03 January 2019

Why we need to slow time and scale down

Happy New Years!

One of the first posts I read this year was a brilliant post by Om Malik, Why we need to slow time and scale down, a topic that returning readers of this blog is something I think about a lot - and something that many of do especially at the beginning of a new year. The basis of the post is from Tariq Krim’s post 3 years later.

Shift focus from quantity to quality: For example, unfollow news outlets — they are all playing the attention-grabbing game and all it does is causes stress, even without knowing the facts. Instead, follow people who can analyze and contextualize the news cycle. For me, The Economist is a good option for world business stories. Others like Barry Ritholtz are a good follow for me. For those interested in technology news, again look for people who add context and analysis. Also, read and follow science publications. By making smart choices, you are declaring intellectual independence.

This was one of the biggest changes I made to my media consumption in 2018. I hardly ever visit news outlets (and when I do, it’s mostly for ultra-local news). Instead I enjoy the analysis from people like Neil Cybart, Owen Williams, Ben Thompson as well as curated readings like UXdesign.cc. Turns out, all truly important events seem to get across to me sooner or later anyway.

Go analog: In this digital age, it makes sense for us to be analog. It allows us to control the pace of time and allows us to create an environment that helps bring sanity, quality and relative ease on a daily basis. For example, go to museums, find places to have coffee or dine, where they know your name.

I’m not entirely sure about the phrasing but I agree with the general idea. One of the things I truly enjoy living in a small town is the environment - nature of course but also the closeness to people, a community.

Unscale your life: This is actually a very big idea, because as Tariq rightfully points out that scale is no longer the force of good. Amazon, Facebook and Google are three examples of scale gone wrong. AT&T, Comcast and others are examples of scale-gone-wild. How to fight the scale-goonies? Well, how about favoring independents — stores, services and people. In other words, get off the platforms as much as you can. After quitting Facebook a while ago, I am looking to wean myself off Instagram and for 2019, I want to shop less on Amazon — Prime isn’t as much of a convenience as it seems to be.

I deleted Facebook in 2018 too and it was extremely rewarding in terms of physical well-being. I’m thinking of quitting Instagram too (but until I do, I’ve heavily filtered out people from my following list).