Links for the Week: May 17, 2009

BLOG Links for the Week: May 17, 2009

bastish japanese mountain
mountain in Japan, still snow-covered in May; photo by Kevin

Stay Away From Anyone You Can Write Into the Script Called “Here We Go Again”: Melissa Pierson writes about moving past the guilty and grief-filled memories of who we thought we were, and might have been.

Fear of Flying: Barbara Ganley made a wonderful video in 2004 about her trip with her teenaged daughter to South America — without a guide-book, maps, phrase-book, or compass.

The Problem with Outcome-Based Innovation Processes and Success Measures: A new article that several people have pointed me to suggests that innovation should begin with an understanding of “the job to be done” which in turn determines the customers’ real need. This is an idea made popular in an earlier book Blue Ocean Strategy. The author says brainstorming “doesn’t work”. But as my book points out, one of the dilemmas for innovators is that customers don’t know what is possible, including what could possibly transform “the job to be done” and also transform what customers really need. Brainstorming is needed because, as with all complex problems, the understanding of the problem and of possible solutions co-evolve. No outcome-based process that measures how a new product “gets the job done” would ever have produced the MP3 player, or Skype, or most of the great innovations in history, because these innovations revolutionized how “jobs” got done in ways no customer could have imagined.

Civilization’s Coming Fall, and Redemption?: Charles Eisenstein’s book predicting the impending collapse of civilization and a possible ‘age of reunion’ to follow it, The Ascent of Humanity, is now available online free (voluntary payments accepted). A good summary of where we stand; an overly-optimistic view of what might be done, in my view. Thanks to Paul Heft for the link.

Back in the USSR: Turn off the sound of this inane pop song and watch the astonishing photos of people living during the first half of the 20th century in the Soviet Union under the brutal regimes of Lenin and Stalin. Thanks to Eric Lilius for the link, and the one that follows.

A 10-Year Economic Decline in the US?: That’s the view of American economist Howard Davidowitz, who predicts runaway unemployment, a credit card crisis, collapse of the commercial real estate market, and serious trouble for the hopelessly debt-ridden US dollar.

The Bottled Water Disaster: A short slide show presents data showing the staggering and unnecessary cost and waste of the commercial bottled water industry. Twenty eight billion bottles a year in the US alone, 86% of which end up in landfill. Thanks to my daughter Tiffany for the link.

How to Make Money When Your Basic Product/Service is Free: In response to my article earlier this week predicting free basic goods and services as a new normal business model, reader coy435 pointed me to Kevin Kelly’s 8 ways to make money even when you give away your basic commodity:

  1. Charge for more immediate delivery
  2. Charge for personalization
  3. Charge for ‘what it means’ interpretation
  4. Charge for authentic (signed, certified etc.) versions
  5. Charge for anytime/anywhere accessibility
  6. Charge for ’embodied’ versions: atoms instead of bits (e.g. live concert instead of the CD/DVD)
  7. Charge patrons who want to encourage quality, innovation, or artistry
  8. Charge for filtering and finding ‘needles in haystacks’

Useful Stuff for Artists: Painter’s Post is an aggregation of news and helpful articles specifically for artists and other creative people. Thanks to Colleen for the link.

Thoughts for the Week:

From Edith Wharton (thanks to Beth A for the link): “In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

From Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (thanks to Dave S for the link):

There must have been laughter amidst the apes when the Neanderthaler first appeared on earth. The highly civilised apes swung gracefully from bough to bough; the Neanderthaler was uncouth and bound to the earth. The apes, saturated and playful, lived in sophisticated playfulness, or caught fleas in philosophical contemplation; the Neanderthaler trampled gloomily through the world, banging around with clubs. The apes looked down on him amusedly from their tree tops and threw nuts at him. Sometimes horror seized them; they ate fruits and tender plants with refinement; the Neaderthaler devoured raw meat, he slaughtered animals and his fellows. He cut down trees which had always stood, moved rocks from their time-hallowed place, transgressed against every law and tradition of the jungle. He was uncouth, cruel, without animal dignity- from the point of view of the highly cultivated apes, a barbaric relapse of history.  The last surviving chimpanzees still turn up their noses at the sight of a human being…

From Linda Pastan (via Panhala):

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names–
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don’t remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.

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2 Responses to Links for the Week: May 17, 2009

  1. vera says:

    IMO: Davidowitz is right on the money. 100% agreement from this screwed citizen.I saw recently two post on Kunstler

  2. I drink bottled water, specifically spring water, because it doesn’t have fluoride added to it. Unfortunately I live in Toronto which fluoridates its water, and fluoride has been implicated in increasing the body’s absorption of aluminium, which in turn has been implicated in increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. (I’m also a bit dubious about the effectiveness of filtering out all the PCBs and other industrial pollutants that Toronto water gets from its source in Lake Ontario.)The city has lately reduced the amount of fluoride a bit, but only because the health authorities admit that some children end up drinking so much fluoride that they risk developing fluorosis!This is nuts. The city does such a great job of cleaning the water that it’s bacteriologically cleaner than most bottled waters. Then they have to ruin it by hanging on to the notion that fluoridation reduces tooth decay, a notion now somewhat discredited with the result that some European cities have ceased fluoridating their water.Abundant clean water is one of the miracles of modern civilization, yet in the name of “progress” we’re all too willing to ruin it. Surely there should be a very high standard of proof that a process of deliberately adulterating water with an industrial byproduct is actually safe. In Montréal, which has never fluoridated its water, fluoridation advocates cite a hilariously flawed study as “evidence” that fluoridation is needed to protect children from tooth decay, and don’t get laughed out of town because in North America fluoridation is a long-established practice. The health establishment is always slow to change: trans fats are now widely understood to be dangerous, but the evidence was there long ago. I’m old enough to have been buying margarine for over 25 years, and for all that time the only brand I’ve ever bought is Becel, because when I was young I read what the alternative health press was saying about trans fats long before the mainstream healthpeople were willing to admit the problem.

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