7 articles to read this weekend

Fashion as Art

“Fashion photographers are the new painters,” they say. Actually, all photographers are painters. Photography is instant paint. But fashion photography stands out above everyday photography because it mashes interesting people into interesting places.

+ Fashionista:. Cool Instagram pictures don’t always convert into sales.

+ The Smart Set: Photography may have replaced painting but painters still get the last laugh.

Go “Pro”

People take more risks when owning a camera in attempt to go viral. But Go Pro pushes the envelope even further because you can wear it on your head and record everything. Everyone can be Johnny Knoxville from Jackass.  We’ve gone from “Kodak courage” to “GoPro Guts” although it’s less about the camera and more about the sharing bit, no?

Stark Raving Mad

It’s no secret that fiction writers are a little different. Donald Antrim is no exception. His books contain a psychotic edge that reflect his own anxiety. He’s got the unique ability to peek into both worlds of the mad and the same.

Bad Boy Records

The story of Bad Boy Records is one of grit and teamwork, all through the leadership of Puff Daddy who ran the show and carried the torch himself after Biggie died.

WordPress, a Quiet Hegemony

“Every second, somewhere in the world four babies and two WordPress blogs are born.” WordPress powers 1/5 of all pages on the Internet, made possible by communication efficient founder/CEO Matt Mullenweg who manages the company through a WordPress blog chain rather than through emails and meetings.

Apple, Just Like Beyoncé

Apple is the “Beyoncé of the digital world.” Its been able to remain relentless despite the absence of Steve Jobs. But how long can it persist? Probably as long as it takes for AT&T to send me my 6.  

Japanese Electronics

CDs still account for 85% of music sales on Japan, which is quite odd given Japan’s history of developing new technology first. All the meanwhile, the West is finally learning how to communicate in Emoji.


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7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I like to collect a bunch of articles on creativity, culture, and tech. Below are my 7 favorites.

1. Team Genius

Behind every genius there’s another partner. People are social animals; they need other people to bounce off ideas and to collaborate with. One could say that the mind engages in its own internal dialogue but a second person is actually needed to get all that work done.

Steve Jobs needed Steve Wozniak. Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen. Genius comes in pairs. I like to think that today’s genius can be defined as a ‘scenius,' where one person can be influenced by many people because of the strong interconnectedness built by the Internet.

2. Brainpicking

People say sadness is the root of creativity. But as Maria Popova explains happiness or rather “emotional excess” are also powerful contributors to creative work. In short, you don’t need a mental disorder to think differently.

3. Write It Down

The list is only way to keep the motor of life running. The list makes history and assigns new duties. The list is how we remember. “We like lists because we don’t want to die.” Umberto Eco breaks down the everlasting process of making lists.

4. Photorealism

Why waste your time painting when all you need to do is point and shoot? Photography is quicker and easier than painting. There will always be more photographers than painters. But photorealism showed just how replicable photos were and put photography back in its place. Now, painters get the last word.

5. Draw Something

Doodling helps you remember more than rote note-taking. The act of drawing what you learn in pictures is essentially mapping out how it all works together. Personally, I understand the bigger picture when I use mind-maps and understand less when I type note-for-note. **Learning requires reinterpretation**.

6. Faking Confidence

There’s a big difference between competence and confidence. Someone who talks a lot is not necessarily competent. A big mouth rarely equates to skills. All we really just want to know how competent someone is.

As this HBR Podcast explains, confidence is really a distractor.

+ Fast Company:. Don’t let the person with a big mouth taint the meeting with their biased ideas. The most effective meetings require everyone to write down their own ideas first.

7. Utopian Capitalism

Capitalism creates opportunities yet distorts the world. Businesses confuse profits with meaningful work. We can all point the finger at companies that make people unhealthier and dumber.

Utopian capitalism puts forth societal progress with profits instead of cheating workers and consumers in a race to the bottom.


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7 articles to read this weekend

On Instagram, a Bazaar Where You Least Expect It.

Instagram resembles a modern-day bazaar.

The best constriction about Instagram is that you can’t shop it, you can only let it whet your appetite and inspire intent. I don’t suspect this will be the case for much longer though.

What You Learn When You’re 60

“Some people were dead at thirty. It’s a full time job trying to stay alive.”

Admitting the truth is all part of the aging process, a firm realization that you don’t have to protect against vices and vulnerabilities. Bob Lefsetz always gives it straight. I just more people did the same. I’m trying.

What You Learn in Your 40s

“If you worry less about what people think of you, you can pick up an astonishing amount of information about them.”

