Practical Imagination: An Essential Startup Skill

I was thinking today about the “soft skills” of business and particularly entrepreneurship. Much is made of the often amorphous “business skills” or “people skills.” For technical people those phrases are often heard as a euphemism for either an eagerness to take advantage of people or, just as often, moderate alcoholism.

We joke among ourselves about the starry eyed “idea guys” that post on craigslist looking for someone to just “do the code part.” As if developers are sitting in front [...]

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Life Is Short

So it is — the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, [...]

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21st Century Profiles

Louis himself is the continuity: his jittery consciousness, floating through the aftermath of divorce, which operates as a kind of second adolescence, this time complicated by kids and the fear of death.

From a profile of Louis C.K. in New York Magazine.

Follow that with a look at Ron Conway, the scariest man in silicon valley:

What emerged was a portrait of an intimidating man who has more power in Silicon Valley than many outsiders know and many insiders feel comfortable with. What also [...]

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What do I want to do when I grow up?

If you’re reading these words and you’re not an archiving bot sifting through the digital detritus of the early internet a thousand years from now, you were born as a squishy bag of meat. The fact that you are the particular sort of meatbag that can perceive light to such fine detail that you can interpret the squiggles that make up this sentence and convert them to meaningful electrical signals in the spongy bit of meat above your food hole [...]

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The Distributed Water Cooler


The Most Popular Pic On Reddit At The Moment

I came in to work today expecting to hear a lot of chatter about the death of Osama Bin Laden. However, instead I find we’re just acknowledging the comments and jokes we’d already made on twitter and facebook the night before.

I already knew how most of the people that work around me had reacted, whether they were the sort to post:


a stiff lipped disavowal of celebrating the death of another person while acknowledging [...]

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Rohto Eyes

I had forgotten about this video I made a couple months ago (back when my hair was still long.) Feeling a bit under the weather, I had stayed home from work. The combination of dry winter air, decongestants and lots of time on my hands led me to make a video of an entire rohto experience.

 If you’re not familiar with Rohto – it’s an eyedrop brand whose main selling point is the crippling, relentless pain your eye sockets experience after using [...]

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Facebook Is Stone Soup – Part One

I’m sure you’ve heard the old story of Stone Soup — either through a reading assignment in elementary school or perhaps in The Pragmatic Programmer. I think it’s fair to consider the rise of Facebook as an elaborate retelling of that fable. Facebook isn’t alone in this, of course, but I’ll use them as a representative case.

In the story of Stone Soup, a couple travelers arrive in a small village. They don’t have any money or anything useful to barter. At first [...]

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as the drain swirls

We have a system in place that rewards power with power; corporations, political parties, the media all feed off each other in a vicious cycle of corruption. Change is their real enemy. In the same way that citizens (tend) to get more conservative as they age, our institutions gain more power and wealth over time and, having more to lose, become more and more intolerant of change and progress.

I really thought there was a chance — after the orgy of [...]

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Gilligan goes to the movies

Last night, Amanda, Max and I went to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. It was a funny movie, but funnier was the guy I met at the concession stand. He was very thin and dressed in jeans, a white t-shirt and a black vest. He looked a lot like an older Gilligan with bushy eyebrows that stood out about an inch and a half from his his forehead. He sidled up to the concession stand and peered into the [...]

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