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Stripe allows anyone to read anyone else’s email!


“So far, our experience has been that an ambiently open flow of information helps to provide people with the context they need.”

Fortune Article Featuring Me! :)


"Julka may sound like a case study in craziness, a modern-day Ben Franklin whose entrepreneurial energy and efforts cannot be easily matched. But while he exists at one extreme, he’s the prototype for what it takes to navigate one’s career these days."

Seneca: Moral Letters To Lucilius

  • Seneca lived in the year 40 in Italy and got exiled by the Emperor. The letters were written to a smart knight.

  • Three of the themes are a hatred of combat in the arena, the humane treatment of slaves, and the Santilli of marriage.

  • Letter one. Gather and save time. Man should value time and realize that he is dying Daily. Nothing is ours except time.

  • The man who craves more is poor.

  • Letter three. You should be able to share everything with your friends.

  • Letter four. On death. Make haste so as to improve the mind and enjoy the improved mind.

  • Think every day that you want to leave life contentedly.

  • He who makes a compact with poverty is rich

  • Work every day to get better.

  • Limiting of desire helps to cure fear

  • Knowledge is meant to be shared with friends

  • Withdraw into yourself as much as you can and associate with those who will help make a better you

  • He writes for future generations.

  • The wise man is self-sufficient, yet needs many things. But is okay not having them. As an example, the wise man needs as many friends as he can get. But he is happy with no friends.

  • Cherish some man of high character and keep him always with you as if he is watching over you. If you have the ability to revere  another, you too can be revered.

  • A wise man regards the reason for all of his actions, but not the results.

  • You should continuously pursue wisdom. It is important to scrupulously examine yourself from different perspectives.

  • Poverty is something to be desired. Study is helpful by living simply. Living simply is a voluntary poverty. While being rich changes from generation to generation, being in poverty remains the same. The goal is to behave consistently with nature.

  • Set aside several days with the scant items that you need. Then ask yourself "is this the condition that I feared?"

  • Need to train yourself in the imitation of poverty.

  • Become intimate with poverty so that fortune will not catch us off guard

  • The greatest pleasure is reducing the needs to the barest minimum.Anger should be avoided.

  • As long as you are not satisfied, you cannot satisfy others.

  • It means much not to be spoiled by riches.

  • In order to become rich, subtract from your desires.

  • Withdraw yourself from showy and depraved pursuits

  • The foundation of a sound mind is not to find joy in useless things. Games of chance. The weather.

  • Don't only learn from others. Create your own maxims that can last through posterity.

  • Understand a man you admire as a whole, and not just in little maxims.

  • Letter 40. On speech. Speak slowly and with ease and being comfortable. Don't talk quickly and be simple. Also, speech is not as important as character and living a life well lived. Speaking well requires daily practice.

  • Be careful of "free" things because they take up your most treasured resource - time, energy, and attention.

  • Do not worry about losing material things.

  • Only judge a man based on what nature cannot take away (eg. His soul and character)

  • To live for tomorrow is not to live. You should live for today and the present.

  • Treat your inferiors as you would your masters.

  • Do not learn superfluous things. There is not enough time on earth.

  • You would not waste your time on trifling things if you were in the middle of a war. But, no matter what, you might die the next day. So, you should make the most of your time and not waste your time.

  • Above all, drive pleasure out of yourself.

  • Death both precedes us and follows us. There is nothing to fear because you have already experienced it.

  • Folly follows us because we do not fight it enough. And we do not put sufficient trust in the wise.

  • How can we learn to struggle against our vices if we only invest our time in between time between our vices?

  • We are too readily satisfied with ourselves.

  • Man is joyful, happy, calm, and unshaken. If you are never downcast, if your mind is not filled with anticipation for what is yet to come,if your soul is on an even coarse, upright and content with itself, then you have attained greatness.

  • If you seek pleasure in all directions, then you are far short of wisdom and far short of joy.

  • I intend to live each day as if it is my entire life.

  • Do not allow yourself to grieve for a long. It is better to replace your friend rather than to mourn him.

  • Just because someone is younger than you doesn't mean that they'll necessarily die after you. It is better to spend time thinking that everything that could happen may happen today. If he would've thought about the person dying, then he wouldn't have mourned so much.

Mike Susi, LinkedIn's Global Wellness Manager

·  sitting is new smoking

·  squatting is opposite of sitting

·  6 tenets

o thoughts

o breathing

o hydration

o nutrition

o movement

o rest

·  mind-body

·  nothing destabilizes brain and nervous system more than blood sugar fluctuations; nothing stabilizes the brain and nervous system as well as healthy dietary fats

·  Hydration impacts mind

·  “be conscious being, and not bundle of emotional reaction.”

