Four things Matt 27 Jan 2006

53 comments Latest by Manfred

Four jobs I’ve had: Pass.
Four movies I can watch over and over: Pass.
Four places I’ve lived: Pass.
Four TV shows I love to watch: Pass.
Four places I’ve been on vacation: Pass.
Four of my favorite dishes: Pass.
Four sites I visit daily: Pass.
Four places I’d rather be right now: Pass.
Four bloggers I’m tagging: Pass.
Memes that I hope will stop soon: This one.

53 comments so far (Jump to latest)

brad 27 Jan 06

Thank god, it’s about time someone tried to put a stop to this!

Paul 27 Jan 06

Somebody got out of the wrong side of his bed this morning ;-)

coda 27 Jan 06


Joshua Blankenship 27 Jan 06

You’re so much cooler than all of us who answered it on our blogs. Because you did… but you didn’t.

Or something. I’m confused.

Rabbit 27 Jan 06

Hehe… I think it’s pretty funny.

Jason G 27 Jan 06

At least they didn’t just plug the 4 sites that are on “The Deck” like Zeldman did…

Egor Kloos 27 Jan 06

I’ve got some four letter words for such lists. … like ‘nuts’.

btw. I did get out of bed on the wrong side, tripping on one of shoes I’d carelessly left strewn across the bedroom floor. Silly me.

MMI 27 Jan 06

Thank you. Jeez, those memes are annoying. I know it’s an authors perogative to put whatever-the-hell content they want on their blogs, but I hate opening up Net News Wire and seeing the same damn post spread across half my subscriptions… If I’m subscribed to a CSS blog, do I care that much about their favorite four movies?

Lode 27 Jan 06

Just like televisions remotes have got a fantastic button to make programs you don’t like go away (the power button, for those of you that never turn your tv off), most feed readers have got a similar button to make posts you don’t like go away. It’s called “delete”.

It even works for feeds, I just tested it with SvN.

Ryan 27 Jan 06

Party pooper.

Bryce 27 Jan 06

These stupid lists remind me of the lawyer jokes that my grandparents feel the need to forward to me. (With the exception of SvN,) I unsubscribe to any feed that spits out this meme crap. I need to thin out my subscriptions anyway, and if someone has such poor taste as to regurgitate this kind of thing, I’d rather remove them from my radar.

Charlie 27 Jan 06

How about just not answering it instead of insulting those who have?

Jon 27 Jan 06

Right Charlie…. I’m Getting so tired og this blog…

Garth 27 Jan 06

Oh SvN are so much cooler than the rest of us peons. Can’t wait for the bubble…

John 27 Jan 06

This post is a bit ironic to me. I seem to remember not too long ago that svn turned off comments because they were becoming too negative … a wise temporary move in my opinion. But this particular post (and I’m only speaking of this one) has originates from a center of negativity.

Of course, I could have misread it completely and it’s meant to be funny … don’t know … I’m going to quickly hit post before I talk myself out of my own assessment.

Tom Dell'Aringa 27 Jan 06

I have to say I’d love to see this end. It seems it’s simply a thing a very small group of well known bloggers pass among themselves to reiterate how popular they are. I suppose I could choose not to read it, which I mostly do - put it just seems pompous somehow. I know it wasn’t meant to be - it’s just how I always viewed it for some reason. And it is getting tiresome. My .02

Agius 27 Jan 06

I’ve seen this meme spread across Livejournal, Xanga, and a bunch of the blogs in my Bloglines… it’s not just something a few bloggers pass amongst themselves. All the cool kids are doing it.

I guess I don’t really have anything against memes. If somebody posts their favorite movies on their online diary, then it’s probably interesting to me. For topical blogs, it might not be such a good idea. For SvN… complaining about memes seems a little childish on a blog that regularly hosts bootstrapping workshops and design articles.

But hey: it’s not my blog.

Justin 27 Jan 06

I think the memes are harmless. If I am going to spend a few minutes a day reading someone’s thoughts, it can be enlightening to read about their background for some perspective.

THat said, they do have the air of a cool-kids inside joke.

