Monday, November 30, 2009
Although traveling is often annoying and can be quite draining - it also creates an interesting dynamic for enhanced productivity. Being away from home removes all distractions. It removes all the usual habits of leisure, comfort, and fun.
Traveling to a foreign city thus creates a short-term boost of productivity. It creates an environment designed for focused work. Over the long-term, travel would have major morale implications - but during the timeframe of a few weeks it can be quite beneficial. Travel time is an output-oriented effect created by the disruption of the norm.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Although Thanksgiving is a relatively new holiday it seems to be widely accepted as one of the best American days of celebration. There is no pressure associated with gift-giving or religious ritualism. Most people receive two days of rest. And borderline gluttony is widely celebrated.
I am most thankful for the fundamental joys of my life: my health, my family, my friends. I am also thankful for my voice, my perspective, and my zeal.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This is neither good nor bad. It is part of the materialistic culture which still dominates our society. But it does present both a challenge and an opportunity to those looking to produce and market virtual goods - the backbone of new economic models developing on the web.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Momentum is a wave of power, a flow of force, and a state of superiority that can make champions. But it doesn't last forever, it can disappear, it can also come back. Some argue that Jordan never lost his momentum - but that is far from the truth - even Jordan couldn't create momentum with the Washington Wizards.
The lesson of momentum in basketball is a common one - cherish the momentum, make the best of momentum, and never assume that it will last forever.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Terms of service are often quite long and quite boring. They are full of legalese and are rarely thoroughly read by anyone. They often require explicit agreement by the users and have very interesting guidelines. Because few actually read the terms, few actually care. But as the Internet continues to grow into the only important global communication and commerce infrastructure, we're all going to start caring a lot more about the terms of service.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
That's why whenever I write on Sunday nights I feel that the quality of my writing is not at the level of the typical mid-week post. Even though I've had two days of rest and free intellectual-wandering, it's still tough to get back into the groove. So consider this my warm up post for this week.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Along with digital communication, digital goods have also enabled real-time transactions. iTunes is the prime example of a real-time commerce application where a quick transaction brings upon instant gratification. Anyone can purchase a song, movie, or software within seconds.
The real-time web has significantly improved the Internet - it has fostered many new forms of communication and transaction. But the real-time web also introduces new risks that the old, more static web didn't suffer. Since data can spread instantly, misinformation can reach many people before it is proven to be false. Rumors are thus experiencing a Renaissance within this new reality. In the financial realm, the real-time web gives bad guys the ability to quickly perform hit-and-run scams. Money laundering and other transnational schemes can flourish before anyone realizes what's going on.
So what we have is typical to most human innovation and evolution - the new technology that is quickly misused. But this time things may be different. The real-time web is quickly becoming the foundation of the new Internet. It is here to stay and so are those who attempt to misuse it. We must realize that real-time is both a gift and a huge challenge. The real-time web is the battlefield of the future.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
These parties are sometimes extravagant but have recently taken a humbling hit during these recessionary times. I believe that it is a mistake to cancel the annual holiday party. These events are more than just a reward for a year of success - the parties serve to humanize all layers of an organization. There is something both empowering and communal about seeing one's boss drink a beer or dance with his wife. The holiday party gives new perspective to those who attend - usually this is quite good for any company.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
President Barack Obama bows while being greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Source: AP via Politico.com
At first, I wasn't happy about this prominent sign of potential weakness. Should our President ever bow to anyone? Does this weaken America's position in the world in some way? But as I kept looking at the exquisitely expressive image I realized that weakness was nowhere to be seen. Quite the opposite - Obama's sign of deference gives him instant credibility. It shows careful planning, a deep understanding of Japanese culture, and a knowledge of history. Most importantly, this humbling act clearly won the respect of both the Emperor and Empress.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Most discussion on this matter has focused on the merit of the word - i.e. if it is valuable enough to be added to a serious dictionary and thus near-permanently inserted into the English language. But I take this debate to be moot. The word exists and it is widely used. It's hard to predict the future, but for now it is an important concept.
