Monthly Archives: September 2010

Four Links on Ideas (and Perspective)

My friend Arpit Mathur posted a great piece today on ideas and implementation: “On ideas, implementation and iteration”. I can relate to this – including the self admonition to hunker down and execute.

The following three links try to make an additional point on what an idea needs – partners. People who have different perspectives from which ideas can clash, evolve, and grow. There is an opportunity in sought out diversity of background and opinion to make something that much stronger.

Or to put it another way, if your project has its Lennon, does it also have its McCartney?

YouTube: “Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From” (via Boing Boing):

Slate: Joshua Wolf Shenk: Two Is the Magic Number: A new science of creativity.: “a new body of research has begun to show how growth and achievement emerge from relationships”.

And while this last link is not centered on ideas and creativity, it applies directly if you take the above to heart I think:

The Most Powerful Word In The Human Vocabulary: Perspective:

Choosing a career path is tough, and the education system doesn’t make it much easier. They try to guide you towards one of these worlds that exists on our planet. The problem is that most of the time, schools don’t understand the unique perspective of their students, and they don’t adapt their needs to the situation. This is why finding your passion is so important. Passion is not the be-all-end-all, but rather the guiding force that allows us to make the right decisions as we travel through life. Finding your passion, connecting with your tribe and achieving your goals are the steps that you must take in order to find a career that you will find rewarding. But having a sense of perspective for the world around you allows you to understand that your opportunities are endless.

Never let someone with little perspective guide you away from your passion. Next time you have a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand why you are doing what you are doing, try to understand their perspective. How were they raised? What was their path in life? This will often let you understand why they are making the statements they are. By getting this, you can understand where they are coming from. People that are not in your world will very often not have the same perspective to you. Remember, that’s what makes the world so unique and wonderful.

This post is pretty much me talking to myself as I have a few coals in the fire and some additional perspective will go a long way, but I think the links are inspiring and hope you enjoy.

Update: Arpit shares a link that in some ways reinforces the idea above: WSJ: “The Origins of Good Ideas”“the adjacent possible.”.

http://dailylocal.com/articles/2010/09/24/opinion/srv0000009463806.txt

Whew! Glad the past month or so is over!

By the end of last week I was feeling run down.

Simultaneously with helping relaunch Xfinity.com (and playing a role I’m not used to playing – but looking to do much more of (hopefully did well at it) – everyone did a fantastic job), Richelle first got an ear operation (new tubes), then went on vacation, then came back with a cold. There were three birthdays (including mine and on the 21st, Mom (miss you Mom). The 9th anniversary of my nephew passing away from SIDS (miss you Hunter). On top of that, Dad was dealing with something that looked scary health wise, and a friend had a mastectomy (she’s doing great – I’d love to have her strength). They are the two who were dealing with real stress in the circle of my life – my thoughts have been with them both amidst all this. Oh and Emma went back to school. Although no stress there – she was all systems go, she loves it. She keeps the spring in my step.

My apologies on missing emails, tweets, comments, and more.

This is water. Hopefully I’ve done a good job of staying in the moment.

Counting political party stories on Google News

I am *not* accusing anyone of coverage bias. I’d bet that Google News’s story inclusion algorithms probably reflect what people are linking to and discussing generally.

Google News: “Republican Party”: 11,579 stories

Google News: “Tea Party”: 22,977 stories

Google News: “Democratic Party”: 15,668 stories

Fascinating.

Rebooting Democracy thoughts on Activists versus Pundits and Law

The difference between an actual organizer/activist working in a movement and someone of the punditry; there are *concrete* artifacts pursued by an organizer/activist and the primary artifact of a pundit is their cult of personality.

If there aren’t proposals behind the bluster of someone considered a leader, maybe what you have isn’t a leader, but a pundit in pursuit of nothing more than fame and power.

There is a Rebooting Democracy movement brewing among many in technology spheres. Lawrence Lessig is one of the activists (not pundits) behind this and a perfect example of this is a movement he and many others are pursuing to pass the Fair Elections Now act. Check it out.

Activists tend to be far more boring than pundits in my experience (no offense you activists out there). When you start to coalesce energy into real action (which in turn means facing the gears of bureaucracy and process), it can be frustrating, slow and yes, boring. But it’s the body of democracy. And we are part of it.

YouTube: “Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law”:

There is a challenge here for the Rebooting Democracy movement. Where is the list of laws or bills on the books that lets me find those I might be interested in supporting or fighting to have dismantled? The tools that are out there require a lot of work and are not where they need to be. Until I can locate laws and bills, Local, State, and Federal that would call me to action (even ‘like’-ing them on Facebook) and such activity can be aggregated some how for our representatives to act on, we remain in a position where those who speak the loudest, or have the greatest cash pile, have the ear of our law-makers.

We say we want an informed citizenry and participatory democracy. To me, this is an achievable small measure along that path.

So if you are a software engineer out there who would like to build the infrastructure for this, or are part of this, let me know, because I want to be involved where I can. There is code to write. System’s to build. So that all of us can better connect, be informed, and participate.

Related:

Thomas.gov

O’Reilly Radar: Mark Drapeau: “What does Government 2.0 look like?”

Rebooting Democracy

Code for America

Sunlight Foundation