a strange gig for a press photographer. They are a weird breed, estranged in every way from pointy-headed reporters and editorial writers. If reporters are generally liberal in their thinking, photographers are massively conservative. They are the true professionals of journalism: the End, the photo, justifies anything they have to say, do or think in order to get it. Police brutality, to a good press photographer, is nothing more or less than a lucky chance for some action shots. Later, when his prints are drying in the darkroom, he’ll defend the same cops he earlier condemned with his lens.
🔗 Fear and Loathing in America, excerpts in The Paris Review, 2000
But implementation is important too. How do you keep people on track without dampening their creativity?
It’s not either/or. You just need to be intentional about which you want to emphasize now. To shift the focus of stand-up meetings, managers can pull two levers: frequency and content. If you want more novelty, have fewer meetings and keep them short. If your priority is implementing existing ideas, greater coordination from more-regular meetings can be helpful. As for meeting content, a discussion of goals focuses people on implementing old ideas rather than on coming up with new ones. So if you don’t talk about goals, you open the door to more creativity. Say you’re a tech company trying to develop a completely new category of product. A lot of agile meetings could get in your way; it would be better to just have your engineers follow their individual inclinations and explore randomly.
The suggestion is that focusing on achieving a goal, and the tools for it like stand-up meetings, lessons the innovation output. You’re deciding to spend time implementing and existing idea, achieving an existing goal instead of coming up with the new ideas and new goals.
A bit of “works as designed,” but important to realize so that you can build both into the system.
🔗 Balancing execution versus innovation
Organizations can benefit by focusing their data initiatives on clearly identified high-impact business problems or use cases. By starting where there is a critical business need, executives can demonstrate value quickly through “quick wins” that help a company realize value, build credibility for their investments in data, and use this credibility to identify additional high-impact use cases to build business momentum. We see firms that invest in data capabilities and technology without a clearly defined business demand failing time and time again.
If a corporate initiative is failing, try showing that it’s worth doing. People don’t want to change, esp. if there’s no proof that there’s a reason and that things get better. Too much business transformation stuff is drive by the promise that things will get better, by the speculation. Most of the time they don’t get better – there are many more failed startups than successful ones, you know. The current system, by nature of it being what people do, “works.” It might be in the decline, but it’s well known and has worked well to this point: it’s safe. You can force people to consider new things out of a sense or urgency, by showing them that their life will be better in the new system (which is largely about exposing how bad the current system is), and demonstrating that the new system is better.
Also in the context of “everything changes” and “data is the new oil” type stuff, you should revisit the assumption that it’s all a big deal. After 5, 10 years of the culture resisting change, maybe the culture is right: your tech-led imperative to change isn’t such a big deal. It’ll just make you 10% better, not 300%. The change required to get there is equally less dramatic, &, hence, your “culture” seems a barrier.
🔗 Why Is It So Hard to Become a Data-Driven Company?
> I am not the best hustler because I do not know myself as well as I want to, which leads to a series of ongoing self-hustles. Like setting my alarm for seven thirty when I’ve already crossed well beyond the midnight hour, immersed in the glow of my phone. But it’s the promise I think I’m chasing. Like my dear pal, looking at a bracelet reflecting off the sunlight, dancing on her skin.
> hustling is easiest when you are in a room people don’t believe you to be in. All you have to do is show up and refuse to give the people what they want
🔗 [On Hustles](https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2021/02/03/on-hustles/)
> But not all businesses are making those investments. Only 36% of executives said they have the necessary learning infrastructure to upskill their employees, according to the report. Less than half (48%) said they are investing in building soft skills, such as adaptability and collaboration.
On the other hand, since 2018, surveyed people think they have the needed leadership in place much more than back then.
🔗 [Then and now: Digital transformation in the pandemic landscape](https://www.ciodive.com/news/capgemini-digital-transformation-pandemic/594396/)
> At an even amount of 9 percent of the current base per year or 10,8000 customers, it would only take 11 years to vaporize the IBM i base. If it is 9 percent of the base incremented down per year as it declines, it will take 40 years to reduce it from 120,000 to 3,000 customers. Neither of these scenarios seems likely given the current commitments that Big Blue is making in the Power server line and the IBM i platform. We think that without too much investment, IBM could keep the IBM i platform going at least to 2035. (That is just using Power11 chips.) We think the actual attrition rate is probably closer to 1,000 customers a year against maybe 300 new customers, but that is just a guess.