What intrigues me is the underlying reality that unfriend establishes. It depicts a world where friendship can seemingly be turned on and off with the click of a button. Although this might just be the digital method of a symbolic process which humans have utilized for decades, it connects a chillingly simple word to the deconstruction of a relationship.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Car dealership ads are still very much misleading and are meant to purely bring the buyer through the front door. Financial "details" in these ads can be molded to fit most desired realities. When dealing with the salesman, actual lying never takes place. Important facts that could diminish the value of a particular car are not mentioned, skimmed over, or left to be interpreted by the buyer.
Overall the experience was a mixed bag of useful hands-on shopping and bitter aftertaste of shady salesmanship. It's hard to believe that some organization hasn't completely put the old system to rest by offering a completely transparent car-buying experience.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
What does this mean? It means that soccer is finally hitting the tipping point of popularity in the United States. Football, baseball, and basketball have had similar ranking systems for years. It means that there is significant interest in this fun method for expressing athletic pride. It also means that ESPN views soccer as a lucrative investment.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This idea won't die because there is some merit to it. There have even been recent developments which have moved us one step closer to actual implementation.
The space elevator is like so many other wild ideas - like the telephone, the airplane, the personal computer, and many others. We are lucky to be living through a process that might bring upon the next travel revolution. Yet human nature makes us skeptical and dismissive.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Almost as interesting is a concept much more unusual but maybe comparably prevalent: fake nostalgia or fauxstalgia. Fauxstalgia is similar to regular nostalgia in that it fosters a sense of comfort and happiness. But what makes fauxstalgia so unusual is that it creates a strong feeling for a time or place that we never actually encountered. For example, I occasionally feel nostalgic (fauxstalgic) for the Roaring Twenties or the Atomic Age of the 1950s. I was born well after these eras.
Fauxstalgia is what turns Mad Men, Indiana Jones, and Gone With the Wind into hits. While nostalgia is a reflex, fauxstalgia comes from training - through pop culture and mass media. It is a projection of emotional perfection. Triggers of fauxstalgia are very powerful.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
When the most powerful organization in the nation is willing to push through, its citizens will follow suit. In this case, the extra-effort is a component that symbolizes the importance of the overall process.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The whole concept behind the menu focuses on the deconstruction of popular meals - like scrambled eggs - and using the basic ingredients to create brand new adventures. We could all use this approach from time to time.
The scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, and hamachi.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
By now, most marketers know that too much choice can be counterproductive - that the customer gets overwhelmed and may choose nothing. I definitely felt this phenomenon begin to affect my decision-making process - since the energy needed to make a selection was nearly greater than the immediate benefit of getting a new shirt.
I finally ended up selecting one shirt. But the choice was based on nearly pure luck and a conscious decision to not waste any more time comparing the different choices. In a world where time is more important than a physical good, how can digital goods even compare?
[To Be Continued]
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The expanded variety of entertainment that comes from cable television and the Internet has probably diluted the reach of late night. But I believe the main cause for the decline in relevance stems from a decline in the taboo-factor. No longer is network television-based late night comedy the most exciting form of nearly free entertainment. No longer is any unpredictability associated with the corporate machine that drives the typical plug-the-movie/album format of these stale shows.
Monday, November 2, 2009
What does this mean for the little guy?
- He will have every important moment of his life permanently documented
- He will have the concepts of networking and social portfolios ingrained in his psyche from his earliest points of consciousness
- He will expect a high level of openness and sharing from most
- Geographic distance will no longer be a barrier
- Diversity will be based more on personality than ethnicity
- Reading and writing will be his primary means of communication.
Those are just a few potential repercussions for The Facebook Generation. I'm not sure what this will mean for the world in twenty years - but I am sure that it will be different from today's reality.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Much like in a negotiation, the first real image is like the the first offer. It is the launch pad for future discussion and redirectioning. The earlier that first visual is shared, the earlier that a real negotiation can begin.