Jacob Wayne Smith

smart funny bald

I’ve been reading Italo Calvino’s Marcovaldo: or The seasons in the city on my vacation.

It was given to me by a Calvino lover, whom I also happen to love so I was happy to read it.

I started yesterday on the top of a hill overlooking the mountains and foothills of Granada, I finished it in a bars and other benches around the city, and I’ve decided it’s the perfect travel companion.

At only 121 pages, it is a fast read and the short, unconnected nature of the stories means you can read through as much or as little as you like at a sitting.

The book follows the live of Marcovaldo, an unremarkable, remarker on nature and everything around him. It further aids your travel because it reminds you to think like our protagonist and narrator, to notice mushrooms in cracks of the pavement and to wander dreamlike to your next flight.

I hadn’t read Calvino before this and while I can’t say if the translation is any good, his words keep the mix of poetry and prose that I believe is the original intent.

If you want to begin to notice more of whats around you, read this book.

Some passages of scripture preach for themselves. Last night the Old Testament lesson was from Isaiah.

Since scripture is meant to be heard more than read, I broke out the old podcasting mic:

Isaiah’s words to Israel 2,400 years ago are true now. We say that we are a Christian nation blessed by God, but do we?

  • loose the bonds of injustice
  • let the oppressed go free
  • break every yoke
  • share our bread with the hungry
  • bring the homeless poor into our house
  • when we see the naked, cover them

That’s what is acceptable, not this

About a month ago it seemed I couldn’t go ten minutes without reading something about Tinder. Tinder is an app that claims: “[it] is how people meet. It’s like real life, but better.”

The primary mechanic of the app is simple, see a picture, swipe one way to say yes, the other to say no. If that person says yes as well, you can communicate on the app. For those who are old enough to remember Hot or Not (which still exists) this should be all too familiar.

My first thoughts were about how silly this is, but it was intriguing enough to make me want to experiment.

I signed up when I was out of town. I thought this safer, no way someone I knew would see me on Tinder. Within 10 minutes of signing up and a few dozen swipes, I got a connection.

My connection immediately turned the conversation, shall we say adult. Was Tinder the hookup haven others thought it to be? Then she invited me to pay to join her webcam show. Simply a version of the worlds oldest profession, in a new medium.

Fortunately, Tinder has a block feature where I could report this interaction as “spam.”

When I returned to Seattle, I continued to swipe away, actually reaching the end of Tinder. Seattle’s a small town, and I had the free time so I saw 100’s of pictures. The result of all that swiping: two matches.

One match never opened up communication, the other did. We chatted on Tinder, then met for coffee and a few dates. I had no expectations about Tinder, but in this case it did match two people with a good bit in common.

A few thoughts for those curious about the service.

It will get weird, you will run into folks you know. At some point you will see someone you know in real life and you will have to make a decision. And saying, “no” is almost always the right choice.

And to me that’s the most interesting part of the service, the asymmetry of no. It would seem that saying yes or no send the same amount of information, but they don’t.

If you say yes to someone and it’s not match you would think it would tell you that that person said no to you, but that isn’t exactly true. There are age and proximity filters that could show you people that aren’t seeing you.

So a non-match could simply mean they haven’t seen you yet. And in that way saying no leaks less information than a yes.

Finally, people in Seattle are more selective than St. Louis or Oklahoma City. In two days, in each of these cities, I received more matches than in ten days in Seattle. Not necessarily surprising, but interesting.

Final verdict, Tinder was an interesting experiment for me, but not some place where I will invest my time to make connections.

On the 26th of January 2012, my Dad and I set off from Pittsburgh to Seattle. That’s the day I mark as the beginning of my time in Seattle.

It would be tempting to call it the end of something as well, but endings are are a lot harder to pinpoint. Looking back over the last two years, I feel it’s important to share some of what I have learned moving through this time in my life.

While I chafe at the identity of being divorced, it is part of who I am and I believe sharing my experience may be helpful, somehow.

1. Be Alone

I spent a few Fridays sitting at Über drinking three or four big beers and stumbling home on the bus. I didn’t drink and drive, I didn’t abuse alcohol, but I probably drank too much. It was time to be “out” but not interact, it worked.

2. Get Help

I was angry and I took it out on the wrong people. It took until May, but I finally went and saw a therapist. It’s too much to deal with on your own, you need help.

3. Make a (Best) Friend

You need someone who only knows you in this reality. Your old friends are invaluable and your best friend may never be replaced, but for me I formed a new friendship that I treasure.

4. Overcommit

I had something going on every day of the week for a while. It was too much, but finding that space was a great step. You feel like your life will never be full again and realizing that it is spilling over the edges is helpful.

5. Prioritize

Once you’ve decided that you are overcommitted you are going to have to choose some things over other things, and that often means some people over other people. This to me is the important lesson to learn. How do you understand your relationships in a way where you can be present in all of them. It’s possible if your honest about your limits.

When is it “over”? Never. True grief doesn’t diminish in intensity, just frequency. But there are moments. I was folding laundry and this song came on.

As I danced in a laundromat, in the full gray sunshine of a Northwest morning, I realized that I was truly happy with my lot and was finding my place, a new place.

What the video here to see David Ogilvy’s secret weapon.

If you don’t know who Ogilvy is, you best check yourself. I don’t know why that made me so street.

The interesting thing for me is that now sometimes in direct marketing we are looking towards general advertising. As it becomes harder and harder to pin down specific response channels we need to look at the total spend across channels to get strategic clarity.