The Need for Reflective Computing

Computers need to make reflection as immediate and seamless as going on a thoughtful tangent—the way you would scribble on top of a page or write in the margins. Modern computers are highly biased towards productivity. Everything is about doing more in less time. For matters of simple calculations and menial tasks, this bias is excellent. We can type faster than we can write, do a great deal of complex math in the time it takes a coffee to brew, and communicate with hundreds of people at the speed of light.

Giving Flyers the Right to Choose

No, not paper flyers—this is not a write up on the rights of cheap handouts given out by a club promoter with too much hair gel. I’m talking humans on planes; the people that Boeing doesn’t care about. The tragedies that happened on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were part of a lazy attempt by Boeing to compete with Airbus while saving costs on engineers, and gaming the FAA’s approval process for new planes.

She Works on a Park Bench

A woman sits on a park bench, writing in her notebook. Another types on her phone. Our perception is that the former is noble, and the latter a drone. Is this because we romanticize the old? Is there something unsettling about the multitude of activities possible on an obscure device – one may either be writing a novel or hashtagging a vapid photo? Will this change when a new tech comes around?

About

Advances in technology will introduce new interfaces that will enable further creativity and curiosity. However, the basic unit of thinking remains the same: the humble question. Through hypothetical explorations on this blog and in our work with clients, we want to make sure that our technology doesn’t outpace our questioning. The name shiftslash⇧/ is an homage to a slowly disappearing tool that first enabled our thoughts to spill into the digital realm.

Our tech's lack of context awareness

There is something missing in our devices and applications. A massive layer that makes everything feel individual, static, and somewhat dumb. That layer is contextual memory. Think about when you’re browsing something and you remember “where have I seen this before?”. You open up your browser history and start typing only to find nothing of value. The closest thing I’ve seen to this is Firefox’s test of the LaserLike app.

The loudness of the internet

Words about preaching to a choir of none Blogs and social media posts have become too righteous. Online, places to take refuge from the yelling are sparse. There was a time when blogs were a way to escape the drudgery of traditional news. Now the news feels increasingly like a place to relax and unwind. Few write to bring others joy and even fewer write to inform. Most write to prove their virtue to a public they do not, and will not, ever know.

Simple questions about loving our work

Old wisdom from the stoics and a potent metaphor for the love of work Do you love your work the way a dancer loves dancing and a painter loves painting? If not, why is your work less important to you than theirs is to them? — Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations: An Emperor’s Guide to Mastery Work that is enjoyable becomes a passion. Today, we do not optimize for passion in the workplace.

The forgotten art of fun at work

Simple reminders for simple ways to enjoy their work more For all the times we value no sugar-coating, we forget to tell teams how to say things with a smile. For all the times we value efficiency, we forget to tell teams how to do things with joy. For all the times we value risk-taking, we forget to tell teams to receive the results with laughter. For all the times we value respect, we forget to tell teams to make fun of themselves.

Focus today, grow tomorrow

Avoid chasing every new customer early A company’s product line can easily become bloated. Without proper discipline it will develop new ideas at the sight of every potential new customer, like a mad teenager picks up instruments to impress each new school crush. As the crush fades, it takes with it the interest in the instrument. What remains is the heap of accumulated instruments in the bedroom. Eventually when the right customer comes along, the team will realize there is neither cash nor space for a new offering.

Computers are merely tiny file cabinets

Not all the woes of our meat brains are not solved by our new silicone brains Computers were originally built to facilitate file storage and file access. The former is about finding the right folder and putting files in there, the latter is about remembering which folder the files are in and pulling them out. This is no different than a file cabinet, except the file cabinet no longer exists outside of artisanal uses and the offices of lawyers.