“Hey Kottke!”

“Yeah, Stan?”



THAT said, I think the post we’re commenting on here was unnecessarily bilious. Lighten up, man.

Justin 27 Jan 06

That “” was supposed to be Kottke giggling. Because as we all know, he’s a giggler.

jkottke 27 Jan 06

Are you and Fried are having some sort of crankiest web developer contest lately?

Tumble 27 Jan 06

I miss SVN before it got so negative and preachy. What happend guys? Please don’t use this space that we all so love to air little quibles. You’re just ruining SVN with pointless little posts like this one.

JeffH 27 Jan 06


John B 27 Jan 06

Ah, the joys of being a completely unknown blogger. No peer pressure on the latest meme.

Garrett Murray 27 Jan 06

This is so unnecessary. If you don’t want to do it, don’t post about it. You’re wasting our time with your complaints. Seriously.

Garrett Murray 27 Jan 06

Oh, and I second Tumble’s comment—SVN is annoying now. You’re preachy and boastful and I’m tired of reading all the “smaller is better” and “we’re great, you’re not” posts. This used to be a great blog, now it’s a figurehead for your annoying business agenda.

I guess I should take my own advice and just not read this drivel.

brad 27 Jan 06

Are these things really “memes” anyway? When I look at the definitions, I’m not sure they fit.

See for example:

Matthew Oliphant 27 Jan 06

This is what I take away from this post:

“I hope people stop writing what they want to write about on their own blogs and write only about things I find interesting.”

I think I was tagged twice, but chose not to participate, just because I felt similarly: not interested. But I didn’t feel the taggers were doing anything wrong.

However, reading this post makes me want to participate. I guess I just can’t stand whining.

Chris Carter 27 Jan 06

Meme’s that I wish would end…over- and misusing the word “meme”.

ML 27 Jan 06

Are you and Fried are having some sort of crankiest web developer contest lately?

Yes! I’ll catch up to him soon I will. ; )

Just cranky cuz this week made me feel like my newsreader had been hijacked by a bunch of 10th graders who just learned how to post to MySpace. Hmm…that crack’s not gonna win me any more friends here, now is it? Oh well.

Anyhow, I’ve tried to turn that frown upside down with this more constructive post.

ken 27 Jan 06

Oh, and next I guess you’re going to say that the GAP and Bill Gates aren’t offering free money if I forward on their e-mails. Riiiiight.

Britt Parrott 27 Jan 06

Four things I wish people would stop doing:
1. Telling people to stop doing things
2. Using the word meme inappropriately
3. ???
4. Not including me in their games

ML 27 Jan 06

From definitions of meme on the Web:
an idea, project, statement or even a question that is posted by one blog and responded to by other blogs. Although the term encompasses much of the natural flow of communication in the Blogosphere, there are active bloggers and blog sites that are dedicated to the creation of memes on a regular basis

Chris Carter 27 Jan 06

Ahh, of course. I missed that definition of “meme”. I’ll have to go pick up the dictionary at my local bookstore :)

You do have to admit that it is a bit overused though!

ML 27 Jan 06

I�ll have to go pick up the dictionary at my local bookstore :)

Heh. Fair enough. Yeah, I used the term cuz several of these “Four Things” posts have talked about is as a “meme” so I figured I’d go with it.

Mark 27 Jan 06

I am sick and tired of being told that ordinary decent people in this country are fed up with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not…and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.

Koray 27 Jan 06

Someone is feeling especially arrogant today. Meme’s are not in any way destructive. It’s just a fun way to network.

This post was MUCH better than a meme. Oh man. Talk about a post with value.

BobL 28 Jan 06

I don’t know if it’s a “mem” or not but I’d like to see the end of adjective.noun.EVER sentences — gawd

Zach Inglis 30 Jan 06

Think it’s been said enough times now.

If you don’t like it, skip it!
I mean seriously, what is the want to piss on everyone’s bonfire? Our blogs are exactly that, our blogs and who are you to say otherwise?

Martsmithuk 31 Jan 06

Jees, thinking you should maybe take note of the light-heartedness of said meme and apply it to your own blog, hm…? If you don’t like reading them - move on! You visited their site, remember?

