Reimagining the Sound of the Future Electric World

The perfect world is a world quieted of human made cacophony.

Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

The electric pulsations of my Apple watch alarm awaken me from a night’s sleep. Pushing the Jamocha app’s brew button generates a faint whir of the frictionless grinder quietly dropping fines into the automated tamper. Moments later the half-round door slowly opens exposing a perfectly frothed cafe-latte.

Grabbing a pair of charged wireless headphones I turn on the morning news briefs and quickly head out the door. Reserving a RoboTaxi on my phone I head downstairs in the gearless elevator. The air whooshing past each floor, the suction released as the cab slows to a stop. Stepping out from the open doors, I walk briskly outside to the waiting RoboTaxi. 

My phones geotag opens the door and I slide into cushiony seats. Waving my cellphone in front of the autopilot sensor brings the navigational touchscreen to life. Imprinting my fingerprint into the scanner opens my account along with my favorite trips. Pressing Mohonk in the Catskills, the door automatically shuts as the taxi seamlessly merges into city traffic.

Silently the taxi reaches cruising speed, the smoothness of the glass induction roadway makes the two-hour ride soothing. Reclining back in the sleeper seats, random play, Brian Eno’s Eternal Return.

Electrical impulses awaken me from my meditative slumber. Fifteen minutes until arrival. A forest of pin oaks and pitch pines line the sides of the curvy, craggy roadway. Opening the moonroof, birdsong and a gentle wind fills the taxi’s cabin. 

Driving past the stone-arched gatehouse signifies my arrival. The tire noise modified as the roadway transitions into a pulverized glass roadway. A change in inertia indicates my arrival. Exiting the taxi, I pay the cab fare. Silently the car pulls away, the slight compaction of the crushed pavement ground by the car’s weight. 

I walk into the lobby and index finger the concierge kiosk. 

Room confirmed, paid with crypto. Evening entertainment offered the classic film Wall-e. Eight crypto for the silent cinema, or shall I pay the Ambient Noise Surcharge and listen through the theater’s speaker? A quieter planet in which silence is protected and preserved.

The Dystopian of Plague and Truth

Fragility within the foundation of trust vs reality

Photo by Michael Competielle

Weightlessly I’m freefalling, hardly able to identify my surrounding, its walls ablur. My hands reaching the farthest extremity hoping to grab a stronghold to stop the fall. Heart racing, I open my eyes to recognize I’m lying in my bed. The freefall, my fears from the chillingly stark reality of this moment.

Slowly I open my blinds and peek outside. Early morning, fall, in middle-class America. The invisible haze of loathsomeness, as the plague hangs low, a fog of war. Every human, we suspect, a carrier of the pathogen. 

Firmly I verify the adhesion of the duct tape on the window, attempting an airtight seal. Do I have enough houseplants to create the required oxygen to ensure my survival? My hoard of food and paper goods rapidly decreasing. According to my charted course, I’ll likely die of starvation if the brown box man stops coming.

My avoidance of electronics, my isolation from the outside world prove difficult as I’m required to login as I work from home, do my shopping, and interact socially. The propaganda of the fake news, lies that become fact as our corrupted media redacts the truth.

Manipulated fragments of reality, strategically assembled into dissolvable morsels of newspeak. Pestering disinformation shared by our colleagues, family and friends. Abridged versions of agitprop, socially designed to instill fear and anxiety.

Orwellian conceptualizations, coming sharply into focus. We are the proles, while the machines, and the elite feverishly write our future.

Our totalitarian dictator of a leader refuses to step down. Claims of victory while questions the moral fiber of the democracy, the system he’s chosen to destroy. 

Separating our nation from the outside world, ignoring human rights and a deplorable reaction to the plague. There can’t be opposition, because he says so. The stoolpigeon and patsy for the oligarch, the indoctrination of inequality. It’s Us versus Them.

The dogs, asleep on the floor, my protectors, who alert me once the brown boxes arrive. The smaller boxes they’ll generally ignore. It’s those large brown boxes they can smell, knowing the contents. A bark as if to say, open it up. I must quarantine the package, to avoid contamination from the virus.

Opening the cabinets, I look for my meal. Canned Okra. What was I thinking? Time to order more brown boxes.

Masked zombies join in packs. Discussing trends and statistics from capitalist endeavors. While others wait patiently, locked in their homes, awaiting the brown boxes. 

