• I'm not updating this anymore. Most of my writing can now be found on Medium

  • Death to The Lunch Economy

    Jun 11, 2012 Clay Johnson

    The Lunch Economy is an economic marketplace by which high-value expertise is traded for food, alcoholic beverages, or in some cases, even coffee. Anybody that's ever been an expert at anything has at least dipped their toe in the lunch economy. At first it's flattering -- someone you know or respect sends you an email saying: "Hey, I really like what you're doing with XYZ, can I buy you lunch and pick your brain?"

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  • Child Poverty, The Kardashians, and Information Diets

    Jun 06, 2012 Clay Johnson

    In most of the talks I've given about the Information Diet, I've asked two questions:

    1. "Does anybody know the name of Kim Kardashian's ex-husband?"
    2. "Does anybody know the child poverty rate of the county that we are in?"

    To date, about 40% of the audiences that come hear me talk know the answer to the first, and not a single audience member has ever yelled out anything close to the correct answer of the second.

    I ask this question to illustrate the premise of the Information Diet. It's not that knowing the name of Kim Kardashian's ex-husband is a bad thing by itself, but rather that that information is likely not very useful for your day to day life. You're not going to cause much change with it, nor would you ever want to. There's nothing actionable about knowing Kim Kardashian's ex-husband's name.

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  • Instapaper vs. Readability

    Mar 30, 2012 Clay Johnson

    Instapaper and Readability are two services that allow people to more easily "read" content on the web. You sign up for these services, and they give you a little bookmarklet to install on your browser. When you're reading an article you want to read later, you simply click on the bookmarklet and the content you want to read, is taken off of the website it's on, and put onto one of these organization's servers. Then it's available to you in a beautiful format wherever you want to read it.

    The fundamental difference between these two services is how they are paid for. Instapaper is an application that you pay for on your mobile device. While it's free to use on the web, if you want to take your content with you on your iPhone or iPad, you've got to pay $5 for it. Readability on the other hand, asks for an optional subscription to go and support the service.

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  • How to Fix Government VI: Improve Government Culture

    Mar 28, 2012 Clay Johnson

    If I ever ran for governor, and wanted to stay governor indefinitely, then my first priority would be to revamp the department of motor vehicles. When people think of government, bureaucracy, and incompetence, I think what most are usually thinking about is their last experience at the DMV. It's one of those things that most people have to deal with at some point or another, and it's one of those things that always evokes a visceral response. Nothing says dread like "I have to go to the DMV"

    So I'd revamp the department of motor vehicles so that the experience would be like going to a 5 star hotel. It'd be completely service oriented. I'd invest in advanced scheduling technology so that there would be no line. I'd invest in good architecture and aesthetics so that the DMV offices would look great and be comfortable. If I were governor, your trip to the DMV would be as easy and as pleasurable as a trip to the Apple Store. People would herald me. They'd say "our government is awesome! Check out our DMV!" and people wouldn't be able to buy the argument that government was incompetent or lazy.

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Information Diet © 2011 Clay Johnson