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We have stopped blogging

We have stopped blogging

Once blogging was a thing

Not a thing to talk about business

But a place where people would share

ideas

thoughts

moments

emotions

stories

with each others.

I think we should do more of that

We should start blogging again.

We should bring this conversation back.

We left to the Facebooks and the Twitters take the control of the conversations

(and no, I am not ranting against these platforms, for a change… see, I actually think Facebook and Twitter and social media as a whole has enabled a lot more people to get in touch with each other… the fact that they do other very bad thing is a different story, but fundamentally, as a conversational platform, they are pretty good…)

The thing is

Blogs are different.

Blogs are like open emails for the world to see.

A weblog – AKA a “Blog” – is – to quote wikipedia – “a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”).”

Blogs  also used to have “Blogroll” – sort a primitive shoutout where you could feature some other bloggers.

Blogrolls or the “links” section of your site would be a very significant way to find information on the web in a pre-google era – because existing search engine would be okay-ish to get started on a topic, but would lack the accuracy required to actually get a thorough coverage of a topic.

The peer-to-peer nature of this link exchange would allow a very qualitative referals and a way to sort of endorse and recommend others…

I do realise this whole post kinda feel like a bad “Pepe Farm remembers” – but the point I am trying to make is that blogging – the writing form of exchanging has sorta lost its genuine aspect inherent to human communication and has turned into an instrumentalised way to bait an audience into lead generation which goes very much against the reason why people went online on the first place – i.e. – to access quality information from other peers.

So yeah, I wish blogging would make a come back.

If you want to read a more structured point of view on the topic, I’d redirect you to altplatform.org an initiative to revive the IndieWeb… and – it is dead – so yeah, you can check the short history of Altplatfom archived here.

Let’s wrap up here

I’ll try to keep blogging in a more blogging sense of the term… maybe I’ll understand why people have stopped 🙂

Finish your ideas

 

We all have ideas.

Sometime we don’t even realise we do, as we don’t always pay attention to the flow of our mind.

Some ideas come and pass and never come back.

Some stick around.

Sometime we turn these ideas into action.

But even then we seldom finish them.

 

Parkinson’s law

Parkinson’s law is a project-management rule of thumb stating that :

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

It does have some interesting corollaries, like “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do”  (and jokes aside, it is a really interesting principle which has some curious correlations with the economic law of demand, but that’s off topic for this post.)

The reason it matters – is that we tend to think we have time doing something, until we realise we don’t, and the idea never turn into anything real.

And all good things takes time.

But we don’t have time.

So ideas are started and never finished.

Well… that is not a fatality.

If instead of trying to realise the best version of the idea straight out to the bat, you will be disappointed and will probably have time to finish anyway.

Enter agile.

Release Early, Release Often

Agile is a software principle that was introduced in order to fight the evil Waterfall model of project management which would cause the death of so many projects and actually would burn a lot of money.

Company would start a project and then run out of budget and the project would die.

Quite similar to most of us who start an idea, run out of time and we drop it.

To fight this, the idea was quite simple: deliver as fast as possible the smallest possible piece of software. Don’t overdo it and instead keep working, releasing and improving.

This is also known as an iterative development process, where at each release you improve on the back of the previous one.

TL;DR:

Release early a small version of your grandiose idea is the first step toward completion.

The good thing: each release is a done version.

Done is better than perfect.

 

Just Ship

Agile was a niche innovation mainly in the world of software.

Seth Godin has shared a similar concept with a larger audience.

“What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship”

Shipping is what define a successful creative from a failing one.

For a good reason: the more we overthink our creation, the less likely we are to get it out to the world.

(Side note: the resistance is the core reason why ideas die before they get implemented.)

Watch his talk on on how to avoid sabotaging projects just before we finally finish them.

 

 

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Everything is a remix

 

The quote above is a funny, yet very accurate introduction to the topic developed in the documentary by Kirby Ferguson : Everything is a Remix.

(side note: If you care who said this quote go check this link to figure out nobody really knows.)

Everything is a remix explores the concept of originality in creativity.

 

Never heard of it?

Please, take the time to watch it below.

In an era where content creation, and Internet are at the core of our culture and economy, understanding how creativity works is a must-have skill.

 

Here are the 4 episodes and some bullets points for those a bit lazy in a hurry.

