Archive for July, 2014

5 Benefits of Adopting a Daily Meditation Practice


A 5 minute read.

I recently read Dan Harris’ new book 10% Happier and came away with a new understanding how adopting a daily meditation practice doesn’t have to be hard, nor the pastime of only monks, buddhas and New Age-y hippies, and can help improve health (mental and physical) and overall well being. A daily meditation practice became very accessible to me after reading his own experience.

Dan is an ABC News reporter and he shares his personal journey to realizing the positive benefits of regular meditation and “mindful” thinking. The backdrop is his return to New York after covering the Iraq War and dealing with post traumatic stress situations while pursuing a high-pressure network television career. My backstory isn’t as stress challenged or interesting as a war correspondent, but I found inspiration in his writing.

In the high-tech startup world in which I and my colleagues are immersed in, email, texts, tweets, and blog posts blare at us across all our devices. We’re overloading our brains with a constant stream of sensory input and the problem of disconnecting is becoming epidemic. True epiphanies only emerge when we disconnect and clear our minds. And the world needs more epiphanies.

It used to be that a six hour cross country flight without WiFi was agony, but now I kinda enjoy the opportunity for deep thinking when WiFi isn’t available and I’m not tempted to “check in.” Being connected and available to the team is a problem of our own making. So the collective “we” needs to find a happy medium between always being available and purposeful disconnection. For me mediation is a way to achieve healthy balance.

I approached mediation the same way I integrated a regular exercise routine over the past years. Started with simple goals, didn’t beat myself up if I missed a day, and just gradually eased into a cadence.

Here are my five benefits of daily 30 minute meditation:

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5 Key Takeaways about Amazon Zocalo

zocalo “Zocalo,” what a strange name for a document and file sharing service targeted toward enterprises. My first thought upon hearing the name (while viewing the AWS NYC Summit live stream) was that Amazon had acquired, a competent but not well-known document and collaboration service. But Zocalo looks like organic AWS development and I’m excited to test drive the service.

The name Zocalo sounds exotic compared to the standard AWS naming scheme… We’re used to services with three letter acronyms like “SDS – Simple Document Sharing,” but more recently Amazon’s naming scheme is embracing whole words to define a business service as opposed to a three letter acronym for a developer-focused service. “EC2” is for techies, “Redshift” is for data analysts, and now “Zocalo” is for business knowledge workers.

A Google search reveals “Zocalo” is the name of the big public square in Mexico City. I guess “public square” and document sharing are kindred themes in a holistic way.

1. The Big Picture about Zocalo and who gets disrupted

Zocalo shows AWS is interested in expanding into general “bread and butter” IT services. It’s a natural progression from the original IaaS building blocks, and many pundits have speculated AWS will eventually move into the application space. Ok… so now they have in a big way and they are solving a very horizontal problem; file share, sync and collaboration for the masses.

Zocalo requires an AWS account and is managed from the AWS Console. An IT person deploying Zocalo will be exposed to all the AWS services and this will drive growth in their other cloud offerings. “What’s Workspaces… take the remote desktop for a test drive. Easy”

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think Zocalo will me marketed on the main e-commerce  site, alongside boxed Microsoft Office and other information management software.

2. Pricing model

Pricing is simple and predictable. Two themes enterprise IT are demanding from their vendors. The base fee is $5 per employee per month which includes 200 GB of storage per employee. The customer can add additional storage for a very reasonable fee. Starting at 3 cents per gigabyte for up to 1 TB and as more storage is consumed the unit price decreases just like with S3.

Customers using AWS Workspaces receive a discount on Zocalo. Workspaces and Zocalo look to be great complimentary offerings. Each alone are a great value, and I can see how Workspaces will be easier to use with Zocalo integration.

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