Self Talk Life’s Dominant Input

All of us talk to ourselves more than others talk to us. It is the ultimate multitasking activity at times providing encouragement, other times criticism, and often simply a running commentary. If you can quiet your mind – congratulations you can now focus on what you are doing instead of having a meta-conversation about the conversation you are having with someone else at the same time.

Seriously, talking to ourselves, or hopefully with ourselves is a fact of life and a big one because we become what we do, and hopefully we often do what we think . This means, for most of us, our life is extremely impacted by the conversations we have, and if the most frequent conversation we have is with ourselves, than our self-talk is the dominant input to our system.

This is especially true of creative innovative inventive people, for they spend a lot of their time alone, not because they are losers, but because creation requires gestation. And innovation requires very deep dives in order to transcend more easily available superficial activities. 

Now, if the greatest input to our system is ourselves, we had better be careful about what we are saying. If we mostly beat ourselves up with our self-talk words and thoughts, than we will be mostly beat up. And if we are continually supportive of ourselves, than we will feel continually supported. This sounds simple and it is, but as many other simple insights about simple actions, simple does not mean easy. Repeated practice makes all actions easier, which is why musicians and fireman drill. Rapid execution demands the pre-knowledge which comes from having practiced many times. Therefore be vigilant about what you tell yourself, because it becomes habituated as we are involved in self talk so much of the time.

Habit is a short way to say automatic behavior which is excellent for musicians, fireman and other emergency responders. Your heart and lungs execute automatically without thought because without a beating heart and breathing lungs you die.

Self talk is also pretty automatic or habituated and greatly contributes to having a consistent self model, necessary to interact with others, who understandably become confused by inconsistent behavior and inconsistent thoughts. Negative self-talk undermines achieving potential.

Make your self-talk more consciously positive. Simple but not easy if you have made automatic self disqualifying statements. One of the most straight forward and simplest actions any person can make is to make sure they are being supportive of themselves instead of tearing themselves down. Simple but not always easy. If you can not support yourself, because you do not like yourself or your actions, change your behavior to something you can support. Your self talk will automatically naturally change from negative to positive. Simple but not very easy. 

In case you are wondering what this has to do with innovation, who would you rather collaborate with? Ms Up or Mr. Down?  You have to raise friends before you raise money.

The single most important friend you have to raise, the one you talk to the most, is on the critical path to accomplishing anything new requiring change.

You did say you were an innovation advocate right? 

The HTT, Hare to Turtle Transform

9/5/18, 7:26 AM

Perhaps the STEM folks among you have heard of transforms? Mathematical Transforms are kind of like transformers – the same components can be reassembled into very different forms. And yes electrical transformers also do this to a fashion trading off current and voltage. Writers sometimes talk about points of view in similar terms – the same underlying reality can look quite different depending upon perspective.  Yes, perspective seems be a very powerful and useful concept for it allows us to realize that things can look very different depending upon ones vantage point. Note that look very different, is not the same thing, as being very different – it simply means changing our vantage point can change the way we think about what is happening.

Back to STEM for a second – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics seem to be a perspective society is badly in need of to get ahead, especially in comparison to the rest of the world who seem to be investing more energy in this type of educational curriculum. Three quarters of university STEM graduates in american institutions are not american. Although we may still have the best graduate schools in the world, our population is not the primary beneficiary, because our american students are less inclined to do the extra homework.

Back to the Hare to Turtle Transform, one that is not in any engineering textbook, but as one gets older or more experienced, seems to be worth investigating do to its universality. Some of you have heard of the FFT, Fast Fourier Transform used for spectral analysis, or the Laplace and Z Transforms useful in moving between analog and digital systems, or the Hilbert Transform  relating phase to amplitude. 

What is fantastic about transforms, is they are precise perspective manipulators which reveal different aspects of systems far more easily in some domains than others. Unfortunately, they generally require an amount of math familiarity and ease, beyond those who are technically trained like STEM people. 

The HTT, Hare to Turtle Transform is a simple enough to not require rigorous mathematical treatment to be understood, making it useful to non specialized populations. It has the advantage of being universal, as people do have a tendency to slow down a bit when they age. Here is why that is useful to me and many like me.

Perhaps you were born with so much energy and curiosity, that you spent a significant portion of your life burning rubber, by definition not getting traction, like a race car with so much horsepower that tire friction can not contain them from spinning until they burn. Now it can be a lot of fun to burn rubber physically or intellectually, because it makes a big noise, and a smell and shows off the you have a very large engine under your hood. Unfortunately, it does not accomplish much else, nor contribute to winning races which is where the HTT Hare to Turtle Transform comes in, because remember the Tortoise wins the race!

People born with “more” are somethings referred to as “gifted”.  Observing the membership of the Silicon Valley Innovation Institute and Society, this is both a blessing and a curse. Excess horsepower is much harder to manage for individuals and everyone around them. If one lasts long enough eventually available energy diminishes which is relativistic. If at age of 6, you had more energy than everyone in the schoolyard, this is also likely to be the case when 60, except  60 year olds do not play in the same school yards except occasionally if they are grandparents.

