If appreciating these things and trying to repay her somehow makes me a momma’s boy, then tell me where I can buy a dozen t-shirts with “Momma’s Boy Fo Life!” emblazoned across. (Who else wants one?)
Full post on The Good Men Project
If appreciating these things and trying to repay her somehow makes me a momma’s boy, then tell me where I can buy a dozen t-shirts with “Momma’s Boy Fo Life!” emblazoned across. (Who else wants one?)
Full post on The Good Men Project
Three billion dollars. Billion, with a bootylicious B. This is what Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg offered the owner and CEO of Snapchat for his uber-popular app. An offer the CEO he swiftly rejected.
Upon hearing the news, many people, including business experts, had a few questions about this bold decision. Evan Spiegel had just said no to a sum larger than all of Whole Foods' profits in 2013.
Their first question was, What In the hell were they thinking?
Their second question was, What in the f****** hell where they thinking?!
Who knows why Spiegel did what he did. Some say the offer was not high enough, and, like Instagram, which is now worth ten times more than when Facebook purchased it, Snapchat didn't want to sell just yet. But something tells me it did not have to do with the money. When you are throwing around sums that are in the billions, you are already in the realm of "ludicrous" amounts of money. It's like wondering whether you should eat a quadruple cheeseburger or a quintuple one. The importance of the margin keeps getting smaller and smaller.
My theory is this: it was a philosophical decision. Spiegel maybe knew something about how Facebook planned to manage the app, or had a hunch of how his baby would be raised, and he didn't like it. He might've said No simply because he was afraid that his passion project would be bastardized in the hands of another. He would rather walk away from insane cash than accept this rupture to his personal morality. And after reading the story behind the development of Snapchat, and Spiegel's ballsiness, it all adds up.
This sounds even more plausible to me because of Spiegel's generational DNA. Millennials don't care about money as much the rest of the world does. Money is important, yes, but there are things way more valuable, like ideals, sense of meaning and purpose, and how impact on the world. No amount of money can make you feel good about doing something that goes against your core values. Not even $3 billion. If that's why he said No, well, color me yellow-ghost impressed.
Here's another piece I wrote for the fantastic ladies at Quarterlette: Life is not your newsfeed.
"I have the coolest friends on Facebook. Every time I check my newsfeed I see all the amazing trips they take, their beautiful family pictures, the witty statuses they come up with, and the overall better life they live. Yep, my friends are living it up.
I bet your friends online are pretty amazing, too.
The more I notice their superior lifestyle the more mine seems pedestrian. While they are finishing marathons, I am watching a second hour of SportsCenter. While they Instagram their delicious meal, I am having a hummus and chips dinner. Their tweets are funny, and their Tumblrs are so artful. And I have nothing near as great to show for my existence…
This is life on social media."
I hope you enjoy it, as well as the other really thoughtful content Quarterlette puts out on a regular basis. They are one of my favorite blogs to read.
The other day I had a conversation with one of the most influential thought leaders in business, and I had it while waiting for my gyro.
I witnessed someone turn hundreds of photographs from people he didn't know into a beautiful short film.
I interviewed one of my favorite authors and received valuable (if quite short) life advice.
Friends became my tour guides of New York City, Atlanta, and Austin, all from the comfort of their couch.
All of this had nothing to do with my connections or social savvy, but with my social media network, that great web of connections that can be so powerful, even while it's so immaterial.
The power of social networks is hard to wrangle, which also means it has the potential to be empowering and devastating. It connects us frequently and easily, but that same tether can drag us down a slippery slide.
When you enter a social circle (online or offline) as a passive onlooker, you are courting disaster. You look on at the beautiful, interesting, more famous than you people and can't help but compare yourself to them. Insufficiency and jealousy rear their ugly heads. But social networls are worse, because these perfectly photographed, oh-so witty people are people you actually know, they are your peers. They are rocking at life, and you're not, and so you pull away even more. Back to your corner you go while the cool kids keep having fun. (By the way, that's all BS).
But if you enter social networks with an intent to create (connections, collaborations, shared experiences) then you are using it, not letting it use you. You are participating, you are adding value, you are the celebrity.
Think of your social networks as parties: when do you have most fun at a party, when you try to connect with someone new, maybe hang out with good friends, or when you stay in your corner, surrounded by a bunch of noise that makes you feel even more alone...
Hundreds of people are out there right now sharing their reality, hoping to create and connect. Facebook is not a tabloid, Twitter is not a soap box. They are opportunities to keep great conversations going.
One of my favorite episodes of Mad Men came in season four. In it, Don and Peggy argue over an ad for Samsonite, but as anyone who watches Mad Men religiously (comme moi) knows, that's not what it is about. As the old saying goes, "If the scene is about what the scene is about, you're in deep shit." This episode is much more relevant than leathery travel things.
