This is a weird little personal statistic, but I’ve been in about 20 conversations over the last six months where someone mentioned Apple (the company) and tried to explain their success, and basically got some of it right, but otherwise did it entirely wrong. I’m talking about 20 different types of people, from different parts of America, doing different jobs and leading different lives … and all perceiving Apple differently in terms of what makes it literally print cash. FYI: it’s probably going to become a trillion-dollar company in the next 24 months. That’s insane.
I don’t understand why it’s so complicated for people to understand the success of Apple, so I attempted to lay it out briefly here. Read more
Here’s a rabbit hole I went down yesterday:
- Read this article (in print, not online because I’m old school!) about Bosnian war criminals living in the U.S. and how they might be deported.
- Asked my wife, “Wait, why are we deporting people for something that happened on foreign soil 20 years ago?”
- We got into a deep discussion about that. (I agree there should be no statue of limitations on genocide, if you’re wondering about my personal morality.)
- I walked over to the dishwasher as she was going to take a shower, and I casually tossed out, “Hey, do you know why Argentina was so accepting of Nazis?”
- She didn’t really, so I Googled that.
- That led me here.
- I started reading about a bunch of terrible Nazi shit, most notably Mengele (who did escape and eventually died on a Brazilian beach).
- My wife’s still in the shower, and I’m all like, “Whoa, so what are the origins of evil?”
- Rabbit Hole No. 2 commenced.
I’m pretty interested in evil. I don’t think it’s weird to say that; most of the notable TV characters of the past decade are, in fact, anti-heroes. We all seem pretty fascinated with bad people at a pop culture level.
Also, I’m inclined to personally think (and I mean, I’m no scientist or biologist) that no one is fundamentally born evil, which means that “evil” is inherently a journey to a destination, which theoretically means anyone can go on it, which brings us back to the idea of why Breaking Bad was such a good show.
So, why are people evil? Read more
Here’s The New York Times being “goofy” and comparing the number of companies run by guys named John (just the name John) to the number of companies run by women at all. It’s maybe a little bit awkward at parts, but this chart is something else:
So … 5.3% of the S&P 1500 is run by someone named John (a popular name, but hardly the only thing you can name a male baby) whereas 4.1% of the S&P 1500 is run by a woman at all (all names, not just “Cathy” or something). That’s a miserable train wreck, eh? Read more
This is kind of interesting.
MIT has this project called “ULab,” which is designed to transform higher education. That’s a pretty complex topic to tackle, because a lot of the problems with higher education come from the context of how the previous generation (the parents) defined the purpose of higher education for the current generation experiencing it (the students), and that’s a big chunk to bite off. (For example, a lot of parents tell their kids that college is about getting a job ultimately; there’s really no evidence that it’s been about that for 15-20 years, if not more. A lot of parents tell their kids it’s about “a learning experience,” but that’s extremely vague and fucking off in class on Tinder can be construed as “a learning experience too.”)
Anyway, I digress. ULab wrote a post on Huffington Post about some of their early findings and one section stands out as pretty intriguing. Read more
It’s been snowing/freezing raining in “The Metroplex” of Dallas-Fort Worth since basically about Tuesday, so this weekend wasn’t necessarily the best for outdoor pursuits or anything. (The Cowtown Marathon was cancelled, for shame.) I did some reorganization on Saturday (i.e. cleaned the house) and then figured, “Well, I should re-org my office too” (on a Saturday at 4pm). My wife and I went down there, re-org’ed my desk space and all that, and then when to get food/drinks. Still don’t really have friends in Ft. Worth, so we were just chilling at this bar off downtown talking about a random assortment of shit (as people are wanton to do), and an interesting question came up as we were leaving. Read more
- The light bulb (Edison) was introduced in 1879; we didn’t see major productivity gains from it until the 1920s.
- Computers existed in the 1950s and 1960s, but we didn’t see major usage until the 1980s.
- The Internet even theoretically existed in the 1960s, but we didn’t see it widespread until the 1990s.
People like to think that technology moves fast and disrupts everything, but in reality it’s a pretty slow arc a lot of the time. The reason is pretty logical: when something new appears, we (a) probably don’t know exactly what to do with it and (b) our friends and like-minded peers probably aren’t using it yet, so it can feel a little weird. (For example, when the Prius was first a thing, having a Prius was more likely to get you called “granola” by your friends than for your friends to embrace what you were trying to do. Now I know hard-driving CEOs who drive a Prius. The arc takes time.)
This is all detailed in this article and this book, and it comes down to basically one thing: if you want your product or technology to take off, you need to have a simple, elegant interface.