·  between stimulus and response is your space - space for your decision

·  breathing should be at stomach

·  hydration

o #1 trigger of daytime fatigue

·  Should not drink a lot around meals

o dilutes acids

·  75% of Americans are dehydrated

·  Nutrients

o To eat is necessity

o eat intelligently is an art

·  Macro nutrients

o protein

o carbs

o fats

o no eyes or eyes

o mood +

o mental acuity +

o energy +

o Pick, pull, catch, slaughter = food

o Not pasta or bread

·  Movement

o Dynamic movement

o squat, lunge, bend, push, pull, twist

o plains of motion

o need twist

o Sitting - shorten chest

§ bench-shorten chest

o balance each

§ 1 push

§ 2 pulls

o diversity of routines

o take things out of contest

o muscles are pumps

§ need to pump appropriately

o rest - 6-8 hours

o as dark and quiet as possible

o consistency - in high time and morning routine

o active rest - walking paths

Ray Dalio Principles


  • Whatever success Bridgewater has had has resulted from operating by principles

  • Process of the systematic pursuit of truth and excellence

  • Critical question: Is it true?

  • Solve problems systematically and make good decisions to achieve excellence

  • Having principles is essential for getting what you want out of life

  • Turn to principles when facing hard choices

  • Bad opinions are costly

  • Consensus is often wrong, therefore be independent thinker

  • Stress test opinions by having smartest people challenge them to find out where you are wrong

  • Learn by immersing yourself in something, which prompts question, then answer, prompting more questions, until conclusion

  • Limit bets to limited number of things you are confident

  • Come up with best independent opinion you can muster, then stress test by having smartest people you find challenge them

  • Find out what is true - especially mistakes and personal weaknesses - so that you can deal with them and they don’t stand in way

  • Greatest source of problems in society arises from people having wrong theories in their head

  • Incredible beauty to mistakes, because embedded in each mistake is a puzzle, and a gem that that refine a principle for the future

  • Wrestling with problems, mistakes, and weaknesses is training that strengthened him

  • Be totally truthful, especially about mistakes and weaknesses, led to rapid rate of improvement

  • Most people who are quick to come up with answers simply haven’t thought through all the ways they could be wrong

  • Best thing in life is meaningful work and meaningful relationships,  …. interesting, diverse life

  • Be wary of overconfidence

  • Deeply understand, accept, and work with reality

  • Without pursuing dreams, life is mundane

  • Truth is essential foundation for producing good outcomes

  • Evolution, getting better, is humanity’s most pervasive driving

  • Pursuing self-interest in harmony with laws of universe and contributing to evolution is universally rewarded

  • People who objectively reflect on themselves - esp. weaknesses, can figure out how to get around these weaknesses

  • Defensive, emotional reactions stand in way of this progress

  • Quality of lives depends on quality of decisions

  • Reality + dreams + determination = successful life

  • If you develop knee-jerk reaction to pain to reflect, will lead to rapid learning / evolving

  • pain + reflection = progress

  • Facing harsh reality is good

  • Worry about achieving goals is good

  • People who worry about looking good hide what they don’t know and hide their weaknesses, so they never learn how to properly deal with them and weaknesses remain impediments to future

  • What are your biggest weaknesses? Think honestly about them, write them down, look at them frequently.

  • Making decisions on first, second, and third-order consequences is good. (eg. exercising…) (1st order only is bad)

  • Holding yourself  accountable is good

  • More you operate in stretch zone, the more you adapt and the less character it takes to operate at higher level of performance

  • Goals → Machine -- 1) design 2) People → Outcomes

  • High-level thinking is perspective of looking down at your machine and yourself objectively

  • Biggest mistake people make is not seeing themselves and others objectively

  • 5 step process to getting what you want out of life:

    • Choose goals

    • Design a plan

    • Encounter problems

    • Diagnose problems

    • Design plan to get around problems

    • Do tasks

  • Treat life like a game

  • Most difficult step is setting goals - you can achieve anything

  • Identify and do not tolerate problems - most problems are potential improvemetns screaming at you

  • Some people are unable to distinguish big problems from small ones

  • Try to look at problems as a detached observer would

  • Be precise at specifying problems

  • You must be calm and logical and get at root cause when diagnosing problems

  • Recognizing and learning from one’s mistakes and the mistakes of others who affect outcomes is critical to eliminating problems

  • The importance of good work habits is vastly underrated

  • People with good work habits have to do lists … people with poor work habits randomly react to stuff that comes at them

  • Changing goals frequently is problem because achieving goal requires consistent effort

  • Great company = culture and people

  • Wants Bridgewater to be:

    • 1. Work for what they want and not what others want of them

    • Best independent opinions you can muster

    • Stress test opinions by having smartest people challenge them

    • Wary about overconfidence

    • Wrestly with reality,

  • Never say anything about a person you wouldn’t say to them directly

  • Don’t tolerate dishonesty

  • Be extremely open - “it’s simple - just don’t filter”

  • Most valuable comments are accurate criticisms

  • A common error is to say, “We didn’t handle this well” rather than “Harry didn’t handle this well.”

