The Uptake

by Brad McCarty

Lessons learned, words written

Page 10


Important Distractions

Holy crap. I’ll start with saying that. It’s been three weeks since I’ve updated this blog. This is a problem for two reasons - First, because I made a promise to Dustin that I’d update it weekly. Second, it shows that I’m too far involved in other things to do something that I really love.

It got me thinking about the different ways in which we spend our time. Largely they can be split into two categories: Important tasks and distractions. But sometimes there’s a third area too - important distractions.

I spend a lot of time each day reading things. Increasingly those things have been tied to the Svbtle network, and they’re not always related directly to my job, but they’re still important. Reading the work of others helps me gain insight, and also pushes me to be a better writer.

I went to the GLUE Conference last week in what could...

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Dear Candace

It’s Saturday, and I’ve been away since Monday. I’m coming home tomorrow, and I miss you. As I sit here, high above the streets of Omaha, Nebraska, I’m thinking about us. I know you’re sleeping right now, and I wanted to take this time, when it’s very quiet, to write you a letter.

If we were a normal couple, I’d tell you that when I met you a few years ago I never pictured where we’d be today. But that would be a lie, and we’re not a normal couple.

Instead, when I met this slightly-offbeat, video-game-loving, music-passionate nerd girl a few years ago, I saw a future with her. That future looked different in some ways than the reality that we have today, but the biggest parts are the same.

We have, by everyone else’s standards, the strangest relationship that could ever exist. But by our standards, life is pretty much...

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Apple will “lose” ¼th of the tablet market

I’d call this fuzzy math, except that it’s really a matter of interpretation and ZDNet has decided to go for the most inflammatory headline that they could find:

“NPD: Apple will lose quarter of tablet market by 2017”

Lose. Not that it will own 50% of a market that is predicted to be 5x larger than it is today, but rather that it will lose ¼th of its market share.

Let’s look at the real numbers to see how much Apple will be “losing”.

Ars Technica says that the most recent numbers show Apple holding 68% of a market that shipped 17.4 million units in Q1 of 2012. NPD predicts that, by 2017, annual shipments will equal 424.9 million tablets. By quarter, that’s 106 million units.

NPD then posits that Apple will control roughly 50% of the shipments, or 53 million units. 53 million in 2017, versus 11.6 million today (68% of 17.4...

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How do you carry on after your world ends?

My world was destroyed on Friday. I found out something that changed me, down to the fiber of who I am as a father, a husband and a human being. I can’t and won’t go into details. I will say that I’m blown away by how humanity can, at the same time, be both wonderful and loathsome.

So as I sit here on Sunday, watching news stories about the latest technology crap, my world has a different perspective. On Friday morning I was taking a shower and shaking my head about someone who was griping about the technology news cycle. Today I’m wondering how I will go back to work within that cycle tomorrow.

I’ve spent this weekend with my wife and my kids and everything looked perfect to anyone viewing from the outside.

But it wasn’t.

For me, I reach the point that emotions become so varied and intense that all I end up feeling is numb. It’s not that I...

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“African American”

I get it, we use the term to be politically correct. But the fact of it is that the term African American is disingenuous at best, and more likely just insulting. I repeatedly see discussions in the US media about the lack of African-American entrepreneurs, how African-Americans are discriminated against around the world and so on.

When did we, as Americans, become so self-absorbed as to think that anyone who is black has to be African American?

I know loads of entrepreneurs, CEOs and …well… people who would be considered black. Very few of them could be in any way considered American.

It’s the same logic here that begets people thinking that all those of Middle-Eastern descent have to be Muslim – or worse, potential terrorists. The same logic that people where I live use when classifying anyone who speaks Spanish as a first language as Mexican. Though...

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My WordCamp Nashville Prezi deck

For those asking, here’s the deck:

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That amazing feeling when you KNOW you’re doing the right thing.

How do you know you’re doing the right thing?

This is a question that I have asked myself a lot over the past few years, but even more after watching Micah Baldwin talk at Big Omaha last year. The talk (video is here) very literally changed my life, so I hope you’ll take 30 minutes to watch it.

So I had to ask myself this question even more often over the past couple of years as I’ve progressed in my work with TNW. To put it into perspective, I left a great-paying job, where I was miserable, to work on something that never came through with money. I was unemployed for 10 months, taking anything I could to make ends meet. I moved to Tennessee, took a job and lost it to a layoff 6 weeks later. I took a second job and immediately wanted to quit, because it wasn’t the right thing and I was in love with this idea of writing about startups and technology.

In just...

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Apple says Amazon held ebook monopoly

I really don’t know whose side to take here. On one hand, I don’t buy very many ebooks because I consider their pricing to be outrageously expensive. On the other, if publishers (and thereby writers) are making solid money, I have a hard time arguing Apple’s point.

But it does still seem shady that Apple and a few other publishers went together to “set” pricing. Whether or not that actually happened? Who knows. I’d be willing to bet yes, if I were a betting man.

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The genius of Kanye West?

Maybe I just don’t get it. I’ve never been a fan. I do desperately love great hip hop, but I’ve never once considered Kanye to be a purveyor of it. . Someone school me. Show me something that I’ve somehow missed, or managed to miss the appreciation of. I really want to understand why anyone gives Kanye more than a passing glance.

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The fallacy of “smart” entrepreneurs

I get my best thoughts and ideas in the shower. Or while driving. Probably because it’s the only time that I’m not connected to the world around me.

As I’m in the shower last night, I was thinking about the most successful entrepreneurs that I know. The first thing that popped into my head is “man, what a smart group of people.”

But then I quickly realized I was wrong. They’re not the smartest people, but they’re absolutely the wisest.

Smart people code, or develop algorithms, or understand what it means when someone clicks one button but not another. Smart people are vital to the success of entrepreneurs, but great entrepreneurs tend toward wisdom versus raw intelligence.

The best entrepreneurs that I know are wise enough to see solutions to problems that affect humanity, not just humans.

Wise entrepreneurs are amazingly effective at...

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