Medicines arrive that dull the pain, continuing to fuel the addiction. The foundation of what we had built, slowly diminishing, like a dissonant pipe organ chord in a Bach Fugue. Our choices and beliefs shrinking away. As the plague and false truths coagulate into a syrupy tar. A poisonous bitter pill we must swallow. Our fate solidified, we must only question what will kill us first.

My Reading List for Saving our Civilization

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

 Rachel Carson
Photo by Michael Competielle

“Civilization is much more than the survival of the fittest and the unrelenting culling of the weakest members. Civilized people share a value system that extends far beyond doing whatever it takes to survive. Mere barbarians might be devoted to a life of exploitation. In contrast, civilized people value nature and care for the most vulnerable members of their kind.”

 Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

2020 has been one hell of a year with the Coronavirus highjacking the World news headlines. It seems like a millennia ago I was tipping back a glass of bubbly thinking of new ways to expand upon my creativity and intellectual explorations. Reading more books to learn new talents topped the 2020 wishlist.

2019 had concluded with my starting to read A Year with Swollen Appendices by the polymath revolutionary Brian Eno. I’d joined The Long Now as member #10,800 to expand my knowledge of long term thinking while maximizing each precious moment.

It was in studying Eno I’d recognized his pattern of protection of time by practicing aggressive time management. The importance of protecting each precious moment and recognizing how little time we have. How he conceptualized the idea that we shouldn’t perform any tasks that didn’t provide the ability to simultaneously listen to an audiobook. How we should use every moment to our maximum advantage and automate practices to increase productivity.

Learning from brilliant thinkers such as Eno, Stewart Brand, and Malcolm Gladwell has reinforced the power of explorative thinking while mastering my own universe. Enhancing my brain plasticity by increasing the saturation of intellectual content has proven to change my mood and ability for conceptual retention.

Processing Qualitative Content

Heading back from spending the Holiday in Florida I listened to the audiobook version of The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett during my drive home. The book focuses on the analysis of inequality in unequal societies through the widening divide between the wealthy and the poor. How successful societies require greater economic equality and not greater wealth. Based on over thirty years of research the book lays out examples of gross inequality and conceptualizes ways to achieve equality.

As we are currently fighting a World Pandemic, the inequality has never been more apparent than during these struggling times. The inability of many demographics to work from home, social distance, have access to quality healthcare, and monetarily survival is apparent. Concepts of Universal Basic Income and Universal Healthcare should take precedent over opening beaches or sporting events.

I deep-sixed a shitty book The United States of Socialism written by pro-Trump supporter Dinesh D’Souza. The book wrongfully displays Social Democracies as Socialist or Communist societies. It does help to mention that the D’Souza was pardoned by Trump and therefore has a debt to pay. I didn’t finish this book nor am I recommending it.

Overcompensated professional athletes are prioritizing playing games with cardboard cutout fans while jeopardizing essential medical, emergency, and transportation workers. It’s sophomorically wreckless, childish behavior while lacking empathy or emotional intelligence. Professional sports should suck it up, and sit this one out. Collect some unemployment checks or small Federal stipend and call it a day.

As America goes deeper into the Pandemic the inequality becomes deeply apparent. According to a recent study by the Washington Center for Economic Growth these 6 principles of vulnerability in pandemic inequality. must be examined.

  • Too many people lack the basic protections that would have slowed the spread of the virus.
  • Workers lack the power to share in the gains of the economic expansion that would have given them protections and security.
  • Decades of stagnant wages and meager workplace benefits leave many families without enough savings to weather the coronavirus recession.
  • Policymakers starve public goods of investments that would have enabled better protections from the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession.
  • States and localities don’t have the resources to deal with a pandemic or a recession.
  • Business concentration across markets increases consumer and small business vulnerabilities just when those threats are most dire.

The Spirit Level brought to the forefront a clear understanding of why inequality happens and the difficulties of a healthy survival if the struggles aren’t addressed. The irony is within a few short months of reading this book, the failures of our society would become blatantly evidenced during this trying time begs to question, Where do we go from here?

Corona and the Quietus

Pre-Corona my suburban neighborhood was noisy. Highway and air traffic polluted the air with a consistent noise-floor. I’d attempted some early spring field recordings hoping to capture cheerful birdsong only to listen to highway rumble. One evening I stepped outside to an eerie sound…the sound of silence. Gone was the road noise and grounded were the planes. For the first time in my life, I noticed the silence.

