Friday, May 06, 2005
Is this a joke? Apparently not.
According to a study by Kings College in London (for HP), researchers found that "workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers."
The articles I read don't go much into the design of the study, just its sensational conclusions. But after the sacastic remarks and the joking is over, it's worth considering that email and IM and the Internet are really a very mixed blessing in our lives.
I owe my job to the Internet and I think the changes that it's bringing to business and society are, in one sense, fascinating. Some of them are great.
I work at home and so can work in my underwear or a bunny suit (unless I have to go out and visit clients, in which case I wear the bunny suit). But that also allows me to work 24/7, which I feel like I do sometimes, much to the irritation of my wife.
Those old "industrial" films produced in the 50s and 60s that forecasted the future promised that automation and technology would create more lesuire time for people. It's now almost a cliche to say that the opposite has happened -- we're able to work all the time, from anywhere. And because of that possibility, that's become the expectation.
To that end, Google just made blogger (which Jason uses) capable of being updated "on the go." Here's the official statement:
Today, Google released a new service for Blogger that enables anyoneon-the-go to create a new blog and post to it-- for free-- using theirmobile phone. Users with a camera phone can also post photos just as easilyto a blog. They can simply snap a photo and send it via email or MMS email@example.com, and they have a new blog on Blogger.
Existing Blogger userscan send messages and photos from their mobile phone directly to a currentblog.With more than 180 million people in the U.S. with mobile phones, this newfeature makes it even easier for people to start blogging. There's no needto sit in front of a computer to start sharing photos and thoughts withothers.
More information about Blogger Mobile can be found at
So next time, there will be no excuses for Jason not blogging on vacation . . . Which brings me back to the question of sustainability.
The pace of competition and product innovation in the Internet (and especially search) arena is unprecedented in the history of American enterprise (or the world for that matter).
How are these companies going to sustain their growth and how will the people working in them deal with the ever-increasing frenzy fomented by the ever-accelerating pace of work?
Have trouble relaxing? I know I do.
We in this Internet space who were not lucky enough to get on the Google IPO gravy train will need to find a way to create "boundaries" around the work so that it and we can sustain for the long term. In a macro sense, that's the same challenge that Google, et al face in trying to position themselves as the media giants of the 21st Century -- sustainability.
Wall Street loves that Google and Yahoo! are showing triple-digit growth right now, but they secretly worry it isn't sustainable. Hello? -- it isn't. Neither is working 24/7-365.
So, since it's Friday afternoon, maybe it's time to stop checking email, turn off the computer and . . . (I won't say what you think I was going to suggest). Instead, why not sit back and pick up John Markoff's new book "What the Dormouse Said...: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry." (Talk about your unintended consequences!)
Thanks for letting me sit in. Jason will be back next week.