Random thoughts on Google Search

I was just thinking that I ought to be able to raise my camera (iPhone) and ask a question like “where am I?”. GPS is never going to be perfect and signals bounce off buildings so what if you could combine GPS with a visual input to determine location? I can also imagine something basic like pointing my phone at a car and asking Google “What kind of car is that?”. Last but not least I can imagine pointing my phone at an insect bite and asking “Should I go see a doctor about this?”. That would be cool…like living in the future.

Random Thoughts about Living in the Future

Someone tweeted the other day that in the not too distant future people might say (when referring to cars) “I can’t drive this, it’s a manual”, but they’ll be referring to the steering wheel and not the transmission. And that got me thinking…define future. A year? Five years?

After a childhood spent reading Popular Mechanics, I had become jaded after the vision of the Year 2000 failed to live up to expectations. But lately it seems like “The Future” is finally arriving and more importantly it’s accelerating. I have “nephews and nieces” who range from one year to twelve years old and I keep wondering which of them is going to be able to, need to, or want to operate a motor vehicle. Potentially none of them. Even if Level 5 autonomous vehicles are still a few years off, Uber/Lyft is here to stay.

I also think about the next generation and what their interactions with technology will be like. Every other tech article is about “AI” or “ML” and Intel claims to have built a 17-qubit processor. Okay it has to operate at almost absolute zero degrees, but it also wasn’t that long ago that my computer took up half my desk – now it fits in my pocket (sort of).

What will their buying habits be like? I’m guessing they won’t go to malls. I’m guessing they’ll just buy everything on Amazon, and I mean EVERYTHING including prescription meds, liquor, homes, repairmen for the homes, food delivery, and even Cars…assuming car ownership is still a thing in the future. Either way, I hope cars fly in the future.

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Yext is a proud sponsor of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. We are excited to provide sponsorships for students to experience the world’s largest conference for women in technology. The Yext sponsorship is designed to identify and support extraordinary rising college juniors (Class of 2019), seniors (Class of 2018), and graduate students who are preparing for a career in the Technology sector.

Future Software Engineers, Product Managers, Project Managers and UX/Visual Web Designers are encouraged to apply!


Re-learning my first language

I can’t imagine most people know this about me, but technically speaking, English was my second language. My mom had a zero English policy in the house until I was about 8 or 9 years old. I learned by ABC’s along with my A Ă Â both at the same time. Yeah, the first three letters of the Vietnamese alphabet are three versions of the letter A. Honestly, I think it’s rediculous. I can vaguely recall a time where I was fluent in Vietnamese – reading and writing. These days, I can barely pick out my favorite dishes on a Vietnamese menu. I figure everything is still in my brain somewhere…somewhere in deep cold storage. But finding the words from my first tongue are proving to be more difficult than finding a missing sock out of the dryer.


Truer words were never spoken. So write something already. Write. Just write. That’s what I always tell myself. Write something. Write anything.

But it’s hard. Hard to find time and hard to find the reason to write. At least, that’s also what I tell myself. Not enough time. Not sure what to write. The reason of course is simple. It’s a lie. I attach too much meaning to the words I write. They’re not that important. They’re not even tangible. Just 1’s and 0’s that will be written to a cloud based instance of my silly little WordPress.

I’m already feeling a little bit better. I’ve written words. Words which maybe one or two people will see – including myself. But I didn’t do this for you. I did this for me. And already, it’s starting to help. In fact I think I’ll celebrate with a bourbon. Here’s to writing…again.

Changing gears…

The recent election has affected me profoundly, in ways I’m still just starting to work out. The morning after the election, I posted the following to Facebook:

Seek to understand, and then to be understood. Then, buy a paid subscription to the NY Times or Washington Post. If you can, buy two. There’s a reason why the framers of our democracy included freedom of the press in the first amendment. Trust me on this one. Stop getting your news from Facebook. Seek facts to inform your decisions and not just to affirm your opinions. Have a real conversation with someone you disagree with and don’t just shut them out. Do it for me. I’m the guy who knows how your wifi router works so maybe I know what I’m talking about. Then again, I might be an INTJ high functioning sociopath who’s batshit crazy. Who knows. Here’s what I do know, I’m going to sign off Facebook for a really really really long time. 

