Just doing something is enough innovation for most organizations

“Most companies are not really struggling with the ability to innovate,” Hightower said. “A lot of the stuff that they’re going to use are tools and there was innovation that went into producing those tools. The innovative thing that we’re asking companies to do is just pick a tool, literally pick one of the 10 and as soon as you pick one then that will be the most innovative thing that some companies do in a long time. Literally picking something. Not building the thing. Not actually knowing how to actually leverage it 100%. Sometimes the biggest hurdle for most companies is just the picking part.”

Original source: Is COVID-19 a ‘Forcing Function’ for Cloud Native?

He prefers Google Cloud

It’s not that AWS is harder to use than GCP, it’s that it is needlessly hard; a disjointed, sprawl of infrastructure primitives with poor cohesion between them. A challenge is nice, a confusing mess is not, and the problem with AWS is that a large part of your working hours will be spent untangling their documentation and weeding through features and products to find what you want, rather than focusing on cool interesting challenges.

Original source: Why I think GCP is better than AWS

Blogging as organizing, a commonplace book

It’s the writerly act of organizing and assembling inchoate thought that seems to helps me. That’s what I did with this blog; if I blogged something for “Beyond the Beyond,” then I had tightened it, I had brightened it. I had summarized it in some medium outside my own head. Posting on the blog was a form of psychic relief, a stream of consciousness that had moved from my eyes to my fingertips; by blogging, I removed things from the fog of vague interest and I oriented them toward possible creative use.

Original source: Farewell to Beyond the Beyond

The mechanics of black and white photography

The vast majority of her work is created in black and white or sepia tones. Her photographs strip her subjects back to their barest essence, often capturing a moment of raw honesty. The black and white image is fairly unique to photography, a medium which offers to capture the world exactly as it is for a fleeting moment of time. By creating the images in black and white, Arbus at once captures a fleeting moment of reality and also reminds us that she is the author of that image, stripping it of its colour and dictating the way we look at that moment.

Original source: Diane Arbus and the Use of Black and White

Common habits of creative people

From a book review:

Here are some things that highly creative people gravitate towards:

  1. lots of coffee!
  2. working hard but, surprisingly often for only a short burst of time. Many writers only work for 3 or 4 hours each morning. (Architects and painters on the other hand tend to work all day.)
  3. long walks. lots and lots of very long walks.
  4. eating the exact same meal every breakfast, and lunch etc. So you don’t have to waste time thinking about it. (It’s weird how often this one shows up— Ingmar Bergman, Glen Gould, Patricia Highsmith, Oliver Sacks, David Lynch.)
  5. alcohol to unwind . . . or some kind of daily “vigorous exercise” to unwind.
  6. avoiding social obligations.
  7. naps.
  8. habitual reading. often artists will re-read a handful of their favorite authors again and again.
  9. indulging in eccentricities. (Beethoven would pour giant pitchers of water over his hands each morning while he bellowed scales.)
  10. either being a very early bird or a night owl. It’s easier to concentrate when there is no one around to distract you.
  11. tobacco
  12. avoiding TV.

Original source: Anthony’s review of Daily Rituals

Goals for your software project business case

Set your cornerstone by understanding how you’ll impact revenue, cost, or risk. These are the things that keep CEOs up at night, so that’s where you need to focus your efforts. Will the improvement help you acquire new customers (increasing revenue), deflect unnecessary support cases (lowering costs), or improve employee retention (reducing risk)? These aren’t the only examples for business case anchors, but they give a flavor of how to frame the thinking around the blueprint for your structure.

Original source: Take These Three Steps To Build Your CX Improvement Business Case

Lack of agency can lead to lack of self-control

If we want to raise healthy, high-agency children, we should give them the freedom to make decisions without removing them from the consequences of those decisions. Giving children agency now will help them avoid a dark cycle of work, pain, and reckless release in the future. Even if a life of indulgent hedonism is fun in the short-term, it ultimately leaves a void in the heart.

Also, a hint of setting healthy expectations for yourself and kids, rather than being too lofty.

