Friday, May 30, 2014

Harnessing the Power of Envy

Envy makes people destructive and ruins the innovation potential of great companies. On the flip side, it can also be harnessed to drive better performance. Read more at INSEAD.

(Thanks, CL)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Your Princess Is In Another Castle

This is one of the most pragmatic, thoughtful, and straightforward pieces I've read in a while - courtesy of a Jeopardy super champ, Arthur Chu. Read more in the DailyBeast.

Thanks +Josh Solera and +Alessia Bhargava

Normal Violence in a Murder Spree

The Twitter conversation around #YesAllWomen is a sobering reminder of how commonly women are robbed of a sense of dignity and full personhood. Read more in the Atlantic.

The Dangerous Rise of “Entrepreneurship Porn”

An excerpt:
...Fed by media and online coverage of an idealized lifestyle, this “entrepreneurship porn” presents an airbrushed reality in which all work is always meaningful and running your own business is a way to achieve better work/life harmony. 
But the reality of starting and running a small business is different from the fantasy – and I should know, because I run one, and am married to a long-time entrepreneur. Starting a company doesn’t mean being freed from the grind; it means that the buck stops with you, always, even if it’s Sunday morning or Friday night. 
Moreover, it’s just not possible that every smart young graduate can launch her own successful enterprise. Part of me wants to cry every time I meet a smart young student and the notion of joining a respected, existing institution cannot compete with the thought of creating her own.
Very few of the talented young people I meet want to work for something that already exists. 
On the contrary, they want to create new enterprises. They want to work according to their own rules, not a boss’s rules. Part of this may be youth, but surely part of it is what these young people have seen: their parents and older friends grinding it out, feeling unrecognized and judged on the wrong criteria. Women leaving high-powered jobs once they have children and stifled in a desire to be both a good mother and good worker, and men who cannot express their need to have a life at home and at work...
Read more in HBR. (Thanks, +Anu Parvatiyar and +Brandon Kearse)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Envelopes of cash being hidden around S.F.

"Someone who has made a lot of money in the San Francisco real estate market is giving some of it back — in $20 and $100 bills stuffed in envelopes hidden around the city. All that's known about the anonymous millionaire, who uses the Twitter handle @HiddenCash.

He's between 35 and 45, recently made $500,000 on a single deal, has some friends helping him with the money drops, and gave away $4,000 between Thursday night and Sunday."

Read more in USA Today. (Thanks, +Katie Banks)

Levi's Go Forth 2011

Thanks, +Kendall Dabaghi 

What if Money Was No Object - Alan Watts

Thanks, +Kendall Dabaghi 

30 AND UNDER: Rising Stars In NY Tech Who Find Hot Startup Deals And Manage Millions Of Dollars

Read more in Business Insider.

Monday, May 26, 2014

TED Talk // Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

Lots of tough stuff in there. Reminds me of this NYT article on how suffering shapes us. (Thanks, +Becky Agostino)

A red state breakthrough on health care reform

So proud to part of the team that supported the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative (APII). MSNBC and Arkansas Times have both covered the the innovative way Arkansans are now paying for healthcare.

Sticker shock: Why are glasses so expensive?

TED Talk: How to make stress your friend

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Thanks +Becky Agostino 

Stop Trying to Be Happy and Start Working Towards Your Ideal Self

Read Mark Manson's post in Lifehacker.

Thanks, +Brandon Kearse and +Sam Solie

Saturday, May 24, 2014

For all my Greek friends, think you'll appreciate this

Haha, so good.

The Myth That Americans Are Busier Than Ever

"How did we get so busy?" the New Yorker asks. Let's define busy. And, while we're at it, let's define we, too.

Read more in the Atlantic.

(Thanks, +Alessia Bhargava and +Kendall Dabaghi)

The Sad Desk Lunch

Found myself laughing a bunch watching this. Too much truth:

HBR Daily Stat: Conflict Can Jeopardize Your Health

People who said in response to a survey that they “often” or “always” experienced conflicts with people in their lives were 2 to 3 times more likely than average to be dead 11 years later, according to a Danish study of nearly 10,000 middle-aged adults. The deaths were generally from illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and alcohol-related liver disease, according to The Atlantic. So although isolation is a risk factor for disease and death, social interaction isn’t a good antidote if it’s fraught with conflict.

