7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles I stumbled upon this week.

The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science: Neither nap too long nor too short. And you’re definitely not getting enough sleep if you start dreaming in a 20-minute nap!

Cognitive Science Meets Pre-Algebra. Holistic, connective learning beats out learning in blocks. Either way, we’re still trying to learn why the brain is always moving.

Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are. I know you’re busy. So am I. But I still find time to take care of the most important things and try to have a life. Let’s not complain to each other about how busy we are and make it worse.

Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine. Fletcher created web search in 1993, 5 years before Google. He called it the “Jumpstation.”

What It Means to Be Popular (When Everything Is Popular). Thank goodness the masses are dividing into a mass of niches and confusing what it means to be “popular”. Conformity sucks anyway. Again, be this guy.

Turns Out Your Kids Really Did Love That Music You Played. Apparently we love our parent’s music more than we love the music we grew up with. Pink Floyd, Joy Division, and Depeche Mode are indeed extraordinary. Music is also timeless.

Dizzee Rascal mashes up Vine and Cinemagram for new video. I suspect we’ll see more long-form videos in the ever-snackable GIF format.


7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles that I caught this week:

A Novelist Who Made Crime an Art, and His Bad Guys ‘Fun.’  Elmore Leonard passed away but left us with some great writing tips along with his books, most notably, “Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.”

The War on Wordsmiths.  Author Ali Eteraz explains why we still need words in the age of photographs.   

How You Can Conquer Any Deadline.Designer George Lois breaks down how to get shit done.  It turns out it’s pretty simple:  Do it now and if you can’t figure it out, you’ve probably got a problem.  

Enough with the ROI. Just follow your curiosity.  Ian Sanders explains why you should just do something for the sake of interest.  Curiosity is also a currency; fiat money isn’t everything.  It’s all about learning and driving new experiences. 

How the Coffee Cup Sleeve Was Invented.  It turns out that the coffee sleeve was originally known as the “Java Jacket.”  Here’s also some best practices for working from the coffee shop

When Apps Modify Behavior.  MG Siegler examines how apps like FrontBack and Instagram make us think more creatively about our surroundings.  

Now it’s ruined.  Seth Godin blogs about the impact of technology in equalizing creativity.  Everyone is an amafessional with a computer palette in their pocket.  But the best stills stand out. You might want to work on your attitude as well.      


7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles that inspired me to think differently this week. 

In praise of laziness: Workers should be doing less, not more.  We need more free-thinking breaks, what Jack Welch called “looking at the window time.”  All of this comes with the announcement this week that Google is cutting its “20% time,” which led to some of its great inventions like Gmail and Adsense.   

Do you know what made Apple great?  Thomas Brand argues that what made Apple great was Steve Job’s restraint.  Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.  

Orhan Pamuk talks to Simon Schama.  Turkey’s famous author comes to explain how the many paradoxes of modern Turkey influenced his writing. 

Why We Need Nomads?  Self-proclaimed nomad Jessica Runner explains why nomads are society’s true connectors. Move.  

Crosswords don’t make you clever.  I never had the patience for crosswords but I love to get outside.  Neuroscience professor Nicholas Spitzer argues that hiking creates more neurons than doing repetitive crossword puzzles. 

The Tragedy of the Sunset Photo.  There are a plethora of sunset images on Instagram yet too few good ones.  Lighting is hard to get right.  Plus, dark and moody photos feel more creative.  But you can sell both image types on Pinterest.  

Can what you do *before* you write improve your actual writing?  Interesting article exploring how rituals shape enjoyment in any process, like writing, which by the way, everyone should do. FYI – Seth Godin has been blogging for ten plus years and, surprise, he wasn’t always great at it.


The Durability of Blogs

Blogs get a bad rap.  The perception is that micro-blogging and real-time reporting obviate them. 

So here are three reasons why blogs aren’t going to all of a sudden disappear into irrelevancy as a platform for creation and consumption:  

  1. Some people want to own their own self expression domain.  For bloggers and creators, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are outlets to spread the word about content on their blog.  These social networks are valuable marketing drivers. 
  2. Despite the decreased attention span of the digital age, people will still give you their attention to consume quality content.  Originality is key but bloggers can also be a source for awesome curation. Tumblr is a great platform for demonstrating that expertise.  
  3. Using social channels as a blog host is like using social channels for sales.  Social platforms are meant for conversation and building relationships.  They are the engagement glue that sparks interest in product.  You still need to visit a blog or an e-commerce site to own something and get all the perks.  

Blogging is about control.  Facebook and Twitter can’t monetize your content without your permission.  Create a website or an online store because whatever it is, owning something makes your responsible for shipping.


Weekend Reader

These are the most interesting articles I read through this week.


Facebook’s Contradictory Business Model

Chris Dixon writes that Facebook is mostly a place to socialize with friends.

You can put billboards all over a park, and maybe sometimes you’ll happen to convert people from non-purchasing to purchasing intents. But you end up with a cluttered park, and not very effective advertising. 

