating:

What I share online only represents a tiny portion of my life. Sure, I live a pretty decent life, and really don’t have anything tocomplain about, but still?—?it’s not nearly as interesting as a lot of folks assume. And conversely, I’m sure a lot of folks I assume have an amazingly awesome, super interesting life are exactly the same.

I always say that life, especially online life, is like a swan. Everyone looking at someone else sees the graceful moves, the supple neck, the effortless gliding from one shore to another. Underneath the waterline is another story… it’s ugly, it’s splashy, it’s frantic, and it’s a heck of a lot of effort (much of it wasted) to get any sort of traction.

Never forget that I’m a swan in every respect:

So when I think about what I’m doing, I have to remember I’m not comparing like with like. The failures and knock-backs that I receive, the moments where getting the words out of my head and onto the screen are like detention with Umbridge, the struggle to get a work-life balance… everyone I am talking to have these moments as well.

I have to remember when I tell people some of the things I have been up to in the last year, they only see the top of my iceberg, so they are comparing my success with their struggles. We’re all human, we’re all putting on the best show for everyone else, and we’re all paddling furiously under the water thinking we are going nowhere fast.

I appreciate every day just how hard everyone is paddling.

Thoughts on life, work, and opportunities

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Since the start of the year, I’ve been think about what I do for a living, and how I’ve got to where I am. There’s no clear answer to that question (although ‘do fun things’ will probably figure highly), but two pieces from the last week have resonated with me.

First up, Rackspace’s Rob La Gesse:

I’ve seen salespeople that seem to have so much more “luck” than their peers, but I don’t believe in luck. I know this person just did a little bit more than someone else, and probably a long time ago. And it is hard to connect those things, but as a manager of humans that I love to death, I pay a lot of attention to what they do – and how they help me win.

And they mostly do it by building upon an incredibly deep library of past deeds. Over time, that makes you a trusted resource. And then, all of a sudden, things start happening that people may talk about in terms such as, ‘She is just blessed”, or “What a lucky shit he is”.

Again, I don’t believe in luck.

…and then there is Y Combinator’s Paul Graham:

Few people know so early or so certainly what they want to work on. But talking to my father reminded me of a heuristic the rest of us can use. If something that seems like work to other people doesn’t seem like work to you, that’s something you’re well suited for. For example, a lot of programmers I know, including me, actually like debugging. It’s not something people tend to volunteer; one likes it the way one likes popping zits. But you may have to like debugging to like programming, considering the degree to which programming consists of it.

The stranger your tastes seem to other people, the stronger evidence they probably are of what you should do.

If you’re ever looking for an answer to that trusty question of life, the universe, and everything, I think these two thoughts are really good places to start.

Lessons from a 40 year old

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

 A few months ago, when I was kicking around ideas for this talk, I was going over ideas with a friend and he noticed a trend in what I’ve been thinking about lately, how all my ideas were about long term projects and taking things easy and spending time with family and how I sounded like an old man in the go-go world of the Internet. He suggested the title “Lessons from a 40 year old” and it stuck.

Matt Howie’s recent Webstock Talk.

Answering the Top Ten Unanswerable Questions

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Have to laugh at the latest wheeze from Ask Jeeves, as they promote their Questions and Answers service by providing media outlets (such as The Daily Dust) with ten questions that can’t be answered.

Err… Okay, here they are, and now, with answers.

What is the meaning of life?

42. Easy, next!

Is there a God?


Do blondes have more fun?


What is the best diet?

Any that follows the Jasper Carrot rule, which reminds you that “this hole” (points to face) is bigger than “this hole” (points down and smiles)

Is there anybody out there?

Well if someone answers, yes, if not, no.

Who is the most famous person in the world?

Sincere look… you are!

What is love?

“Oh baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me no more. Oh, baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me no more.”

What is the secret to happiness?


Did Tony Soprano die?

Did you see a body? Then no, he’s not dead.

How long will I live?

Longer than whoever came up with this dodgy PR strategy, that’s for sure!