  • Be self-reflective and make sure your people are self-reflective

  • Open minded people seek to learn by asking questions, they realize that what they know is little in relation to what there is to know …. close minded people tell you what they know, even if they know hardly anything about the subject being discussed

  • Evaluate whether issue calls for debate (approximate equals), discussion (open minded exploration), or teaching (different levels of understanding)

  • Consider your own and others’ “believabilities”

  • Spend lavishly on the time and energy to “getting in synch” because it’s the best investment you can make

  • A small group (3-5) of sm art, conceptual people seeking the right answer in an open minded way will generally lead to the best answer

  • 2 people collaborating well will be about 3x as effective as each operating independently

  • Find people who share values

    • Drive for excellence, truth at all costs, high ownership, strong character (willing to do good but difficult things)

  • Hire people you want to share your life with

  • Connect the case to your principles

  • When problems occur, conduct discussion at 2 levels 1) the “machine” 2) the “case at hand”

  • Don’t try to be followed … try to be understood and to understand others

  • Dont control by giving orders … the greatest power and influence over intelligent people … constantly getting in synch

  • Hold people accountable (hold them accountable on daily basis)

  • Think like an owner and expect the people you work with to do the same

  • Constantly get in synch … because being out of synch leads to confused and inefficient decision making

  • Tool: daily updates for staying on top of what your people are doing

  • Evaluate employees with same rigor as job candidates: “Would I hire person knowing what I now know?”

  • Provide constant, clear, and honest feedback - and encourage discussion of feedback

  • Because we always seek excellence, more time is spent discussing weaknesses

  • Understand that training is really guiding the process of personal evolution

  • Recognize that behavior modification typically takes 18 months of constant reinforcement

  • Train people - don’t rehabilitate them … rehabilitation typically takes too long and is too improbable to do at Bridgwater

  • Much worse to keep someone in job not suited for than to fire them

  • Don’t tolerate badness

  • Have as many eyes looking for problems as possible

  • Be very specific about problems … name which advisoir isn’t doing well

  • P. 99 Issues log: anything that went wrong … frank assessment of who contributed to problem

  • Identify root causes - “missed the train because didn’t check schedule” vs “I am forgetful”

  • If machine isn’t producing outcomes you want - design is flawed or people/parts dropped in design are malfuntioning

  • It is your job as manager to get at truth and excellence, not to make people happy

  • People who are overly focused on tasks at hand and not on how machine is working don’t make sustainable progress

  • Beware of paying too much attention to what is coming at you and not enough to what responsibilities are and how machine is working to achieve goals

  • Don’t act before thinking. Take time to come up with game plan.

  • Managers should strive to hire, train, and oversee in way in which others can superbly handle as much as possible on their own

  • Mix of really smart people operating with great technology is optimal for organizational efficiency

  • Watch for department slip (eg. support function, HR, mistaking its responsibility for what it should be supporting)

  • Watch out for consultant addiction

  • Tool: procedures manual

  • Tool: Check lists

  • Double-do critical areas (eg. separate groups doing same work in finance)

  • No sense in laws without policeman (auditor)

  • Never make important decision without asking 3 believable people

  • Don’t be perfectionist because they spend too much time on little differences at margins at expense of big, important things

  • Think about appropriate time to make decision in light of marginal gains by acquiring additional information versus marginal cost of postponing decision

  • Watch out for unproductively identifying possibilities without assigning probabilities because it screws up prioritization

How I got my first Valley-Based product Management Job in 5 Weeks by Nitin Julka

5 love languages The 5 Love Languages are: Words of Affirmation Acts of Service Quality Time Gifts Physical Touch Languages of Love depend on how you were raised. Most people were raised with one or two languages, and then marry someone who has other languages. The key is to know your language of love, communicate it, and be aware of your partner’s language of love. Then, speak in your partner’s language of love on an ongoing basis for a long period of time (eg. > 6 months) with no expectation in return. The problem with the "in love experience" is that it is totally unrealistic. When falling in love, everything is about serving your partner. You allow your world to revolve around your partner- often at the expense of your other responsibilities and relationships. Average in-love experience lasts around 2 years. It is excessive and unrealistic. You need to learn the languages of love to survive a relationship in the real world. 1) words of appreciation. Try noticing and complimenting things that your partner does, even if those things are already expected and within their responsibility. Encourage and be positive to people for doing what they should be doing anyway. Ideas: Compliments Compliment your spouse daily without any expectation of anything in return Encouragement Kindness Kindness is the way you say things. You can even express disappointment in an honest and kind away. "I am disappointed that you didn't help me this evening." Babbling brook (someone who talks a lot) and Dead Sea (someone who only listens). Advice...track feelings and limit to 3 things… 2) Quality time Talking to each other...and doing activities together. Focused, uninterrupted. Engage in the other person's interests 3) Acts of service. changing diapers, taking out garbage, cooking, etc Even if it is already expected and within their responsibility, it's still an act of love and service 4) Receiving gifts. Gift giving transcends cultures Note: You can't make demands and love. You can only make requests. It should always be a request and not a demand. With criticism and demands- when people finally do things, it will not be out of love- just acquiescence and avoidance for more nagging. Make requests out of love. Criticism is an ineffective way of describing what is emotionally important to you in the realm of love 5) Physical touch Physical affection of any kind- holding hands, hand on a shoulder, ruffling hair, hugs, kisses, etc. Ways to discover your love language are to See when you criticize what love language are you seeking Picture the ideal mate and to see what's most prominent in your mind about that person- what do they do/say? Check your spouse’s "love tank" three times a week to gauge how loved they're feeling and how well you're communicating in their love language. Have them rate it from 0- empty to 10- full. If your spouse is at 10 every day then you know that you're doing good job. Try different love languages each week and see which gets the most response from your partner The expression of love in your spouse’s love language unconditionally over the long term is the key to success
"Apply everything you know about everything to solve every problem you come across"