So, like, effectively: never.
🔗 [Talk Is Cheap, Action Is Costly](https://www.itjungle.com/2021/02/01/talk-is-cheap-action-is-costly/)
> If everyone on a team (including the leaders) accepts that all first drafts are bad, that automatically gives everyone permission to write a bad first draft, about anything, at any time…. The bad draft is a place to experiment with thoughts.
A bad draft – an imperfect thing – drives collaboration, exploration, more rigorous analysis, and, even co-ownership.
🔗 [All first drafts are bad drafts (and that’s what makes them good)](https://gilest.org/2021/bad-first-drafts/)
> “Oftentimes, we get clients who will say, ‘We need to assess those 10,000 applications that we know have to go to the cloud before we do anything on them.’ And we try to change that around and ask why: ‘Why do you have to look at all of them?’
> “ . . . I haven’t found a customer that doesn’t know some of those critical applications that are very painful, that go down all the time or whatever the criteria is. They all have something that keeps them up at night, that they get the calls [about] at 3 a.m. They know they’ve got to think about those first.
🔗 [Refactor or lift-and-shift: How to prioritize modernization efforts](https://tanzu.vmware.com/content/blog/refactor-or-lift-and-shift-how-to-prioritize-modernization-efforts)
> Yes, we’ve all been influenced by movies. Malcolm Cowley incidentally mentioned this many times. He’s very perceptive sometimes: he mentioned that Doctor Sax continually mentions urine, and quite naturally it does because I had no other place to write it but on a closed toilet seat in a little tile toilet in Mexico City so as to get away from the guests inside the apartment. There, incidentally, is a style truly hallucinated, as I wrote it all on pot. No pun intended. Ho ho.
> The part of Zen that’s influenced my writing is the Zen contained in the haiku, like I said, the three-line, seventeen-syllable poems written hundreds of years ago by guys like Bashō, Issa, Shiki, and there’ve been recent masters. A sentence that’s short and sweet with a sudden jump of thought in it is a kind of haiku, and there’s a lot of freedom and fun in surprising yourself with that, let the mind willy-nilly jump from the branch to the bird.
> I know a lot of stories about Buddha, but I don’t know exactly what he said every time. But I know what he said about the guy who spit at him. He said, “Since I can’t use your abuse you may have it back.” He was great. [Kerouac plays piano. Drinks are served.]
> Oh the Beat generation was just a phrase I used in the 1951 written manuscript of On the Road to describe guys like Moriarty who run around the country in cars looking for odd jobs, girlfriends, kicks. It was thereafter picked up by West Coast Leftist groups and turned into a meaning like “Beat mutiny” and “Beat insurrection” and all that nonsense; they just wanted some youth movement to grab on to for their own political and social purposes. I had nothing to do with any of that. I was a football player, a scholarship college student, a merchant seaman, a railroad brakeman on road freights, a script synopsizer, a secretary … And Moriarty-Cassady was an actual cowboy on Dave Uhl’s ranch in New Raymer, Colorado … What kind of beatnik is that?
🔗 [Jack Kerouac, Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 41](https://theparisreview.org/interviews/4260/the-art-of-fiction-no-41-jack-kerouac)
> In 2010, Tony Judt warned, not long before his death, that the traditional way of doing politics in the West—through “mass movements, communities organized around an ideology, even religious or political ideas, trade unions and political parties”—had become dangerously extinct. There were, Judt wrote, “no external inputs, no new kinds of people, only the political class breeding itself.” Trump emerged six years later, channelling an iconoclastic fury at this inbred ruling class and its cherished monuments.
> But the problem of political representation in a polarized, unequal, and now economically debilitated society remains treacherously unresolved.
