Convenience saved us! Then, uh, it destroyed us.

Ted Bauer
4 min readMar 31, 2021

About a month into COVID, I was walking my dog and listening to a podcast with Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich (basketball coaches). I was at an intersection in a wealthy neighborhood. No one was coming car-wise, so my dog and I started crossing the street, but it was hot out, and my dog was lagging. As we’re crossing, this Suburban driven by a middle-aged woman is approaching and then starts basically barreling down on me. So I had to yank my dog’s leash and this lady is honking at me screaming stuff like “Get your damn dog out of the street!” as she whooshes past me.

Right around the same time in that podcast, Popovich — who I think has five NBA titles, if I’m not mistaken — is discussing how America has become too convenient. I glanced to the right and realized that a house there had recently been listed for $600,000 or so, and there were some Amazon Prime boxes littering the porch.


In this new Mark Manson newsletter, you have a plug for this book, and this corresponding paragraph:

For example, instead of ordering eight pounds of your favorite meat online, being forced to walk down to the butcher each week and chat to them about weather and business and sports while they cut each slice, week after week, month after month — well, it’s the aggregation of all of these little “inefficient” experiences that generates a sense of community and rootedness in one’s life. By introducing widespread “convenience,” at scale, you remove people’s opportunities to serendipitously engage with the people in their communities.

That last sentence is important.

I go to a WeWork a few times a week to get out of my house and do stuff, right? I have a little crew of people at one of the two WeWorks where we talk about random societal stuff periodically as a distraction from the low-grade hell that capitalism can be sometimes. That little group has this discussion sometimes: has America become too convenient? Is the way of life too easy?

I’d argue yes at the higher, white-collar levels — but obviously a lot of people have it very tough, ranging from minorities to low-income, and even the “investor class” spends way too much time thinking about money and work, which assures privilege and convenience…

Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.