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IoT and the beginner’s mind

After a fair amount of navel gazing last month, I’ve now moved on.  I’m taking a class at Stanford Continuing Education called Product Management and the Internet of Things (IoT). Yes, IoT is my new exploration. Am I a Product Manager? No. Am I an engineer? No.  But I get to be a beginner again — and that Beginner’s Mind is what I seek.

What problem do I want to solve? I like to call this project “Hacking Momma.” Basically I want to be able to help my mother live independently. So that means making sure she doesn’t burn down the house by accidentally leaving the stove on. That means knowing when she’s fallen, and letting her call someone she knows for help (dad, brothers, neighbors, me…) using a wearable device (yes, I know there’s competition in this area). It would be good to know how often she get’s up at night and when. It would also be cool to monitor her heart rate, blood sugar level, and other vitals. So this can easily get a big creepy — monitoring another human being. But it’s also kind of useful for those who need support. Still wrangling with the ethics of that one. Starting simple is key — like with the stove.

However, that’s momentarily on the back-burner as the class requires teams who are interested in a certain area (like Wearables) to form and work through the IoT processes as defined by our Stanford Lecturer. Well, a fashion industry idea won out over my elderly idea. That’s okay because it’s not about solving my problem, or even about creating a cool new product — it’s about defining a problem and going through the IoT stack and related thinking process to create a blueprint. Any problem will do in this regard.

So here we go. Into the (relatively) unknown world of IoT.

A couple things I’ve learned so far:

  • IoT is really about synthesizing a whole bunch of different, existing technologies into a coherent “solution” that solves a particular problem
  • I’m good at those intangibles of being part of a team — defining problems (which is half the battle of using new technology) and GSD (getting things done) which comes from being a deadline-driven consultant.

Now if I could only figure out how to fix this damn website.

Posted in IoT.

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Thought construction

We generally distinguish between inner and outer, but…the distinction is no more than a form of thought construction…. Change the position, and what is inner is outer, and what is outer is inner.  -D.T. Suzuki

Last week was a struggle with finding the word that would resonate with my emotional state: disquiet, restive, ingress, integrity and finally intention. All of those are right, all of those are wrong. Finding the one, right word will not change my state of mind, my state of procrastination.

Do I just reconstruct my thoughts (aka, reframing)? Maybe the rest of the world is moving too fast and I’m just moving fine in my slow-mo, no-go way? That’s not it, not quite. It’s that I put myself out there and it doesn’t really matter — but if there is no “out there” then where am I putting myself? It’s like I somehow have to put myself on display — and that persona is getting tiresome. Hmmm… coming back to integrity. I write to understand the world, and if by chance, it impacts others and helps them in some way — well that’s just grand. But that’s not my main purpose: I write to understand the world and explain it to myself. I am always seeking the new. After so long, this answer.

Damn. I’m in the wrong line of business, no?


Posted in integrity.

A disquieting afternoon

I cannot focus. I know exactly what needs to be done but I cannot focus on it — because it doesn’t really pull at me the way it once did. Yes I can practice reframing, reshaping, repositioning my thoughts but nothing can change the fact that I no longer care. I’ve spent my whole life caring about school, work and now I don’t. Such a strange, disquieting feeling. There has to be another word to replace the disquiet.

It’s not a nervousness, it’s that moment you know you should jump but you pause letting the unease of possibilities fill you. And still you hesitate because you need another word to fill the disquiet and you haven’t quite found it yet.

I find myself being restive — balking at going forward, wanting to just remain in place yet knowing there is no way this can be. The nature of the working life is to move forward, to have a sense of progress. I want ingress, not progress (the opposite of which is regress — so not quite the opposite). I want to, as my yoga teacher says, “workin not workout.”

Ingress is perhaps the right word — the noun not the verb, a secondary meaning — “the action upon entering or beginning a thing” (OED). Yes, this is where I am, on the cusp of action, of entering, of beginning a thing and I know not what it is.

The poem by Adrienne Rich comes to mind again, I write it parts of it below:


Dancing Queen

She who dances

A wild patience has taken me thus far

as if I had to bring to shore a boat with a spasmodic outboard motor
old sweaters, nets, spray-mottled books
tossed in the prow


The length of daylight 
this far north, in this
forty-ninth year of my life
is critical.

The light is critical: of me, of this
long-dreamed, involuntary landing
on the arm of an inland sea.


What I want is intention. 

Posted in integrity, yoga.

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