American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things Hardcover

by Bob Dotson  (Author)

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Release date: March 26, 2013

For the six million people who watch the Emmy Award–winning “American Story with Bob Dotson” on NBC’s Today Show, Bob Dotson’s reports celebrate the inspirational stories of everyday Americans. Dotson has been crisscrossing the country for more than forty years—logging more than four million miles—in search of people who have quietly but profoundly changed our lives and our country for the better. Now, in American Story, he presents a road map to the unsung heroes with thoughtful solutions to problems we all face, incredible ideas that work, and blueprints to living our dreams.

*The boss who came out of retirement to start a new company for his former employees who could not find work
*The truck driver who taught microsurgery
*The man you’ve never heard of who has 465 profitable patents, second only to Thomas Edison
*The doctor who developed the vaccine to prevent whooping cough, who didn’t retire until age 104

In the tradition of Tom Brokaw’s New York Times bestseller The Time of Our LivesAmerican Story is a deeply moving and endlessly fascinating alternative narrative for everyone who yearns to feel good about America. Read more of this post

Richard Feynman’s Love Letter to His Wife Sixteen Months After Her Death

Richard Feynman’s Love Letter to His Wife Sixteen Months After Her Death


Via: Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science


Richard and Arline were soul mates. They were not clones of each other, but symbiotic opposites – each completed the other. Arline admired Richard’s obvious scientific brilliance, and Richard clearly adored the fact that she loved and understood things he could barely appreciate at the time. But what they shared, most of all, was a love of life and a spirit of adventure.

Richard and Arline exchanged frequent letters, a lot of which appear in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track. Perhaps none better than the one Richard wrote to Arline sixteen months after her death.

October 17, 1946


I adore you, sweetheart.

I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.

It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.

But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can’t I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the “idea-woman” and general instigator of all our wild adventures.

When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.

I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you.

I love my wife. My wife is dead.


PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.

Who: The A Method for Hiring

Who: The A Method for Hiring Hardcover

by Geoff Smart  (Author) , Randy Street  (Author)


In this instant New York Times Bestseller, Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls “the single biggest problem in business today”: unsuccessful hiring. The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours. This statistic becomes even more startling when you consider that the typical hiring success rate of managers is only 50 percent.
The silver lining is that “who” problems are easily preventable. Based on more than 1,300 hours of interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs, Who presents Smart and Street’s A Method for Hiring. Refined through the largest research study of its kind ever undertaken, the A Method stresses fundamental elements that anyone can implement–and it has a 90 percent success rate.
Whether you’re a member of a board of directors looking for a new CEO, the owner of a small business searching for the right people to make your company grow, or a parent in need of a new babysitter, it’s all about Who. Inside you’ll learn how to
• avoid common “voodoo hiring” methods
• define the outcomes you seek
• generate a flow of A Players to your team–by implementing the #1 tactic used by successful businesspeople
• ask the right interview questions to dramatically improve your ability to quickly distinguish an A Player from a B or C candidate
• attract the person you want to hire, by emphasizing the points the candidate cares about most
In business, you are who you hire. In Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street offer simple, easy-to-follow steps that will put the right people in place for optimal success. Read more of this post

The Seven Deadly Sins of Storytelling

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Jennifer Aaker: The Seven Deadly Sins of Storytelling

A Stanford GSB professor of marketing explains why engaging your audience is key to success. 

Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, writes, “Right-brain dominance is the new source of competitive advantage.” Tapping the right side of the brain allows for deeper engagement by uniting an idea with an emotion. The best way to do this? Tell a compelling story.

Before you craft your story, ask yourself: “Who is my audience and what is my goal in engaging them?” Are you persuading someone to invest in your company? Are you trying to sell an idea to your co-workers? Do you want to inspire people to help a cause or save someone’s life? Start with a deep understanding of your audience, and ensure your story has a clear and powerful meaning — to them. Then you can set to work honing it for maximum impact. Read more of this post

Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online; The master’s degree offered by the Georgia Institute of Technology through massive open online courses has the potential to disrupt higher education

August 17, 2013

Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online


Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.