 

Episode 1 – Music

Where you learn:

  • Heavy Metal was a term coined to remix text and not music
  • Daft Punk in “Around the world” is just a resampled version from “Good times“,  by Chic – a hit from the late 70’s.
  • Stairway to Heaven opening was not created by Led Zeppelin but was a cover from an other group, Taurus
  • Actually most of Led Zeppelin songs are covers and knock-offs
  • Most of Bob Dylan musics are also covers (explained in detailed in the TED Talk linked below)

 

Episode 2 – Films

  • 74% of hollywood major output are either remix, sequels or books adaptations
  • If you think Star Wars was a very original piece of film, well…  brace yourself, disappointments are coming (Flash Gordon rippoff to heavy Japanese film influence, and more…)
  • Kill bill is a complete mashup of other films, with nearly no piece of original elements

 

Episode 3 – Technology

  • The nature of creativity
  • Computing
  • Science

This episode is more interesting for its historical perspective – as today most of the facts presented about the Mac and computing in general are kind of common knowledge.

And in general, we are more culturally ready to see scientists and engineers build on the top of their predecessors.

 

Episode 4 – Copyrights, Patents

Because we can be as much assholes to each other as we can be great to each other.

Watch this one and educate yourself

Please.

Really.

 

If you want more from Kirby Ferguson:

A case study on the iphone – a clear and his TED Talk 

 

Still reading?

Well, just a few words to wrap this:

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed, said Antoine Lavoisier – famous chemist from the 18th century

He talked about chemical transformation and how matter works.

Yet, the matter of ideas is pretty similar.

Some thinkers even go as far to say that nothing is ever invented but is only discovered (can’t remember their name – old memories from philosophy classes in high-school – if you have names, drop them in the comment section please).

So anyway – practical considerations :

  • Creativity imply we absorb models and patterns of creations
  • The nature of the transformation is up to us, each will manifest his / her own creativity by remixing the old into a kind of unique new thing that will help share his/her vision of the world.
  • Imposter syndrome is the result of our lack understanding of how creativity works.

Side note on copyright laws:

Copyright laws have long lost their initial purpose of protecting creators, and we cannot change this.

What we can however, is to join the collective effort of creation and that each add his/her own piece to the giant patchwork that is our human creative soul.

Good luck.

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Do what you can’t

They did not know it was impossible so they did it
— Mark Twain

 

Rules,

somehow,

always,

seems to be a barrier to innovation.

 

 

Status-quo is cultural protectionism

The status-quo creates artificial scarcity.

Because it promotes the lack of initiative

It supports business as usual.

The status-quo is opposed to disruption, to change, to innovation.

It is opposed to improvement.

It is the systemic manifestation of the resistance.

It is the bystander effect of our collective intellectual accident.

The status-quo is a social agreement where we agree to live with some specific problem and to not fix them.

Artificial scarcity generated by the lack of action is benefiting somebody.

Side note:

Status-quo is not about things remaining the same.

It is things remaining the same when we have problems we don’t want to fix.

Status-quo into the culture

Creating a culture of conformism

Turning innovation into the realm of a few,

so nobody even question the existence of alternative options.

 

When we agree with the status quo, we agree to die.

Inside.

Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.

— Benjamin Franklin

 

A remedy

Action.

Creation.

Innovation.

Daily, to push to improve.

 

Some dance.

Some write.

Some films.

Some draw.

Some build.

Some code.

Some paint.

 

Every one has a different version.

Find yours.

 

Rethinking Education – 3 talks to watch

If you are not familiar with these 3 people and their thesis about education, take the time to catch up.

Entertaining and well-articulated, they will help you understand where the current education system is falling short.

Ken Robinson is more focused on the what – Seth on the why – and Sugata Mitra is looking for an alternative approach (hint: it involves the Internet).

Ken Robinson – School kills creativity

Super famous – and if you never watched it, you should.

Funny, witty and pointing the issues our current schooling system.

 

Seth Godin – School sucks by design

Seth is mostly known as a marketing and branding expert, but he is much more than that.

In his book the Linchpin, published a few years ago, he talks about the root of the school system, and why it was designed in a certain way.

In this talks he goes on with more details.

