Time Stamp

Everything we do gets recorded with a time stamp: every transaction, FB post, tweet, virtually every step we take from the time we leave for work to the time we walk in the door at home.

There’s hard evidence of our whereabouts and actions recorded somewhere every day whether it ends up being a published story or not. The time stamp is the creation of our own Big Brother.

We bask in the production of our own digital evidence. We want to know how many Fitbit steps we average per day and the paths we take to get there.

We want to track everything so that algorithmic machines can predetermine our future. We rather enjoy certainty than face the stresses of indecision. Predictive behavior may relieve stress in the short-term but hurt intuition in the future.

Life is becoming a time stamp devoid of spontaneity. If we yield to big data, our next move may be as banal and data-driven as the next, blindfolding sudden invention. We need try things on a whim so we can learn from failure and build up the sticktuitiveness to endure.


How Your Location Data Is Being Used to Predict the Events You Will Want to Attend

I’m generally not a fan of predictive algorithms because I believe in spontaneity, discovery, and sharing. But this one makes sense.

Foursquare is sitting on heaps of influential data. Everyone wants to know what’s going on, they just don’t know where to look to find out. There’s Eventbrite,, and of course our own networks (Twitter and Facebook), but we need a recommendation on where to go when we’re just out and about.

This could be huge.


Sentient Streets: A ‘Living’ Pedestrian Signal of the Future

As more and more objects become Internet-connected and data-enabled (the emerging “Internet of Things”), technologists and urban designers are beginning to explore what this means for how we interact with everyday objects in a city. If an object is connected to its surroundings and made aware through data, it has the potential to become an active and engaged participant in its environment, capable of telling its story, having conversations with passer-byers, and emoting its current feelings

Fascinating, more exciting to me than connected home appliances. Do I get an emoticon like this ;/ when I jaywalk?


The Power of Observation

You can read all the reports you want. At the end of the day, the most insightful information comes from merely observing your surroundings.

If you’re a retailer, this could mean observing which bags your customers are carrying into your stores. Now you’ll know which businesses compliment your brand and which compete against it.

If you’re a social network, pick a place where’s there’s a mass collection of sedentary people and watch how they communicate on their phones. I can tell you right now from riding the train into New York every day that Facebook is still far and way the preferred way to share online, at least for adults.

Sight and vision are only as powerful as their activation. Things also need meaning in order to remember them. First you observe, then you snap and connect.

Everything around you has meaning. There are niche trends today that will be mass trends tomorrow. Data informs decisions but to see it play out live makes you smarter.


Rise Above Big Data

Big data will crush life’s free will, planning everything to a series of algorithms that threaten spontaneity.

What you should wear, eat, read, or listen to next is impossible to predict. You may like something completely out of the ordinary, off the predictive radar. And you may even discover it on your own.

Time is short and you want the good stuff curated just for you so you can get on with the business of living. No one is arguing against that.

But embrace more organic discovery for what it’s worth. Don’t be afraid to go deeper and try something completely new.

“Expose yourself to as much randomness as possible.” – Ben Casnocha