Archive for the ‘advocacy’ Category
So why does the Twitter story remind me of Prof. Hausman’s admonition? Because it demonstrates the relative importance of hitting upon the right thing at the right time over early execution. This goes a bit against one of the historic ideas held dear in venture capital that execution matters more than ideas. And yes it remains true that an idea alone is worthless, you have to build something. But beyond that it turns out that building the right thing at the right time will let you get away with all sorts of mistakes. Conversely, hypothetically perfect execution but too early or too late or on the wrong variant will not get you very far. For everyone working really hard on a startup that’s not going gangbuster this seems, well, unfair.
So there you have it. Prof. Hausman was right all along. Actually not quite. I used to think that but more recently I have changed my outlook to: Life just is. Unfair implies some kind of moral standard. Somewhere somebody right now is building the next big thing and most likely it is not you. Just accept that and you’ll be happier.
[Raise your hand if you think it's you?]
You might be holding on to that book you bought a year ago that you swear you’ll read or those killer pair of shoes that you’ll bring out for just the right occasion.
But the reality is, you probably made a mistake in buying those things and it literally hurts your brain to come to terms with that fact.
Researchers at Yale recently identified that two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, light up in response to letting go of items you own
[A work in progress to be sure, on so many levels.]
The soil-tilling food experts happen to be every bit as expressive, and iconoclastic, as their knife-wielding counterparts in the kitchen. These days, many in the culinary world tend to view produce in a black-and-white way: You have either your delightfully lumpy, bumpy farmers’ market treasures, or your scarily uniform corporate Frankenfood. As Mr. Barber said, it’s “heirlooms over here, Monsanto maniacs over there.”
But Monday’s convocation, overseen by the Basque Culinary Center, suggested a third way: Independent breeders are ready to help make our breads and salads richer with deep flavor, bold color and plenty of nutrients. They just need someone to ask them.
What they do may also be seen as an old-school alternative to the spread of genetically modified plants, which have not been shown to be harmful but still frighten and concern many people.
“We’re making crosses within the same species, and we’re doing it the way it’s been done for 300 years,” said Dr. Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder from Washington State whose accessibly folksy lecture had the room transfixed. “There’s no forcing here. We put these plants together and we let them mate.”
[Since this ultimately will be driven by business and not love, it cares me a bit. But I'm curious to see where it goes.]
Your drudgery is another person’s delight. It’s only a job if you treat it that way. The privilege to do our work, to be in control of the promises we make and the things we build, is something worth cherishing.
[I long ago recognized this when I went to play weddings and the other musicians were doing everything but paying attention to the music. Mostly the woman frankly. Anyway… I've often thought throughout the years as I worked on various things whether what I was doing was something I could do every day, for years, or whether I enjoyed it because it was a change from what was currently doing. It was and is a key question.]
Source: Seth’s Blog
My pocket psychology take is that we love anachronisms because they’re imperfect. Like humans are imperfect. We form relationships with people who are flawed all the time. Flaws, imperfection, and worse are all part of the human condition. Tools that embody them resonate.
It’s hard to engineer this, though, but it’s worth cherishing when you have it. Don’t be so eager to iron out all the flaws. Maybe those flaws are exactly why people love your product.
[I'd go a step further and say it can't be engineered. Like an antique, the passage of time combined with use (and sometimes abuse) tells a story. Adding a distressed finish is a thin veneer that only says "we like things that tells stories", but has no story of its own. I think trying to engineer imperfection would go the same way. I do think you can measure and engineer some aspects of wear into items, and that can be valuable addition in many cases. But that's not the same as trying to create something that looks but is not authentically old. In case you can't tell, I'm not a fan of "restoration" when it's defined as making something look (and maybe act) as if it were brand new despite it's age. I find the endeavor and skills fascinating. I love when people resurrect something that was otherwise on the verge of not existing. But only from afar, as a testament to the skills of the restorer. I'd much rather have something that is wonderful and new and through use, and love, and time build my own stories into it. There's nothing like it.]
Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose. What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years lie behind us are in death’s hands.
Therefore, Lucilius, do as you write me that you are doing: hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon tomorrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity—time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.
[So beyond well said… and wonderfully apropos of the upcoming Yom Kippur.]
Source: Letters of Note
Ignore. Ridicule. Fight. Lose. That’s what happens to the institutions that seek to preserve the problems for which they were created.
So it is with collaboration. We’ve heard the word many times. And we’ve seen it paid lip service many times. But so long as it was not centre-stage, the immune system didn’t care.
[I often mention that the first field I really studied was music, with a clear concentration on group playing. Collaboration was a way of life. Solo efforts are often still collaborations with "launch" points. Hard for me to understand the ego and thinking that leads elsewhere.]
Source: Via Doc Searls
I don’t think you think about the end of anything. Our job is to be ready to play; it’s always been that way.
[Nor should he. I know it's a mess for the Yankees, but they'll figure out. They're not sentimental and they'll do what they need to. But Jeter's perspective is right on. There's no quit in him.]
This is like most big goals you set for yourself, a bit anti-climatic. There were no fireworks or signs for me when I registered. It is just another old car race. But to me it does feel special. Like 20 years of late nights and lost weekends. Time away from friends. Are finally paying off. Life has lots of small rewards we work for. But precious few big ones. Those goals that when we set seem impossible to achieve. Our Moby Dick’s and moon shots. This is one of those. Anti-climatic. But also, I know how hard I worked to get here – so I am set to savor it. Most likely from the back of the pack.
[Along the same lines as this.]
Source: Kevin Gosselin
My son is 8. And he’s a lot of things. Over the course of the average day he saves the world from all sorts of bad guys, he rescues damsels in distress, and he designs and builds a variety of mostly flying vehicles for the aforementioned missions. He can also switch to being a dancer in a split second if the music and mood are right. He plays a mean air guitar. He sings while he works. He’s studying martial arts. And of course he’s also a student with a significant course load for one so young.
And what is so very cool about any this is he hasn’t drawn any lines around himself stating what he isn’t. He is whatever he wants to be for as long he wants to be it. And then he’s on to the next thing. (Admittedly, often without cleaning up. We’re still working on that…)
Soon friends, acquaintances, society will begin to ask him to make decisions about who he is. Probably before he’s given it much thought. The question in the less serious form has, of course, already occurred. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But there’s so many things wrong with that question it makes me grimace, although his answers on any given day can be amusing.
I think the decisions about who we are *not* are complicated. Do you remember when you realized that you’re not an athlete? Were you picked last for any organized sports? Did it take any of the fun out of running or jumping? Riding or swimming? Should it have? Should you have thought “I’m not good at…” just because by whatever measure someone else seemed better? Is it good thing that “I’m not good at…” becomes “I’m not a…”? Is it helpful at steering us? Or is it the first real challenge we face—to not let anyone else define who we are and put off the decisions about what we are not for as long as possible.
It might be more important to figure out who we’re not (do you want to be *that* guy?) but we should do it on our own terms, and as late in life as possible. By then we have the information that allows us to to be reasonably certain about our “nothood”.
For years I’ve taught student of all types that most important thing you can do to get better is to concentrate on the things at which you are not good, because it’s easy to chase the I-do-that-well stream of endorphins. Want to be a great person? Work on everything you’re *not* good at. Want to be a good baker? Bake every day. When you realize you’re good at pie but not bread…bake bread every day. Etc. And if I can get The Kid™ to work on the skills he’s not good at, I’ll never have to be concerned about someone else defining who he is or is not, merely where he needs to apply himself.