Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace

In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to pin our personal worth to the amount of work that we do. It almost seems like our pursuit for happiness no longer resides in finding what we are passionate about, but in the amount of productivity and hustle we can generate on a regular basis. 

In this episode, author and agility expert Jeff Gothelf is here to remind everybody that this is not the case. We inherently have value by virtue of being human beings, and we are capable of finding new ways to share our own narratives. Each one of us has a tremendous story to tell. These are ideas that resonate consistently throughout his new book, entitled Forever Employable.

It’s time to break away from the mold and see how we, as individuals, can enrich the path for future entry-level professionals within our industries—through the pandemic and beyond.

Experimenting With Different Channels

Traditionally, a successful person was always thought of as an extrovert. They would be known for their charisma and communication skills, and those who were introverted were at a disadvantage. 

But in this day and age, there are a thousand ways for people to express themselves without necessarily meeting an audience face to face. Giving yourself the freedom to experiment with a variety of different channels and content will help you figure out two important aspects of being forever employable.

First, it will help you figure out the content you are comfortable sharing with your audience on a consistent basis. Second, it will help you find out where your audience is and how they want to hear from you. When you combine these two, you discover your unique way of generating opportunities.

Building a platform and a network does not require a specific skill set or personality trait; it only calls for experimentation, ingenuity, and an open mind.

Finding An Evergreen Problem

Jeff shared his experience with his first book, entitled Lean UX. At this point, he has been talking about Lean UX to a variety of audiences and conferences around the country for over thirteen years. He believes that it’s the most successful book he has written.

He shared that while the first few years were exhilarating, he eventually had doubts on whether he could continue sharing his insights and his book. However, he said that the people he opened up to about his concerns reassured him that his ideas remained relevant.

According to those who advised him, the content in Lean UX is crucial to solving an “evergreen problem” or core problem. These are components of work that remain relevant to a job role despite the changing demands of the business landscape. One example Jeff gave was a project manager’s responsibility to unite a diverse group of people under one vision.

This meant that Jeff found the content that he was most comfortable sharing with other people—he just needed to find new and creative ways to present it to different audiences. The constant reinvention is both internally and externally driven: it’s internal because he needed to be able to sustain the passion that he had for his content by propagating it in different ways, but it’s also external because he was pushed to keep it relevant for the demands of the market. 

Closing Remarks: Forge Your Own Path

After Jeff’s discussion on creating one’s own narrative, Alex related his advice to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, where Campbell explores how most mythological narratives or “hero’s adventure’ share a similar fundamental structure.

“I feel as we're building that brand, setting that steak, we're going through all those different stages of the architect of the development of what we are, our brand or our business to actually become that great hero at the end...we deal with different rivals, right, different challenges, personal, interpersonal, whatever it might be, but the way myth carries, it's potent regardless of the length of time,” he explained.

Jeff’s parting words encourage us to take our future into our own hands. Loyalty to a single corporation or business entity may have worked for the past generations, but the variety in work set-ups and business models that we have the opportunity to experience today allow for more flexibility in our career path. 

According to Jeff, the most important part of our career journey is making sure that we take control of our professional lives. Create a presence that is uniquely our own. Having others write our narratives for us is a waste of our true potential.

When TARTLE was first conceived, it took four more years of testing and experimentation before the platform stabilized. Whatever it is you are passionate about, it’s worth sharing and you are worthy of pursuing it. Your data is priceless.

Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

IOT and Data Hoarding

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here. Already, there are hundreds of millions, even billions of IoT devices out in the world. Despite their ubiquity, many people are still confused about what IoT is. It’s basically any device that is connected to the internet via a wifi or Bluetooth connection for the primary purpose of gathering data. Most people will think of smartwatches or Fitbits that mostly track health data. However, the IoT is made of much, much more than that. IoT devices can include anything from a connected refrigerator to a drill that lets you monitor its battery life from your phone, to a big tractor harvesting crops in the massive industrial farms out in the plain states. These kinds of internet-connected devices will only continue to proliferate in the years to come. One may wonder why they are becoming increasingly common. Why are companies so focused on making them and why do people want to spend their money to get them?

