dylan tweney

if you're bored, you're not paying attention

Category: Rough Drafts (page 2 of 70)

Prose that hasn’t been published elsewhere

Motivation and inspiration

It’s been almost exactly a year since I left a salaried job and went independent. This is now the third time I’ve been an independent entrepreneur (not counting the times I’ve launched publications or products within existing corporations), and each time I’ve taken a different approach: 1999: seed-funded startup with one cofounder, attempted to raise […]

Slot machines, magicians, and app designers

Around the turn of the century, people started talking about the “attention economy.” A natural outgrowth of the ad-supported Web, this stemmed from the idea that people’s time and attention would soon be valuable commodities, because of their scarcity. The phrase has dwindled in popularity but the concept remains. And now it’s not just ad-supported […]

My brain was begging me for relief from social media

Taking control of your social media use may be the most rewarding life hacking technique I know of, given its ratio of benefit to effort. I like social media. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have a powerful ability to keep us connected with other humans. For me, Twitter has functioned for at least 5 years as an indispensable pipeline of news, […]

31 days of writing

Like many people, my attention is fragmented and my concentration broken. I’m going to try working my way through this with the skills I know best: Writing and editing.

The people who believe themselves to be white

Ta-Nehisi Coates, in Between the World and Me, repeatedly refers to “the people who believe themselves to be white.” This curious phrasing opens up the possibility of hope in what for me, as the father of two black children, is otherwise a terrifying and disturbing book.

A future we may not want.

Kevin Kelly paints a disturbing vision of the next 30 years: A world governed by alien AIs, with screens on every surface, crowdsourced advertisements and influencer marketing campaigns assaulting us from all directions, and overwhelming flows of ephemeral data and “facts” making it impossible to judge the truth of anything. Is this really what we want?

The VR office of the future.

“Oculus Rift headsets are expensive, bulky, and block out the real world completely. But like the early Logitech webcams, they’re just the starting point. Eventually, VR tech will become smaller, lighter, and—especially in the case of mixed-reality—far less intrusive. When that happens, VR is going to reshape business collaboration and communication even more profoundly than […]

Narrative specificity.

Narrative specificity means avoiding generalizations and using details to make your story come to life. Leave it out, and your words will be hollow and dead, like empty snail shells strewn across the dirt. It’s not surprising that many writers miss this point, particularly in politics and business. These writers are concerned about getting a […]


Yesterday I realized a dream I’ve had ever since I started open water swimming around 2010. I swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco. It’s about 1.25 miles though we covered a bit more water than that due to fighting the current a little. In all, it took me one hour and 13 minutes in pretty […]

If someone wants to use “they” as a singular pronoun, they have every right to do so.

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Muriel Rukeyser

Who was Vincent Chin?

At last night’s conversation with Guy Kawasaki, someone in the audience asked about the 1982 Vincent Chin case and whether it made a difference to Guy’s perspective on racism or the treatment of Asian-Americans generally. Neither he nor I had heard of the case. The questioner expressed some surprise, since she thought that it had […]

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