Recently, I’ve been seriously pondering starting a company. While I have a list of a dozen ideas, the one that I always come back to - often after spending hours surfing the net (do people still say that?) - is that I need a filter. Someone or something to tell me “read this” and “don’t bother with that” and maybe even highlight or underline articles so I can scan them. I’m not lazy, just overwhelmed.
A big frustration is that I feel like a perpetual consumer and not a producer. Carlos Miceli summed it up nicely in a blog post last month: “I’m worried about my generation and me. I’m scared that we are turning into the most informed, knowledgeable group of morons in history. We are given every answer. We consume data instead of poise questions.” While Google is better poised for this business than I, unfortunately they seem to be spending more time marketing their “search stories” than helping me solve my little dilemma (though, full disclosure, I found Carlos’ blog because of a Google search).
So until this magic mind-reading filter is invented, I’ll offer some bits of information that have resonated with me recently. Let me know what you think and share your own pieces worthy of consumption.
- Building a Culture of Employee Appreciation (Inc Magazine): I think sometimes we’re so focused on the reward, we forget the encouragement, the micro thank yous. “Managers responding to the survey ranked promotions and cash bonuses as the two most effective ways of recognizing employee accomplishments, but workers said they preferred an in-person thank-you or having a job well done reported to senior management.”
- Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off (TED talks): Brilliant, creative and risky thinking at its best. Every seven years, this NYC-based designer closes his studio for a yearlong sabbatical to “rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook.” Makes you wonder what you would do if you took a sabbatical doesn’t it?
- The Power Of Less (Jennifer Pahlka and Brady Forrest, Forbes Magazine): “While Twitter has created practically an entire category out of the tiniest of business plans, think how many other industries could benefit from embracing the power of less.” A brief reminder of something we all know - simple is always better - but a practice that is hard to remember and harder to follow.
- No Impact Man (Colin Beaven and Michelle Conlin): I saw this documentary (it’s also a book) back in September and met Colin because my friend Susan invited me to the DC premiere (her firm designed this great website and this one). It had me laughing almost the whole time, inspired me to “quest,” was refreshingly honest in the direct addressing of the “gimic” of it all and showed a very cool relationship between a modern couple.
- Give A Shit Appeal (Oxfam): Creative and edgy fundraising message. “Holiday shopping stinks! So, make the right choice this year: give manure ($12) from Oxfam America Unwrapped.” Not sure how it’s working to raise money but I gave a shit enough to suggest you watch it.
- 10 Ways to Be a Better Thinker (Jonah Lehrer, Real Simple): A short list about how to do something better - just how I like my content. “Studies show that moments of insight often arrive when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of the problem…” and “Many scientists argue that the best predictor of good judgment isn’t intelligence or experience; it’s the willingness to engage in introspection.” Useful insights from the author of How We Decide.