The reason companies are busily cranking these things out is simple, they recognize that data has value and are trying to collect as much of it as possible. What will they do with all of that data? In a lot of cases, they don’t even know. Indeed, this is part of a much larger problem. But we’ll get back to that.                                               

For the people on the other end of it, the individuals shelling out their shekels for these widgets, there are several different motivations. One of course is just having the new thing, which for some reason still motivates a lot of people. More practically, the connectivity has various uses. The many different health trackers for example keep track of basic information like heart rate, blood pressure, amount of physical activity, how much you sleep and so forth. Having that kind of information constantly tracked and recorded can be a very effective tool when it comes to improving your health. With an IoT fitness tracker you can see what the effects of a change to your diet or exercise routine are and see that very quickly, allowing you to evaluate and modify those changes. 

In more mundane matters, your IoT toaster can let you know when your Pop-Tarts are done if you wandered outside after putting them in. Or your fridge can let you know that it’s time to buy new eggs, or throw out the ones you bought two months ago because it turns out you don’t like making eggs for breakfast that much.           

What about that problem we had to get back to? Too often, people think that just recording and hoarding data is all that needs to happen. That somehow if you just have a constant stream of information coming in, that will help you make better decisions. But having servers full of ones and zeroes helps no one. That data needs to be processed and sorted. That means you are going to need some algorithms to help you do that. Where companies fall short is thinking that the algorithm is always accurate. In reality, it is based on various assumptions that may or may not be true. Sure, you can track the results of decisions made based on the information those algorithms provide to see if they are in fact accurate. However, that might be very time consuming and costly. Why not go to the source? What not get to the ‘why’ behind the data? That will help you validate your algorithms faster and even develop better ones in the first place. 

The TARTLE data marketplace provides companies with the ability to do exactly that. By signing up as a buyer, companies can get in direct contact with the audience they want to reach and learn from them why they made the decisions they made. It also works as the world’s most effective and reactive suggestion box, allowing customers to give their feedback directly to a company to help build better products and services. In the end, that benefits both the companies and the customers. One gets a better product and the other gets a better bottom line. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Gen Z and the Internet

What's your opinion of the Gen Zs? Have you ever stopped to think about all the things that didn’t exist when you were a kid but take for granted now? Or all the things that you’ve never used but your parents and grandparents take for granted? Boomers for example never knew a world without cars. GenX never knew a world without TV. Millennials grew up in a world where video game consoles and compact discs were common. GenZ, the zoomers, may well go their whole lives without ever putting a disc of any kind into a player. Why? Because they have never known a world without the internet. 

When they were born, their GenX and Millennial parents were already getting most of their information and starting to do a large part of their shopping online from their laptops and early smartphones. Now, we just call them phones. GenZ doesn’t just shop and get their info online, they do everything there. They get their music, movies, books (for those fortunate few who still read) and the rest of their entertainment online. In the wake of COVID, most of their learning, from first grade to college is online. Even their social lives are either online or heavily influenced by it. They spend almost all their time in front of some sort of screen.

The tendency of GenZ to share literally every part of their lives has certainly been leading to some interesting and in some cases troubling, developments. In the old days, a person who had issues with bullies in their lives could get away when they went home from work or school. Now, if they are on social media at all, they can’t get away. The bully follows them everywhere. Sure, you can always just stay off of social media but since that’s where everyone is, most will think leaving it would wind up being even worse. 

