43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Question about the future...

I love lofi technologies, not least because they limit the time I spend at the computer. (When you don't have a computer in front of you, what can you do but read, think, write, cook, eat, see friends, go places, walk, run, and observe the real world?) Though I have a cell phone, I do as much work as I can on index cards. This even includes drafting important emails, which I can then type when I get to a computer.

Let me ask a cranky question (one that belies my actual youthful appearance):

Is the time coming (say, within five years) when it will be obligatory for all workers to have smartphones or pocket computers? Will this become the social norm in the same way that life without a telephone became all but unthinkable by the middle of the twentieth century?

When I see friends who are addicted to their Blackberries and Treos, I get upset, because I feel that they are allowing an incursion into their personal space that is optional now, but may someday become obligatory. (Don't you love it when someone pulls out a Blackberry and checks email while you're having a conversation with him/her?) The most eager and competitive workers will be willing to make themselves available to their companies 24 hours a day. Managers will expect responsiveness to email all the time. (In some areas, this has already happened.)

I already see this behavior in many of my acquaintances. I understand it when they are lawyers and managers. But I also see the behavior in some traditional 8-5 office workers, which bothers me, since they're not getting paid enough to merit ceding their private space to their companies.

This may be the wrong place to ask this question, since some of the readers here may be gung-ho, do anything, 24 hour, workaholic, sell my soul to the market, globalized techies. Not to be a luddite or anything, but I'm hoping that paper will serve as a boundary between myself and the insane pace of today's connected world. Of course, in Darwinian style, I may very well perish by the wayside. But won't we all in the end anyway? Might as well go out in style, entrusting my memory to the universal and elegant technology of paper than to some clunky, dead-end pocket computer platform.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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