Committing myself

com·mit [kuh-mit] verb, com·mit·ted, com·mit·ting.
verb (used with object)
1. to give in trust or charge; consign.
2. to consign for preservation: to commit ideas to writing; to commit a poem to memory.
3. to pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question; express (one’s intention, feeling, etc.): Asked if he was a candidate, he refused to commit himself.
4. to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.

I have a problem with commitment. Not in relation to other people, I feel like I’m pretty good in that respect. I have a problem committing to myself.

The front page of my website makes a bit of a joke about how no one knows what I do. On one hand this is a manifestation of the reality that I do a lot of things and trying to concisely sum that up always proves difficult and awkward. I have a short attention span and have been accused of being a workaholic at several points in my life which results in having my hands in lots of seemingly unrelated things. Peeling back the layers a bit often reveals reoccurring themes so they aren’t all as unrelated as they seem, they just aren’t easy to quickly explain.

On the other hand, if I don’t make the commitment and say I’m doing ________, then I don’t have to think about how good or bad I am at _________. “I’m just dabbling” is a bulletproof excuse against accusations of not doing something well enough. Accusations from myself. I’m notoriously my own worst critic. Trust me, the reason I don’t give a shit what anyone else has to say about me or my work is because no matter how harsh it is, it’s nothing compared to what I’ve already said myself. That also makes it really hard to take a compliment, which may or may not be another issue all together. Some examples…

Year Of Less Update #7

It’s time for me to admit defeat.

Not in a “I failed, I give up” way, but in a “I went about this all wrong and set my self up to fail, but I learned a lot and have a better idea for a second try already” way.

The simple reason is that I just made too many rules.

Not that it was too many rules to keep track of, I tried to keep them simple enough from the start, but aiming to do something every single day, especially when you have a rather hectic schedule to begin with is difficult. So I often found myself gaming my own rules – not because I wanted to get away with something, but rather because I was running late or I’d forgotten and was just trying to do things to cross them off the list. At 11:15 PM I’d be digging through my t-shirt drawer to find one I could quickly throw out so that I could say I got rid of something that day. Which of course was disappointing, so I’d make new rules to compensate and the whole things kept getting more difficult. Add travel and everything else to the mix and I should have known there was no way this was going to work out as planned.

Checking in on everyday


A few months ago I wrote about things I wanted to do on a daily basis because they are important to me. In efforts to keep myself in check I thought I’d review that list again and see how I’m doing. I can tell you right that this isn’t going to be a positive review. I’m really, exceptionally good at distracting myself with random life things and messing up my plans. Which is in part why I kind of go overboard on the self structuring sometimes, without it who knows what kind of a disaster I’d be.

Dear Marissa Mayer

Last night I bought the domain dearmarissamayer.com and put this up:

Dear Marissa Mayer

A quick simple request, but a heartfelt one. Yesterday it was announced that Marissa Mayer, one of the earliest and most noteworthy Google employees, was taking over as CEO of Yahoo!. This is incredibly exciting for so many reasons on it’s own, but in terms of Yahoo! itself, I think flickr is their most underrated product and if they would put some support behind it, bring it up to date, give it an actually functional mobile app and commit to keeping it alive, that would be amazing. It’s no secret that everyone blames Yahoo! for killing flickr, but I don’t believe it’s dead yet, and Marissa could be the one to breath life back into it. So here’s hoping.

Reoccurring theme

Many months ago I did an interview about my involvement in Coffee Common and earlier this week I did an interview about Safecast. Both of these were published this week, and I noticed an interesting similarity running through them…

From Birds of Unusual Vitality:

“I look at my involvement with Coffee Common as a lot of trying to get people educated on things so that they can force the change that would never come from the industry itself. More educated consumers ask better questions to cafes, then cafes have to come up with better answers to those questions – and as a result of all of this, things changes. Trying to change something from inside an industry never actually works (or it takes years and years) I prefer the people to cause a revolution.”

From Fast Company:

To date, Safecast’s volunteer team has measured and mapped more than 3 million data points that comprise a rapidly growing dataset that will serve as a valuable baseline for the kind of in-depth environmental data the world largely lacks. And perhaps that will prompt people into demanding more–and more transparent–data sources.

“People assume crappy data is legit, and nobody’s held accountable,” Bonner says. “But by pushing this issue and publishing this really specific data, now people have to answer questions like, ‘Why is your data so much less specific than this data?’ Asking more educated questions is always good.

An Open Letter To Conference Organizers and Panel Moderators


First of all, I love what you do. Really. You’re terrific, and your efforts make our lives better. Don’t ever change. Well, actually, there is something that needs to change.

There’s a problem that persists across almost every conference I’ve ever been to. The good ones. The bad ones. The Amazing ones and the Meh ones. And we need to address it once and for all so that it can be prevented from happening in the future.

Upgrading MP3s with iTunes Match, or Adventures in Cloud Syncing

I heard about this little hack that will upgrade old low quality MP3s you might have hanging around your iTunes library and thought I’d give it a shot. Basically iTunes Match gives you access to any song you have in your library, from any of your devices. It can do this because they have a huge archive of songs and just match up song titles, the trick is that all the files they have are in 256 kbps quality.

Represent LA

Yesterday Tara, Alex and I announced the launch of Represent.LA. Longtime readers will know I’ve got a bit of a crush on LA and haven’t been very good about keeping that a secret. Earlier this year Tara wrote a bit about how LA’s tech scene kicks SF’s ass (with some rad quotes in there) and we started talking mapping out what was actually going on in town and brainstorming what that might look like. We pulled in Alex and got to work. I say “we” but in fact I did far too little for this project to get any credit, I helped with a logo and some sound boarding here and there, but Alex did all the serious coding work and it was really Tara’s initial vision so they should get the mad props. I give them my mad props anyway. It’s a super rad project and I’m delighted to have played even the smallest role in it, and can’t wait to see how it fills out and hopefully gives people doing technology projects in LA something to be a little more proud of and help show off how rad LA is.