2020 is my year
What a year, hey? 2020 turned out to one of the craziest, yet most exciting years I can recall. For me it started with bushfires running rampant in Australia, resulting in literal ash rain falling from the sky.
Once that was under control and Australia started recovering we got hit with the pandemic. The news turned from conversations around fire relief efforts to the doom and gloom that spread around the world.
That “story” never stopped, never got old, only got worse. Mixed into the 24/7 bombardment of corona related stories was news that Kobe Bryant died, the UK formally withdrawing from the EU, Trump being acquitted from impeachment, riots around the world including India, Hong Kong and the US to name just a few - I could go on. Honestly, it was a shit year.
However, things seem to be slowly getting better - Trump will no longer be president and there’s a supposed vaccine for the virus on the way. But hey, if we can get through the crap 2020 was - then we can get through anything.
Let’s just hope at the end of the day that we learn from this, take those learnings and apply them to make some good changes and kick 2021 off right.
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Pete: I was recently watching the movie Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson who portrays the titular character. After Lucy spoke the line "we never truly die", it made me go on a little spiral of some pretty crazy thoughts and as part of that I stumbled upon this article, "What happens after we die".
It was such a great read, but this quote especially resonated with me:
All things are made of atoms. They are everywhere and they constitute everything. They are fantastically durable. Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms – up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested-probably once belonged to Shakespeare …..and any other historical figure you care to name ……. So we are all reincarnations – though short lived ones. When we die, our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere – as part of a leaf or other human being or a drop of dew. Atoms themselves, however, go on practically forever.
Bill Bryson’s, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 2003 Won the Aventis prize for Science books in 2004.
It's a crazy thought that we are all the same and that reincarnation does technically exist at the core rudimentary aspect of things. But aspects of life like this really do show how humanity can focus on small petty complications and we should just enjoy the beauty and craziness that we are made up of billions of years worth of lives and experiences.
As for Lucy, the movie, it's ok - definitely a great popcorn flick that's worth a watch. I don't know why I keep coming back to it, though.
Gerhard: Yes, Pete - why do you keep coming back to it? :D It can’t be because of the insanely good plot and great acting.
I find the quote mentioned in the link very profound and inspiring. As I practice a lot Zen Buddhism, which doesn’t deal with any spiritual entity, but merely with reality itself, the quote triggered some very beautiful insights.
To build on this concept of a collection of atoms that simply disassemble and move off to find new uses, it should make us think about where we all come from. We all stem from this fascinating Big Bang that happened billions of years ago. This is our root and origin. We all origin from the same atoms that have been formed during that Big Bang.
We should stop seeing ourselves separate from this planet, we are the planet to some extent. Once we do that, we can start focusing on moving towards a society that learns again how to live in symbiosis with this beautiful planet.
Gerhard: I recently had a nice conversation with a friend about nature’s love for diversity. You see, we are both software engineers but we have a very different style in approaching and tackling problems. Whereas I am more the guy who tries to quickly prototype something, not caring too much about efficiency and elegance, my friend is quite the opposite. He is able to really think things through to an insane level of detail. Funny enough, we both admire each other’s way of doing things.
Yet, instead of trying to be more like the other, we have to embrace our unique profile and strengths. The true power of creativity lies in combining the unique profiles we have as humans. Life loves life in all forms and shapes. Life loves diversity.
The article I chose for this month’s edition couldn’t illustrate it any better. Google and Apple, one of the most successful product companies, have very different ways of innovating and executing. Whereas Google has a more experimental approach by failing fast and early, Apple invests a lot of time into lengthy and careful research.
Both ways have their merits, none is better than the other.
When I read the article I was able to find myself in both Google and Apple’s way of innovating and executing.
Embrace your unique profile.
Pete: Yeah super cool link - you can definitely argue the pros and cons from each side but at the end of the day they both have the same target outcome.
It really should make you challenge how you approach things and really question if there’s a more optimal way at the end of the day. One of Apple’s strengths is about the strategic controlled risks they take to achieve their goals. They want to push things forward and aren’t afraid of pissing people off along the way.
They go about it in a way that’s incremental and reusable. Each risk they take directly influences future product releases.
I especially love this quote from that article which is a good example of this:
“When the first iPhone came out and a reporter complained about how it was too hard to type on a touchscreen, Steve Jobs replied: “Your thumbs will learn”.”
Another good, more recent, example is removing chargers from the box. They know people will be angry and make fun of them, but in the end the competition will follow what they do. The people will forget and it will create a new norm. This then allows them to push other products, like the MagSafe charger, and create new sales channels.
Apple literally had their business slogan as “Think Different” and I feel that has followed them in their years.
If we think differently about how we approach things and dare to challenge the norm, we can create new pathways forward. There’s no right way of doing things.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Around the web
→ A Long-Lost Legendary Roman Fruit Tree Has Been Grown From 2,000-Year-Old Seeds
→ Elon Musk Advises 'Stop Wasting Time With Power Point
→ Book Recommendation: Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
→ What Would More Democratic A.I. Look Like?
→ Which Businesses Should Reopen First? A New MIT Study Has Answers
→ Put Down That Productivity App. It’s Making You More Distracted.
→ Why wireframes are becoming obsolete
→ It's time to implement a 4-day workweek. The pandemic has made it more important than ever.
→ Finland experimented for two years for Universal Basic Income and the results are promising
→ Can you upload your mind and live forever?
♥ Pete & Gerhard