Birthday Thought: Faster Routes

How Google Maps screws us over...

My wife told me I shouldn’t write a newsletter today.

“You’re over-saturating.”

“People are going to stop caring.”

“Don’t do it!”

Well, she subscribes, so she’ll find out soon enough.

Here’s one, teeny tiny thought to start your week with…

Birthday Thought

I turn 33 today. I feel old.

To celebrate, my wife and I travelled to upstate NY.

Her grandpa has a cabin there, and we go often.

I was driving. Those who know me well know I’m not a big driver.

I only really started driving 2 years go. I still lack a little confidence behind the wheel.

But I’ve gotten the hang of it. And when my wife dozed off sitting in the passenger seat, I was all alone.

Except for the Google Maps app on the car dashboard.

There was a lot of traffic getting out of the city. The typical 2 hour ride was approaching 2 and a half. I was getting antsy, annoyed, angry, etc.

But then a ping from the dashboard.

“There is a faster route available.”

Google Maps had found another way. My savior.

But then, a countdown clock appeared. Click “accept,” or my route wouldn’t update. I’d be stuck crawling my way to our destination.

I clicked “accept.” I was free!

Google Maps got me off in a few exits to a new route, a better route.

But a route that apparently everyone else got the memo about too.

The word was out. This route was arguably worse than the last one. I was in a long line of cars, traversing an awkward road on an upstate cliff. I had hoped to shave 20 minutes off of my trip, but I was suddenly adding 15.

Another ping! “There is a faster route available.” Fuck it, I thought. My wife is still sleeping. No time to consult her. I needed to get out of this fucking car.

I clicked “accept” again. I was free!

But the same thing happened. I was promised a new, better route. What I found was a long line of cars who were also promised that better route. And I was stuck with them, behind them, for what felt like an eternity.

I know you’re probably wanting me to land the plane already, so you can go on with your beautiful Sunday evenings.

The point is, I couldn’t help but think of the last few years of technology and trends during this.

The metaverse, AI, NFTs, whatever other bullshit has been thrown at the wall.

The exclamation from the media that these are “faster routes available.”

A faster route to our destinations. To insights, fame, success, advancement.

That if we don’t get on board with these new innovations, we risk being stuck in an endless slog of slow, unrelenting, and unfulfilling impatience.

But when we click “accept,” we find everyone else is there too. They’ve been told the same thing. No one has beaten each other to the punch, instead we’re all just beating each other up, fed the same vision of the future because we haven’t thought of one for ourselves.

In reality, it’s the same slog, just on a different path.

As I head into my next year, I want my eyes wide open to the routes that Google Maps and life promises are “faster.”

Because very often, especially in 2023 when group think is high in our closed off bubbles, everyone is getting the same answer.

It’s my job to figure out which one is best for me.

And it’s your job to figure out which one is best for you.

Stay thinkin,