Real Life

Real Life is an ongoing interview series discussing the intersection of technology and our day-to-day lives.

Casting aside the typical media bluster surrounding a product or service, the goal of the Real Life series is to talk about the true impact of technology from an intensely personal perspective.

With each conversation, some of the most influential members of the technology community will provide truly fascinating and timeless insight into the world in which we live.


Federico Viticci (April, 2012)

I wish journalists and writers were less cynical, and understood that business and motivation are tangent aspects of this incredibly exciting technology age. While the business is important, sometimes it’s secondary. A consequence of brilliant ideas, which needs to be dealt with.

Some entrepreneurs really want to make a dent in the universe. We should be optimistic again.

Stephen Hackett (May, 2012)

I do love technology, and I think my appreciation for it is deeper than what most people feel. I’ve often said the computer is just a tool — it’s not what it is that is important, but what you do with it. Playing Angry Birds is a waste of time (but fun), but writing some worth reading or figuring out how to cure cancer are far better uses of those CPU cycles.

Shawn Blanc (July, 2012)

Relatedly, I recently began wearing a wristwatch again. So often when I pull out my iPhone to check the time I find myself also unlocking it to check Twitter, email, and the like. If the iPhone is the cigarette of this century, then my wristwatch is a nicotine patch; giving me one less excuse to pull out my iPhone when I don’t need to.

Patrick Rhone (August, 2012)

I think, in the end, what we are searching for in technology is no different than what humans have been searching for since the dawn of Man. Tools coupled with systems that will make our existence on this planet a bit easier and make our chances for doing so as long as possible. All of these forces combined together are the definition of technology. If these can be coupled with increasingly effortless systems then the tools can become that much more powerful and the resulting technology that much more useful.

Brent Simmons (November, 2012)

Whenever I see a company that’s more about the business plan than the product, I feel a sense of loss at the waste of effort by smart, creative people. But, on the flip side, I’m nearly heart-broken when I see a great product that can’t sustain itself because the business side wasn’t handled well.

The product and the business aren’t truly binary, separable things. And every situation is concrete rather than theoretical. Nevertheless, I suggest concentrating on the product first. If you’re not passionate about the product, then nothing else matters — and, probably, nothing else will help, either.