In Critique of Programming

Seth Godin is brilliant, and I deeply appreciate every book he publishes and everything that he shares on his blog. Even his post this morning, In praise of programming, is a great contribution. But, it ends with,

You also need to figure out how to program for your audience, even if the audience is only one person.

I am not saying Seth is wrong, but I do disagree at a core level with what he is proposing. Or, I should say, I do not want to live in a world where I am simply an audience of every person I encounter.

I am a person. I want to be in a relationship with you. I do not want every conversation planned, structured in a content calendar, scheduled and delivered in a strategic order with a pre-planned story arch. I want to have messy conversations, that don’t always make sense, that are difficult to ‘consume’ but have a lasting impact.

Can we please have messy conversations again?

inward v outward gaze

Interesting guest post by Ryan Holiday on Tim Ferriss‘ blog:

What we could accomplish personally if, like Montaigne, we spent those 20 hours (whether usually spent on news sites, games, or Lost episodes) examining ourselves and learning what makes us tick?

[ via The Experimental Life: An Introduction to Michel de Montaigne ]

What if, however, our focus was on others rather than ourselves?

How ego saved the world one game at a time

Like any reasonable thinking human, the topic of most interest to me is myself. But, I guess it is that understanding of my own ego that makes all of this “being human” think work? With that in mind, I will redirect my attention towards my own little obsession with understanding others focus on themselves. Which describes my my new found interest in studying influence, motivation, and whatever that other fancy word is for “what makes people do the things they do.” I am currently naive enough to believe the way to change the world, and make it a better place, is to master the art and science of influence.

This is why gaming theory is so interesting to me right now. For better or worse, social gaming has discovered a way to drive people to do things that are not necessarily in their best interest (a.k.a. give someone else money for no tangible ROI) i.e. spend $3 on a “flower” that is nothing more than 2k bits of completely un-unique data.

What if some of the lessons learned by these companies could be applied to social-change and make the world a better place? What if we could derive ways to inspire people to do something else that is not necessarily in their best interest (a.k.a. give someone else money for no tangible ROI) i.e. spend $3 towards the drilling of a water well that potentially saves more than 2k lives.

Fortunately, a lot of the research has already been paid for by the entertainment industry. So, my real task will be discovering a way to get them do do something that is not in their best interest. I guess it is time to go back to studying ego.

relationships with content

“Here’s the thing … it’s all about the relationships you have w/ your people. And people don’t have relationships with content. They have a relationship w/ you.”

[ via ElizabethPW on ]

I *heart* this so much. Mostly because I have a relationship with Elizabeth, which began at a tweetup with Chris Brogan, from which we have quite a few stories, one of which is related to the brokenheartmanifesto, part of which reminds me of Elizabeth’s comment.

Yes, this matters.

help you help me

I am thoroughly convinced that helping others is always a good investment. Personally, I don’t always feel a strong need to have the ‘favor’ returned. But, some people are so business minded that they aren’t willing to give something away until they understand the ROI. I would love to have more stories to tell these people, to open their hearts to the possibility of generosity.

What is your story about the moment you were most surprised by the “return” on helping someone else?