3-second movie review: "Once"

Funny urban Irish love story. With music.

Great Onion magazine cover


3-second movie review: "Love, Ludlow"

Eclectic, nostalgic, romantic, low-budget.

The narcissism of small differences

Man, I wish a took a psych 101 course. I think people recognize what Freud labelled "narcissism of small differences" -- a Hindu and a Christian may live in absolute peace as neighbours, but don't dare seat an Irish reform Catholic next to an Irish conservative Catholic at a dinner party. Couples exaggerate differences to retain identity. Maybe it plays a role in ethnic conflict (which combines power and identity).

Entropy does not apply to the diffusion of knowledge.

Take that David Suzuki!

Actually, I love David Suzuki, and I could really care less that he consults to Wal Mart. But I'm studying Paul Romer and new growth theorists and these guys have really got the economy figured out. Innovation and knowledge (also admired by Florida and Roger Martin at Rotman, U of T) drive all economic growth. You don't need more plants. You don't need more roads. Okay, you sort of do, but that gets you to Canada in 1950. Innovation, unlike matter or energy, cannot be destroyed. You can't unthink what you thunk. And all thinking is based on the sum of all previous thinking (ie. knowledge).

So if you want to make a plant, it's about as difficult as the last time you made a plant. Take a chess board and put a penny on the first square. Then two on the second, four on the third, 16 on the fourth and so on = more pennies than matter on Earth. Now, instead of cash, think knowledge.

Take that entropy.

Hillary as VP?

Had a dream last night that Hillary ran as McCain's Veep. If you think about it for 3 seconds, it makes a ton of sense. But if you think about it for another 10 seconds, it's unlikely. Kinda like David Emerson's future.

CD Stores

I'd like to point out that buying a physical CD from a physical store is officially "retro."

Ryanair's business model

Convince all vacationing Europeans to lock themselves in one of your pressurized, tube-shaped stores.

What tags are not.

I got excited about Web2.0 about two years ago; I read an article about flickr, which fawned over its novel photo "tagging" feature. That article speculated that OS's will adopt tagging in place of hierarchical folders.

Here's where I went askew. This article -- or how I read it -- led me to see tagging as a brainstorm-esq -- almost sub-conscious -- process. Ie. for each flickr photo, delicious link, or local file, you were to just spew a series of words (or hyphenated phrases), and in months or years to come, you or any reasonable person would spew a similar set of words when pondering the photo/link/file.

I even developed this into an idea for a service-business: Staples and Grand & Toy have notoriously difficult information architectures -- both in their physical stores and online. How do you categorize whiteboards and CD jewel cases in one dimension? But if a sample of the population assigned 6 intuitive tags to every Staples SKU, eventually, any non-caveman would be able to find stuff with a command-line-style search.

This is all interesting, but the point of this post is that tags should not be spewed in a brainstorm; they should be carefully considered. My delicious account has tags like: business, company, business-idea, start-up, entrepreneur, entrepreneurialism. So I feel forced to re-tag every cool start-up with six tags, where one will do.

No, the right approach to tagging is to assign the right tag in both your brain and the tagging system. Have one word for one underlying concept. Tag-clouds and other nifty features help with this ... you can assign what you have most-often assigned.

Tagging takes discipline. Rather than re-build my delilcious account (and not super-happy with Blink List), I'm going to take the opportunity to start-over with diigo.com, which techcrunch rates well.

Career inflection point

GQ uses the term "arrived" in a pretentious way: if, when you turn 33, you have a serious job, a cottage on a lake, and you've spent more on a watch that your last plane ticket to Europe, you have arrived.

La la la.

Lots of things in life are not fun, but we do them because they will get us somewhere -- because we will eventually "arrive" somewhere better than where we are. I would have had more fun travelling in my 20's than studying, but now I can afford to travel a bit more ... sort of.

I think a career inflection point occurs when you stop working at jobs that will get you jobs that you want, and you arrive at those latter jobs ... when, what you want to be when you grow up is roughly what you are. You may not be going forward as quickly, but why would you? You've arrived. And then shit, you drop your brie in the Jacuzzi.

Algorithms are the new "brand"

If you spend a million bucks establishing a brand, and you do it well, you could benefit from that investment for years. But if you spend a million bucks on innovation, society will benefit forever.

Establishing market share has been important since the start of the post-war consumer economy ... an era that hasn't ended, but has morphed a little into to the knowledge economy. As a business tactic branding is still relevant. Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and even Google are cute and huggable -- more so than the racks of computers that comprise their offering.

But, clearly, one of these is winning where the others are not, and it's not because people want to hug it. It's nice that a search for "blue jays" no longer returns ornithology, as it easily could have prior to Google, but the company's better search results are only the first taste of how algorithms will displace brands.

Plentyoffish.com is a dating site. It could be the most profitable company in the history of legitimate business (income is suggested to be $5 - $10 million annually). One man manages one website -- oh, and he writes algorithms, which form the core of his site. He doesn't advertise and clearly has never worked with a graphic artist. I'm not even sure if his neighbours know what he does. What does he do? He simple runs a dating website that learns about people's tastes and matches them with similar people. But here's the brilliant part -- rather than coding psychology, he simple allows his members to interact with one another, providing real-time feedback on what makes people get along. If, all things being equal, people who like Ikea furniture also want to visit Thailand ... Pentyoffish.com probably knows this. Over time, the site introduces members to fewer duds and, like how Google gives you the right Blue Jays, builds its popularity by continually improving its ability to match potential mates.

Not that lava life doesn't have sexy ads. They do.

Amazon has been doing this with books for nearly a decade, but their system doesn't appear as sophisticated. Web2.0 definitions may miss the boat when they talk about Ajax and social networking. FaceBook is cool, but so are those hub caps that spin around when you stop. What's really of value are the algorithms that build value in a knowledge economy, and displace the need for branding.