Read more in the Atlantic.

Zosia Mamet on Why She Won't Lean In, Thanks

I have been incredibly blessed with success in my chosen career. I’ve worked my ass off and had the support and encouragement of those around me to keep climbing. But what if tomorrow I decided I was content with the place I’d reached in acting and planned to open a small coffee shop in Vermont? That job wouldn’t necessarily be any easier, but I believe I would be considered less successful. My friends, some of them, would ask me if it was what I really wanted (code for “You’re making a mistake”). My agent would think I was insane, and my family would definitely be confused. And if I didn’t turn my little coffee shop into some world-renowned Magnolia Bakery of the north, if I kept it small and had a happy life, I probably wouldn’t be considered a success at that either, which is ridiculous. 
We are so obsessed with “making it” these days we’ve lost sight of what it means to be successful on our own terms...
Read Zosia's post in Glamour. (Thanks +Julia Chou)

How Being Poor Makes You Sick

Some patients are being "prescribed" bicycles and groceries as doctors attempt to treat the lifestyle consequences of poverty, in addition to its medical symptoms. Can it work?

Sobering: One in every six Americans lives in poverty–for an individual, that means earning less than $11,670 per year.

Read more in the Atlantic. (Thanks, +Alessia Bhargava and +Tyler Borek)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’

This has stuck with me all day:
...In a much discussed article in Jacobin magazine early this year, the writer Miya Tokumitsu argued that the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty. 
When I am off campus and informally counseling economically challenged kids in Northfield, Minn., a city of about 20,000, the theme is not “do what you love.” Many of them are used to delivering papers at 5 a.m., slinging shingles all day or loading trucks all night. They are accustomed to doing whatever they need to do to help out their families. For them, the notion of doing what you love or find meaningful is not the idea that comes first to mind; nor should it. We put our heads together and consider, “What are you best at doing?” or “What job would most improve your family’s prospects?” Maybe being licensed as a welder or electrician? Maybe the military? Passion and meaning may enter into the mix of our chats with the understanding that they sharpen your focus and make you more successful...
Read more in the NYT Opinionator. (Thanks, +Lucy McKinstry)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Can Animal Behavior Help Us Understand Empathy and Dehumanization?

Read more. (Thanks, Alessia)

Introducing the Muppie, the Post-Financial Crisis, Millennial Take on the Yuppie Lifestyle

An excerpt:
Behold the Muppie. 
She wears Lululemon to Soul Cycle each morning before heading to the office of her Big Name consulting/banking/law firm, a role she started after completing her liberal arts degree at a prestigious university and moving to NY/SF/LA with two sorority sisters to replicate a lifestyle she learned about from "Sex and the City." She spends an hour of each workday on blogs, 30 minutes online shopping, 40 minutes thinking about finding a new job and a cumulative hour considering in equal parts what she's going to eat for lunch, her next vacation and how much her job is a waste of her talent. She will shortly leave said name-brand firm for a start-up or company run by someone under the age of 40, but will take a month off beforehand to go travel abroad and find herself.
Read more in HuffPo. (Thanks, KC)

Harvard-born website SpotRocket lets recent grads find the country's hottest startups

Check out the BizJournal post on SpotRocket. (Thanks, Brandon)

The Book of Graham

The author, an investment banker, writes about how his nephew wants to go into start-ups rather than banking. My favorite excerpt:
“Who’s Paul Graham?” I asked. No response. 
It turns out Paul Graham runs a “startup accelerator” located on 320 Pioneer Way in Mountain View, CA called Y-Combinator. Y-Combinator makes micro investments into very early stage companies and then helps these companies raise venture capital. Thousands apply for a few slots in two “classes” per year. AirBnB, Dropbox, and Reddit are among its alumni. 
The accelerator takes small amounts of risk and offloads that aggregate risk onto a market of investors (the VC’s). Its Demo Day, which first showcases its companies, is a coming out event, like an IPO. And it attracts top young graduates, like my cousin, from across the world. I spent nearly a decade on Wall Street, and let’s be clear: that’s our model. Employing Type A personalities to shuffle around amorphous blobs of questionable value is not called a “startup accelerator”; it’s called Investment Banking.
Read more in the Leveraged Sellout. (Thanks, Nate)

