Less Thinking, More Doing
A quick thought on the best advice to receive, Robinhood's college recruitment, Zoom booths, and government oversight of TikTok and videogames.
The best wisdom sometimes comes from unexpected places. Better yet, the best lessons are learned when you least expect them. Adults are typically less susceptible to learning new information as they age. We grow a thicker skin, we become more critical of new ideas and fall more in love with the (mis)conceptions we hold, and we put up thick walls. What's the best way to penetrate these walls? Comedy.
Making an adult laugh is a proven way to chip away at these irrational walls. Actually, maybe there is some biological, Darwinian reason why this phenomenon isn't irrational. Maybe the most skeptical individuals in a species live the longest because they don't go and eat that bright red berry in the forest or they don't try to pet the cute, cute hyena. Nevertheless, science shows us that we are more likely to absorb new information from someone who has made us laugh. Children don't suffer from this ailment cause be they're not so skeptical, arrogant, or stuck in their ways.
But what is it about laughter and comedy that breaks down the wall of skepticism in adults? I think it's the joy in the surprise.
The same is true of advice. As adults, we're skeptical to listen to advice, even if it comes from someone we know we should be listening to. Not listening is a bad habit motivated by our arrogance, pride, ego, and disbelief that someone else could know more than we do; that someone else could be wiser, smarter than ourselves. We all believe we are masters of the universe.
The best piece of advice I've heard recently wasn't given to me as advice: Less thinking, more doing. In fact, I was speaking with a friend about his own attitude toward output and his response was that he was approaching production with less thinking, more doing. Those four words rattled in my head for days. Less thinking, more doing. Why did this piece of information penetrate my psyche? Because it wasn't given as advice.
It's very easy in this day and age to believe that we can think our way out of problems or think our way to solutions. Yes, strategy is important - think before you act. After all, we're masters of the universe, remember? But the most successful people I know are masters of execution (my friend included). Once they have decided on a path, they work. And they work. Damn. Hard.
So the next time you want to give someone advice or guidance, try packaging it up in a surprising way. Our spidey senses are always on the lookout. Avoid them by being unexpected.
Recruiting Season - For Robinhood
Robinhood, the trading app, is engaging in a nationwide marketing campaign that aims to bring more college students into their ecosystem, turning younger individuals aged 18 to 22 into customers. If customers use their school email address to sign up for an account they will get $15 to trade and automatically be entered into a $20,000 sweepstake.
Unsurprisingly, trading activity has slowed as the economy cycles through the stimulus checks given out during the height of the pandemic. This means Robinhood needs to look for a new demographic to turbocharge its growth - it needs to continue to justify its $36 billion market capitalization after all.
Interestingly, Robinhood's chief marketing and communications officer has also announced that she is leaving the company after only being in the job for one year.
Read what you will into that, if anything.
Booths Built For Zoom
Zoom, the videoconferencing tool, is betting that as more and more workers transition back into the office they will need a private area to make video calls and is working with office phone booth manufacturer, Room Inc., to come up with a solution. Think of a larger than average phone booth with soundproof walls, a standing desk for a computer, and some decoration.
It's a nice idea. Video calls are not like phone calls. They introduce potential privacy issues in an open-concept office space with other individuals in the background. And as the workforce bifurcates into those who work in offices and those who work from home, you can see a scenario where a space dedicated to video calls becomes necessary.
Room, Inc. is offering to build these spaces, which they tout as purpose-built for Zoom, for $16,995. What's included? The booth, computer, lighting, hardware. What's not included? Assembly or delivery.
I reckon that price will need to be brought down a little before these video call booths get mass adoption. For nearly $17,000, there are a few other business tools I can think of that will get priority.
A set of headphones and a virtual background probably cost $12.99.
TikTok & Video Games
It's been fascinating to watch the difference in approaches that the Chinese government and the US government have taken with their dealings of big tech and technologies impacts on the mental health of children. I'm no expert, but this is the lay of the land as I see it:
China has clamped down on videogame play, limiting online gaming to weekends and only for a few hours. The Chinese government has also motivated Bytedance Ltd., the Chinese developer of TikTok and Douyin (Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok), to develop 'Youth Mode' - limiting users under the age of 14 to 40 minutes per day and usage restriction to between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. Outside of those hours, this age group will not be able to access the app.
In this past week, we've seen damning reports in the Wall Street Journal and other publications highlighting the negative mental health impact Instagram and other social media platforms have on young boys and girls. I've heard media pundits talk about how despite restricting their children's use of YouTube to the kid-friendly version, they still have access to scary, inappropriate content. I read a story earlier in the week that indicated how easy it is to go down inappropriate, traumatizing rabbit holes on TikTok just by entering a keyword one time.
Call China's approach draconian. Call it a violation of certain freedoms. But everyone I speak to who has children is wary of social media and the effects it can have on the minds of young human beings.
When it comes to the negative externalities of technology, I know which government approach I prefer. But I also see the other side. It starts with kids' access to technology, but where does it end?
Until next week,