A picture’s worth a thousand words. Goes to show that even investors care more about cool new products than big dividends.
For a long time, hedge funds roped themselves to Apple and rode its remarkable rise higher. It was almost like they had to own it. The stock had such a large weight in stock market indexes, the so-called smart money risked severe under-performance by opting not to own the electronics giant. But as Apple’s shares have stalled, so has hedge fund enthusiasm for them.
The stock has been a terrible under-performer this year, down more than 18%, even as the broader S&P 500 stock market index is having something like a career year, rising nearly 16% so far. Meanwhile, Google’s up roughly 28% year-to-date, with shares recently hopping to more than $900.
If this is ever built, I can’t imagine how much of a liability it will be if someone either falls off… because I’ll be having too much fun bouncing across the Seine.
The firm says it did try to keep safety in mind as it was putting the bridge together. The perimeter buoys are designed to be about 5 feet high, preventing any dismounts into the river below, accidental or otherwise, and guard rails are included on the walkways between the trampolines.
I’ve read many, MANY articles since moving to San Francisco explaining why housing prices are on the rise and why real estate developers aren’t able to create more affordable high-rises and apartment complexes.
At least this article explains why:
Because zoning generally mandates low-density uses and because the California Environmental Quality Act perversely hyper-empowers NIMBYs to block projects even though California’s pleasant climate makes it one of the most ecologically sustainable places for new housing to go.
Housing is expensive here, and it’s clear why. But what’s less clear is why it hasn’t changed given the fact that everyone knows the right thing to do would be to stop suppressing economic growth by placating the rich. Repeal whatever laws are preventing more development of housing, and let the private sector run with it.
But for some reason, that’s not happening. No one’s doing anything about it other than the rich retirees who don’t want to give up their five story Victorians in Russian Hill. Tech companies are just paying their employees more money to live here, and residents are finding other things to cut from their budgets to make room for high rents and mortgages.
It’s not a sustainable situation, and sooner or later, something’s got to give… Right?
I love looking at new UI/UX design concepts for existing products, and this one is no different. There’s something really satisfying about manipulating pixels the same way you manipulate analog materials like paper. I hope at least some of these concepts make it into iOS 7.
The pressure’s really on Jony Ive to deliver something great. I’m optimistic that it’s in good hands.
This article summarizes an interesting aspect of human nature I’ve noticed in many work settings:
Projects start in different ways. Sometimes you’re handed a formal brief. Sometimes you hear a rumor that something might be coming so you start thinking about it early. Other times you’ve been playing with an idea for months or years before sharing with your team. There’s no defined process for all creative work, but I’ve come to believe that all creative endeavors share one thing: the second step is easier than the first. Always.
And this doesn’t apply only to “creative” efforts. It goes for any kind of project that requires you need to convince someone to do something that they don’t have to do for their job.
For example, say you’re trying to convince an engineering team to build a new feature. You’re going to be a lot more successful if you’ve already done some of the upfront legwork to show that you’ve thought this plan through. It doesn’t need to be perfect; it doesn’t even really need to be all that good. It just needs to be something people can react to in order to move the whole project forward.
About a month ago, I decided to try an experiment and turn off email notifications on my phone and my laptop. I’d read a lot online about the benefits of turning off email notifications, but I was always afraid to try it for fear of missing something important.
But after a month of this, I can safely say I’m not going back. My stress level has decreased, and my ability to focus has never been better. I have a greater appreciation for the world around me, and my general happiness level has hugely improved.
Notifications make everything seem urgent Notifications do everything they can to get your attention. They appear, they flash, they vibrate, they chime. They don’t let you ignore them.
This is really useful when they information they carry is urgent. But it usually isn’t:
Urgent: A close friend was bitten by a poisonous snake and only has minutes to live. You alone possess the antidote.
Not Urgent: A coworker needs to know why we’re seeing a WoW decline in DAU.
This is an extreme example, but the point is very few things require an immediate reply. After turning off notifications, I find myself setting aside time to look at email when it’s convenient for me. Then I can prioritize my replies relative to all of the unread emails in my inbox, rather than processing each one as it comes in.
