Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
October 5, 2015 8:46 AM

Let's Not Allow The Internet To Make Us Terrible Human Beings

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly to SoundCloud, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up on listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry and Heather B. morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel.

This week we discussed:

  • CHOM program director, Andre Lallier, passed away this weekend. He was 52, and had stomach cancer. Andre was responsible for getting me on-board to do this weekly segment. Without him, I wouldn't have the privilege to do this. He also became a friend. We would often chat about music, culture and more. Very tough loss for our community. Wishing his family peace and comfort during this very hard time. 
  • Do you have an issue with Yelp? The place where you can criticize restaurants. What about something like Rate My Professors or Rate MDs for doctors? Fair ball to do that? The Internet went crazy last week when something called, Peeple, was announced. a Yelp for people. Yes, a place where anyone can rate anyone else, the same way we rate hotels. Is this a smart idea or the worst possible idea ever? Well, maybe the developers listened?
  • We are becoming a very sucky species. Last week, The New York Times ran an editorial piece titled, Stop Googling. Let's Talk, by Sherry Turkle (the author of Alone Together). It's based on her upcoming book titled, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, which comes out tomorrow. From the article: "Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won't mind being interrupted. They don't feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us." 
  • Every year, I walk in this charity event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada called, Light The Night. It's a national event that pays tribute and brings hope to all of those affected by blood cancer. There are 110,000 people affected by blood cancers in Canada. It's on Oct 17, 2015 @ 5:00 PM at Parc Jean-Drapeau. I'm walking because my best friend's daughter is in remission (she was diagnosed when she was 5 - back in 2010). Sadly, we lost one of my children's classmates nearly two years ago, when he was in kindergarten. Please help out, if you can.
  • App of the week: InstaSnoop.

Listen here...

By Mitch Joel


October 4, 2015 8:25 AM

The Art Of Work

Episode #482 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Passion just isn't enough anymore. Some might argue, that it doesn't even really matter all that much, because you don't have to tell someone to do something that they're passionate about... if they're passionate about something, they would already be doing it. There's no doubt that digital has brought forward a myriad of ways to find, nurture and develop your professional life. Ways in which we can make money, do the work that matters to us, and distribute it on a global scale. Jeff Goins lives and breathes this world. His latest book, The Art of Work, not only helps people to lead the life that they were meant to lead, but also acts as another indicator of how Goins, himself, has grown his business in such a small period of time. He's written other books as well (You Are A Writer, Wrecked and The In-Between). He's not just a bestselling author (writing is his passion), but he's a professional speaker and offers online courses (Tribe Writers) for those who want to follow his career path. Curious about how this type of person has become such a great marketer? Enjoy the conversation. 

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #482.

By Mitch Joel


October 3, 2015 7:41 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #276

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:

  • Haunted by data - Strata - Maciej Ceglowski. "The second half of that tale, Maciej Ceglowski told at Strata, which I helped run this week in New York. It asks: what if we stopped praising Big Data, and instead thought of it as nuclear waste? After all, it has a half-life that will outlive us; we don't really know how to contain it; it's an unavoidable by-product; and when it leaks, it's really damaging. Why should we care? Well, remember that in the 1940s the Russians were our allies; 10 years later, being a Communist Sympathizer cost you your job. So, what happens when political winds change and our digital history can't? Brilliant, and incredibly thoughtful. [As a sidenote, one of the reasons I love O'Reilly Media is that they put talks like this one -- which call much of the Big Data hype little more than snake oil -- on the main stage, rather than sweeping it under the rug]." (Alistair for Hugh). 
  • What Happens Next Will Amaze You - Idle Words. "This week I have two links to the same person's content -- Maciej Ceglowski, or @baconmeteor. The first is a talk about how botnets and ad-tech have given us a dystopian clickfraud arms-race, and in the process, undermined our privacy. He doesn't pull punches: 'We'd be better off if Apple bought every employee a fur coat and Bentley, or even just burned the money in a bonfire. At least that would create some jobs for money shovelers and security guards.' It's also funny, clever, and the first half of a cautionary tale. See above for the second half." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Building works - The Economist. "Cheap credit, excess capacity in the building sector, and sluggish economies. There's never been a better time to put money into upgrading our crumbling infrastructure, but it's a political hot potato that's well out of fashion, at the moment. The free-marketeers at The Economist think we're being stupid." (Hugh for Alistair). 
  • NASA Discovers Liquid Salty Water Flowing On Mars - IFL Science. "Will we be thrilled or disappointed if we discover life on Mars in the form of microbes in seasonal, salty water?" (Hugh for Mitch).
  • The Future of the Internet Is Flow - The Wall Street Journal. "Is your mind ready to be blown? 'The cybersphere of the future will resemble an electric power network, with information thundering through at tremendous volume and speed. Computers will become 'step-down transformers' to convert high-voltage information from the Internet into a useful, lower-voltage form. Flowing information will power your life. Today's great cobweb will be replaced by a river of information flowing through time: the world telling its own story. Coming soon.' Are you ready?" (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Reform Advertising - Jeff Jarvis. "We talk a lot about how the digital age has really changed journalism, book writing, publishing, how we read and more. My job is marketing. For years (make that almost two decades), I have argued (and still do) that we need to re-invent advertising for digital. The traditional revenue model of content delivered with advertising as the money engine must change for the Web. Banners ads got it all wrong. Now, it looks like things are coming to head. Famed journalist and media theorist, Jeff Jarvis, says it's time to reform advertising. My only thought is: what took him so long to realize this? ;)" (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel


