Seth Godin on fear and reassurance

The way [of handling fear] that doesn’t work is reassurance. Reassurance doesn’t work because you need an infinite amount of it. Someone can give you reassurance for five minutes and then ten minutes later you go “Ooohh no no no.” So the number of times that you need to be told by someone you trust and respect that you’re going…

Podcast Recommendation: Econtalk with Alain Bertaud on Cities, Planning, and Order Without Design

This is a great episode of Econtalk. Bertaud uses labour markets as a lens for thinking about cities. Helpful examples of emergent order and the challenges (impossibility?) of planning in complex adaptive systems. Highlights (coming up) include: Discussion of the importance of culture and context in how cities develop; Bertaud’s explanation of his broader-than-usual understanding of labour markets; When planning…

Finishing lines (4) – two numbers

Here’s Seth Godin with some of the best advice I’ve heard for drawing (finishing) lines. It’s especially relevant for businesses. Q: I’m wondering about personal financing your company and where you draw the line if you’re funding it yourself? Rule number one is you never put up your house. Don’t laugh. This means you can’t sign a personal guarantee on…

Finishing lines (3)

In the probably-quite-unlikely event that your project will last longer than you do – or at least lasts longer than your desire or ability to keep it alive – you’ll need to have a personal finishing line in mind. When, ideally, will you let go of the project? What state do you hope to leave it (what needs to happen…

Finishing lines (2)

Recognising the possibility – or rather, the inevitability – of the death of your project will focus your mind: Given that we can’t do anything in the time available, what’s most important? Will people miss us when we’re gone? Will your project’s main legacy be something physical you’ll leave behind, or an idea or value, or a change in people?…

Values and vision: the acid test

Peter Drucker and Stephen Covey ask the same simple question to get at the heart of these: “What do you want to be remembered for?” Covey asks you to imagine your funeral: Who is there? What do you hope they’d say about you? Is this consistent with how you live now? Which goals and relationships matter, in the end? Which…

Interesting problems: a definition

A problem is interesting when… 1. It’s important to someone Presumably because solving it will make things better.* The problem won’t be important to everyone, so by definition it won’t be interesting to everyone either. The problem will be valuable in proportion to the number of people it is important to, and how intensely they feel its importance. This means…

Marcus Borg on unending conversation

Where does the drama of history get its material? From the “unending conversation”* that is going on at the point in history when we are born. Imagine you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell…

Champion, or Ways to Win (1)

There are a couple of types of champion: Noun 1 A person who has surpassed all rivals in a sporting contest or other competition [as modifier] ‘a champion hurdler’ [OED] This is the winner, the vanquisher of foes. We all enjoy being this kind of champion – as individuals (probably especially as individuals) and as part of a team (“We are…

Easy for you

I love obstacle courses. A lifetime ago I was very-part-time in the army, and I remember a morning on an obstacle course early on in our training. It was great – a little group of us blizted the course and left the others far behind. And as I swung across the final obstacle and crossed the finish line our sergeant-major…