The whole hour revolves around the idea of clashes: for money, for recognition, for pride.
It starts with the iconic Sonny Liston v. Muhammad Ali fight which is set to happen that night. Don favors Sonny because he "goes about his business," while Ali is just a "loud mouth." "'I'm the greatest!'...Not if you have to say it." To Don, Ali may be a gifted boxer, but he still hasn't proven himself in any way.
Peggy, the young, and talented copywriter, feels like she didn't get properly recognized for her work in an award-winning ad. Don, her boss, got a CLIO, while she got nothing, and he doesn't see an issue with any of it. She's also not sure how to feel about her life so far. Everything is going to plan: she loves her job, she is burning through the corporate ladder, and she's getting respect (as much as a woman in the 60's [i.e. "Smile more often, sweetcheeks"] could expect to get). But she's also not married, doesn't have kids, and just broke up with her "nice guy" boyfriend. She wonders if she's chasing the right things, a question we've probably asked ourselves more than once.
The climax of the episode happens when Peggy finally confronts Don about her bruised ego. Here's the scene:
This resonates with many of us, because when Millenniels grow up and ask for things we are told we shouldn't expect we are given a weird look and called "entitled." We are brushed off as being clueless.
But what if your whole life you were taught to expect recognition, feedback, and guidance?
"That's what the money is for!"
You were raised by parents who were heavily interested and invested in your progress. They helped you pick the right clubs to join, went to every campus tour with you, and proofed your resume dozens of times. They encouraged you every day, and never stopped looking for the best in you.
At school you were asked to perform at insane levels from day one. If you wanted to achieve your dream and "make it," you had to show merit starting from Pre-K. Fail that Triple Honors Algorithm class and your already slim chances at Stanford dropped by half. For previous generations, even thinking about the idea of going to college was a pipe dream--that stuff was only for the well-connected, so there was almost a disincentive to wasting your time worrying about it. Today, everyone has a shot, everyone can stand out, which means the pool of competitors is larger and fiercer than ever. Merit is the universal currency from age 5 to 21.
As soon as you graduate from college you crash into the immovable glacier that is "the real world." You find out that your worth to the rest of society is reset to zero, and that all of a sudden your critics drastically outnumber your supporters. You have to re-prove yourself in everything, which is fair since the rest of the world is facing the same gauntlet, but it still stings for someone who just spent 16 years in AP classes, air-tight schedules, all-nighters, and stressing out about their GPA 24/7. Yes, what you did during those school years is not everything, but it's not nothing either.
So when you start your career after college you still have that need for feedback, guidance, and recognition hardwired into your brain. How can you not when you've been surrounded by it your entire life.
When you ask for for these things you are not being entitled. You are simply asking for a teeny bit of understanding, a little help adjusting.
Here are two reasons why this gap in understanding may happen:
This needs to be emphasized: for the most part, millennials are tremendously ambitious and driven. We want to have an big impact through our work, and we love to be challenged every day. Our needs are there because we actually care about how we give ourselves to the work. There's a lot of energy in that drive, but the gap in understanding, between what you need and what your needs look like to others, is hurting everyone.
In the episode, Peggy and Don finally bond over something that isn't about awards, or work, or money. They bond over their struggles as human beings, over the hardships we will all eventually share. After they get past their spat they co-create a great piece of advertising.
That is what's constantly missing in our cross-generational communication (and I'd argue communication in general): we forget we all have our battles, that we are all human. Once you remember that the person right in front of you is much more alike than different from you, that they have insecurities, needs, and dreams like you, then you can start doing the important stuff, that is, doing great work together.
Lebron wears them. That cool barista at the corner coffeeshop wears them. You are totally contemplating buying some. The fact that eyeglasses--with or without lenses in them, just as long as they are chunky, prominent--are now a fashion fad tells you something.
The age of the nerd has begun. It is cooler than ever to let your nerd flag fly.
- Someone so obsessed with a particular set of knowledge (robots, 18th century Russian political philosophy, William Shatner), or just knowledge in general, that they care very little about everything else, in particular their own level of cool, and social image.
- Someone hungry to understand.
- Someone who "geeks out" on their quirky joys.
- Someone who wants to learn first, project second.
- Someone who knows what it's like to not fit in.
Being a nerd is not only trending, it works. Number-crunching savants (like Nate Silver) rule the pundit circles. Storytellers that connect semingly disparate data points (like Malcolm Gladwell) rule the bestseller lists. Thoughtful, introspective leaders (like President Obama or Whole Foods CEO John Mackey) rule the world. And let us not forget who Superman's alter ego was...
