Living by the iShuffle Principle

In 2005, I mused about what I called the iShuffle principle. I started to take that approach of curating the playlist of my life,just I would curate the iPod Shuffle playlist by packing it with songs that meant something. In 2010, I was getting good at creating that short list, but still hadn’t licked it. 

The original iPod Shuffle sent me on a mission of whittling down a lot of things and packing them into a couple of suitcases.That behavior of self-editing has started to spread into other parts of my life. In the past, I would take a flyer on mainstream clothing brands – but now I don’t think about the brand, but about the shirt I absolutely love, the jeans that are an ideal fit and a watch that I will wear for rest of my life. I have even started to forgo coffee if I can’t get it from a handful of places known for their quality. I only buy the paper editions of books I absolutely love — the rest of them are simply Kindle downloads.

As 2012 comes to a close, I think I might be succeeding and have reduced things I want to carry with me to three suitcases and about a dozen boxes. Over next five years, if I can get to a single suitcase and six boxes, I would be pretty thrilled. 


  1. steve crandall (@tingilinde) says:

    December 28th, 2012 at 4:37 pm Reply

    I have far too much stuff that I don’t need. This approach is much better and I’ve been slowly moving to it myself. I have a sense that the younger generation I connect with (mostly 20 – 35) are adopting the approach too as they move away from ownership of many things. A few of them can move about with a few suitcases and a couple of boxes.

    If this is adopted by even 10% of the population there are some potentially fascinating consequences. I suspect San Francisco is a potential ground zero for this as is New York – or probably even more – Brooklyn. Definitely something that needs to be on the radar screens of anthropologists.

    1. Om Malik says:

      December 28th, 2012 at 7:11 pm Reply


      I have not really thought about this as a way of life but you are right that we need to rethink our consumption patterns and how we look at our and planet’s future. I am still not there but in 2013, my goal is to slowdown my consumption. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Alexander Ainslie (@AAinslie) says:

    December 27th, 2012 at 2:29 am Reply

    +1 Om, about 20 years ago when I was in my early 20’s living in NY, I had an epiphany and realized that I could only wear 1 pair of shoes at a time even though I owned close to 50 pairs. That realization changed my life, optics and values. ~@AAinslie

    1. Om Malik says:

      December 27th, 2012 at 8:32 am Reply

      Amen to that… however as a fellow shoe fiend, I guess, a man can never have enough shoes :-)

  3. eideard says:

    December 26th, 2012 at 8:29 pm Reply

    It’s a great goal. I’ve been through parallel processes and enjoyed the result every time.

    1. Om Malik says:

      December 27th, 2012 at 8:34 am Reply

      Thanks Edward.

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