What it Feels Like to Live in Seattle Right Now

I can’t help but think that there’s a connection between the number of construction cranes punctuating Seattle’s skyline and a recent report that various species of North American trees are migrating west. I count cranes every time I’m stopped in traffic within view of downtown Seattle. Sometimes, from the ship canal bridge, I can spot…

Sociospatial Narrative

I. I wonder if one barrier to realizing virtual reality’s storytelling potential is that we don’t all agree on what “story” even means. When you ask a typical person what a story is, he or she is apt to say something along the lines that a story has a beginning, middle, and end, or that…

Workhorses, Catalysts, and Visionaries

I have a theory that there are three types of workers in any enterprise—workhorses, catalysts, and visionaries. I’ve spent most of my career as a workhorse and it occurred to me recently that I’m evolving into a catalyst. The bulk of my workhorse years happened between 1998 and 2011. My first corporate job was as…

Fear of AI

Who’s afraid of artificial intelligence? Plenty of people, it turns out. What is everyone afraid of? Simply put, that a superior machine intelligence could make decisions that result in harming or enslaving human beings.

This fear has been cultivated throughout history.

All the Young Dudes

Masculinity, that wonderful human trait that gives us the ability to pry the lids off pickle jars and start wars, appears to be a meta-theme of our present moment, running through institutions from the White House to Silicon Valley startups.

There was the weird revelation that Vice President Mike Pence won’t dine alone with women who aren’t his wife. The omnipresent scandal of Bill O’Reilly, Roger Aisles, and the culture of harassment at Fox News. The slow-motion car accident that is Uber.

Culture = What You Value More Than Money

April, 1998. Amazon’s call center in the Securities Building in downtown Seattle. I spent much of that month in a windowless classroom with about a dozen other people learning to master the online bookstore’s elegant UNIX-based customer database. Most of my fellow reps in training were like me–in their twenties, opinionated about techno music, full of young energy. There was one rep, Walter, who stood out from the rest.