Skip to main content
  1. Posts/

Tristan Harris — Fighting Skynet and Firewalling Attention

2 mins
tristan-harris tim ferriss byron-katie
Shawn L
Builds stuff minimally
Table of Contents

The Work of Byron Katie

A set of 4 questions you can ask of any moment in your life that causes stress.

Example: You seeing an inconsiderate guy.

  1. Is is true that guy is inconsiderate?
  2. Can you be absolutely sure that guy is inconsiderate?
  3. Okay, what happens? How do I react? How do I feel?
  4. What if he’s considerate? List opposites of the belief. Find evidence.

Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed.” - Chuck Palahniuk

Treat attention as sacred

We want minimal vibrations. Minimal number of anxiety concerns.

Image a humane world where everything is trying to minimize its footprint of your attention.

Your phone is a slot machine.

The more interruptions we get, the more we self-interrupt. We self-interrupt every 3 and a half minutes.

Notes from Tristan’s TED Talk

We can design chat so that you only receive messages when you allow it. The app holds sent messages and delivers it when you’re ready.

Instead of the goal of chat being: Let’s design it so it’s easy to send message.

To something more human: Let’s create then highest quality communications and relationship.


Couchsurfing measure their impact by:

Net good times = # of positive hours - # of hours on website

This is net hours that would have never existed had Couchsurfing not existed.

Prioritize a new metric of net contribution to human lives.