Category Archives: inspiration

A High Bar for Product Culture

My daughter is in the phase where she’s always asking me “why?”, so she asks me, “Why do you go to work?” …and I hate how a toddler has given me so much pause… because I don’t like my answer.

Here’s a window into an internal struggle:

Do you work for a company with an inspiring vision? Why the heck not? And why do you choose to spend your days contributing to a group that’s not improving humanity?

And now, here’s my struggle as I iterate on my Agility:

Why continue to focus on how things are being built & done when what we are building & doing is not improving humanity?

What do I tell my 2-year-old daughter? Continue reading

Letters at the End of Your Name

It takes a special kind of idiot to go from point A to point B in a tank-top, short shorts, and gloves.

That’s right. In high school (the prep school half of it), I was on the cross-country team.

Why was I on said team, you might ask? (I’m so glad you might asked!)

On campus, of lush green grass & trees in the bustling metropolis barely-more-than-a-post-office town of Byfield, I would be seen jogging to class, as a result of leaving to said class at the last responsible moment. It never occurred to me that this was an abnormal ambulatory mode until someone mentioned, on my way, in my way, to said class, that I should join said team.

One year, one of the perks of said team was the track jacket.

That year, one of the perks of said jacket was the last name stitched onto the right sleeve.

That year, one of the perks of said sleeve was that mine said, Continue reading

Mental Decluttering by Not Giving A

In the TED Talk “The Magic of Not Giving a F***“, Sarah Knight’s approach to minimalism is very… practical. And colourfully stated!

She covers her ‘notsorry’ method, which guards your time and treasure without you feeling like a… jerk. She ends her talk thus:

But mental decluttering: learning how to say ‘no’, set boundaries, and give fewer, better fucks? That lasts forever.

So decide what you don’t give a fuck about (know your ‘fuck budget’). Then don’t give a fuck about those things (honestly & politely). 12.5-minute video embedded below to better get this message. Enjoy!

Oh, and yeah, she audibly drops the F-bomb. A lot. But otherwise, it’s SFW!

Vote Every Day

(The following is what I shared with my co-workers today shortly after noon, Boston time, the day after we elected Trump to the presidency.)

To those of us who voted, hello there. This is for you.

I was born in a literal kingdom (…of Saudi Arabia) 8,000 miles away, onto soil that was… not home. I spent the first half of my life (17 years) there, surrounded by ex-patriots knowing one day we’d all… go home. One day, we’d go live in America, and do American things, like vote.

That’s why yesterday was special for me. I got to vote yesterday.

In the hope of connecting to others’ humanity ( [robot face] [winking face] ), and at the risk of sounding unprofessional, I’ll share my candidate didn’t win the presidency, and this has gotten me to think about what it means to vote. ( controversial hook / tension builds… ) Continue reading

Little Thistledown Things

Am sharing a video of Alan Watts, one of my favorites.

Here’s the transcript:

I remember once, I, uh, was looking in the open air and one of those glorious little thistledown things came and I picked it up, like that, and brought it down, and it looked as if it was struggling to get away, just as if you caught an insect by one leg, like a daddy longlegs or something of that kind.

It seemed to be struggling to get away and I thought, “Well it’s not doing that, that’s just the wind blowing.” And then I thought again, “Really? Only the wind blowing? Surely, it is the structure of this thing, which, in cooperation with the existence of wind, enables it to move like an animal, but using the wind’s effort, not its own.” It is (a) more intelligent being than an insect, in a way, because an insect uses effort, like a person who rows a boat uses effort, but the man who puts up a sail is using magic.

He lets nature do it for him, with the intelligence to use a sail. You see? Now, that is the most highly skillful art of all. That is Taoism in perfection.

So, I take that as: structure yourself to work with the Universe to act without effort.

The Taoist notion of ‘Wu Wei’ can be described as “the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life”. So you can read THAT, or choose to think about “those glorious little thistle down things”.