Cue the Future

In the interest of helping people understand me more effectively, I’ve changed the name of this blog to “Cue the Future,” which more aptly communicates what guides most of my efforts.


\n

In my life, I’m focused on figuring out how innovation will improve our lives, and how we as a society can get there quickly and safely. I strive to be one of those innovators, as described by this O’Reilly quote:

\n

So often, signs of the future are all around us, but it isn’t until much later that most of the world realizes their significance. Meanwhile, the innovators who are busy inventing that future live in a world of their own. They see and act on premises not yet apparent to others.

\n

This name change has come on the heels of a lot of thought, including input from several friends, Steve Jobs and Mark Suster.  Read more about that process after the jump.

\n

Steve Jobs is a masterful marketer.  Recently, I discovered a video of Jobs introducing the Think Different Campaign from a friends blog, and was blown away with the way he boiled down complex realities into very simple concepts.  I was particularly impressed with the following statement:

\n

“To me, marketing is about values. It’s a very complicated world, a very noisy world.  We’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us, no company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”

\n

That key insight is important, if you want to make it easy for people to “understand” you, you need to give them a very clear description of what you’re doing. You can expand upon this as you get into conversation, but you need to have a clear description to share with someone that is broad enough to encompass most of your actions, yet specific enough to retain clear meaning for the recipient.

\n

Mark Suster has a great post on the need to refine and nail your professional elevator pitch, where he wrote:

\n

[Life] is filled with 20 second opportunities. Some get converted into 5 minute opportunities or into a lifetime. Most are squandered.

\n

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of personal description for the past few months. As a young person with an interesting and stimulating career, a public life,  a side project, and a growing cadre of personal interests, I’ve been having trouble describing myself in a way that honestly helps people understand me after 5 minutes spent researching me on my website — much less within 10 seconds of meeting me.

\n

I seek to understand the future and how it will change the things that are important in my life. This driving force has led to a love affair with Technology (a driving force of change), a calling related to innovative marketing (which is at the front-lines of redefining the consumer experience and the mechanics of capitalism), and a philanthropic interest in long-term, systemic change. I’m not sure where else it will take me, but I am sure I’ll be along for the ride for awhile.

\n

I don’t plan on changing the type of content posted here much, but I hope anchoring around my fascination with the future will help provide proper context to otherwise seemingly random thoughts.

\n

If you notice any oddities in this site, please let me know, but all pages and links should automatically redirect to the new site and all old posts should be up and functioning. Thanks to Ben Casnocha, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, and Wayne Willis for discussions on this subject.

\n
Related Articles

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists sequence the genome of this threatened species

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.

Surprising Science
  • A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
  • It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
  • Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.

Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.

elephant by Guillaume le Clerc

Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons

13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.

It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.

But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.

John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."

What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.

Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.

Why cauliflower is perfect for the keto diet

The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.

Purple cauliflower. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
  • The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
  • It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
Keep reading Show less