"It’s about infinitely flexible, sunny appropriation."
At what point did a generation shed the pressure of “figuring it out”? At what point did we no longer feel the need to answer the question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”?. I’m sure there is a long list of factors, including a social promiscuity only afforded in an internet age, and an economic promise that’s held true since WWII and only recently fallen completely apart (ie. commit your life, your identity, your soul to a life as a “company man” in exchange for a safe, predictable, and prosperous life).
Somehow, a generation has unburdened itself from the demand for maturity, the need for a 5-year plan, the pressure to adopt an identity with clear and defined edges. The “self” is now a fluid concept. And rather than panicking over the lack of a solid foundation, we are embracing the freedom. It’s not that there is no more normal (the so-called “post-normal”), it’s that now everything is normal.
"Basically, normcore has… more to do with personalities: it’s the idea that an individual adapts to a situation at hand and embraces the normalcy of where they are and who they’re with. So you could go to a football match during the day and wear a replica football strip like everyone else, then go to a cyberpunk night later on and wear head-to-toe Cyberdog. Normcore represents a fluidity of identity that’s emerging in youth culture: a willingness to forgo a consistent individuality in order to embrace acceptance. As Luke O’Neill puts: ‘Normcore then, in its pure state, is about empathy and connectivity.’”
(It always comes back to the Human Universals)
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where each new hobby was fully supported, each new curiosity enthusiastically encouraged. Someone recently accused me of “collecting hobbies”. I do collect hobbies. I also collect passions, curiosities, threads of questioning, social groups, personalities, heritages, etc. As a generation comes of age being completely comfortable not knowing exactly who they are and perpetually figuring it out, we’ll see more interesting lives take shape, more daring ideas, more diverse thinking.
It’s the most valuable lesson we can learn — that we all need to go through a painful, awkward un-maturing process if we want to be as authentically ourselves as we can be. In a Benjamin Button like process, we can all crawl back in time: at first we will have a hard time admitting that we don’t know ourselves as well as we had thought; then, all over again, we traverse the awkwardness of our teenage years: self-conscious, scared, and trying to just fit comfortably into the world as we shape and reshape ourselves; then ultimately we get back to a child-like place where we have few concerns other than satisfying curiosity and engaging in pure play. We go from having a stake in the ground on who we are to playing with and entertaining all the possibilities of who we could be.
There is a thread in our culture that is still demanding that a generation grow up. But it’s not going to happen that way. This isn’t a group of the lost and lazy who have deferred adulthood. We are comfortable in the fluidity that the world now affords. And so we continue to play. They play gets more and more sophisticated, the consequences larger and deeper.
Best learn to play. Best get comfortable. Best start to un-mature.
Thought I would throw in some links to some ways to engage in some sophisticated play, for the newly un-matured:
Killscreen Magazine : an amazing journal-style publication covering “the intersection between games, play, and other seats of culture from art to music to design.”
Geoff McFetridge: every.single.thing — so good!
Patatap: just click the link and start playing!
Playmobil - *I* collect these — my kids are too young. They would choke.
Teenage Engineering: amazing sound toys (that I wish I had)
Yuichi Yokoyama: his stuff is minimal but puts your brain to work and completely absorbs you.
A failed experiment from over the weekend. Going to let this one rest and revisit it later. TOYU!
Since February, I’ve been trying to articulate just what happened through the course of our acquisition process. It turns out that the process is still ongoing.
So what happens in an acquisition?
First off, why do acquisitions happen? This type of smaller acquisition that I’m talking about is becoming more and more common. It’s not an indicator of an economic bubble. It’s not about a tech talent arms race. Buying a company for the expertise or processes embodied in a great team has become a reliable channel for sourcing ‘talent’. It all looks sensational from the outside, but the reality is that the math just adds up: finding the right people is costly; not finding the right people is a huge risk as large incumbents are under constant pressure to keep a step ahead of the small and fast innovators at the bottom of the market. Acquiring teams is becoming standard procedure(1) for big companies that want to maintain relevance by moving at least as fast as these ever-emerging competitive threats. In a market where driven individuals gravitate toward assembling a small scrappy team and taking a shot at something big, there is an ample supply of preassembled teams ready to be integrated into a bigger company and get to work.
So in this kind of environment, most companies — at some point in their lifecycle — end up entertaining the option of an acquisition.