A true nerd pursues truth, an understanding. They are naturally curious, tolerant, and can empathize with that feeling of falling on your face trying. My bold prediction for a world run by nerds is that these same characteristics will spread everywhere else. We'll have more conversations, less posturing; we'll use books for reading, not thumping. The jocks of the world (those folks that can't spell 'vulnerability' and can't stop banging their chest) will have a hard time fitting in. Their power structure, run on intimidation and bravado, will give way for that of the truth-seeking, ego-less nerd.
Ask yourself, who really runs the world?...Nerds!
I recently watched the movie "25th Hour." It's a Spike Lee joint that follows a man's last day of freedom before he has to go to prison for a long time. It's underrated, and I highly recommend it. But it's particularly special because of the emotional kick the last scene has on me.
In that last scene, the father of the convicted man is driving him to the prison. As he is doing this he shares a fantastical What if! story with his beaten and broken co-pilot. What if he didn't take his son to prison and instead helped him escape. He imagines their drive away from that concrete coffin and toward an open road; their last shot of whiskey together as father and son at a dive bar before they part ways forever; the fresh, new life his son would try to rebuild; and the happiness doing this for his only son would bring him, despite never seeing him again and possibly going to jail for it himself.
I've only seen the movie a few of times, but each of those times I start tearing up during at this moment. It's not a particularly sentimental scene, and it's actually depicting a positive alternative reality to how things will shake out, but it still brings me to tears. I believe it does so because it reminds me of my own parents.
If I were in a similar situation (and were on the verge of being jailded), I know my parents would strongly consider, if not actually go through with, helping me escape. And that's because they've already done this many times before: they have sacrificed themselves for the family, risked it all for us, and done things that are purely altruistic simply because they want us to be and do well. It's hard for me to count the times they haven't acted this way.
If you watch the movie you might feel the same way. As Millennials we have a very different relationship with our parents than previous generations. We love our parents, both as parents and friends. Our bond with them is very strong, to the point where it's cynically critiqued by some. They say we are too dependent on our folks, and still have the umbilical cord attached. I'd wager that there is a tinge of jealousy in that sort of criticism.
We love our parents deeply and love spending time with them because we have always felt like they will do anything to help us do well.
Our relationship is based on mutual respect and transparency. We have conversations with them that older generations would never even consider having. We admire them, but were never taught to be intimidated (or threatened) by them. Millennials may be the best generation in recent memory at building a bond with our parents as actual people, not mythical deities that do no wrong.
In all, our parents have always treated and respected us as potentially-great human beings, and so from there we've been able to build a foundation for our relationship based out of kindness. This speaks to how we wear that sort of humanity on our sleeve in everything we do--how we treat others, how we choose our consumption, what drives our work. All of this is due in large part to your parents treating you with acceptance, love, and kindness.
For all of this and for much more, thanks, mom and dad. I love you.
Is there anything you feel your parents did really well with you? Tweet it here!
The 90s was the last decade that felt kind of chill. Back then "chill" and "laid back” were still acceptable default speeds. Even the most manic of us then would fit right in today.
The 90s had the internet, sure, but only for a little bit and only at dial-up speeds. During that decade you were still really excited about getting some email (any email!) in your inbox (AOL or Hotmail, of course). Spam came through your front door, not through your cable modem.
Our entertainment was chill, too. We calmly expected at least one "A very special episode of..." each season for each show, and we swallowed quite a few perfectly-timed sweeps of sappy piano background music during the those very special moments ("I miss mom, too, Steph").
We were OK with laugh tracks reminding us that stuff was funny. We were OK with our TV stars wearing denim on top of denim ("Woa!").
We didn't have The Sopranos, or Breaking Bad. We had NYPD Blue, which gave us the most grotesque flesh we had seen on TV up until then: some chubby guy's butt flaps in the shower. Ricky Martin's "Living the Vida Loca" music video came out with a blurry silhoutte of a (maybe) naked woman in the background, and that had to be edited out due to it being too scandalous--save for MTV, but they always played by their own rules.
We owned Tamagotchis, or at least we did for a few days until we couldn’t stop killing them due to our neglect. (I got one just to impress the girl down the street. My heart was obviously in the wrong place, Tamagotchi. Rest in peace, my friend.)
The notion of being an Undecided voter or politically moderate was still generally a accepted thing. Vanilla was a good ice cream choice, as well as a good political philosophy.
Our President was so laid back that he went by fun nicknames like "Bubba," and always kind of reminded us of Matthew Mcconaughey’s character in Dazzed and Confused. “I tell ya, man, I get older and they keep…”
We had Nirvana, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, Fat Boy Slim, N'Sync, 98 Degrees, Eminem, and Moby all co-existing (save for the latter two) in peace.
We had the Macarena, which, after we had fallen out of love with it, brought us all together in our collective shame and self-hatred.
