The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

Hi again, I’m Steve Makofsky and this is a semi-whenever list of interesting articles, podcasts and videos that I come across during the week. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it, have something new to think about, and share it with your friends. In case you forgot, this is in your inbox because you asked me to send it to you. You can easily unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of this email.

Back in 2013, I remember seeing 'The Secret Life of Water Mitty' in the theater. And like most of my friends, the critics totally roasted the movie afterwards, with Richard Roeper calling it "one of the more disappointing efforts of the holiday season". Roger Ebert said at the time, "I hated, hated, hated this movie". It doesn't get much worse than that; it quickly vanished and was mostly forgotten. But something (outside of the excellent soundtrack) about what I had watched struck a cord in my psyche - I loved this movie. I bought it when it came out, and probably have watched it a dozen times over.

The plot is a simple one: it about a man (played by Ben Stiller) who constantly "zones out" and daydreams about exciting adventures. When in reality, he's led a pretty boring existence; his entire life has been from the sidelines, never taking risks or embracing moments around him. Through a series of circumstances (a missing film negative), he starts down the path of a slow, but valuable, awakening. For me, the lessons from this film hold a stronger importance in 2020 more than ever: You need to let yourself go a little, as time is easily wasted.

Frankly: screw the critics, I rank this movie as one of the best inspirational movies I've seen. I'm sure it's on some streaming service today; it's worth the 2 hours to treat yourself to a simple film about the rediscovery of one self.

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In one of the most bizarre stories of the week, apparently a few former eBay employees started a crazy harassment campaign to a couple that ran a newsletter that highlighted struggles with eBay. They sent roaches, spiders, a bloody pig face mask, a pig fetus and porn in a campaign that is claimed to have gone all the way to the top - More

One of the themes that I have spent a ton of time reading about and trying to getting more knowledgable on is the concept of psychological safety in teams. Project "Aristotle" from Google did some fantastic research in this space - More

Once again on the Facebook privacy theme - be aware how easy it is for the authorities is to get your Facebook data - More

While many tout "agile" and "devops" as the peak of productivity as you can create and ship code faster than ever; other parts of the business can fall further behind and break your business - More

Om once again nails it wrestling between convenience and consequences of technology; this time he focuses on the struggles with Twitter's new "Tweet Talk" feature - More

A thought provoking read on taking a stand when your employees does something that you morally don't agree to. Published by the New York Times, which was pulled into controversy around a recent opinion piece - More

I always enjoy tricks and tips on presenting; here's a look at how to craft content differently for the world of videoconferencing we are living in - More

Something that many have focused in on, that the new operating system is "you"; a look at the potential of the Apple Watch and it's place on building an OS for Health - More

Bose dumps AR. More companies to follow suit, I'd imagine. - More

An amusing letter in which a teacher literally tells off Neil Armstrong for "faking" the moon landing - More

Supermarkets typically house between 15,000-16,000 different products in spaces up to 42,000 square feet; this is a deeper look into how these stores use analytics to determine how and where things go in the store - More

The "Hey" email service from Basecamp debuted this past week. To be honest, I gave it a look, and while interesting, the last thing I need is another email address to deal with. Besides its interesting take on re-envisioning email, Apple's rejection of it into the AppStore has certainly shaken the tree; developers are calling for major change to the AppStore now, a few days before WWDC - More

More than you ever wanted to know about the history and origins of "search engines" - More

End Thoughts

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

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Jamie Larson