Personal Research Agenda

Brad Neuberg posted this awesome vision statement on his blog. Well, it’s not really a vision statement, but it felt like it so I will call it that.  It made me sit and think about the big questions that I have in my mind.  I wrote a list of the things that I am working on or want to work on, but that isn’t the same thing.

Here are some of the big questions I have, that I want to answer in the next few years.  Some are personal and some are about the world.

  1. What is my special purpose?  This is from the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin.  Is UX my special purpose?  Am I going to design something insanely great?  I have always felt that I have a special purpose.  I don’t quite yet know what it is.  I feel I am a creative thinker.  I feel that I have special potential.  But I don’t feel that I have made use of it yet in the way I want.  I have come close with Hotkoko and some other things, but I don’t feel I have it yet.
  2. When can I stop using the keyboard?  It’s not just a matter of voice-activation recognition. I don’t use a keyboard to drive my car or peddle my bike.  I don’t use the mouse to read a book.  Why is technology so “screen” driven?  I don’t know what will change this, but one day, we will not be looking at screens and typing on keyboards.  I’ll know it when I see it.
  3. What do permissions mean when everything is shared?  Do I REALLY trust my wife’s trusted friends?  For that matter, do I really trust my wife?  I don’t like her reading my email, but she does it all the time, when I leave it open on her computer.  It’s not that I have anything to hide, but I want some privacy in communications.  Should she have permission to see SOME of my emails?  What about my schedule, calendar, pictures and linkedIn profile?  What about my kids?  What about people who want to hire me?  As my entire life becomes digital, I become increasingly aware of opportunities to share and concern for levels of permission and privacy.  Is anything truly private anymore?  Google hosts all my email.  Only what is in my head is private and I keep blogging about that.
  4. Will my kids read this blog one day?  Will they care?  Will I want to read their blog?  My dad hasn’t read one word of this blog.  My mom does.  But is that because she thinks I am special or because she loves reading about the Jets and UX?  What is the point of blogging?  Am I helping anyone?  Helping myself?  Is it ego or the desire to communicate and interact with people?  I imagine a little of both.
  5. How can I get better at programming?  Do I need to get better at programming?  I constantly want to make things, but constantly bump into my skill ceiling.  If I could program, I think I could make things that people could use.  Always the architect and never the general contractor.  Sometimes, it feels good to build things with your own hands.  Even if it’s programming.
  6. Is there something after IM?  It’s like ESP already.  Trillian brings it all together in terms of protocols, but is there a new model.  I remember using LanTalk with the guys at SONY in 1994.  I knew IM was a winner.  But it has stagnated since then.  It’s been popular, but it hasn’t changed much.

That seems like a good list for now.  The first one is the one that I am most interested in right now.

4 replies on “Personal Research Agenda”

Hi Glen, thank you for the wonderful comment on my blog post! It made my day.

I liked all your research questions.

I love the movie The Jerk. “I’ll just take this, oh, and this, and I’ll be taking this, and this…”.

What is Hotkoko?

About the keyboard — I feel the same way. I can’t believe we are still using keyboards as our primary input devices. There has to be something else…. and I agree it isn’t necessarily keyboard vs. voice recognition — what a tired, false dichotomy! Like you said, I don’t use voice recognition to drive my bike…. I like how you are thinking about this.

About moving beyond IM — interesting question. This would be a fun one to brainstorm on.

The life purpose one is good — it’s a biggie, and one I struggle with too.


Whatya think?