Ethiopian Airlines Hijacking

Via @mkarolian this morning, I saw that the story of the Ethiopian Airlines hijacking broke on Reddit hours before the media picked it up.

Which isn’t terribly surprising, given the amount of people around the world that track aircraft and listen to the various tower feeds and chatter around the world.

The audio of the chatter between the tower and the hijacking pilot from the Ethiopian Airlines flight during the approach and landing, can be heard here.

It’s a bit tedious at times due to the long pauses and the formalities and codes that are generally used by ATC and the flight crew - all of which are fully in play here, due to the fact that the hijacker in this case was the aircraft’s co-pilot, not some standard terrorist.

But that tedium is actually what makes this audio compelling. In my opinion anyhow.

There’s something truly fascinating about a situation that is normally so chaotic (a hijacking), unfolding with the calm and orderly formality that normally comes with ATC instructing a pilot in for landing.

Worth a listen in the background of whatever you’re doing today.

Everybody wants to have a goal: I gotta get to that goal, I gotta get to that goal, I gotta get to that goal. Then you get to that goal, and then you gotta get to another goal. But in between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed — and if you don’t, you’re a fool.

A beautiful New York Times remembrance of Sid Caesar, legendary comedian from the early days of television, and an equally beautiful reminder that presence is far more rewarding than productivity

(via Austin Kleon)


(Source: explore-blog)

Time vs. Output

This morning I had a plumber come to the house and replace a jammed up shower faucet. The entire process took ninety minutes. Five minutes of pleasantries on either end (a hello, some explaining, and then a goodbye), eighty minutes where the plumber left and went to three supply stores to get the right part, and another five minutes replacing the piece itself.

So, essentially, five minutes of actual labor, which basically involved him removing the old piece and snapping the new one into place.

It all looked terribly easy, but it will end up costing probably $150. And I’m fine with it. I’m not going to complain that their rate is $100/hour and it was really onlyfive minutes worth of labor, so it should really only cost me $12.

Because I didn’t pay the plumber for the time it took him to do it. I paid him for the knowledge he’s built up over years, that allowed him to come in, assess the situation, and know exactly what needed to be done before doing it.

I paid him for the talent that made it possible for him to do the job (and to do it right) in five minutes.

Could I have tried to do it myself? Sure. I could have bought the same part, at the same supply store, hacked my way to getting the piece off (likely with the wrong tools and wrong technique), and hacked my way to getting the new one on. 

I probably would have saved a few bucks on the way to a less than ideal final product, and then probably would have had to pay double to the same plumber, just to have him come fix the mess I’d made.

When you’re in the service industry, the battle you most often fight, is not against other competing practitioners, but rather it’s against the potential clients who all think that they can do it themselves. 

Whether it’s plumbing or creative strategy, you’re constantly fighting against the “that doesn’t seem so hard” arguments, and the “that didn’t take very long” arguments. 

It’s a bit of a wank way to think about it, but you don’t pay for a piece of art, based on how long it took the artist to make it.

So why then, do we still evaluate these sorts of industries (services, skills, crafts, etc) in terms of billable hours and time taken, versus output?

Clients are assholes who take every good idea you’ve ever had and piss all over them, forcing you to go back to the drawing board and think of even MORE shit. But then, as you’re sitting and stewing and telling everyone what an asshole the client is, you usually come up with another idea, and it’s often better than what came before. Now, the client will also ending up rejecting THAT idea and reformatting an old Christmas ad instead, but at least you’ll have learned that you have a deeper well of creativity than you originally thought, and that your first idea isn’t always your best.

What the Fuck Makes You Too Good For Advertising?

(a counterpoint to “Do Not Go Into Advertising”)

Paper Is The New Facebook

Had a chance to mess around with Paper for a bit last night. And aside from the SWIPE EVERYTHING interface, the sexy display of otherwise boring friend-generated content, and the obvious comparisons to Flipboard, something else was immediately evident to me.

This, Paper, is the future Facebook.

As in, the existing Facebook app (and perhaps the site itself) will be phased out, and this, Paper, will soon be Facebook. In its entirety.

