in Weekly Review

Weekly Highlights Dec 1

100 TED talks in 5 minutes – This guy watched 70 hours of TED talks and neatly summarized each one in a single sentence so you don’t have to watch them all. It’s true that for some concepts you only need one sentence to get it, while others require a 20 minute TED talk, and still others entire books. But there are plenty of nonfiction books out there that aren’t worthy your time because their idea can be encapsulated in a blog post or TED talk, or even smaller. Some good takeaways:

  • Happiness leads to productivity, not vice versa
  • Sweat the small stuff to make people remember you (big companies always get the big stuff right, but not little things)
  • Lust, Romance, and Attachment al have separate brain networks that are tied together
  • Reflect on the ‘why’, not just the how
  • Digital platforms tailor their content to you, narrowing the information you receive online
  • Mystery is important

Superfight – Card game that works like Cards Against Humanity but instead of filling in blanks you are creating characters to fight others (like ‘George W Bush’ ‘ability to clone itself (but each clone is half the size of previous)’ ‘with no depth perception’). Leads to some crazy matchups.

The story of Germany’s Samwer brothers – These three brothers unabashedly steal American startup ideas like eBay or Airbnb and them bring them to non english speaking markets. Then they become so successful that the company they stole from has to buy them back at inflated prices. It’s a novel outlook on innovation and what’s ethical business practices. They’re right in that they execute the companies better than the orginal corporation could have, but isn’t it still stealing? Other Germans in the story complain that it makes Berlin less innovative – because instead they are just churning out clones of existing ideas.
Some good quotes: “If you can’t answer how you got the idea for your startup, you might be a clone.” “If you really want to compete, outdo the competition.”
Oddly enough, these are also the fellows who brought you Crazy Frog, as an ad for Jamster.

To JK Rowling, by Cho Chang – This poem is well constructed and performed, but I can’t agree with the premise. Would you rather have a lackluster minority character in a famous book or none at all? It seems that unless it’s an incredibly major character, someone is going to be unhappy about it – but nobody is going to complain about a white character simply being white. I’d say Cho Chang had a pretty big role in the HP books, what with being Harry’s only love interest other than Ginny. Maybe that’s just my racist take on the plot. Her words about Ravenclaw are completely out of line – sure the Houses are stacked, but you can’t say its solely because of her Asian-ness. And now you’re complaining that Dumbledore wasn’t gay enough?! Come on…

The Road from Karakol – This video is 20 minutes long, but worth it for any outdoorsman out there. This guy jetted off to Kyrgyzstan for a few months with little to no plan other than to bike across the country and climb any mountain that caught his eye. He filmed himself along the way with a handheld GoPro or similar, resulting in an intimate and earnest portrait of a long solo trip where more than one thing goes wrong. Gotta love how stoked he is on the whole thing.

Risk and the Wilderness – Talking about the above with a friend  reminded me of this older pdf, a beautiful take on exactly  how safe and careful we need to be in the wilderness by a director of the Audubon Center (answer: not too much). There’s a heart wrenching plot twist halfway through the piece that left me in tears the first time I  read it. The material will always be relevant, and broaches the broader topic of risk in everyday life – I claim it is necessary to truly live.

 LoveTech Electronic Showmanship – I ended up and these guys’ Integration event last night, and it was an incredible night of live electronic music, friendly wacky people, and hacker ideas. Hosted at the hippies esque CenterSF, the event featured back to back performance of people doing crazy stuff with synthesizers, a dance pad and joystick hooked up to a midi controller, and a guy who made EDM of of only organic noises like bees buzzing or heartbeats. There were some cool gadgets set up that let you create music with others using keyboard or Kinects hooked up to interactive projections. The Burner vibe was prevalent, but so was the DIY aesthetic – reminded me how much I love SF.