From their start two years ago, when a free artificial intelligence course from Stanford enrolled 170,000 students, free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have drawn millions and yielded results like the perfect scores of Battushig, a 15-year-old Mongolian boy, in a tough electronics course offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read more of this post

Suddenly everyone wants New Yorker style in-depth article content. Only one catch: Who is going to write it? “We need to do what so few publications have done for recent years: Teach.”

Suddenly everyone wants New Yorker style content. Only one catch: Who is going to write it?

ON OCTOBER 12, 2012

One of our most popular stories all week has been David Holmes’s report about how Tumblr wants topay for journalism. And not just cat pictures, re-written press releases, or 300 word snark-fests by junior reporters paid $12 a post. This isn’t another content farm. They want real, actual New Yorker-style long form journalism.

This is great news….mostly.

For a long time, I’ve said that I thought the reason journalism was reeling was its own fault. Daily papers had a de facto monopoly — on news, classifieds, movie listing, stock quotes, sports scores, and all types of content. And yes, the Internet destroyed it. But if daily newspapers in aggregate, had been good stewards of that role in the community, people would still have read them. Most daily papers, instead, were like the one from my hometown: more daily than a newspaper. Like paying with the cable company, no one particularly loved reading it, but there wasn’t another option for getting all those things I describe above delivered to you daily. Read more of this post

Slow media: Google announced that it will start integrating links to in-depth articles into its search results; This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories

A small but significant victory for slow media

ON AUGUST 6, 2013

Google announced today that it will start integrating links to in-depth articles into its search results. So, if you search for “censorship,” says Google’s Pandu Nayak, “you’ll find a thought-provoking article by Salman Rushdie in The New Yorker, a piece by our very own Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in the Guardian, and another great article about Iran.” That means longform journalism will be treated almost the same as news, which is already featured in many search results courtesy of Google News. This is good news for people who care about “slow media” – the type of journalistic content that is not tied to a specific moment, that resists the eroding forces of faddism, and that favors quality over quantity. Not only does it unlock the power of the archive, but it sends a message that this sort of content, usually more nourishing than the “first draft of history” or slap-dash blog posts (such as this one!), deserves a pedestal that is different from, but equal to, that given to more time-sensitive information. Now that we live in an age of Twitter, we are vulnearble to automatically placing a higher value on content that gets to us the fastest. Because of its ability to instantly satisfy this thirst for “newness,” Twitter emphasizes the now while eschewing the timeless. Until now, Google’s default settings have pretty much done the same. Type “Obama” into a Google search box right now and you’ll be delivered links to his Wikipedia entry, White House bio, and then three news articles relevant to today. Nowhere on that first page is there a link to, say, Dave Remnick’s biography of the President, or Michael Lewis’s inside look at the Presidency, published by Vanity Fair.


An example of Google’s results for “in-depth articles.” Read more of this post

The Next Web sheds key staff amid shift in editorial strategy to one that depends less on breaking news and more on reviews and analysis; Waywire CEO Nathan Richardson Departs As Company Shifts Focus From Content Creation To Curation

The Next Web sheds key staff amid shift in editorial priorities

ON AUGUST 15, 2013

The Next Web, a leading tech blog, has fired or farewelled five of its top editorial staff in recent weeks as it shifts its editorial strategy to one that depends less on breaking news and more on reviews and analysis. In the last month, deputy managing editor Alex Wilhelm left to join TechCrunch, European editor and former TechCrunch writer Robin Wauters was laid off, and both features editor Harrison Weberand news editor Matthew Panzarino have left the company. Brad McCarty, who variously held positions as managing editor, director of business development, and head of TNW Academy, has also parted ways with the company. (Update: McCarty has since been in touch via Twitter to clarify that his departure was not related to the other personnel changes; the timing was coincidental.) Read more of this post

If it’s not broke, break it: How David Marcus is dismantling PayPal to save it

If it’s not broke, break it: How David Marcus is dismantling PayPal to save it

ON AUGUST 12, 2013


These days, if you go up and down the elevator at PayPal’s headquarters, get out on each floor and look around. You’ll see the perfect metaphor for PayPal’s past, present, and future.