Original source: The Price of Discipline

Staying home in restaurants

I travel a lot for work, which I love, but I am also prone to real bouts of homesickness. That's been true for as long as I can remember. My self-defense strategy over the years has been to make restaurants all over the world little outposts of home. People come to me sometimes for restaurant tips when they're traveling, and I think I'm pretty consistent in saying I have three favorite restaurants in the world: D'Chez Eux in Paris, Clancy's in New Orleans and Matricianella in Rome. I like pointing people to these places for the same reason I find myself returning to them: The ritual is something we can share, no matter the distance between us, and feel connected.

Original source: A letter from the great quarantine: Missing football, pasta and friendship

On bucket lists

I mean, death is quite different from a finish line. There’s nothing after the finish line. You can’t enjoy that you won the race, so it isn’t really … life is not a game in that sense, ‘Oh now I have done the seven things that I would like.’ I mean, yes, you know, I am well aware my time is limited, but I am not sure what conclusion to draw from it.

Original source: Wallace Shawn: ‘I live off doing animal voices in cartoons’

Nothing defined

Odell understands and acknowledges that doing nothing — by which she means taking time out of one’s day to engage in an activity without considering whether it’s productive — isn’t something that’s available to everyone. But her book is least convincing when she suggests that meaningful political change would follow if the strategies she has adopted were taken up en masse. Though she acknowledges that she’s lucky to be able to exercise the freedom to while away the hours in her favorite rose garden or to go bird-watching, Odell seems to disregard just how individualistic her strategies are. She lives an artistic life, one that lends itself wonderfully to aesthetic expression but is less useful in the political realm.

Original source: A Manifesto for Opting Out of an Internet-Dominated World

The decline of old school high culture, novels edition

Joseph Bottum mentions Andrew Ferguson’s cocktail-party test for books—would you be embarrassed at a cocktail party for not having read it?—and notes the last such novel Ferguson cites passing this test was Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities in 1987.

And:

Now that visual art has lost its import, now that poetry seems to have become an insular and thereby minor art, now that modern classical music has long been unable to command support, the entire realm of what used to be called high culture seems not so much in abeyance or even in retreat but in ashes. This high culture gave those of us enamored of it intimations of an elevated life, however far it might have been out of our reach, a life lived deeper down and beyond quotidian concerns. We can, of course, continue to live on the high culture of the past, with the great music of Austria and Germany, the painting of Italy, Holland, and France, the literature of Russia, Western Europe, and America, most of it produced a hundred and more years ago. Painful, nevertheless, is it to contemplate that further production in these magnificent lines of culture may well be closing down, and that contemporary culture henceforth will consist of streamed movies made chiefly from comic-book characters, video games, and graphic novels.

I dunno. A shift in mediums is fine. The question is: is the content still good?

Original source: What Happened to the Novel?

Schedule creative thinking when you’re not stressed and peppy

So if you’re wondering when you might be most creative, you need to think about when you might be the least inhibited. That would be the time of day that you might want to schedule, or at least experiment with scheduling, some creative time. For many people, that time is usually when they’re not at their most energetic, or most productive. You don’t want to schedule creative time during your most productive time; you want to schedule it when you’re slightly less goal-oriented and sharp, when you’re on the downward slope and you’ve started to fatigue, so that you’re open to different ways of thinking and creating.

Also:

Across the board, everyone benefits from exposure to nature. This can be anything, looking out the window and seeing some greenery, or going for a walk. It definitely can’t hurt and, in my line of work, I’ve never heard of anyone saying it doesn’t help, or “this plant is really killing my creative energy!”

Original source: How to find your most creative time of day, and make it count

The jig (could be) up!

A deep, long recession will stoke anger, because the pandemic has held up an unflattering mirror to rich societies. Ill-run care homes for the elderly, high rates of death among minorities, the extra demands holding back working women and, especially in America, health care that is hard to reach for many, will all lead to calls for reform. So might the realisation that an unfair burden has fallen on ordinary people. Americans earning less than $20,000 a year are twice as likely to have lost their job to covid-19 as someone earning over $80,000. Much will depend on how fast they are rehired.

Original source: Life after lockdowns

Working from home popular with higher income people

The data also shows a major gap between income levels in the ability to work from home. Of people making under $50,000 a year, just 24% work at home. In the middle range, from $50,000 to $100,000, the number jumps to 36%, and for those making $100,000 or more, 46% are able to work from home.

Original source: As working from home becomes more widespread, many say they don’t want to go back