Notifications make you less effective No matter how you look at it, the point of a notification is to get you to pay attention to something other than what you’re doing. But there are lots of times, when you need constant, unbroken attention to get something done effectively.
Here’s a generic experience I’d often have before turning off notifications:
Begin working on project that requires focus.
Receive email notification.
Glance at it.
Open the email and skim it.
Consider how long it will take to respond and how urgent it is.
Decide it’s not worth a response right now.
Remind myself what I was doing.
Get back to work.
The whole process happens in a few seconds, so it doesn’t feel like a huge tax. But in reality, it breaks up your thought process, causing you to make mistakes and ultimately increasing the amount of time it takes to get the task done.
Notifications consume your attention How many times has this happened to you?
You’re walking down the hallway.
You receive an email notification.
You pull out your phone and read the email, while walking.
You you arrive at your destination.
You put your phone away.
What was going on around you between when you started walking and when you arrived at your destination? Hard to say.
After a few days without notifications, I noticed how much more often I was bumping into people and having quick conversations. I realized that some of the walls of my office building were painted blue and others white. I noticed there were cherry blossom trees in the courtyard outside.
Without notifications, I’m getting a lot more out of my days. I have more control over my time, and I finish the things I start more quickly. I’m learning more about the people I work with, and I pay more attention to the world around me.
I have to admit that the new Bing logo looks pretty snazzy. It feels fast and simple, two emotions you want to associate with a search engine.
I like that the major brands at Microsoft are all receiving similar treatments. If it works, they’ll soon begin to accrue some value to one another. The problem is they’ve forgotten about the only brand that has lots of positive momentum. Where’s the new Xbox logo?
If you know me and you haven’t yet seen my wallet, it’s because its increasing size has made it a little embarrassing to carry it around in public. In my college days, it wasn’t so bad. I’d go out with friends for dinner and after a while of sitting on it, I’d move it to my front pocket to give my gluteus some much-needed relief. But that was college, things weren’t so bad then.
When I moved to Seattle, things began to escalate. My wallet started to get too big to sit on comfortably, even for a moment. It could still fit in my back pocket, but only barely. And it began to wear away a wallet-shaped indentation in the back of my pants. I started to carry it in an inner pocket of my jacket so others wouldn’t notice, and that solution proved to be good enough until only recently.
Now that I’m living in San Francisco, I still have a need for a jacket, but not a thick one like I usually did in Seattle. I can often get by with a windbreaker or a hoodie, both of which still have pockets I can use, but my wallet made it look more like I was lugging rocks around the city than carrying credit cards.
When your wallet is so large that it won’t close without some forcing, you have a problem on your hands.
If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you may remember the episode when the lovable George Costanza dealt with the same issue.
So what’s causing this? For George, it was because he’d become an ultra-hoarder, treating his wallet like a mix between a purse and a filing cabinet. But for me, the issue was that I really hadn’t taken the time to look through and take stock of what was actually building up in there. And when I did, I was pretty astonished by what I found.
First, there were some things I always use:
CA State Driver License (my current valid ID)
Amex Platinum Card (my primary spend card)
Citi MasterCard (my backup when Amex is not accepted)
Cash (my backup when credit is not accepted)
Schwab Visa Debit Card (for use at ATMs to acquire more of the above)
Caltrain Go Pass (this is how I get to work every day)
Clipper Card (my pre-pay card for Bart and Muni)
But then, to my horror, I found a disturbingly long tail of items for which I have absolutely zero use on a day-to-day basis:
Safeway Card (backup in case my phone is dead and I need to buy something at Safeway)
Costco Card (only useful on my once per month trip to Costco)
United MileagePlus Silver 2014 Card (when I flash it fast enough, sometimes I can cheat my way into the priority boarding lane)
Health Insurance Card (this was really useful when I was setting up a primary care physician in California…)
Priority Pass Select Card (helpful about 2-3x per year when traveling internationally and need lounge access)
Amex Blue Cash Card (I forgot I still have this)
Dental Insurance Card (that reminds me, I need to set up a dentist appointment)
Contact Lens Prescription Card (already entered into 1800contacts.com)
Pinkberry Stamp Card (I’m only 8 stamps away from a free small yogurt with toppings!)
