Quality time vs garbage time

“I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about ‘quality time’ — I always find that a little sad when they say, ‘We have quality time.’ I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.”

When you realize there is no such thing as “quality time,” when you become okay with “garbage time,” you end up getting the best kind of time there is. You get the moment right in front of you.

https://forge.medium.com/theres-no-such-thing-as-quality-time-58db618c099d

instagram

New storefronts and restaurants were likewise optimized for the image. Considerations like comfort, accessibility, and acoustics were secondary to visual appeal. It was as if the landscape itself had dysmorphia, altering its physical appearance to fit an arbitrary standard that undermined its primary function. But maybe I had it backward. Maybe the point of a physical space was no longer to shelter physical people. Maybe a storefront was a marketing tool for a direct-to-consumer internet start-up, the way a website was once a marketing tool for a brick-and-mortar store. Glossier. Everlane. Warby Parker. The Sill. Walking into such places felt like walking into an app. They always looked smaller in person, like actors who are shorter in real life.

https://nplusonemag.com/issue-36/essays/my-instagram/

Quick way to get non-commercial search results

Problem: Oftentimes, when I’m using Google I’m searching for informational content that gives advice. What’s the best type of t-shirt to buy? How do I cook this steak? Why do lightbulbs flicker when they turn on? How much does a vanity cost?
Etc etc

The search results for a lot of these queries have been monetized to death. Instead of real recommendations, you get sponsored content from a shirt company, a cooking blog saturated with affiliate links, remarketed for lightbulbs, etc.

Soultion: The quick hack I’ve been using lately for queries like this is to add reddit to the end of the query. This restricts the results to anonymous posts on reddit that are far less likely to be monetized content. I’ve found you get better advice from real people this way. You hear from actual people who tried to find a substitute for cream cheese in a recipe, not from a content writer who is talking in hypotheticals.

Restricting to the search results to reposes by real people greatly improves signal to noise ratio for informational/advice queries.

The World’s Fastest Man

So what are the takeaways for a small business owner, middle manager or senior executive? C.C. is living proof that results can matter more than paradigms. You don’t need buzzwords to build. You don’t need inspirational posters to inspire. You need to work, and once you are known for that work, your personal brand, in turn, will bring even more work. It’s a virtuous cycle.

On the Cover: The World’s Fastest Man

The art of showing up

Not every day is created equal.  Not every day will feel great.  The energy & excitement won’t always be there.  You won’t always feel optimistic about your results.  The day’s outside stressors such as family, work, etc. oftentimes throw a wrench in your daily schedule.  It’s NEVER all the way right.  It usually falls somewhere in the middle between the two extremes.


Between the opposites you must learn to master the Art of Showing Up.  No matter where you fall on the spectrum, showing up produces a consistent feeling and result of achievement.

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There’s room to balance both ambition to do big things, and the simple practice of finding pennies.

You don’t have to be a crazy monk sitting in silence all day to enjoy your life. You should be able to enjoy it right now, with what’s around you.

Balancing seeing with being seen. Balancing striving with finding pennies. 

Applying love and understanding to ourselves and the people around us.

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The most damaging thing you learned in school wasn’t something you learned in any specific class. It was learning to get good grades.

When I was in college, a particularly earnest philosophy grad student once told me that he never cared what grade he got in a class, only what he learned in it. This stuck in my mind because it was the only time I ever heard anyone say such a thing.

http://paulgraham.com/lesson.html

Brands vs Ads

http://www.seobook.com/brands-vs-ads

My thesis was Google would need to increasingly promote some smaller niche sites to make general web search differentiated from other web channels & minimize the market power of vertical leading providers.

The reason my thesis was only half correct (and ultimately led to the absolutely wrong conclusion) is Google has the ability to provide the illusion of diversity while using sort of eye candy displacement efforts to shift an increasing share of searches from organic to paid results.

Aaron Wall

Wise words from the GOAT SEO.

In-SERP SEO

That linear SERP pattern still exists today, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Today, we find that people’s attention is distributed on the page and that they process results more nonlinearly than before. We observed so much bouncing between various elements across the page that we can safely define a new SERP-processing gaze pattern — the pinball pattern.
In a pinball pattern, the user scans a results page in a highly nonlinear path, bouncing around between results and SERP features.

A traditional pinball machine arcade game (left) is a glass-covered cabinet using an angled play field with various bumpers, obstacles, and targets. The player uses flippers to shoot and bounce a metal ball around the play field, receiving points for hitting different targets. In a pinball pattern (right), the user’s gaze similarly “bounces” around between visual elements and keywords in a SERP.

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/pinball-pattern-search-behavior/

Would be interesting to study the efforts of optimizing for #1 in Google SERPs for medium difficulty keywords vs. optimizing for CTR/attention in SERPs using rich results for high difficulty keywords. It is easy to earn rich results with markup, rich media, etc.

the web i remember

The death of the personal website has been lamented by many but I’m going to do it again. It is the worst trend to hit the web in the last 10 years. As Google and Facebook (and lately Amazon) have centralized the web, personal websites are vanishing. Instead, people and bots yell at each other on sites that mine our data and watch what we do.

The web I remember was different.

Twitter and Facebook were once places where you shared links to your website, not the place where you shared the content yourself.

Google was the directory where you discovered new content to visit, not the destination for consuming hours of content per day.

There was something special about typing in a URL and going to a site that was maintained by the person writing on that site. Each website was unique. Some were ugly, even.

Those were the good ol’ days where the broader experience of the web wasn’t over-engineered to death to maximize engagement at every turn.

Fundamentally, the web is still driven by content created by individuals. But by giving all of our content to Google and Facebook, the power of the web has greatly shifted to 2 companies instead of being distributed among the people.

Ironically, it is easier than ever for people to create their own sites, host their own email server, host photos, etc. 1-click installs are ubiquitous, WordPress is easier than ever to customize. But more and more content is shifting away from personal sites.

The last few years have already revealed Google and Facebook shifting to a pay-to-play model. We give them the content and if we want anybody to see if we have to pay. This is digital sharecropping on steroids that Nicholas Carr has written about in the past on his personal blog.

Carr penned the term in 2006 and he was rightfully scared of where things were headed and they’ve turned out even worse than he could have imagined.

Another scary trend is the integration of Facebook, Google, and Amazon into the personal website. Through hosting, commenting platforms, codebases and by controlling 80% of the web’s referral traffic even going the personal website route is difficult to escape big tech’s grasp. Your choice is to either give in or get no traffic.

Unless you go to extremes , by using the web in 2019 = using Google. Your visits, clicks, photos, tweetstorms, et. al are funneling into the Big Three in one way or another. You can fight hard to limit your contribution but the Big Three’s ever expanding web will catch you sooner or later.