People don’t use Facebook with the intention to shop but most people don’t watch TV with shopping intention either.  Yet, one commercial can get us to buy just as one Facebook ad in the corner of our eye may grab our attention and make us reach for our wallets.

Facebook’s DNA is purely social.  Still, Zuckerberg had no choice to monetize it through advertising.  For the most part Facebook does a decent job in making the ads non-invasive.  There’s no pop-ups, no pre-rolls, just display ads.

Nevertheless, keeping Facebook clean without disrupting the conversation and making advertisers happy (see General Motors pull out) is its greatest challenge because Facebook can’t do both.  The users are the priority.

Wall Street expects Facebook to maximize revenue on desktop and mobile.  Whether that’s through smarter advertising, Facebook app’s store, coupons or Facebook credits remains to be seen.  Are you bullish?


Forcing Artist Productivity in the Interconnected Era

There’s an expectation today that artists must produce faster and release more content to stay relevant.

If you’re an author, you need to write 2 books a year instead of one and maybe a manifesto or novella on top of that. If you’re a musician, you’re expected to make an album, an EP, and drop a couple Internet singles in a year. The relentless demand for productivity goes on.

Daily communication via Twitter is another demand on artists. Fans want to interact and get the inside scoop. Some writers like Seth Godin maintain a daily blog to keep fans entertained.

Today fear drives an artist’s work. If an artist stays silent too long the risk is irrelevancy. There’s always new authors and endless forms of Internet entertainment that will make people forget. Artists are also competing with amafessionals that release stuff for free. And some of the content is pretty good.

Art is judged on productivity. There’s simply too much noise to be the old fashioned reclusive artist that ships once every decade. There will always be respect for scarcity and quality for masterpieces but artists must have some type of other presence whether it’s blogging or on Tweets. It comes down to this: Hyper-productivity keeps an artist relevant so fans and new followers will buy more stuff.


It’s Going to Happen

Upon many billboard, TV commercial, cup, and store poster today is the Twitter and Facebook logo. Foursquare and Yelp are the occasional supplement. Not surprisingly adding these simple icons acquire new fans.

But the more I see them all I think about is the inevitable addition of the Pinterest icon.

This icon is different though.

I’m talking about virtual pinning, using the phone as a scanner to instantly tag images to your board.

We can do this now. All we need to do is take a photo and upload it to our board. It takes time to go between apps though.

I want to see an augmented reality-like drag and drop. Let me select my items, whether it’s a grocery store or shoe shop and add those images to my board bag. It’s the same thing we do on

We shop with our eyes and then with our wallet.

We never saw light of the Instagram app promoted on any physical marketing materials. This was probably because Instagram never had a platform for personal and brand pages.

Pinterest just makes a whole lot of sense. But not just the icon, the virtual pinning experience.


Newspapers: Slow Delivery, Deep Analysis, Paid

The major newspapers rip blogs, calling them unprofessional and free for a reason. But they should know that information is free, like water. People won’t pay for it if they don’t have to.

Blogs report the news faster. The daily newspaper production is a pre-Internet cadence. Even when the major newspapers post the AP link, somebody out there in the blogosphere has written an informed article backed with facts and valuable opinion.

Today, blogs go deep in analysis while Twitter keeps us on our toes for breaking news. The main reason I read The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Economist is to see how the big guys analyze the buzz. Since the major papers ship once day, it can be a blessing that their writers have more time to cull facts and over analyze. As mentioned above, their challenge is to convince freeloaders that they offer more than what can be understood in a headline or 140 Twitter characters.

I hope newspapers survive. The writing and reporting is excellent. And they ship every day. Newspapers are also a fantastic source for aggregation. Sometimes I’ll miss my RSS and Twitter feeds and just catch up with the Times.

But the newspaper faces many challenges, most importantly the quality, brevity, and speed of the web.


Twitter Search: The Best Way to Find Live Sports

Searching for a live stream? Twitter is your best bet.

I used to Google Arsenal games for live streams but the results led to spammy promotional pages.

Twitter search is way better. It’s also full of spammy links but there’s enough tweets there to increase your chances of finding a decent stream.

It’s worth restating that social communication replaces Google search in real time moments.

An algorithm is not going to give me the best and quickest answer when I need it most.

Google however is always useful for digging up post game analysis, video highlights, and specific stats. It’s the ultimate research tool.

One could build a viable site aggregator that collects only Tweets that display workable online streams and ignores the spam. These sites half-exist today but none of them are visually appealing and they’re not leveraging Twitter.

People will continue to search for online streams until the games become readily available. People will pay for a la carte sports games as they do movies. Make them $2.99 for regular matches and $5.99 for big clashes. A yearly subscription that allows ubiquitous access to your favorite team for every game on any Internet connected device would be ideal. The MLB has a package like this.

Until games are either all on TV or Internet accessible they’ll continue to be crowdsourced on Twitter.