The older you get, the more you become you. Honesty is the only barometer for success. Are you living the life you want to live? If not, admit it and make the necessary changes. Say no sometimes, and when you’re afraid, occasionally say yes.

Who Made That Progress Bar?.

“He told his colleagues that progress bars made computer users less anxious and more efficient, and could even help them to “relax effectively” at work.”

The progress bar is a design lie but it serves it’s purpose well, to assuage an antsy computer user with some certainty that things are in the works.

Treat Failure Like a Scientist.

“And that’s exactly how a scientist treats failure: as another data point.”

Failure is a lesson in disguise, as long as you make the corrections going forward.

Sonic Boom: How Spotify Acquiring The Echo Nest Remakes Digital Music’s Landscape

“To create a great algorithm, you need to understand music, you need to understand technology and you need to understand cultural significance.”

Algorithms are more than computer-based recommendations; they also require curation and human touch. This is especially true for music more than anything else. It’s hard to predict music tastes when much of music discovery is spontaneous and can’t be predicted.

Another reason for strengthening Spotify’s music engine? IPO

9 things you should know about your caffeine habit.

“I think it’s important that everybody recognize how much is good for them, what it does for them when they take it, what they feel like when they don’t take it, and experiment.”*

Who knows if it’s truly good or bad for you. Drinking coffee is at the center working, relaxing, and socializing. It’s a lifestyle. Apparently even the smell of it is enough to wake you up.


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7 articles to read this weekend

Each week I curate some of my favorite articles about art, life, psychology, and technology across the web. I like to collect a few new tunes too, after the jump.

‘The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013’. Writing is just painting with words. Teju Cole describes how Walcott’s fascination with paint seeped into his poems, seemingly connecting everything that appeared to be disparate.

Walcott has few equals in the use of metaphor. In his imagination, each thing seems to be linked to another by a special bond, unapparent until he points it out, permanently fresh once he does.

The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking. Positive thinking backlashes she’s when things don’t live up to expectations. Some suggest a neutral approach to improvement. The reality is that you can’t be neither too hard nor too soft on outlook. You need to be both practical and imaginary at the right times, to balance where you go next.

There’s nothing wrong with getting lost in fantasy, as long as you aren’t ultimately hoping to indulge in the real thing.

The Case for Blunders by Freeman Dyson. All believing is betting. Theories are experiments with the expectation of failure and the rarity of proven success. Most of everything is still a work in progress, even the fabric of democracy. We’re always testing, reconfirming, and editing on top of existing and prevalent beliefs. It’s ok to be wrong if it means discovering a better answer.

“We can’t live in a state of perpetual doubt, so we make up the best story possible and we live as if the story were true.” A theory that began as a wild guess ends as a firm belief. Humans need beliefs in order to live, and great scientists are no exception. Great scientists produce right theories and wrong theories, and believe in them with equal conviction.

Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity. Mindfulness is the practice of observation and perspective. It’s about being present and being open to new opportunities at the same time. Mindful people are ok with mistakes. On the whole. mindfulness is an instrument for coping with apparent stresses of daily life.

Remember, too, that stress is not a function of events; it’s a function of the view you take of events

Why 18th century books looked like smartphone screens. I jettisoned the kindle and physical books to read on a small iPhone screen which I can take with me and read wherever I want. For me, the small screen induces focus and makes me feel like I read through the pages quicker. This preferred reading style apparently isn’t so different than the small page format in the 18th century.

it was common to print essays in this pretty little style, because it had great ergonomics: It made for easy one-handed reading and portability.

10 Ways To Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. Author Austin Kleon shares some insight from his new book, Show Your Work. My favorite tip is about selling out, not necessarily to make more money but to boldly do the things that’ll make your work bigger, reach a broader audience.

the best sign you can put up is SOLD OUT.” – Bill Withers

Michael Cina Interview. Michael Cina is a highly respected artist and designer. What may be more impressive than his talent though is his work ethic. Cina never takes it easy, embracing new challenges as the only way to grow. His ambition is clear, all the more reason he just keeps experimenting and pushing things forward.

You have to take risks in order to move forward—I feel very passionate about that. I always say that if you feel uncomfortable, then you know you’re doing something right. I’ve recently had a new vision for where I want to go, and I’m going for it. If you don’t have a solid vision for where you want to go, you’re just going to meander around without doing the kind of work you really want to do.

Also recommended:

‘VHS vs. Communism’

Chef Designs Meal Inspired by Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’

Tchaikovsky on Work Ethic vs. Inspiration

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee In The Morning

Plus, I added some new tracks to the Best of 2014 ongoing playlist.


