Too Many Meetings Will Make You Dumb

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 12/03/2012

Okay, working in vim is something akin to getting prepared for the future. I’m starting to see why I’m so drawn to it. All the nuances, and working magic spontaneously without hardly thinking has unlimited parallels to the Epiphany vision in Vernor Vinge’s 2006 Rainbows End Hugo Award winning scifi book that I’m finally getting around to reading. This was out while I was creating HitTail. Ugh! Interesting way thoughts develop, and how it can take place in such an accelerated, pure form in scifi writers like Vinge and slow in people like me.

It’s about 9:50 AM on a Monday, and after a successful journal-entry last Wednesday after a 2-day extravaganza of meetings, I’m optimistic about getting this journal process going again, and do some amazing navigating of the coming days, months, and years. Career recalibration is always an interesting time, and I’m hellbent determined to optimize the next bunch of years for the benefit of my family, my daughter Adi, and my own sanity. I’ve hardly traveled for pleasure in my life (all business and family trauma), and I don’t want that to be transmitted generationally.

I have a meeting in 5 minutes concerning thought leadership with one of our biggest clients, and the topic is something I was excited about when HitTail was just coming out SIX years ago. These days, it’s just coming onto peoples’ radars in the mainstream, because so many other more workable options are being taken away from marketers due to keyword competition and shifting product offerings and behavior by (mostly) Google. And that meeting is the first of a mind-numbing barrage spaced throughout the day. A big part of my career recalibration will be discussing the invaluable commodity of focus, and the opposing forces of dumbness.

I’m having such a difficult time pulling everything together and making “my main thing” out of it—greatly due to the fact that it has to be something I can draw a respectable NYC salary on, given the fact that I actually live in Manhattan and am determined to raise my child as a Manhattan child—but with as little pretense as you can have while still being in the center of the world. Okay, got through the first meeting. Only Only five more to go today. Ahhh, and so here is the future. Being effective, despite the dumbing-down effect of distraction. It’s the opposite of crowd-sourcing. It’s crowd-forcing… forcing you to not hit your stride and work at your potential. THAT is a worthy topic for idea development.

The rate at which things are developing in the real-world is about to surpass the science fiction stall-out. The stall occurred over the past 30 years… I guess out of necessity. Therefore, it wasn’t really a stall, now was it? It’s good-enough tools for dweebs becoming good-enough tools for the masses. It’s overcoming human inertia and reaching a critical mass of adoption and tools in enough of the right hands, in order to reach an inflection point. It’s like the technological singularity, but without artificial intelligence being necessary. Today, the role of the scary AI will be played by the super-enabled human race.

I’m going to try to play my own modest little role in the developing future. I see two simultaneous re-supply rhythms that interact with each other to amplify certain knowledge, abilities, and lifestyles, while forgetting and abandoning others. The danger is that if you try to preserve some of the old ones for their inherent value, that you yourself start to look like a dinosaur babbling things that no one cares about anymore. The trick is to make old-school cool. Make old-school cool and relevant and the source of certain arcane exactly applicable to the modern-world superpowers.

What should I do today? The biggest differentiator for success is the ability to decide “what next?” People in under-privileged old-time-y jobs will never even be posed with that question. They will be like cabs who can and will do a certain amount of specific work based on the fuel put into them, and the instructions always come externally. I have so many conflicting things to do, and some of them are what I think of as the worst-of-the-worst paperwork.

Ugh, okay. It’s 3:45 PM, and 5 of my 6 meetings today are over… ugh! Okay, my last meeting is over. Some new thoughts about future development of Tiger to service beyond the spreadsheet, turning it into a generic web service. Anything sends a request to Tiger, and it responds as if replacing the question mark in a single cell. Tiger generally parses cells of a spreadsheet left-to-right, then rows of a spreadsheet top-to-bottom, replacing any question marks it encounters by inputting parameters found in previous so-labeled columns into a function named the same as the label of the column with the question mark. That’s what makes Tiger so clever and infinitely useful after just a demo or two. But there are so many other company needs that could be serviced with Tiger with just a few modest tweaks—just a little re-factoring, or more accurately, factor-broadening.