Hooray for France!
If an Apple upgrade breaks your phone and you switch to Android, it costs Apple more than $10,000.
If you switch supermarkets because a clerk was snide with you, it removes $50,000 from the store’s ongoing revenue.
If a kid has a lousy first grade teacher or is bullied throughout middle school, it might decrease his productivity for the rest of us by a million dollars.
Torrents are made of drips.
The short-term impact (plus or minus) of our work or our errors is dwarfed by the long-term effects. Compounded over time, little things become big things. [I riff on some of this in the new interview I did with Larry King.]
PS Today is the early decision deadline for fall’s session of the altMBA. It’s a thirty-day workshop that will pay dividends.
Totally off topic, a few condiments most people don’t know about that I’m happy to bring to your attention.
$5 each will buy you a month’s worth of delight. It’s hard to beat.
Here they are with links, but you can find them locally, I hope.
Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisps are numbing and spicy and a simple way to make just about anything taste more zingy than it used to. Tao Huabi, the founder of the company, retired a few years ago, finishing her career as a billionaire–even though she was raised in poverty, without ever going to school.
Al Wadi Pomegranate Molasses has exactly one ingredient, I’ll let you guess what it is. Put it on salad or on ice cream, or rice. Or your finger.
Lime Pickle is a miracle concoction, one that most people who don’t grow up with it will walk on by at the Indian market. I have no idea which brand is the best, they all seem different but equally interesting. How this product could possibly be produced, packaged and brought to your home for so little money is yet another miracle.
Fallot Dijon Mustard is not the mustard that is made by a vast mass marketer. It is the mustard made by someone who truly cares about mustard.
And the last one is the most basic of all. Maldon salt. I don’t know why. I just know it’s way better.
With nothing but these five condiments, I could happily eat beans, kale and rice for the rest of my days.
“Learning science from a textbook is like learning how to ride a bike from a pamphlet," says biochemist Komal Dadlani, referring to how she was taught science in her home country of Chile. Dadlani talks about democratizing how science is taught with a lab in every student's pocket.
A hundred years ago, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the original punk artist, and also a Baroness, created a work of art that caused a sensation.
Her friend (put that in air quotes, please) Marcel Duchamp came to her rescue when the work was originally rejected by the art show she submitted it to. He got it photographed and the world of visual art changed forever.
Over the ensuing years, Duchamp took ever more credit for the piece. It’s generally considered one of the most influential pieces of art of the 20th century, but until recently, the Baroness has been uncredited.
When Fountain first caused a stir, it represented a shift in art, from handmade to machine-made, from pre-photography to post. In some ways, it was the end of fine art as a craft.
I’ve been talking about Fountain in speeches for years. The combination of commonplace with daring made it a perfect example of what it means to leap. The statement was clear: The first person to install a urinal in a museum was an artist. The second was a plumber.
Fountain represents something more than that now. It also speaks to us about access, about credit and about status.
Who’s entitled to create? When someone contributes, are we open to hearing from them?
And Duchamp? Wrestling with his long hiatus from art (he played chess for decades instead), we can imagine that he was struggling to claim something that mattered, but of course, he wasn’t simply claiming, he was taking. Stealing the magic from someone else.
He lost his nerve, not his talent. Expectations cut both ways.
David Li, Executive Director of the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab explains the remarkable rise of Shenzhen, China, often described as the “Silicon Valley of hardware innovation”. This video is part of a broader body of work by Microsoft's Office Envisioning team and PopTech on the Changing World of Work.
Worth a try if you think it might help the way you talk to yourself (which is worse, certainly, than the way anyone else talks to you).
Every time you’re sure you’ve blown it, completely blown it, that you’re certain you’re going to get disbarred, fired, demoted—becoming friendless, homeless and futureless—write it down in your Catastrophe Journal.
A simple blank book, always use the same one.
Just a few sentences, that’s all you need. Write down:
- What you did that was so horrible.
- The consequences you expect since the world as you know it is now coming to an end.
Do this every time a catastrophe occurs.
What you’ll find, pretty certainly, is that two things happen:
- You will realize over time that your predictions of doom don’t occur, and
- As soon as you begin writing down the details, the cycle we employ of making the details worse and worse over time will slow and stop.
A month of persistence is usually all you need to begin to break the habit.
It’s not really a catastrophe. It simply feels that way.
Call me crazy, but I love the idea of finding a great piece of photo gear by going off-label. In this case, a lighting bag that is not technically a lighting bag.
It's perfectly sized, comes in a ridiculous array of colors and is $22.99 shipped. Read more »
I am starting to publish interesting observations on the Aberdeen Blog. This first post lists which WCMSs most commonly replace WordPress. I am doing similar analysis on other software categories such as eCommerce.