Why People End Up in Dead-End Jobs

A study out of Duke University sheds light on the thought process that leads people to make career decisions that will make them miserable. Read more in Inc.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Prettiest Girl at the Party

Read one take on Jill Abramson's ouster from the New York Times this week in Medium. My favorite excerpt:

Your power does not come from luck. Your power comes from you, and what you invest in it every day, in the work and the sweat and the giving a damn. That is what you carry around with you, even as you walk out of your fancy top job for the last time. That is what you carry into the next thing, and there will be a next thing, because you are good and because that’s what you do. That is your capital.

 (Thanks, +Anu Parvatiyar)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Best leaders are humble leaders

The authors present a few ideas on how leaders can work on becoming more altruistic based on their research and work at Rockwell Automation:
1. Share mistakes as moments of truth and the underlying lessons it taught
2. Focus on listening and dialogue by suspending own agenda
3. Be open to showing vulnerability and admit not knowing all the answers; helps humanize leaders
4. Empower employees and let them lead you; it serves getting the other side's perspective
Read more in HBR.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, writes an insightful post about maker's schedules vs. manager's schedules:
One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more. 
There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses. It's embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you're doing every hour... 
... When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in...
Read more on his website. (Thanks, +Joe Buser)

How Americans Die

Bloomberg has a fascinating data visualization, sliced by cohort. Visualization of the AID epidemic in the 90s, and the rise of suicide and drug use in the 44-54 population. (Thanks, +Joe Buser)

I’ll Finish the Dishes When I’m Dead

"Caught up in what I've come to call the Overwhelm, the thought kept nagging me: Was I not just bad at time, was I squandering my one and only life?" Read more in TIME. (Thanks, +Julia Chou)

Why Poverty Is Still Miserable, Even If Everybody Can Own an Awesome Television

Read more in Slate. (Thanks, +Colin Law)

We aren't the world

Joe Hendrich ran a couple "standard" economic experiments across the globe, and found that Americans and developed societies responded in ways that were different from some of the indigenous. An excerpt on the ultimatum game:
“It just seemed ridiculous to the Machiguenga that you would reject an offer of free money,” says Henrich. “They just didn’t understand why anyone would sacrifice money to punish someone who had the good luck of getting to play the other role in the game.”
The results are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture. Read more in Pacific Standard. (Thanks, +Alessia Bhargava)

HBR Management Tip: Brand Yourself While Maintaining Your Integrity

"In the American workplace, self-promotion is seen as a way to differentiate yourself and advance your career. But for people who grew up in cultures where modesty, composure, and self-control are strongly valued, it can be hard to meet the need for personal branding. In this case, it helps to reframe the idea of self-promotion – instead of viewing it as a selfish endeavor, think about whom else might benefit from your efforts. For example, if you’re known as a sought-after expert, clients will hire your company to have access to your skills. And if you come from a culture that emphasizes the group over the individual, highlight your achievements within the context of what the team or organization was able to achieve. This way, you can maintain your integrity while still getting name recognition for all that you do."

Read more in HBR.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Day I Started Lying to Ruth

A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer. Read the heart-wrenching story in NY Mag by Peter Bach. (Thanks, +Julia Chou and Katie)

Tearjerker // Seeds [through Google Glass]

This film, shot entirely on Glass, was created by alumni and students from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts as part of the Glass Creative Collective. It's our way of saying "Thank you, Mom."

(Thanks, +Julia Chou)

Charles Rangel wants GOP to undergo psychiatric evaluations

Read more in the Sun Times. (Thanks, Tom)

Fat (Reconsidered)

Americans have been told for decades to avoid red meat, butter, cheese and other fatty foods because they cause heart disease; But do they really? The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade.

