“Hey everyone, I know this doesn’t apply to all of you (probably not even most of you), but a couple of people screwed this up and I really don’t like telling people directly that they screwed up and please don’t do it again, so I’m sending out this email to everyone in the hopes that the people that screwed it up will read this and take notice. If this doesn’t apply to you, please disregard, if it does apply to you I sure hope you actually read this and understand that it applies to you.”

Trying out Gutenberg (from mobile)

Sitting here at the WordPress West meetup celebrating the 15th anniversary of WordPress, the conversation inevitably came around to Gutenberg. So of course I installed it so I can try it out, give it a spin. 

Celebrating 15 years of WordPress

Working off my iPhone SE, it was easy enough to install and activate the plugin for use on this site. Very quick install, editor immediately available. 

Adding new blocks, such as the image block above, was simple and straightforward: just click on the (+) icon and the options appear. 

The block options in Gutenberg 

Just click the block you want and away you go. Looking forward to giving Gutenberg a proper exploration. 

Companies and superlinear scaling

Cities, West says, scale superlinearly (aka increasing returns to scale) whereas companies scale sublinearly (aka economy of scale). Which is why cities typically last a long time, and companies (and animals, for that matter) typically die young.

What if you could structure your company to scale superlinearly?

I am about 100 pages into Geoffrey West’s book, Scale, and am having a hard time not just skipping ahead to the parts about cities and companies.

Cities, West says, scale superlinearly (aka increasing returns to scale) whereas companies scale sublinearly (aka economy of scale). Which is why cities typically last a long time, and companies (and animals, for that matter) typically die young.

What if you could structure your company to scale superlinearly? Is it possible? If so, how would you go about making that happen? Would you even want it to happen, or is it a good thing that companies “die” young?

Back to the book….

Some thoughts on multitasking

Jack Vinson has had several posts of late on the evils of multi-tasking and the unfortunate (yet seemingly unavoidable) and relentless march toward more and more multi-tasking. This comes from management styles, focus on action, and indeed the technologies we use.

Jack’s post today started me on a blog journey that resulted in several other worthwhile posts on the topic.

Chris Spagnuolo has an interesting article on multitasking, The Myth of Managed Multi-tasking:

Lifehacker:  Multitasking: Stephen Covey on Balancing Work and Life
To a chronic multitasker, everything is a task. Soon, the things in life that are really important to them are in the same list as everything else, and the only tasks that get done are the ones that have become urgent, but often aren’t very important.

Steven Covey: How to strike a work and life balance [Stephen R. Covey]

Living life for a living

An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.

Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.

Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.

I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.

But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?

Continue reading “Living life for a living”

Blue moments

A reflection on the importance of paying attention to the world around you, especially the people around you, and being open to the opportunities that present themselves. Not just opportunities for success, but opportunities for making a difference.

In his book, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, Kent Nerburn had a piece titled And where there is sadness, joy. Chances are that you have seen this as an email or social media meme under the heading “The Cab Ride”.

There was a time in my life twenty years ago when I was driving a cab for a living. Because I drove the night shift, the car became a rolling confessional. Passengers would climb in, sit behind me in total darkness and anonymity, and tell me of their lives.

In those hours, I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh, and made me weep. And none of those lives touched me more than that of a woman I picked up late on a warm August night.

Continue reading “Blue moments”

Permission and forgiveness

“Do you really think George bothered to ask for fucking permission?”

This was Kevin Spacey’s response to a question from the audience during the Q&A following the St. Louis premiere of George Hickenlooper’s movie “Casino Jack” at the St. Louis Film Festival. This specific question was related to getting legal clearance for the music used in the film, but it reflected a general theme of the evening as friends and family honored George – a high school classmate of mine – following his sudden death only two weeks before this hometown premiere.

In addition to numerous stories of guerilla filmmaking on the set of Casino Jack (like the scene filmed at the Capitol), friends old and new described George’s lack of concern for obtaining permission to do things. My favorite was a story told by Mike Beugg about the making of George’s first, sadly long lost, feature length movie. As the roller coaster (Screaming Eagle) pulled into the station, and passengers were screaming because of the knife and the blood, George was calmly reassuring everyone that “it’s OK, we’re making a movie.”

When asked, “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”, he responded, “I wanted to get real reactions.”

Not only had George not asked permission to do this, he wasn’t even asking forgiveness.

A few days later I came across Chris Guillebeau’s book The Art of Non-Conformity. With the above thoughts about George still fresh in my mind, I picked up the book and read it (devoured it?) in a couple of hours. What Chris had to say made sense to me on an intellectual level, but it was my recent evening with the legacy of George Hickenlooper that really brought it home, really made an impact.

As Chris tells us, and George showed us, it may be better to ask forgiveness than permission, but most of the time you don’t need either.

Something to think about as we head into the new year.

The opportunity cost of “easy”

In his book Mastery, George Leonard talks about the “war on mastery”. This could just as easily be called a “war on hard”. Watch TV for just a couple of minutes and you will be bombarded with ads or talk shows or news stories that show you how do something in just a couple (if that many) steps. You never see something that promises to be hard.

And yet, nearly anything worth doing – that results in growth or learning – is hard. The best you can really hope for from “easy” is to maintain what you’ve already got. At worse, you will lose something.

Does Google – or technology in general – make us stupid? No. But by being “easy”, it removes the need, and possibly the ability, to learn. Which some might say is the same thing.

My new “wastebook”

I use the 600 page Infinity Journal as my primary day-to-day wastebook, so I don’t have to start a new book very often, maybe once every 12 – 18 months depending on what’s going on.  On the other hand, my digital wastebook(s) never run out of “pages” so I could keep using the same one forever.  I’ve found, though, the just the act of changing is a worthwhile process in and of itself.  Thus, my new digital wastebook.

This new blog actually represents the retirement of my two longstanding personal blogs:  No Straight Lines, dating from June 2003, started out as a blog about Knowledge Management; and 29 Marbles, dating from March 2005, presented a dad’s-eye view of autism.  I’ve found over the years that my many interests overlap, sometimes significantly and sometimes tangentially.  I keep everything together in a single paper notebook, why not keep it all together in a single blog?

When I start a new notebook, I typically fill up the first few pages with copies of what I think is important enough to carry over from the old book.  I expect that this blog will be no different.  So if you see something you’ve seen before, please accept it for what it is.  And please excuse the construction mess as I play around with this great WordPress.  (What’s the point of starting over if you can’t play around with it a bit?!?)