One spreads quickly at the expense of the ecosystem that sustains it. The other spreads slowly, as a side effect of nourishing its ecosystem. When we build our tools, we should aim for the latter.


Brunel built 25 railway lines, over a hundred bridges, including five suspension bridges, eight pier and dock systems, three ships, and a prefabricated army field hospital. He was a genius and just 53 when he died. On one of his ships, the SS Great Britain, he perfected the screw propeller, making the ship faster than its paddled predecessor and the first iron-hulled vessel (and the largest) to cross the Atlantic. All this was engineered on paper. Even with all of our computer programs and modeling software, today’s propellers are only 5% more efficient.


Harlan county line

Just found out about this cool Spotify function that lets you share tracks. I’m loving this song right now.


David Ogilvy, internal memo: “How to Write,” 1982:
The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:
1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning – and then edit it.
8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

Reblogged from John's Tumblr

Skill-based teams are opportunities to allow talent to really soar, but only if the vision is precise and liberating, and if the talent assembled is allowed to contribute as much as they can.


A great way to give thanks… for the privileges we’ve got is to do important work. Your job, your internet access, your education, your role in a civilized society… all of them are a platform, a chance to do art, a way for you to give back and to honor those that enabled you to get to this point. For every person reading this there are a thousand people (literally a thousand) in underprivileged nations and situations that would love to have your slot. Don’t waste it.


successful humor breaks down the power structures that tend to inhibit tighter social bonds and interactions. This is precisely the type of environment Pixar seeks to create. They have established that, at Pixar, hierarchy and positional status are of less relevance than at most companies. The dominant hierarchical work environment supports the fallacy that the most experienced or senior person in the group will have the answers.


The World Financial Center in Shanghai. August 2011


..In our time, at this moment when any moment may be the last for many of us, it’s damned galling and impossibly sad that we still have among us the small, bitter people, the witch-hunters and the declaimers against reality.


Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.


Food for thought

A friend just sent me this little parable. It’s not exactly new, but does invite some reflection on what makes a fulfilling life, why we do what we do. For more ideas on the same subject, one should read Umair Haque.

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Greek village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.

The American complimented the Greek on the quality of his fish and asked, “How long does it take to catch them?” The Greek replied: “Only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Greek said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Greek fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play cards with my friends, I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.

Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.

You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Athens, then London and eventually New York where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Greek fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-25 years.”

“But what then?” The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions … Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play cards with your friends.”



The refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya has seen by the air. With kind permission from our friends at the UN Refugee Agency.


For a couple of years I’ve been thinking about a kind of method to build innovative concepts into businesses more efficiently and it seems Eric Ries has found some of the answers. Look forward to his book, for now this panel is very insightful.


Large-scale education was never about teaching kids or creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.