Archive for the 'Nifty people' Category

Seeking new failures.

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

A year after I’d stopped waking up in the middle of the night,
consumed with remorse, I wanted new failures.
I was tired of the same old regret.

My college friend Sarah Hepola has been writing for Salon for a while now. Her recent article, “When I finally stopped going to bars,” demonstrates why. For my money, the sentences quoted above will stand with anybody’s.

You’ll do yourself a favor to give Sarah a read.

Photo by Lauren Polinsky.

What Chris said.

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Do you know my friend Chris Brogan?

If I asked that question in social-media circles it would be taken as a joke. In fact, I might use it as a punchline in a talk sometime — because everyone in social media knows Chris Brogan.

(The good news: Chris is genuinely a person worth knowing, not just some talking head.)

Anyway, the overworked, overconnected, overbooked, overcommitted Chris just wrote this:

“I’m starting to think that we’ve got the opportunity to do some REALLY big things by just working on a few things…”

He’s right.

What are your few things? You don’t need to tell me, but you ought to be able to spell them out for yourself on one side of an index card.

Anything more than that, and you’re inviting the Blur that Chris is trying to fight.


(Image by Viernest.)

SXSW underway, normal life to resume Wednesday.

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

I just slept ~10 hours to make up for the standing, walking, talking, listening, (moderate) beer-drinking, and not-sleeping that I’ve been doing since Thursday afternoon when South by Southwest Interactive started cranking up.

Next on my agenda: shower, shave, more coffee, and then back to the Convention Center for more of the same.

This year I’m trying a different approach by not lugging my laptop around everywhere. I’m tweeting a few things about what I’m seeing and doing (via @twalk and @Hoovers), and taking notes for blog posts — and nefarious world takeover plans — yet to come.

If you’re at the conference, feel free to ping me on Twitter so we can meet up. If you’re not on Twitter . . . well, you’re probably not at SXSW. But you could still ping me via e-mail, since I’ve got my Blackberry with me.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you’re having a similar amount of fun and stimulation.

Please pardon my nerdcrush.

Friday, January 29th, 2010

I am filled with what some call SQUEE.

And why, you may ask?

I’ll tell you why: because Doc Searls — yes, THAT Doc Searls — made a Twitter list called “postcluetrainians” . . . and he put ME on it.

Believe me when I tell you that the recursive nerditude of this (Searls, Twitter, The Cluetrain Manifesto) has not escaped me. But believe me, also, when I tell you I haven’t had this much nerdcrush squee going on since Kathy Sierra commented on a post here back in October.

That is all. You may now carry on with your normal activities; I hope you’ll bear with me, though, if I remain mooney-eyed for a little while.

You know what looks awesome? Plutopia 2010, that’s what.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Yesterday gave me a treat: I got to chat over coffee for an hour with my friend Jon Lebkowsky. Jon’s in the top 1% of conversationalists I know, so talking to him is always scintillating.

Also scintillating: Plutopia 2010: The Science of Music on Monday, March 15th — which Jon is organizing with his merry band of smarties.

Basically, if you’re going to be at SXSW 2010 and you care at all about (a) music or (b) things that are awesome, you should attend this. It’s really that simple.

Bonus self-serving plug: Plutopia will get you in the mood for my own SXSW session, to be held the following day at 5 p.m. Details on that are available at my pro blog.

You may envy me . . . NOW.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

And WHY?

Because I have a preview copy of Chris Barton‘s next book . . .


. . . Shark vs. Train on my desk — and you don’t.


P.S. It’s awesome!

“How do you nurture a positive attitude when all the statistics say you’re a dead man?”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Answer: “You go to work.”

Patrick Swayze, R.I.P.

(Addendum, 16 September: another thought in the same vein.)

Read Noah Brier, is my advice.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

YMMV, of course, but I find his blog consistently interesting.

Day-Glo Brothers = Awesome. You Should Buy = Yes.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Here’s a nifty thing: my friend Chris Barton’s debut book, The Day-Glo Brothers, published by Charlesbridge and available now from Amazon, even though the official release date isn’t until next week, which means you can conspire with Amazon to participate in the day-glo awesomeness early.

