A little positive psychology to be thankful for

Holland enjoying the waves in Far North Queensland

As Seth said yesterday, it’s the only holiday that really matters.  I sometimes have to pinch myself to remember the good fortune – our health, families, friends, jobs, house, food, the incredible climate and beauty of the bay area.  Especially given that so many others have had such a challenging year, I feel blessed to have had such a good one.  Every year we do calendars and cards, using a service like shutterfly, and it was such a treat to go back over the amazing photos this year looking for the best ones.  The digital SLR has not only increased the number of pictures 4-5X, but also hugely improved the quality, and pictures of our daughter’s complete and utter joy playing on the beaches in Far North Queensland will grace our cards this year.  (BTW, if you never searched online for coupons, it’s totally worth it.  Shutterfly wanted $25 for shipping – a Gogle search for “shutterfly coupons”reduced that to zero in under a minute).

Personal highlights of the year in rough chronological order include: the alt-MBA, training our new lab puppy, finishing the back garden, switching jobs, the first trip to Oz with Holland, finally starting this blog, discovering yoga, getting serious about trail running again, and several iPhone apps (see previous reviews of balloonimals and stitcher).

Henry reminded me of the ability to download TED podcasts which has filled long training runs with amazing and inspiring tales from people have made a career out of following their passions like Amy Tan, Al Gore, Dave Eggers, Katherin Fulton, John Hodgman, Brian Cox and Brian Greene.

One of my favorites, in tune with the holiday was Martin Seligman, on positive psychology.  The video is embedded below – it outlines the three components of happiness: pleasure, flow and meaning. The good news is you don’t have to be born with a genetic predisposition to have it, 50% of pleasure comes from surrounding yourself with friends and family, and success at flow and meaning will provide much more lasting happiness than pleasure alone.  Check it out – a great intro to the field, and maybe it’ll set you up for a 2010 to be thankful for 🙂


Quick Mint

Aaron Mints $170M

Aaron Mints $170M

I never imagined this would be my first post, but last night I wrote down that Intuit needs a product to compete with mint.com.

Today, I received the email from Aaron Patzer, that Intuit is buying mint for $170M.  So I thought I better get started!

This is brilliant for Intuit, as mint solves the biggest problem of Quicken – its relentless insistence that every user account for every last cent (I don’t know about you, but I don’t balance the checkbook, I just need something to tell me with the least possible effort what we’re spending money on each month so we can adjust course if necessary) –  and adds the fabulous auto-categorization of major expenses, all within a gorgeous UX.

On GigaOm,  they point to the value of masses of customer data, but I think the value is in the team that has created an online finance solution that people actually like.

Brilliant for mint users?  Time will tell, but it’ll be tough to keep the team together if they’ve made a boatload of cash from the transaction.  It’d sure be nice if they keep up the pace of recent improvements such as the improved budgeting and charting released on August 19th.  I’ll certainly retreat to Excel if they turn mint into an ugly step-child of Quicken.