You own prime time now

Punch Clock

Prime time used to be a big thing, sure it’s still a thing, but a diminishing one. You can probably remember when the 6 o’clock news mattered. You can remember when the sitcoms hit the airwaves at 7.30 and the movie at 8.30pm. They all made sense because we all worked until 5pm. The shops used to be closed from 12pm on Saturday, and not opened on Sunday. The clock, above all things defined the industrial era. Time zones themselves where invented to serve national railroads. The clock told us where to be and when. We had special clocks at work to punch to show when we arrived and left. And smart media worked around this. While time is the key asset in the attention economy, the clock itself is losing its power.

Old media still thinks the clock matters more than it does.

We still have prime time. We still have that time when we sit down and absorb or participate in entertainment, but the time we do it is determined by us. Maybe it’s 5-6pm on the train listening to a podcast. Maybe it’s 11pm in bed watching a Youtube video, maybe it’s placing ecommerce orders at 3pm. The enslavement that goes with prime time is finally evaporating. We have our own airwaves now.

While this trend has started with media (Tv, News, The Press, Web, Radio, Movies) it’s part of the great fragmentation in all commerce and culture. The only question left is whether we are doing business at times which serve history, or those we serve.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Knowing what to know

With so much information abundance, it takes a certain skill in knowing what to know. Many emerging trends and changes in our economy and social structures are vital points of knowledge. We need to know them intimately, know how to use the technology and have a detailed domain expertise or we’ll miss out in a business or social context. But many things, maybe even most things, knowing about them is enough. Simply knowing it exists, that people like and engage in it, and why they like and engage in it will get us through:

– Angry birds

– Candy Crush

– Snapchat

– Reality TV

– Most news

– Any ‘down time’ activity…

If we’re across the motivations, the technology and the sociology, then it’s highly likely we wont get caught short by not having a personal interaction with it. Unless of course, it is related to what we actually do for a living. This is the key point, knowing which domains are worth us investing our time in to understand.

In a world of infinite expansion and choice where we can’t try or participate in everything, knowing what to ignore is an art form. If it feels disposable, then it is probably not deserving of our bandwidth.

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The next 6 months of news

I’m about to provide you with a report of the news for the next 6 months and quite possible eternity.

It’s all bad.

Every story, well at least those stories that don’t include baby kissing, the back page, or the lovely human interest pieces after the weather report. If it was good news, they wouldn’t bother telling us.  Their job is to leverage the most basic of human emotions, and that emotion is fear. Good news doesn’t hold attention as deeply as the bad does. Our lizard brain makes sure we pay attention for survival purposes. But here is what we should do instead.

Stop watching it.

It actually wont teach us anything, and quite possibly rob us of valuable time we could be investing in real learning or actual projects. It might even have a negative impact on our psyche and chip away at our soul. We must not let that happen. As entrepreneurs we are far better off investing our viewing and reading time in specific knowledge which might solve problems. All the news does is promote problems.

Everything we would see in a news report can be garnered by scanning a news sites headlines, which takes all of 2 minutes. If there is seriously anything life threatening, we’ll find out, and then we can dig deeper. If not, we should get on with something positive. In truth the ‘news‘ should be called the ‘olds‘ because all they ever do is recycle the same old crap that adds little to no value to our personal life.

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Re-introducing boredom

I feel like my brain is seriously with being overloaded with data. To the point where I am becoming addicted to it. I am constantly seeking the next idea, the next great blog post, and the next piece of technology news. And now I feel like my brain needs a bit of rest. Not from sharing ideas, or continuing my projects, but during my down times. My down times have sadly becoming momentary bridges of media consumption – there is no ‘down’. Whether it is checking my tweet stream, checking into foursquare and perusing instagram, it just feels like I am bombarded with other peoples thoughts. So here’s what I am going to do.

I’m actually going to ‘re-introduce boredom’ to my life.

So instead of checking my twitter stream while I wait in line, or read in bed until my last waking moment, I’m going to give my brain a rest and let it just be. Let nothing exist.  Let my brain do what it wants, not what I want it to do (oxymoron?)… and just see what happens and where it leads me…. just be a little less demanding on my brain and see if it likes it better. Might be worth a try for all of us to avoid the overload for a while.

Love Stevie.

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the 2 types of investment

There are only 2 things we can invest:

Time & Money.

Rather than complaining about not having enough money to invest, invest your time instead. Time is the great equalizer. A rich person has no more or no less than you, me or anyone. We can beat anyone with what we do with our time. Learn the skills or put in the labour until it turns into money.

The trick is once the money comes in, to keep investing the time so you know how to use the money and not lose it.

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The wealth misconception

People so often begin their adult life (teenage?) chasing financial wealth without even thinking about it. They believe the benefits of money automatically outweigh the costs of its accumulation. That there is no downside,  and that all problems in a world of endless cash flow can be bought out.

It is certain that too much money is a better problem than not enough money. But the overriding misconceptions of wealth are simple:

We only ever have 24 hours a day.

We can only ever eat 3 meals a day.

We can only sleep in 1 bed each night.

No amount of money can change these things, or improve the relationships with those around us. It’s worth remembering this in 2011 before we embark upon a new program of attempting to garner things we might not actually want.

Have a great year, Steve.

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Email is a not a compass

The problem with email is that far too many people let it be the compass of their day. They refer to it religiously, checking it with every spare moment they have at their desk.

Maybe some new information has arrived?

Maybe they should use it to justify a change in direction?

Email tricks us into believing that we should stop on the path we are heading down and change direction, react to micro pieces of data. We often know it is a detour from the desired destination, yet we follow it anyway. When we do this email becomes a self multiplying tool. The more we attend to it, the more it demands. Entrepreneurs time is better invested talking to people.

Email is not a compass, it  is more like a shadow. It reflects blockages that other people are creating, and what we need to do is move out of the shadows emails create so we can see our own path, and not theirs.

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