Easy, interesting and gratifying

As the online home for Uncommon slowly takes shape, many knotty questions surface. Features and interactions are designed and built, and what we want Uncommon to be often collides with how we've learned to do things online. A recent example is what should the experience of visiting Uncommon a few days or weeks after your last visit be?

We all know how this is supposed to work. You should be greeted by visual cues that you are terribly behind, numbers in red circles that tell you just how much you've missed. The goal is to instill a fear of missing out, lest you make the mistake of not visiting frequently enough again.

At the core of Uncommon is a very different view.

Uncommon should be there for you on your terms. We want every experience to be enriching and unhurried regardless of when the last visit was. We will never send notifications to your phone or display the number of prompts awaiting your replay. There are more than enough obligations and demands on our attention.

When I have the chance to talk with someone about Uncommon, a funny sense of guilt will sometimes find its way into the conversation. "I'm so far behind on the dispatches! I need to catch up." "I keep meaning to reply, but I'm always so late I'm too embarrassed to send it."

I love to explain that there are no apologies in Uncommon, no late or falling behind.

This isn't a competing priority, but a supportive community. You are always welcomed here.


Last week's dispatch asked, Who would you love to interview?

Grant wrote:

Myself, 10 years ago and 30 years from now.

Brad wrote:

I would love to interview Neal deGrasse Tyson, over dinner and wine. We're both fans of wine and the cosmos so I think the conversation would be easy, interesting and gratifying. I'd like to dig a bit deeper behind the witty soundbites that he's so good at delivering to understand more of the person, and more about his thoughts on the future of our species.

Uncommon reads

Why are humans so generous? The brain science of giving by Elizabeth Svoboda:

While we often tend to think of altruism as a kind of sophisticated moral capacity we use to squelch our urges to dominate others, this new evidence suggests that giving is actually inherently rewarding: The brain churns out a pleasurable response when we engage in it.

More Connected, Yet More Alone by Nick Bilton:

“It makes me sad that there are moments in our lives where we’re not present because we’re looking at a phone,” said Ms. deGuzman, who also wrote the piece, which was directed by Miles Crawford. She mused that, like it or not, experiencing life through a four-inch screen could be the new norm. Or not. Ms. deGuzman’s video may have landed at one of those cultural moments when people start questioning if something has gone too far and start doing something about it.

Watch I Forgot My iPhone

Your turn

With September's arrival, the end of the year can be seen on the horizon. What is your wish for the last four months of 2013?