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What To Stop Doing


Jim Collins, Best New Year’s Resolution?

Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

I had a subarachnoid aneurysm a few years ago, and at one point I was informed — erroneously — that my brain injury was inoperable. I had some time to reflect on that, and even after it was clear that surgery was, in fact, an option, the mortality stats on my condition were pretty harrowing, with at least 50% mortality, and given the severity of my situation, significantly higher.


I have changed a great deal since then. I started playing the guitar again, after about 20 years hiatus, for example. I’ve started writing music and poetry again. I drink a lot more champagne, too. Have to smell those roses.

But I still need to stop once in a while and ask: what should I stop doing?

This year, I intend to raise even greater barriers to long-distance travel, which is so costly in time and often so meager in payback.

I am involved in a foundational transition in my work, started last year. I am transitioning from a modality of acting as an advisor to companies (usually software start-ups), and investing more of my  my work-related efforts into various, well-defined research initiatives, often working cooperatively with other researchers. I will be saying more about these initiatives later this week, with more specific announcements.

The book that I have been talking about for the past few months (formerly called Liquid City) will be sewn into the new research agenda, and will be rolling out in pieces this year, in a slightly reconsidered form, and a new title (in process).

I have recommitted myself to connecting with the community here, in Beacon NY, my adopted home, and I am working to get a food cooperative off the ground. Most critically, my family is buying and moving into a new place here in the next week, and in the next few months we will be putting in a garden, fixing up the place, and settling in. Going to dedicate a lot to that.

I am working in NYC from the Grind coworking space, and I hope to be an active and involved member of that community, and the tech and innovation community of NYC, as well. This will all be keeping me relatively close to NYC, more local than I have been in decades.

I still plan to do 12-15 conferences in distant places, but I intend to keep to that number as a max, and the rewards — on some level or another — have to be pretty high to get me to go.

Say yes to some things, and no to most others. But I am open to discuss new ideas with people. I will be starting open office hours in February, after the move is over.

(via stoweboyd)