Slowing down on purpose not because you have to, provides more time to do what you are doing better, which generally gets better results. This is not the flip side of burning rubber, being paralyzed by perfectionism, as neither of these are useful. Instead of throwing yourself at the universe, and seeing what happens, be more deliberate than when you had more energy to waste. It is more rewarding to be slower and steadier, and get more done.

As one who has taken great pride in never following routines or listening to authority, slowing down, even when you have excess energy, is incredibly satisfying and productive. Great speed, generating great results is as illusory as the sole contributor solitary changing the world myth. It takes slowing down enough to collaborate not blaming others for not being you. 

Slow down and do just-in-time scoping and planning. It is not possible to plan more than a short time ahead. Ask any leader what percent of their plans work in the anticipated time frame. Do what makes sense every day, not by running as fast as you can, but running as steadily as you can. That means less dreams done more fully for focus, prioritization, flexibility and steady progress always outperforms the rabbits. The HTT, Hare to Tortoise Transform is a path toward getting more and better  results.


Broadband Enabled POV

9/4/18, 7:26 AM

Continuing on from yesterday, for Content to truly become King what would have to happen? POV or Points of View

Lets begin with what does not need to happen.  We do not need to go from a large number of poor quality choices, to an even larger number of poor quality choices. Yes, choice does permit people more options to choose from, but this is not necessarily helpful, unless consumption is your main approach to life. If you want to be discriminating, desire more curated and better edited content, and to be acknowledged more in your interactions, than there are better paths to take. 

Historically, some companies succeeded without having much insight about what to offer customers by simply offering them an enormous number of choices and then observing what was purchased. However, this is an incredibly poor use of resources when compared with other companies who simply knew more clearly what to offer, and focused their attention on doing a great job at it. 

Wouldn’t you rather be exposed to terrific content, instead of having to spend a lot of time sorting through terrible content? One problem, is ones persons treasure can be another persons poison. Furthermore, what is highly regarded at some points in time, can be completely dismissed during others.   Audiences are not static, tastes change and moods change. And what can be offered changes over time as well.

An answer is adaptability and flexibility on the part of all parties involved in an exchange. Pretend you were more interested in an exchange of ideas, than simply consuming ones thrust at you. Okay, yes admittedly this puts you in the minority of society, because it means you have some ideas you want to share, and are able to share. 

Is happiness increased more by consumption or by creation? Well, it depends upon who you are and what mood you are in. Do you want to go out to eat or to cook a meal? Do you even know how to cook a meal?   The content world is like that as well, some create it, yet most consume it. What if content delivery and consumption, were more like a conversation with give and take, and with adjustment and iteration leading toward a better conversation? 

One opinion, is for content to truly become king it has to become increasingly flexible and adaptive. Availability of dramatically increased bandwidth permits this. Just as those with more bandwidth than others, can have greater ability to adapt conversations to achieve mutual benefit. 

Would you rather buy a car from a salesperson who seemed to understand and care who you were and what your needs are? Would you rather have a surgeon who was more concerned about your situation, than scheduling their next surgery to make a boat payment or put their kids through college?  Everyone prefers to be seen, heard and acknowledged, as these make your life have more meaning when you have an identity and are not an invisible entity just being hit up for money. 

Then, why can’t content behave more like a contemplative conversational partner, than a used car salesman? One reason was previously there was not enough bandwidth to permit adaptation.

Let me leave you with one thought for today – what if content permitted you to have and select a point of view? Would this experience be more like an in person interaction where you could choose what to focus your attention upon? Would that be more satisfying? 

Can’t you imagine ways to make content act in this way? Would this not permit different business models and create new opportunities? To be continued…

Labor Day Innovation Perspective

9/3/18, 7:28 AM

Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers with origins in the labor union eight-hour day movement, advocating eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

Good morning, innovators and innovation advocates – today is Labor Day and the eight hour day movement sounds like a pretty good idea for us, although without the unionization part of it. In case you had not noticed being creative does not always endear you to managment, friends, partners or even to yourself. But the good news is you can grant yourself the eight hour day model permitting time to rest, recreate and work.

What? I hear some of you saying – my work is my recreation, and I have no time to rest. Well, guess what – since creative people eventually tend to be self employed and at times somewhat dismissive of authority, there is no one to liberate you from tyranny but yourself. 

This self liberation from the go-all-of-the-time mental model can actually increase your productivity, sustainability and yes even the meaning in your life, all of which can be useful when contemplating getting up in the morning. Seriously, innovators and creators do have to take care of themselves, because often there is not anyone else to do it, or even if there are other willing parties, we do not always permit them to take care of us. 

