August 5, 2014

Entourage

I was reading an article about a famous, wealthy person. The reporter noted that he was surrounded by an entourage, some of whom seemed employed only to laugh at his jokes.

It reminded me that the Bible addressed this (and everything!) long ago:


(Note the cool new embedded Bible widget! You can get it at http://biblia.com/plugins/BibleVerse.)

July 17, 2014

What is love?

No matter how familiar the passage, I never tire of seeing and hearing it another way. This video by the amazing Fred Sprinkle is the latest, and one of the best. (Click the image to see the full video!)

Love Bears All Things

Love Bears All Things

June 2, 2014

Printed books freeze the Zeitgeist

I came across this interesting criticism of a project to continually update a 1907 dictionary in a new online edition:

More importantly, and this is my real issue, the online-only presence of The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology means that we lose Zeitgeist, an important historical insight that we won’t see for decades, perhaps centuries down the line. … Being cast in stone, printed resources provide future generations with a specific snapshot of a specific age. An online-only, “ever new” resource lacks that tangibility, and with it we lose a mirror into our present-day cultural construct.

I appreciate how authoritative ‘a book published in year‘ is as a statement of exactly what people believed or knew at a point in history. This is an interesting thought about one of the (few) disadvantages of always-up-to-date content. Thankfully, we have the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

May 26, 2014

Everything changes but people

Over thousands of years we have learned that people never change but that our culture and circumstances – technology, buildings, tools, communications, transportation, etc. – change constantly.

Yet when people make big plans (or worse, write big laws or found ambitious non-profits) they get things backwards: from their good intentions and future vision they extrapolate a world in which people are wiser, nicer, and more enlightened, and from their focus on today’s problems they imagine a world where these problems will need to be actively addressed for decades to come.

It just isn’t so.

You can read the earliest written history we have and see that people are exactly the same: we love and hate, are selfish and selfless, buy and sell, and grumble about taxes. The interpersonal narrative of any ancient literature could trivially be reset in our modern world as a recognizable and relevant human story.

On the other hand, our cultural context is changing constantly. It was less than 70 years from the Wright brothers’ first flight to landing on the moon. For most people, it’s been less than 20 years since they heard of the Internet, and less than 7 years since they got a smart phone and started carrying the Internet in their pocket. And today they can’t remember life before that.

In less than a century railroads re-shaped the world; cities were redesigned, different foods and products were available for purchase, distance was reimagined and people changed where and how they lived. Just decades later the automobile century started changing it all again. Today autonomous cars, flying drones and ubiquitous mapping, sensors, and communications are about to repeat the cycle.

And still we write laws and draw up plans to address an extrapolated vision of today that will never come to be.

May 1, 2014

Advice to a young CEO

What’s the best advice for a young, first-time CEO?

Get rid of your television

It sounds silly, but you’re going to need every moment of every day, and television is a distraction you can’t afford.

Read business history and biography

Remember the old saw about how good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment? There’s only one substitute for years of experience: learning from the experience of others. Fill every spare moment with reading about others’ experience. Pay particular attention to failure stories; they are even more useful than the wisdom of those who have succeeded.

See the rest of my answer at Quora. (It contains points from my Getting Ahead slides.)

November 9, 2013

As you wish

Wikipedia, on The Princess Bride:

In a Renaissance-era world a beautiful young woman named Buttercup lives on a farm in the country of Florin. She delights in verbally abusing the farm hand Westley, whom she refers to as “farm boy”, by demanding that he perform chores for her. Westley’s only answer is “As you wish”. She eventually realizes that what he is really saying is, “I love you.”

How powerful it is to show love with humility and patience.

What would happen in my marriage, my friendships, and my relationships with my neighbors if I answered every comment and request with “as you wish” – even if only silently, in my head?

Practical wisdom on growing your business that you can start using today.

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