On the third floor, PayPal President David Marcus shows me a sea of high-walled beige and grey hexagonal cubicles. The kind you stared at for 16 hours a day if you worked at a Peninsula-based, late-1990s tech company. They look identical to Yahoo’s except no purple and yellow. The walls block out most of the natural light in the room and any sign of coworkers. Even “Cubicle Guy” would have to stretch to prairie dog over them. Marcus can’t hide his contempt looking at them. Read more of this post

Garages of the Rich and Famous

Garages Read more of this post

Why Innovation Is Still Capitalism’s Star

August 17, 2013

Why Innovation Is Still Capitalism’s Star



CAPITALISM is culture. To sustain it, laws and institutions are important, but the more fundamental role is played by the basic human spirit of independence and initiative.

The decisive role of the “spirit of capitalism” is an old concept, going back at least to Max Weber, but it needs refreshing today with new evidence and new thinking. Edmund S. Phelps, a professor of economics at Columbia University and a Nobel laureate, has written an interesting new book on the subject. It’s called “Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge and Change” (Princeton University Press), and it contains a complex new analysis of the importance of an entrepreneurial culture.

Professor Phelps discerns a troubling trend in many countries, however, even the United States. He is worried about corporatism, a political philosophy in which economic activity is controlled by large interest groups or the government. Once corporatism takes hold in a society, he says, people don’t adequately appreciate the contributions and the travails of individuals who create and innovate. An economy with a corporatist culture can copy and even outgrow others for a while, he says, but, in the end, it will always be left behind. Only an entrepreneurial culture can lead. Read more of this post

Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success

Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success [Hardcover]

G. Richard Shell (Author)


Release date: August 15, 2013

Everyone knows that you are supposed to “follow your dream.”  But where is the road map to help you discover what that dream is?
You have just found it. In Springboard, award-winning author and teacher G. Richard Shell helps you find your future. His advice: Take an honest look inside and then answer two questions:
What, for me, is success? 
How will I achieve it? 
You will begin by assessing your current beliefs about success, including the hidden influences of family, media, and culture. These are where the pressures to live “someone else’s life” come from. Once you gain perspective on these outside forces, you will be ready to look inside at your unique combination of passions and capabilities. The goal: to focus more on what gives meaning and excitement to your life and less on what you are “supposed” to want.
Drawing on his decades of research, Shell offers personalized assessments to help you probe your past, imagine your future, and measure your strengths. He then combines these with the latest scientific insights on everything from self-confidence and happiness to relationships and careers.
Throughout, he shares inspiring examples of people who found what they were meant to do by embracing their own true measure of success.

Eric Adler: one of Shell’s former students who walked away from a conventional business career to help launch a revolutionary new concept in public education that has placed hundreds of inner-city high school students in top colleges.

Kurt Timken: a Harvard-educated son of a Fortune 500 CEO who found his true calling as a hard-charging police officer fighting drug lords in southern California.

Cynthia Stafford: an office worker who became one of her community’s leading promoters of theater and the arts.

Get ready for the journey of a lifetime—one that will help you reevaluate your future and envision success on your own terms. Students and executives say that Richard Shell’s courses have changed their lives. Let this book change yours. Read more of this post

In college, Meredith Perry wondered why wireless devices needed wires for recharging. That question has led to her work on a way to transmit electrical power via sound waves

August 17, 2013

An Inventor Wants One Less Wire to Worry About



Meredith Perry with a covered prototype of uBeam’s wireless charger, which is under wraps until its release date

