What’s Next, or Not?

From 37signals.com:

The tech world is obsessed with what’s next. It has become so used to the constant flow of new products and new companies that newness itself has been placed on a pedestal. But outside of a few breakthroughs here and there, most things that are good are good because they got there slowly.

One of the constants on my mind is, “What’s next?” This is a hold over from Andrew Ferguson: The First 23 Years, in which I was always focusing on what was next, and which I acknowledged and talked about in The Blessing.

But how are we supposed to slow down? How do I live in a world that is going a million-miles-a-minute1? I have this vision from “Time Out of Joint“, an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The Clock King has a device that allows him to operate at an extremely accelerated time rate apart from the rest of his reality. It’s been ages since I’ve seen the episode, but basically Batman and Robin are in Batmobile and the Clock King sticks his device to their car, making all the cars on the freeway appear super fast (I’m going to ignore the obvious relativistic implications of all of this):

Video clip if YouTube is being lame.

That’s how I sometimes feel about life (especially the part about me being Batman): I’m sitting in my awesome Batmobile and the world is passing me by and I need to do everything I can to bring myself back in-sync with the world. It’s also why my goal for this year has been pace; I don’t want to feel like I have to be trapped going at tortoise speed and don’t want to feel like I have to be forced to go at hare speed. I want to go at my pace; I want it to be good, even if that means slower than everyone else. And I have to say, it’s been harder than I expected with lots of things pushing and pulling me in every direction.


  1. a mere 1/11th the speed of light 

4 Replies to “What’s Next, or Not?”

  1. I agree: it is difficult to slow down in this microwave society we live in.

    I also remember that episode of Batman. Which is strange, because I didn’t think I watched it enough to actually remember any episodes . . .

  2. I have three questions (with a few follow-up questions).

    (1) What do you mean by “pace/speed” (and how does that related to “what’s next”)?

    (2) What are you saying about yourself? Do you want to go faster? Slower? The same speed? Why? Do you want to do more new things? Less new things? More old things than new things? Vice versa? Why? What makes you feel like you’re going too fast or too slow? What would indicate that you’ve achieved a good pace?

    (3) What are you saying about “the world”? Should the world go slower? Faster? The same speed? Why? How do you perceive the world going so much faster than you? How does the world trap you into going at tortoise speed? How does the world force you to go at hare speed? What things push and pull you in different directions, and how does that relate to pace/speed?

      1. Yes, I did (I read everything AFdN puts out). But “The Pace” doesn’t answer many of the questions that arise from reading “What’s Next.”

        1. I get the impression from “The Pace” that pace = number of things to do (so that too fast = too many things to do and too slow = not enough things to do). How does your focus on what’s next cause you to increase your pace? Are you looking to what you have to do later in the same day (i.e. when I finish running, then I will clean my room)? If so, how does that lead to doing too many things? That’s what I mean by my first question.

        2. “The Pace” does a lot to answer the second question, but I’m still unclear about how you’re going to gauge whether you’re going too fast or too slow. You mentioned that when you’re doing too much, things fall off your plate. Is that equivalent to a “crash”? Does a good pace mean that you’re doing everything really well? Another question that “The Pace” didn’t answer is what you’re going to do with all the things you’re already doing. I think you set really good goals for yourself, but how will new goals change your old patterns (unless the new goals relate to changing the way you live). And, even if your goals were impacting your pace, how would you know when you’ve achieved the right pace?

        3. “The Pace” didn’t really address my third question, except I guess that quote about the runners. Are you saying that everyone around you is constantly at race pace, and that they’re either implicitly or explicitly encouraging you to do the same? In what ways do you feel driven to a constant race pace, and is that from the world, or from you? I’m also curious how things push and pull you in different directions, and how that’s related to pace (I guess it might mean that you’re pulled into doing a lot of things but, again, I’m not sure how that process takes place).

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