FITBIT FOR CRUISES: Carnival has developed Fitbit-style bracelets that link to personal information, and applied them to cruises. The result: Millions of passengers on Carnival ships will soon be using a similar but more advanced system that allows travelers to do everything from plan vacations to open stateroom doors to order poolside cocktails.
Cruisers will be able to pay for food, drinks and merchandise simply by having their credit card-connected Ocean Medallion in their pocket.
Carnival’s disks, each laser-etched with the guest’s name, will also power a new, shipwide gambling platform.
WEDDING TECH: For many couples, wedding planning is a frustrating monthslong project that requires sifting through masses of details and costs on venues, services and products. The field is crowded with small, local businesses that are predominantly low tech and survive on word-of-mouth recommendations. However, the overall industry is large, with $58 billion in revenue, with an average $26,500 per wedding.
Lover.ly has been able to build a database of 65,000 vendors. A virtual wedding planners assembles a list of vendors based on a couple’s criteria, and the couples receive it within 48 hours of purchasing a service. Couples are charged from $10 to $399, and vendors $10 per client lead. Lover.ly is also beta testing its chatbot.
Another app, LadyMarry developed its own artificial intelligence bot to streamline communications between the company, vendors and couples. LadyMarry had been used to plan 90,000 weddings. It is free for couples; the company charges vendors 15-45%, depending on the location and service.
Carats & Cake partnered with the payment platform Stripe to offer online invoicing and bill paying. It has 20,000 member businesses; about 300,000 couples used the site in 2016.
PALLIATIVE CARE: In a life changing event like a permanent disability, life is not extra difficult now, but only uniquely difficult, as all lives are. Suffering is simply a “variation on a theme we all deal with — to be human is really hard.” Don’t we all treat suffering as a disruption to existence, instead of an inevitable part of it? what would happen if you could “reincorporate your version of reality, of normalcy, to accommodate suffering.”
We call ancient sculptures with missing limbs art: monumental, beautiful and important, but we’d never seen them whole. Medicine didn’t think about bodies this way. Embedded in words like “disability” and “rehabilitation” was a less generous view: “There was an aberrant moment in your life and, with some help, you could get back to what you were, or approximate it.” So, instead of regarding injuries as something to get over, try to get into them, to see life as its own novel challenge, like traveling through a country whose language you don’t speak.
All palliative-care departments and home-hospice agencies believe patients’ wishes should be honored, but Zen Hospice’s small size allows it to “actualize” these ideals more fully. Sharpen the essential set of questions: What is a good death? How do you judge? In the end, what matters?
As we wrap up 2016, I’ve been reflective on how I lived my 2016 and how I want to live my 2017. I found many nuggets of inspirations in Creative Inc. by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, on how to better manage people, organizations, and our work lives. He is an amazing storyteller and distilled many truths about creating and maintaining a creative, innovative, and inclusive culture. Many of these thoughts resonated a lot with me on a personal level as well. Here are nine notes of inspiration to be a better you in 2017.
WORK: NURTURING TEAMS OF TOMORROW
Many people ask, what is more important – people or ideas? Ed’s answer is: people, because ideas originate from people. Ideas do not self-generate.
CREATE GREAT TEAMS FOR GREAT IDEAS: Give an idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better. If you get the team right, chances, are that they’ll get the ideas right.
HIRE FOR POTENTIAL: When looking to hire people, give their potential to grow more weight than their current skill level. What they will be capable of tomorrow is more important than what they can do today.
MAKE IT SAFE TO TAKE RISKS: It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.
LIFE: FAIL OFTEN AND CHEAPLY
We grow up striving to succeed. Success is equated with not failing. However, if we are always afraid to fail, we may not grow to become greater than who are now. Perhaps the real recipe to success is to make the cost of failure low, so we can fail often. That way, we can learn from them more easily and build something that we couldn’t have fathomed before.
MEASURE PROBLEMS SOLVED NOT MISTAKES: The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal – it leads to measuring people by the mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.
FAIL – TO DO SOMETHING NEW: Failure isn’t a necessary evil. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
FIX ON THE CHEAP: The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
RELATIONSHIPS: TRUST, TRANSPARENCY, AND BALANCE
We equate trust to not failing – like I trust you not to let me down. However, we are human and sometimes fail to live up to our promises. So trust in your family, your significant other, your friends, and your colleagues, mean that you trust them to do the best they can. If they screw up, you trust them to try their best to fix it. You trust them to be authentic and transparent with you.
TRUST EVEN WHEN THEY SCREW UP: Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up – it means you trust them even when they do screw up.
SHOW EARLY AND OFTEN: Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when you get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way. And that’s as it should be.
FIND BALANCE, NOT STABILITY: Do not accidentally make stability a goal. Balance is more important than stability.
Do you agree with these points? Do you have others to add? Feel free to comment.
MARRIED MEN EARN MORE $$$: Men who get married work harder and more strategically, and earn more money than their single peers from similar backgrounds. Marriage also transforms men’s social worlds; they spend less time with friends and more time with family; they also go to bars less and to church more.
On average, young married men, aged 28-30, make $15,900 more than their single peers, and married men aged 44-46 make $18,800 more than their single peers, after controlling for differences in education, race, ethnicity, regional unemployment, and scores on a test of general knowledge.
Married twins earned 26% more than their identical twins who were not married.
SEE YOUR PARTNER: The key is to understand that partners are not renovation projects. Think always in terms of looking at your own expectations, negative emotional responses, dark moods and insecurities and deal with them first.
Paying attention takes time and focus — two things we’re short on these days. Sitting next to each other while surfing the Web on separate laptops doesn’t cut it. Neither does dinner if your eyes are on your cellphone as much as they’re on your partner. A neglected spouse might not clamor for your attention as aggressively as a pet, but they need the dose of love just as much.
For 10 minutes each day, couples should “talk about something other than work, family, who does what around the house or your relationship.” The goal is “to always really understand your partner.” To not lose sight of their goals and dreams and passions — the things that probably drew you to them in the first place. As you share breakfast in the morning or wind down before bed, the rule offers a chance to talk about your partner’s wish list of vacation destinations or about a book they’re reading. Anything that allows you to stop and connect and not just feel like business partners trying to make your way through a packed agenda.
NAME YOUR EMOTIONS: It’s also true that we can’t change what we don’t notice. Denying or avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away, nor does it lessen their impact on us, even if it’s unconscious. Noticing and naming emotions gives us the chance to take a step back and make choices about what to do with them.
Emotions are just a form of energy, forever seeking expression. Paradoxically, sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that they will spill out at the expense of others over the course of a day.
FAKE LAUGHING: A fake laugh is an imitation of a real laugh, but produced with a slightly different set of vocal muscles controlled by a different part of our brain. The result is that there are subtle features of the laughs that sound like speech
If you slow down a “real” laugh 2.5 times, the result is strangely animal-like. It sounds like an ape of some kind, and while it’s hard to identify, it definitely sounds like an animal. But when you slow down human speech, or a “fake” laugh, it doesn’t sound like a nonhuman animal at all—it sounds like human speech slowed down.
When we asked people whether a slowed laugh recording was a human or nonhuman animal, they couldn’t tell with the real/spontaneous laughs, but they could tell that the recordings of fake/volitional laughs were of people.
I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
There are no soul mates. In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”)