An Homage to “Cecil”

Chicago – New Orleans – Madrid – Seville – Barcelona – Madison – Denver – Hong Kong – Shanghai

The opportunity to “love one’s neighbor” [1] pops up constantly.

Recently, while flying west, a very tall young man, with rather elaborate hair sat in the exit row window seat, just a short distance from my small abode.

We began chatting and I learned that he – I’ll call him “Cecil” – has been playing basketball abroad for several years. This trip – flying west – would end up in Hong Kong, his next sports port of call.

I found the conversation fascinating. Cecil had a wonderful opportunity to see the world via a sport he loved. I asked how he compared the States to his various temporary homes?

“Well, the biggest difference I’ve seen is that people in Europe always greet strangers. I can’t count the times that someone has said “buenos dias” to me, a complete stranger. That does not happen in the USA.”

Subsequently, I have tried – tried to greet everyone.

Oh, he was reading this book.

[1] The greatest commandment.

“Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts”. The My Verse app delivers a daily verse to your Watch, iPhone or iPad.

Fashion Elitism and the Zoolander-ization of Lands’ End

Kyle Smith

The friendly catalog-based clothing retailer known for unimaginative (I say classic), rarely updated (I say tradition-minded), boxy (I say unconstraining) apparel is these days in the grip of a fashion-forward Italian CEO named Federica Marchionni, and here the error of Lands’ End’s current path becomes apparent. Lands’ End is based in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and should not be run by an Italian, someone who is fashion-forward or, especially, someone named Federica. Lands’ End is as unpretentious as a Ford-150. It should be run by someone named Mitch or Phil, and, no, I do not mean Mitchell and especially not Phillippe. Marchionni is given to describing the company’s proudly fashion-backward line as “ugly” and asks in meetings, “Who would wear that?” Dark rumors abound that Lands’ End will be buying ads in the September issue of Vogue, that celebrity photographer Bruce Weber will be doing shoots for its products, that weird-looking asymmetrical dresses that appear to have been splattered with blood by abstract expressionists will be the new focus of the company’s line.

This is as dire a situation as Budweiser being bought by Belgians. Indeed, it’s far worse; it’s as though Budweiser stopped making beer and reintroduced itself as an appletini manufacturer. Marchionni, whose previous bonehead attempt to inject sophistication was to ally the brand with leftist politics, must be fired immediately before Lands’ End turns into some sort of hideous would-be Pucci of Wisconsin.

Change is hard. I know nothing about fashion…

Kevin Kelly on Soft Singularity and Inevitable Tech Advances


industry, which right now is the fundamental engine for most of the internet wealth and all the businesses from Google to Facebook. Their billions are coming basically from advertising. I think it’s going to be very ripe for destruction because, in a curious way when we have this abundance of materials, commodity, everything, just super abundance, that the only scarcity we have is human attention, which is limited.

The End of Capitalism?

Ideas with Paul Kennedy:

Postcapitalism: A Guide to our Future. He’s also the economics editor of Britain’s Channel 4 television news, and a regular contributor to The Guardian and The New Statesman. He counts himself among a growing number of thinkers, economists, writers and activists — who, while rejecting the well-worn notion of ‘a class struggle leading to a socialist revolution,’ nevertheless believe that a more equitable society is possible.

MV Matanuska: A Gorgeous Ride Through The Inside Passage

Wikipedia on the MV Matanuska.

Alaska Marine Highway System.

Inside Passage.

One cannot be overjoyed by the number of wonderful conversations such a journey includes.

There was the Australian couple, scheduled to ply the Marine Highway System thrice: south, north, then south. Then, the locals – thus “You’ve not lived in Alaska until you’ve endured 21 days of rain”. Then, the Canadians extolling the virtues of small town life and the need to avoid big city Edmonton and Calgary.

Finally, of course, there are a few camera aficionados. The conversation quickly returns to the appropriate lens for “birds in flight”, bears and whales. “I carry my 300/2.8 Nikkor in my truck. I’m always ready”.

The Science of Speaking is the Art of Being Heard

First Round Review:

For years, people have constructed cairns, a human-made stack of stones, as landmarks, monuments or tributes. These days, hikers will add a rock to a cairn as they reach a summit of a mountain or a turning point on a trail. The longer one sits across from Khalid Halim in Reboot’s San Francisco office, the more one realizes his sofa is a modern day cairn. Instead of stones, well-known tech leaders, angels and VCs have dropped their guard there—along with their stories, ambitions and fears. It marks the start of many technologists’ inflection points.

Pomp & Circumstance: University of Wisconsin Commencement

A few images on a rather cold May Saturday. That said, I thought the program was interesting (particularly some of the student remarks) and timely for observers, parents, students and staff.

Yes, it did hail briefly during Russell Wilson’s remarkable remarks.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank leads the procession as the 2016 Spring Commencement draws to a close. Blank’s remarks were worthwhile, if not inspirational.

Tap on the last two images to view much larger scenes. and #uwgrad

After analyzing 200 founders’ postmortems, researchers say these are the reasons startups fail

Alice Truong:

It’s a common adage in Silicon Valley that 90% of startups ultimately fail. To understand why that’s the case, a pair of researchers meticulously pored over 193 blog posts—startup postmortems, if you will—written by founders examining what went wrong.
 It was a heartwrenching experience for Kerry Jones, an employees at data-marketing firm Fractl, to be involved in the project. “It’s extremely emotional, and I think it’s really obvious how much of their lives most people sink into their companies,” she says. (Here’s one sample from Zirtual founder Maren Kate: “I cry for all the employees we hurt. I cry for all the clients we infuriated. And I cry for the investors we let down.”)
 There are, of course, limitations to this data set. For starters, there are fewer than 200 posts in it, and they all were written by founders willing to share their stories—or the portions of their stories that they were willing to reveal, anyway. “There isn’t some outside entity that went in and evaluated this company,” Jones notes. “That’s something important to keep in mind.”