Focus on Attention

I pay attention to what smart people pay attention to.


\n

I moderated a panel on social media yesterday for IPN, and got really deep into using facebook and twitter (especially twitter) to monetize, serve customers, learn market data, generate sales and get referrals.  We missed however one of the core uses of social media — understanding more about people’s habits, in particular about their attention profiles.

\n

I get real-time and relevant data from following the folks that I see as leading thinkers in their field, and this is primarily how I learn about trends in my industry, or in tangential industries, that I can capitalize. By utilizing tools like delicious and twitter, I can see what smart people pay attention to.  By lowering the bar (and the risk) for them to publish information, they are more willing to share — and that’s something you can benefit from.

\n

If you turn on the fire-hose and consume the active sharing of information from 10-20 sources, you’ll see your rate of learning jump up. If you were one of the people who weren’t on twitter at the talk, let me ask you to do the following things to test this theory.

\n
    \n
  1. Signup for an account at twitter and get an RSS reader (I suggest google reader)
  2. \n
  3. Identify a topic you’d benefit from learning more about, like, marketing using social media.
  4. \n
  5. Search for 3-5 experts in this field who use twitter, and follow them (for social media marketing, let’s say @jacobm @jeffwidman and @garyvee). Read every tweet. My tip is to get it sent to your phone.
  6. \n
  7. Note if any of them have blogs, if so, subscribe to them in google reader (Jacob, Jeff, and Garyvee all do).  Also look for the more traditional leaders in this space who aren’t really using twitter yet (like Seth Godin) and subscribe to them as well.   note: do not use this opportunity to subscribe to topic-specific blogs or twitter accounts, as these can have overwhelming volume and generally just parrot back what the leaders have already known for hours/days/months. If it’s really important, one of the people you’re following will talk about it.
  8. \n
  9. Now, identify if any of them are using Delicious to share bookmarks. If so, subscribe to an RSS feed of their posts in google reader.  Jacob does. So does Jeff.
  10. \n
  11. Read EVERYTHING.
  12. \n
\n

It shouldn’t be too much. It’s rare that individuals post more than 1-2 blog posts a day, 1-10 tweets a day, or 5-10 bookmarks a day.  If it’s impossible for you to follow along you can cut people out and remove the noisy folks.

\n

For the advanced class, rinse and repeat the above with twitter, youtube, vimeo, tumblr, etc. Look for where people on the forefront are sharing what their attention is on and make it your priority to pay attention to that as well.

\n

Do this for a week, and I think why you’ll see it’s one of the most powerful tools to quickly gauge what an industry is working on at that moment, and what tips can you pickup from the thinking of experts.

\n
Related Articles

Are people with more self-discipline happier?

Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.

Buddhist monks of all nations mediate in Thailand. Monks are well known for their self-discipline and restrictive lifestyle. Is it possible that this leads them to happiness?
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
  • Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
  • It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
Keep reading Show less

Quantum computing is on the way

Ready your Schrödinger's Cat Jokes.

Quantum entanglement. Conceptual artwork of a pair of entangled quantum particles or events (left and right) interacting at a distance. Quantum entanglement is one of the consequences of quantum theory. Two particles will appear to be linked across space and time, with changes to one of the particles (such as an observation or measurement) affecting the other one. This instantaneous effect appears to be independent of both space and time, meaning that, in the quantum realm, effect may precede cause.
Technology & Innovation
  • For a time, quantum computing was more theory than fact.
  • That's starting to change.
  • New quantum computer designs look like they might be scalable.

Quantum computing has existed in theory since the 1980's. It's slowly making its way into fact, the latest of which can be seen in a paper published in Nature called, "Deterministic teleportation of a quantum gate between two logical qubits."

To ensure that we're all familiar with a few basic terms: in electronics, a 'logic gate' is something that takes in one or more than one binary inputs and produces a single binary output. To put it in reductive terms: if you produce information that goes into a chip in your computer as a '0,' the logic gate is what sends it out the other side as a '1.'

A quantum gate means that the '1' in question here can — roughly speaking — go back through the gate and become a '0' once again. But that's not quite the whole of it.

A qubit is a single unit of quantum information. To continue with our simple analogy: you don't have to think about computers producing a string of information that is either a zero or a one. A quantum computer can do both, simultaneously. But that can only happen if you build a functional quantum gate.

That's why the results of the study from the folks at The Yale Quantum Institute saying that they were able to create a quantum gate with a "process fidelity" of 79% is so striking. It could very well spell the beginning of the pathway towards realistic quantum computing.

The team went about doing this through using a superconducting microwave cavity to create a data qubit — that is, they used a device that operates a bit like a organ pipe or a music box but for microwave frequencies. They paired that data qubit with a transmon — that is, a superconducting qubit that isn't as sensitive to quantum noise as it otherwise could be, which is a good thing, because noise can destroy information stored in a quantum state. The two are then connected through a process called a 'quantum bus.'



That process translates into a quantum property being able to be sent from one location to the other without any interaction between the two through something called a teleported CNOT gate, which is the 'official' name for a quantum gate. Single qubits made the leap from one side of the gate to the other with a high degree of accuracy.

Above: encoded qubits and 'CNOT Truth table,' i.e., the read-out.

The team then entangled these bits of information as a way of further proving that they were literally transporting the qubit from one place to somewhere else. They then analyzed the space between the quantum points to determine that something that doesn't follow the classical definition of physics occurred.


They conclude by noting that "... the teleported gate … uses relatively modest elements, all of which are part of the standard toolbox for quantum computation in general. Therefore ... progress to improve any of the elements will directly increase gate performance."

In other words: they did something simple and did it well. And that the only forward here is up. And down. At the same time.

Why Japan's hikikomori isolate themselves from others for years

These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.

700,000 Japanese people are thought to be hikikomori, modern-day hermits who never leave their apartments (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images).
Mind & Brain
  • A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
  • This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
  • Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
Keep reading Show less