Monthly Archives: January 2020

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This Is How You Live on Swiss Time, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This article,  This Is How You Live on Swiss Time, is a great piece for two reasons:

  1. You get a wonderful appreciation of Switzerland and the Swiss
  2. You get to read the fine writing of Brodesser-Akner

This article was published in 2015. In 2019 her book, Fleishman Is in Trouble, was a big hit that was talked about everywhere. If you haven’t read her before, read this travel article, and you will get a sense for what a fine writer she is. Then get her book. 🙂

P.S. This was published in afar.com. If you like to travel, or like to dream about travelling, it’s a great site.

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What’s wrong with starting a sustainable business?

Nothing, of course, unless you are playing by the rules and goals of Silicon Valley, where VC money comes at a cost. In this piece He Wanted a Unicorn. He Got … a Sustainable Business | WIRED, we hear 

(this) story is one part cautionary tale for entrepreneurs seduced by the allure of venture capital and billion-dollar valuations, and one part an example of how a company can thrive outside those expectations.

I liked the angle of this story and found it fascinating. I think we need more stories of people quite nicely achieving a sustainable business. It’s not that having a blockbuster business is terrible, but it is rare, like all exceptional things are. It’s a winner takes all approach to business. To me, a better approach is that people can be successful in many different ways. Ways like having a sustainable business that provides a service that people really need. That’s a good measure of success to me. I hope we can get more such stories.

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Mario Moore and his paintings of blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’…

…is a fantastic story you can read about here:  Princeton University portraits lacked diversity, so artist Mario Moore painted blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’ – The Washington Post.

His painting is fine, and the subject matter he has chosen especially so. Check out the story: it has many of his works on display too.

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On retirement in the 21st century: three good pieces

The notion of retirement in the Western world has been changing since the mid 20th century, and it will continue to change as the population increasingly gets older. To get an appreciation for what that means and what can be done, these three articles are worth reading:

  1. It’s Time to Say It: Retirement Is Dead. This Is What Will Take Its Place | Inc.com
  2. Baby boomers delaying retirement: It’s a myth, because retirement is inevitable, and bleaker than ever.
  3. This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like

Not fun reading, but essential.

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Lenovo and its folding tablet


Tech manufacturers are struggling to make folding devices. So far the folding smartphones are not where they need to be. Lenovo has taken a different approach, by  building a folding tablet first, and not a folding smartphone.

Whether this will be a hit remains to be seen. But as the Yanko Design piece shows, the chance of success with a folding tablet is much higher than a folding phone. If it is a hit, it could lead to smaller devices (i.e., phones) eventually getting that way too.

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Another example of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella being effective by being different

Is this: Inside Microsoft’s surprise decision to work with Google on its Edge browser – The Verge.

Years ago Microsoft would have not made such a move. They would have kept trying until the bitter end (e.g. Zune, Microsoft phone). Instead Nadella and team made a  decision based more on what works for the users rather that what works for Microsoft.  It’s not a radical notion in itself, but for a company that prides itself on being successful and dominant, it’s a big switch. And it’s not just here with browsers. Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure, has a range of technology supported. It’s one of the reasons it is successful.

Microsoft has always been a successful company. They were successful under Gates and Ballmer with one approach. Nadella has a somewhat different approach, and I believe they will continue to be successful with it.

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Maybe Ballie the ball robot is a device we don’t need in our homes

Ballie is the cute little yellow ball above. Samsung unvailled ‘Ballie’ at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show. If you go to the link, you can read all the things Ballie can do for you. What you don’t get to read is what Ballie is going to do for others. Because there’s never been a more potentially intrusive device in your house like this one. It can go around your house 24/7, recording not just sounds but images. Images (and sounds) that anyone back on the Internet can process.

Until companies and other organizations can demonstrate proper stewardship of such data, I wouldn’t recommend anyone get one of these things. They are far from essential and potentially harmful.