We’re about to ship the Saent button to the 1,000+ people who gave us the initial backing we needed to make Saent a reality and we’ve been rolling the software beta out to hundreds of people over the past few months. These are important milestones in our journey, and it’s worth looking ahead to the future and shedding some light on our Saent vision.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”
- Yogi Berra
During Saent’s crowdfunding campaign, we pitched a hardware “button” and time boxing application designed to help people focus, block distractions, and do great work. But Saent is, and always has been, more than that. We’re driven by a belief that the opportunity open to Saent is larger than just the premise of better concentration we pitched on Indiegogo.
At its core, Saent is devoted to empowering people to live better lives. Not just by allowing them to improve their work through increased focus, but also by taking sufficient rest, being challenged, and through self-development. This vision has evolved as we’ve built Saent and developed a better understanding of the role our platform can play in people’s lives, but it has remained true to a foundational belief in the value of what makes us human: our intelligence.
“If you focus on near-term growth above all else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: will this business still be around a decade from now? Numbers alone won’t tell you the answer; instead you must think critically about the qualitative characteristics of your business.”
- Peter Thiel in Zero to One
When you hear about a laborer in a far-away factory being replaced by robots, you might not blink an eye. But what happens when all Uber drivers get replaced by self-driving cars? When cashiers in your local supermarket disappear? When your lawyer friend gets fired in favor of a robot with an encyclopedic knowledge of case law? When most accountants lose their jobs? Mid-level managers? Junior designers? Police officers? Journalists? Soldiers? Truck drivers? Stock brokers? You get the idea.
Automation is real — in many places it is already here — and it’s going to sweep away a wide range of blue and white collar jobs in the coming decade. The way forward for humans is not to compete in a race to the bottom with robots over productivity (the robots will inevitably win), but to focus on the uniquely human skills of creative thinking and problem solving.
It’s clear that humans won’t compete on quantity (hours worked) and efficiency (meticulous processes and multitasking), but we can compete on quality. Making optimal use of your brain to solve complicated problems in a state of, what professor Cal Newport calls deep work, will be what sets you apart from the machines, at least for the next few decades. Creativity, ideation, innovation, adapting, and learning — these will be your key assets going forward.
But we’re actually struggling to do these very things. Even while they’ve improved our lives in countless ways, our myriad devices and the internet often keep us from reaching our full potential. Alerts and notifications now pull us in fifty directions at once, we can’t seem to concentrate, we’re restless and have problems sleeping, our memories are failing, we don’t spend as much time outside, we’re not present when talking in person with others, and so on.
How can we compete with machines if they’re rigging the odds in their favor?
H.I.: Human Intelligence
This is where Saent comes in: by encouraging and enabling the behavior, habits, and circumstances necessary for us to tap into those unique human selling points. It is probably obvious from our first product that we’re here to help you concentrate, but staying ahead in the automation battle will take much more than that.
Saent is about making sure you can run a marathon, not just a sprint. Our products — today and in the future — will challenge you to build better work habits and make the best use of your mind. To treat yourself and your brain right, to take sufficient rest, to learn and develop, to read, to find like minded people, to manage digital temptations. To take enough time away from your devices that you can take full advantage of the time you spend with them. We want you to live a fulfilling life, and we’re here to help you make that happen.
Empowering Human Intelligence.