The idea of descriptive nature writing fascinated me to the point I read The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. This book studies the polymath Alexander von Humbolt. He explored nature, botany, geology, geography, and science. It was Humbolt’s explorations and writings that had inspired Darwin, Thoreau, and Thomas Jefferson.

Having traveled from Europe to South, Central, North America, and Russia, Humbolt was the first person to describe human-induced climate change. His first writings on the observation were in 1800. Agriculture and industrialization was the cause of climate change. Unfortunately few listened.

The completion of The Invention of Nature filled my reading list with Darwin’s Origin of Species (a text I must need and not listen too), Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

Our understanding of nature and it’s precious balance has come alive in these books. The silencing from the pandemic lockdown has globally impacted even the most casual observant. Noise and noise pollution from excessive traffic and industry temporarily gave us peace and quiet.

Patterning Your Life To Maximize Productivity

Charles Darwin’s Day to Day Pattern

Prioritizing a process toward structure is essential if you want to excel at learning. As I continued my quest for knowledge and comprehension as my focus shifted to expansive thinkers. Range by David Epstein is a book that explores the need for knowledge in a wide range of subjects and the ability to make new and unique connections. The book debunks the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hour theory by an exploration into vast thinking and developing a wide range of topics.

Polymath is a term often used to describe broad depth thinkers. A copy of The Polymath by Wacas Ahmed helped to solidify my interests in wide-ranging knowledge, autodidacts, and boredom of specialists. Every day I jam in hours of audiobooks, web-based text, and books to expand my thinking and depth of knowledge.

Thinking Long Term

I abandoned The Power of Now by Eckhardt Tolle in favor of thinking in the long term. Go Long by Dennis Carey filled the void from now to then by examining examples of long term strategists. Companies such as Amazon and Apple were examined while short term bottom-line thinking is exposed.

Ecological Intelligence by  Daniel Goleman digs even deeper into the long term effects that products have on our economy and environment. Studying the life cycle of products from the cradle to the grave and understanding the impacts from raw material acquisition to biodegradability or recyclability will push manufactures and markets to explore their impacts and work collectively to make environmental change a policy.

Wearing Bluetooth headphones while making breakfast and doing dishes I can block out external distractions. Ignoring social media accounts, the morning news, and unsubscribing to invasion emails has impacted me emotionally. I feel freedom and less triggered.

Noise by Joseph McCormack examines how we are emotionally and mentally hijacked by marketing and electronic gadgets. The book reads fast and fluently through the amount of severe noise we daily must wade through. It was the exposure to the knowledge of how were are being mentally manipulated that has rejuvenated my levels of self learning.

Black Lives Matter

It was during the Pandemic, while many people were home glued to the noise of their televisions and smartphones that our nation’s inequality and racism was again exposed. Better yet it was during this moment it was recognized. As the World is struggling to survive, America has again proven our racial divide.

I’m not going to pretend for even one second that I understand racial prejudice, or can I even use what little knowledge I possess to teach. What I’ve realized is I need to learn more.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olua stings like a swarm of bees. The belief that racial inequality and prodigious was an issue swept under the carpet of the 13th amendment is untrue and unjust. With the fact that 1 out of every 3 African American males will be incarcerated in their lifetime is a horrific statistic. The fact that African Americans currently make 30% less than the average Caucasian worker and this inequality is widening.

Brian Eno recommended Roll Jordan Roll by Eugene Genovese in his list Reading for an Apocalypse. James “Jimbo” Mathus recommends The American Slave Coast by Ned Sublette. Both of which are still in my queue.

I’m silenced by my need to continue to learn more.

Michael Competielle

Where Do We Go From Here?

I’m reading George Orwell’s 1984, we are living it, might as well have the blueprint. Fake news and unvetted stories can keep piling up. I’m not partaking. We must learn from these moments and make a change.

As one of our modern-day brilliant minds, Stewart Brand has helped to expand knowledge and futuristic thinking. From his Whole Earth Catalog to How Buildings Learn, Stewart’s expansion thinking is inspirational. From his Ted Talks to his The Long Now presentations, I’m unaware of any other writer who has changed my mind and thinking more than him.

Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand is a book that can and will change the World. From explorations in population expansion and contraction, alternative energy, nuclear power, and GMOs (which he refers to as Genetic Engineering) this one man could potentially save our planet.

