The history books will always tell you that the map is the territory or the painted image is the thing. But the representation is all illusory.

What makes reality is code of the brain, the neural pathways that convert the external world into something it can interpret.

It just so happens that all humans see things roughly the same. Our Who-What-Where-Why is replicable.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves and pass on that help us unstick from the prison of biology. Reflection and time perpetuate beliefs and traditions pass on, more so as they exaggerate reality. And the best part is that it's all made up.


Rather unique

Photo by Wells Baum (Mexico City)

Building the tallest building is a matter of ego. Machismo drives a lot of design and innovation, as it does leadership.

But there’s always going to be a taller building, just as there’s still going to be the next innovative car or gadget.

Things can only stand out for so long before something else surpasses them, or they become normalized, like a commodity that everyone else can own (see the ownership of mirrors).

There are also more people in the world that own smartphones than toothbrushes.

When size and novelty fall aside, people only remember what’s unique. That's why, no matter what size a book or painting or any design for that matter is, it's about the content and its context.

It's the story that matters more than (temporarily) standing out.

Truth be told


We tumble into memories, hyperbolizing the truth to make a story more remarkable.

Fiction is the art of selling lies.

Did the apple really hit Isaac Newton's head? Perhaps in his imaginary anticipation. He often sat around apple trees to gather string and ponder.

But what if we recorded the tale as it happened?

Notes exist, and the stories persist because the event wasn't worth remembering in the first place.

Permanency lies within the first act. Only the recorded replay reenacts. The rest is shareable serum.

What are you going to do with all that inspiration?


There’s a consumption period where you read books and articles or impulse-check Instagram or Twitter. Then there’s a thinking process where you take what you ingested and connect things (ideas, concepts, quotes, images, etc.after) to each other.

The doing is the hardest, which is why most people give up after the thinking part. Most creators think their work is original. It’s not; we steal from the artists that came before us.

“Beethoven depended on a Mozart to be a Beethoven. Picasso depended on a Cezanne. Without Michelson, there would be no Einstein” – James Altucher

The attempt to sell our output makes marketing the hardest. If you invent something comparable to the airplane or an online bookstore, be prepared to be misunderstood for a long time.

Not all consumers want to become artists and producers. In fact, the majority of people just want to look and move on. But if you stop once in a while, think about what you learned, you’d be surprised at what you have to contribute.

7 articles to read this weekend

Below are 7 articles that inspired me this week. Articles range from art, life, technology, and work. Got a favorite? Let me know in the comments.

1. Doggy Love

Life With a Dog: You Meet People

Yes, he’s a lot of work, at least at this age. But like a small child, Max makes me laugh many times a day. That’s not unusual, apparently: In a study of 95 people who kept “laughter logs,” those who owned dogs laughed more often than cat owners and people who owned neither.

Dogs are the best. Have a bad day? They’ll still be wagging their tail when you get home. Anti-social? Taking the dog out is guaranteed to get you talking with strangers. Ever since my last dog Bebe passed away late last year my life hasn’t been the same. We need to care for things. That extra work is our happiness. My wife and I are picking up a new puppy in May.

2. Should Vs. Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must

“Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.

Should is what others expect you to pursue. Must is your calling, and it connects everything else. It goes back to much common belief that life and work are one of the same flow, inspiring each other. Focus on doing must more often, and as Elle Luna implores, do it today. Must will change your life and leave you with little regret.

3. The Troubles with Offline Reading

Reading is different online than off, experts say

“We’re spending so much time touching, pushing, linking, scroll­ing and jumping through text that when we sit down with a novel, your daily habits of jumping, clicking, linking is just ingrained in you.”

Reading on the web makes reading a real book harder. The brain has to readjust to the nonlinear slowness of the page, devoid of video embeds and hyperlinks. As a result, we scan books and miss the point.

Personally, I read better on my mobile phone than I do with a physical book or desktop computer. I think it's the constrictions of one-screen and the element of control, scrolling down versus reading left to right as in a physical book and getting distracted by multiple windows on desktop. However, I still definitely read print, particularly for emails where I need to read closely and highlight details.