Phenomenal podcast from a serial CTO (and person I quoted for the subject line):



Why BitCoin Matters



Justin Rosenstein from Asana



I LOVE Asana for work project management



The Questions that Will Save Your Relationship



BulletProof Exec: Using your Diet to Optimize Performance






BulletProof Skeptics:



Updated Presentation on Personal Productivity by Nitin Julka



Have Strong Opinions, Weakly Held



NRA Calls for Teachers to Keep Loaded Guns Pointed at Class for Entire Day



The Age of the Product Manager



Why it is Hard to Make Friends > 30



Paxata makes Data Prep Easy



Product Managers: Who are these Mini-CEOs and What Do They Do?



Kleiner Perkins adds Year-Long Product Manager Track



David Kadavy: Design for Hackers



Inspired by Marty Cagan, Lean Analytics by Benjamin Yoskovitz, and Lean Startup by Eric Ries

[My notes are pasted at the bottom...]


Into the Night with Gary Kasporav and Peter Thiel



AARRR Metrics



Felton Reports



Mentor/Investor Whip Lash



Amazon Shareholder Letters



What is Amazon’s Approach to Product Management and Product Development … (start with the Press Release)



What does a Great Product Manager do at a Tech Startup Day to Day?



My RSS Reader Replacement … e-mail newsletters and Newsblur



Favorite E-mail Newsletters:











https://delicious.com/bencasnocha (I used http://feedburner.com to create my own feed)


The Internet by Nitin Julka (Nov 9, 1995)



The Steve Jobs E-mail that Show how to Win a Hard-Nosed Negotiation



Expose Yourself to Bulk, Positive Randomness



Derek Sivers notes on Anti-Fragile



“Fake it until you make it”


(http://www.appstore.turboscanapp.com) is an iPhone app that converts your iPhone into a scanner! (It takes 1 to 3 pictures, flattens the image, trims the edges, and allows you to e-mail the image as a PDF.) Great for scanning reports, contracts, and receipts.

(http://mint.comtracks personal budgets, capital expenditures (ie. goals), and transactions. You can also set up "rules" to automatically categorize transactions [while hovering over a transaction, click "edit details," then "rules."] It also integrates with your bank, credit card, and investment accounts. This product has become a necessity post-baby.

Internet Trends 
(http://www.kpcb.com/insights/2012-internet-trends-updateGreat slides from Kleiner Perkins. I liked slides 22 to 57 on re-imagining computing, UI, knowledge, etc. 

Rare Video of Woz from 1984 talking about computing
Fantastic Articles on Political Technology
When to Obsessively Focus and when to Court Serendipity
Be Around People who Give You More Energy
Bob Sutton wrote a book, Good Boss, Bad Boss (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Boss-Bad-Best-Learn/dp/0446556076) and cited Rob Cross (http://www.robcross.org/). He mentioned this great paper to me (
http://www.robcross.org/pdf/roundtable/energy_and_innovation.pdf). Here is an excerpt from this book:
Bring on the Energizers
...They wanted to identify what kinds of employees were top performers and brought out the best in others.  They hypothesized that people who were renowned for having expertise, spreading technical knowledge, and best positioned to gather and weave together information from others would be seen as top performers.  At a professional services firm they were studying, an executive argued they were missing something:
“We have some of the brightest consultants in the world here. But some are more successful than others, and it has much more to do with what I call buzz than slight differences in IQ. Our high performers create enthusiasm for things….. They generate energy, and even though this is intangible it generates client sales and follow-on work as well as gets other people here engaged in and supportive of what they are doing.”