From requesting that NASA in the 1970’s release a photograph of the Whole Earth taken from space, to the installation of a 10,000-year clock Stewart Brand has the potential to save the Whole Earth from its largest predator, humans.

Learning How to Write

When I have the time, which is hardly the case I try to work on my writing skills. I’m reading The Rum Diary by Hunter S Thompson for a novel I’m currently writing, The Peregrine by J.A.Baker to learn to be more descriptive and Wired for Story by Lisa Cron so I can use neuroscience to get you to read past the title.

If you read this far, which is doubtful, you’ll realize I’m trying not only to learn but to also articulate my thoughts into readable text. Currently, my Yoast Seo AI states this “article is shit and that you suck”. Perfect words to hear because the World is in shitty shape and we all need to learn.

An Episodic Approach to Fulfillment

They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited ‘first chapters’. I have indeed written many.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Photo by Michael Competielle

Every Day’s a New Day

Today I’m going to concentrate on writing the entire outline and finish a draft of the novel I’ll call My Life. I’m going to determine every possible outcome and decision now… today and nothing will change those decisions and I’ll never deviate from the plan. This is my life, from being to end, done complete and uneditable.

Unrealistic and impossible you say. Preposterous!!! Okay fine, you are correct. So why do we try to do it? What I’m realizing is that I have an ever-changing series of ideas and ideals. Places I’d love to see, things I’d love to do and connections I’d love to make. A simplified outline I’ve written with a huge pencil with a gigantic eraser.

Daily my interests change as I remold and remodel myself. New ideas become new adventures and bad investments are thrown to the wayside.

We never really change. The person we were 20 years ago is who we still are today. Our needs and desires change as do our connections, but the actual fabric from which we were created has been woven starting at a very young age. What we can change is our need to evaluate our shortcomings and determine the best path to overcome the obstacles.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

What Have You Actually Done

Yesterday I met up with a friend I hadn’t had the opportunity to physically see for over 6 months. A creative person who’s work I truly admire and whose free time I cherish. Running through my memory bank of our last encounter followed by an assessment of my 6-month endeavors, I felt it was imperative we could discuss accomplishments and not ideas or ideals.

How ironic it was to find out this friend was worried that they hadn’t accomplished enough to actually keep me engaged. We discussed the idea of prioritizing time and how we both have eliminated distractions such as posting or reading Facebook or getting bogged down by junk emails.

I admitted a harrowing fact about how I like to get rid of junk mail and junk magazines and so, therefore, I’d prioritize reading the junk so I could delete it while saving the good stuff for a later date, sometimes months or years later. I wasted time oversaturating my brain with the trash while off placing meaningful information, spontaneity, and inspiration for a later date. Worse yet sometimes those magic moments never returned.

Ironically when I compiled the list of accomplishments I found out that I had actually completed a monumental amount of work since our last meeting. As we discussed how I was able to be so successful in completing tasks we realized it was purely from starting each day fresh. A new chapter in the continuum of the proverbial never-ending saga of life.

I’d recognized the need to prioritize reading the important information and filling my mind with the topics I find interesting or inspiring. It’s within those moments of inspiration and interest we need to act. We need to write or paint or photograph. We can’t hold back those moments waiting for another perfect moment. The moment is immediate and imperative. It is now!!!

Each new chapter we write is an episodic approach to creating the fulfillment we need in our lives. Positive thoughts and clarity of steps to ultimately help us obtain our goals of financial freedom or developing a passive income. Designs to help us create the connectivity to the types of people and scenarios we want in our lives.

“I’ve never been comfortable with the goals because we never come close to the goals.”

Larry Harvey

Yesterday Is Gone So Stop Looking Back

We learn from our experiences, however, we learn more by being experimental. Trying out new ideas helps to expand our level of creativity and experiences. Trying new foods or music, visiting new places, or taking a different route to ultimately get to the same place makes the experience different. Try a new path and embrace the outcome.

Run or leap, don’t contemplate. Make new connections and meet new friends. Expand don’t contract. Read new materials, visit new places, explore and immerse yourself into each new chapter. Write a new episode and make a change. Find inspiration, build, and create. Share your experiences and fashion a new fabric in which you will wear and make it your own. Want, try, and do. Stop waiting for the perfect moment for the moment is now. Take risks and make your move. Today is the new episode in The Book of You.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Steve Jobs

Using Data Science to Predict the Future and Save the Planet

As data scientists, our job is to extract signal from noise.

