Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kauffman Foundation: "Will it be you?"

I love inspiring ads like this (and this) - airing at the Superbowl (via Paul Kedrosky):

Saturday, January 21, 2012

NPR: "The Secret Document That Transformed China"

Fascinating and inspired look by NPR at how markets were unleashed from the ground up in rural China - but also speaks to how frightening, brave but also desperate these villagers were (via HN):

Despite the risks, they decided they had to try this experiment — and to write it down as a formal contract, so everyone would be bound to it. By the light of an oil lamp, Yen Hongchang wrote out the contract.

The farmers agreed to divide up the land among the families. Each family agreed to turn over some of what they grew to the government, and to the collective. And, crucially, the farmers agreed that families that grew enough food would get to keep some for themselves.

The contract also recognized the risks the farmers were taking. If any of the farmers were sent to prison or executed, it said, the others in the group would care for their children until age 18. [...]

It was the same land, the same tools and the same people. Yet just by changing the economic rules — by saying, you get to keep some of what you grow — everything changed.

At the end of the season, they had an enormous harvest: more, Yen Hongchang says, than in the previous five years combined.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Every presentation, ever.

via swissmiss - it's funny if you don't burst out weeping if you attend or do a lot of presentations:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A few tips on making commitments, and keeping them

I don't do New Year's resolutions but I've found that this time of the year is useful in looking back at priorities and reassessing. Two recent articles bring up similar ideas on how to make sure you keep your New Year's resolutions, if you do them or any resolutions for that matter. First a look at why we fail from John Tierney (NYT):

They’ll fail because they’ll eventually run out of willpower, which social scientists no longer regard as simply a metaphor. They’ve recently reported that willpower is a real form of mental energy, powered by glucose in the bloodstream, which is used up as you exert self-control.
One solution? Use your willpower less often:
The study, led by Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of Chicago, showed that the people with the best self-control, paradoxically, are the ones who use their willpower less often. Instead of fending off one urge after another, these people set up their lives to minimize temptations. They play offense, not defense, using their willpower in advance so that they avoid crises, conserve their energy and outsource as much self-control as they can.
More at Wired.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Smile. You'll be happy you did.

The Gap Between Productivity and Failure

Why productivity enhancements don't work (Seth Godin) -

Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren't going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren't that needed.

You don't need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.