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7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I like to feature my favorite articles across the web falling under the categories of art, creativity, ideas, life hacks, social media, and tech.  

Seth Godin: Why I want you to steal my ideas. Ideas are ideas, loose concepts waiting to be actioned, transformed, and remixed. We live in the communication economy with information abundant across tweets, RSS feeds, and Instagrams. Copy-paste makes the computer the biggest theft machine, which means we have to try even harder to produce original content.

Sentient Streets: A ‘Living’ Pedestrian Signal of the Future. Communication revolves around emotion. But emotion doesn’t have to come from another human. Machines can also set the mood. Imagine crossing the street to a simple smiley emoticon. It might just do wonders to your day. It's just the machines and us.

Americans love advice. Joe Queenan asks: So why are we still so screwed up?  Advice helps but is equally futile.  This is because advice is subjective to the person providing it. What works for others may or may not work for you. Listen to advice, sure, but listen to your gut too because it really knows the next step.  Just don't be surprised if it's the wrong one. Remember: The right answer is the function of the mistakes you make.

Content economics, part 5: news. Micro-blogging (status posts) on social media obviated the fear of blogging, or writing in long-form. Now, Twitter and Facebook are the bundled versions of old newspapers like the New York Times.  I don’t think this spells bad news for journalists (maybe photographers) because they're armed with the same mobile tools as regulars but can publish more quality, trusted content, to their thousands of followers. Everyone is their own brand, whether they work under the aegis of a larger company or not.

The Future of Self-Improvement, Part I: Grit Is More Important Than Talent. It’s always easier to do what’s most pleasurable first, and in this world of instant likes and Retweets, that dopamine high takes is a button away. But what about the work, that mission that requires absolute focus and dexterity? Good work is always still worth pursuing regardless of how easily distracted you are. Sticktuitivness, persistence, doggedness, grit, call it whatever you want; you can't just give up on the road ahead.  

The problem with projects. Maybe if we treated projects as experiments, little bets, and explorations we’d be more likely to ship, fail, and tweak products. The office should be the lab.

Where the Fish Swims, Ideas Fly . Spontaneity thrives off perpetual movement, less structure and less process. We can’t keep doing all our work at home so we can go to meetings at work. Work is for doing, collaborations and quick one-offs. Keep fishing, collaborate, and testing out bold ideas.


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7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I compile my favorite reads from across the web. While the articles typically fall into the areas of creativity and life hacks, they also show what’s happening across the world.

Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline. Creativity is a mindset, a desire to problem solve and think different about everyday things. Everyone is creative but not everyone likes to turns on their creativity gene, probably because it involves possibilities rather than absolute certainty. What we know today could be extinct tomorrow. Creativity begets innovation which begets progress.

Life is a game. This is your strategy guide. You won’t go anywhere in life without a lot of focus, willpower, and grit. Today’s technologies disrupt pursuit of the remarkable. Maybe we should do the hardest things first, and last.

‘Don't get bigger, get weirder': Things I've learnt from 5 years of The Story. Side projects are always fun, a strategy for keeping life personal, challenging, and rewarding. This blog started as a side project. So did my books, my music, and pretty much anything I’ve ever done including sports. But once you start, you can’t stop. Be consistent. You started it for a reason after all.

What Is The Point Of A Website In 2014?. Your website should be your first touch point, simple enough to explain who you are and what you embody. It should aggregate only the fine points, unless of course you’re a retailer with heaps of product, then it should focus on E-commerce. Own your voice. Start by owning the content on your own domain.

Talent Is Persistence: What It Takes To Be An Independent Creative. The best part about the Internet is showing your work as it’s produced; this means showing your shitty rough drafts but also displaying your finished product. People want to be taken along a journey, to see your flaws and corrections. The story is in the work.

Whose Turkey Is It?. I’ve visited Turkey twice in the last two years; sure, some of it is backward but a lot of the people are modern and forward-looking. Prime Minister Erdogan is just a power-hungry politician, looking to grow the country under religious, traditional values. The Gezi Park protestors checked that power last summer. Church and state are separate for a reason. True democracies take more pragmatic approaches over time.

Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web. The inventor of the World Wide Web criticizes the Balkanization of the web, the tendency for governments to create intranets that allow them to censure Internet activity. China is not the only country controlling what its people see in the web. An Internet for nation-states is antithesis to the democratization of information Berners-Lee created the Internet for.