Inspired by this insight, they added a simple question to their survey: “People can affect the energy and enthusiasm we have at work in various ways. Interactions with some people can leave you feeling drained while others can leave you feeling enthused about possibilities. When you interact with each person below, how does it typically affect your energy level?”  The possible answers were: 1 = de-energizing; 2 = no effect/neutral; or 3 = energizing.  The colleagues in their team or business were then listed, and each was rated by every coworker. 
Rob and his fellow researchers were stunned by how strongly this “energy” question predicted performance evaluations and promotions, and whether people stayed with or left an organization.  They also found that the most successful groups, projects, and organizations had networks filled with interconnected energizers. Cross and his colleagues have since dug into the kinds of people who are energizers and why they succeed.  “Energizers” aren’t necessarily charismatic and bubbly; on the surface, many are understated and rather shy.  But all create energy via optimism about the possibilities ahead, fully engaging the person right in front of them right now, valuing others’ ideas, and helping people feel as if they are making progress. 
...Huggy, an astute observer, pointed out how closely Lenny listened, how he saw possible value in every person and every idea and – unlike the two of us – rarely interrupted.  Huggy and I are just two of Lenny’s fans; he has the same energizing effect on everyone who knows him. 

On Parenthood

Startup of You

Learn Coding

“The way people copy each other's linguistic style reveals their pecking order”


Fantastic post about Amazon, Google, Products, and Platforms

What's the Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing your own psychology.

The New Humanism

Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories:

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.

Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories:

Passion Circle by Nitin Julka

The Best Ways to Learn Things: A Tutor

DIY Marriage Counseling

How To Be A High School Superstar.

Myth of the "Passion Trap:"

The meaning of Wisdom...And Technology
This pause, this form of framing, is harder than ever to achieve nowadays, because so many of our modern technologies produce "personal" devices that collapse time and manufacture urgency -- faster computers, phones that make us perpetually reachable, twitters of constant thoughts, webs of interaction that vastly increase common knowledge, yet somehow deprive us of that apprenticed learning that leads to wisdom; this digital haze obscures our view of the future and keeps our focus ever more relentlessly on the present, with ever more insistence on speed as a virtue in and of itself.

how to express concerns in a relationship by Nitin Julka

How to improve education in America

how will you measure your life?

Treat your mind as a private garden

the harm of incentives, creativity, and people
This video does an excellent job of showing the pitfalls of incentive programs and what really motivates people - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&feature=player_embedded . 

 1993 book, Punished by Rewards, on the harm of praise - http://www.amazon.com/Punished-Rewards-Trouble-Incentive-Praise/dp/0618001816

 myers-briggs and personality differences -  useful guideline understanding people. This book is a MUST READ - http://www.amazon.com/Please-Understand-Me-Character-Temperament/dp/0960695400 

Personality differences - quick summary
I (introverted) - you gain energy by being alone ; think by being alone
vs. E (extroverted) - you gain energy by being around people ; think by talking issues through

N (intuitive) - you are forward looking ; can make assumptions and see the future
vs. S (sensing) - you like to gather all the data prior to making a decision

T (thinking) - you are logical ; use logic to draw conclusions and make judgments
vs. F (feeling) - you make decisions based on how it may affect the people around you

J (judging) - you like to have a check list ; a plan ; a schedule
vs. P (perceiving) - plans are flexible ; if you are in the moment and feeling the flow, you're going with your gut

Khan Academy - Learn about everything

Great Podcast on Managing Energy and Productivity

The lazy CEO’s 10-step
 guide to crowdsourcing every business task

Phenomenal article on the future + psychology

how to have better dinner conversations

Video on personal branding/career/passion


Centered leadership, a leadership model developed by McKinsey over the past five years, comprises five broad dimensions: meaning, or finding your strengths and putting them to work in the service of a purpose that inspires you; positive framing, or adopting a more constructive way to view your world and handle situations, even very difficult ones; connecting, or building stronger support networks and increasing your sense of belonging; engaging, or crossing the line to pursue opportunities you might avoid because of inherent risks or personal fears; and managing energy, or practicing ways to sustain and renew your energy.

Chile is the next tech entrepreneur destination!

3 minute personality test

Incompetent people don't have a clue


There are many incompetent people in the world. Dr. David A. Dunning is haunted by the fear that he might be one of them.

Dunning, a professor of psychology at Cornell, worries about this because, according to his research, most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent.

On the contrary. People who do things badly, Dunning has found in studies conducted with a graduate student, Justin Kruger, are usually supremely confident of their abilities -- more confident, in fact, than people who do things well.

``I began to think that there were probably lots of things that I was bad at, and I didn't know it,'' Dunning said.

One reason that the ignorant also tend to be the blissfully self-assured, the researchers believe, is that the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence. 

Charter Cities - excellent article


Romer, an economist, is a leading expert on the dynamics of economic growth, and he sees the tale of Hong Kong not merely as a historical irony, but the answer to one of the knottier problems of our time: the great global chasm between rich and poor. And to close that gap, he argues that the world needs not one but a hundred Hong Kongs, what he calls “charter cities.” In his vision these would comprise a global archipelago of economic powerhouse city-states, located in the world’s poor nations but built and run by wealthy ones.