Bullies aside, there is the problem of the unrealistic picture that a clever person can paint with social media. A little knowledge of lighting, camera angles and how to pick the right words can make an ordinary life look extraordinary. Instagram is a perfect example. Just because someone takes a picture of themselves putting up a board over a broken window doesn’t prove they are doing anything to help. In fact, it’s pretty likely that it was just a photo-op and the board had already been up for hours if not days. There is even the phenomenon of Instagram couples, people who take pictures together for the purpose of getting more followers and likes but don’t even talk in real life. The relationship someone might be envying is nothing more than a business partnership. Yet, many will compare their own lives to whatever they see online and find themselves feeling inadequate. This has led to massive increases in teenage depression and suicide. So what to do about it?

One big thing is that people need to stop associating their identities and worth with what they see online. A good portion of it is fake, and even if it isn’t you’re mostly seeing the good stuff. Even a real Instagram couple has bad days. They just don’t share them. Be careful who you associate too closely with online as well, there are too many people who seem to thrive on pushing others’ buttons.

Also, direct your social media time to things you care about. Instead of what filter is popular on Snapchat taking up your time, you could learn about something, or work for a company or cause that you care about. Nature conservation, history, space explorations, there is a whole real world out there that the internet has made more accessible than ever. 

TARTLE can help with that direction. Using our marketplace you can get your information protected and shared with whatever cause it is that most interests and concerns you. Start putting the internet to work for you. Instead of letting it dominate your life, you can use it as a tool to connect to the material world that exists outside of the digital. And with TARTLE you can work to make it better. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

What’s Up with WhatsApp?

If you were asked what the most popular messaging app in the world is, what would you say? Messenger? Instagram? Discord? All wrong. In fact, if you answered anything other than WhatsApp you would be wrong. WhatsApp rose quickly to become the biggest kid on the messaging block thanks to its compatibility with Android (by far the most popular smartphone platform in the world) and the fact it allows users to make free calls and texts as long as there is a wifi connection. What really sets this app apart from the rest though is that it didn’t gather or sell any of your data. Its developers prided themselves on the fact they didn’t know and didn’t want to know anything about their users.

Sadly, that started to change in 2014 when Facebook bought the company. Initially, the house that Zuck built promised that it would make no changes to the terms of service for WhatsApp. However, recently, they did change them, making it mandatory for users to share their WhatsApp data with Facebook. Users are faced with two choices, accept the new terms or lose their account. At least they are upfront about the choice. So there’s that. 

One wonders though, why are they making users make this decision now? What is driving them to alter one of their primary features? To put it another way, why do they want our data now? Looking at the updated agreement, there is a hint. One of the things WhatsApp says they will be using that data for is to provide personalized ads within the app, no doubt cross-referencing data from Facebook and Instagram. To be fair, they likely realized they needed to actually make some money with WhatsApp and putting a couple of ads on the screen is an easy way to do that. However, if they go the route of Skype and other apps and start recording and transcribing calls without consent, that will be sure to cause a backlash. Not that they are doing that right now. Hopefully, they stay away from that kind of privacy violation as it would completely destroy the original vision of WhatsApp’s creators. 

So why would we speculate as to their intentions? Because the new terms of service are unfortunately pretty opaque. Amongst the data they’ll be collecting now is “how we interact with others”. What does that mean? Anytime there is ambiguity like that, it invites suspicion. Wouldn’t it be better if they just came right out and said everything they plan on doing with your data? Even if people weren’t terribly likely to approve. At least if Facebook told you they were planning on selling your information to the NSA at least you could respect their honesty and have a real choice in the matter. Instead, you have a bunch of vague terminologies that would frustrate a corporate lawyer. 

Let’s take another example. They’ll also be collecting users’ IP addresses, location data, and more besides. But don’t worry! “Other data” will be collected only with consent. One wonders what’s meant by “other data” or even what could be meant given how much data they already tell you that they’ll be collecting. The fact they then emphasize they won’t be asking for your name or email as a way to put users’ concerns at ease is just plain laughable. WhatsApp is telling people they are taking every bit of data necessary to figure out who you are. Who cares if you give them your name? They can figure it out, along with where you had lunch based on the data that is getting collected. 

