Thoughts
January 3, 2022

A Few Things I’m Curious About In 2022

One of my favorite self-descriptions is a “polymath” — basically somebody who is interested in a lot of different things. Maybe it’s a byproduct of flipping through encyclopedia volumes as a bored kid just before the internet swallowed time and information as a whole, or maybe it’s some deep desire to be more like the similarly-named, and arguably most famous, renaissance man of Benjamin Franklin. Either way, nothing is quite as exciting as learning something new and discovering a previously unknown path of knowledge to get lost on.

In the past year and change, I’ve scratched the itch to investigate the current state of dinosaur research, understanding the cycle of poverty propelled by evictions, how to cook mole, and the art of frying a turkey. Sometimes I satiate the curiosity through books, but I also have taken lessons, visited museums, talked to interesting people, or otherwise just poked around to learn things.

With another year dawning, here are a few things, in no particular order, that I’m looking forward to investigating more in the months ahead.

Jellyfish

I’ve always kinda hated these guys. Growing up (and as a grown up…) if I saw a jellyfish floating around while at the beach that was the end of the day for me. Know thine enemy.

Delight

There’s a whole genre of things which aren’t just fun, well done, or enjoyable, but rather are “delightful.” Only Murders in the Building is the best example in recent pop culture. This incredible, new music video for George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is a joy. What makes some things good and some things delightful?

Creative Writing

If you’re reading this, you’ve had first-hand witness to my explanatory or persuasive writing, but narrative or creative writing isn’t quite my jam yet. Telling good stories helps even if you never want to write the next great American novel.

Plant Identification

My wife and I are lucky to have a retreat set on a truly stunning seven acres nestled in the southern Catskills . While I remember some of the big guys from a (very) brief stint as a Boy Scout and a nature camp counselor, I would love to walk around and get to know the world beneath my feet more intimately.

E-commerce

Look, I already know this one better than most people probably. We built a whole bunch of online stores for clients, and I have plenty of starting knowledge here. But some people really know this stuff, and I’m always amazed by their ability to connect all the pieces together in a seamless, profitable experience.

Carbon Capture

Which each passing news cycle, I’m more and more pessimistic that we’ll be able to solve the climate crisis through public policy. Our system is too broken to fix things (or at least fix them in time). But I am perennially optimistic about human ingenuity, and I have hope that the solution to this peril will now come from us actively removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. I want to follow this revolution as it happens.

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Some things here are trivial, some are big and consequential. But either way, the goal is to keep learning. After all, only boring people are bored.

About the Author

Ben Guttmann ran a marketing agency for a long time, now he teaches digital marketing at Baruch College, has a book coming out in 2023, and works with some cool folks on other projects in-between all of that. He writes about writes about how we experience a world shaped by technology and humanity – and how we can build a better one.

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