Last night I participated in a brainstorming session at Hacks & Hackers Seattle. I am extremely interested in the future of journalism and content creation/production. A huge reason is that my startup, BetterAt is focused on leveraging forms of content production to disrupt the adjacent and currently sleeping education industry.
I had a great time and learned a lot from hacks (that’s the actual slang term for a journalist, I was told) what types of things they were interested in from technologists. It was a great networking event because it wasn’t just sitting around and shooting the breeze, but we actually spent time brainstorming and defining what we thought the next phase of innovation would be in web video that could help tell stories and enlighten consumers.
Interestingly enough, the elephant in the room that there wasn’t much talk about is monetization. I was shocked that many people just weren’t as interested in figuring out a better monetization model for content other than residual forms of advertising. To me, it seems like in order for this industry to continue existing at the current level, there needs to be focus on curation, saving people time, and providing unique points of view, and getting people to pay for it will naturally follow.
Each team at #hhsea had a different “topic” to choose from — Our team focused on how using HTML5 video could improve journalism. The “winning idea” from our group was a “Ctrl+F” for video. To be certain, it’s not that video search doesn’t exist. There are great companies who are digitizing and annotating the actual “substance” of the videos to make them searchable. What we suggested is that the actual video itself be the atomic unit of production, not the article — And as easy as it is to search through an article by hitting “Ctrl+F”, one should be able to search through the video, “address it” directly so that even a tiny snippet can have a handle. Kind of like what the NYTimes Emphasis tool does, but for video.
You start to lose track of days when you are trying polyphasic sleeping. Remember when I was talking about all of the social norms you’re up against when trying non circadian sleeping habits? Well, they’re a lot more pervasive than I thought.
I think I finally got into a groove, but I’m not sure how I can hold this up for very much longer. Here are some initial thoughts about the experiment in alternative sleeping styles:
I’m not a recluse (okay, sometimes I am). But it’s REALLY nice to be able to be awake or alone and focused on your stuff with no distractions from other people. I only wish that this was during the day. Most of the time that I am distraction free, it’s late at night when everyone else is sleeping. Night isn’t conducive to work. At least, not creative work, I’ve found. Try listening to tunes while you’re awake and no one else is awake — Trance and Bollywood dance remixes always wake you up and help you have a nice steady cadence.
Optimal sleeping time is about 24 minutes. If you go past about that long, you’re essentially screwed. You will absolutely not wake up. Don’t even try.
Invest in two helpful devices, a yoga eye pillow, and get one of those eye masks that strap to your face that they give out in business class at most airlines. Use the eye mask when you have to take a nap sitting up, the yoga pillow is really nice when you can lie down.
You will probably lose track of days. Which could be terrible depending on what your job is.
This one is particularly insidious because you don’t really notice it at first: I feel much less creative and more groggy. I guess that doesn’t work so well for our profession. Rats.
I fell asleep while doing work / chatting with Jeff last night. Sorry Jeff! He reminded me of the story of Max Levchin of Paypal fame from Founders at Work. See, I’m committed, dangit.
Probably the worst part of all of it is that it ruins your ability to exert physical effort. I lost almost all concentration at Bikram Yoga for about 2 days in a row. I think this might be the reason I give up the experiment.
I’ll update you again if I continue with this experiment.