 

Sugata Mitra – Maybe kids don’t need schools

Sugata Mitra is an indian expert on education who run an experiment years ago in India which was called “A whole in the wall” – here is comes back on his experiments and translate it into 4 main thesis which are fundamental to understand how kids (and adults) approach education and self-learning.

 

That’s it for today.

I will publish more things on this topic. This was more like a reference post for a quick introduction.

More to come.

Comments welcome!

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Constraints, Creativity, Startups, Funding

When options are limited, people produce more solutions  – not less.

When people are limited they try to improve and optimise.

 

The opposite is true.

It is known as Parkinson’s Law :

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”

 

Well, seems like what is true for time budget is also true for financial budget.

The more money there is available the more money you will use for your project.

 

Introduce Juicero – a startup that has come under heat recently for doing just that.

Juicero sells a machine that makes juice.

They have also received some nice juicy VC money too (investment) of $120 millions.

That’s a lot.

Especially, to make a juicer.

Even more, when this juicer also costs $700 when they launched.

Today, they have cut the price down to “only” $400

Yet, it remains expensive.

So expensive, than Bloomberg went to investigate.

As you can see for yourself – the all Juicero machine sounds like a scam by now.

But honestly, creating a hardware company, raising $120 000 and working for 2 years to build a product is not the smartest way to set up a scam to get rich quick.

The reality is simpler.

And a bit sad.

Ben Einstein (yes, it is his name… no I don’t know if he is related to Albert – but in any case he sounds like a smart guy) did some research on the over-expensive juicer (full piece here).

What he found is simple:

The engineering team had too much money.

(Remember they rose $120 000)

What they have build is a wonderful machine.

A solid piece of engineering.

But an expensive one.

Teardown of Juicero juicer by Ben Einstein

The Juicero Press can :

  • connect to your WiFi network (via TI’s CC3200 chipset, purple arrow),
  • has optics/camera assembly for scanning QR codes on the juice packs (green arrow),
  • to illuminate QR codes – equipped withLED board (blue arrow)

Juicero press teardown – by Ben Einstein

 

I am just going to quote Ben here:

“It is exceptionally rare to see a custom power supply on a first-time hardware startup’s product as these are inspected very carefully as part of UL/ETL certification, creating additional cost and risk.”
Notice the motor (blue arrow, part number JQ42-1210N1) which is manufactured by Jiaai Motor Company, a common supplier of cordless drill motors. Like many of the other systems on this product, the motor is seemingly custom to account for the exceptionally high rated power (stalls at 5A at 330V DC, which is hard to believe, possibly even a misprint on the motor casing) and sports a custom encoder system designed by Juicero (yellow arrow)”

If you read the whole piece, you will see it goes on and on and on.

The amount of customisation these people went through to make a machine that just press juice is quite amazing – and expensive – and possible stupid.

It is like they have tried to make a Apple computer version of a juice machine.

If apple had done this product and call it iJuice,  I am not sure anybody would have been that surprised.

The only difference is that Apple is making product that people buy.

Juicero not quite yet.

So, there is that.

Time will tell.

But one things comes to my mind, when we have all these investment in startup land and these companies keep failing.

The core of the problem might be the same thing that we try to use to enable innovation: resources.

If we give too many resources to a team, you might not see this team actually succeed.

Because of the lack of constraints.

Food for thought.

— Edit

Stumbled upon this video of penguinz0 which is an interesting take on how shitty is the product – and it is quite funny too – so I had to add it.

Make shit happen

#Make shit happen

Get out and shout your truth to the world
You might be wrong but you will never know until you get it out

Breaking news: the world will go on with or without you – so better you become an active part of it.

#Just do it

Just move on and create.
Make new things happen.
Try out.
Produce.
Experiment.

Throw things out to the world and see what sticks.

#Don’t overthink it.

There is no perfect move.
Only a long series of imperfects steps toward a better situation.

#Do the work

Your effort is the only thing you are accountable for.

#Break free

When you were a kid, you had dreams.

Don’t let them die.

We all grow older, but we don’t have to get old.

What you wanted to do is still here, waiting for you.

Second star to the right, and straight on till’ morning…

#Make shit happen

If you don’t know where to start, then just start.

Make something happen.

Draw. Write. Sing. Dance.

Build a wall. Cut a tree.

Try to achieve something.

As small as it is.

Get the momentum going.

Until you find out what it is that you do best.