Of all the qualities in a manager conducive to innovation initiative, a degree of uncertainty may be the most powerful. If a manager is confident but uncertain – confident that the job will get done but without being certain of exactly the best way of doing it – employees are likely to have more room to be creative, alert, and self-starting.--- Ellen Langer, Mindfullness (1989) Ch. 8, p 143
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
--- I.F. Stone, left-wing journalist, quoted in Writer's Almanac, 24 December 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
--- Rex Hammock
Quote courtesy SiliconValley.com's daily email:
"Not believe in Web 2.0! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get
your papa to hire Tim O'Reilly to come over to your house and explain Web 2.0 to
you, but even if Tim O'Reilly showed up and you didn't understand what the heck
he was talking about, what would that prove? So what if nobody can actually
explain Web 2.0 without using techno babble and business buzzwords? That is no
sign that there is no Web 2.0. The most real things in the world are those that
neither children nor men can see -- and that's why they develop buzzwords. Did
you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof
that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there
are unseen and unseeable in the world."
-- Rex Hammock explains the mystery behind the elusive concept of Web 2.0
Sunday, December 18, 2005
--- Natalia Ilyin, Blonde Like Me: The Roots of the Blonde Myth in Our Culture (2000), "Farrah and the Song Girls", p 100
This is one of the best books I've read in ages. Ilyin is smart, hilariously funny, and writes about deep, complex subjects in a deceptively simple way. Here's the quote in context:
Rita's best friend Doris who lived across the street, brought Rita big flats of frozen ravioli. Were they Italian-American? Who knew?
Rita only evidenced her German background in her attraction to Hummel
figurines. My friend Leslie, half Greek, knew no Greek, and my sisters andI spoke no Russian. My friend Claire was ethnically Jewish, now that I look back on it, but no one was exactly observing Yom Kippur over there. I think some black people lived in the house with the abundant azaleas, but I never saw them.
The people who moved to Las Gallinas Avenue came there without a past, and lived like stateless people. They came with no history, and made none.
In New York people routinely call you up and say things like "Come on over! My sister's here with her Serbian boyfriend, and our neighbors are going to drop by -- you remember them -- she's Ashkenazi and he's Sephardic." But when I was growing up in California, everyone in my white-bread suburb was making an effort to be identical.
When everyone is different, the pointing out of differences is merely description. But when everyone is trying to look the same, the pointing out of difference has the ring of prejudice. Once, when my European brother-in-law described some friend of his as a second-generation Hungarian, I remember thinking, "Aren't we beyond that yet?" as if it were only a matter of time until the entire country would develop cultural amnesia, and what a good thing that would be.
--- Marc Smith, in conversation 15 December 2005. When checking this with Marc, this was his reply:
In my typical hyperbolic style: yes, I said this.
Of course I am wildly overstating, the public internet is only a fraction of the net; vast databases of content and data are locked up all over the place. But there is a kernel of truth in this assertion: a business model that depends on the widespread distribution of bits which remain in a controlled container will not long stand. To date I do not know of a DRM system that is not cracked. Every XBOX, PS2, Hollywood video, recording, etc. is available on the (not so) darknet right now. Knowledge of the darknet is spreading fast – most people have some infringing content. A business model based on these files not being available because of some novel technical innovation (present or future) seems misguided. A business based in part on selling such technology seems misguided – perhaps we should rename DRM “Doesn’t Really Matter”?
-- Attributed to Werner von Braun. For more Von Braun quotes, see http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/wernher_von_braun.html.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Saturday, November 26, 2005
--- Stanley Crouch, quoted (paraphrased?) by Robert Dean in an amazon.com review of Wynton Marsalis' "All Rise"
Monday, November 21, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (1776), Bk I, Ch. XI, Pt. I, http://www.worldebooklibrary.com/eBooks/Renascence_Editions/wealth/wealth1.html
"Wealth, as Mr. Hobbes says, is power. But the person who either acquires, or succeeds to a great fortune, does not necessarily acquire or succeed to any political power, either civil or military. His fortune may, perhaps, afford him the means of acquiring both, but the mere possession of that fortune does not necessarily convey to him either. The power which that possession immediately and directly conveys to him, is the power of purchasing; a certain command over all the labour, or over all the produce of labour, which is then in the market. His fortune is greater or less, precisely in proportion to the extent of this power; or to the quantity either of other men's labour, or, what is the same thing, of the produce of other men's labour, which it enables him to purchase or command. The exchangeable value of everything must always be precisely equal to the extent of this power which it conveys to its owner. "
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776, Book 1, Chapter 5 "Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities, or their Price in Labour, and their Price in Money", http://www.worldebooklibrary.com/eBooks/Renascence_Editions/wealth/wealth1.html
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
-- William Greider, The Soul of Capitalism (2003), p. 8
Friday, October 21, 2005
-- Dan Scheinman, Sr. VP of Corporate Development, Cisco; quoted in Cisco Seeks Talent Abroad, Lisa DiCarlo, Forbes, 21 Oct 2005
From the story:
Cisco (nasdaq: CSCO - news - people ) has invested in and had operations in India for several years but is stepping up its investement partly because it can't ignore India's brainpower and partly because of market reforms that favor business and foreign investment.