SOMETIMES, there is an actual eureka moment. For Meredith Perry, it was in late 2010, during her senior year studying astrobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. She was searching for an idea to enter into the college’s innovation competition. “It was my last year to do it,” she told me, “so I literally would just carry around a notebook and write down any annoyances, because that would be an opportunity to solve a problem and have an invention.” An admitted “professional Googler,” she’d been researching all day on her computer when she decided to pack it in for the night. “I was just standing in my room,” she said, “wrapping up my laptop charger and trying to fit it into my bag and suddenly it occurred to me: Wow, this is so archaic. Why are we using these 20-foot wires to plug in our quote-unquote wireless devices?” “See past old paradigms” is one of those cheesy riffs one might hear from an innovation expert working the business speakers’ circuit. Yet here it was, a question that inched just past what was simply accepted: Why, in a wireless age, do we still have electrical wires? Read more of this post

Good Deeds Gone Bad: Why does virtue sometimes beget more virtue but other times allow for vice?

August 16, 2013

Good Deeds Gone Bad


ON your way to work today you may have paused to let another car merge into your lane. Or you stopped to give a dollar to a subway artist. A minute later, another chance to do the same may have appeared. Did your first act make the second more tempting? Or did you decide you had done your good deed for the day? Strangely, researchers have demonstrated both reactions — moral consistency and moral compensation — repeatedly in laboratories, leading them to ask why virtue sometimes begets more virtue and sometimes allows for vice. In doing so, they have shed an interesting light on how the conscience works. We often look to past behavior for clues about who we are and what we want, and then behave accordingly. Of course, we seek consistency not only with desirable behaviors, but also with less noble acts: in one study, subjects assigned to wear sunglasses they knew were counterfeit were more likely to cheat during the experiment. But other research shows that good behavior often makes people feel license to be bad. In one study, after shopping for environmentally friendly products, compared with conventional ones, subjects stole more money. Again, this works both ways: another study found that contemplating a taboo act increased one’s willingness to volunteer with an organ donation campaign. Read more of this post

Disney’s fairydust continues to work magic at the box office; media giant constantly reanimates itself to survive

Disney’s fairydust continues to work magic at the box office

Katherine Rushton visits the media giant that constantly reanimates itself to survive .


Disney is investing in a theme park and resort in Shanghai, worth $4.4bn Photo: Disney

By Katherine Rushton

4:02PM BST 17 Aug 2013

“I always liked Tinkerbell,” says Bob Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive. “She had a real attitude. I kind of like that. And being able to spread fairydust around? That’s kind of what I do for a living.” He’s not wildly off. Few companies in the world can claim to have pervaded Western culture over the past century to quite the same degree as Disney. Coca-Cola, perhaps, or Ford or McDonald’s – but however recognisable those juggernauts have become, they have not played the same role in shaping popular culture. It would take an unusual existence for a child to grow up without clapping eyes on Mickey Mouse, for example, or watching one of Disney’s other animations. Snow White did for one generation of children what The Jungle BookAriel the Little Mermaid and Aladdin have done for successive others. In many cases, Disney’s renditions of these tales have eclipsed the originals in people’s minds. Their popularity has helped Disney to become a commercial machine, with a market capitalisation of $112.3bn (£72bn), annual revenues of $42.3bn and $5.7bn of profits. But it is also a machine that can go awry if it loses the creative spark at its heart. Read more of this post

Struggling Immigrant Artist Tied to $80 Million New York Fraud

August 16, 2013

Struggling Immigrant Artist Tied to $80 Million New York Fraud



Pei-Shen Qian’s neighbors on 95th Street in Woodhaven, Queens, knew he scratched out a living as an artist: he often dried his paintings in the sun, propping them up on the weathered white siding of his modest house. They were less clear on why he kept his windows covered, or why every so often a man in an expensive car would come to the house carrying paintings to, not from, a painter. “He would bring a painting in and show it to him, for him to work on or fix up something,” Edwin Gardiner, 68, who lives across the street, said before pausing and adding, “I don’t know what he did with it.” Parts of the mystery became clearer on Friday as neighbors learned that Mr. Qian, a quiet 73-year-old immigrant from China in a paint-flecked smock, is suspected of having fooled the art world by creating dozens of works that were modeled after America’s Modernist masters and were later sold as their handiwork for more than $80 million. Read more of this post

