Don't be trapped by Dogma in life and technology
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs
The trappings of technology
We are mimetic creatures. We copy others. Then we join camps. Some people are hardcore Apple fans and have anything that start with an i(Device), myself included and others can't stand Apple and will use Google or Microsoft or literally anything else but Apple.
This is a good thing, because we have diversity.
The issues arise when we keep following along. long after the technology has stopped serving our needs. We have invested too much time and money to move away from products, services and subscriptions.
This is the moment technology becomes a tyrannical master. I reached this realization when I got sick last December with COVID. I was unable to work for almost a month. Something interesting happened. All my subscriptions to services stopped getting paid.
Most companies cancelled my subscription and blocked my access, others including 37 Signals were more courteous and extended my access.
My apps stopped working, anything from meditation to icloud backups and email systems and so on. After a few weeks of recovery, I was well enough again to focus on this area.
I found that I had subscriptions to applications ranging from Notion, Evernote, Readwise, Grammarly, Airtable, Miro and many many more that I rarely used and that I had signed up over time by following others that promoted these tools.
The only tools I really used daily was Basecamp and my Hey email. This is because I got the most done with no distractions and enjoyed using them.
Growing up in the 80s, I was used to buying software once. It was nice. You paid for something and got something you owned. Back then there was box with CDs or DVDs and manuals.
The move to the cloud has introduced this subscription model we are experiencing today and provides flexibility and location independence but in most cases it enslaves us.
So I made a list of all my subscriptions and spend 3 weeks, cancelling them. I would get the odd charge on my credit card as I had forgotten some of the subscriptions completely.
This is an ongoing process as I now realize and need to force myself to think twice before signing up for the next thing that doesn't meet my criteria.
Don't be afraid to break things
The next step I took, was to try approaching my needs through a different mindset and specific criteria.
My new criteria for software are stability, credibility, support, ROI, necessity and joy.
Setting criteria is one thing, migrating data between applications and undoing years of work is another challenge. It requires willpower, bravery, as you are inadvertently going to break some things along the way, but It is absolutely worth it.
Our time is limited and this is the only reminder I need when I hesitate.
So after 5 years of being a Microsoft partner, I moved away from Microsoft 365 for my business and moved to Google Workspaces. This is because of ease of use and integration with other systems. I am still using Basecamp for my work projects and my personal life. Basecamp has also replaced all my note taking apps and journaling apps.
I have journal, a knowledge management system and in combination with Google sheets, It fulfills all my needs.
I finally use HEY for my personal email and blog and this brings me joy.
If you are trapped by dogma, make some changes today! You'll thank me later.
Neural Impulse is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.