Early awesomeness = yes, people.

Related: Chris’s author site.

Related: Chris’s blog, Bartography, which he’s been writing for ages and which is excellent.

Related: Wired Magazine blurbed The Day-Glo Brothers. Woo-hoo!

William James on self-esteem.

Sunday, January 27th, 2008
Rivalry and Conflict of the Different Selves.

With most objects of desire, physical nature restricts our choice to but one of many represented goods, and even so it is here. I am often confronted by the necessity of standing by one of my empirical selves and relinquishing the rest. Not that I would not, if I could, be both handsome and fat and well dressed, and a great athlete, and make a million a year, be a wit, a bon-vivant, and a lady-killer, as well as a philosopher; a philanthropist, statesman, warrior, and African explorer, as well as a ‘tone-poet’ and saint. But the thing is simply impossible. The millionaire’s work would run counter to the saint’s; the bon-vivant and the philanthropist would trip each other up; the philosopher and the lady-killer could not well keep house in the same tenement of clay. Such different characters may conceivably at the outset of life be alike possible to a man. But to make any one of them actual, the rest must more or less be suppressed. So the seeker of his truest, strongest, deepest self must review the list carefully, and pick out the one on which to stake his salvation. All other selves thereupon become unreal, but the fortunes of this self are real. Its failures are real failures, its triumphs real triumphs, carrying shame and gladness with them. This is as strong an example as there is of that selective industry of the mind on which I insisted some pages back (p. 284 ff.). Our thought, incessantly deciding, among many things of a kind, which ones for it shall be realities, here chooses one of many possible selves or characters, and forthwith reckons it no shame to fail in any of those not adopted expressly as its own.

I, who for the time have staked my all on being a psychologist, am mortified if others know much more psychology than I. But I am contented to wallow in the grossest ignorance of Greek. My deficiencies there give me no sense of personal humiliation at all. Had I ‘pretensions’ to be a linguist, it would have been just the reverse. So we have the paradox of a man shamed to death because he is only the second pugilist or the second oarsman in the world. That he is able to beat the whole population of the globe minus one is nothing; he has ‘pitted’ himself to beat that one; and as long as he doesn’t do that nothing else counts. He is to his own regard as if he were not, indeed he is not.

Yonder puny fellow, however, whom every one can beat, suffers no chagrin about it, for he has long ago abandoned the attempt to ‘carry that line,’ as the merchants say, of self at all. With no attempt there can be no failure; with no failure no humiliation. So our self-feeling in this world depends entirely on what we back ourselves to be and do. It is determined by the ratio of our actualities to our supposed potentialities; a fraction of which our pretensions are the denominator and the numerator our success: thus, Self-esteem = Success / Pretensions. Such a fraction may be increased as well by diminishing the denominator as by increasing the numerator. To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them gratified; and where disappointment is incessant and the struggle unending, this is what men will always do. The history of evangelical theology, with its conviction of sin, its self-despair, and its abandonment of salvation by works, is the deepest of possible examples, but we meet others in every walk of life. There is the strangest lightness about the heart when one’s nothingness in a particular line is once accepted in good faith. All is not bitterness in the lot of the lover sent away by the final inexorable ‘No.’ Many Bostonians, crede experto (and inhabitants of other cities, too, I fear), would be happier women and men to-day, if they could once for all abandon the notion of keeping up a Musical Self, and without shame let people hear them call a symphony a nuisance. How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young, – or slender! Thank God! we say, those illusions are gone. Everything added to the Self is a burden as well as a pride. A certain man who lost every penny during our civil war went and actually rolled in the dust, saying he had not felt so free and happy since he was born.

Once more, then, our self-feeling is in our power. As Carlyle says: “Make thy claim of wages a zero, then hast thou the world under thy feet. Well did the wisest of our time write, it is only with renunciation that life, properly speaking, can be said to begin.”