Stuff That Matters

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.

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