To extrapolate from today’s rudimentary fragments resembles an attempt to predict the publication of [Joyce’s Ulysses] after just having invented writing on clay tablets. Nevertheless the effort is probably worthwhile.
—The Computer for the 21st Century (Mark Weiser, 1991)
I’ll identify something I want to change about myself, and then I’ll design a project to help me do it… For each of my deficiencies, I designed a project to help me confront it, which I hoped would help me transcend it. In a way, this worked. My life suddenly got interesting. People were curious. I always had outrageous stories to tell. I’d present these stories in intricate interactive frameworks of my own design, and I’d release them on the web.
—Jonathan Harris for Transom
We’ve spent the past few years figuring out how to make content creation as habitual as content consumption. That’s the idea behind Days, the daily visual diary we launched in May 2013. Nine months later, we’re excited to announce that we’ve accepted an offer to bring our work on daily habits to Yahoo. We started our company with the vision of transforming daily habits, and we’re proud to be joining a new one that shares that mission.
Our entire team will be joining Yahoo’s NYC-based Mobile and Emerging Products group, where we’ll continue on as a startup team within a larger organization. The Days app will live on as a standalone entity, and we’ll also be working on some exciting new projects that we can’t talk about just yet.
Sincerest appreciation to our investors, our advisors, our friends and families, the good folks at Apple, and, most importantly, our users! Your days have inspired us and it’s been beyond rewarding watching the product and community we’ve built together evolve and grow. We are so grateful, thank you!
If you have any questions, please tweet @wander or email us via email@example.com.
PS - I’ll be writing more soon about my personal experience with this process but just wanted to share the news from the team. Thanks for the support.
Looking for Home - A request to my NYC friends
We are officially on the search for a new home. We’ve been scouring the listings of New York City apartments and have some capable folks in our corner helping us navigate the process.
This process — it is daunting. The renters market is brutally competitive. The apartments are mostly overpriced and often in bad shape. The trick seems to be: keep at it until you find that one perfect place, that rare jewel, and when you spot it, go for it with everything you have.
The application process is an intimidating leap through a series of hoops, flaming hoops, hoops that want to pry deep into your financial history and personal life. If the stars have aligned in your favor, you come out the other end with a place to live, and somehow, you feel grateful. “Thank you New York City for crushing my soul and then offering me a grossly expensive space to rest said crushed soul. I owe you one.” (I think this is an unhealthy relationship.)
Something always works out. We are confident of that. My faith is in the people that help along the way. If you have any tips, tricks, or leads on a good place do let me know. We’re looking for a 2 bedroom (a family of four all sleeping in one room has worn out its charm), mostly looking at Fort Greene or Clinton Hill. Tweet at me or comment if you got anything. Any help will be greatly appreciated!
Cheers to NYC!
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
짱!!! Been playing with some Korean typography
Last week there was a Twitter conversation about Kanye, greatness, authenticity, genius, talent, gimmicks, hubris and excellence. Nietzsche came up (re: the Übermensch) and today I stumbled on this quote where Friedrich himself is describing his own work:
With [this book] I have given mankind the greatest present that has ever been made to it so far. This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance—it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness.
Replace “book” with “album” and the resemblance uncanny. Kanye is not the first of his kind but they are rare. I’m sure, like Kanye, Nietzsche had his fair share of critics and detractors. Those people have faded with time; the work remains.
It’s getting better all the time! We just launched an entirely new version of our Days permalink pages. Each day now plays as a beautiful slideshow. It’s the best way to share the story of your day.
It gets even better. You can now embed you day on your blog. We had a significant day for our family two weeks ago — our second son was born on Sunday, October 27th. I was able to use Days to document the entire experience and then share that with our friends and family. Check out the embedded version of that day below:
An idea is not a design
A design is not a prototype
A prototype is not a program
A program is not a product
A product is not a business
A business is not profits
he goes on: “There are new skills and new lessons at each of those turns. Each of those needs to be done well. The real wisdom of entrepreneurship is to know what you do well and to value—rather than disdain—what others do that you don’t.”
++ emotional energy
- - physical energy
—For me, this sums up my experience with Brooklyn Beta, but I think this is true of the best experiences in life. Work, play, live, and love until you are exhausted and fulfilled.