Sebhelyesfarku 31 Jan 06

Bloggers are morons.

Stephen Collins 31 Jan 06

Cool, I can post the meme to show everyone that we’re important enough to have gotten one, but then I can make everyone else who posted meme’s feel stupid by not participating in it.

And i’ll use really short answers, because smaller is better. Because it’s not bigger. Because we don’t know how to do bigger.

Oh no, this post is too big!!

ML 01 Feb 06

FYI, a comment I posted at another blog where folks were annoyed by this post:

Hey all. Figured I�d at least show up at my own beatdown here. As often happens online, I think the tone of my original post was misconstrued. That�s my fault. If I wanted to criticize the spread of the 4 Things meme, I should have done so in a manner that was constructive or at least funny. The original post was neither so I understand why folks are reacting to it negatively.

I do think we need to keep things in perspective though. Let�s look at the terrible thing that I said in the orig post: �Memes that I hope will stop soon: This one.�

I still believe this. Does that mean I�m a pompous jerk? If so, I guess I�ll have to live with that. I�ve been bombarded by this Four Things stuff in my newsreader and I felt like the normally insightful, interesting commentary that I get from my favorite blogs had been replaced by one of those MySpace bulletin board surveys. If it was just a one-off thing, I�d click away and that would be that. But after seeing this thing replicated all over the place for days on end, I had the desire to speak out publicly. So I did.

A previous commenter on this thread said it well: �It�s not that people don�t care about your four favorite whatevers, it�s just that nothing ruins a day like every usually interesting blog answering the same question. If you want to talk about something meme-ish, feel free to do so at your leisure; don�t wait around until you�ve been tagged to do so. Otherwise, don�t act so surprised when people complain about the stupidity of it all.�

But I also understand there�s a bigger thing going on here too. The overall tone of 37s and our content seems to rub people the wrong way. Some people think we�re pompous, arrogant, know-it-alls. We know that. We made a decision a while back to go ahead and be provocative even if it angers or upsets some. We think it�s better to present ideas in bold strokes then to be wishy-washy about it. If that comes off as cocky or arrogant, so be it. We�d rather be provocative than water everything down with �it depends�� or some other qualifier. We think our readers are smart enough to figure out what�s going on.

Derek Featherstone 01 Feb 06

Matt - I’ll be first to admit that I haven’t read all the comments on this post or the other one (the commencement speech meme), but here’s my take.

1. I don’t really care that you didn’t want to spread that meme. That didn’t bug me at all - I didn’t really want to spread it either, but after a while I decided to do it. No big deal. This post (Four Things) doesn’t really bother me…

2. What bothered me more was the statement in the title of your meme: “A meme worth spreading:” Maybe that’s what pissed everyone else off too…

If you believe it is a meme worth spreading, you’ve indicated that by posting it - no need to say it. Just post it - let things happen. If it spreads more than the four things meme, then that’s cool. Maybe others will see that as an example as well and post other memes along the same lines. I don’t know - maybe I’m just being Canadian.

For what its worth - I really like the meme you posted and it has value. I would love to see more memes like that making their way around.

Christopher Fahey 01 Feb 06

Some people think we�re pompous, arrogant, know-it-alls. We know that.


Tim 01 Feb 06

Our blogs are exactly that, our blogs and who are you to say otherwise?

Does anyone else see the irony in this comment?

Long time listener - first time caller 01 Feb 06

“it�s just that nothing ruins a day like every usually interesting blog answering the same question”
As if most blogs aren’t already everybody covering the same topics ad nauseam with just the tiniest of alterations in opinion?

Hell, let’s look at the 37S blog. When I first subscribed to it, there was a wide variety of topics of covered - most importantly for me, the now all but gone inclusion of information about new apps or updates to current apps from 37S.

Now it’s one of three types of posts;
1. Jason (well, usually him) posting a link or showing a picture of something he likes because it follows the “less is more” philosophy - which, ironically, he has stated doesn’t make sense in the past, to the point that he triggered a big debate and shortly thereafter closed comments on this site for a time.