Read more in the WSJ. (Thanks, Tom)

HBR Management Tip: Imagining the Path to Success Can Help Make It a Reality

I like this:
If you’re procrastinating, stuck, or struggling to meet a goal, try this (seemingly simple) technique: Write your goal down, then devise different possible ways of achieving it, and finally, close your eyes and imagine yourself carrying out each one. Evidence shows that imagining a movement will stimulate the movement areas in the brain; so by envisioning the steps you must take to reach a certain objective, you “jump start” the brain into action. And focusing on creating clear mental images can also help reduce anxiety and improve confidence. This may seem more challenging if you don’t know the distinct steps needed to reach your goal – but imagery hones your attention and actually activates particular brain regions that make you capable of unconsciously mapping a path to success. So not knowing “how” is OK. Just focus on your goal and imagine the different paths toward reaching it.
Read more at HBR.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why Rich People Feel Poor

Read more in Bloomberg. (Thanks, Tom)

Why some dreams should not be persued

Check out Mark Mason's reflection on his rockstardom dream:
...Even when I started my first online business, it was with an eye to cash in quick and then finally start my belated career as a musician. Even as recently as a year ago, I bought a guitar with half a mind to start practicing again and join a band in some of the locations I ended up living. 
But despite fantasizing about this for over half of my life, the reality never came. And it took me a long time to figure out why. 
I didn’t actually want it. 
I’m in love with the result — the image of me on stage, people cheering, me rocking out, putting everything I have into what I’m playing — but I’m not in love with the process. 
The daily drudgery of practicing, the logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a shit. The broken strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 lbs of gear to and from rehearsals with no car. It’s a mountain of a dream and a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a long time to discover is that I don’t like to climb. I just want to imagine the top. 
Our culture would tell me that I’ve somehow failed myself. Self help would say that I either wasn’t courageous enough, determined enough or I didn’t believe in myself enough. Lifestyle designers would tell me that I gave in to my conventional role in society. I’d be told to do affirmations or join a mastermind group or something. 
But the truth is far less interesting than that: 
I thought I wanted something. But I didn’t. End of story.
Reminded me of David Foster Wallace's "This is Water" commencement speech.

Thanks, +Brandon Kearse

The Oracle of Omaha, Lately Looking a Bit Ordinary

Index investing -- the way to go.

(Thanks, Tom)

The difference between cats and dogs

Pretty funny. Still love cats.

High-performing boards: What’s on their agenda?

Directors report that they have a greater impact as they move beyond the basics.

Read more in the McKinsey Quarterly.

Planet Money - Episode 521: The Town That Loves Death

Check out the Planet Money Podcast (download for your next trip!). Important reminder for why we should fill out advanced directives no matter what age we are. Grim thought, but good to be prepared.

Thanks, Akash.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics

It's time to look at ourselves — and our collective moral outrage — in the mirror, says former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Read more in TIME. (Thanks, Peter)

Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray

Consider marrying young. Be wary of grand passions. Watch 'Groundhog Day' (again). Advice on how to live to the fullest.

Read more in the WSJ. (Thanks, Vini)

Fact Check: Does Private Equity Kill Jobs?

  • In 2013, private equity firms owned or backed more than 17,000 US companies employing about 7.5 million people. Little research has been conducted to understand private equity’s effects on workers.
  • A new book written by two economists, called "Private Equity at Work," attempts to answer the question how the private equity business model affect its employees.
  • According to the book, private equity owners reduced more jobs than other companies, but the net effect is minimal. One paper cited, led by university of Chicago economist Steven Davis and reviewing 3,200 firms acquired between 1980 and 2005, found that buyouts lead to more job creation and destruction than companies that were not bought by private equity investors.
  • Another study found that 39% of CEOs were replaced in the first hundred days of a buyout, and 69% were replaced at some point during PE ownership.
  • The book also noted that private-equity owners are no more hostile to labor unions than executives of public companies. "While some PE firms market themselves as union-friendly, others are hostile, and still others are agnostic," the authors write.

Read more in the WSJ.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .