Writing Matters* No. 1
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The Shift List
The best books change us. Recently I wrote about some of the books that changed me and the way I think about fitness, writing, and more, including Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins:
The next time you don’t feel like working out, flip this book open to pretty much any page. You’ll learn your excuses are invalid.
Goggins is a Navy Seal Veteran and super-endurance athlete. His upbringing was full of abuse, violence, and tragedy, and he uses that dark energy to push through physical and mental boundaries most of us would never even consider crossing.
Although the book is quite dark at times (and full of colorful language!), the overall message is that we are capable of far more than we think, and the greatest opponent we will ever face in life is our own minds.
(You can read my book notes for Can’t Hurt Me here.)
How rewards programs punish the best customers
Rewards programs—where we as customers sign up for incentives in return for our business—are extracting a heavy price:
Loyalty programs are “almost a honey pot for hackers,” said Kevin Lee, a risk expert for the digital security firm Sift. They tend to be, he said, “the path of least resistance”: easy to sign up for, shielded by flimsy passwords and often neglected by users. The programs, and their appetite for data, have grown, but security has not kept pace.
Companies are sloppy with data protections, and aren’t doing a great job of utilizing the data they capture:
Companies are collecting so much data that it is often “more than they can actually use,” said Emily Collins, an analyst with Forrester Research.
“They’ve got oceans of data and puddles of insight,” she said.
Some companies, like McDonald’s, are improving data protections. But more remains to be done, and a company’s best customers deserve better than they get right now.
I use iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) for 95% percent of my computing. The iPad Pro, with it’s instant-on start-up, long battery life, and always-connected LTE, is the ideal main computing device for most of us.
Ninety-five percent of the time, anyway. Will iOS 13 make it 100%?
We will learn more during Apple’s annual World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) keynote address next week, where iOS 13 will be previewed in advance of a likely late-September release.
The minor issues that keep the iPad from being a 100%-foolproof computer:
The Safari web browser often fails to render “full” desktop versions of web sites, showing mobile or tablet-specific versions instead. This can limit functionality.
Wireless mouse capabilities would be nice. (Even though ever time I use a laptop now, I poke the screen with my finger.)
Some apps limit functionality, requiring a trip to the Mac. (I use Squarespace for my personal site, for example, and there are a few things the iPad app just won’t do.)
If the rumors are true, numbers one and two will be addressed in iOS 13, along with a system-wide Dark Mode, much to the chagrin of Jedis everywhere.
Resist the Dark (mode).
The challenge of life’s fourth act
From zero to twenty-one is about eight thousand days. From twenty-one to midlife crisis is eight thousand days. From mid-forties to sixty-five—eight thousand days. Nowadays, if you make it to sixty-five you have a fifty-per-cent chance you’ll make it to eighty-five. Another eight thousand days!
Creating successful products and services for people in the 65+ age group is hard: no one wants to admit they are getting older. And since we see our purchases as extensions of who we are, no one wants to buy things for “old people.”
So, marketers must camouflage the solutions:
The most effective way of comforting the aged, the researchers there find, is through a kind of comical convergence of products designed by and supposedly for impatient millennials, which secretly better suit the needs of irascible boomers. The best hearing aids look the most like earbuds. The most effective personal device is an iPhone or an Apple Watch app.
Such unexpected convergences have happened in the past. Retirement villages came to be centered on golf courses, Coughlin maintains, not because oldsters necessarily like golf but because they like using golf carts. It’s the carts that supply greater mobility in and around the village.
The article concludes that we aren’t close to “defeating aging.” We live well, then we don’t, and then we die. Our aim, through science, services, and products, is to remove that unpleasant middle part. Rather than “forever young,” we aim to extend middle age as close to the end as possible.
Song I like this week
Leon Bridges, If it Feels Good (Then it Must Be)
Leon Bridges mixes pop styles from the 50s and 70s and creates something uniquely his own. He was terrific at the Orlando House of Blues a few weeks ago.
Thanks for reading!
*The title is tentative. After all, we are in beta testing here. Have another idea? Let me know.