The rest of my day is spent on my feet, either running, walking places instead of driving, and making every attempt to keep to the 50:10 rule. More on that later.
A majority of the workforce is sedentary and it’s sending more than a few million of us to early graves. Sitting around is making us fat, doing serious damage to our backs, necks and spines and making us miserable.
There are ways to combat the issues caused by 8 or more hours slouched over in a cubicle or crammed behind a steering wheel.
“If you spend most of your work day working on a computer and then you spend your evenings scrolling through things on your phone, neck, back, and arm pain can become a constant problem. A sedentary lifestyle does a lot of damage to your health: your muscles can become stiff, you can experience numbness, and tingling sensations may appear regularly. Thankfully, there are a couple of easy exercises that can make you feel a lot better!”
The exercises include light stretching of the shoulders, neck, back and fingers.
Now back to that 50:10 rule. These numbers refer to the general guidelines of the amount of time spent sitting versus the time spent up and around.
For every 50 minutes of work, give yourself ten minutes of activity. This means either get up and go for a walk around the office, around the building or maybe even just standing at your desk.
In a piece published last month, I defined just what the attention economy is and isn’t — and laid out what’s at stake. In addition to the future of entertainment, media, marketing and journalism being uncertain, society, democracy and people’s mental health is at risk.
Yes, it’s that serious. The attention economy is as fierce a battleground as it gets. And underneath it all, we think it’s fundamentally broken.
The question is: What do we do about it?
1. Brands need to stop complacently funding bogus attention
This is hard for some of you to hear. But the never-ending supply of stories we read about brands burning money on completely fake, bot-filled websites, is your fault, dear CMO. You scream with righteous anger when your ads end up on bogus corners of the web, or alongside nasty content. But then you turn around and push your agency to buy more for cheaper, which you know means accepting millions of fraudulent views.
How many brands right now are preaching about purpose-driven marketing? We’re sorry to be harsh about this, but for all the good your brand does for the planet and society, your media buying habits don’t match your rhetoric.
You’re doing this to yourselves. Sure, publishers and ad tech companies play a role. But you are ultimately responsible (it’s your money, after all), and it needs to stop.
2. We need to find more business opportunities in fighting fake news and creating positive experiences
Think about how valuable your startup would be right now if you could help tech companies keep unwanted videos off their platforms automatically. Or if you could promise to keep advertisers out of harm’s way. Or smack down streams of misinformation before they start spreading across social networks.
There’s loads of room for entrepreneurial thinking here.
We’re already seeing it. Consider how the video ad buying firm company OpenSlate is helping brands navigate YouTube. Or companies like the Indian startup Metafact and the VC-baked Civil who are using AI and blockchain to fight the spread of fake news on social media.
There’s room for so much more.
We also see an opportunity for startups or tech companies to build new social or digital entertainment products to promote positive engagement. Imagine a new social network that uses algorithms that spark real-life human connections instead of being fueled by casino-like addiction mechanics.
Already, Airtime is building live-viewing tools to connect real friends in real time. Social networks like Imgur and Pinterest created incentives to keep interactions positive — and keep out haters.
Brands like Lyft, Patagonia and Toms have shown that it’s possible to be profitable and ethical. Let’s see more.
3. We need research and education
Mobile and social platforms are rewiring our brains on the fly in ways we can’t anticipate.
They’re shaping our kids’ brains at a time when their development is deeply vulnerable.
For adults, these platforms are inhibiting and degrading attention when we need critical thinking and sustained focus the most. Worse, they’re degrading the human condition, preventing us from creating new and meaningful relationships.
We need to research the long-term effects of distraction media has on people, particularly kids. We need to teach kids early to navigate this dangerous landscape and prepare them with the healthy digital media literacy and hygiene skills they’ll need to be successful.
Like I said, this battle is that serious.
Ashlyn Gentry is a managing director at Human Ventures Co., a new company funding startups, and has a PhD focused on political attention.
Donald Trump’s main policy initiative involves building a pointless wall across miles of empty desert. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that his administration has proposed doing the same at the annual arts and culture gathering known as Burning Man.
The Bureau of Land Management, which administers the Black Rock desert in Nevada where Burning Man has been held since 1990, released a wildly unusual proposal calling for major changes to the event’s permit in March.
These include making the nonprofit Burning Man Project pay for a private security force, as well as constructing a 10-mile, 19,000,000-pound concrete barrier around the weeklong event.
The 372-page BLM proposal, if implemented, “would forever negatively change the fabric of the Burning Man event, if not outright kill it,” the Burning Man Project wrote in response last week. It estimated BLM’s requirements would cost a total of $20 million every year, raising the price of tickets — which average around $400 — by $286 apiece.
