The time we spend trying to understand each other

My family and I are wrapping up a few days in beautiful Vancouver, which now has a spot on my list of favorite cities. It’s hard to resist the combination of endless parks and natural beauty, great museums, delicious food, and remarkably efficient public transportation.

I’m not sure if Vancouver would land on my list of favorite things in the world just yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it within Uncommon. We have a couple of ideas for how to make it easy to highlight the things we love far beyond our ten favorites.

First, imagine specific collections of favorites, like films or cities, in addition to your favorite things in the world. It would be an easy way to share and compare a more focused list of things you love with others who love them,too. There would be a limited number of these, with new ones being added every few months. There are some really fun ways we can display them, too :)

Second, what about all the things we love that don’t quite land in the top ten? Anytime you like, you can add Uncommonly Good things to your list. These would be displayed on the same page as your ten favorites, but more simply and below the fold. Not only will this allow you to note things that may become a favorite down the road, but it provides many more avenues to find common ground with others, which is always a good thing.

I hope these little sketches of things to come are fun and helpful. Uncommon is a labor of love for all of us, dreamed up during late nights and slowly created during stolen weekend hours. We take small steps forward every day, though. It’s great to have each of you part of this. Your ideas, enthusiasm and patience mean everything.


Last week’s dispatch asked, What inspires you to create?

Lauren wrote:

I’m inspired to create when I see a problem and realize that I just might have a unique solution. And not that my solution is necessarily the best one, in fact sometimes my creative answer is quite terrible, but I know it may inspire others to jump up with creative ideas as well. And if my spark of creative inspiration inspires someone else - no matter how good or "bad" the original idea might have been - then I have accomplished something magnificent. The thought that I might inspire someone else to do something even better than I could have done myself, that’s what inspires me.  

Adam wrote:

What inspires me to create? Envy that others are making awesome things - seeing a standup do schtick and remember that I could do this too; Watching others make things - videos of people in their studio putting something together, talking to people making awesome things; A little bit of guilt when I haven’t made in anything in a while.

Uncommon reads

You Can’t Start the Revolution from the Country Club by Anil Dash is one themost important pieces I’ve read this year. He raises difficult questions about communities, openness, and missed opportunities.

In today’s world, where the social web is mainstream, innovating on the core values of tools and technology while ignoring the value of inclusiveness is tantamount to building a gated community.

Everything in its Right Pace by Hannah Donovan brilliantly explores how pace and value interact in our lives, and the influence of the sites and tools we use.

Any network based around the concept of self-expression—the creation of personal data—will be more fun, easier to get started with, and more likely to create whole new genres of art if it includes limitations. As easily as technology allows us to erase constraints, it gives us the power to create new ones.

Erin Watson writes about what’s at the heart of her clever creative project.

Here is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: how the only real currency we have is our time and how reading and writing are ways of marking time that sometimes seem to change the way it passes. And how the time we spend trying to understand each other is never wasted, and how all the best things I’ve ever read are avatars of that eternal wish to understand. So much writing on the internet is time-wasting, and meant to be so, and I’m trying to turn some of that towards time-stretching…

Your turn

What defines a great city?