He sees charter cities as beachheads where laws and institutions and habits that have worked in the wealthy world can take root, and as civic laboratories where new ways of doing business and hybrids of local and imported customs can emerge. Unemployed workers and frustrated entrepreneurs from the host country would flock there for the opportunities; international firms would be drawn by the combination of First World stability and cheap labor. And from these nodes, money and expertise, laws and norms would spread throughout the rest of the country and, potentially, the developing world. Ultimately, their work done, the cities would revert to local control.

13 skills every IT pro should know

If you have any IT people or colleagues in your organization, you should definitely send them this article. It is brilliant.

I also recently read the book, "Adventures of an IT Leader." 

Again, IT is such a critical resource in every organization and I believe every manager can deepen their IT understanding to better manage their organization. http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Leader-Robert-D-Austin/dp/142214660X

awesome slide show on netflix culture/values



slide 28 is awesome.
slide 53 is awesome
slide 94 if fascinating
slide 115 is great

awesome article on memory and learning



However, this technique never caught on. The spacing effect is "one of the most remarkable phenomena to emerge from laboratory research on learning," the psychologist Frank Dempster wrote in 1988, at the beginning of a typically sad encomium published in American Psychologist under the title "The Spacing Effect: A Case Study in the Failure to Apply the Results of Psychological Research."


Instead, Wozniak has ridden SuperMemo into uncharted regions of self-experimentation. In 1999, he started making a detailed record of his hours of sleep, and now he's working to correlate that data with his daily performance on study repetitions. Psychologists have long believed there's a correlation between sleep and memory, but no mathematical law has been discovered. Wozniak has also invented a way to apply his learning system to his intake of unstructured information from books and articles, winnowing written material down to the type of discrete chunks that can be memorized, and then scheduling them for efficient learning. He selects a short section of what he's reading and copies it into the SuperMemo application, which predicts when he'll want to read it again so it sticks in his mind. He cuts and pastes completely unread material into the system, assigning it a priority. SuperMemo shuffles all his potential knowledge into a queue and presents it to him on a study screen when the time is right. Wozniak can look at a graph of what he's got lined up to learn and adjust the priority rankings if his goals change.

These techniques are designed to overcome steep learning curves through automated steps, like stairs on a hill. He calls it incremental reading, and it has come to dominate his intellectual life. Wozniak no longer wastes time worrying that he hasn't gotten to some article he wants to read; once it's loaded into the system, he trusts his algorithm to apportion it to his consciousness at the appropriate time.

The appropriate time, that is, for him. Having turned over his mental life to a computerized system, he refuses to be pushed around by random inputs and requests. Naturally, this can be annoying to people whose messages tend to sift to the bottom. "After four months," Biedalak says sadly, "you sometimes get a reply to some sentence in an email that has been scrambled in his incremental reading process."


His advice was straightforward yet strangely terrible: You must clarify your goals, gain knowledge through spaced repetition, preserve health, work steadily, minimize stress, refuse interruption, and never resist sleep when tired. This should lead to radically improved intelligence and creativity. The only cost: turning your back on every convention of social life.

Productivity Habits by Nitin Julka


Link References:

Inbox 0 Video
New York Times on Multitasking
Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Things
Ben Casnocha
Productivity Zen
Seth Godin
Brazen Careerist on Consistency and Follow Through

Best Video Ever on Client Vendor Relationships


In Praise of Primitive Finance and... Making Banking Boring

My finance friends may not agree with these views...but FYI

"In Praise of Primitive Finance" by Amar Bhide

"Making Banking Boring" by Paul Krugman

Greatest Product Demo Ever


Innovate or Die 


76. Projects "emerge." Recall "spontaneous discovery process," our item #3. Most projects invent themselves, rather than being the product of a formal planning process; and their growth into something big is also mostly organic. An effective culture of innovation is largely ad hoc—which drives many senior managers crazy. If they can't "get it," then they don't belong.

77. Leadership is on the fly. Things change rapidly. Teams are born and teams die. Yesterday's leader is today's follower—and vice versa. Developing "on the fly" leadership skills is no walk in the park. First, it must be perceived as a describable and learnable skill. (Hint: Women are better at this than men. Arguably, much better.)

78. Plan-less-ness. If your organization chart "makes sense," then you probably don't have an innovative enterprise. Adhocracy requires letting go of linearity assumptions.

Carnival on Leadership Development

This post packs in a huge amount of info about leadership development into a wonderful, concise blog post - with many links.

Hilarious Video


I Take Notes like some people take drugs


I take notes like some people take drugs.

There is an eight-foot stretch of shelves in my house containing nothing but full notebooks.

Some would call this hypergraphia (Dostoevsky was a member of this club), but I trust the weakest pen more than the strongest memory, and note taking is—in my experience—one of the most important skills for converting excessive information into precise action and follow-up.