Now, it might seem like we’re bashing WhatsApp. And we are a little bit, but it’s in the hopes that they will hear the concerns of users around the world and respond in a positive way that preserves user privacy while still allowing them to make a buck and keep the lights on. Fortunately, we at TARTLE are experts on how to handle user privacy and address the concerns of users and companies alike. We would love to sit down with Facebook or any other company struggling to find the sweet spot on this issue and find solutions that will keep everyone happy.

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

TikTok Questions Return

It’s been a little bit since we last sat down to answer questions from our many Tik Tok followers. Today seems like a great time to get right back into it so let’s start with one about blockchain. Specifically, how do we envision blockchain penetrating into the mainstream since currently more than 90% of people have no idea what it is? It seems doomed to remain in a niche market.

What we expect to happen with blockchain is that a lot of organizations will start using it on their own and their customers will find themselves using it through various companies or other institutions. Put simply, one day we’ll wake up and realize that blockchain is being used all around us. 

What about Facebook, you ask? Unfortunately, that link still isn’t working. As before, Facebook constantly changes the rules which makes it very difficult for others to remain compliant with whatever those rules are. And let’s be honest, it’s easy to see how they would think it’s in Facebook’s interest to make it harder for companies like TARTLE to work with them. They haven’t got past seeing us as potential disruptors rather than an ally. Still, we have developers diligently working with the proper representatives to get us back on track with Facebook. 

Someone out there also proposed the idea of people getting paid to watch all those video ads that show up in the middle of your favorite YouTube show. After all, these ads are taking time from us and getting in the way of what we are actually there for. That sounds like a great idea to TARTLE. After all, just the simple act of watching that video generates useful data for the parent company. It doesn’t seem completely unreasonable that viewers get something for their trouble. 

We talk and even borderline gush about the potential for AI a fair amount here. One of our commenters brought up the common objection that AI will eventually displace a great number of jobs, causing massive ripple effects through society. That is a valid concern, at least at first. However, if we have learned anything since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution it’s that new technologies are indeed often disruptive and lead to the end of many jobs. However, they often lead to the creation of new ones. When wagons were replaced by cars, more jobs were available, not less. While computers put typewriter manufacturers out of business, they created a vast number of professions in design, manufacturing, and software engineers. There is no reason to assume that AI would be different in the long run. Not to mention, TARTLE is helping to create new opportunities in the digital age by giving you another revenue stream in the form of selling your data.

Another Tik Tok-er observed that major governments are starting to take notice of Bitcoin and are funneling money into it. The question is, do we think that they are realizing that the Federal Reserve and fiat currency is in trouble and are trying to take control of the crypto market? That’s a long question but the answer is short – yes.

To wrap this up, we’ll answer a serious, if somewhat snarky question: who are we and what do we do with your data? To answer the first part, we are people on a mission. That mission is to help empower others to regain control of their data, to be able to share it as you wish. And not just to share it but to be rewarded for doing so both financially and in the satisfaction of using it to help a cause you care about. What do we do with it? Not a thing.

Keep the questions and comments coming and before long we’ll do another one of these sessions. And in the meantime, we’ll leave you with a question of our own – 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

TikTok Round the Clock

After a run of pretty dense episodes ranging from TARTLE’s long-term goals to climate issues to brain scans, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit our lively TikTok community and respond to some questions and comments. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

We got a couple of comments about ongoing issues with the user interface at tartle.co. First, those comments come from people who are already signed up, the early adopters and we owe you a debt of gratitude. Without people willing to take the leap of faith early on, none of this would be possible. People like you help blaze the trails that others will follow. 

To the issue at hand though, we should have TARTLE 2.0 rolled out any day now. In fact, it may already be out in the wild before this post is public. The new and improved site will make the process of signing up with and effectively using TARTLE much, much easier. The reason why it has been difficult until now is because when TARTLE was first getting started it was just Alex developing the site. When it’s just one person working on it, he knows everything backwards and forwards and assumes everyone else will find it just as intuitive as he does. With no one else to bounce things off of, to point out the flaws, something goes out that at first seems simple, until other people take a crack at it. Incidentally, this is why writers have editors. They exist to point out the areas of a story that people who don’t know all the off page details won’t understand.

