Blog posts I didn’t write in 2010

In a notebook using the service/software Evernote, I collect ideas for possible blog posts. Rarely do these ideas make it into posts. They turn out to be just thoughts or observations. Some get tweeted. Some, I’ll share via Google Reader. Most get cleared out — or re-filed into another notebook — at the end of the year.

Here are some of the things that got cleared out over the past few days. Or, I guess another way to view them is: Here are some topics I may have been, at some point, interested in learning more about — or writing about. But, life and work were more important.:

1. I wonder if anyone at Sequoia Capital ever talks about that Malthusian presentation they required their portfolio companies to attend a couple of years ago. I wonder if they’ve ever had a “why we were wrong” or “why we were right” presentation.

2. My theory on why many (perhaps, most) historians and economists and reporters and bloggers are not typically very good when it comes to analyzing the present or predicting the future. My theory: There are tree-viewing experts and forest-viewing experts. Both are important. However, your tree-bias or forest-bias will make it hard for you to be objective when it comes to having the mindset to interpret the other. Most of those jobs reward tree-viewers. Forest-viewers are better at predicting the future. Forest viewers provide more latitude for the unexpected.

3. My prediction of precisely what will happen in the GOP between now and the November 2012 election — so you can ignore all the Blah-blah, media coverage between now and then. First, the politically-obsessed wing of the media will be obsessed with the GOP’s “right-wing” obsession with a Palin-Huckabee contest — that will last through Iowa. Palin crashes and burns at some point. Huckabee crashes and burns later. The eventual nominee will be from Massachusetts. He’ll lose in November.

4. What it will take for Obama to win in 2012. He’ll redefine “the middle” as being something other than “moderate,” something like “pragmatic” or “rational” or “most Americans” (anything but, “silent majority”). His backers (including those with blogs) will begin to realize in early 2011 that elections sway entirely on one thing: “the economy.” They will realize the importance (necessity) of “pragmatic Americans” being optimistic and will recognize that focusing on an improving economy will be the key to Obama being re-elected. In other words, they’ll realize their current obsession with how America is headed over a cliff is a great way to unseat an incumbant. Pragmatic voters support the candidate they believe will most likely keep their 401-K from losing value. A flag-waving, it’s morning again in America — don’t mess it up — campaign is the way to get an incumbant re-elected. Those who want Obama to be re-elected will likely realize pessimism about the economy is their real opponent. If they don’t, then he’ll lose. (Ask Ford, Carter, the first Bush.)

5. Why do people think it’s an injustice that the top 1% of American earners earn more than 1% of total American earnings? It’s like thinking it’s an injustice that the top 1% of college basketball players will make it into the NBA, while the other 99% will have to be satisfied with having had the chance to go to college on a basketball scholarship. Or, that it’s an injustice that the top 1% of high school seniors will get a larger percentage of Ivy League acceptances than the other 99%. I can think of better examples of where the U.S. economic system needs fixing than the “top X percent” one.

6. What you can do with Flipboard’s stealthy evolution into being a third-party social media management app (rather than a mere “social magazine”), especially its support of Google Reader integration, is something I look forward to showing my non-geek friends with iPads (however, I won’t use any of the phrases found in this sentence); primarily to trick them into finally using an RSS newsreader without knowing it.

7. How the Kindle, the iPad and an emerging infrastructure that supports those who just want to find, access (both paid and free), organize and read great writing are changing what, why and how I read long-form articles, essays, short stories and books. (Especially, such long-form supporting apps, services as Instapaper, somethingtoread.com, longreads.com, etc.)

8. A long post on why I’m obsessed with the Kindle Singles Store, even though it hasn’t yet launched.

9. The NPR App I’d like to see: Allows me to mix audio feed from their programming with some type of pace/beat music. I can do it w/ iPod’s multi-task, but I can’t easily hack the mix of volume on the two tracks. NPR has both music and news programming that could be pre-mixed.

10. A post about why people should stop trying to understand the iPad much like my previous posts about why it’s impossible to understand Twitter. The iPad, like Twitter (or the telephone or computers, in general) is not important for what it is, it’s important for how one uses it. How I use it and how you use it are different. You don’t need to convince me your use is correct and mine is not.

11. Who is Heraclitus and why does his name always show up in smart people’s posts.

12. Why eBooks and “whatever magazines are called in a digital form” don’t need video to be enhanced. Simplicity, readability, contextual tools — all are much more important.

13. Why I’m not an early adopter, even though people believe I am.

14. Airport advertising (the translucent poster kind) is mostly awful — and why. With examples of both bad and good.

15. “What’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?” (I wanted to write about this 2004 interview with Howard Cunningham I ran across something during the year.

16. Prosopagnosia: It’s a condition where ones brain does not recognize faces, even those of loved ones. I had never heard of it until 2010, and then heard two different interviews on NPR. I think I was going to use it as a metaphor for something. Unfortunately, I have a brain condition that causes me to forget things I don’t write down.

17. The smartest things on the internet: All the free things that can teach you stuff. While there are online universities and training sites that are generating billions in revenue, there is also an endless variety of ways to get free courses, lectures and books online, as well — not for credit or degrees, but for learning. My post was going to cover MIT’s open courseware, iTunes U, Wikiversity and Project Gutenberg — which is just a small sampling.

18. Every gadget I’ve ever wanted now exists in an affordable, consumer-friendly version; except for a flying car. However, I’ve discovered it’s not the flying car I find so appealing — it’s the “not driving” part. If I have the ability to work and communicate and collaborate at all times during the kind of trip I’d use a “flying car” to journey, most of the reasons I’d want to fly go away.

Now that I think about it, I’m going to put this post in that “ideas to blog about” notebook.

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  • Great list – re #18 – did you see the Amtrak report on bringing true European/Japanese high speeds trains to the US? I got so excited when I read it would only take 90 minutes to go Boston to NY, three hours Boston to DC. Now that even beats a flying car! But it would cost $4 billion a year for 30 years to build. I don’t see that happening in the current political climate no matter how many cars it would take off the road…http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/10/AR2010121007044.html

  • Anonymous

    Lots of fun stuff, here. The NPR stories can be pretty amazing, like the RadioLab one you allude to. nnI have to take on the political item #5, only to say it isn’t how much the 1% earn so much as the change in how much they earn. “Since 1982, … the average net worth of the richest 1 percent of Americans has doubled, while that of the poorest 40 percent has fallen by 63 percent (to $2,200).” from here. What does that mean for the American society? Doesn’t sound good.

  • I think I now remember why I didn’t write that post: When you start down this path, you have to start really breaking down the differing meanings of statistics…and what the unintended consequences of trying to “fix” such inequity really means. Wish I knew the answer.

  • Maybe those Google self-driving cars will be the answer.