And so I did. I deleted the FB app from my phone and iPad. Logged out of FB on my Mac, and turned off notifiations. It wasn’t premeditated. It was the opposite. It was unexpected. I really like Facebook. And just to be clear, I didn’t quit social media. I think people who “quit” social media like the smell of their own farts. Social media is woven into the fabric of our society, kind of like Walking Dead. You can’t ignore it. Well, you could, but you might as well move to the Northwest Territory and live in a wooden shack with no electricity or running water. No, I just need to reboot. I need to take a step back and re-examine…well, everything.

Btw, I did buy a subscription to the Times, Post, and the Economist just for good measure. I can’t fully articulate why I felt this was important. But I’m certain (or at least I hope) my high school English and Civics teachers would be proud.

Spending less time on social media has been good for me. I’ve been spending my mornings and evenings reading – books, magazines, tech blogs, the Federalist Papers, and of course the news…the real news. Btw, it turns out that ‘Nationalism’ is pandemic. Get ready to start hearing the term ‘Frexit’. AI is advancing at a frightening pace. The stock market hit record record record highs today. And I also just read that Man landed on the moon! I guess I have a lot of catching up to do. But I like where this is headed.


Happy Rebooting.


Web 4.0 ?

I can’t help but notice that more and more news publishers have begun pushing their articles (content) out to hosted platforms like Facebook Instant Articles (FIA), Apple News, Medium.com, and – if you think of Google.com as a publishing platform – Google AMP.

Strange as it may seem, this might be a win-win-win situation for all stakeholders.

  1. For consumers it means a better reading experience. Pages load “instantly” when read in Facebook, AMP, Medium’s native app,  or Apple News.
  2. For news publishers it means they can focus more on producing content rather than building technology stacks to publish/host the content. That means the cost to publisher content decreases.
  3. For advertisers, it means increased reach because Google, Apple, and Facebook are likely to favor news articles that are optimized for thier platform. In fact, some publishers have even begun letting Facebook sell ads on their behalf – for a 30% cut.

And here’s a thought…

Would consumers be willing to pay for a “Netflix for News”? Instead of paying a separate subscription for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, GQ, Runners World, etc. – it sure would be nice if I just could just pay one online service and could read articles from all of the above.

Happy Reading!

Random Thoughts: Start with WHY?

At least once or twice a year I feel compelled to go back and rewatch the seminal TED talk given by Simon Sinek back in 2009 titled: “Start With Why?”.

The first time I watched it – and every time since – it profoundly changed my life and my way of thinking. A bold statement given that it’s just a YouTube video. But it really has shaped virtually every aspect of my life – simply because it provided me with the lens and a context to view the things that I do in my everyday life. It’s a guiding compass.

My own version of “Start With Why?” is “Begin at the beginning…”. I’ve been saying that for literally as long as I can remember.

It allows me to center myself, become present in the moment, and practice “mindfulness”. So whenever I get stuck on a problem, or get confused, become upset, lose my keys, or need clarity…I go back and I…begin at the beginning.

And it always starts with a simple question “WHY?”

Random Thoughts About Doing Nothing

I was just thinking about an evening in college (back in the 20th century) when I was standing at the bus stop (aka Drunk Bus) after a long night of drinking at a party. Without any warning, a black car pulled up in front of me and from the rear door, my friend Ricky jumped out. 

I hadn’t seen Ricky in years, but before I could even say his name to greet him, Ricky put his arm around me and said:

Lenny the best moments of your life won’t be spent drinking at a party. Parties are a lot of fun, but the best moments of your life will be spent just sitting around a table shootin the shit with your friends – doing absolutely nothing.

Ricky patted me on the back, got back in the car, and before I knew it he was gone. That was the last time I ever saw him again. 

I guess the moral of the story is that there are people you work with, people you eat with, people you drink with, people you “Facebook” with, and then there are people you spend time with…doing absolutely nothing. 

Here’s to Ricky *cheers*

On-Demand ride sharing from GM?

GM announced today that it has closed a new round of funding that includes $500 from GM. Meanwhile Ford is rumored to be partnering with Google’s autonomous vehicle program. And in other news McDonald’s has unveiled a new restaurant concept that’s identical to Shake Shack.

On-Demand ride sharing from Ford & GM. Custom-Order food from McDonald’s…it’s like living in the future.