Ep. 10 - Leaving your smartphone behind (at least sometimes) - a conversation with Joe Hollier, co-founder of Light phone
My guest today is Joe Hollier. Joe (along with Kaiwei Tang) is the co-founder of a Brooklyn-based start-up called Light. Light is an exciting technology company that recently raised $1.6 million on Indiegogo.
To get a sense of what the Light Phone is, watch this short video:
The Light phone is a very small, simple phone that you can use as a secondary phone during those times when you don't want to be distracted by your smartphone. It basically just makes and receives calls using the regular number your use for your smartphone.
Light Phone is trying to solve an important problem.
It's become increasingly clear in recent years that many smartphone apps are designed to be as addictive as possible. The addictive nature of these apps makes it hard for many people to put their smartphones down.
Smartphones also mean that we're on call 24/7. Sometimes it's nice to get away from email and social media and live in the real world without interruption.
Light Phone is like an extension of your smartphone. It makes and receives phone calls (and soon will be able to send and receive texts). That's it. When you leave your smartphone behind, any important calls you get on your regular number are routed to your Light Phone.
That way you can escape the distractions of the smartphone but still have the peace of mind that you can be reached if necessary, or can make a call in case of emergency.
I know some people will think this is crazy--why would we want to go backwards?
I would have said the same thing a couple years ago. What changed for me was when my smartphone was stolen in October 2016. As an experiment, I decided to try living for a week or two with an old flip phone.
I quickly discovered that not having a smartphone on me had a noticeably positive impact on my relationships, my productivity, my sleep quality, and my anxiety level. I then decided to make my switch to a flip phone permanent.
A few months ago, I wrote a short essay for the Los Angeles Times about the benefits of living without a smartphone. Here's a link to that piece: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-germano-life-without-smartphone-20171119-story.html
Also check out the Light Phone website. You can pre-order the Light Phone 2 here: https://www.thelightphone.com
If you're interested in learning more about how smartphones are changing how people interact, I highly recommend Sherry Turkle's book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. I'm also looking forward James Williams' new book Stand Out of Our Light.
I really enjoyed talking to Joe about entrepreneurship and all the challenges and rewards of starting a big venture like Light. It reminded me of another great book I read recently. It's called Shoe Dog. It's a memoir by Phil Knight about how he started Nike.
I'm honored to have Dr. David Burns on the podcast this week. David is a renown psychiatrist, best-selling author, and pioneer of a drug-free approach to managing anxiety and depression called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT.
I'm sure many listeners have heard of David and his work. Millions of people, in fact, have managed or conquered their anxiety and depression by reading David's bestselling book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.
What I find particularly interesting about David's techniques for managing anxiety and depression--and why I'm excited to tell you about them--is that they do not require taking medications.
Millions and millions of people are prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications every year, but it's becoming increasingly clear that these pills aren't very effective, and they can be difficult to stop using.
David began noticing the questionable effects of anti-depressants way back in the 1970s when he was a brain researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
He realized that contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe, there isn't a "magic pill" we can take when we're having a hard time. Rather, we need to do the hard work of thinking through why we're feeling bad, anxious, or unmotivated. We need to understand, question, and change our bad habits and distorting thinking patterns. The techniques David developed are invaluable in this regard.
I wasn't quite sure where to begin the conversation with David. He's done so much in his career.
Since I'm a writer, I started by asking David how he began writing his first book Feeling Good. That simple question took us on a long and winding path through David's decision to leave academia and go into private practice, his development of CBT techniques and handouts that formed the basis of Feeling Good, and the long process of writing and promoting the book and getting his ideas out into the world.
In the course of telling the story of how he wrote Feeling Good, David talks about what cognitive behavioral therapy is and how it can make life more pleasant and exciting.
This is a fun conversation with lots of personal moments from David. I know you'll enjoy it.
David is a prolific bestselling author. I encourage you to check out these and other titles.