4. Do Wearables Obviate Apps?

Evernote CEO: Apps will become obsolete

But when we move to wearables, session length will drop from two minutes to two seconds, Libin said. The challenge will be figuring out how to make someone productive for one second at a time, 1,000 times a day.

According to Chris Dixon, apps account for more than 86% of the time spent on mobile. But Evernote’s Phil Lubin predicts that wearables with predictive augmented intelligence will obviate the need for apps. In other words, wearable tech will render apps slow and reactionary, kind of like how the mobile web now is. When will the Internet just be invisible like air?

5. Images are Ephemeral

Art Interview w Etel Adnan

Some things are not meant to be clear; obscurity is their clarity. We should not underestimate obscurity. Obscurity is as rich as luminosity.

Images are already there, waiting to be perceived, felt, and understood. But there are some images that remain unclear. We can't quite figure out everything we see but we the external world works in its connectedness, kind of like the brain just works out of its own complexity. New York operates the same way as the obscure, moving in inexplicable chaos.

6. Learning in Brevity

Paying Attention Is a Skill: Schools Need to Teach It

Before we know it, the complexity and subtlety of the world we inhabit will be invisible to us when we try to make sense of what is going on around us.

There’s so doubt that the digital age diminishes our ability to attention. We read in simplified headlines and rarely skip on to the next page to get into the detail.

Complexity lies in the deep end; stories, music, and life can't be fast-forwarded and simplified into a nugget. You have to read on, listen, and live the whole thing to gain understanding. But how can we focus on long-form when all that the media produces is snackable bites?

7. Show Your Work

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go to College

“Especially in the tech industry, employers want to see skills applications rather than traditional resumes; Show, don’t tell,” says Stadelman.

Who needs a college degree when all your really need is care, curiosity, and a hard work ethic? Show your work. Replace your portfolio with your Instagram feed. Unless you attend an Ivy League school, it really doesn’t matter where you go to college.

The Art of Presentations

Image via
Image via Benjamin Child

Keep it simple, top-line. No one wants to see all the details. They’d rather look at a few bullets or charts, hear you speak, and write down what they deem necessary.

Showing your work becomes more about what you omit than what you say, including the simplification of the rarely read appendix, so it too reflects your key findings in a digestible format.

Presentations are small products, stories, and art forms, just as is this blog post. They try to streamline complexity while also stirring curiosity and exciting action. The best presentations often leave more questions than answers.

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.

7 articles to read this weekend

Each week I handpick my favorite articles from the web, falling under the categories of art, creativity, ideas, social media, and tech. Apparently people like to read in snackable lists.

Facebook Turns 10: The Mark Zuckerberg Interview. Facebook is a decade old. While it’s still by far the most popular social network, it faces a future of mobile-photo first privately sharing teens. Time for Facebook to unbundle all it features into niche apps.

Why writing? | Katy Watkins. Writing is the painful process of making sense of the world. But done daily, it can turn out to be the most gratifying thing you do. How else is anyone going to remember you?

How Freelancers Are Redefining Success To Be About Value, Not Wealth. Work/life balance is always a huge problem in the United States. For the most part, money is tied to painstaking hours. But freelancers are going a different route, valuing time as money. Who doesn’t want to work for themselves?

Value is created by doing – Sam Altman. Nothing is more important than doing the work, pouring sweat and tears into something that other people want to consume or use. A tweet, another meeting; none of that creates product. Again, close the door and do the work.

Perfectionism Is a Mental Illness and It’s Ruining My Life. Perfectionism creates and impedes success at the same time. It’s the reason we can produce a brilliant piece of work but never muster of the faith to start again. As a person suffering with OCD, I face it every day and with each frustration I let go by telling myself whatever happens, happens. None of this may work.

What’s Content Marketing Again?. Content is king. It’s the lifeblood of brand marketing. If you can’t tell good stories with captivating pictures then you’ll be glazed over for someone else. Share the good stuff and you’ll never have to take out an ad again.

