Man Bartlett

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The Slow Web


One of the better spots to enjoy a bowl of ramen noodles here in New York is Minca, in the East Village. Minca is the kind of place just out of the way enough that as you’re about to get there, you start wondering if you’ve already passed it. A bowl of noodles at Minca isn’t quite as neatly put together as those of other ramen establishments in the city, but it is without a doubt among the tastiest. There’s a home-cooked quality to a bowl of noodles at Minca. And there’s a homey vibe to the restaurant. Minca is a good place to meet a friend and sit and talk and eat and drink, and eat and talk and sit and drink some more.

The last time I was at Minca, I had an especially enjoyable conversation with Walter Chen. Walter is the CEO of a company called iDoneThis, a quiet little service that helps you catalog the things you’ve accomplished each day. iDoneThis sends you a daily email at your specified time, and you simply reply with a list of things you did that day. It’s useful for teams who want to keep track of what everyone is working on, and for individuals who just want to keep track.

I first reached out to Walter because I was mesmerized by this koan at the bottom of the daily emails:

iDoneThis is a part of the slow web movement. After you email us, your calendar is not updated instantaneously. But rest up, and you’ll find an updated calendar when you wake.

iDoneThis is a part of the slow web movement. The Slow Web Movement. I’d never heard that phrase before. I immediately started digging around—and by that I mean I googled “Slow Web Movement”—and the lone relevant search result was a blog post from two years ago. If you run the search again today, you’ll find Walter’s writeup on his company blog, which reflects a lot of what he told me over dinner.

As we talked further, I said to Walter that as soon as I saw “the slow web movement,” I assigned my own meaning to it. Because it’s a great name, and great names are like knots—they’re woven from the same stringy material as other words, but in their particular arrangement, they catch, become junctions to which new threads arrive, from which other threads depart. For me, “The Slow Web” neatly tied together a slew of dangling thoughts.

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This. Said slowly, “this.”

Hattip (↬) @d, who also tonight referred to the “scorched web” to describe the way Internet companies have gutted their users, and on a massive scale.

Social web has burned itself to the wires.

"Real-time" is over. 

#NewInternet is #SlowWeb.

More on all this…in time…

P.S. Also, timely that just last night I was looking at emails and tweets from years ago when this service is mentioned in the post above.

P.P.S. Also got a flashback to 1999 when I saw Eyes Wide Shut in the theater. I remember thinking at the time how impressive its “slowness” was. How radical that seemed. These moments, are cyclical, and fade.  

Man BartlettSlowWeb