2. Someone complaining about how everyone seems to be following a trend by doing a specific thing (like being a “Web 2.0 company”) and the 37S team thinks it is stupid / a waste of time / something else belittling - while they, too, in the end are just another “Web 2.0 company”. (Seriously, the whole gist of the “Web 2.0” thing is that the people behind “Web 1.0” had no idea what they were doing, but for some reason the new crop of guys using Rails and new colour palettes and whatever else makes it “2.0” are smarter than their predecessors and will get it right this time. Really, they will. Their blogs say so every day.)

3. Self aggrandising and pats on the back for how successful or insightful their software / conferences / whatever du jour are.

You want to know what one of the big downfalls of “Web 1.0” was, guys? Ego. I worked at one of the most successful and award-winning dotcom companies in the late 90’s early 00’s, and the main reason why that company collapsed was because it was full of people with heads big enough to cause objects to orbit them.

Now I realise that this is your blog, and you have every right to say whatever you like. But if you publicly attack things which you ironically fall victim to yourself (obviously in differing degrees) and have it all be based on the topic of “message”, then you should expect comments such as mine and others’ to call you out on your remarks.

Also, like many people, I like the tools you make. Do I use all of them? Not really. (Writeboard hasn’t received much use from me in a while.) But I live for my Backpack. It is ridiculously useful for me. And I am eager to see the release of Campfire and Sunrise - which have so far only received information-less hype on this site, another thing on this blog about which you complain other companies doing. But I would like it if you would spend less time showing me how cool your mobile phone is, or how crappy your name tags came out, or posting pictures of “more efficient” crossing signs from Europe on this site, and posting updates about your software.

Or hell, here’s a suggestion. Try taking around half of those keystrokes necessary for making your never-ceasing stream of blog posts and applying it to writing lines of code to get the new software out there for us to use, or optimising the code of existing products so we can get a better experience with them - like say, figuring out why Backpack seems to be running slower and slower as time passes.

Start releasing some good stuff again so you can lose the ego and earn our respect back.

Nathan 02 Feb 06

Wow, what a bunch of crap over something so small… Some people live in third world countries with no drinkable water and you guys are complaining about people sharing interests???

What a sad state of affairs this “web2.0” ego fest is bringing us!!

Nice 03 Feb 06

37S… it’s just a bit of fun, don’t be so self-righteous. As for “a meme worth spreading” - meme’s are meant to be 5 minutes of fun not half hour of considerate contemplation. Lighten up.

Steve 05 Feb 06

“Some people think we are pompous, arrogant know-it-alls. We know that. We made a…upsets some.”

So, you are just fuelling your own downfall? Strange.

I fully agree with the large post above: First time caller…

You are going to take a serious fall and it ain’t going to be pretty. The �we are great� dance just doesn’t run anymore.

I think it’s time you rethink your strategy.

Anderson Council 06 Feb 06

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”

Proverbs 16:8 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Signs of pride:
1. Insecurity
2. The need to be right.
3. Being argumentative.
4. More invested in being heard than in hearing.
5. Anger.
6. Irritability and impatience.
7. Lack of submissive attitude.
8. Not easily corrected.
9. Receiving correction but not changing.
10. Needing others to take your advice.
11. Needing to proclaim your title or degrees.
12. Being stubborn.
13. Comparisons and competition.

We are all guilty of pride, it has been called “the universal sin” - all the same, we should fight it as best we can.

Manfred 28 Feb 06

Matt, I agree with you.

Why? Not because too many people do the 4things (after all I still read books after a few billion have been written), but because the concept is contradictory and arbitrary in a useless way. How so? Just read the posts. People have three favourite books and then wring their minds or search through for an hour to find a forth. Or they cannot decide between their ten favourite movies, so they go “a, b, and everything with Merryl Streep”.

I sometimes like to read what people answer to a questionaire, because I learn something about them, but if they have to press themselves into a format (as with multiple choice), the picture you get is bent out of shape.

I dislike this 4meme, because it is meaningless in the worst sense: it has no information value at all.