The essential quality of a boogie man

He doesn’t exist.

This is what makes him the perfect creator of fear. An enemy with no defects, an affront for which there is no defense.

Critics and skeptics can bring up the boogie man because they know there is no acceptable response.

Except for one.

The boogie man doesn’t exist. That’s why he’s such an effective example, and why you should ignore him. As soon as you look him in the eye, he vanishes.

Reblogged from: here


Patient capital: How long is the long run?

If you invest in an education, you expect it to pay off in a decade.

Invest in a buy and hold investment, and you probably expect a return within a year.

Day trade bitcoin and you might be measuring your return over the course of an hour.

if you wanted to make a long-term impact on a growing country like India, what would you do?

One choice is to invest in the endless emergency of poverty, and help people who need help right this second. This is important and lifesaving work.

Another choice is to put some money into a fast-growing company that’s about to go public.

And a third option is to invest in an organization that’s bringing off-grid solar to isolated villages.

In the third case, it’s possible that your investment won’t pay off for twenty years. But during those two decades, you’ll notice that a little energy leads to enough productivity to create demand and income that can pay for a little more energy. Home by home, village by village, your small investment begins to compound, because it changes the culture and the tools and the expectations that people have about what’s next.

A day trader would never take this bet. But a day trader rarely makes an impact.

Reblogged from: here


Bad Choices

If made freely, a choice feels like the right thing at the time.

But we realize it was a mistake later, once the moment passes. We don’t know now what we learned in the future.

Bad choices can be caused by:

  • Poor information
  • Shoddy analysis (including cognitive glitches and reliance on sunk costs)
  • Peer pressure
  • Manipulation
  • Hustle
  • Power imbalance
  • Focus on the short run
  • Indoctrination
  • Superstition
  • Unexamined biases

Take a look: each of these is the product of outside forces and can be unlearned and insulated against. The good news is that we can get better at our choices.

Reblogged from: here


The absurdity of a scrabble hierarchy

People who are very good at Scrabble are not more kind, better judges of character, more facile with soft skills, better long-term thinkers, more fun at parties or much of anything except good at Scrabble.

Of course we don’t decide on who should have positions of authority or who should be trusted based on their skill at Scrabble. It’s simply a game.

Perhaps the same could be true for beauty, celebrity or the acquisition of wealth.

Reblogged from: here


Getting the joke

“But why is this important?”

When we encounter a fashion, a film or some other cultural artifact that the critical establishment has celebrated, it’s easy to not understand it.

Taste, after all, is unevenly distributed.

But you don’t have to like something to understand why someone else thought it was important.

To move the culture forward, we need to have the empathy to imagine what others are seeing, liking and talking about.

Once you get the joke, you don’t have to laugh at it, but it definitely makes it easier for you to tell the next one.

Reblogged from: here


“Is that the most important thing?”

If you want to have an argument, to raise tempers or to distract, the easiest thing to do is start bringing up things that are easy to argue about.

Not the things that are important.

Because the important things require nuance, patience and understanding. They require an understanding of goals, of the way the world works and our mutual respect.

If someone keeps coming back to an irrelevant, urgent or provocative point instead, they’re signaling that they’d rather not talk about the important thing.

Which is precisely what we need to talk about.

Reblogged from: here


Time to get back to magic

Most of the time, the phrase is, “it’s time to get back to work.”

This means it’s time to stop being creative, stop dancing with possibility, stop acquiring new insights and inspiration–and go back to the measurable grind instead.

Maybe we’d be better off saying, “I need to get back to making magic.” Because that’s what we’d actually like to be getting paid to create.

Reblogged from: here


The magic of trade-offs

If you make a laptop more powerful, the battery life will suffer and it will get heavier too.


If you make a plane bigger, it won’t land at every airport, and it will cost more to fly, even if you don’t sell all the seats.

Another set of trade-offs.

Good engineers don’t whine about trade-offs, because they realize that they’re the entire point.

If there were no trade-offs, we wouldn’t need their help, there would be no interesting problems worth solving.

In our work and our lives, we can train ourselves to say, “oh, good, an interesting trade-off.”

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