You could still do stupid stuff with your friends and not fear that one them had taken a picture/video/Vine'd it for future blackmail.
We used Walkmans, which meant we had to carry a separate briefcase for all of our CDs. But we were cool with this, because that meant we had jams for hours, or at least until the AAs crapped out.
Our Happy Meals during Halloween came in those orange plastic buckets that were possibly made out of poisonous materials. We didn't care about that, though, while we scarfed down a 20-piece McNuggets.
The thing I miss the most about this decade is directly tied to this notion of being calm, laid back, and going with the flow. It’s the loss of being lost. In the 90s you could still get lost, tell people that you were going somewhere for a while and that you probably couldn’t be reached during that time, and people were OK with that. No cell phones, no tablets, no mobile computers that were light enough to carry for a prolonged period of time. You could be chill and not have to worry about checking in, or feeling like you were missing out on something simply because you were off the grid. Everything that mattered was right there with you. The 90s was the last chance we had to live at this pace and not be pressured to crank up the speed or volume. You, me, and everybody have completely lost that sense of chill.
What about you? Any particular 90s memories/trends/shows that you miss?
I was looking at my Facebook feed today, and saw a picture of a friend and her boyfriend lounging by a gorgeous beach, sipping mimosas, and basking in the sun. I immediately thought, "They are always doing cool stuff." This, of course, made me a little jealous, and kind of bummed me out, because even though my lady and I do lots of interesting things, too, I felt like our life is just not as awesome as my friend's here.
I thought about this some more, and recalled the other times when I felt a similar punch to my ego after having seen what my friends were up to, after oogling at their beautiful Instagram pictures, or reading their witty tweets, or just being in stupified awe at how much better their life is than mine. This feeling of not being as cool or as interesting as everyone else is not new. The list is long, and the feeling sucks.
That's the Facebook filter. It's what happens when everyone pretty much only posts things that make their lives look really really interesting. Online social networks can be a few different things, and one of them is a self-manicured tabloid that we share with our friends. If you were given a chance to broadcast your life, you probably would not post a picture of your messy room, or tweet about about that bad performance review you just got. You wouldn't start a tumblr about all the hours you spent arguing with your parents about money, or record a Vine of your failed attempts at quinoa.
You'd capture the beautiful moments, the perfectly photographed (and filtered) scenes, the head-nodding insights, and the trips to Hawaii, not the trips to Bakersfield (no offense, BK).
You, me, and everybody online want to mostly show everyone what will make us look good, because that's a human need, and that completely makes sense.
But what happens at the other end of the sharing? Everything you post, and everything others post that you see, will cause a reaction, and likely a comparison. If I am having a mediocre day, and I see a picture of you finishing a marathon, this will only make me feel even more insufficient. "I never run marathons..."
It's one of the dangers of sharing our lives online: we aren't always consciously aware that the online self is not a complete portrait of the full self. Who we are online is, for the most part, decided by us. We can curate our presence online, and exercise a level of editorial control that is nowhere to be found in the rest of our lives.
You can be devilishly clever on Twitter. Your life can look like plucked out of a Wes Anderson movie through a Walden filter on Instagram. You can look like the Most Interesting Man in the World on Facebook. And why wouldn't you try to be? But when you are on the other end of the screen, remember that this is not the whole picture. Know that I and everyone else in real life do spend most of our hours farting around, and most of our days watching way too much Sportscenter in our messy rooms. It's important to remember this, pretty much all the time, because otherwise you are comparing yourself in a way that's unkind to yourself, and unfair to your pursuit of happiness.
As you age, many of life's experiences will become familiar, simply because you will have already had a lot of them, so you'll get better at predicting what's next. This is good for your lizard brain--the one that is always looking out for dangers and surprises--but it sucks for the rest of you because it makes time "go by" faster (blame your brain). Days turn into months, months turn into years, and next thing you know you'll wonder where it all went.
In order to "slow down" time and squeeze as many enjoyable moments out of it, you need new. New moments, new info, new learnings. It's the cure for this awful speedup, and Millennials have it in heaps. We are well known for our vast curiosity about the world, and our experience-focused philosophy on life. We don't care about getting stuff, like nice houses, or shiny new cars, as much as previous generations. We would much rather get more education, more experiences, and, frankly, more newness.
Your interest in the lifecycle of a star, your Burning Man ritual, and your constant search for the best grilled cheese are all helping you connect to your day in fulfilling ways. Your thirst for newness is not something to dismiss (or worse, be ashamed of, because some call you 'flaky' or 'ADD'), but embrace, because it makes you happy. It's a gift. It's actually helping you live a truly long and fulfilling life.
And this is just another reason why being a nerd is the bee's knees.