In the last few months, I’ve become enamoured of Tim O’Reilly’s writings over at O’Reilly Radar. One of the points he makes often that resonates with me is this: “work on stuff that matters.” I think it’s a great philosophy, all around, whether you’re talking about a career, troubleshooting a project that’s gone awry, or navigating a personal relationship. He wrote a post this weekend to explain what he means, and I thought it was worth sharing.
This weekend also kicked off the latest Google Isn’t Really Green hullabaloo. In case you were under a rock, the gist is this: The UK Times published a story about research on the carbon footprint of Internet activities — including Google searches — that estimated that each search query is responsible for about 7 grams of CO2. Therefore, by the logic of much coverage, Google searching is a carbon intensive activity. The story got tons of play, but I was a bit skeptical.
I edited Om’s post on Sunday night about the story and worked with him to get some context in there — carbon emissions from a small car. But there was more to it than just that. While Om’s suggestions that we should all do our part are welcome reminders, and while Katie’s take — that Google’s working on its footprint — is spot on, well, it just seems to me that Googling — or using the Internet in general — isn’t really the problem. I think there are bigger fish to fry. Thankfully, I didn’t have to write that story myself. My friend Alexis Madrigal, a writer over at the WIRED Science blog, did. You can check it out here.
Now, let’s stop talking about Google and get back to working on stuff that matters.