Simple but effective note taking enables me to:

-Review book highlights in less than 10 minutes

-Connect scattered notes on a single theme in 10 minutes that would otherwise require dozens of hours

-Contact and connect mentors with relevant questions and help I can offer

-Impose structure on information for increased retention and recall

I fashion myself a note-taking geek of the first class. How dare I self-appoint myself into this priesthood? Relax, script kiddies. I'm using a much broader definition of "geek," this one borrowed from "Understanding Geeks" in the current issue of Inc. Magazine (that said, I was recently on Geekbrief.tv, birthplace of the ubercool iYule.tv):

"Someone with an intense curiosity about a specific subject. Not limited to tech–there are also gaming geeks, music geeks, etc."

Here are a few recommendations from inside the world of a compulsive note taker, including both the macro (books and notepad principles) and micro (page features and formatting):

Very interesting background of the person behind the Google Phone:

There was also this valuable tid bit:
"Today Silicon Valley is full of 'network-effect entrepreneurs,' but Andy represents a generation that is equally comfortable with a soldering gun, writing software programs or designing a business," said Steve Perlman, another former Apple engineer who was a co-founder of WebTV and a handful of other technology-oriented companies.

The tech industry needs more of these people who are willing to bridge the divide between technology and business

Semantic Web as next wave of search

I have been talking about the semantic web for at least a year now...
It is nice to see that it is getting some attention in the mainstream press:
My google friend does not think it will ever happen. He thinks the next wave of search will be based on natural language processing:

For more info on the semantic web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_web

E-mail Management


8:00 - "It's good to think about all your available time and effort representing a box. Every kind of task that you add to that is like a block. Big tasks are big blocks and little tasks are little blocks. No matter how you cut them up, there are only so many cubic inches. It is all about opportunity cost. Every time you put a crap block in your box…that means a really cool block doesn't get in there." 

Management Links

5. Positive
Success comes when we focus on striving toward positive outcomes, rather than avoiding negative outcomes. Fortunately, most people understand this intuitively, and only about 10-15% of the goals set by most people are avoidance goals such giving up smoking or avoiding alcohol. And that's a good thing, because those with many avoidance goals tend to less happy, less satisfied with life, and more anxious than others. Positive goals put us in a positive state of mind, and are mentally associated with positive memories and experiences, whereas avoidance goals are typically associated with memories of failures and accidents.
#15. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!
For much of my adult life I've been shackled by fear. I've been afraid to try new things, afraid to meet new people, afraid of doing anything that might lead to failure. This fear confined me to a narrow comfort zone. Recently, however, I made a single small change that has helped me to overcome my fear, and allowed me to get more out of life...
I made a resolution. I decided that instead of saying "no" to things because I was afraid of them, I would "just say yes". That became my working motto: "Just say yes". Any time anyone asked me to do something, I agreed to do it (as long as it wasn't illegal and didn't violate my own personal code of conduct). In the past six months, I've put this philosophy into practice in scores of little ways. But the power of "yes" has made larger changes to my life, too, has exposed me to things I never would have done before.
#2 Delegate responsibility and then trust your people. Micro-managers are never appreciated. Once you've trained someone to handle a task, allow them to handle it without interference. Different people have different approaches, and their way of doing something may be just as efficient as the way you would do it, so before you step in and force your way on them, give an honest evaluation to their method, and if you find theirs works just as well, even if it's different from yours, let them be. Constantly correcting them undercuts their confidence and does not allow them to exercise their own style.
#4 Clone yourself - many times. Once you've identified the best of the best, teach them your job. That's right. Teach them to be you. Most bad bosses are under the (mistaken) impression that there is something unique that makes them indispensable. The truth is, the best boss trusts his or her staff and re-creates himself many times over so that in case of emergencies in his absence the Good Boss has excellent help that can be utterly relied upon. If you happen to be an entrepreneur/owner, cloning yourself means that you don't need to go to work as much, freeing you to do as you please and knowing your business is earning as much today without you there as it would if you had to go there and slave away. And remember, too, that you're creating another good boss!
#11 Share your goals with your employees. Tell them what makes you happy and ask them directly to help you reach your goals. "Hidden agendas" in a leader are damaging to morale because they create confusion in those who work for you. Tell them things like "I like to hear praises from our customers about you", "I do not like to hear complaints from other teams about us", "My goal is to win the [best team award] next year", etc. etc.. Trust that your employees are very much like you: They love to feel helpful and accomplished. Your job is tell them how to achieve those feelings.
Make meetings productive. Every study of the executive workday has found that even junior executives and professionals are with other people -- that is, in a meeting of some sort -- more than half of every business day. Making a meeting productive takes a good deal of self-discipline. It requires that executives determine what kind of meeting is appropriate and then stick to that format. It's also necessary to terminate the meeting as soon as its specific purpose has been accomplished. Good executives don't raise another matter for discussion. They sum up and adjourn.
I'm going to throw in one final, bonus practice. This one's so important that I'll elevate it to a rule:
  • Listen first, speak last.


My faves:
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."—Charles Darwin

"We have a 'strategic' plan. It's called doing things."—Herb Kelleher, founder, Southwest Airlines

Awesome, awesome article on leadership

Click on "Download this!"

