Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Spreadings

Stuff spreads.

Snowy weather results in a chain reaction of delays for travelers attempting to move via trains, planes, and automobiles. Celebrity gossip moves from mouth to mouth, air wave to air wave, and server to server, all interlooping, and all slightly reinvented.

But here is something that is worth spreading. TED topics.

If you have an affinity for words, language, or reading between the lines, you'll enjoy this enlightenment piece by James Geary.  An engaging and thoughful speaker, James discusses the power of metaphors, and how the right combination of words, that start not with the words, but rather the experience, encompass almost another language embedded in language itself.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thinking Thursday

I am working on a bucket list.

Why? I am turning 30 in 355 days, and I am excited to spend the whole year preparing for a new decade "thinking big."

On the list:

Own a cozy and thought-rich bookstore, working with staff that want to eat up books as much as I do.  In this bookstore I can I live and breathe what feels natural and meaningful, and hopefully, provide a place where others can come to be enriched as I am.  Might experience be the new marketing?

I can smell the paper and ink already.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Web 2.0 Wednesday

One year ago, I didn't tweet.  In fact, one year ago, I had hardly even heard of twitter.  And when my select group of friends did in fact mention their twittering, I thought they were referring to being in a state of having too much coffee.

Twitter was my favorite breakthrough in 2009.  Because while it has existed since 2006, 2009 really was its year.  Now that we are on the brink of 2010, a new concept occurs to me (and to many others who have been thinking along the same lines) - Top Twitter Trends of the year!  Much like how Time magazine always does a year in review - most popular technology bursts, biggest scandals, best movies, etc., Twitter has been tabulating the data for this all along - and has crowdsourced quite the list.

Pretty interesting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tribal Tuesday

Lately, I've been thinking about what tribes I belong to and which ones I consider to be successful.  But first, a little explanation on what a tribe is.

To quote Seth Godin: "a tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have joined tribes, be they religious, ethnic, political, or even's our nature.

Now the internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger and enabling new tribes to be born - groups of ten or ten million who are about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming."

Now, I'd like to share with you a tribe that has actually done exactly what a successful tribe is supposed to do: increase awareness, interest, enthusiasm, and most importantly - connect members with others in a beneficial way to keep the cause or mission of the tribe going.

Since we all need to eat, and more so, because eating can be one of life's finest pleasures, food tribes have always existed.  But some food tribes have existed in more robust form and have lasted.  Take for example, powerhouses like Julia Child and her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Julia took a stance on eating in America and cultivated a following with her passion and humbleness.  Her book drove followers, and so did her TV show. She was trusted and she grew a lasting tribe.

Next, I think of other cooking rockstars, and how they have driven a following - Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and Giada De Laurentiis.  But what I also see is that to be a trusted food leader, you don't need to have your own cookbook or series on the Food Network.  You can simply be a trusted blogger.

Hello Food bloggers.

Unlike food websites like and, the opinions and successes/failures of food bloggers are not anonymous.  Once you get to know the tastes, and likings of a food blogger, they become a trusted friend. Your hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And most of the successful ones that I have seen are pretty darn honest, as their reputation is everything.

And once they generate loyalty, other passionate foodies or simply those wanting to try something new and take a leap in drive their success.  Everyone benefits and a tribe is born.

What tribes are you part of?  And why do you think they have succeeded or failed?

Monday, December 14, 2009

All the Days of the Week

Experimentation is good.  And experimenting with writing is not only free, but gives your brain a nice little workout, where it might otherwise fall into a static rut - - and anyone out there who runs - and more specifically runs the same distance, same incline every day, Monday - Sunday knows - while this gets pretty easy pretty soon, it doesn't do much for enhancing your running ability.  Instead, trying out new courses, trail running, aqua running, beach running - all variations work new muscles, building a more well-rounded running profile.  But of course, I am not talking about running here, but writing.

I am setting out for the next week to write on a different, predetermined topic for each day of the week.  And because I am the nerd type who gets major kicks out of finding sequential words that start with the same letter, I give you my list:

Matters Monday: favorite discovery of the day "that matters"
Tribal Tuesday: a new tribe I am following
Web 2.0 Wednesday: a new web 2.0 discovery
Thinking Thursday: a thought
Finding Friday: a find
Surreal Saturday: a fact that I deem surreal in some way
Spreading Sunday: stuff spreads.  what do i notice this sunday?

Seeing that today is Monday, off I go with my favorite "what matters" discovery of the day.

This one (to me) is utterly obvious.

Matters Monday

Early this morning, while I had the shower running, and the teapot boiling, a friend of mine emailed me a link to Seth Godin's new ebook What Matters Now.  My phone bleeped.  Hmm.  What Matters Now?  Seth Godin?  This was worth turning off the running hot water for.

I jumped on my computer, downloaded the 82 pages of deliciousness and knew I had something even better than my daily Wall Street Journal to read on the metro ride in.

If you didn't come across this compilation of thoughts from some of the best writers and thinkers alive today - honestly - you should read it immediately.  It's thoughtful, comprehensive, stop-in-your-tracks moving, and pretty much everyone can gain new insight and perspective from it.  It brings together writers like Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love - with the new Committed due out in January), Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind), Chris Anderson (The Long Tail), Gary Vaynerchuk (Crush It), Paco Underhill (Why We Buy), and Tim O'Reilly (technology rockstar).

Not to borderline on corny here, but this collection really is like a strand of 80+ or so natural pearls - each cultured and outstanding in a different way.  It presents mini essays on topics such as Productivity, Ease, Sacrifice, Fear, Focus, Leap, Timeless, Technology, Attention, Neoteny - taking the best of individual gifted writers/thinkers and whirling out new perspectives.

My absolute favorite take-away from this gem?  I learned a new word that I love - neoteny - n. retention of juvenile characteristics in the adults of a species.  I love that a word exists to describe this characteristic found so infrequently in adults, yet one that if practiced, opens up the possibility for so much.

I'll share the entire account with you, as Joi Ito describes it effortlessly:

"Neoteny is the retention of childlike attributes in adulthood. Human beings are younger longer than any other creature on earth, taking almost twenty years until we become adults. While we retain many of our childlike attributes into adulthood most of us stop playing when we become adults and focus on work.

When we are young, we learn, we socialize, we play, we experiment, we are curious, we feel wonder, we feel joy, we change, we grow, we imagine, we hope. In adulthood, we are serious, we produce, we focus, we fight, we protect and we believe in things strongly.

The future of the planet is becoming less about being efficient, producing more stuff and protecting our turf and more about working together, embracing change and being creative.

We live in an age where people are starving in the midst of abundance and our greatest enemy is our own testosterone driven urge to control our territory and our environments.

It’s time we listen to children and allow neoteny to guide us beyond the rigid frameworks and dogma created by adults."