Is Google Making File Organization Irrelevant?

Posted on Jan 6, 2017 in Nerdery, Work | No Comments

Recently, while working through a list of agenda items with several people on my team, I noticed a new feature in Google Docs: recognition of what is likely an action time and a suggestion to create a task for the person mentioned.

google-drive-google-docs-semantic-text-assignments-artificial-intelligence-google-tasks-google-project-management

This has been a common theme for Google products over the last few years. From consolidating travel information into easily-actionable bundles via Inbox to offering suggested analyses of data in Google Sheets, their ability to turn raw data sources into semantic, proactive features for users is impressive to say the least. (If you’re unfamiliar with these features, click on the “Explore” icon in the bottom right of your screen next time you open a document in Google Drive.)

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Productivity Hacking: The Source of Distractedness

This is the seventeenth post in a series on productivity. The articles are based on content from a workshop I led at The Makers Summit.


It seems there are an increasing number of people raising concerns about the mental consequences that digital devices have on us, specifically our attention spans and ability to maintain focus. I’ve written about this before:

Whether it’s an email notification or a habit of checking Twitter in the middle of a hard task that taxes your mind, each time we entertain a distraction it guts our productivity in a way that’s hard to perceive experientially. Quite literally, hours of focused work can slip away from us and we don’t notice (except for not feeling productive or wishing we’d accomplished more).

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History Repeats Itself

Posted on Dec 15, 2016 in Nerdery | No Comments

2016 has certainly been a surprising political year for many people. Many words have been written from every perspective about the how and why of campaigns and elections happening the way they did (and what it means for the future). In my admittedly limited study of coverage, though, I’ve been surprised that many people view what has transpired as novel, unprecedented, even.

The political events of the past year certainly have new characteristics, but a review of history reveals that, while perhaps not common, shocking governmental upsets, defamation and fake news are anything but neoteric.

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Is an Online Presence Mandatory? Part 3: Societal Consequences

Posted on Nov 3, 2016 in Nerdery | No Comments

Since writing about varying opinions on social media and ownership of online content, I’ve been musing about ‘online presence’ as a concept in general. Last night I mentioned to a friend that in 10 years (or less), it’s very likely that some of the basic web development skills we teach at The Iron Yard to help people launch careers in software development will be either an expectation for most knowledge workers’ jobs, automated in some way, or, more likely, a combination of both.

This topic is a complex one without singular answers, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind as of late. You can see a list of the posts in the series on this page. Here’s Part 3:

Societal consequences

In the first two posts of this series, I discussed the social and professional consequences of not having an online presence. Beyond our personal and work lives, though, many signs point to an online presence being a part of the way people function in modern society.

This topic is way above my pay grade, so I’ll lean heavily on people who have carefully studied the impact of technology on society.

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Is an Online Presence Mandatory? Part 2: Professional Consequences

Posted on Oct 27, 2016 in Nerdery, Work | No Comments

Since writing about varying opinions on social media and ownership of online content, I’ve been musing about ‘online presence’ as a concept in general. Last night I mentioned to a friend that in 10 years (or less), it’s very likely that some of the basic web development skills we teach at The Iron Yard to help people launch careers in software development will be either an expectation for most knowledge workers’ jobs, automated in some way, or, more likely, a combination of both.

This topic is a complex one without singular answers, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind as of late.You can find links to all of the posts in the series on this page. Here’s Part 2:

Professional consequences

Take a moment and think about this question: is it possible to be a successful professional in today’s world without an online presence?

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Is an Online Presence Mandatory? Part 1: Social Consequences

Posted on Oct 20, 2016 in Life, Nerdery | No Comments

Since writing about varying opinions on social media and ownership of online content, I’ve been musing about ‘online presence’ as a concept in general. Last night I mentioned to a friend that in 10 years (or less), it’s very likely that some of the basic web development skills we teach at The Iron Yard to help people launch careers in software development will be either an expectation for most knowledge workers’ jobs, automated in some way, or, more likely, a combination of both.

This topic is a complex one without singular answers, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind as of late. You can find links to all of the posts in the series on this page. Here’s Part 1:

Social consequences

I’ve written before that “the interesting characteristic of many of our [online] tools…is that there are very real social (and sometimes business) consequences for people who don’t engage in them.”

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A Good Reminder that Startups Fail (and Thoughts on Infrastructure)

Posted on Sep 30, 2016 in Work | No Comments

During a stage of significant growth at The Iron Yard, several executives had a conversation about how to quell what had become the insanity of our heavy travel and meeting schedules. The CEO asked me to test out a virtual assistant that could spend a few hours a week booking transportation and wrangling calendars. After a bit of research, I decided to try a service called Zirtual.

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The Difficulty of Technology as a Cure-all

Posted on Sep 22, 2016 in Nerdery | No Comments

The world I live in is steeped in technology. I don’t consider myself a true early adopter, but even still, in the last few months I’ve used modern technology to diagnose an issue with my car, find a mountain biking trail, have clothing sent to my home, exchange money, navigate to new destinations and more—much of which happened on a computer the size of a wallet. The latest version of Apples mobile operating system comes standard with a tool to control smart homes.

Because these modern tools have become standard operating procedure in my life, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that technology is the ultimate problem-solver. If there’s friction, surely some smart software or combination of software and hardware can smooth things out, right?

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Maciej Cegłowski on the Danger of Data

Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Nerdery | No Comments

I wrote recently about thoughts that have been swirling in my head about data and privacy in the world we live in today. Being back in the swing of things full time at work, I’ve been reminded more than ever that, in many ways, data is power.

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Quick Takes: More Productivity Snake Oil

Posted on Sep 8, 2016 in Productivity, Quick Takes | No Comments

Yesterday I Tweeted about my blog post on what productivity snake-oil looks like. One of my good friends pointed me towards a great interview with a very successful blogger (Maria Popova of Brain Pickings), by a very successful personality (Tim Ferris).

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