Stop Looking at the Past in One Year Chunks

looking-back

We all do it – look back at the previous year somewhere around January 1st. We total up what we’ve accomplished in that one year and determine if it was a success or it sucked. Variables like births, deaths, accidents, career changes, friendships, personal health, and travel all seem to be popular indicators of success or suck. The reality is you should really stop looking at your past as increments of one year advances.

When you end up looking back at the previous year you tend to forget the things that lead you to where you are now. The reality is the older you get the less important one year of time becomes. When you’re 12 years old one year is one twelfth of your life (shocking math, right?). When you’re 30+ it’s now 1/30th of your life. It’s the reason why we tend to always say that “you can’t believe how fast this year went.” Perception is reality.

Looking at one year of time is short-sighted. When I look at how much I’ve accomplished throughout my life I can’t help but feel success. I’ve had plenty of ups and downs but I’ve managed to keep moving on and up in my mind. Life is a constant stream of change, conflict, and resolution. The perception of what’s gone right is easier when you only remember what’s happened recently. Take the time to step back and look at more than just the year and you’ll see a bigger perception of your life.

 

 

Every Good Manager Will…

This week Michael Lopp (VP Engineering @ Slack) posted a summary of Tweets responding to the question “Regardless of seniority every good manager will…”.

I took that list and tried to correlate the responses into several buckets. I used Trello to visualize this.

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https://trello.com/b/Wr78Mx6k/good-managers

I came up with five buckets:

  1. Compassion/Empathy – Feel like a human and realize others feel too.
  2. Give/Take Feedback – Listen to others, tell them what’s going right & wrong, and do the same for yourself.
  3. Filter/Map/Reduce – Take in the world above and turn it into smaller things that are important for your people to know.
  4. Unblock – Don’t be an obstacle for your people to succeed – and help remove obstacles from their paths.
  5. Trust – Everyone is an adult and was hired for a reason – trust them in their decisions and make sure to gain your people’s trust.

The Cross-Posting Effect

A lot of my friends on Instagram are also my friends on Facebook. They, like myself, tend to cross-post photos from Instagram onto Facebook and Twitter. I noticed a funny effect from that cross-posting – you end up missing a lot of posts from your friends.

Mindless scrolling. We all do it. Facebook was made for it as well as Instagram. Your brain is bored so you grab your phone and start scrolling through posts. I think we’re sort of zombies when this mode clicks in. I usually end up snapping out of that zombie scrolling mode when I see posts I’ve already remember seeing. Semi-conciously I feel I’ve reached the end of any content that I may want to read or view.

Cross-posting images from Instagram to Facebook sort of breaks this zombie mechanism of knowing when you’ve reached “the end” of new content. I’ve found myself scrolling through Facebook and seeing a photo I recognize and stopping. Chances are I didn’t actually see that photo on Facebook first, but rather on Instagram. The reverse applies as well. My brain stops me when content starts repeating but in essence that’s new content in that specific app.

I’ve also noticed this effect happen with publicizing new blog posts onto Twitter and Facebook but not to the same effect. I use the WordPress.com Reader to track blogs I like reading. Sometimes I do see friends’ posts on Facebook that I’ve already seen in the WordPress.com Reader. The content looks different enough that it doesn’t trigger the same effect all the time.

The thing I wonder about is if the effect causes some sort of mental fatigue in your followers causing them to potentially classifying your posts as noise rather than signal. I know how my brain tends to work and I can see that happening already with some accounts I follow in multiple apps/sites.

Radio Garden

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http://radio.garden

By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places. Radio Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.

 

The Slack Channel Effect

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Instead of talking in a big group we split off into separate channels which is somewhat anti-collaboration.

I realized the other day that channels in Slack (or any other group messaging platform) are both good and bad. When there are a small number of rooms it’s easier to find a conversation or to be involved in the majority of discussions. As the number of people in the rooms grows, chats become more noisy. The solution is to create another channel – ideally something subject-specific to filter out the noise. There’s a counter-effect which is somewhat unexpected – it can reduce interaction between members.

Turns out the more channels there are, the less conversations you have exposure to. This sounds stupidly obvious – but it’s not really when you’re so close to the effect. As your channel list grows it’ll reach a critical mass when information overwhelms you. Your only way to fight back is to start leaving channels.

A large room with a lot of activity is easier to mute either by shutting down the chat client or by using a muting feature. Rooms let you segment conversations by topic but then you have less interaction with teammates and less visibility of what is going on overall. The reality is neither method is sustainable. I haven’t quite figured out the solution for a balance between the two.

Why Single Sign-On is Stabby

Want to know why I really don’t care for single sign-on? Let’s pretend I want to sign into StackOverflow.com.

The Flow

Oooh! I want to check my reputation on StackOverflow! Oh crap, this is a new computer. Let me log in!

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Huh. Well, let’s check 1Password.

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Shit. I didn’t save my password. Oh wait, maybe it was Google?

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FFFFFFFFFFFF

Okay I think it’s the second one.

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Um. Okay? Allow.

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FFFFFFFFFFFF

That wasn’t it. Let me click Back and see if it was Facebook.

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I guess I’d like to continue as Aaron since that’s me?

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Yay!

The Reality

I originally signed up with my first Google account listed. I did NOT sign up with Facebook. After logging in with Facebook it automatically matched my account based upon e-mail address and let me in. StackOverflow is assuming that e-mail address changes on the trusted third party system are verified. I can imagine at least one of the “more login options” services would let me change the e-mail address to another user and ghost in as them using this.

In any case StackOverflow handles account creation decently. I’ve tried this SSO login on other services I didn’t have in 1Password with more stabbyness. Sometimes a new account is created every single time I choose a different SSO account.

I know I’m in the minority of most users having multiple Google accounts but I do know plenty of Facebook users with more than one. I’d rather have a known set of credentials than play the guessing game of which account was it.