“BLM would benefit financially from these increased expenses,” the organization added, noting that the bureau takes a percentage cut from each ticket. It calls the proposals “beyond excessive government oversight.”
Burning Man, also known as Black Rock City, proudly proclaims itself the world’s largest “Leave No Trace” event. It runs a Department of Public Works that walks every inch of the permit space for months after the event, also cleans up the nearby road, and disinvites groups that perform poorly on its environmental impact assessment — as the highly exclusive Camp Humano found out to its chagrin earlier this year.
The notion of picking up after yourself is so baked into the event’s core principles that MOOP — Matter Out of Place — is the ultimate insult for attendees, also known as Burners. When a camp that brought a Boeing 747 was delayed by a few weeks in moving the plane to private land last year, angry Burners returned to the playa just to spray-paint “MOOP” on its undercarriage.
Oblivious to the event’s success at encouraging attendees to pack everything out, the BLM proposes surrounding and filling Black Rock City with dumpsters. It also wants to replace the organization’s MOOP-catching trash fence with a concrete barrier — one that is actually less likely to catch trash.
“Hardened physical perimeter barriers, such as jersey barriers [a modular concrete wall, usually used to separate lanes of traffic] or K-rail fencing, would reduce the risk of vehicle entry through perimeter fencing,” the BLM report says. This is, however, a solution in search of a problem.
There have been no reports of vehicles attempting to enter via the fence in recent years. Which isn’t surprising to anyone who has seen the situation on the ground. Only one access road, Gate Road, allows safe entry to the event without the strong possibility of getting your car stuck in the dust, or being caught by the event’s radar- and night-vision enabled Perimeter team.
Nor would the wall proposal adversely affect any theoretical illegal migration into the event. “It’s actually easier to climb over a concrete barrier than a taut 10-mile trash fence,” says one veteran Burning Man volunteer.
The Burning Man organization doesn’t mince words about the barrier proposal, which it calls “logistically onerous, environmentally irresponsible, unnecessarily redundant, prohibitively expensive.” Instead of allowing wind and dust to blow through the space, it says, a wall would create 10 miles of dunes that would “need to be remediated with heavy machinery” — an odd requirement for a bureau that claims to care about the desert.
The event has its own volunteer force of Black Rock Rangers, who for decades have worked alongside local Nevada sheriffs and official BLM Rangers. Nevertheless, the BLM proposal calls for “private security at all portals of entry to screen participants, staff, and volunteers entering the event” and to “report weapons and illegal drugs directly to law enforcement as violations are observed.”
Burning Man argues that this constitutes a fourth amendment violation, since the only “probable cause” offered as a reason for widespread searches is that the targets are attending Burning Man. As attendees know, the Gate Road line for entry (which already include a cursory search of each vehicle) have been known at busy times to take as long as 12 hours to get through.
“The delay from this private security operation would cause entrance times to be extended by days,” the Burning Man organization writes. “Not hours, days.” [Emphasis theirs.]
Now the Burners — this loose-knit coalition of punks, hippies, libertarians and Silicon Valley utopians — are being invited to fight back. April 29 is the deadline for public comments on the BLM’s proposal, which can be submitted online here. The Burning Man Project has produced a guide for making those comments as substantive and effective as possible.
Because if building a 2,000 mile wall across the entire U.S. southern border makes no sense, the same goes for a 10-mile wall around the country’s most temporary — and self-reliant — city.
Rocket Lab isn’t content with just carrying satellites into orbit… it wants to power the satellites, too. The company has unveiled a satellite platform, Photon, that handles much of the hard work. It looks simple, but it includes avionics, attitude control, data storage, propulsion and solar cell power in a package that can be customized for each mission. For the most part, Rocket Lab’s partners will only have to worry about the payload, not the satellite keeping it in orbit.
Photon can handle missions lasting as long as five years in low Earth orbit, with payloads up to 375lbs depending on the configuration and its flight path. Its communications aren’t exactly blazing fast at 512Kbps, but it can hold up to 1TB of data.
You won’t have to wait too long to see Photon in service. The first launch of any kind is slated for the fourth quarter of 2019, while customers are currently aiming for 2020 flights.
This represents a relatively uncommon strategy. SpaceX and other private companies tend to build only the rockets for satellite missions. Rocket Lab, meanwhile, is betting that it can thrive by taking care of virtually everything. There’s a degree of risk involved — it’s not clear that customers will want to pay someone else to handle the satellite versus designing something themselves, especially if there are highly specialized tasks involved. However, this might be appealing to companies and researchers that can’t justify developing their own satellite platforms.