October 2, 2015 4:17 PM

Find Your Next Big Idea

What's your big idea? Struggling with finding one? What's Next?

Too much has been written on creativity, big ideas and where they come from. For some, it's a pragmatic approach. Author Steven Pressfield once said, that writers have to "put their ass where their heart is." Others believe that no matter how hard you may be working, something magical is what makes creativity happen. Some have it, while others don't. Famed author, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love, etc...) recently released a book titled, Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear. This book is less about finding your next big, creative idea, and much more about what it takes to lead a life that enables you to access those ideas... and, it's a tremendous read.

What does a meaningful, creative life look like?

In conjunction with the book's release, the TED website ran a post titled, Fear Is Boring, And Other Tips For Living A Creative Life. In this post, Gilbert shares her eleven best pieces of advice (make sure to check out the article for a much deeper dive into what each of them mean):

  1. If you're alive, you're a creative person.
  2. You're not a genius, you have a genius.
  3. Make something, do something, do anything.
  4. Stop complaining and get to work.
  5. Frustration is not an interruption of the process, frustration is the process.
  6. Let go of your fantasy of perfection.
  7. You can't get rid of fear, but do remember that fear is boring.
  8. If something is authentic enough, it will feel original.
  9. If you're in the arts, you don't need graduate school.
  10. Creative fields make for crap careers.
  11. Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.

Dig deeper. Dig much deeper.

This past week, the tenth episode of my other podcast, Groove - The No Treble Podcast, came out. It features a conversation I had with Victor Wooten. One of the world's most acclaimed and respected bass players. Victor Wooten published a book a few years back called, The Music Lesson. It is a book that will forever change you. Not because it was written by one of the world's greatest musicians, but because the message is core to living a life worth celebrating. Music is all over Victor Wooten. He was bathed in it from the womb (that's not a clever play on words, just ask him). He came to the bass - as his main instrument - honestly enough (his brothers plopped it on him). His music comes from within. Wooten uses the bass, so that the rest of us can hear what's on his inside. He's masterful... and it's not a word that should be tossed around lightly. A respected player, teacher, philosopher and lover of nature, Wooten is a creative spirit. This podcast, like Gilbert's creativity rules above and her new book, are truly inspiring, if you're thinking more about how to let your creative soul roam free.

And, in you case you were looking for something to watch this weekend...

With that, Elizabeth Gilbert also spent close to 30 minutes this week, speaking to q on CBC about her book, Big Magic, her pieces of advice above, and more. This conversation will provide you with both inspiration and motivation to think differently about your work... and where your next idea will come from.

Curious? You should be...

By Mitch Joel


October 1, 2015 9:34 PM

Know Your Hustle. Own Your Hustle.

What are you chasing? What are you running after? Is someone chasing you?

To hustle or not to hustle? That is the question. Or, at least, that seems to be the battlecry of everyone you follow online. There's always a plane that someone is on, an important meeting that someone else is attending, some major event that you're not at, at big business meeting that you wish was yours, and more. It can feel like everyone is hustling and - even if you are working hard - the message can often feel like: "you're not hustling enough!" Facebook and Instagram send out this narrative, and we feel it: "everyone is doing something more interesting than I am. Why am I not there? What am I missing?" FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real... in our personal and business lives.

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony." - Thomas Merton.

My friend (and current SVP of Marketing at Sysomos), Amber Naslund wrote an incredibly powerful piece on her blog the other week titled, I Give You Permission To Stop Hustling. Now. If I were to think of someone with an opposing point of view to Amber's (and, perhaps, a small part of the inspiration for her post), it would be someone like Gary Vaynerchuk (who is also a friend). Gary would tell you that "hustle" is the most important word ever. Seriously, watch his video. Gary is amped and fired up for success and it's both impressive and intimidating.

