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Simplify Your Tech Life,Thoreau-Style; Even an avowed naturalist would have a hard time totally unplugging today. Here’s how to take refuge from banal Facebook posts and incessant phone alerts without retreating to a tiny cabin in the woods

August 9, 2013, 5:49 p.m. ET

Simplify Your Tech Life,Thoreau-Style

Even an avowed naturalist would have a hard time totally unplugging today. Here’s how to take refuge from banal Facebook posts and incessant phone alerts without retreating to a tiny cabin in the woods

MICHAEL HSU

YOU MAY NEVER HAVE READ“Walden,” but you’re probably familiar with the premise: a guy with an ax builds a cabin in the woods and lives there for two years to tune out the inessential and discover himself. When Henry David Thoreau began his grand experiment, in 1845, he was about to turn 28—the age of a typical Instagram user today. Thoreau lived with his parents right before his move. During his sojourn, he returned home to do laundry.

“In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

—Henry David Thoreau, 1854 Read more of this post

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NYC parents hire toddler training experts at $450 an hour in battle for elite school places where four-year-olds must attend a playgroup where they are tested by teachers for academic ability and their social and emotional IQ

August 8, 2013 5:07 pm

The serious side of child’s play

By Emma Jacobs

Bribing toddlers can be counter-productive, according to Vanessa. Instead, the 28-year-old coaches her young charges how to play together – for $450 an hour. After all, play dates are no trivial matter. They can decide a child’s future. Vanessa, who declines to give her last name, is one of a new breed of play date experts that help children prepare for admission to New York’s elite kindergartens. As part of the admission process to these schools that charge up to $40,000 a year, four-year-olds must attend a playgroup where they are tested by teachers for academic ability and their social and emotional IQ. Read more of this post

Paul Graham: How to Convince Investors

How to Convince Investors
Paul Graham
August 2013
(This is one of a pair of essays on fundraising. The next one, on fundraising tactics, is coming soon.)
When people hurt themselves lifting heavy things, it’s usually because they try to lift with their back. The right way to lift heavy things is to let your legs do the work. Inexperienced founders make the same mistake when trying to convince investors. They try to convince with their pitch. Most would be better off if they let their startup do the work—if they started by understanding why their startup is worth investing in, then simply explained this well to investors. Investors are looking for startups that will be very successful. But that test is not as simple as it sounds. In startups, as in a lot of other domains, the distribution of outcomes follows a power law, but in startups the curve is startlingly steep. The big successes are so big they dwarf the rest. And since there are only a handful each year (the conventional wisdom is 15), investors treat “big success” as if it were binary. Most are interested in you if you seem like you have a chance, however small, of being one of the 15 big successes, and otherwise not. [1]
(There are a handful of angels who’d be interested in a company with a high probability of being moderately successful. But angel investors like big successes too.)
How do you seem like you’ll be one of the big successes? You need three things: formidable founders, a promising market, and (usually) some evidence of success so far. Read more of this post

Smart Leaders Have Protégés

Smart Leaders Have Protégés

by Sylvia Ann Hewlett  |   9:00 AM August 9, 2013

Just how important protégés are to a powerful person was made clear to me by this question, told to me by a Fortune 100 CEO. When choosing his direct reports, he asks: “How many blazing talents have you developed over the years and put in top positions across the company, so that if I asked you to pull off a deal that involved liaising across seven geographies and five functions, you’d have the bench strength — the people who ‘owe you one’ — to get it done?” Read more of this post

Lee Kuan Yew: 1Malaysia campaign may be unrealistic

Lee Kuan Yew: 1Malaysia campaign may be unrealistic

Saturday, August 10, 2013 – 15:31

Isabelle Lai

The Star/Asia News Network

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PETALING JAYA – Malaysians hoping that Barisan Nasional’s 1Malaysia concept can usher in a new era for race relations may be unrealistic, but those counting on the Opposition to do the same are not very much less so, said Lee Kuan Yew. The former Singapore Prime Minister said that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia campaign, launched in 2008 to win back support from Chinese and Indian voters, had not lived up to the excitement it created. Read more of this post

Richard Branson Explains The Most Important Thing Every Good Boss Should Do

Richard Branson Explains The Most Important Thing Every Good Boss Should Do

JULIE BORT AUG. 9, 2013, 8:57 PM 3,749

Earlier this week, Richard Branson and Elon Musk, two of the world’s most daring and successful entrepreneurs, offered advice via a Google Hangout. That was cool, but Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group, has been offering fantastic advice to business people for years. We just found this YouTube of him from 2011 where he explains the most important thing every manager should do: praise people. He then tells an amazing story of how he almost went instantly bankrupt when his bank manager came to his house and called all his loans. Moral of the story is don’t be afraid to change banks (and it’s good to have wealthy friends). But it also underscores that in order to succeed, you have to live with the risk of failure because no matter how  successful you are, failure is always a possibility.

Jeff Bezos Will Walk Out Of A Meeting If You Don’t Get To The Point

Jeff Bezos Will Walk Out Of A Meeting If You Don’t Get To The Point

VIVIAN GIANG AUG. 9, 2013, 10:47 AM 14,307 16

Reuters

Jeff Bezos won’t waste any time in a meeting with you if he doesn’t fully understand where the conversation is going or how it will make Amazon better. Craig Timberg and Jia Lynn Yang write about Bezos’ demanding management style in The Washington Post: “In the relentlessly efficient world of Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon employees quickly learn when they have overtaxed the attention of their chief executive. He quietly pulls out his smartphone and starts replying to e-mails. In extreme cases, Bezos will walk out.” Nadia Shouraboura, formerly a part of Bezos’ senior executive team tells Timberg and Yang that you “better be ready” if you have a meeting with Bezos. “He will figure out something you haven’t thought of … If you haven’t thought through exactly how to delight our customer, that’s a bad thing.”

Jeff Bezos, The Post’s incoming owner, known for a demanding management style at Amazon

By Craig Timberg and Jia Lynn Yang, Published: August 8

In the relentlessly efficient world of Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon employees quickly learn when they have overtaxed the attention of their chief executive. He quietly pulls out his smartphone and starts replying to e-mails. In extreme cases, Bezos will walk out. Read more of this post

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