Daniel Tunkelang
Photo by Michael Competielle

The Big Data Age

We are presently embedded in the fabric of the historical time period presently known as the Information Age and more importantly the Big Data Age. Data and digital storage have changed the way in which we share knowledge and information. It also has changed the vessel in which we consume content. A wealth of valuable knowledge is literally a few keystrokes away.

Technological trends have created a booming industry of “smart” connected devices known as the “Internet of Things”. These devices were previously “dumb” devices such as your toothbrush, watch, or refrigerator. This new technology is booming as connectivity is being installed by manufacturers in most business segments. According to Intel 55% of all data will be generated by IOT by 2025.

Recently I purchased a new GE window air conditioner. As my household has reduced inhabitants over the past few years and the central air conditioning system is gracefully aging, I’m looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. The weight of this new window unit isn’t dissimilar to the older models I remember in my apartment living days. Its the integration of IOT wifi connection that took me by surprise.

Why does a simple air conditioning unit need Wi-Fi connectivity? It actually doesn’t. As I pondered the invasiveness of having “big brother” monitor my air conditioning consumption I decided to connect anyway.

GE provides an app SmartHQ that allows you to connect your device to the outside world. The app monitors outside temperature, fan speed, targeted temperature, filter status, and allows an option for economy mode. You can remotely monitor your indoor temperature and program times until will cycle on and off.

Why Share the Data?

Okay, so data sharing and a connected world is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we are becoming more disconnected as we add more connected devices and streams of data. I’ve written about it and work to spend some of my time disconnected. So what lies on the other edge of the sword? The future of our planet.

So you may have stopped reading by this point however if you have hung on for the ride I’m going to clarify it all for you. We are not only currently struggling to deal with Global Warming and a Deadly Pandemic, but we are also dealing with Global Economies and potential economic collapse.

So why exactly does Data Science matter?

Ask someone how they feel? Most of the time people feel “fine” or “okay” or tired. Who in the world knows you better than Google? And more importantly Google Trends? Oh, so that’s where all of my data is stored? Sort of. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 92% of internet searches go thru Google.

The power of instantaneous Global Data can and will be used by scientists, marketers, manufactures, and governments to see current trends. An outbreak in COVID cases? Google probably knows first. According to this week’s Google Trends for the United States, the effects of COVID seem to be trending.

We are ultimately seeing trends in hardship cases for illness, economic struggles, civil issues, environmental concerns by compiling and analysis of the data. By willingly volunteering the data we allow Data Scientists the opportunity to share the information that can ultimately prepare us to forecast the future and make minor adjustments to fend off outbreaks and struggle.

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

 Aaron Levenstein, business professor at Baruch College.

Ignoring Distractions To Regain Focus and Expand Creativity

“Be so busy improving yourself that you don’t have time to pay attention to anything or anyone that distracts you from your growth.” Anonymous

Photo by Michael Competielle

We Live In A World Of Static

As I step outside early in the morning I recognize the silence and serenity of the early morning. Distance traffic and air travel are at a minimum and the sounds of nature take over as birds are chirping and owls hooting off in the distance. One thing we have learned during the Coronavirus Pandemic is just how quiet the world is or better yet just how noisy our world was.

Remember those times when you would sit in a quiet library as you studied or silently read. What noise distracted you? A sneeze or cough? The squeak of a distance chair? When we are attempting to focus we also need to filter out the noises that disrupt our concentration.

Now let’s imagine we are going to study or read the same material in another environment such as a gym locker room or movie theater playing a Marvel squeal. How much of the room’s noise will distract your mind from absorbing the content you’re trying to obtain?

We live in a world of outside noise and the distraction is like static, hissing in our ears and reducing our abilities to focus and retain information.

How much will you learn with your head in a beehive?

Michael Competielle

How Often Are You Manipulated And Misdirected?

My iPhone quietly rests within a few feet of me at all times. A connection to the outside world, a wealth of information and connectivity. It’s ringtones and alerts silenced in an attempt to minimize distraction as I attempt to sleep, create, or learn.

As a creator of content, my mind struggles to rest as ideas and concepts twist and turn inside my mind like a Rubik’s cube. Complex concepts simplify themselves while I’m at rest, the power of the human brain. I’m always thinking, processing, and discovering.

