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Garbage and ‘The Idea Machine’

Garbage and ‘The Idea Machine’

I have never met a person who found satisfaction in removing garbage from the bin in the kitchen, taking it into the garage (or outside), and putting it into a garbage can.

As a matter of fact, a lot of people put off taking out their garbage.

If we’re honest, we even push the trash down to create space so the next person will have to take it out. (more…)

Email Marketers Should Leave Holidays Alone

Email Marketers Should Leave Holidays Alone

Memorial Day weekend means a lot more to me now that it’s also my anniversary weekend. I woke up that Monday relaxed and ready to spend time with my family.

As I got of bed and checked my phone, I had four notifications from marketers trying to get me to buy something.

As someone who has sent marketing emails, I have always been conscious of sending an email at the right time. But I also made decisions not to send people on holidays or other special occasions because I knew it was ethically questionable.

So on Memorial Day weekend, I felt conflicted—understanding the plight of the marketers but also wanting to be left alone on a holiday—so I just deleted the emails and went about my day.

On the Fourth of July, I woke up with five marketing emails in my notifications, and I was upset. (more…)

Brand Recognition ≠ Brand Loyalty

A couple of years ago, the Logos Quiz Game app was one of the most downloaded apps on Apple’s App Store. People all over the world were racking up scores based on the brand logos that they recognized.

The app reminded me of small documentaries teachers used to make my class watch where kids my age identified logos faster than famous world leaders. And it was bad that they recognized Taco Bell but didn’t know FDR. (more…)

Looking Forward to Fatherhood

When I have spoken with other men about how I will be a father soon, I get two kinds of responses:

1. You’re excited now, but just wait… You have no idea.

2. This is such an exciting time for you! You are going to love your daughter so much.

Fathers say both of those phrases with smiles, but they’re very different smiles. One of them is warm and endearing, and it feels so encouraging to hear a dad tell me how great fatherhood is. The other smile is (more…)

The Sun Also Rises

For those that don’t remember reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises in high school literature class, the novel is about a veteran of World War I (Jake) traveling to Spain with his friends to watch the bullfighting that takes place every year. His travel companions include the woman he loves (Brett), a friend he is in silent competition with (Cohn), and a few others. At the end of the novel, the entire group splits up after a fight between Jake and Cohn over Brett.

But the final title of the book was not the first title that Hemingway considered. (more…)

One Pixel Perfect

One Pixel Perfect

In my line of work, Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year with some of the largest and most important projects coming due all at once. This was my fourth Christmas, and it’s safe to say that it doesn’t get easier over time.

But looking back to the first Christmas working for the church, I’ve learned a lot. It was at that first Christmas that I understood the importance of excellence within the organization.

I was sitting in my cubicle working on the position of an image on the Christmas website we were making, and the head of my department, Ted, stopped by to ask me a question about something. But he paused mid-question as he stepped closer to my computer screen.

“Can you add five pixels of padding on the top and eight on the left?” Ted asked. (more…)

Wanting More from Technology, Myself, and Others

Game BoyI had a dream a few nights ago that I was trying to give an old Game Boy new parts that would allow it to be its own NES emulator and more. I kept trying to get more and more out of the technology.

That is something I do on a daily basis because I recognize the power of the hardware and software I use, and I want to stretch them to take full advantage of their capabilities.

Then something hit me: Am I stretching myself to the extent of what I can achieve?

The answer to that is a little difficult. Yes, I’m in a place right now where I’m creating writing content five nights a week. I’m not really challenging myself to learn technical stuff (like jQuery and JavaScirpt). And I’m not running as much as I want to right now. But I guess I’m okay with the last two not being stretched as long as I’m writing.

A little later, something else hit me: Am I stretching my friends and coworkers to the extent of what they can achieve?

I don’t mean that to seem like I want to use my friends to benefit myself. I mean that, as a good friend and coworker, I need to be helping others realize the potential in themselves, or I need to be helping them with stuff they’re working on.

This was a huge gut-check moment, because the answer is an embarrassing “no.” I can take an easy cop-out and say I’m just not wired that way. But I’m man enough to take this one on the chin. I’m not doing much to help or encourage my friends—and there’s no amount of writing I can do for myself that will make me feel better about this answer.

So I’m going to try to ease into turning my “no” into a “yes” by asking close friends and coworkers How can I help you? and taking things forward from their.

Am I Interesting?

I was trying to get some writing done last night, but I couldn’t get started. Then I had a thought that stopped my ability to focus on anything at all.

Am I living my life in a way that I would want to write about myself? Am I interesting?


I mean, I’ve met some great people and experienced some extraordinary parts of life. But would I write about my own life?

And I guess this could be any writer’s/artist’s dilemma.

Look at J.J. Abrams. How can that guy’s life be more interesting than LOST or Fringe or Super 8? It can’t.

So maybe I don’t need to worry about whether or not I’m living an interesting life. I don’t have to live an interesting life to be a  writer. Then again, maybe that would help me to be a better writer.


Nitpicking: A Good Thing

Yesterday I’ heard several people talk about how they don’t want to nitpick or how they don’t want someone else to go nitpicking. Then I thought about how odd it is that a word about picking the eggs of lice out of someone’s hair became a part of our everyday vocabulary.

But what if you had lice? Would you want someone to go nitpicking? (If not, you’re a sick person…in more ways than one.)

So often I’ve heard people who don’t want to nitpick or be nitpicked. But I never hear anyone asking to be nitpicked.

Nitpicking is the process of removing something small and unwanted  from a place we aren’t able to reach by ourselves. Why would we turn this down? Wouldn’t it help to have more nitpicking in our lives?

Now I understand there should be some caveats. You wouldn’t want some random stranger nitpicking. You wouldn’t want to be nitpicked several times a day in the same area.

But I think nitpicking is something we should be seeking out. Nitpicking is not only good, it keeps us in good health.