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Etech - Attention: The *Real* Aphrodisiac

Notes from Attention: The *real* aphrodisiac talk given by Linda Stone, a former VP at Microsoft Research.

The opposite of profound truth is another profound truth (criteria of profound truth is that it is true for everyone).

Yearning and fulfillment are more likely to come from getting to bottom of things.

Sweet spot for opportunity for us is where human desire and technology advances come together.

Continuous partial attention (CPA)
- something is happening, is evolving, building, getting refined over last 20 years
- it just is... it both helps us and hurts us, it is an adaptive behavior, we're on the way to adapting beyond it
- post-multi-tasking behavior. differentiated by impulse that motivates multitasking vs. CPA

Multitasking: give same priority to what we're doing, driven by desire to be more efficient (i.e. talking on phone, stirring pot, etc)

CPA: motivated differently, by desire to be a live node on the network, by other ppl recognizing us and making us feel alive and important. we constantly connect and scan for oppt'y, and optimize for best possible oppt'y.

We have stretched our attention bandwidth to upper limits, as if we expected personal bandwidth to keep up w/ tech bandwidth.

CPS is motivated by desire not to miss an opportunity.

CPA fits into larger context and set of patterns.

About to make generalizations:
- we operate with collective sense of ideals
- consider the years from 1965 - 1985: era of opportunity creation, creativity

  • miniskirts, gap, apple, microsoft, our bodies our selves, characterized by self-expression, the idea to create, be productive, center of gravity was "me"
  • entrepreneurialism flourished, divorce rate increased (it's all about me)
  • kids took many self-improvement classes, all about creating opportunity, making ourselves better

- took ideal to extremes... yearning for that which was sacrificed in pursuit of ideal. if it's about self-expression, we lost a connection to others, a sense of belonging to something larger.

- consider 1985 - 2005: era of connecting

  • trust the network
  • value communication over productivity
  • evolved from entrepreneurialism to entrepreneurialism with partnerships & collaboration
  • play dates replaced dancing lessons, violin lessons, went from things that enhanced our potential to enhancing our connections
  • went to scanning for next opportunity
  • example: yahoo employees leaving to form epinions w/ lots of nearly-vested stock on the table
  • we were everywhere, except where we were physically
Quote: "I left every social network i was on so i could actually have time to have dinner with people." - 20-something

- ppl don't want to live like this, 24/7
- CEO asking ppl to disarm at door of meetings (cellphones, blackberries, etc)

- 24/7 created artifical sense of constant crisis
- is everything really such an emergency?
- we stop breathing except shallowly
- era of connect, connect, connect is contributing to era of overwhelmed and overstimulated

New desires are beginning to surface
- everything in nature that works has a cycle... plant, seasons, athletes train w/ cycles in mind. always on doesn't respect this. if there is no winter, there also is no spring.
- email used for every single type of communication (how effective is it for decision making and conflict resolution and crisis management---NOT VERY). we continue to use it, though!

- email is attention chipper / shredder (think Fargo). Need guidelines for use?
- as we move from connect, connect, connect, we are on cusp of new opportunities
- we're yearning for protection, filtering, a sense of meaning and longing, they charactierize the services we want, the leadership, corporate cultures, way we're recruited, marketing, etc.
- we want to effectively sort through noise to find signal. use ipod for our enjoyment but also to filter out noise.
- want to trust that politicians are going to protect us
- want to trust google is giving us most relevant results
- want to trust companies we buy from
- these will resonate with us: meaning, belonging, protection, and trust
- attention is scarcest resource, it will define us
- ease of use is no longer good enough, the new differentiator, new opportunity is to improve quality of life. It will be the only way to differentiate going forward.

- does it help us discern, use attention as wisely as we can?

"It seems to me that the new opp is to move from knowledge workers to wisdom + understanding workers."

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Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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