Often during this precious time, I’ll pick up my phone and mindlessly doomscroll thru Facebook or emails allowing my brain to become distracted and triggered. A relative’s political rants or the barrage of marketing emails begins to fill my brains RAM with static and negative thoughts. How much trash can our mind take before we reach the saturation point? And why do our brains get hijacked during these disruptions?

We are continuously being marketed to. Advertisements blaring from televisions, billboards, inside blogs, and from people’s mouths to our ears. Everyone is always selling and we need to filter out the trash from the treasures.

Brain Plasticity Theory 

The human brain has the ability to change over our lifetime by forming new connections between our brain cells known as neurons. Plasticity is the ability to allow our brain to change with learning. 

But what happens when we stop thinking or even worse our thoughts are hijacked by the outside world? Our mood and focus modified and hindering our ability to maintain proper brain function. 

When we are told how to think or feel about a topic, situation, or product, we are being emotionally highjacked. It’s only through cognitive thinking and analysis that we can honestly make an evaluation.

How To Ignore Distractions

  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists that don’t interest you
  • Remove apps like Facebook from phones and tablets. 
  • Stop watching the news
  • Ignore and avoid people that distract or frustrate you
  • Prioritize yourself by making certain others don’t derail your directive or mood
  • When you are disrupted or triggered try to quickly regain focus

Get Great Sleep

So what exactly happens to our brain during sleep and why is it required? 

When we sleep our brain is cleared (the glymphatic system) of neurotoxic waste in our central nervous system. It is during this valuable sleep time we can incorporate our day’s thoughts and experiences into long term memory. Our glymphatic system is most active during sleep and why we feel refreshed when we awaken. Sleep affects our ability to learn, focus, be creative, problem-solve, and concentrate.

Don’t Hijack Your Day

When I wake up I used to grab my phone and read thru social media posts, emails and watch the morning news. I was starting my morning by altering my cleansed mind with trash and static. I’d quickly forget the connections I’d made while resting and feel overwhelmed and anxious. How can I create or focus on all the troubles of the world in my foreground?

By cleansing the decks of distraction and static I’m keeping my eye on the prize. Mornings are spent listening to audiobooks I’ve prechosen. The words guide can easily be connected to correlate to my present studies or content I’m creating. I’m in complete control of my mind and function as the primary gatekeeper by denying access to the static.

Writing 100 Articles In 100 Days. What Did I Learn?

Photo by Michael Competielle

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

 — Saul Bellow

Today is day 100 of a 100-day writing challenge. The idea was to attempt to write 100 original articles with original photography and publish them. The topics and context we not of importance. In reality, honesty and self-reflection was the priority of this writing exercise. 

Never having written anything before I was presented with a challenge lacking in familiarity and comfort. What was I going to say and how was I planning to say it? 

Looking Inside Myself 

As I began to look inside myself I recognized I needed to find the voice. Being introspective of yourself and displaying your thoughts and emotions leaves you a feeling of exposure and nakedness. It was the warmth of connection and encouragement I received from my readers and writing partner that kept me on track and forthcoming.

Wild flurries of emotionalism flew out of me as I henpecked away word by word, sentence by sentence formulating subconscious thoughts into tangible content. 

When I was in my comfort zone was when I faded off into a meditative state tapping away words that came out of me like I was telling a best friend an innermost deep story. Hours later I’d reread what I’d written and often questioned who was the author, confident it clearly wasn’t me. I’d plagiarized my own words. Hacking into the databanks of my inner psyche. 

Time and Space

The best time to write was early in the morning. My dogs would be snoring, the outside world is relatively silent and I could immerse myself into this transcendent writing flow.

My photographs were my inspiration as I’d write based on the emotional impact I felt from the experiences of exploration into self-discovery. 

Researching my thoughts and looking for supporting content would leave me exploring rabbit holes of discovery as I learned more from becoming a writer than I had from being a reader. My mind an absorptive sponge ingesting and processing massive quantities of data. I forced myself to go out and find inspiration and everything I found became inspiring. 

Tapping away letter by letter I’d lose myself in the moment. Time would pass often quickly as I transported myself into another place in time. Gravity and it’s holding power diminished as I wrote and explored the outside world. I no longer walked on the ground but on a layer of air, slightly elevated above the surface of the world. Airy and light yet not quite floating. 

