Monthly Archives: August 2017

Another cautionary tale: this time regarding Bleecker Street in NYC

The story of Bleecker Street’s Swerve From Luxe Shops to Vacant Stores in the  NYTimes is one playing out in many cities throughout the world, though perhaps not as extreme as this. It’s a big problem when money comes flooding into neighborhoods and cities, disrupting the people that live there, and making those areas unlivable in some cases. Most people need somewhat stable places to live, but unstable social systems (capitalist or otherwise) can make that difficult unless other social systems (like local governments) come in and press back against such instability. As more of the world moves from rural to urban areas, the tools to make streets and cities livable need to be developed and put to use.

Anyone living in a growing city needs to read this piece. Recommended.

(PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS MOTTALINI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

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 Ko-fi: a new way to raise money online

a small cup of coffee
There are many ways to raise money on line, from Patreon to Indiegogo to Kickstarter. A more modest way to raise money online is this site: Ko-fi. I think it is perfect for anyone wanting to share things with others in exchange for a modest amount of money (i.e. the cost of a cup of coffee, approximately). If you were looking for something like this for your site, I recommend you check it out.

By the way, if you want to check it out (and buy ME a coffee), here is my link. Thank you!

 How to be effortlessly charming (or not) :)

George Burns and Kermit
Kinda funny, though not intentionally: BBC – Capital – The tricks to make yourself effortlessly charming.

Some thoughts:

  • Charm is a relative quality. Some people find George Clooney charming, others might find George Burns charming. There are signals and cue that some people give off that one person can find charming and another person can find repulsive.  If the latter is true, no amount of smiling and eyebrow raising (as the article suggests) will make someone charming. It depends on those being charmed more so than the person being charming.
  • There are things that are unlikely to make you charming, such as being sarcastic, insulting, or inconsiderate. Likewise, being warm, interested, engaged, and kind are more likely to make you seem charming to others.
  • Regardless, being effortlessly charming typically takes much effort! If you want to be charming, start working on it now.

 

 Networking and work: overrated but not useless

This piece in the New York Times is great advice for anyone young and struggling with networking. Is networking useless? Not at all. But like direct mail or many other forms of outreach, the effort to success ratio is far from 1:1.

If you are an extrovert, then you likely get something out of networking even if it isn’t a leg up at work. If you are are introvert, however, articles like that one are  likely to make you never want to even try. For you introverts, I recommend you find ways to network that are pain free. You may not even have to directly talk to people: just be contributing to platforms that have alot of participants, you can get the benefits of networking. Networks are everywhere these days and embedded in much of the technology we use: take advantage of that fact to network in the ways most effective for you.

Hard work and luck are the keys to success. Networking is also a form of hard work, and if you work at it, it can bring luck! (After all, good luck is the residue of hard work.) Therefore include networking as part of what you are doing to be successful. Just hav the right expectation of what comes from such work.

How to look ahead in life

Young and old person on laptop
If you can see clearly ahead, you can make better directions on how to steer. It’s true for any mode of transportation. It’s also true about life. Take a look at this piece in the 99u: What I Wish I Knew at Every Age – 99U.  Whether you are young or old, it will give you the ability to see what’s ahead in life though the wishes of others and it will help you steer your one wonderful life.

Drive well.

(Image from here).

 

And now for something beautiful: pictures of Venice in the fog

Venice in fog

I highly recommend checking this out: Pictures of Venice in the Fog – Fubiz Media. Beautiful images of a beautiful city in a form I have rarely seen.

A cautionary tale of what low taxes and libertarianism brings

Amish women on the beach
There can be many lessons that can be drawn from the story here: The Rise and Fall of the ‘Freest Little City in Texas’

The ones I drew were

  • You get the society you pay for. In this case, the people of this part of Texas were unwilling to pay for anything, and they got nothing in return. It’s hard to believe this even needs to be said in this age, but apparently it does.
  • Even basic services cost money. That money comes from taxes or service fees.
  • Those services are expensive to pay for individually: it makes much more sense for people to pool their money (in the form of taxes),  to make it cheaper overall for everyone.
  • Taxes are only part of what makes a society, but a society that is based on money and that does not have taxes is no society at all.
  • Only a society that does not depend on money can get away without taxes. Typically those a tightly knit,  cohesive, pre-money communities that depend heavily on sharing and barter. These communities are more socialist or communist in nature as opposed to libertarian. More like an Amish community or hippie commune or a religious community of some form.
  • The best way to have a libertarian society is to have one of great abundance. Scarcity requires people to share and work together if they want to survive.

It’s a good story. Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

(Photo above is Amish women on the beach)