🔗 [What Are the Cultural Revolution’s Lessons for Our Current Moment?](https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/02/01/what-are-the-cultural-revolutions-lessons-for-our-current-moment)
Only a few of them are wrong. Of note: this doesn’t seem to cover the UK.
🔗 [Things That Are Different in Europe](https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/02/01/things-that-are-different-in-europe)
> Even actors don’t
> exactly love the spotlight they move through,
> as your sister, the actor,
> has told us; they just need to be lit
> for narrative motion
> to have meaning.
From “You’re the One I Wanna Watch the Last Ships Go Down With,” Brian Tierney
🔗 [Just add narrative motion for meaning](https://www.theparisreview.org/poetry/7618/youre-the-one-i-wanna-watch-the-last-ships-go-down-with-brian-tierney)
> Apple Watch owners are meant to feel like they’re walking right alongside the celebrity sharing their Time to Walk story, and stories are punctuated by the ambient sounds like birds, footsteps, breathing, and other people in the area. After a story has finished, each speaker provides three songs to listen to that are related.
Back to business, marketing:
> Apple is hoping that Time to Walk might serve as a gateway to getting people more involved with Apple Fitness+, which has been designed to be welcoming to people of all skill levels. Apple launched Apple Fitness+ last month, and the service offers workouts across a wide range of categories from dance and yoga to cycling, running, and HIIT.
🔗 [Hands-On With the New Apple Fitness+ ‘Time to Walk’ Feature](https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.macrumors.com/2021/01/25/time-to-walk-hands-on/amp/)
If it allows you to add a zaney thumbnail, it might be interesting. What I’ve found is that including links to YouTube in other channels doesn’t result in much traffic/views: people don’t follow the link to YouTube. Instead, posting your video natively in Twitter (2m20s max length) and LinkedIn (10m max length) works better – and, sure Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, but my b2b stuff doesn’t work well there, wrong forum.
🔗 [YouTube is testing clips on live streams and VODs](https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/28/22254528/youtube-clips-alpha-twitch-mixer-facebook-livestreaming?scrolla=5eb6d68b7fedc32c19ef33b4)
How many hours a day do you put in at the desk?
Two hours in the late morning, two in the early afternoon, followed by a walk along the river to think over the next day. Then at six, Scotch and soda, and oblivion.
From Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 85, 1984.
🔗 And then, oblivion
Totally cool, and all that. Now that I have to deal with GDPR pop ups on _every webpage _, I hope there’s a way to just say “always say no, never ask me” for the notifications. What happens with the good intentioned GDPR is that I’m asked each time, selecting no is often difficult.
I just want to say no all the time. Recently, the content filtering app Hush helps here.
I don’t want to be asked if I want to share my data and tracking info with anyone, I’d never say yes except if it’s the easiest button to click (which it often is). I’m happy to say no all the time, without being asked, and loose the “benefits” of personalized ads.
To put it another way: personalized ads are bullshit. I mean, I wouldn’t mind both it being harder to seek to me and harder for me to find what I want. I have enough stuff and services, I’d prefer to have less.
🔗 [Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature will be enabled by default and arrive in ‘early spring’ on iOS](https://techcrunch.com/2021/01/27/apple-app-tracking-transparency/?guccounter=1)
> In Brownsville, which abuts the Mexican town of Matamoros, Mejia grew up eating in a style typical of northern Mexico, “really big on meat, grilling pretty much every day, flour tortillas,” Rojas told me. Hence Carne Asada Sunday, featuring grilled skirt steak—or vegetarian alambre, a mix of vegetables grilled with cheese—plus floppy handmade flour tortillas and all the fixings: frijoles charros, stewed with tomato, jalapeño, sausage, and dried chili; fluffy rice, steamed in beer and flecked with cilantro and coins of carrot; and toppings from avocado salsa and queso fresco to chopped onion and limes.
This kind of thing is just available any time of the day, and day of the week back in Texas. We miss it so much!
🔗 [A Deeper Understanding of Mexican Food at Gastronomy Underground](https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/02/01/a-deeper-understanding-of-mexican-food-at-gastronomy-underground)