Sean M Everett

Humanizing Technology | Table of Contents

A Tech Newsletter Penned by…

If you’re looking for smart things to read on the state of the tech industry, but you find yourself with no more seconds to spare, I suggest this newsletter by an Andreeson Horowitz partner, Ben Evans:

It will catch you up on the tech news of the week with relevant links in a bite-sized, text-only email. There are some podcasts if you’re into something more audio friendly for your morning drive (if you aren’t in a subway city).

Enjoy your Monday.

- Sean

HBO Is Now Like Netflix

It’s something that people have wanted for some time. That being, the ability to pay for only the channels they wish to consume. Finally, HBO is going to allow anyone to pay a subscription to just watch their content. It’s what, 30 years in the making?

I remember, as a young boy, sitting in the basement with my parents on a Saturday night exclaiming, “It’s dark out!” when the HBO city fly through animation came on.

It felt just like how it feels when a new movie in the theater is starting and the opening credits begin the roll. The feeling of possibility, of excitement for what lays ahead, and the smell of freshly popped buttery corn.

So will HBO be successful? Of course they will. They have great original programming, rights to play popular new movies that have recently left the theater, and now the ability to watch when you want when you want it.

And once every channel is like this, from the Science Channel to ESPN, it will begin the great unraveling of traditional TV and into the modern era of, let’s face it, Apple TV.

I’m proud to be smack dab in the middle of this industry, helping to let the tier 2 content creators become tier 1s and embed their linear programming right inside their website.

Want to build Netflix for yourself? Don’t build it, just pay us a monthly subscription fee to use our Piksel Video Platform. Serve ads. Charge subscriptions. Schedule a never-ending 24x7 series of content without the lack of control that YouTube gives you.

The future is here. And it begins with HBO (at least in America, where we’re laggards in this industry; go figure).

- Sean

Jony Ive’s Full Vanity Fair…

A fascinating look into a day-in-the-life as well as the moment of clarity on a creative project.

It’s all very simple. Humans don’t value, nor understand, electrons buzzing behind a sheet of glass. They do, however, value physical objects with weight that show off status an incredible amount.…
- Sean

The Origin of Time

Does time exist or are we just running around in a computer simulation. Would we even know? The following is a fascinating read for anyone who’s ever pondered these questions:

In Search of Time’s Origin - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus

The paradox of time is that it may not move forward or backward as a singular system when viewed from the outside. But when viewed from one opposite half of the universe, it appears to move forward as we experience. Womb, then tomb as they say.

Does this even matter in your everyday life? Of course it does. It’s another piece of evidence that the human condition is nothing more than how we perceive experiences. Nothing more. If you prick me, do I not bleed? If someone puts you in pain, will you not dislike them? Of course.

- Sean

The #1 Worse Micro Interact…

Because the new iPhone is so big, Apple had to develop a software solution to the my-thumb-isn’t-big-enough problem.

You’ve been trained for 7 years to reach to the upper left hand corner of the iPhone to tap the “Back” button. Previously, the phone has been short enough to allow this. The 5 was pushing it a bit, but the 6 makes it nearly impossible for most of the human species.

Apple’s new solution to this problem is for you to lightly double tap the home button (not full presses, but just light taps) and it will move the content of the entire screen down halfway so you can press it easily.

There are two large problems with this:

  1. There is no user training or affordance (in design language) for you to know that you can now lightly double tap the home button. You would have had to heard it somewhere or read about it. Of the hundreds of millions of people with iPhones, the probability that you will have heard about this tiny new feature are absurdly small.
  2. It requires 4x the amount of micro interactions to do the same task. You first reach up to the left hand corner through sheer habit and muscle memory, from the last 7 years of use. You realize you can’t quite reach it so you return your thumb to the home button. You lightly tap once. You lightly tap a second time. The screen moves down. Then you tap the back button. That’s 1, 2, 3, 4 more interactions, additional load on your cognitive system, and almost another second added to something you do tens or hundreds of times per day. This is not a viable solution.

In essence, the new iPhone 6 is therefore at least 4x WORSE than the iPhone 5.

That’s definitely not better in every single way.

- Sean

If You Wake Up Too Many Day…

Yesterday I found out yet another family member just died. A father and son within a few weeks of each other from the exact same disease.

I spent the day remembering them.

And as I’ve done for years now, I ask myself one very important question nearly every day:  “Am I doing with my life what I want to be doing?”

Death is a constant reminder that you could be gone tomorrow. Ebola. Car crash. Cancer. COPD.

Don’t let yourself die on the inside (years before you actually die) if you’re not happy. Whether it’s a relationship, your career, your family, or your life situation in general. You’re the only one who can make it better.

Just decide. That’s it. Make a decision that this is what you want. Then go get it. No excuses. Just go get it.

- Sean

Peter Thiel’s Notes on Star…

I like Peter because he places s tremendous amount of value on discovering new ways of thinking that most people aren’t even tracking.

This morning I read some of the recent notes from one of his Stanford classes, which you can read here:…

In it, he dispells the myths of monopolies and the opposite stories we tell each other to make these and commoditized businesses sound more attractive than they are.

The point he makes in all of this is basically create a monopoly through a new innovation (sometimes that’s just complex project management) and start with a tiny section of the market where you can own 100% of it. Then, and only then, begin expanding outwards.

PayPal, Facebook, Space X started this way.

And if you’re feeling creative, read the rest of this guy’s lecture notes. You just might unlock a new secret of business.

- Sean

3 Minutes of Jony Ive

The last minute of this video is so incredibly insightful and wise. The downside is that most people on the other end of it won’t understand. And that makes it potentially harder to do incredible work. So I’m left scratching my head a bit, wondering where the perfect equilibrium point is.

To be successful in business do you “need to be more of an asshole”? I’ve never much liked that. It’s just not how I’m wired. But I do care a tremendous amount about building incredible products. I believe in User Philosophy (first) over yelling, which Steve so often did. But you can’t argue with the results of the iPhone 5, his last touch on Apple products.

Unfortunately, it appears without the point Jony makes in the last minute of this video, you’re left with something more like this:  My Review of the iPhone 6…
- Sean