Here's what Amber thinks:

"I can't handle achievement addicts anymore. It's taken me 20+ years of professional experience, illness and the failure of a business to learn it, but I have finally realized once and for all that life is for living. Not for constantly being neurotic about achieving the next thing, relentless self-help reading and feeling inadequate, working a thousand hours, never sleeping or having hobbies, beating ourselves up for whatever we think we 'should' be doing because that's what the other guy told us would make us valuable... Too many of us are defining our self-worth by how many hours we work or what stages we're speaking on or which clients we can list on our resume. Our careers are not the sum total of our identities, and it bothers me that especially in the digital world, we glamorize the world of entrepreneurship even though it exacts a heavy price on many. We tell people to hustle harder to be a better man. We hold up workaholics as people to emulate, even as the behavior claims people's well-being, or worse yet, their lives."

Define your hustle. 

Amber wears her heart on her sleeve, and her sentiment will resonate with many people. While I can empathize with her position, and have many personal scars from the day-to-day grind of over 25 years of "hustling," I still believe that you do, in fact, have to hustle with this one life that you have. The challenge is in defining your own hustle, and to not base it off of what others say, think or do on social media. The people who are hustling (and telling others to hustle too) tend to have a clear path, strategy and exit strategy. They're working hard, not to take away from the myriad of riches that life has to offer, but hustling because the work really matters to them (granted, their reasons for why this work matters may have a very different reason than why you do what you do). So, if you don't know what you're chasing, or why you're chasing it, Amber is right... maybe you need to step away from the hustle. 

Hustle with intention. 

A personal story: a very successful individual (not just in business, but in both their personal and community involvement) once cautioned me - at a very young age - to be careful about where I put my time and energy. In this instance, Mirum (then Twist Image) was still very new and fragile. I was giving a lot of my time to the community (volunteering, attending events, trying to get people to get involved and give money). They questioned why I was spending so much time on the community, and not on my business. My personal philosophy has always been that we can't have a strong business without a stronger community to support it. Still, this individual intimated that I was still young, and that my best "earning years" we now (early thirties to late fifties). The time to grow my business is now, and the time to give back would be more valuable (both in terms of time and money) later in life. While that timeline for financial accumulation sounds like a long time, it isn't. This individual didn't define "earning" as solely financial. They were simply cautioning me to get very clear about what my professional strategy for growth was.

Hustling doesn't mean giving in or giving up.

It's something to think about. The opposite of hustling isn't giving in or giving up. Some people work to work. No harm. No foul. My hustle comes from a very genuine place: I take work very personally. I always have. We all spend a good chunk of our waking hours at work. For me, it has to count. It has to be work that motivates and inspires me. And, like anything else in life, it's not about achievement... it's about doing the work that you were meant to do (achievement is an outcome, when that stuff happens). I'm blessed, because hustling has never stopped me from having other hobbies (have you checked out my podcast about bass players and my other one about heavy metal?). Hustling has never stopped me from having coffee with a friend (in fact, I just came back from a great lunch, that ended with a cappuccino and killer conversation). In fact, hustling has enabled me to find the balance in everything. I don't always get the mix right, but I can tell you this: I love my hustle. And, it is that internal hustle that has allowed me to see much more of the amazing world, and life, that is happening around me. 

"Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion." - Simon Sinek.

By Mitch Joel


September 29, 2015 7:22 AM

12 Years

September 29th, 2003. That's when I wrote my first blog post. 5000 posts later... and here we are. Deaths. Births. Ups. Downs. Health. Sickness. You name it. The highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows have all... Read more

By Mitch Joel


September 28, 2015 8:42 AM

Facebook Will Rule Your World

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio broadcasting out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is... Read more

By Mitch Joel


September 27, 2015 8:54 AM

Think Big. Act Bigger.

Episode #481 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Some people come into our lives in the strangest of ways. I first heard of Jeffrey Hayzlett after his... Read more

By Mitch Joel


September 26, 2015 8:21 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #275

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete... Read more

By Mitch Joel


September 24, 201511:53 PM

To Understand Content, You Have To Understand Publishing. BuzzFeed Is Pushing The Limits...

Three Billion Content Views Per Month. Mobile, social and ideal production facilities. Publishing and understanding how content now flows from a media company down to the consumer is fascinating to watch. Jonah Peretti has had a front-row seat. As the... Read more

By Mitch Joel