Friday, March 28, 2008

Slo-mo "lifestreaming"- on being creative, & listening

Never one to be shy to "repurpose" a little "content," here are a couple comments left on blogs around town that I follow, on the tightly interrelated subjects of being creative and of looking for the simplest approach to fulfilling a need.

This might be my very manual, carefully edited slo-mo version of "lifestreaming" -- because I personally have no interest in inviting the world and all the people in it to look over my shoulder all day and night. (Don't they have anything better to do?)

Oh, yes, that's right, the other connectivity bit here is that it turns out the authors of these two blogs know each other, although I "stumbled upon" their work separately.

- To Nettie Hartsock on her "Five Ways to Be Creative Today" (next)
- To Lois Kelly on her "A true story about a chair"

Do We Act, or just React?

To "Five Ways to Be Creative Today," posted by book publicist Nettie Hartsock on her blog (3/7/2008).

Among her five were, "Turn off your computer, TV, radio, PDA and anything electronic and revel in the silence," and, "Spend time contemplating your navel and the deeper meaning of the world and how we’re all connected to one another."
(Yes, that's Nettie with
the great Willie Nelson.)
(In the Comments, I wrote,)

Nettie, this is very good to hear, and very practical advice. (Except maybe for the "navel" part -- ewww -- although I do understand what you're trying to get at. ; - )

I figured out at some point -- and yet I have to keep reminding myself, or be reminded, as you have here -- that if I start my day by checking my e-mail or reading news on the web, that I'm allowing other people to set the tone of the day for me. Ideally, first I need to hear the voice of my own thoughts before I start to consider everyone else's.

In other words, I need to Act instead of just React. The only way to do that is to find and start from some mental/emotional place of your own, like in the ways you've suggested here.
- BR

Nettie Says: (March 18th, 2008 at 5:47 pm)
"What a great insight in terms of starting the day with yourself instead of the email or news on the Web. I’m going to try to spend a few minutes every morning in my office just listening to music and writing before i hit the email and Web.
"I love the Act instead of just React."


"A true story about a chair"

Lois Kelly is very big on the value of genuine conversation as a marketing tool. Her book, "Beyond Buzz," has been named as various types of "best" of 2007. (Gold prize winner in the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards in the Ads/Marketing/PR category, and called one of the best business books of 2007 by Library Journal, one of editors’ two top picks for marketing and branding books. Just FYI, because the natural question here is what was the other one, it was "Made To Stick" by Dan and Chip Heath.)

In her blog, she posted this intriguing bit:

>> "Patrick Schaber over at The Lonely Marketer
has a beautiful post about his friend Jill, who put two chairs in the middle of a busy corporate campus and sat down to listen to anyone who had something to say.
Needless to say there was a line of people waiting to talk and be heard. This is one of the more innovative employee communications strategies I’ve heard in a long time." (3/3/08)
(I wrote,)
Hi, Lois,

This story about the lady and her two chairs really strikes to the heart of a great principle we all need to routinely remember to return to: looking for the Simplest approach to fulfilling a need.

The key to being able to see simple solutions? It almost invariably starts with being willing to
s l o w... d o w n...

- BR

Related, here:
Serious Fun Dept.: The Playpump
Simplicity (tag)

More from Lois Kelly in -
Can trends be predicted, much less created?”

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Shift in Perspective

(A Saturday afternoon post...)

"Everything is familiar, Daniel M. Tani said, but 'it feels a little alien.' He did not have some of the problems adjusting to gravity that other astronauts have had — absent-mindedly leaving an object in mid-air and being startled to see it crash to the ground. 'You’re very conscious of that,' he said.

"But he still marveled at the mundane. 'You take the lid off the bottle, and you put it on the table,' he said, 'and it’s just amazing that it stays on the sink.' In space, it would have flown away unless it was secured. 'You don’t have to find a piece of velcro to stick it to,' he recalled. 'that seemed like it was magic to me.'"

"Adapting to Earth After 120 Days in Space"
By John Schwartz, NY Times "The Lede" blog, 3/11/08

(Photo uploaded to Flickr by kEnObAnDo)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Google: Huge Idea, Simple Insight"

(Extract of a recent post written for Idea Champions' "Heart of Innovation")

"Discovery's Science Channel Has Good New Series On (the) Internet." (Search Engine Watch)

Download: The True Story of the Internet, by former editor and writer for Wired, John Heileman, "is no softball show.. . the series gives it to you 'warts and all' and does not hold back the punches on how things have developed so far. The last show I watched discussed the development of search..."
"We hear amazing stories," The Discovery Channel tells us, "of how, in ten short years, the Internet took over our lives. The style of the story-telling is up close and personal... with first-hand testimony from the people that matter."

I also was watching that episode on search, one of four. To me, the most arresting observation was that while the original, breakthrough idea at the root of Google's effectiveness and success came from a programmer, cofounder Larry Page, it was a very simple thought. Page was not crouched over a keyboard or remembering any computer code in order to come up with this construct.

The billion-dollar insight was just this: that a link to a site from another is like a vote for that destination. The more sites link to yours (and the more linked-to their sites are), the better yours must be... (one of) the ones which the most visitors have "voted for with their feet," or in this case, their eyeballs.

[ more ] on The Heart of Innovation

That's most of the Google logo as of the Spring equinox,
which is coming up within the hour.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"The Sweat That Eureka Demands"

(Extract of a recent, very up-to-the-minute post of mine in Idea Champions' "The Heart of Innovation"... a couple weeks back:)

Serious about doing something innovative? Be prepared to spend many long, focused hours working on it (and working and working and reworking...)

Thomas Edison  (Wikipedia)
"We want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance," Janet Rae-Dupree writes in the New York Times. But, "Innovation is a slow process of accretion, building small insight upon interesting fact upon tried-and-true process. Just as an oyster wraps layer upon layer of nacre atop an offending piece of sand, ultimately yielding a pearl, innovation percolates within hard work over time."
(As one of the greatest inventors in memory, Thomas Edison, knew so well:)

In an interview in Harpers magazine, February 1890, (stay tuned here at Heart Of Innovation as we present the latest, greatest breakthroughs! ; ) Edison explained his method:

"I would construct a theory and work on its lines until I found it was untenable. ... I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory."

Related, here in Rosswriting: 
inventors (tag)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Front Seat TV Found "Distracting"

A situation sorely in need of a firm grasp of the obvious:
I was astonished by a recent story in the NY Times on the problems being caused by television and other screens in cars' front seats. The caption of a photo of one such cockpit display read, "Safety experts say electronic devices can be distracting."

Well, DUUHH! Excuse me, but how could the people in positions of responsibility for launching products with such obvious critical flaws not see the problem here?

Even if you're fine with an utterly distracted state from a philosophical point of view, didn’t anyone bring up the issue of the potential liability? (Or if someone did, and you figure that's the likelihood, why didn't the decision makers get it?)

The best part of the article was a quick mention of how legislation came to be introduced in New York to ban all “display generating devices” in the driver’s view. To it's credit, the state already has a law against TV sets in the front seat.

State Senator Carl L. Marcellino, who sponsored the bill, "learned this firsthand while riding in a cab in Miami — the driver was watching a boxing match on a television mounted on the dashboard." I can testify that having lived in Miami for many years, I have no problem at all imagining this. (It can be quite a surreeaalistic place.)

"High-Tech Invitations Take Your Mind Off Road" By Bill Vlasic

Related, here:
(Tag:) Focus

(Image uploaded to Flickr by wiseacre photo)