Growing up in the 90s and early 00s, I feel like technology and I both had our growth spurts at the same time.
Today I’m almost 30, and technology is omnipresent and software is eating the world as Marc Andersson would put it. Technology is a force, but whether or not it’s a good force I think really depends on who you are, and what the timespan is that you’re evaluating. Technology is not, left to its own devices, the great equaliser or leveler-upper.
Technology is a game-changing tool and offers the kinds of leverage people beforehand could only have dreamed about, but, to obtain that leverage, it has to be wielded, and most of us in this modern world are users, not wielders. Steve Jobs hailed the personal computer as a bicycle for the mind, but I think if he were to evaluate it today, I think he would conclude for most of us it’s usually just a cushy couch.
Are you pleased with the amount of time you spend on your screens? Do you have big goals? Do you remember what you read online yesterday? Have you got an attention span? When you’ve been on the computer all day, are you energised at the end of it? Does technology advance your own offline agenda? Do you even know what your offline agenda is?
I’m interested in rebalancing the power scales and subverting some of this asymmetric force these large companies have over us. I’m not convinced many of these big “tech” companies had nefarious intentions, but I am sure that the status quo is suiting many of them just fine, and it’s going to be hard for them to resist what’s working well for them. I want to see more like Apple and their Privacy stance!
I want to build things that help raise awareness of the forces vying our attention. I want to build things that help you decide what you want offline, and then software or apps that can help you get there.
We live in a world that rewards people with focus and attention. Attention is a scarce resource. If you’re selfish you’ll need it to get ahead of the rest of us. If you’re altruistic, you’re going to need all of us to have it if we’re to face up to the very real challenges of our time.
Don’t use it. Wield it.