All in Careers

Fighting False Precision (or A.I. Isn't Everything)

There’s a lot of talk these days about Artificial Intelligence. Much of the buzz behind AI and many of the “digital disruptors” that leverage it (think digital twins, IoT, blockchain applications and more) is well founded. Taken together, these capabilities and technologies will change almost every facet of our lives, from how we live to what we buy to how we work.

The Other Side of Cynicism

If you spend any amount of time in the Bay Area, you can’t help but be struck by the entrepreneurial spirit on display (seemingly) everywhere. Billboards promote the latest AI startup, not the usual Fortune 500 monolith. Coffee shops all over are filled with twenty and thirty somethings typing code, while random overheard conversations inevitably turn to the latest tech venture or entrepreneurial startup. 

"It Was Only Necessary To Sacrifice Everything"

This week, I’m sharing my favorite ideas from “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”, an amazing book by Donald Miller. It’s a non-fiction book that speaks to how we should think of our lives as stories to be lived, making them more meaningful in terms of how we live it, and how we (and others) will remember ourselves as we grow older and when we eventually leave. This is Day 4.

"The Human Story Goes On"

This week, I’m sharing my favorite ideas from “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”, an amazing book by Donald Miller. It’s a non-fiction book that speaks to how we should think of our lives as stories to be lived, making them more meaningful in terms of how we live it, and how we (and others) will remember ourselves as we grow older and when we eventually leave. This is Day 2.

"Our Stories Are Being Stolen By The Easy Life"

This week, I’m sharing my favorite ideas from “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”, an amazing book by Donald Miller. It’s a non-fiction book that speaks to how we should think of our lives as stories to be lived, making them more meaningful in terms of how we live it, and how we (and others) will remember ourselves as we grow older and, when we eventually leave. This is Day 1.

Stories Without Risk Are Meaningless*

In my very early twenties, I went on my first business trip with my then boss. It was a quick trip to Bangkok (I was based in Hong Kong at the time) and I remember four things about that trip.

First, I got to fly business class, which was awesome. Business class was nice.

Second, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Erawan, which was amazing. I couldn’t fathom such luxury.

Third, Bangkok traffic sucked - a 15 minute drive took an hour plus. Apparently, pretty normal back then (and not all that different now).

Born Versus Made

An endless debate that takes place in popular conversation is the question of whether people are born with special capabilities or whether they craft and mold themselves to become that way.

There’s a comfort in both streams of thought. The latter suggests that we control our destiny, who we are and who we can become. It provides for the mental foundation that we aren’t restricted to what we are today nor to what we have. Dream your dreams, make your plans and get after it. It’s all there for the taking.

Why Are We So Afraid of Secrets?

“Why are we so afraid of secrets? Why won’t we take risks and figure out something new? We have given up our sense of wonder at secrets left to be discovered?” - Peter Thiel

The problem with the way our educational system works, in general, is that it is designed to produce established skill sets (mostly) that serve a world that has structure. Identify your specific focus area early, dedicate most if not all of your time and academic resources towards that focus area and dutifully march down that well-trodden path to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, programmer, etc. 

“...Until You Get Punched In The Face...”

There are two types of people in the world: those who plan and those who don’t. 

And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that those who plan are more successful than those who don’t. 

Of course, just because you plan, doesn’t mean everything will go your way. Reality has a funny way of doing things that don’t align with our best laid plans. 

An Age Old Conundrum...

If I'm honest, I will say that there are many times I struggle with the idea of getting older and dealing with the reality that there are, to paraphrase Steven Tyler, only so many more summers left in my life.

While there's, no doubt, much I have to be grateful for, I'm also flustered by the fact that there's still so much left to do.

And my view of myself doing those things varies - some days I think maybe I'm too old, other days, I'm not at all.

Keeping Up With The Joneses

There’s a game that’s played on social media that is focused on one simple objective: Let me show you how awesome my life is

It’s a game that’s been amplified as FaceBook and Instagram have become household names and as the Kardashians and Reality TV have gone mainstream. 

While it’s not a game played by everyone, it’s played by enough folks to be noticeable. In fact, you’ve surely noticed it yourself across any or all of your favorite platforms - people living what can only be called their best life: beautiful vacations, exotic locales, incredible cars, flash clothes, and picture-perfect meals. In fact, they look like they’re living your best life. 

Unplug Yourself

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott

It’s almost always a bad idea to try and make difficult decisions in the fog of war, unless we absolutely have to. 

In the midst of the battle, we’re faced with a host of messages and signals coming at us, non-stop, seemingly at random. Sometimes, our senses are heightened and we’re fully attuned to our circumstances, allowing us to make sharp, intuitive decisions. But more often than not, we’re not. Or we aren’t for any extended period of time.

I’ve got a bit of an issue with articles that proclaim that the golden age of something or the other is over. (I saw one recently proclaiming that the golden age of American dining was over.)

I get that stream of thought when it comes to specific brands or technologies. For example, I don’t think any of us would disagree that The Golden Age of the Walkman is pretty much done and dusted. Or that The Golden Age of Atari is essentially behind us.

When Our Best And Brightest Stop Speaking Up...

Every organization has that person. The one who raises issues, flags problems, talks about solutions and fixes to move the ball forward.

I’m not talking about the complainers - folks who have nothing better to do, and don’t have any real intent to solve the problem. I’m talking about those who want to get things done and are vocal about it. Very vocal, in fact. Sometimes, they’re in your face. Many times, they’re irritating. Many times, it feels like they’re too much.

That's Not How Good Ideas Work

I don’t subscribe to many email newsletters but one that I do like to read is from Rob Hatch and Chris Brogan of Owner Media Group. They always have great ideas and perspectives on doing business at a granular level - how to organize your thinking, how to position and market yourself and your products and so much more.

Rob recently sent an email about how we think about “ideas” in business, specifically referring to Chris’ book, Trust Agents, published ten years ago. He talked about how he still found the ideas discussed to be relevant. Still as applicable today as it was a decade ago.

"This Will Only Take A Minute..."

Expectations management is everything in business.

If you’re going to do something, do it. If you have no intention of doing it, don’t say you will. That’s pretty clear cut and I think we’ll all agree with that.

The problem arises when we get comfortable in the grey areas, at the edges of “well, this isn’t really a big deal”. We brush off - consciously or otherwise - these little things.

You Can't Get A Little Bit Pregnant...

Free Soloing is a form of climbing that’s done without any sort of protection - no ropes, no harnesses, no climbing gear. Nothing but a good pair of climbing shoes, chalk to keep your hands dry and your technique and wits. It’s been around for decades but came back into the spotlight in the excellent documentary, Free Solo, which profiled Aex Honnold and his free ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite, a truly spectacular and breathtaking achievement.