In any case, we have a team in place now working on those details and filling the gaps that one person working alone just doesn’t see. In addition to having a new and much easier-to-handle website in place, we should be able to respond to new issues much faster than before. 

What about our name? We get questions about this pretty often. If you’ve been here a while you know TARTLE is originally a Scottish term that refers to the awkward pause when two recently introduced strangers are trying to remember each other’s names. This might seem strange for some, but it emphasizes the anonymity of both parties, the fact that in that moment, they don’t really know one another yet. It also points to the potential relationship to come. In that moment, you are both unknowns, after that awkward moment, the situation changes, you are known to each other and it could be the beginning of a wonderful new relationship. 

There was also an energetic discussion on the description of mortgage as Latin for ‘death grip’. Whether that was the exact meaning or if the origin is really French, and that sort of thing. The point is, be careful with going into debt, especially those sixty-year mortgages for a two-bedroom townhome in California. Almost no one will ever actually pay that off. 

Finally, while we have early adopters, we also have the skeptics, those who think – or fear – that TARTLE is fake in some way. There isn’t much to say to that except we encourage you to check us out. Do all the research you want into us. Sign up with us and you have the freedom to share as much or as little data as you like. Don’t worry, we won’t be pressuring you, we just ask that you give us a chance. Then perhaps, after we’ve gotten past that awkward phrase, we can form a relationship and you’ll join us and thousands of others in trying to change the world. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Ready Player One and TARTLE

Ready Player One is a movie that flew under the radar a couple of years ago. That’s surprising given that its source material is a well-known novel, it was directed by Steven Spielberg, featured appearances by a number of iconic fictional characters and was full of action and top-notch special effects. More importantly, it has themes that are relevant to today. 

In it, most people interact with each other through a virtual world called the OASIS. This OASIS can either be used to manipulate people and get them to behave however the person in control would like or it could be used to allow people to connect with friends around the world, or to create and collaborate, helping each other to solve problems and improve the world for everyone. 

That might sound a little familiar, especially if you’ve been following TARTLE for a while. Social media is much like a proto-OASIS in that many people form some of their deepest friendships with people they first meet on their phones. In fact, there are growing numbers of people who get married after first getting to know each other through social media. And there are numerous collaborations that are possible only because of social media and the internet. This runs the gamut from media companies, to music, to research. Just a couple examples include the band Gorillaz. Its members never met in real life before making their first album, they made their music by sharing files on the internet. In the world of research, people can literally donate processing power on their computers to process data for NASA, including information from the SETI program (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). TARTLE itself couldn’t exist without the internet since much of our team works remotely. 

Unfortunately, just as with the OASIS, there are plenty of people interested in using social media and all aspects of the internet as a tool for manipulation. Such people only see others as part of the system, a part to be bent to their will and for their own benefit. They see data points instead of fellow humans. And these – let’s call them controllers – have a vast amount of control over everything that we see and hear in addition to being able to observe from afar everywhere we go online, and even much of what we say if we speak within range of a smart device.

In Ready Player One, there is a simple plot device – whoever finds a mysterious Easter egg will gain control of the OASIS. If the right person finds it, the OASIS will be what it was meant to be, a tool to lift people up. In the real world it isn’t quite so simple. Restoring the internet to its original promise will be much more difficult than just finding a convenient Easter egg. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of people supporting each other. 

That’s more than a policy, or even an outlook, it’s a movement. TARTLE’s purpose is to build, support and propel that movement. We are more than just a way to get paid for sharing your data, we’re a way to encourage companies and even governments to remember that there are real people behind all those data points. That happens when they approach you, the individual instead of just sifting through a sea of anonymous data. 

