1. 19 Pings
Ideas that are on my radar.
These are things I’ve been thinking about. 19 disconnected, partial thoughts. Conversation starters, really. I’d love it if any of these ideas spark
some further discussion over beers.
The value of understanding that whatever anyone says to you contains at least one percent truth is that you learn to really listen to people.
Whenever you think someone is full of shit, they’re really only 99% full of shit.
3. The world is not binary.
Be careful of your certitude. Be careful of anyone’s certitude. Nothing is only on or off, true or false. There is always at least a third way to think
about something. There are often thousands of other perspectives.
4. Don’t fall in
There’s a lot of energy in this rock, just waiting to be released. It could happen while we watch, or it could sit there for a thousand years. The
question is: how much of your life are you willing to spend waiting for it?
5. Nobody who contacts
you out of the blue will
offer you a deal that
beneﬁts you more
than it beneﬁts them.
Nobody who contacts you out of the blue will offer you a deal that beneﬁts you more than it beneﬁts them. No spammer, no door-to-door
salesman, no telephone solicitor. That doesn’t mean you may not get some value out of the deal, but you will be at the disadvantage.
6. Normal incompetence
can look like conspiracy
We’re often drawn to the idea of conspiracy because it’s so hard to believe that tragedy is simply a part of life. Sadly, what looks like a conspiracy
can as easily be explained as the emergent properties of normal human incompetence.
7. Trend lines
This is Maxwell’s Law of Countervailing Forces. No matter how tempting it may be to bet your fortune on a rising (or falling) trend line, at some
point that trend is going to reverse. The pendulum always swings the other way.
8. Maxwell’s Law of
Expenses always rise to meet income
I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. The windfall of savings you think you might get when you move into a job that pays more will
nearly always disappear in a cloud of new and seemingly vital expenses.
Woody Allen has made 37 movies since 1970’s Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You. That’s a movie a year. And whether he makes a tour de force like
Match Point or a crime against celluloid like Celebrity, he makes another movie the next year. He keeps working on his craft.
10. Humor is like the
Humor can be like the rattlesnake’s rattle. Humor is truth, and someone who can really tell the truth to you is not someone you want to fuck with;
rather, you want them to be on your side. At the least, you want them to slither on by and not bite you.
11. 3 things we
I’ve heard lots of talk about identity, but these other ideas need more discussion. Tracking your personal data is needs to be automated. And
being able to apply multiple services to a central storehouse of personal data would be a boon for web-based businesses.
12. What do
Make sure you can answer this question. Ask it often and answer it honestly. Seems simple enough, but in our early lives what we want is often
determined by others. When you can truly know what you want for yourself, you will ﬁnd that getting it is a hell of a lot easier.
13. Other people
than you do.
Other people experience the world differently than you do. We each have our own ﬁlters, and they are somewhat predetermined by our genetic
makeup and then further shaped by our life experience. Really understanding this is hard.
14. Conservation of Energy
of Large Institutions
Any large group that shares similar skills, mindset, and a cohesive bond cannot be blinked out of existence. Such groups can be disbanded, but
the individuals will retain their skills and seek to apply them in new ways. Therefore, creating new, large institutions (e.g. homeland security) must
be done with extraordinary consideration, because these institutions will take a long time to die.
15. Institutions are also
subject to the laws of
Similarly, institutions, social or political movements, and militaries have mass and weight and are subject to laws that are analogous to the laws of
physics: they have momentum, inertia, gravity, etc.
16. (Scott) Maxwell’s Rule of
Thumb for Estimating How
Long a Project Will Take
• State how long you think a
project will take, double it,
and increment the time unit
to the next higher one.
• Two hours → four days
• Three days → six weeks.
17. Genius is no
The difference between success and failure in almost every case is how much hard work and sacriﬁce you're prepared to put in to achieve your
goals. You will not be successful by being clever. There's no clever way to win a marathon. You simply have to be willing to endure more.
18. Prohibition never works
Human behavioral impulses cannot be legislated away or otherwise controlled by external forces.
The only way to modify behavior is by identifying a better reward system than the one that’s in
place. c.f. DRM
19. Maxwell’s Law of
You can only predict the kinds of decisions any company will make by watching the people at the very top. I originally thought of this because of
the blogging of Robert Scoble. I’ve met Robert, and I think he is genuine and intelligent. This comment isn’t really about him.
20. The Bullﬁghter’s Cape
It’s about how other people interpreted his blogging as sign of a new openness at Microsoft. But the truth is that Robert Scoble was like the
Bullﬁghter’s Cape. We need to understand that it’s not the cape we should be paying attention to. It’s the guy with the sword.