Category Archives: Parenting

Understanding Oil and People.

The best, and I mean best analogy came from Leo Laporte about what is going on right now.   Humans have become the new oil.   Let us go back, and dig deep into this because people need to understand, and right now it is just the Tech Community that (and few in it) that really grasps what is going on.

First, when the internet started, there were many things that were free.  It was for colleges and learning.  It was a large sharing of information, all to help each other.  Soon as more people got on, there was a race to monetize it (the Internet gold rush) – One key thing was advertising.   And the event of the “banner add” – Get a flashback to all the banner ads that were annoying, bright and really pissing people off.  Then came Google, a simple search UI, that was truly minimalistic.   Just a search bar, and results.   The results were most relevant, and slowly it became the defacto search.   Of course, this too needed to be monetized.   Later on social media hit, Facebook being a dominating winner, and it too was searching for monetization.

Well, neither of these companies can charge so they had to go to an  “ad” model.  Generic ads (like the ones on TV) are only effective to a point.  How many times have you seen an ad on TV and are like, I am not the audience for this?   Well Google, Facebook and countless of other companies that rely on advertising needed signal from you so that they could direct advertising that would be relevant.   And if you think about it, wouldn’t you rather see something you are interested in?   So these companies tried to get as much data about you, but giving you “free” things, and even giving our free things to others where you interact to gather additional signals.  This is all technically fine, as you are getting something free for what you are giving them (eyeballs for ads.)

But, here is where the creepy line hit.  Instead of saying showing you ads of Porsche SUVs, when you clicked on articles about SUVs, and Luxury cars, people started looking deeper into the signals.  They started mining your actions in a more psychological way.   These companies started trying to figure out if you were happy, depressed, angry etc.   So think about it this way, for some people they may “eat more” when they are upset,  If systems can figure out by what you are searching for what you are reading and or what you are posting, and able to sell you something or convince you to Vote (or possibly not to vote)  This is where the analogy for Oil.  Oil needs to be mined and then refined before use.  We are being mined, our data is being mined and refined, and they figure out what can be used.  Our information is useless without being refined.

The mining of this information, and the ability to use it to an advantage where we are weak crosses the “Creepy” line.  The Creepy line is what most people feel, but don’t get.  They don’t know that their emotions are being played with, or that they are finding weaknesses to exploit for financial gain.   In Amazon, if you search something, they often show you the same thing in an ad (whether you bought it or not) and sometimes it feels annoying but not creepy.  But what feels creepy is when you and ad are there that somehow touches and emotion.  As long as these companies are giving you “free” access (Google/Facebook etc.) they need to figure out how to make the most of your eyeballs.    Would you be willing to “pay” for Facebook?  Some estimates put the revenue about $26/per person per year.  I think many people would pay that, I sure would. To have zero ads, and keep my data private.  But most likely it is not going to happen, people like “free”

We were not born understanding how to determine these things, we don’t a grasp of what is going on.  I hope my kids and the younger generation can see what is going on and act appropriately.  Until we build a filter, the best we can do is understand what is going on.  But just knowing is an effective way to at least make sure you can think before you click on something in those systems.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do with my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there are no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities I care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  I do moderate all comments, and try to remove anything that is not in the spirit of the site.  Thanks for reading

How many “List of Successful things people do are there”….

In my twitter, facebook, email and other feeds I get a least one “Top X things Successful people do” Articles, and like a sucker I read each one.

  • http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-things-successful-people.html
  • http://www.businessinsider.com/what-successful-people-do-friday-afternoon-2016-10
  • and over 3 million other links.

I don’t know why I read each one, hoping there is some magic pill that makes me turn from who I am to uber successful.  Then I woke up.   I finally realized, these articles are no better than the “fitness” in a bottle, or even lose weight on a DVD.   It does not take a genius to realize that you cannot lose weight by taking a pill, that no workout is going to rescue you from eating a crappy diet.   There is no study ever proving any of it, no matter what Dr. Oz or other idiot on the TV says.  Losing weight is purely about 1 thing, finding a calorie deficit, aka. burning more calories than you take in.  (If you read my fit.lrau.com blog you will see there are some questions about what is a calorie and a lot of interesting side thoughts but I digress)

So if you cannot lose weight in a $19.95 purchase, what made me think, I can suddenly become successful by reading an article and suddenly giving myself 10 new traits/practices etc.  And yeah it took years of reading these articles to wake up.  I woke up to the reality that anyone can find dozens are so successful people, find a few things they have in common and say “Hey guess what, do these or act like this” and you will be successful.   I chose to see what I hide in common with Bruce Lee to prove a point.  Lets assume we are both “successful” here is what i found we have in common.

