Location matters. Black Swan-author Nassim Nicholas Taleb finds "living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters – you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity." That's particularly true for romance. People move to big cities not to advance their careers, party, escape, disappear, be a star, and so on. The chick-flick fan that I am, I remember very well that candid line from Sex and the City (the movie): "I came to New York City to fall in love." Exactly. "Anyone who's predicting the decline of big cities has … Read more
Yes, we live (again) in the "age of conversations." There is something reassuring about listening to smart people having cultured conversations. When I was young, I would listen for hours to music-free radio programming that sounded like black-and-white movies.
Today, Monocle Magazine brought some of that magic back by launching Monocle Weekly, a 30-minute audio podcast. Hosted by editor in chief Tyler Brûlé, the short-form show extends the publication's monthly print content by offering fresh angles on stories in current and past issues, discussions, previews, field reports, and interviews. The light conversations on serious … Read more
If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you might have noticed that I'm an avid soccer fan who doesn't let an opportunity pass to draw analogies between the "beautiful game" and the other big game: business. As such I was riveted by Clive Thompson's "Goalkeeper Science" piece in last week's New York Times Magazine's "Year in Ideas" issue. Based on research examining the behavior of soccer goalkeepers facing penalty kicks, Thompson concludes that "inaction may be the biggest form of action" (Jerry Brown).
The study, … Read more
A somewhat unconventional yet challenging task: Newsweek invited four "hot (and nonpartisan) design firms" to provide ideas and design direction for "resurrecting the Republican brand," featured in this week's (December 29) print issue. The full-page feature presents concepts by frog design (full disclosure: my employer), Pentagram, Razorfish, and The Groop.
The article is not available online so check it out at a news stand (and support print media!).
An article in the New York Times says customers are being more attracted to "simple" products:
And, as it turns out, the buyers of consumer electronics could very well have been a leading economic indicator. Over the last year, they chose to buy two inexpensive and simple products, the Wii and the Flip, over competing gadgets bristling with more features.
But the article conflates two different definitions of "simple"Doing a focused function or small number of functions (i.e. it's "simple in what it does") Being easy and intuitive to use (i.… Read more
Does a loved one suffer from infomania? Do you have an incorrigible number-cruncher on your gift list? Whether your favorite data-tracker is a runner or a gardener, here are five devices that could be a hit at home this year.1. Fitbit
About the size of a thumb drive, this fitness and sleep tracker discretely clips to your clothes. At home, it auto-syncs with its base station and uploads information (such as how many calories you burned that day or how many hours you actually slept) to a website where you can track data for yourself, … Read more
In addition to his already pretty comprehensive list of social media marketing programs, Peter Kim, the "de facto curator of social media" as Steve Rubel calls him, has now launched a wiki. Social media power to document social media power, so to speak. Great effort, check it out:http://wiki.beingpeterkim.com/
These days, you don't need to launch portal sites that vie for new audiences. You're better served leveraging existing applications to provide new functionality for venues that already attract a fair share of eyeballs or that even cultivate their own communities.
Internet activist Lawrence Lessig points out a feature of Apture, a rich media content compilation platform, that promotes government transparency by allowing bloggers and other publishers to embed links to rich media background info on politicians and their records (i.e., key moments of testimony in videos, historical source materials, government documents, and even bills and resolutions). … Read more
I am finally reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s mesmerizing book The Black Swan – The Impact of The Highly Improbable, and I am intrigued by the parallels you can draw to Obama’s campaign (they may be quite a stretch, but those are the best, no?)
In a chapter titled “Living in the Antechamber of Hope,” Taleb refers to empirical research showing that on average venture capitalists capitalize better on innovations than the actual innovator, that publishers make more money with books than writers, that agents do better than artists, and that R&D managers do better than scientists: “The … Read more
"I had lunch with my kids at our local Middle Eastern restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn, yesterday. It has been there for a long time in a neighborhood that has exploded with cool cafes. The smell of warm pitas, fresh from the oven, practically brought my kids to tears. This place is getting more and more attractive to me these days. They provide good, cheap, fresh food – I can stuff the whole family for less than $30. But that's not all: at the end of the meal they always bring … Read more