None of this is to say that companies shouldn’t be using these tools to make an honest buck. Obviously, equipment and labor need to be paid for, and the people putting up the resources deserve something back for taking the initial risk. Profit itself isn’t the problem, the problem is a mentality that sees only profit, that sees everyone as a lever to pull or a button to push to increase that profit. 

TARTLE seeks to recruit people into the movement to take back the digital realm from the controllers, to reclaim our OASIS as a means to improve the lives of everyone instead of just a few. In this movement, you are the key, you are the Easter egg that can save the OASIS. So, are you ready to play?

What’s you data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Why We Need Digitization

Have you ever been to an old library, or a used book store full of old books? It’s great. The musty smell, the feel of the yellowed pages that crinkle slightly as you turn them, there really is nothing like it. It evokes a sense of depth, wisdom, permanence. 

That’s exactly the feeling I hoped to have when I visited the National Archives in Washington D.C. I was looking forward to rows upon rows of filing cabinets full of the personal writings of Washington, Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and more. However, I was disappointed. Instead of archives, it was full of TVs everywhere. Nearly everything was digital. Now, for many reasons this was a bit of a letdown. I was really looking forward to those poorly lit rooms full of dusty documents. Yet, looked at from another angle, this was actually hopeful. 

The United States has the goal of having all of its documents completely digitized by 2022. As of this writing in the fall of 2020, this is really right around the corner and if a recent meeting of all the alphabet soup agencies on the matter is any indication, it would be wise not to hold your breath. When it comes to any significant change, all bureaucracies tend to move at a pace that would embarrass a glacier. Why might that be? 

As beneficial as digitizing all the information at the government’s disposal is (which we’ll get to that shortly), the fact is that it’s difficult. While technology has improved greatly in recent years, including software from Google that will automatically strip the text from a photographed document, that technology isn’t necessarily available to everyone. In some cases, it might be expensive, there may be security concerns, and of course there is training. Think of when you first started introducing your older friends and family to email, but much, much harder. Addressing all of these issues takes both time and money. 

There are also incentives to slowing down the process. One is simply money. The government of course doesn’t directly have the resources and know how to do this entirely on their own. That means contracting with major software companies, companies that are more than willing to offer their expertise for a government-sized paycheck. Anyone who has followed NASA for more than a few years knows that virtually every government-related project comes in behind schedule and over budget. Sometimes, that’s because the project in question is genuinely more difficult than expected. Other times, it’s because the contractor draws it out, getting as much money as they can. 

Another incentive to delay the process of digitization lies in one of the benefits. The main purpose of putting that information in a digital format is to make it searchable, to be able to run it through an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) program to find connections between different sets of data, to find patterns that would not be able to be identified any other way. It would also find inefficiencies, something government is infamous for. Needless to say, there may be a few people in government eager to make use of an inefficiency or two in order to keep the rest of the inefficiencies from being discovered. 

Finally, there is a fear that the government would come to be run by machines, that those AI/ML programs would be doing more than just analyzing data, they’d be setting policy. In truth, the goal is simply what was said above, it will be used to analyze data and find correlations, not come to conclusions about what to do with that data. And even if that were the case, such software is limited by its programing.

Think of the old, trench coat wearing detective. He is typically shown with a wall of pictures, newspaper clippings, and scribbled notes, all connected by red strings, showing the different connections. AI/ML programs will do the same thing, yet they won’t replace the detective. He (just like the policy maker) still has to ask the questions and draw the conclusions and make the decisions. The data is only as good as the questions asked and the decisions made with it. 

So, given all of these difficulties and fears, is it worth going to all the trouble just to be able to crunch data faster? The answer is clearly yes. While those musty rooms of old books are great, they have one key weakness – they are stagnant. They are full of information that just sits there, not doing anything. Digitization makes it much easier to access and make use of all that information. And information, data, is only valuable, only useful when it is used, when it is moving. To keep that data inert in a vault deprives us all of important insights and advances that can only be made through the movement of data. With data moving, its true power is unleashed through faster and better decisions. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.