BIZ LADIES: 6 TIPS FOR STAYING CREATIVE WITHOUT COLLEAGUES. In order to keep creativity thriving, we need to change often and fight the mundane. We need to get out more, show our faces, and steal each other’s ideas.

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.

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?  

7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I like to compile a list of interesting reads I stumbled upon online. Most of the time the articles relate to creativity, tech, and life hacks.  

1.  The Agony of Instagram.  Admit it:  you get jealous when you scroll through your Instagram feed.  The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be overwhelming.  Will you let FOMO stress your out or will you do something about it?

FYI – the Siam Paragon mall in Thailand is the most Instagrammed location for two years running.

2.  A Stream of Music, Not Revenue.  It’s a simple fact that only the hardcore fans will pay for music but even that’s a reach. You can find free streamable music across the web.  If a song is not on Spotify, it’s on Soundcloud, and it’s almost always for sure on YouTube. The good news is that music discovery is more desirable than ever and online radio, especially contextual radio (i.e. Songza) is a hit.

3.  How to Kick Ass At Public Speaking.  Good tips here from CEO of Open Me, IIya Pozin.  Everyone fears public speaking; I think it takes a matter of confidence, passion, and some practice.

4.  Vocal Acrobat Mixes Soccer Calls With Awe.  Ray Hudson is my favorite soccer announcer.  His passion is electric, hilarious, and insightful.  Ray could work for the bigger broadcasters but he prefer to announce the games from a soundproof room.

5.  Lorde’s ‘Song Of The Year’ Was A Slow Burn To The Top.  Lorde actually dropped the track on Soundcloud in 2012.  It’s amazing how much talent there is on the Soundcloud platform, especially from New Zealand.

6.  Digital Cameras Are Messing With Your Memory.  Evidence shows that taking pictures hurt, not help, remembering things because taking snaps become more like running quickly through a mental checklist rather than enjoying a true, observational experience.

7.  Inside the Box: People don’t actually like creativity.  Creativity is too easy to reject because the ideas don’t yet exist.  But the crazier the ideas, the better since that’s how we ultimately progress.  For creatives, rejection keep them going to create even more wilder stuff.     

7 articles to read this weekend

Each week I handpick my favorite articles from the web, falling under the categories of art, creativity, ideas, social media, and tech.  Apparently people like to read in snackable lists. 

The Psychology of Online Comments. The only place where I’ve seen comments add value to the conversation is on Quora or even Fred Wilson’s blog. Otherwise, comments are generally negative across the web, especially when users post anonymously; plus, conversations within those comments are slanted and one-sided. I removed Disqus yesterday from this blog. Now you’re just going to have to Tweet me.

How Pinterest plans to make digital scrapbooking worth $3.8 billion.  Pinterest appears to be the next big social network, along with Snapchat. But Pinterest also has to make money, which typically results in running ads.  Will the ads clutter the feeds or appear subtle enough to generate revenue without disrupting the user experience? You don't know until you try.  For Ben Silberman, it's time to monetize the Visual Web.  

You're All Media Companies.  Gary Vaynerchuck tells it how it is and this time he's arguing that individuals should be publishing stories online.  Why?  Because it's free and the longer you wait the likelier it is you'll never get heard.  Be your own media.  

Slaves of the Internet, Unite!.  I write this blog for free because I enjoy it.  However, I don't think I could do it as a job, especially if I didn't get paid.  It's tough to be a writer in the age of the Internet where people trade you exposure for a free piece of work.  

Ev Williams’ Medium is Blogging for the 9%.  1% of the Internet are content originators, 9% are curators, and 90% are consumers.  Hunter Walk argues that Medium falls into the 9% category, a place to set up a profile to get feedback on one's opinions and ideas, kind of like being in a niche reader's club.  I think Medium is on to something, it's longer than a tweet and shorter than a long read or book. 

Small Empires: the art of ideation with Paper by FiftyThree.  The Paper team previously worked at Microsoft and now make an award-winning app for the Apple's iPad.  Talk about platform agnostic.  This company inspires me.  