Time has become more precious than ever before as I respect every moment, recognizing time as our most priceless resource. My relationships with the outside world have felt a bit removed from those that don’t create or can not absorb. The nonreaders are the nonthinkers. Vessels of lifelessness missing the purpose of life and connection. 

Who Is This Crazy Guy?

My discoveries as I wrote in this meditative style yielded wildly varying articles that began to weave the fabric of my consciousness. Patterns of words and phrases were repeated from article to article with differences in meaning and relevance. Each philosophy and theory cumulatively assembling into an enlightened version of me.

As the articles were published new connections were made with friends that began to read my content. The highlight of the writing exercise was when a brilliant inspirational idol shared one of my better posts on Twiter.

As time passed by day by day, articles were published and readership increased. Topics of creativity were well received as were articles on mindfulness.

As I wrote more and more my connection to my mind and soul was enriched. Self-discovery and self-awareness were constant topics I learned the most about myself.

During the hundred days, I found not only could I effectively write but it was simple to get lost inside my conscious. In the next 100 days, you’ll a new level of exploration and discovery. My connections to myself and my mind’s eye have nurtured my world of literary exploration.

Good, Fast, Cheap. When You Always Go For The Cheapest Option, Your Options Become Limited

Photo by Michael Competielle

“I’m an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers… They use my tools.”-Robert Moog

Starting in 1964 Robert Moog began building handmade analog synthesizers that helped revolutionize electronic music. Operating for almost 30 years until the company was sold in 1993 Moog synthesizers were synonymous with warm analog tone. The company closed and the assets were warehoused and eventually auctioned off. 

Bob purchased back the rights to the Moog name and again began hand-building analog synthesizers in 2002. After 55 years the legacy of Bob Moog continues.

Musicians from Wendy Carlos to Keith Emerson to Trent Reznor have composed brilliant music thanks to the unique sound Moog synthesizers generate. 

While the hand-built quality of a Moog is second to none they are also known to be very expensive. Due to the manufacturing process and time it takes to build each model, they are generally stock items often in limited quantities. 

The Project Management Iron Triangle

Each side of the project management triangle is labeled cost, scope and time or alternatively cheap, fast and good. Dating back to the 1950s the theory has been utilized in project and product management as a metrics tool. Reduce the cost of a product and the quality or speed will be affected. Increase the budget and the quality or speed will increase. 

A simple formula that works in most scenarios. 

Why Going Cheap First Limits Your Options

When you make purchasing decisions primarily on price alone you will affect the quality or time it takes to make your product. When we always base our decisions based purely on cost or cost savings we are limiting one of the two remaining options. Fast and cheap will yield a product of decreased quality. 

With an overabundance of cheap goods on our store’s shelves, it doesn’t take much expertise to determine the quality of the products are generally of lesser quality. 

Where The Gap Is Closing 

With manufacturing firmly planted overseas cheaper goods are being produced with an increase in quality and quantities that argue that the theory of the Iron Triangle is a fallacy. The fact of the matter is that is untrue when you look at the product in its entirety. 

Are the employees manufacturing the goods being paid a fair living wage? Probably not. What about the acquisition of the product’s raw materials? Certainly a place to cut a few corners. And what about the environmental impact of the decreased wages, sourced materials, wastes and environmental impact of transportation. 

Most of these reductions are hidden from the consumer and are only highlighted when you do some research. 

Buying cheap is certainly not the correct answer to obtaining the best products. Quality products that last longer and built with care and consideration of the product’s societal and environmental impact are clearly the better choice regardless of price. 

Buying products that can be resold, traded or gifted away when we no longer need them will help to reduce wasting resources. Quality products require a qualified workforce to manufacture, service and repair. By reducing the number of products we consume we can afford to pay more of higher quality products. 

Shopping for products off the buy it for life list is a great start. On the list are products that may not be the cheapest but certainly are of the highest quality and availability. 

Buy better, buy less. Sell, trade or gift unneeded products to reduce consumer demand. With a reduced need for quantities and a willingness to pay a bit more, manufacturing will adjust to the demand which will be quality. The primary reason we should be purchasing any products at all. 

How “Permitted Bootlegging” Revolutionized The World Of Innovation and Creativity

Photo by Michael Competielle

This is not a story written about Prohibition or distilling grain alcohol, this is a story about encouraging people to develop their pet projects into life-changing experiences. 