In All Flavors, Cigars Draw In Young Smokers

August 17, 2013

In All Flavors, Cigars Draw In Young Smokers



BALTIMORE — At Everest Greenish Grocery, a brightly lit store on a faded corner of this city, nothing is more popular than a chocolate-flavored little cigar. They are displayed just above the Hershey bars along with their colorful cigarillo cousins — white grape, strawberry, pineapple and Da Bomb Blueberry. And they were completely sold out by 9 one recent evening, snapped up by young people dropping by for a snack or stopping in during a night of bar hopping. Read more of this post

Federal authorities have opened a bribery investigation into whether JPMorgan Chase hired the children of powerful Chinese officials to help the bank win lucrative business

AUGUST 17, 2013, 8:01 PM

Hiring in China By JPMorgan Under Scrutiny


Federal authorities have opened a bribery investigation into whether JPMorgan Chase hired the children of powerful Chinese officials to help the bank win lucrative business in the booming nation, according to a confidential United States government document.

In one instance, the bank hired the son of a former Chinese banking regulator who is now the chairman of the China Everbright Group, a state-controlled financial conglomerate, according to the document, which was reviewed by The New York Times, as well as public records. After the chairman’s son came on board, JPMorgan secured multiple coveted assignments from the Chinese conglomerate, including advising a subsidiary of the company on a stock offering, records show. Read more of this post

Michael Pettis On China’s Urbanization Fallacy

Michael Pettis On China’s Urbanization Fallacy

08/17/2013 13:53 -0400

Authored by Michael Pettis, originally posted at China Financial Markets blog,

The latest default bull argument supporting higher levels of growth in China than I believe possible is the urbanization argument. Beijing is planning another major urbanization push, and according to this argument China can resolve the problem of wasted investment by investing in the urbanization process, that is it can engage in a massive investment program related to the need to build infrastructure for all the newly urbanizedHere is the Financial Times on China’s urbanization policy:

Li Keqiang, the country’s recently appointed premier, has vowed to put urbanisation at the core of his economic and social agenda. Government departments are drawing up a set of policies, expected to be announced this year, that are intended to guide more than 100m rural citizens into cities over the next decade. The prospect of a concerted push for urbanisation is viewed with excitement by everyone from mining companies to property developers and local officials to stock brokers. As China’s growth slows, they hope the urbanisation campaign will give the country a boost. They are counting on it to unleash a fresh wave of investment, create a vast body of consumers and ultimately propel China past the US as the world’s biggest economy. Read more of this post

Japan’s culture warriors enlist an emblem of the imperial past; Controversy over a new film highlights the change in Japanese attitudes since the 1990s

August 16, 2013 7:34 pm

Japan’s culture warriors enlist an emblem of the imperial past

By David Pilling

Controversy over a new film highlights the change in Japanese attitudes since the 1990s

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In the entrance hall of Tokyo’s Yushukan war museum, a temple to Japanese revisionism, the first thing you notice is the dark green livery of the legendary Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft, in its day the world’s most advanced carrier-based fighter. More manoeuvrable than the British Spitfire and with an astonishingly long range, it greatly aidedJapan’s war effort before the Allies developed the technology and tactics to beat it. Deployed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, three years later, when Japan’s defeat had become inevitable, the Zero was being sent out on desperate kamikaze missions. Read more of this post

Expecting the Unexpected From Jeff Bezos

August 17, 2013

Expecting the Unexpected From Jeff Bezos


EARLY employees of Amazon still remember the day the company took away their aspirin. It was late 1999. After years of heady excess, the Internet boom was beginning to falter. Amazon, among the most celebrated of the dot-coms, was burdened with debt and spiraling losses. Jeff Bezos, its founder and chief impresario, had to impress Wall Street that he was serious about cutting costs. But how? Amazon had never indulged employees with Silicon Valley perks like massages or sushi chefs. Just about the only thing that workers received free was aspirin. So the aspirin went. Read more of this post

