Saturday, December 18, 2004

"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”

Sir Joshua Reynolds
“Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

Samuel Johnson,

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"You've got to have models in your head and you've got to array your experience - both vicarious and direct - on this latticework of models."

Cited by Robert Hagstrom in Investing: The Last Liberal Art, Chapter 1, as having been said in April 2004 at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California.

Courtesy Tren Griffin, November 2004. Tren's full comment: "As Charlie Munger has stated - "You've got to have models in your head and you've got to array your experience - both vicarious and direct - on this latticework of models." As Benjamin Franklin said it is forming "habits of mind" that seek to link together different disciplines. Intelligence is really a factor of how many connections or links one has learned. As Munger also stated: "You can reach out and grasp the model that better solves the overall problem. All you have to do is know it and develop the right mental habits. Worldly wisdom is mostly very, very simple. There are a relatively small number of disciplines and a relatively small number of truly big ideas. And it's a lot of fun to figure it out. Even better, the fun never stops. Furthermore, there's a lot of money in it, as I can testify from my own personal experience. What I'm urging on you is not that hard to do. And the rewards are awesome…..It'll help you in business. It'll help you in law. It'll help you in life. And it'll help you in love…..It makes you better able to serve others, it makes you better able to serve yourself, and it makes life more fun.""

Monday, November 08, 2004

"Europeans think a hundred miles is a long way; Americans think a hundred years is a long time."

Cited by Mark Jeffrey in his email signature, Nov 2004

Thursday, November 04, 2004

"The first law of standards: Standards are only important to companies that do not have market share."

John Latta, email Nov 2004

Monday, October 18, 2004

"Serendipity: looking for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer's daughter."

Widely quoted, sometimes attributed to Roger Needham

Courtesy Pierre-Yves Saintoyant, Oct 2004

Saturday, September 18, 2004

“Never worry about someone stealing your great idea. If it is truly good, you will have to jam it down their throat.”

Howard Aiken, the developer of the Mark 1 computer
According to "Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats."

Courtesy Gary Starkweather, Sep 04

Monday, August 23, 2004

“The Law of the Jungle in technology: Profits follow architectural control.”

John Thompson, CEO Symantec, said at the PFF Aspen Summit, 23 Aug 04

Friday, July 30, 2004

"But the aspect of nanotechnology that promises to revolutionize the economics of manufacturing is bottoms-up self-assembly, which means that molecules and atoms can be rationally controlled and programmed or directed like software code to organize in a desired fashion to yield a desired function. Physical matter will become as programmable to chemists as code is to software engineers. This is an interesting proposition, when you consider that the raw material required to make one computer and a 17-inch monitor today weighs about the same as a car, requiring about 529 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals, and more than 3,000 pounds of water." (Italics mine)

Josh Wolfe, Co-founder of Lux Capital and author of the Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report, in an SNS special letter, July 21st, 2004

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Thursday, May 13, 2004

"To be a novelist or a short story writer, you first have to pretend to be a novelist or a short story writer."

Charles Baxter, novelist, quoted in The Writer's Almanac, 13 May ’04

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

"A search engine is an invention. The Google innovation is a business model (which they borrowed and did not create) that ties the invention to new transaction based revenue streams and new sources of customer value."

Tren Griffin, 5 May 2004

Thursday, April 15, 2004

"Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it can buy things that make you happy."

Susan Tonkin, personal communication, 15 Apr 2004

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

"The French poet Paul Valéry once spoke of “producing future”. I like to think that’s what brains are for: they are for producing future. You extract information from the past and use it to produce future, and the more future you can produce the more freedom you have."

Daniel Dennett, New Scientist interview, 24 May 2003, p 39/40, “Free will, but not as we know it”
"This world is a bridge. Pass over it; but do not build your dwelling there."

Attrib. to Jesus Christ.

Courtesy Sheelagh de Vries.
From Jesus and Christian Origens Outside the New Testament, p. 130: "The most famous instance of their ascription to Jesus in Muslim tradition is on the main gateway of the mosque erected in 1601 at Fathpur-Sikri, south of Delhi, by the Moghul Akbar the Great; it bears the inscription: 'Jesus, on whom be peace, said: "This world is a bridge. Pass over it; but do not build your dwelling there."'"
See also
"If the basic idea is too complicated to fit on a T-shirt, it's probably wrong."

Leon Lederman
Physics aphorisms:
"Physics is not a religion. If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money."

Leon Lederman
Physics aphorisms:

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"The important thing is to keep playing, to play against weak opponents and to play for big stakes."

Warren Buffett, Nov. 2002 talking with students at Gaston Hall
Courtesy of Tren Griffin, 10 Feb 2004, who also cited this by Buffett: "Charlie and I decided long ago that in an investment lifetime it's too hard to make hundreds of smart decisions. ... we have adopted a strategy that required our being smart - and not too smart at that - only a very few times..."

Sunday, January 18, 2004

"Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will"

Romain Rolland, popularised by Gramsci
"His speeches left the impression of an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea. Sometimes these meandering words actually capture a thought and bear it triumphantly, a prisoner in their midst, until it died of servitude and over work."

William McAdoo, losing Democratic contender, on President William Harding's stump speeches
Courtesy Ian Ferrell, Jan 2004
"A few weeks ago, I was in a big supermarket here in the United States. In one aisle, they were selling a calculator. It was the size of a credit card. And the price was only 99 cents.... A few aisles over, they were selling a bottle of Evian water for $2 and 49 cents. Is that ironic? Electronics cheaper than water!"

Fumio Ohtsubo, President, Panasonic AVC Networks, CES keynote, January 2004