"We originally came to India for the [low] cost. We stayed because of the quality, and now we're investing because of the innovation," says Dan Scheinman, senior vice president of corporate development. He notes that India's universities are churning out tens of thousands of engineers, many of whom used to come to the U.S. after graduating, but who are now choosing to stay at home.
Cisco, which has less than 5% of its global workforce in India, didn't want to miss out. Scheinman says the country is producing an "incredible number of engineers who are building some of the world's most advanced networks and applications," led by broadband and mobile applications. That throws a harsh light on the dwindling number of young Americans going into the sciences and helps explain why U.S. companies are looking elsewhere to stay competitive.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
-- Esther Dyson, panel discussion in Time Magazine, 16 Oct 2005
Quote in context:
SO IS THE INTERNET TRULY CREATING CONNECTIONS AMONG PEOPLE? OR DIVIDING US AS WE HIDE INSIDE OUR PRIVATE SHELLS?
ESTHER DYSON, editor of technology newsletter Release 1.0 for CNET Networks: The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect. In my own experience, it has drawn my family closer, as we post pictures on Flickr. It has done more than tap into something latent; it has actually created something that wasn't there with the younger family members. We couldn't do that before because we were all geographically separated.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
-- Sheikh Zaki Yamani, a Saudi Arabian who served as his country's oil minister three decades ago
Quoted by the Economist, The End of the Oil Age, 23 Oct 2003
Sunday, September 25, 2005
-- Dr Johnson. The reference to women makes it non-PC these days, but it can be easily adapted to any phenomenon the citer disparages. Quote in context, collected by Boswell in the Life, according to the Samuel Johnson site:
I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: "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."
Friday, September 23, 2005
George Bernard Shaw
(cited on BrainyQuote)
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Nancy Pearl, author of "Book Lust", and former librarian
Source: Christian Science Monitor interview with Nancy Pearl, Todd Crowell, 11 August 2005
Quote in context:
Pearl says she is a strong believer that no one should ever finish a book
they are not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed it is. "Believe
me," she says, "nobody is going to earn any points for slogging their way
through a book they aren't enjoying but think they ought to read." She finishes
probably one book for every five she starts.
She expounds what she calls the "50 page" rule: If a book doesn't grab
you in the first 50 pages, put it down and try something else. Life is short,
and there are many books to read. (She often returns to finish books she set
aside. Reading enjoyment is as much a matter of the reader's mood as it is the
style and content of the book, she says.)
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Source: Paul Starr, author of The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications, On the Media Interview with Brooke Gladstone, 30 April 2004, rebroadcast 7 August 2005.
Context from the transcript:
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Now, in your book, over and over again you demonstrate that, contrary to what I think is the popular opinion today, it wasn't the technology that pushed forward how we have our national conversation -- that the ground was already tilled for that kind of communication before the technology came along.
PAUL STARR: Well, what I suggest in this book is that when new technologies come along, they provoke a political question -- how is this new medium going to be handled? Is it going to be private? Is it going to be public? Is it going to be a military technology? What will be the basic purposes that it serves? And so Europe and America often dealt with the same technology in very different ways. When the electric telegraph first appeared, the Europeans treated it as a military technology. We treated it as a commercial technology. The telephone, same thing. There was a period in the 1890s, early 1900s when there were hundreds of little mutual telephone companies, independent telephone cooperatives that were established, and telephones spread much more widely, much faster in America than elsewhere.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Source: Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit, 2005, p61
Context: Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
He then examines how these two social models compare in terms of aggregate growth. Cutting out the Greek symbols, he writes:
"Compared to a more laissez-faire alternative, a more redistributive social contract is associated with lower inequality, and
1) has higher growth when tax distortions are small relative to those induced by credit constraints on the accumulation of human capital;
2) has lower growth when tax distortions are high and the credit—constraint effect is weak"
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Source: Richard Temple, Icons: Divine Beauty, Saqi Books 2004, p 87
Source: Richard Temple, Icons: Divine Beauty, Saqi Books 2004, p 71
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Andy Grove. Source: Michael Kanellos http://news.com.com/2061-10791_3-5712202.html, reporting on the 18 May 2005 Intel shareholders meeting where Grove retired, reportedly making these comments: "For years and years I have wanted to have a law named after me. Call it a case of Moore envy. And this is it. Technology will always win. You can delay technology by legal interference, but technology will flow around legal barriers. "
Source: Sir Peter Medawar review of Teilhard de Chradin's The Phenomenon of Man. Fuller quote: "It is a book widely held to be of the utmost profundity and significance; it created something like a sensation upon its publication in France, and some reviewers hereabouts called it the Book of the Year --- one, the Book of the Century. Yet the greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself. "
Friday, June 24, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement, 15 June 2005