Being as Spouse and I have worked in technology a collective – wait for it – 43(!) years, we talk shop. A lot. These discussions generally begin with "wouldn't it be cool if..." and occur when one or both of us discovers a perceived problem that could be solved (easily!) by the invention of our new, improved and ultra brilliant web site or app. We do this often. We've dreamed up all sorts of software gadgets. It all stops, however, when the dreaming phase morphs into the where-do-we-get-the-funding phase which is then murdered violently by the realization-of-human-hours phase, which is then buried by the no-one-would-buy-that phase.
It goes without saying – but I'm going to say it anyway – that both of us are still working for other software visionaries who have figured out the funding, human-hours, and the gettin'-folks-to-buy phases.
Last night, in between episodes of How I Met Your Mother, we had another one of those "wouldn't it be cool if..." conversations.
*As an aside, I do believe we watched the funniest episode to date. They're all funny, but this one was particularly funny. It's the one where the gang goes to a fat-cat bash at the Museum of Natural History, Ted explores the architectural anomaly of whispering things like "booger" and "poopoo platter" and the high-brows with top hats and monocles across the room can hear. Meanwhile Lilly gets bent because Marshall turned into a corporate sell-out, and Barney and Robin get busted for running around touching and even wearing the artifacts. Gasp! (I'm sure no artifacts were harmed in the making of that episode.)
Today, I'm not going to tell you about the "wouldn't it be cool..." part of the conversation. Because, like, duh, you never know if last night's "wouldn't it be cool..." might turn into tomorrow's latest internet craze. It could happen, you know. All it needs is some Effort.
Which brings me to the point of today's post: Effort. Spouse and I were discussing the onset of social media and I had just asked, "What do you think will dethrone Facebook? Blogging was so fun there for a while. I miss blogging. Lots of fun people were blogging, and now they're not. What gives?"
He replied with, "Blogs are dying because it requires Effort. Now people just spew out some fart of a tweet and call it a gold post." He followed this statement with a shoo-fly gesture, a fart noise, and a bitter-beer face.
He's on to something. It's all about Effort – something in which I'm in short supply. This blog is dying because it's gettin' none. The house is a mess because it's getting none. Running's a bust, the yards a wreck, the laundry's altogether hell, I don't see my friends or family much, the food we eat is boring, piano's a struggle, and my work activity is just so-so – all because they aren't getting any of that thing called Effort.
Effort is not something I'm hitting. It's been a dry, desolate few months for my love Effort. If I were to receive a grade on Effort as of late, I'd be lucky to get a C-. True story. In the past I've been tagged a type "A" personality, not sure if that's true, but being an A and getting a C- is bad news. Bad news, indeed.
After Spouse's comment, however, it became clear that maybe it's not just me. I mean, the way of the (internet) world is to go with the path of least resistance. Facebook took off because it requires little Effort; you type a few characters and click "post." No need to worry about formats; the gomers at Facebook won't even allow italics! No need to phone your friends for a decent conversation; read their facebook feed! No need to send hand written thank you notes or invites; throw up one of those activities or broadcast one gushy collective "thank you."
We create apps and web sites to minimize Effort. That's the point. Solve a problem or make it easier. But are we (I) expecting too much of this Effort to be taken out of the picture? And do we (I) expect to get all this no Effort business without paying for it in some way? Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free.
The irony of it all, I suppose, is that it's going to take this chick a fair amount of Effort to keep out of the no-Effort movement.
Let it be said here and let it be written: all things worth while require Effort, and a lot of it.
Here's to Effort!