The Photo Albums of Our Lives

There’s something about the past couple days that have me building on ideas around opening up to fear and change.

Why do we sometimes choose to freeze others in time?

Why do we sometimes insist that things can’t change because we’re looking at someone with the same lens today as if the past – that moment or those moments in time – were ‘it’?

This got me thinking about our lives as a large photo album. Our photo albums – analog, digital, or in our minds – are full of snapshots from different times and places.

We’re with different people and we’re different people ourselves.

Think about it –

When you look back at those photos – some memories that are fond, others that are not – are you that same person?

Are you the same person you were taking a bath as a toddler as you are today?

Are you the same person you were on that excursion out and about with your family as a teenager exploring new territory and having a blast?

Are you the same person you were when you moved away from home that first time?

Or when you started to establish roots as you grew into the early days of adulthood?

And though it can be hard to think about such changes on a day-to-day basis, as the weeks and months and years start to go by, we may not be giving ourselves – or those closest to us – enough credit for the changes they make as they continue to evolve.

And do we extend the same credit to ourselves for our changes, as well?

What snapshots do we continue to focus on in the photo albums of our lives?

How do they influence the way we see the world, those closest to us, and ourselves?

What new pictures do we plan to take? And what will be our favorite photos moving forward?

Or will we only look back to focus on what was in favor of creating the photos of our future?

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Snapchat Founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, Talk at Yale

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Thanks to an event hosted by the Yale Entrepreneurial Society and Yale Entrepreneur Magazine, Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat came to speak at Yale today.

Here are some of the things I found interesting.

What makes Snapchat different?

Snapchat is part of the conversation to use a photo as a communication tool vs. a documentation tool. Evan gets excited about the conversation to change the nature of what a good photograph is. Example – a fuzzy photo with the caption, “my phone is drunk.” Not a ‘good photo’ that would be found through regular filters, but becomes good with the snap and the chat are combined.

They wanted to go from people taking 1 photo per week to opening their camera 10x per day. How do we do that?

Communication is faster and more common than documentation. They want to continue to look at the camera as an interesting software tool beyond capture.

Is Snapchat the communication tool you use most?

Evan himself uses Snapchat, but text and phone are his top 2 go-to communication tools.

What was an advantage or disadvantage that came up with the company in LA?

With the company based in LA, attracting top talent was a major concern and question for some on the team. It turned out to be a great filter, meaning the early team was mostly self-selecting folks, who were willing to leave their comforts to join a new family in LA, because they fully believed in the vision and wanted to be a part of it. The majority of the team is not originally from LA.

Why doesn’t Snapchat have groups?

1) Wanted people to feel included (i.e. not disincluded).
2) Wants Snapchat to be more representative of how your relationships change. Maybe you’re closer this week vs. last or vice-versa. Not locked into particular groups where you might not be comfortable with some of the people there.

On the question of Founders who fail as CEOs

Building a business is different than having a great idea. Need to work on both of these IF you want to do both jobs.

Fortunate to work with people who believe that making mistakes are a part of becoming a good CEO.

As Founders, set up a system from the beginning to ensure they could make mistakes and couldn’t get kicked out of their company.

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The photo above comes from today’s event. Evan is taking an Our Campus Story video (see Oct 17 announcement via the link). Everybody got a little excited.

When Words Return the Favor

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Yesterday evening I took a full-on look into Instagram. I added 6 photos, started following a bunch of folks I like who I haven’t had a chance to catch up with in person for some time, and enjoyed every minute. I’m not a very consistent social media’er, but as my foray into writing continues, I have really let my hair down taken a look into what communications is like when living social, online.

And so, after all that, I’m left with one pressing question. Let me explain.

Scrolling through photos is enjoyable. But the best case scenario is when the commentary is equally pleasurable.

Now, most of us are familiar with the quote, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Instagram does an incredible job of delivering this to each account holder by enabling us to easily share with others the photos we take on a daily basis.

And in my scrolling tonight I came to a photo taken by a college friend of mine, Stephen Chen. In this shot a cute dog (maybe even a puppy) sat along side, “The Wisdom of Compassion” by the Dalai Lama. Here, take a look.

While the photo is interesting in its own right, the comment totally made it for me. “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” -Groucho Marx

I know I’m a sucker for quotes and do enjoy good writing, but I’m curious what others think:

Pictures often support as visual aids, but what is it called when words return the favor?

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Today’s image I traced back to the So! What? Social. website.