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7 articles to read this weekend

It’s rainy and cold today. Thankfully, this gives me time to catch up on some reading and highlight some of my favorites in the areas of social media, life hacks, and tech. Below are the 7 articles I recommend reading before you head back to work.

  1. The Year We Broke the Internet. Publications are publishing link bait over quality, truthful journalism. Such strategy (aka “Buzzfeedication”) is great for traffic but bad for building or maintaining credibility. There’s a reason news apps like Circa and Quartz are growing so fast in popularity; they’re mobile first and accurate.
  2. Parents: Don’t Panic About Your Kids’ Social Media Habits. Kids are sharing just about everything but they’re doing it more privately than they used to. Facebook is dead and buried to teens. Your parents are on Twitter. Why would the kids let their parents troll them without permission? No wonder Snapchat is the breakout social networking app of 2013. My guess is that big social media players like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter incorporate more privacy elements into their networks in 2013.  Insagram Direct is just the start.
  3. Anti-Internet Labels Are Ruining Mix Culture & Cloud Music Platforms. Music rights are so antiquated. They were created way before the Internet came into existence and need to be updated to match the remix culture of the web. The good news is that music industry is predicted to grow so the artists can get paid.
  4. chris dent interview. New York City inspires so many artists. Chris Dent’s style is particularly cool and unique.
  5. Neil Gaiman – Where do you get your ideas?. Ideas come from everywhere – dreams, “what if” statements, and boredom. All you need to do is pay attention to them to give them value; for instance, put them on paper and connect the dots.
  6. The Weight of the Past. Have you peaked career-wise yet? Most athletes peak in their twenties. Undoubtedly, Edward Snowden won’t have a bigger moment than his NSA reveal. I’d like to think my big contribution is coming or it’s a litter of unpredictable successes. We all just have to keep making, each and every day.
  7. Disruptions: Coming in 2014: Extremely Smart Watches and Wearable TVs. Nick Bilton foresees tech in 2014. Smart watches, TVs, 3-D printing, and drone shipments; 2014 may be the year I finally give my mobile some rest while I print my own device.

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7 articles to read this weekend

The Internet never ends but the least we can do is try and keep up.  Below is a list of handpicked articles across social media, technology, and life that sparked my interest this week.  The inquisitive mind never stop learning. 

1.  The blog is dead, long live the blog. Jason Kottke explains how social networks basically wore down the art of blogging. Most of today's referral traffic comes from Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr instead. But what if you use Tumblr as your blogging platform as I do? Undoubtedly, blogging is being chopped into micro-content. Traditional blogging may be dead but the sheer fact that more people are producing their own content and finally expressing themselves is really all that matters.

2.  Why Our Online Persona Is Needier Than Our Real One. You are what you share, or so the theory goes. It’s true some people aren't whom they portray Tweets; they’re quiet instead of loud, boisterous instead of insightful. There’s a true identity crisis in social where the sharer fails to meet his/her content in real life.

3.  What Streaming Music Can Be. Khoi explains how music streaming has turned music into a commodity. Listeners aren’t connecting the music like they used to. Reading the liner notes, absorbing the album art, and listening to the album from start to finish used to be part of the record experience. The record is now more of a marketing tool for shows and merchandize. But the record is the start of a great packaged story; just ask Beyonce.

4.  The end of the Facebook era. We’d all be ok and probably a little happier if Facebook just disappeared. Facebook was a novel idea, it gave birth to social networking but is now a stodgy network that tries to be everything to everybody. The only way for FB to stay innovative is through acquiring hot, young mobile companies like Instagram and Snapchat, the latter which it recently missed. The irony of all this talk of a Facebook downfall is course contradicted by the data; Facebook is still the most used Smartphone app the two years running.

5.  The Documented Life. If you really want to remember something, don’t take a photograph of it; at least, that’s what research proclaimed last week. The current obsession with selflies and touch devices is impeding the old conversation. Will we ever get back to the days of pre-distraction? Probably not, unless Google Glasses makes smart contacts too.

6.  North Korea, Instagram, David Guttenfelder: Photographer of the Year. Instagram is the real-time, photographic version of Twitter. If you’re not following David Guttenfeler yet, you should. Before Instagram, there’s no way we’d get an insider’s look into North Korea; it turns it actually looks normal than we think.

7.  2013: The Year ‘the Stream' Crested. Atlantic writer Alexis Madrigal explains how the stream (FB's newsfeed, Twitter, etc) has become the predominant way to consume real-time content but also the most intimidating. It's almost impossible to keep up with every post, a majority of which are irrelevant to you.  ”You can never finish the Internet” but the Internet can finish you.  Is what we know already enough?  


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