About Ideas and the Importance of Solitude

Ideas need an empty mind to grow. Vacuum. I find that the constant noise of other people can interfere with intuition and innovation. Opinions are all fine and good, but they can affect our fresh ideas and mold them into something, not ours, beat them into submission.

The groupthink threat is real. At the age of social media, there are many people we can relate to and agree with, and less of a need to come up with our own thoughts. Perhaps there’s nothing new under the sun, but the process of learning and discovery is necessary to shape a strong, creative mind.

When we constantly agree with ideas that are not our own our mental filter weakens. We are more remote and care less for opinions that are not our own. With time, we become lazy. We accept ideas not because we agree, but because we trust the source. The context matters less. Our ability to distinguish one situation from the next weakens as we apply the same judgment with a head nod.

As human beings, we constantly crave new things but remain unfulfilled. We stare at a wall. We know it’s a wall because we’ve been told it’s a wall, therefore, it must be true. We don’t even try to reach out to test it. We’re surrounded by borrowed concepts. We can’t make sense of these, so we just accept they are there. We decide we’re depressed. There’s something wrong with us because everything (any everyone) tells us we should be happy with what we have, but what we have is nothing.

My ideas are not better than yours. They are just mine.

My idea factory is my journal. A small place of private space where the only audience is me. My innovation happens best on long walks on cold days when the people I pass are few and far between. These are the best moments of clarity, where I find solutions to problems that have not yet come to pass. My sadness is my temple, where I am allowed to reflect on past inconvenient moments and adjust for a fulfilling future. My happiness is rooted in conquering these moments.

When my ideas are done, when innovation took its course, then it’s time to share. At this point, my ideas have grown enough in their solitude to stand against others’ opinions.


So, Snapchat?

I read an interesting article about SnapChat in NYT. Was thinking, am I getting too old for this? After all, I tried it before, and much like the article linked in the Time’s piece above, it made me feel old. All the new cool kids use it, and I work for a school, which makes it worse.

So I gave it another try. This time I managed to have a better understanding. On the surface, it looks like a silly App meant to just have fun. A teen app indeed. But SnapChat just feels good to use, natural almost. A silly app maybe, but it’s designed by smart people. I took a deeper look at the design intelligence behind it, and here is what I realized:

  • It changes the stickers you can add, based on location. It has it narrowed down  to a neighborhood, time of day, etc. Sure, that’s easy, any app can do it, right? But any app hadn’t just yet.
  • The lenses, the funny face filter, are pretty good at finding faces in pictures. Bonus: SnapChat, unlike any other social media app I used recently, assumes you want to take selfies. Whenever you want to take a picture, the front facing camera is the first one selected first. Now this is what I call thinking about small details.
  • The pictures taken with it have filters, stickers, labels, and can be written over. This is also available for videos. How come no other app I know have such an amazing capability for videos? This is super useful.
  • The “my story” feature is actually not half bad to capture your day in a visual way. It’s meant to share with your friends, and then it’s gone forever (more or less). Your boss won’t find out about how drunk you got on your sick day from your friends on Facebook. The only person who can save these stories is the only one who should: you. Simple. Smart. No other social network thought about this amazing privacy filter.

SnapChat has more gems to explore. I’m actually excited about trying to use it, but none of my millennial friends will use it. After all, we’re too “app snob” to use something so silly, right? “When I was your age, I used Facebook! and it was Da Bomb!”

The guys who made SnapChat know what they’re doing. I hope They won’t hurry to make SnapChat public. History shows this can be a kiss of death to innovation.

Just Jumping to the Heart of it

I don’t want to start with an introduction about why this blog is going to be awesome. I figure I’ll just go ahead and jump right into things. The flow here will make sense later on.

My Tech Wiki (SSTech)

SStech is my tech notebook and wiki. It’s based on the excellent TiddlyWiki wiki application. SSTech should essentially be just an export of my Tech category of my larger, personal Wiki. As I work on the personal wiki, I hope to update SSTech by simply exporting the “Tech” category from my personal Wiki. Each update will overwrite the existing one HTML file on this website. I could include a version number inside SSTech as well, so people could follow the updates. I could even include journal entries in SSTech discussing the entries I’ve added. I should find a way to automate this process so I can export all Tech-tagged entries with one step. This requires it will require research and some Q&A.

Anything outside of the Tech category in the personal wiki will not fit SStech well. Posts of personal nature, such as meditation notes or an about section, means extra editing inside SSTech. I am not sure if I will have the time or energy at this point, I will have to see later.

The New Blog

This is the new blog.

Journal-based content: I should base my posts on my journal in my personal Wiki. It’s a good idea to record issues I tackle at work so I have more content to work with. This first blog post is an example of such a journal entry.

Frequency: One of the things I made a point of right away is that I should write about once a week, no more, no less. This way I push myself to publish content on a regular basis while having some quality control.

The SOP rundown: Technically, I should keep the 5-paragraph outline method. I should also include pictures and screenshots that I collect through my day .

The above does not make sense. Because of the of how  I post, direct copy paste from my journal with editing, my entries are usually long. I don’t want to force a formula that might damage the content. The point, after all, is to create raw descriptions of my thoughts with light editing. Questions, if someone is curious, can always be asked. I don’t want to hold peoples’ hands.

Also, my posts here will go serious chopping with the Hemingway App. I hope this will help to keep the language simple.