The Decline of Wikipedia: Even As More People Than Ever Rely on It, Fewer People Create It.  The number of Wikipedia contributors is declining and the articles are getting lost in Google search results.  What happens when no one wants to update the world's only free and publicly operated encyclopedia? 

The Collection.

7 articles to read this weekend

Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep.  There's a reason you can't think when you get little sleep.  Your brain needs sleep in order to drain the uneccessary filler, “like a dishwasher.”  Sorry, Nas.  

I Love You, David Byrne, But You're Wrong. Contrary to David Byrne's post on creativity, the definition of art goes beyond traditional practice in painting, music, and writing.  Business and entrepreneurship are also art, in which New York is thriving.  Just ask Banksy who's using New York streets as canvass to stay relevant and rich!  

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming.  Gaiman makes a compelling case for reading more fiction, primarily because it helps us go beyond what we know and see.  So daydream and fantasize, it's the reason Americans are more creative than the Chinese.

Ray Bradbury on How List-Making Can Boost Your Creativity.  Ray Bradbury used lists to kickstart his creative writing.  He would just pluck something of the list which usually turn into something longer.  I use Evernote to create lists.   

No—You Don’t Need To Learn To Code.  While I'm fascinated with what coding can do I don't have any interest in it, the same reason I don't have passion for going into my car's engine even though I know how to drive it.  We're better off focusing on things we're good at and using the tools the other people build to get us there.  

What's Scott Adams' secret to success? ‘Goals are for losers'.  Success creates passion more than passion creates success. So do something that works for you.  ”Dilbert” creator Scott Adams also explains why goals are equally misleading. 

How to write beautiful visual notes.  Note-taking is the art of illustration. Whenever I don't understanding something during a meeting or a lecture, I sketch it out and then connect my hand written notes to my drawings.  But I could do better to follow some of these tips from Nico, for instance:   “Start with a frame.  Always”  

7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I like to post 7 articles that I find interesting or that inspire me. Below is this week’s list:

Jhumpa Lahiri at Work. Jhumpa explains the paradoxes of being a writer. Writing is one of those things that comes from within yets gets published to a worldwide audience. It’s an amazing way to express a voice that may have been previously silent. This is why I love to blog a lot

Jhumpa also explains the drafting process, describing it as a “matter of analyzing the flaws.” Furthermore, take writing and editing “bird by bird.”

Anonymity and the Internet: being a film critic in the 21st century. Mark Kermode, a film critic, explains why his reviews of bad movies are also his most read. Roger Ebert’s encountered the same adverse popularity of negative articles.  

Kermode also elaborates on the challenges of being an online writer, arguing that you have to be responsible for the good and the bad criticism. The consolidated feedback from the community ultimately makes your a stronger writer.  

Stop That Bus (I Want to Get On). A former print editor laments the rise of Internet technology and the displacemet of the old (paper) world that kept her successful. 

I might be too old to be young, but show me a 25-year-old who’s reinvented magazines, survived sinking corporations, and rewritten her own job description. I’ve already been my own startup, half a dozen times. I just need to figure out how to do it again. 

Sure, you learn through struggle but don’t fall too far behind.  

Designs on immortality. The definition of the “Skyscraper Index:” 

“The idea is that there is a correlation between the periods in which the tallest skyscrapers are built and the imminence of financial crisis.” 

The author portends that companies in Silicon Valley are predicting their own doom in building new innovative offices. What goes up must come down, right? 

Internet of Things: Mammoth Morgan Stanley Note Tries to Explain It. The future of technology holds that everything will just plug into eachother like one massive API. And when that happens, everything will be talk to each other in the background. This automata is already on top of what Google is doing to predict human needs.

Robert Talisse on Pragmatism. As it’s simplest definition, Pragmatism argues that you should do what works or act on the belief what works and figure out your own conclusions. It’s purely American and experimental. In comparison to the rest of the world, American are mostly open to change. But pragmatism is really not that simple

YouTube Creates Its Future Strategy Around Channels. I no longer think of YouTube as online video portal but a series of different channels from brands and individuals. YouTube has basically replaced my cable.  TV = online.