Here are some reasons to believe this.

  1. Facebook in its current form, is dying. Or at the very least, no longer growing. Something dramatic needs to happen to the 10 year old platform, if it hopes to live another 10 years. Or even another 2 years. What was once the bleeding edge of social connection and content, now looks and feels tired. It is tired. 

  2. But you can’t just abruptly change a system of this size, in one fell swoop. If Facebook updated its core app to look, feel, and work like Paper overnight, the company would implode. Shit, think about how people lose their marbles over small changes. This transition to the future, although it needs to ultimately be a sea-change to the product, has to happen gradually. Which is why they are introducing and building out a parallel product. So people (advertisers and consumers) can be weened off of the existing, and onto this.

  3. Mobile has long been an achilles heel for Facebook. Sure, the desktop site was tolerable, but the app always sucked. Even when it didn’t suck anymore, it still sorta sucked. But again, tinker-tailoring with the current app, making incremental changes, won’t get them anywhere. They need a full re-build from the ground up. Which is what Paper is. It’s not a redesign of the Facebook app, it’s a new app altogether, that looks and feels and acts completely differently than what exists.

  4. Where Facebook exploded as a business, was in its ability to reinvent how advertising was woven into digital content and the digital user experience. They materially changed the way brands behaved, forcing them to become content creators and engagers - making things people wanted to spend time with, versus just churning out heavy-handed advertising drivel. You could argue that in many ways, Facebook created the idea of native advertising. Or at the very least, made it mainstream. But now, this too looks tired. What once were elegant pieces of advercontent, woven into the newsfeed, now feel like the pseudo-display ads and the “click me” executions that they were once meant to kill off. While other platforms continue to advance and evolve the idea of “native”, Facebook has become a victim of its own success, driving the life out of the very product that its business has been built upon.

    So now what then? To keep current with users and advertisers (their complementary lifebloods) Facebook needs to once again occupy a place where current, dominant advertiser and consumer behaviors intersect.

    And that place, is in the richly designed, Flipboard style, full-bleed photo, beautiful aggregation, content-forward arena that has been pushed of late by folks like Zite, and Flipboard, and Medium.

So while I don’t expect Facebook in its current form to merely vaporize overnight, I do expect Paper to become the future of Facebook, sooner rather than later.

Google Glass Is Supposed To Look Weird

I was just reading a post from fellow digital guy, and agency neighbor Terry Lozoff over at Antler, about his trepidation when it comes to wearing Google Glass in public.

Which on the surface, I totally get. When I got my invite code for Glass, I was quickly shamed out of it by most of my friends. All of which generally came with the same line of reasoning that Terry outlines:

Glass has the potential to change the way we function as humans. It symbolizes the promise of a new era in communications, in content creation, and in day-to-day living. What it lacks, however, is subtlety… or, that element of “fitting in.”

But what I think everyone is missing here, is that Google Glass is supposed to look weird. It’s supposed to stand out. It’s supposed to elicit stares and questions and strange looks. 

Google could have very easily partnered up with Warby Parker, and made Glass look like this (and they likely will at some point):

But Google Glass is for the early adopters. And part of being an early adopter, is letting people know that you are an early adopter. It’s not about blending in. It’s about standing out in ways that show people, that you are on the bleeding edge. That you are ahead of the curve. 

Remember the Honda Insight? When it came out in 1999, it was one of the first true hybrid-electric vehicles put out by a major auto manufacturer, and it looked like this.

It was meant to stand out, and look like a spaceship. It was meant to cause curiosity and put drivers in the position of looking like the forward-thinking futurists they wanted to be perceived as. It was meant to cause other people to ask “what is that?”, just so they’d have a chance to tell them.

Some fifteen years on, the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius still hang on to a bit of that “look at me” style, as both models are still for the green-types that want to be seen as green types. But as we’ve reached mass acceptance of hybrid automobiles, and as the technology has become commonplace, so has the design.

The shift in hybrid car design is now about blending in. And at some point, the same will be said for wearables like Glass.

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