The Internet’s Wise Grandfather – Kevin Kelly | The Danny Miranda Podcast

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Key Takeaways

  • “When we are connected to each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, it becomes more difficult to have different ideas” Kevin Kelly
    • Vanishing cultures can be an inspiration to help us think differently
  • Kevin is a huge believer in taking time off, playing, and being inefficient
    • Those are the times we can be most creative
    • Innovation and creativity are fundamentally inefficient
      • They contain so much failure and dead-ends
  • Doing a thing only for the pure joy of it is one of the paths to new ideas
  • Your unconscious is one of the most powerful tools you have
    • It whispers to you and you want to be able to listen to it
    • You have to do something to actively connect to it, otherwise, you won’t be able to
    • For some people, it’s in the shower, others while walking, drawing, or journaling
  • The best way to teach something to children is through example, not through what you say

Key Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) is a futurist, the co-founder of Wired Magazine, and a best-selling author
    • Check out Kevin’s website
    • Check out these podcasts notes from Kevin’s appearance on the Tim Ferris Show
  • Host: Danny Miranda (@heydannymiranda)
  • In this conversation, Kevin Kelly discusses the book he’s launching, advice to be creative, his parenting style, and more

Witnessing the Birth of The Internet

  • In 1981 Kevin was invited to join an experimental internet community
    • Very quickly he noticed the same behaviors we find online today
    • People who wouldn’t normally misbehave would start trolling
    • “This medium was built for trolling” Kevin Kelly
  • Kevin could feel the potential of the internet, but it was unclear whether its potential would be realized
    • Similar to the Blockchain today
  • Back then, it was all text-based, required coding skills, and was mostly used by young men
    • It was difficult to imagine it becoming as widespread as it is today
    • Kevin’s instinct was to share his discovery with others

An Ode to Otherness

  • Kevin described his new set of books (called Vanishing Asia) as an “Ode to Otherness”
  • With time, through the education system and our global culture, we seem to be converging to think more and more similarly
    • Young people share the same dreams
  • “When we are connected to each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, it becomes more difficult to have different ideas” Kevin Kelly
    • “People will have to work extra hard to think differently” Kevin Kelly
  • Kevin saw that in Asia cities are becoming more and more alike
    • Local, village cultures are being lost
    • He’s not trying to reverse this trend but simply preserving information about them
  • These vanishing cultures and ideas can be an inspiration to help us think differently
    • They contain genius within them
    • “Buried in these ancient traditions are solutions that can be re-used today” Kevin Kelly
      • Example of traditional festivals using color to infuse beauty in our lives

Introducing Sabbaths to Spark Creativity

  • Kevin is a huge believer in taking time off, playing, and being inefficient
    • Those are the times we can be most creative
  • Taking a Sabbath from technology to stimulate new ideas
    • Having a day when you do things differently from usual 
    • Gives you more perspective on your life
  • A retreat is different from a vacation
    • We fill the vacation with activities and distraction
    • We also need to fully stop, spend time in silence
  • Innovation and creativity are fundamentally inefficient
    • They contain so much failure and dead-ends
    • You need to spend a lot of time “playing” with it
  • Doing a thing only for the pure joy of it is one of the paths to new ideas

Tapping Into the Power of the Unconscious

  • Your unconscious is one of the most powerful tools you have
    • It whispers to you and you want to be able to listen to it
    • Sleeping on a problem works because you allow your unconscious to tackle it
  • You need to find what works best for you to connect with its wisdom
    • For some people, it’s in the shower, others while walking, drawing, or journaling
    • You have to do something to actively connect to it, otherwise, you won’t be able to

Parenting and Teaching Kids

  • The best way to teach something to children is through example, not through what you say
  • Whatever school your child is in, you’ll have to supplement it at home
    • Kevin enjoyed doing scientific experiments with his kids
    • The point was doing “real experiments” where Kevin didn’t even know the result
  • Consistency was key for Kevin as a parent
    • In his love for his kids
      • Children know they can consistently rely on parents
    • In terms of how he applied rules
  • Emphasis on experimentation and supporting kids’ interests
    • Letting kids trying different things to find what they’re interested in
  • Kevin placed lots of importance on character building
    • He stressed that he valued honesty and kindness and demanded them from his kids

Early Days and the Future of Quantified Self

  • 20 years ago Kevin and Gary Wolf realized how technology could help us track things about ourselves
    • He started a “Quantified Self” meetup to talk to people who were already quantifying things about themselves
    • 25 people showed up at the first meetup, among them was Tim Ferriss
  • The reason why quantified self hasn’t taken off in the mainstream yet is that you need a professional to analyze the data and give you insights into what to do about it
    • We will likely have some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to start doing that

Overcoming Difficult Challenges and Supporting Others

  • Kevin rode his bike from Canada to Mexico with his son and nephew
    • When his son was getting discouraged here’s what worked:
      • Breaking the goal down to the smallest next step
        • It looks less intimidating
        • After a while, you can overcome the discouragement
    • “Let’s just get to this other town and have lunch”

Why Kevin Supports Having Mandatory Service of 2 Years

  • He believes that rights and responsibilities should be tied together
    • You should be earning your rights through responsibilities
    • Service should be one of those responsibilities
  • You could choose what kind of service you provide (military, peace corps, volunteering at a hospital)
  • Such experience would be extremely formative while being great for the country
    • It allows to connect and work with a different variety of people
    • Being mandatory, it would empower everyone to realize that they can make a difference
      • That’s why Kevin thinks there should be no (or very few, extreme cases) exceptions
The Danny Miranda Podcast : ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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