Known for its wildly popular telenovelas, or prime-time romantic melodramas, spanish-language media power Univision beat bigger English-language rivals ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox as the most watched in the month of July by the most coveted 18-49-year-old viewers


A Terrific Story of Its Own


Grupo Televisa, a global power in Spanish-language TV melodramas, offers a lot to investors, including a big stake in Univision.

For the first time, the television network most watched in the month of July by the most coveted viewers — 18-to-49-year-olds — was the Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision Communications. ¡Que!

Known for its wildly popular telenovelas, or prime-time romantic melodramas, and its variety shows and sports programs, upstart Univision beat bigger English-language rivals ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Univision and its original programming benefited from those broadcasters’ heavy reliance on summer reruns, and the absence of regular NFL games, which won’t resume until September. Still, the fifth-ranked broadcaster in terms of overall viewers is making inroads. It’s the only major broadcaster attracting new viewers — and for the first time ever in any first quarter, Univision was No. 4 among the 18-to-34 set, ahead of NBC. Read more of this post

Samsung to pip Apple to the post in race to launch a smartwatch

Last updated: August 16, 2013 10:51 pm

Samsung to pip Apple to the post in race to launch a smartwatch

By Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco and Simon Mundy in Seoul

Samsung is set to pip Apple to the post in the race to bring a new wearable device to market, as the Korean electronics company prepares to launch a smartwatch early next month. According to several people familiar with its plans, Samsung will launch the “Galaxy Gear” smartwatch in early September, ahead of the IFA trade show in Berlin. Samsung declined to comment. Apple, meanwhile, has been hiring aggressively for the iWatch in recent months but is not expected to reveal the device until next year. Read more of this post

“Voice is going to places it hasn’t gone before, with people developing applications to post conversations to Facebook, or games that prove you are a good son because you call Mom every week”

AUGUST 17, 2013, 9:00 AM

What’s Lost When Everything Is Recorded


While we fret about losing privacy and other dangers of the digital revolution, one sad change is happening with little notice: Our technology is stealing the romance of old conversations, that quaint notion that some things are best forgotten.

Remember the get-to-know-me chat of a first date or that final (good or bad) conversation with someone you knew for years? Chances are, as time has passed, your memory of those moments has changed. Did you nervously twitch and inarticulately explain your love when you asked your spouse to marry you? Or, as you recall it, did you gracefully ask for her hand, as charming as Cary Grant? Read more of this post

Is Big Data an Economic Big Dud?

August 17, 2013

Is Big Data an Economic Big Dud?


IF pencil marks on some colossal doorjamb could measure the growth of the Internet, they would probably be tracking the amount of data sloshing through the public network that spans the planet. Christened by the World Economic Forum as “the new oil” and “a new asset class,” these vast loads of data have been likened to transformative innovations like the steam locomotive, electricity grids, steel, air-conditioning and the radio. Read more of this post

When You Can’t Tell Web Suffixes Without a Scorecard; Plans to expand the number of top-level Internet domains beyond familiar ones like .com and .net have generated a rush of activity — as well as opposition

August 17, 2013

When You Can’t Tell Web Suffixes Without a Scorecard


ON the Web, there’s no place like .home.

But there soon may be, along with hundreds of other new Internet address suffixes like .bible, .blog, .family, .game, .gay and .pizza.