Use this holiday called Labor Day as an excuse to reflect a bit on how labor has historically been abused and who if anyone is abusing you? Employers, have discovered long ago that creative people tend to create for their own internal purposes which make them somewhat psychically self compensating. If any of you have been musicians for a long time, perhaps you have noticed the lack of cost of living increases?

Some of use who performed our way through college making $50 or $100 for a gig have discovered this compensation has been holding relatively steadily for fifty years from 1970 to 2020! Yes I know it is still nearing the end of 2018, but it does not look like there is any great increase coming in this dimension. During this same fifty year time period, most costs of living have grown by 1000%

What this translates into for musicians, is there is now a pay to play model, where increasingly musicians end up paying for the privilege of performing, and guess what? It is a lot easier for a musician to get paid than an artist, poet, composer, playwright or author. 

This is due to the simple reality, that we mostly do not create for money, but because we want to, and this is not limited to liberal arts people. Most inventors and innovators have arrows in their backs from failed entrepreneurial adventures.  

Creative populations do not like to think of themselves as labor, and are often not joiners of movements or unions, so there is no one to protect us but ourselves. Make sure to take time to rest and recreate, for most of you have noticed that you are more creative when rested and recreated. 

Light at the end of the tunnel time:

Creative innovative individuals can decide to be just as creative in business model and execution domains as well as artistic and technical domains, and in fact have to be. Today as Labor Day  can be a time to reflect on something like your own labor and how to present it in forms that add more value to more people, permitting you to charge more for your efforts. Since there is usually no union to protect you, you are going to have to do it for yourself. 

Today is a good day to consider yourself as an economic entity, not entirely an artistic or inventive entity, and to liberate yourself from current constraining business models you may be laboring under. Consider yourself, an underutilized and undervalued resource and invest some of your creative juices contemplating what you could do to better take advantage of the value you bring to situations. If you are spending 90% of your energy being an artist or an inventor, and not being a business person you are going to need a patron or a boss or both.

It is time to declare your independence and I hear some of you saying – great all he did is make me feel bad because I am already exploited, and do not know what to do. So lets move this discussion to a more positive note and talk about a huge opportunities that are coming for creative people. And no this not where I give you an algorithmically specific set of recipe directions about how to proceed, for I will not insult your intelligence as you are a self declared creative person.

But, here is what is truly coming. Soon there will be an infinite set of ways you can respond to this opportunity. Bandwidth is becoming essentially ubiquitous and free just like long distance phone calls have become. The combination of installed fiber, 5G and satellite distributed internet is about to create a bandwidth glut, and when this happens although you have heard the phrase before – Content will become King. Yes, people have been saying content is king for years or even decades now but now it is truly going to happen. It is taking longer than people thought,  because they did not realize how much bandwidth would be needed and how cost ineffective providing bandwidth in low population density areas many live for lifestyle and economic reasons. 

What could you do with very low cost, super high bandwidth?

Content creators and content deliverers together could create far more responsive multiple point of view content. The age of broadcasts can finally be replaced by the age of narrowcasts. Why would anyone want this?  Well, does one size fit all? Do you want the same content as your neighbors? Have the hundred plus channels of cable done anything for the quality of your life? Do you prefer live to canned content? Are you more of a consumer or a creator? 

We are poised for a total overhaul of the definition of content, and how it is about to be delivered. Content could be nonlinear, more responsive, and offer alternative multiple points of view. We have fairly recently become a truly networked species, What happens when that network gets 1000 times faster than it was last week or last month? Many are experiencing this right now!

New services, new art forms and new business models all are about to become possible. In the fifty years musicians were paid the same $100, computing became a trillion times cheaper, fueling the economic engine driving the planet right now. Moores law, more a state of mind, than law of physics, is about to blow the doors off content creation and delivery, more than it already has. Your computer gets perhaps twice as fast every year. Compare that to your network getting ten or a hundred times as fast. This is happening right now, fueling suburban growth today. 

When you can reduce big city cost of living by 80%, park quickly for free, and be connected with a gigabit fat pipe, new business, living and artistic models arise. 

A new labor movement

Portions of the creative community are poised to become far more valuable than ever before. Take time to recreate, rest and dream up new business models for new services and new classes of content.  Do not tell me you are not  technical and do not do math because you are waiting for the world to go back to a better time. You know that is nonsense. The only way to change, is to move forward. Frankly it is not that hard for a person to learn to use drag and drop tools to code. Ten year olds do it all of the time. You  too can acquire skills to manifest your new dreams. With well over 1 million Apple developers, it can not be too hard right?

Take the time to rest, recreate and to reinvent yourself as a self employed business entity. Neglect the business and logistical side at your peril! Instead run toward the new set of possibilities rapidly coming at us. They create far more opportunity than they take away. This could be the best time in human history to be a curious creative person. Barriers to learning and new business entry have never been lower and are about to drop orders of magnitude more. Rest, recreate and seize the day as you are truly the new labor force in the world.