  • We both took fencing
  • We both believe our children are our greatest accomplishment
  • We believe the relationship with our spouse is one of a team
  • We both had a miniature schnauzer for a pet
  • We both read a to on non-fiction to learn
  • We both multi-tasked often (reading / listening to music)
  • We both were constantly fidgety

Now of course I went for stuff that really seems insignificant, and that was done intentionally.  Success does not happen due to having some list of traits.  In fact I wish the articles would find people that had the same 10 traits and were not successful.  To me it would be like athletes are musicians.  I know 100s of musicians that I think are really good at playing or singing.  But very few “made” it.  Same with Athletes, 100s that are talented, work hard and look like they should be playing at the next level.   But only few of each ever make that ‘next’ level, and fewer stay there.

So what are you supposed to do.  Later in life my daughter had a hockey coach who carried around a saying in his wallet.  “My name is Josh Esformes, and I make a living being myself”  To me it is something that sank in, to be successful, you need to be yourself.  Taking the athlete example again, look at Borg, McEnroe and Connors as tennis players (Google them if you don’t know who they are)  They were as different personality as they could be, Borg was quiet, and just went to work, McEnroe somehow had to get enrage and angry to play well, and Connors needed energy from the fans and pumped his fist often.  Yet they were all successful.  You don’t have to be someone else to be successful, you need to be yourself, who that is, you must find out.  It is your inner journey, and Bruce Lee would be proud of that, as he always believed reaching up and learning (guess that is another thing we have in common)   I now carry that same saying in my wallet (changing the name of course)  and will let others determine how successful I am.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  I do moderate all comments, and try to remove anything that is not in the spirit of the site.  Thanks for reading.

Sometimes someone writes something better than you could…

And this is one of the times.   19 Things that I wish my daughter learns….

Having two daughters I hope they learn all of it way before that.  The last is to find one charity that you can give to.   I have written about that previously.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

Sometimes you drive a Camaro

When you are young and single, you buy yourself a hot car like a Camaro.   Yes I know some people are mustang fans, and others are into Japanese crap, but for the story let’s stick with the Camaro.  It’s great seats two, and not much in the back seat, you look cool with your hair slicked back, ray bans on.  Drive around with the windows down and the radio blasting on ocean ave by the shore.  The goal to impress chicks, and guess what?  Some day you do, and you finally find the one.

Of course the first few years of marriage, still driving around in the Camaro it’s cool since it is just you.  But eventually you have to 2.3 kids, and when they are really little, they fit in the back.  You by strollers designed by origami experts so they fit in th trunk, but runs to Cosco are not that easy as you need to load up on diapers etc.  As kids get older and they have friends it’s hard to squeeze the 4 kids and 2 adults in the car, yes kids can sit on each others lap, and while they are young, they seem to be ok with this.  But as they get bigger it’s harder.  The funny thing is that you don’t blame the car for the issue, but the situation. That the car was fine in your 20s its fine now.

Fast forward 20 years, the kids are gone, and now you have an antique Camaro that you take to car shows as its all original, and mint.  You tell stories of how you and your wife met and how you squeezed 6 kids in the back once, and tell fond stories.  Noting there is nothing wrong with the Camaro.

It’s not that every tool is right for the situation, but sometimes you do have to use a hammer, sometimes you have to use a screw driver, and sometimes you can drive a Camaro

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

Being a parent…. on simple lesson to be a better one.

Definition of Adolescence. “The 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day battle to not be embarrassed” – and “Any kid would rather be perceived as bad, then dumb”

Why does that mean anything?   As a parent you do millions of things that have an effect on your children.  But often you don’t see the motivation behind some of the behavior.   And this one is key.  Sometimes the acting out etc, is not because they are bad, it’s because of a perception.  If they perceived to be dumb, they are thrown into a “group” which it is hard to get out of.  Being “Bad” is a group that is good to be in for an adolescence.    So when you have kids, this is something to keep an eye out for, but it does also happen as adults.  If you see the behavior in your child, make sure you don’t have the halo effect and think they are smart.  Look at what they can or can’t do, and the best think you can do is get them the help so they learn what they need to learn.   The stupid label on them, is tough to shake, but catching it as acting bad, and then getting them help will stop the bad behavior and fix the root cause.

What does that have to do with being a better person?   It is often we need to dig deeper into the cause of the behavior not just the behavior.  If people around you are acting in a way that seems off, you can either say “they are just bad”  But they may be ignorant and hiding it, thus causing a problem that shouldn’t be.   You being the better person, has to rise above the pettiness and not get into the shouting match, the argument and the name calling.  You must take a step back, and find an alternative to figuring it all out.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.