Since last summer, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbersor Icann, a nonprofit entity that coordinates the Internet address system, has vetted and initially approved 1,574 applications for new “top-level domains” — the letters to the right of the dot. The premise is to give companies and consumers seeking secondary-level domain names — the janedoe in — options beyond the 22 top-level generic suffixes like .com and .biz that are currently available. Read more of this post

In praise of “laziness/busyness”: Businesspeople would be better off if they did less and thought more

In praise of laziness: Businesspeople would be better off if they did less and thought more

Aug 17th 2013 |From the print edition


THERE is a never-ending supply of business gurus telling us how we can, and must, do more. Sheryl Sandberg urges women to “Lean In” if they want to get ahead. John Bernard offers breathless advice on conducting “Business at the Speed of Now”. Michael Port tells salesmen how to “Book Yourself Solid”. And in case you thought you might be able to grab a few moments to yourself, Keith Ferrazzi warns that you must “Never Eat Alone”. Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.

Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster. All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year by Good Technology, a provider of secure mobile systems for businesses, found that more than 80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.

This activity is making it harder to focus on real work as opposed to make-work. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School, who has been conducting a huge study of work and creativity, reports that workers are generally more creative on low-pressure days than on high-pressure days when they are confronted with a flurry of unpredictable demands. In 2012 Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, and two colleagues deprived 13 people in the IT business of e-mail for five days and studied them intensively. They found that people without it concentrated on tasks for longer and experienced less stress.

It is high time that we tried a different strategy—not “leaning in” but “leaning back”. There is a distinguished history of leadership thinking in the lean-back tradition. Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s favourite prime minister, extolled the virtues of “masterful inactivity”. Herbert Asquith embraced a policy of “wait and see” when he had the job. Ronald Reagan also believed in not overdoing things: “It’s true hard work never killed anybody,” he said, “but I figure, why take the chance?”. This tradition has been buried in a morass of meetings and messages. We need to revive it before we schedule ourselves to death. Read more of this post

Weak entrepreneurship education could provoke backlash; much of entrepreneurship education is subpar, relying on what he describes as inspirational anecdotes rather than demanding courses that teach discrete behaviors and processes

Weak entrepreneurship education could provoke backlash

1:31pm EDT

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – When Bill Aulet tries to hire faculty to bolster entrepreneurship courses at MIT, where he is a senior lecturer at the Sloan School of Management, he often runs up against a familiar challenge. “We bring in people and interview them all the time,” he said at a breakfast in San Francisco last week to mark the publication of his new book, “Disciplined Entrepreneurship.” “They’re not MIT rigor. And we get to see the best of the best.” The paucity of teaching talent underscores what he sees as the biggest drawback in entrepreneurship education: much of it is subpar, relying on what he describes as inspirational anecdotes rather than demanding courses that teach discrete behaviors and processes. The situation could cause a backlash against entrepreneurship, he said. Such a backlash, Aulet said, could lead to undesirable outcomes including lack of policy geared toward entrepreneurship – such as tax breaks, or visas for foreign entrepreneurs – or fewer people starting companies. “Entrepreneurs won’t receive the support they need,” he said in an interview with Reuters. Read more of this post

Epic launches, Politico goes deeper: Why longform journalism is the new necessity

Epic launches, Politico goes deeper: Why longform is the new necessity

ON AUGUST 12, 2013

In the last 24 hours, there have been two major updates to the list of media companies investing in longform journalism. Last night, the New York Times’ David Carr broke the news that writers Joshuah Bearman and Joshua Davis have launched a new site for longform reporting that might appeal to movie studios looking to turn articles into motion pictures. The site, called Epic, is backed by Medium, although the Times was vague on the exact nature of the relationship. (We’ve requested an interview with Epic’s founders to find out more, but that won’t be happening until next week). Read more of this post

Lessons From Monks About Designing The Technologies Of The Future

Lessons From Monks About Designing The Technologies Of The Future


posted yesterday

“The purpose of technology is not to confuse the brain but to serve the body,” William S. Burroughs once said in a Nike commercial, of all places. But things haven’t worked out that way, at least not for most of us. Our technologies are designed to maximize shareholder profit, and if that means distracting, confusing or aggregating the end-user, then so be it. But another path is possible, argues Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in his new book The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul. Read more of this post

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