Karma, and changing the social contract of gifting

I am very excited about new gifting experiences such as Karma, and how it will change how we gift.

Do you enjoy getting gifts for people for set occasions? (e.g. your nieces birthday) If I have a great gift idea I am kiddy with joy. If I don’t have one though I am glum.

I have noticed a change in my behavior as of late. If I think of, or come across a great gift idea I buy it on the spot and pass it on. Why wait?

What I am more excited about though is changing the social dynamic. Say I come across a movie that I think my Dad would love. I um and ah about whether he has it or not. I don’t want to buy a dupe! Or, what if he doesn’t like it. We have enough clutter in our lives, I only want people to accept gifts that they will actually like a use. With a system such as Karma not only can I easily send something to someone via name (vs. knowing their address), I can let them decide if they want it or not, potentially customize it, and setup how they want to get it.

I want people to feel like they can easily say “no thanks”. This isn’t rude at all, but I know that human nature is currently set to say “thanks!”

Will Karma change this?

Oh, and for my birthday, if anything is wondering, I would like you to come over to my house and TAKE something away.

Artful Surprise

I am proud of my son for his talents and choices, but I have to be honest that Art hasn’t been his forte.

But, then I was surprised. I walked into my sister-in-law’s new apartment in Beacon Hill for the first time, and saw a funny piece of art on the wall.

“Where did you get that?”, I asked.

“Sam drew it!”

Huh! The beauty of art is that it does come in so many shapes and sizes. I can’t wait to see what more I learn about my son as he grows.

Productivity; meta tools versus specific

I am always looking to experiment and adapt my tools and processes. One area that I churn a lot on is in managing goals and actions.

There are so many tools in my life here.

– Basecamp projects
– Wikis
– Issue trackers
– GitHub repos
– Todo list systems
– Document storage (Dropbox / Evernote)

I am often torn between single purpose tools that are highly tailored to a problem and general purpose ones.

With single purpose tools, they are either just right (GitHub for source control) or more likely, they do some things in a way I dislike, or lack features entirely. Take todo systems. Ideally I would be able to slice and dice the systems so they work with my wife as well as work issues.

With meta tools, I gain the flexibility that I desire (to get the system “just right” for me) but I now don’t have an opinionated framework to help me have less choices. Sprint.ly pushes the “user story” with a certain format which isn’t something I always like, but it is something I don’t have to think about.

I have been enjoying a couple of meta frameworks recently: WorkFlowy and Asana.


Such a simple idea. You store your information as a tree of nodes. You
can go as deep and nested as you would like, and you can share any
node with someone else. You definitely need to garden your system a la
Wiki, and it breaks down when you want to embed documents vs. streams
of lists, but it lets you setup your info how you want too. I can keep
my todo list in the same place as meeting notes and staff reviews.


Here we get a touch more structure. Workspaces, Projects, Tasks, Subtasks. Within that structure you can manufacture the right process for you and your team. You can split up your world (personal vs. work for example) but also easily move items around.

I am still on the lookout a better process. One that maps my long term goals to short term ones, and shows me what I should be spending time on. I often find that without the grounding, I can easily end up working on what is fun vs. what is needed to be done. Email is a bane, since if you don’t structure your time with it you have folks pushing their itinerary onto your time. The calendar is another example of this. If I don’t map out my weekly goals to time on the calendar to get the work done, meetings will be injected and I won’t be able to garner success.

Does any one else feel the same?