Daily Routines


"Years ago when Seinfeld was a new television show, Jerry Seinfeld was still a touring comic. At the time, I was hanging around clubs doing open mic nights and trying to learn the ropes. One night I was in the club where Seinfeld was working, and before he went on stage, I saw my chance. I had to ask Seinfeld if he had any  tips for a young comic. What he told me was something that would benefit me a lifetime...

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself - even when you don't feel like it.

He then revealed a unique calendar system he was using pressure himself to write.

Here's how it worked.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."

"Don't break the chain." He said again for emphasis.

Over the years I've used his technique in many different areas. I've used it for exercise, to learn programming, to learn network administration, to build successful websites and build successful businesses.

It works because it isn't the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard "inch by inch anything's a cinch." Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day.

Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don't break the chain, you'll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn't. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides "compounding interest."

Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.

I've often said I'd rather have someone who will take action - even if small - every day as opposed to someone who swings hard once or twice a week. Seinfeld understands that daily action yields greater benefits than sitting down and trying to knock out 1000 jokes in one day.

Think for a moment about what action would make the most profound impact on your life if you worked it every day. That is the action I recommend you put on your Seinfeld calendar. Start today and earn your big red X. And from here on out...

Don't break the chain!"

Power of Yes

I love the section about just saying "yes" to anything anyone asks you. 


I like making myself do things every day


2. If you find yourself putting off a task that you try to do several times a week, try doing it EVERY day, instead. When I was planning my blog, I envisioned posting two or three times a week. Then Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy convinced me that no, I needed to post every day. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, I think it's easier to do it every day (well, except Sundays) than fewer times each week. There's no dithering, there's no juggling. I know I have to post, so I do. If you're finding it hard to go for a walk four times a week, try going every day.

Being ranked 37th in the world in warcraft may have had its upsides


CHILDREN who spend hours playing computer games may actually be doing themselves some good, according to a controversial three-year university study published yesterday.

Online role-playing games - where players compete against other, unseen players - may give young people vital lessons in learning about other races, the opposite sex and those with disabilities.

Researchers from Brunel University spent three years studying 13-16-year-olds who play a leading web-based game.

And far from becoming pale prisoners of their own bedrooms, regular players were found to enhance rather than restrict their imagination, the study found. 



The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it. 

Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.
Alan Lakein

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.
Thomas Jefferson

If you want to make good use of your time, you've got to know what's most important and then give it all you've got.
Lee Iacocca

Never let yesterday use up today.
Richard H. Nelson

You will never "find" time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
Charles Bruxton

Phenomenal speech by buffet disciple, Charlie Munger

Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It's not something you do just to advance in life. As a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it means that you are hooked for lifetime learning. And without lifetime learning, you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You're going to advance in life by what you learn after you leave here. 

I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you... 

Another thing I think should be avoided is extremely intense ideology because it cabbages up one's mind. You see it a lot with T.V. preachers, but it can also happen with political ideology. When you're young it's easy to drift into loyalties and when you announce that you're a loyal member and you start shouting the orthodox ideology out, what you're doing is pounding it in, pounding it in, and you're gradually ruining your mind. So you want to be very, very careful of this ideology... 

Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge and self-pity are disastrous modes of thoughts. Self-pity gets fairly close to paranoia, and paranoia is one of the very hardest things to reverse. You do not want to drift into self-pity. It's a ridiculous way to behave and when you avoid it, you get a great advantage over everybody else or almost everybody else because self-pity is a standard condition, and yet you can train yourself out of it. 

You do not want to be in a perverse incentive system that's causing you to behave more and more foolishly or worse and worse - incentives are too powerful a control over human cognition or human behavior...

You particularly want to avoid working under somebody you really don't admire and don't want to be like. We're all subject to control to some extent by authority figures, particularly authority figures that are rewarding us. 

You can say, who wants to go through life anticipating trouble? Well I did. All my life I've gone through life anticipating trouble. And here I am, going along in my 84th year and like Epectitus, I've had a favored life. It didn't make me unhappy to anticipate trouble all the time and be ready to perform adequately if trouble came. It didn't hurt me at all. In fact it helped me. 

Excellent speech by Fiorina

This lecture covers everything.

1) Leadership
2) The importance of stakeholders besides investors in the business community
3) The reasons why business leaders move to the non-profit sector (but not much the other way around) 
4) Change management for all types of institutions - government; private; non-profit
5) The lack of customer focus for most technology companies.

I highly recommend listening to all of this. The opening remarks are a bit over the top, and the first question is long-winded and silly, but other than that, the podcast is excellent. 


Geeks and nerds

Importance of connecting, not networking

Treadmill under desks

For those of you who have seen me talk on the phone, you know that I furiously walk back and forth while talking. According to this article that Samir sent me, 

"Activity helps increase energy and can improve concentration and focus -- important attributes for the office.

In theory, NEAT could also help reduce office stress, since numerous studies show the stress-reduction benefits of walking."