Subscribe to the Tech Pro Essentials channel of the Aberdeen blog if you want to see more posts like these.
There aren’t many fundamental human emotions, and shame is certainly one of them.
Shame is usually caused by a collision between our behavior and our culture. Society uses shame to enforce norms and set standards. When you’re alone in the forest, there’s not a lot of shame.
Too often, marketers, politicians and others with money and power use shame as a cudgel, as a harsh tool to gain control. And it’s usually directed at those least able to thrive in the face of this sort of onslaught.
I’m not sure we’d want to live in a culture where shameful behavior is completely accepted, where sociopaths and selfish short-term people abuse our trust.
At the same time, I think we need to be really clear about the difference between shameful behavior and shaming a person.
Shaming a person is a senseless shortcut. When we say to someone, “you’re never going to amount to anything,” when we act like we want to lock them up and throw away the key, when we conflate the behavior with the human–we’ve hurt everyone. We’ve killed dreams, eliminated possibility and broken any chance for a connection.
The alternative is to be really clear about which behavior crossed the line. To correct that behavior at the very same time we open the door for our fellow citizen to become the sort of person we’d like to engage with.
“How dare you,” is a fine way to establish that people like us don’t do things like that. It is a norm-setting device, a clear indication that certain behaviors aren’t welcome and demand explanation.
As the media available to each of us turns just about every interaction into a worldwide, hyper-competitive conflict, there’s way too much shameless posturing and division. If you want to “win” in social media or politics, you’re no longer trying to be the class clown among twenty high school students, you’re racing to the bottom among a hundred million teenagers or candidates. Multiply that by every endeavor and you can see why there’s so much shameless posturing.
Racing to the top is far preferable. Because the problem with a race to the bottom is you might win. Or come in second, which is even worse.
A modern deep learning framework built to accelerate research and development of AI systems.
Based on PyTorch and fully compatible with pure PyTorch and other pytorch packages, TorchFusion provides a comprehensive extensible training framework with trainers that you can easily use to train, evaluate and run inference with your PyTorch models, A GAN framework that greatly simplifies the process of experimenting with Generative Adversarial Networks Goodfellow et al. 2014, with concrete implementations of a number of GAN algorithms, and a number of high level network layers and utilities to help you be more productive in your work.
The framework is highly extensible, so you can easily create your own custom trainers for specific purposes...[more]
Binkabi starts with the segment of the international supply chain where we can make quickest and highest impact — the import and export of agrifood products. We will develop a marketplace of end-buyers and end-sellers of commodities. This will help reduce intermediation in trade, distributing profit more widely in the value chain. It consists of a settlement system where buyers pay and sellers receive in their respective local currencies through Barter Block™, a smart bartering mechanism. We will leverage blockchain technology to solve the trust issue in international trade, while keeping costs down for our members.
Binkabi will power the tokenization of agriculture commodities making them tradable on the blockchain. We will reimagine the agriculture supply chain towards fairer profit distribution for farmers and other players along the chain.
This has always been a viable position in the marketplace.
For freelancers of every kind, it remains the best one.
The hard part isn’t charging a lot. The hard part is delivering more than the person paid for.
[I just discovered that I riffed on this three months ago. So, in the spirit of making sure we don’t waste a day, here’s some more on this topic…]
There’s a chasm.
On one hand, there are the endless promises and perfection that are promised by the short-term marketer and the aggressive salesperson.
And on the other, there’s the service provider, freelancer, bureaucrat and hard working frontline worker who’s on defense. Who wants the customer to accept the least, not the most.
One approach is to keep working to survive the chasm. To hype more and apologize later for all that hype.
The other approach, the one I’m hoping you’ll consider, is to charge enough (and then spend that money) to actually keep the big promises you just made.
A race to the top, one that doesn’t happen simply because you announced you’re going to try harder. It happens because you invest in training, staff and materials to make it likely you can actually keep that promise.
Agriculture is the future of work in Africa. This may seem counter-intuitive, and, to be sure, technology will play a critical role to ensure that 12 million Africans entering the job market every year find their fulfillment along national, regional, continental and global value chains. Established technology start-ups like Alibaba, Airbnb, Amazon, and Youtube created platforms to capture economic value. Those riding the wave of these startups in Africa are disconnected from where the value lies on our continent: agriculture.
