Advertising is the New Killer App

Back in the heyday of the desktop PC, people used to spend a lot of time wondering what would be the next killer app. The killer app label couldn’t be bestowed upon just any popular application.  The term referred specifically to those applications that were so popular AND hardware intensive that people would upgrade to theContinue Reading

The iPad Critics Were Right – Contextual Ceilings and The Mobile State of Mind

You may recall a few years ago, when the iPad was first introduced, the tech media didn’t exactly fall head over heals for it.  One of the major criticisms at the time was that it was a consumption device, in contrast to traditional desktops and laptops  which were labeled creation devices. This is a criticism thatContinue Reading

Case Studies in Narrative (Ir)Rationality

Case Studies in Narrative (Ir)Rationality

Over the past few weeks I have done a good amount of free form writing and lots of thinking but very little publishing. I have head too many moving pieces in my head that have are only slowly coalescing into thoughts coherent enough to post.

One thing that I have learned from my time blogging is that when I hit a wall, the worst possible response to try to charge through. The brute force approach only breeds more frustration and reinforces the existing blockage. A far better strategy is to stop straining. As Morpheus says in The Matrix: “Stop trying to hit me and hit me!” Sometimes it is best to stop trying and instead to just write, accepting whatever comes of it.Continue Reading

Entrepreneurial Process vs Epiphany

Entrepreneurial Process vs Epiphany

Given my criticisms of the lean start-up literature, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Steve Blank’s blog post a couple days ago titled Blinded by the Light – The Epiphany. He starts off by relating the story of a recent meeting with an entrepreneur:

Luis, one of the CEO’s from our first National Science Foundation class, came in to speak to our next class. We had a couple of minutes to catch up between sessions and the conversation got strangely awkward when I asked him how their startup was going.Continue Reading

The Russian Doll Model of Economic Growth

The Russian Doll Model of Economic Growth

After working through two posts on the theme of socioeconomic evolution it became clear that the 2×2 matrix had reached the limits of its explanatory power.  Today we will try to open up some new avenues by playing with concentric circles. This post will just scratch the surface by addressing two questions: Why do companiesContinue Reading

Constructed Reality and The Cog-Wheel Hypothesis

Constructed Reality and The Cog-Wheel Hypothesis

Last week Greg Smith wrote an op-ed for the New York Times lambasting his former employer Goldman Sachs for the deterioration of the firm’s culture during his twelve years tenure. The next day Forbes ran a column asking - Did Greg Smith Commit Career Suicide?  It is one of the most unintentionally divisive bits of journalism youContinue Reading

An Unformula For Coherence Seekers

An Unformula For Coherence Seekers

I had been planning to write another piece in the socioeconomic evolution series. I wanted to clarify a lot of the material I introduced a couple weeks ago. It seemed like the “don’t be evil” framing got out of hand and distracted from the material it was intended to introduce.

This is something I struggle with often. I wrote a number of months ago about working backwards. That is how all my material comes into takes shape. The ideas appear first and take on a life of their own. One idea connects to another producing a tapestry of interconnections…

Eventually it comes time to articulate these patterns and communicate them to others…and that is when the difficulty starts. It is at that this point that I need to invent some narrative device that conveys to you – the reader – why you should care. This would be easy if I knew a priori why I care, but as I just explained, that is generally not the case. I care because this particular set of ideas made a bunch of intriguing connections in my head…not because I made a decision to care.

Unfortunately (for me), remarkable content rarely begins with:

“Hey you! Here’s some stuff I’ve been noodling on, and I think it is pretty cool…So pay attention!”Continue Reading

The Denial of Art in Science

The Denial of Art in Science

Finch: It was strange. I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It was like I could see the whole thing…one long chain of events that stretched all the way back before Lark Hill. I felt like I could see everything that had happened, and everything that was going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern laid out in front of me, and I realized that we are all part of it, and all trapped by it.

Dominic: So do you know what’s going to happen?

Finch: No, it was a feeling. But I can guess…

- V for Vendetta

A couple days ago I watched V for Vendetta for something like the 500th time. It is one of those brilliant movies I can watch over and over again, and notice something new each time (including a few flaws here and there). This time what struck me was the subtly implied dialectic between artistic sentimentality – characterized by V among others – and the coldly rationalistic orientation characterized by the primary villains, Creedy and Suttler.Continue Reading