The format is simple, I answer reader questions about the main topics we discuss here: work, technology, and the deep life. I do my best to avoid rants (spoiler alert: I usually fail).
While I'm not as big as a fanboy as some of my friends are, I still enjoy Newport's output a lot. I read most of his book except the college ones, I read his blog and for whatever reason he is a frequent podcast-guest on most of the shows I listen to. And now he got his own.
I start getting bored by all the different timelines and inboxes I have and follow: Twitter, Reddit, Email, RSS. Everything is crying for my attention. But there is seldom anything new. It took me a while to realize, but everyone is continuously repeating themselves. Non-tech-bloggers write what I already read in books, people from Twitter steal each other's tweets, news happens in a cycle, Redditors reposts reposts.
My solution for now? Delete Twitter from my phone, unsubscribe to a lot of newsletters, read even less news than I already do, and clean up Reddit.
Dropbox has quietly launched a new password manager named Dropbox Passwords. The app is only available in a private beta on Android, and although you can download it, you won't be able to use it unless you've got an invite. The app's Play Store listing notes that the app is currently "in development" and therefore may be unstable.
Dropbox is not a file-hosting service anymore but something else. And since they decided to become that something else, the service became unusable for me.
Their new app is a memory hog, and they keep adding features I don't need like Dropbox Paper, and now Dropbox Passwords. Why does a file-hosting service need a "For you"-tab? It's not Spotify.
I used to pay happily for Dropbox but completely switched to iCloud Drive, despite all its problems. And looking through my Twitter-timeline the last couple of months I was not the only one.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political here. Instead, I’d like to use this as an opportunity to walk you through how I go about processing extremely emotional and upsetting public events such as this. I think this is important because right now, due to social media and camera phones and 24/7 news coverage, as a society we've become bad at processing these events in a helpful way. I’ve had to kind of teach myself to go about reading about these things in a more objective manner and it’s not easy. So, I figured I’d break down my process here.
Read the whole thing. It might help you see things a bit more objective.
In the past couple of weeks, Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify have all announced that they are going to continue to allow employees to work from home indefinitely. Other corporate giants such as Morgan Stanley, Mondelez, Nationwide Insurance, and Barclays are strongly considering doing the same.
While Saint-Paul, my employer is not a corporate giant, it has recently been acquired by a large Belgium media company. And their CEO, basically my über-boss, mentioned in an interview that he thinks we'll all be working from home and only come to the office for meetings that absolutely have to take place in person. I like that guy already!
With most of the workforce being remote, I could see cities instead organizing themselves around hobbies, interests, and attractions. Cities will develop much more "character" and "personality" as the increased freedom of movement will drive like-minded people to each geographic location.
Luxembourg is a weird country in many ways. Because it is such a rich country, the capital, conveniently called Luxembourg-City, has some characteristics of big cities, including incredibly ridiculous real estate prices. But Luxembourg is tiny. So, as soon as you drive 20 minutes in either direction, you end up in a more rural area.
I have always lived north of the capital. For us, us being my social circle living here, Luxembourg-City has always been a city organized around hobbies. Want to go to a good restaurant? Luxembourg-City. Want to go shopping? Luxembourg-City. Want to go out for a few drinks? Luxembourg-City. You get the point.
But: It is also the place where all the companies are. It's where you commute to every day to get to work. And as for other major cities, getting there is a shit show. Traffic jams are the norm.
The pandemic changed this. Nearly 70% of the workforce in Luxembourg is working from home, either full-time or part-time. And suddenly, no more traffic jams. The government over here seems to love it. From the Luxembourg Times:
"Teleworking has gained in importance with the current crisis," a spokesman for the finance ministry said in an email. The country also promised more political parleying about the issue with its neighbours.
"One objective for the Grand Duchy is to continue to promote and facilitate teleworking for its citizens and commuters together with its three neighbouring countries," the spokesman said.
There are still some legal issues though, particularly for commuters coming from the neighbouring countries, Germany, France and Belgium.
But the more people talk about it, the more it seems it's here to stay. And the more companies adopt it, the more I believe companies that are still against home-office will lose their workforce during the next couple of years.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what will happen to the country and the capital.
I’m the first to admit that I lost my way in all of this too. A few years back I realized that that was exactly how I was operating. I started out many years ago sharing personal stories (i.e. mostly rants, I’m angry like that) and working to connect with the folks who were paying attention. Then I started learning about marketing and how content worked, and getting guest columns in bigger publications, and beta access to write on new platforms, and I realized how easy it was to game the system if you understood the system. I learned how to write to get clicks and how to write to see audience growth. I was no longer blogging, I was creating content as a Content Marketer (title case, for importance!).
I love blogging. But I nearly lost my way here too during the last couple of weeks. I suddenly thought I had to act grown up, write things that could be published on Medium. Stuff that *clicks*.
That process, looking for the next big thing, made me miserable.
I work in marketing, and I know how to present and sell content, even using a little cash, to reach a big audience. I also do Data-analysis, so I know how to use Data to find out how to optimize content strategies. But I don’t want to do that here. I don‘t want to over-optimize things to write a viral post.
What I really want is to write on what I care about, linking to what I find interesting, and sharing my thoughts on things. Sometimes these might be long-form articles on my diet or a guide on how to meditate. Sometimes I might rant about an app or link to a Sudoku-video.
Because this is what blogging is all about. A place where I can open up a little to the world (wide web) and share what I care about.