Most of everyone’s job has requirements that are often narrowly impossible to accomplish. Sales quotas and product yields are designed to increase exponentially based upon increasing profits while often disregarding relevance. Unnecessary stresses are placed on employees following rules and protocols and little thought is placed on innovating or creativity. 

Brainstorming and value engineering resources are often placed on solving existing problems leaving little time or energy to nurture ideas that could potentially rewrite the destiny of a company. 

Failing Quickly Yields Future Success

In 1968 3m scientist Dr. Spencer Silver was developing a super strong and sticky adhesive that quite honestly wasn’t very strong. In fact, the opposite happened when accidentally designed a low tack reusable adhesive. 

Silver felt that his adhesive had a special purpose and he, therefore, spent the next 5 years pitching the product to various 3m departments hoping someone would find a commercial use for the adhesive.

It wasn’t until 1974 when a 3m colleague Arthur Fry who had attended one of Silvers seminars that a potential use was conceived. Fry thought the adhesive would be perfect to use as a sticky yet removable bookmark for his hymn book.

Fry decided to further develop his concept by using 3m’s Permitted Bootleg policy. It was the availability of this policy that helped Fry and Silver to work together in secrecy on a pet project that would soon be the most innovative stationery and design product. 

It took 12 years from the accidental discovery by Silver and further developed with Fry until the commercial release in 1980 of the Post-it Note. Little yellow pads of paper held together with an adhesive that bonds well yet are removable and reusable. 

Encouraging Innovation Through Bootlegging

It’s companies that have developed a mindset that encourages creativity and free thinking that ultimately is most innovative. 3m, Hewlett-Packard, and Google are examples of companies that allow employees a certain percentage of time to work on their pet projects. 

The term ‘bootlegging’ is used because while the R&D happens on company time with company resources, the projects are usually kept in secrecy during this innovation development stage. It’s this acceptance of secrecy that innovation can be nurtured as this bootlegging period of developing is exercised without formalizing the project, sharing with managers and often breaks a companies rules and conventions.

It’s these risky scenarios where development can overcome obstacles. Teams have freedoms and liberties towards their projects creative process and the success of Permitted Bootlegging has yielded additional successes such as Gmail, Google News, and BMW’s 12 cylinder engine. 

It’s from these creative minds that we’ve learned to more innovative. Post-it notes are used by project teams to develop ideas, maintain goals and find solutions. By using permitted bootlegging and post-it notes to visualize your plan we can make great strides in designing our future while encouraged to take risks. 

The Best Articles I’ve Written Are The Ones That Nobody Reads

Photo by Michael Competielle

“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.”

Jim Lovell

The world moves around me like a cosmic vat of fragmented debris. My mind requires stimulation and challenges to avoid death by boredom. Television and films have become stagnant of purpose and risk while auteurs struggle to exist.

Music venues have elevated ticket prices to audacious amounts while strangling artists’ abilities to remain lucrative and remain devoid of creativity or taking risks. Boring arena tours with overpriced meet and greets are the norm. Aging has been artists who are echoing their past to the allegiant fans stuck in a proverbial timewarp feels like a money subterfuge.

Stripper anthems and rapper idioms are proven profit makers exacerbating the dumbification of our floundering society. Venues are serving corporate conglomerate beers, soft drinks, and processed foods to aid in declining the health of the patrons while posting adverts for medical centers and pharmaceuticals to help pay the bills.

Why I Suck

I’ve no desire to follow the masses. I’m currently fighting with my blog’s AI SEO algorithms telling me my article currently sucks. I’d guess the algorithm was written by tracking the top 1,000 keywords utilized by top publication rags a clickbait.

As I ponder my future as a successful writer I’m researching some titles I feel are sheerly brilliant that could titillate the herd.

  • 7 Ways Gordon Ramsey Can Teach You Emotional Intelligence
  • How Lindsay Lohan Excels at Defensive Driving Skills
  • How Vanilla Ice Can Teach You To Understand Copyright Laws and Write a Hit Song
  • 9 Ways to Find Love…Again By Studying Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • and the list goes on

Save The Brain Cells

As I work to keep the neurons of my brain enriched by stimulating it with art, well-articulated literature and scientific studies I’ve recognized our societies lacking in autodidacticism. It’s doubtful I’ll gain much traction with this quintessential diatribe of creative expression but I’m certain every time I reread it I’ll giggle to myself on how profound exercising the brain really is. And the fact many will need a dictionary to fucking read it.