I'm really grateful to the readers here for feedback on Chatty, and to the Chatty team for inviting us to the beta test.
Lots of good feedback. The biggest complaint users here had was that the Chatty box would pop up every time you navigated to another page. The second biggest was the lack of login options - Facebook connect was the only way.
That said, I really admire how the team at Chatty has gotten it up and running and how they're already contacting people who run sites and blogs. It's imperfect - they're in beta testing after all - but that attitude of get something workable out the door and into people's hands is great. Big admiration there.
Despite some user interface and login hassles, I think people would have really enjoyed Chatty if we'd gotten some good conversations going. That didn't happen - partially this could be a "luck of the draw" thing, where if two site users at the same time had gotten into an interesting conversation, other people would have jumped in.
Of course, you know I don't believe in luck! I installed Chatty without really a comprehensive plan for it. I said, "ah, screw it, let's just try it out" - and then not much happened. With a cohesive plan on my end, I think conversations could have really gotten going.
A lot of times, people worry about new prosperity, automation, and technology. This is from a Hacker News comment -
"You really gotta wonder how this is gonna turn out. How are dumb people supposed to earn a living when technology makes all the jobs for dumb people obsolete?"
Every time new automation is invented, people think is going to happen. Seriously, this goes back to pre-Industrial Revolution times. Any time part of the labor process is automated away, people think that there's going to be permanent economic damage, and they're consistently wrong.
We'll adapt. There's always new things to be done. Personally, I'm betting on a greater diversity of creative and artistic work happening - people in core industries that are going to remain and grow in profitability (technology, raw materials, energy, consumer goods, construction, etc) will have more surplus income to spend on personalization, customization, different and more unique kinds of entertainment, etc.
I'm doing some work for an old friend of mine.
His situation is interesting. Not too long ago, he lost his job and got divorced, and otherwise his life got pretty screwed up and off-track.
He left the United States, took a job below his old skill level for a while, and then stopped that and started a company. Now he's living an exceptional life, and on the verge of making a lot of money.
I thought that was awesome, and I was quite happy for him. After we'd gotten done going through a lot of numbers, choosing some vendors, designing some systems, and otherwise figuring business out on the phone, we talked personal life. I said, "Man, I'm so happy for you. So much is going right. Congratulations."
He wasn't excited. He was a little worried.
Adam Limehouse writes in about "The Cognitive Costs of Doing Things" -
First off, very cool article.
Second off, I have a question/conflict about the language you used when talking about ego/willpower depletion. I would suggest that instead of talking about it in terms of a battery (something that can be depleted, must be recharged from the outside and eventually wears out) it would be better to approach this in terms of a muscle group many people have allowed to become lax (a virtue ethics perspective if ever there was one). I think the advantage here has to do both with the need for external charging intrinsic in the metaphor of batteries and with the status in most Americans minds of the possibility of becoming physically stronger as something they can do. We might pursue this as a sort of meta-willpower.
Would love to hear your thoughts about this, Adam
Edan Maor from Chatty just kindly invited us into beta testing for Chatty.
Chatty is instant Facebook-like chat for any website. Site visitors can group-chat with each other in one large chat room, and it gives site visitors a dead-simple way of interacting with one another. Chatty’s design, features and entire essence is about encouraging site users to engage in conversation with one another. The web is chock-full of information but what we are really after as people is not information but other interesting people. Chatty takes users closer to that end.
We're testing it out on the site. You can log in using Facebook Connect and chat with other readers.
Via email, here was my initial concerns about Chatty -
My first few thoughts/concerns btw -
Jamie A. Thom reached out to me recently with a fantastic letter, and kindly let me post it here for everyone. He talks about something I think a lot of us have experienced - having enough natural ability to coast through easy work, but falling far short of potential because of it. He shook out of it by taking a lot of action and throwing himself into the deep end of getting married, working internationally, and taking on some huge projects.
Pretty inspirational stuff. Here's Jamie -
Laziness - The Enemy of Victory
I am finally stepping out of the (more than 900 by now!) crowd of regular readers to get in touch and say "hello". First may I say how much I've been enjoying your blog over the past few months, I believe I first stumbled across you after reading your comment on a Less Wrong post about why humans are not automatically strategic. My only previous contact with you was a brief comment on your post about books worth reading to get started on Japanese history, I am currently reading Musashi as a result and am enjoying it very much - many thanks for those recommendations.
Matt from 30Vanquish left this really good comment on "The Cognitive Costs to Doing Things" - I think he's mostly right on with how he's going with it, but I have a few additional thoughts. Okay, here's Matt -
“Neurosis/fear/etc – Almost all humans are naturally more risk averse than gain-inclined. This seems to have been selected for evolutionarily. We also tend to become afraid far in excess of what we should for certain kinds of activities – especially ones that risk social embarrassment.”
This really hit me. I never thought of it as neurosis but that’s what it really is. I think I’ve made it a life goal to want to minimize this feeling as much as possible. It’s such a huge challenge for me that it’s something that’s worthy to challenge and overcome everyday.
It’s a daily battle because neurosis (especially in the social realm) is like a rubber band. Every time you do something neurosis inducing, it stretches out a metaphorical rubber band out more. That symbolizes how “flexible” you are with this neurosis. It’s like momentum. When you continue to do it, you have more leeway with novel experiences. (It’s not as neurosis inducing after the 10th risky situation in the same day for example.)
Starting in 2009, the FTC requires bloggers to provide disclosures whenever there could be hidden interests or unspoken biases related to recommendations.
Per the FTC rules, if I interview someone and they grab the bill for lunch, I would need to specify this. Ditto if I use an Amazon link that gets me 8 cents instead of an Amazon link that gets me 0 cents. If someone gives me a comfy t-shirt with a logo and I wear it in a photo, same deal. Disclaimers all over the place.
This would be tedious for me and a continual eye sore for readers. But rules is rules.
I found your site via browsing Ramit Sethi's Delicious bookmarks. Love it. I know I'm not offering a whole lot of value, but I resonate quite a bit with your writing and was hoping you could share some insight about what you'd do in this situation:
Throughout college, I played online poker professionally and operated a coaching and staking business. I continued playing until recently, and am currently two years out of school. I devoted so much time to poker that my skills in other areas are lacking. However, I have been studying HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL and have landed two clients for basic web design. I don't want to draw into my savings any further, so I am looking to work at a company where I can build my skills and work with passion.
I'm unsure how I can expect any company to hire me based on a two year resume gap filled with a career that many people would consider "pure luck." Resumes typically don't matter if you can demonstrate a great level of skill in an area, but as my best skill is currently still exploiting tendencies in a game of Heads Up Texas Holdem, I'm a bit stuck for ideas.
Any advice would be greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance for spending your time even reading this email.
Got this email titled "Investing and Living in Mongolia" from a reader. Good questions here -
I enjoy your blog. I saw that you recently moved to Mongolia. I am curious what made you move to Mongolia (i.e. curiosity to explore vs. a new job)? What is it like there for foreigners? Is it a suitable environment for investing capital? Do you feel safe?
Mongolia is an extremely promising country from the outside, yet nothing beats the perspective of someone who is there on the inside (even though you have not been there a very long time).
All the best,