heart by foot

love, travel, and the future of technology

Vindication

As a former early adopter of the Galaxy Note, I couldn’t help but smirk while watching the iPhone 6 release. It has nothing to do with Apple vs. Android sentiments; rather, I’m genuinely interested to see how people take to the large device, considering the strong reactions I used to get, entirely unsolicited, from strangers — not anything as banal as mere compliments or insults, but almost universally a kind of horrified fascination, admiration teetering on disgust: “is that a phone?" Those interactions made me smile, because in an age where smartphones are taken for granted, it was intriguing to see strong emotions raised by any device, and I hoped someone was paying attention to that.

I personally found the form factor stupendously useful. To paraphrase the old photography saying, the best tablet is the one you have on you, and at the time, I’d rather have 50% of a tablet 100% of the time than the other way around.

As for the Watch - my thoughts on it are complicated and still developing.

This blog post — by which I mean, the First Post — has been in the works for nearly five years. Was it because I’ve been obsessively crafting a magnum opus all this time, and I’m finally ready to unleash it upon the world? Or building a voluminous backlog, years of updates, which I can now post weekly and cruise along on autopilot?

Nope. None of that. I’ve just been too scared to start.

Turns out, sometimes, it’s far easier than it should be to pat yourself on the back for success you haven’t earned yet, and live in the internal world where you’ve pretty much done that Big Important Thing you wanna do. It’s justified by knowing (feeling, in your bones!) that it’s totally within your capability to succeed — this knowledge of potential success is a place you visit often, in your head  and you know (you think you know) exactly how you’d go about doing that thing once you started, so you give yourself half-credit and learn to live with that.

Except things that almost exist, or could exist, still don’t exist, and there’s no such thing as half-credit.

This twisted fear of failure often masquerades, effectively and unfortunately, as perfectionism. Not only does not starting something prevent you from failing at it, it ensures the thing you’ve designed remains as you’ve envisioned it, free from the presence of external constraints — such as the petty trifle of actually existing. We hold on to the perfect idea, prizing smell over taste, instead of dealing with the messy (and ego-bruising) business of bringing it into reality.

And if getting over the hump of starting isn’t enough, the Matrix-within-a-Matrix that keeps you safely ensconced in inaction is the idea that even if you did start that thing, you’d have to make up for all the time you spent not doing it by ensuring an unrealistic level of quality, usually by expecting yourself to blast up weeks worth of thing-ness in a few days. Or some variation thereof, with the net result that you’re even more anxious to start than before.

As it turns out, the only way to break the cycle is simply to break the cycle. Makers make, doers do, creators create; and if you don’t do one of those, then you’re not one of those.

I intend to write as if I don’t feel like I have a world of lost time to make up for. I’m also going to disabuse myself of the notion that I have to be good right away. I think I have something to contribute to the world, but a process started enthusiastically is still a process started; to do anything well takes time, practice, and perhaps most importantly, embracing failure.

And you gotta start somewhere.