Cut, Paste, Innovate – The Business of (Stolen) Art

Cut, Paste, Innovate – The Business of (Stolen) Art | The Cynical Musician:

The reality is that even the best tools are seldom enough and that although the Internet has solved some problems, the biggest ones still remain – the chief of those being the ability to make your existence known to a wider audience. Plus, the same tools that enable you to enter the market at lower cost also make it easier for bad actors to do so – lifting your work in the process. If Love Lieberman was able to make any money from Art4Love, he did so by exploiting the standard pirate advantages – costless access to a large and varied body of work and the risk-minimsation that comes with it. He could even tailor the site’s offer to reflect the results achieved – phasing out disappointing works, introducing new ones and promoting those that found the most buyers. No individual artist could do the same, since they’d be restricted to the work that they had produced themselves.

Whenever an online business decides to profit from piracy – and gets called out on it – we hear the usual suspects crying out that “rent-seeking Big Media” is trying to crush “innovation”. I put it to you that most of the time what we’re actually seeing is just the “cut (or copy), paste” bit.

[Powerful piece. Rings true to me.]

Wunda’s World: Clarifying purpose

Wunda’s World: Clarifying purpose:

How can we do this? By understanding and buying into what we are creating and how we see it experienced. We can create a mission, vision and values to clarify and create distinction.

The mission statement is all about purpose. Its about the problem you are trying to solve, the information you are trying to share and/or the service you are trying to provide. Its about the long term goals.

On the other side, the vision statement is an abstraction of the experience. It can include words like fun, simple, quality, quickly, stable, reliable, responsive, etc. It does not include ideas like color schemes, mechanics, technology specifics or other implementation details.

Time can also be spent on value statements (users own their information, we strive to directly connect with and respond to user feedback, all user feedback is valid, etc)

Continue drilling down into these ideas until everyone knows what they are doing, are excited to work towards the goals and know in their hearts they are working on an effort they accept fully.

For new teams, taking time to manifest an understanding of team dynamics, quality and creativity with as much openness and honesty as possible can help ensure the best “good-enough” software gets created in a way that is enjoyable, sustainable and collaborative.

Finally, read these statements every morning. When discussions become long, unclear or hostile, refer back to them. Use them as a method to stay detached to what is no longer serving and focused on the underlying issues.

[Well said!]

Of Course

Of Course:

In a simpler and more optimistic sense, what happens is that you stop quitting; you have to be made to quit.

That’s a big difference, and it can end up changing not only who you are as a rider but who you are as a person. The acclaim you receive for this, however, is as subtle as the transformation is monumental: You become taken for granted as a cyclist. Those who are always there when there’s a there worth being there for assume you always will be there with them. That’s your reward: you become ordinary.

[Many people pray for ordinary all the time. I love ordinary in my life as much as love extraordinary. And while the amounts don’t balance (I prefer ordinary in abundance and extraordinary in measured amounts), the reality is you can’t have one without the other.]

The Post Office: Neither snow nor rain | The Economist

The Post Office: Neither snow nor rain | The Economist:

Quasi-independent since 1970, the post gets no public money. And yet it is obliged (as FedEx and UPS are not) to visit every mailbox, no matter how remote, six days a week. This has driven the average cost of each piece of mail up from 34 cents in 2006 to 41 cents. Yet the post is not allowed to raise prices (of stamps and such) willy-nilly; a 2006 law set formulas for that. So in effect, the post cannot control either its costs or its revenues.

[New phrase for hamstrung projects where the business wants to control all sides of the delivery triangle (cost/time/features) “Don’t postal the project.”]

The Happiness Project: Frank Lloyd Wright’s 10-Point Manifesto for His Apprentices.

The Happiness Project: Frank Lloyd Wright’s 10-Point Manifesto for His Apprentices.:

I recently read Frank Lloyd Wright’s Autobiography — a very thought-provoking work. In it, he includes a list of the “Fellowship Assets” that he outlined for the architecture apprentices he worked with at Taliesin, his summer home, studio, and school.

  1. An honest ego in a healthy body.
  2. An eye to see nature
  3. A heart to feel nature
  4. Courage to follow nature
  5. The sense of proportion (humor)
  6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work
  7. Fertility of imagination
  8. Capacity for faith and rebellion
  9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance
  10. Instinctive cooperation

[Lots to think about here to be sure. BTW, I really like the Happiness Project and have read the book. Recommended.]

Monsanto Corn May Be Failing to Kill Bugs, EPA Says – Businessweek

Monsanto Corn May Be Failing to Kill Bugs, EPA Says – Businessweek:

Monsanto should enact a remedial action plan in fields where resistance to its Bt insecticide is suspected, the EPA said. That includes having growers use conventional pesticide to kill adult rootworm beetles late in the season and alternate pest control methods in the following season.

Monsanto tested rootworms for resistance in Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa and should expand the monitoring to Colorado, Minnesota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin because questions about the performance of Bt corn extends to all seven states, the EPA said in the memo.

Monsanto’s most advanced resistance problem is with crops engineered to tolerate its Roundup herbicide. Weeds that are no longer killed by Roundup have invaded 14 million acres of U.S. cotton, soybean and corn, according to Syngenta AG, a Swiss chemical maker. A Dow Chemical Co. study this year found as many as 20 million acres of corn and soybeans may be infested.

[What an incredible mess is being made with this. Life always finds a way. Try your best not to buy and eat these products (easier said than done, I know).]