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👀 The Great Distraction

February 04, 2020

_“While we weren’t watching, a next generation threat to human freedom materialized right in front of our noses. We didn’t notice it because it came in forms that were already familiar to us. It came bearing gifts of information, historically a scarce and valuable resource, but delivered them in such abundance, and with such velocity, that these gifts became a mountain of burdens.”

— James Williams,_ Stand Out of Our Light

Man, I love this book (which you can read right now in full PDF form). Even though I’m no stranger to the problems and perils of the attention economy, Williams asks a deeper question—not “isn’t the Internet awful?” but “how do we define what is happening and why?” Williams writes from a posture defending users (and ultimately society as a whole) from having the world’s smartest AI dedicated to taking our attention and selling it to the highest bidder. Which is important, because the cost is, basically, ourselves.

—from an email I sent to our newsletter today :)


I’m a student and teacher of people-first growth. Having spent the major part of the last two decades building weird businesses that tried to be good for humans, I'm now working privately on a few experimental projects and cultivating this little digital space of mine.

If you're new here, I'm working on my second book, People-First Growth (slowly, slowly said the sloth), and I’m sharing what I learn in my newsletter. If you geek out on digital gardening, I share mine publicly on Roam. You can say hi on Twitter or by email.

You can also read my first book, Gather the People, originally released in 2015 and updated in 2020 (what a year for a book release). It's a human approach to marketing for people who would rather make what they love than persuade people to buy it. If that's you, I hope it helps.