Jared White Photo of Jared

Expressively publishing on the open web since 1996.
Entranced by Portland, Oregon since 2017.



There’s No Free Hot Tub

Technology is rarely additive.

New technologies come along and inevitably we call them progress. And any detractors of said technologies are immediately labeled luddites.

(Which for some reason is a pejorative even though the history of terrible working conditions in early factories is undeniable—and with all of the benefits brought on by the Industrial Revolution, it was by no means a clear “win” when it comes to ethics, humane treatment of labor, and corporate responsibility!)

Yes, new technologies arrive on the scene, and folks look at them all starry-eyed and imagine how stellar the future will be.

But we rarely take the opportunity to consider the costs of these additions. I don’t mean just monetary costs (although that’s legit). I mean ethical, cultural, sustainable, mental, spiritual costs. What do we gain, sure, but also, what do we lose?

Free things in life are rarely free.

I was once given a free hot tub. Free!! Incredible, right? Turned out to be a terrible mistake.

It was going to cost money to set the hot tub on a proper foundation. It was going to cost money to clean. It was going to cost money to hook it up to the necessary plumbing. So we never set it up. An unused hot tub sat there in our back yard for months. (Years?)

And that wasn’t the worst part of it…it ended up costing us real money to haul it away when it came time to move!

The free hot tub…wasn’t free at all.

Technology is rarely additive.

The philosophy of #minimalism has taught me to realize that every new thing I add to my life—whether it’s an object or a technology or a social network or a hobby or a job or even a friendship…everything comes with a cost.

Sometimes those costs are well worth it. Few obvious downsides and the potential rewards are significant. Worth the effort. Worth the risk.

But there’s always a cost. And sometimes the cost is just too damn high.

Any time someone tells you about a mind-blowing new technology (web3) that’s going to revolutionize everything (#generativeAI) and change the world forever (self-driving cars), ask them what the costs are. If they can’t tell you, either they don’t know (because they’re ignorant), or they don’t want you to know (because they’re grifters).

Either way, do your due diligence. And inform the oncoming hordes shouting Luddites! Luddites! that their myopic view of history needs profound correction.

An essentialist examines their life not only to clear out the non-essential obligations and clutter and bad habits and so forth in an attempt to simplify and focus. That’s all good, certainly. But the ultimate goal is to orient your life such that when opportunities arise which are squarely in your sights for the lifestyle you most desire, you are in the perfect position to give an emphatic YES. In other words, dreams don’t come true just by happenstance. You’ve got to prepare the way.

#lifehacks #minimalism

High-Resolution Image

Moving twice in just a few years has given me a great deal of perspective on what kind of relationship I want to have with stuff. As Millburn & Nicodemus so rightly put it: “the true cost of a thing goes well beyond the price on the pricetag.” I applaud my wife for starting us on this journey towards getting rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” and add value to our lives—and the more we are intentional about keeping or buying only that which is truly essential, useful, and aesthetically pleasing, the more I feel an overwhelming sense of contented satisfaction. #minimalism

The Minimalists Interview Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers is perhaps best known for starting CDBaby and being a big part of the independent music scene in the early days of the web, but he’s written and presented a lot since then on topics related to creativity, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Always a treat hearing him speak. (There’s a fair bit of preamble in this episode so you may want to skip to the 18:00 mark to get to the interview.) #minimalism

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