Agriculture was the foundation that sprung into manufacturing then industrialization in North America, Europe, and Asia. That was the path taken to transform economies. In Africa, we started along that trajectory and then we got caught into development that held the promise that Africa would catch up. We did not. In the process, agriculture lost its importance...[more]
The world was a twitch away from total nuclear destruction. White bread was a health food. Diabetes and obesity were relatively rare. The newspaper was the way most people heard about the news. We thought things were moving very fast, frighteningly fast. Women rarely worked outside the home, and the Rev. King was a relatively unknown preacher. No one owned a computer. The number of books published every year was quite small, as was the local bookstore. It was almost impossible to spend more than 45 minutes a day keeping up with current events. It was against the law for blacks and whites to marry in Virginia, and for gay couples to marry just about anywhere. Apartheid was mostly unremarked upon in the US. UPS never came to your house. A long-distance phone call was a big deal.
Air conditioning was rare, bottled water hadn’t been invented yet, there were no billionaires, there were three or four channels of TV, movies were only shown in movie theaters, most dangerous diseases would certainly kill you. The air and water were clean, but we were working overtime to make them dirty. Congress wasn’t a version of pro wrestling. Milk came in only one formulation (whole), you probably worked at the same company for a very long time and relatively few people went to college.
And 58 years from now, when, actuarially, most of us will still be around, what will things be like then? Slower? Apparently more stable? Based on skills we have today?
There is no normal. Simply the relentless cycle of change.
Today’s as good a day as any to dedicate your birthday to helping someone in more dire straits than most of us can even imagine. Thanks to you, there are thousands (thousands!) of people who are alive today, alive and healthy, because you, the readers of this blog, showed up for them.
Also, before the day is out, why not start a project?
There is no normal, but we can always work to make things better.
The story behind a popular Ramadan dish of fried vermicelli noodles and dark raisins in sweet coconut milk.
On a rainy morning on the predominantly Muslim islands of Zanzibar, 48-year-old Howingkao Howai bounds into Kariakoo Noodles Producer with pep in his step.
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan draws to an end, Howingkao and his team are in the thick of a noodle-making frenzy...[more]
Here’s a hint: your work might not be what you think it is.
A doctor might think her job is to cure diseases.
But in fact, that’s not what gets and keeps patients. The cure is a goal, and it’s important, but it’s not sufficient.
The technical tasks are important, but the work involves more than that.
Doctors who contribute to the academic community, are personable, take a moment to bring emotional labor to their patient, invest in staff and training and put their office in a medical crossroads always do better than doctors who don’t.
And the same thing is true for the web designer who thinks the job is merely typing good code, or the restaurant owner who’s merely focused on the food. That’s important, but there’s more to the work than what’s in the typical job description
Doing your job is not always the same as doing the work. The “soft stuff” might matter more than you think. Doing the work is the ticket you buy for the privilege of doing the other part.
For a maker in Lagos, Nigeria there is no other space to turn to when the GE Garage in Victoria Island is permanently closed to the public. Once a year, the garage opens to admit a class of people to their training programme. One wonders if this is a matter of sustainability or, like New Lab, of focus.More here
“We see four crops travelling around the world, yet as human beings we have harvested 7,000 crops,” says Sayed Azam-Ali, professor of food security at Nottingham University, who runs the Crops for the Future research centre near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His institute is one of several aiming to identify underexploited food sources — sometimes known as orphan, neglected or underutilised crops — that could be grown more widely, particularly in the developing world. One of Prof Azam-Ali’s favourite examples is the Bambara groundnut, which is traditionally grown by female subsistence farmers in west Africa. It is a so-called “complete food”, containing a healthy combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat. The nuts are versatile; they can be eaten whole after boiling or roasting — or dried and milled to yield a flour for making dumplings, cakes and biscuits.More here
The unskilled cost accountant might suggest you outfit your new hotel with cheap shower curtains. After all, if you save $50 a room and have 200 rooms, pretty soon, we're talking real money.
On the other hand, experience will demonstrate that cheap shower curtains let the water out, causing a minor flood, every day, room after room. And they wear out faster. Cheap shower curtains aren't actually cheap.
Productivity pays for itself.
Once you start looking for metaphorical cheap shower curtains, they're everywhere.
...selects a cohort of start-ups from across Africa every six months, invest in them and give them an ed-tech dedicated support programme to help them scale up across the continent.
If you state that force equals mass times velocity, it shouldn't matter who is measuring the force, or whether it's Tuesday or not. Those factors aren't part of your rules, and they shouldn't vary the outcome.
Much of what passes for absolute statements of truth in our society are actually momentary statements of opinion. And the giveaway: It depends on who's acting. It's wrong when they do it, right when we do it. Which means it's opinion, not a basic principle.
It turns out that organizations and systems are more reliable, more efficient and more professional when they're operated on principles that are actually true.
Why water is a growing faultline between Turkey and Iraq.
The water wars.