Auto Spa Club Stamp Card (I’m only 4 car washes away from a free car wash!)
Another Contact Lens Prescription Card (now I’m confused…)
MTA MetroCard (I don’t live in New York, but I’ve still got $2.50 remaining for the next time I visit!)
United MileagePlus Silver 2013 Card (it’s expired but I’m keeping it for… posterity?)
United MileagePlus Silver 2012 Card (it’s got the pre-Continental merger logo! this could be valuable someday!)
WA State Driver License (I moved to California 8 months ago, but I still thing this is my best DL photo)
ZipCar ZipCard (In case I ever re-open my account?)
WA Health Insurance Card (proof that I’ve been insurable?)
1000 Korean Won (roughly equivalent to 93 cents in USD… that could be useful)
Whatever the reason, there’s no excuse for carrying all of this crap around in your pocket wherever you go. So I decided to try an experiment. I’d take only the things I found most useful (from list #1 above) and carry them around with me using a makeshift “wallet” which was really just a binder clip I got at work.
It immediately felt as though a tremendous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was free to go wherever I wanted, comfortable in the knowledge that I’d always have my essentials on me at a moment’s notice. This little package slipped snugly into my front pocket, and was so comfortable that I sometimes even forgot it was there.
What a dream. Could this be my miracle solution? Unfortunately, not quite.
If you’re familiar with How I Met Your Mother, you may be familiar with the concept of an “over-correction,” when you embrace the exact opposite of something to prove that you’re forever done with it. Over-corrections typically occur in the context of dating and relationships, but it seems to be quite applicable in this circumstance.
Sure, the binder clip solution was great for keeping everything together, but it utterly fails at providing quick access to your most needed cards. Each time I opened the clip became an exercise in fumbling to keep my valuables together while extracting the needed card for the situation. It wasn’t ideal, and it also gave everyone around me a bird’s eye view at the amount of cash I was carrying to wrap my cards in. Really not a perfect solution.
After some hunting around, I finally found the right option for me: a simple flip wallet.
Sure, it’s a little thicker than the binder clip, but it’s still a huge step forward from the monster I’d been previously dealing with. And best of all, it gives me quick access to everything I need. All of the cards are accessible from the outside, so I can pull them out as I need them. And I can easily add cash or even other cards to the middle section using the super cool flip motion, which magically traps your less-useful valuables inside.
If you’re dealing with wallet frustrations, I highly recommend taking a look at what’s really kicking around in there. Do you need everything? Can you stand to live without carrying around that expired driver license or that small amount of foreign currency? Auditing your wallet every now and then can really make a big difference.
Then, take a look at the wallet itself. You need something that’s thin and can fit comfortably in your front pocket (sitting on your wallet is so George Costanza). More importantly, you need something that can give you easy access to your cards and your money. I think a simple flip wallet is a great solution, but depending on what you need, you might need something different.
Ultimately, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Stop ignoring your wallet. Open it up. Lay out it’s contents. And begin to make a plan. You may be surprised by what you find.
As I mentioned last year, I don’t set out to make New Year’s resolutions anymore. After 25 years, I’ve learned enough about myself to know that I can’t be that easily motivated to spend a year sticking to a plan I made in a day.
Instead, I find it’s often a lot more productive to look back at the most meaningful experiences I had over the year, the experiences that taught me, stretched me, and improved me.
A lot happend this year. Too many to list in one place, but launching Shoflow deserves special mention. It was by far one of the most exciting and rewarding things I’ve done professionally. It taught me how difficult and fulfilling it can be to build something from scratch and get people to use it. Bringing even the simplest ideas across the finish line isn’t as easy as it looks, and answering questions like “When is this thing finished enough to be called an MVP?” is really more art than science.
For the first time, I started to feel what it was like to be completely invested in my work, as though it was a part of me. I forewent social activities to work on it. I even got frustrated when I couldn’t make time for it. That’s when I realized my work no longer felt like work, and that’s such an incredibly good feeling to have.
Here’s to more of those feelings in 2013. It’s going to be a great year.
“We’ve come a long way. Today we understand that a startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. And that what we are doing when we iterate or pivot is that we are firing the plan before we start firing executives.”