The Easy Way to become an Expert-Generalist

I often think about what skills people need to succeed in their careers. And this generally leads me to inquire whether educational institutions teach their charges the right skillsets in order to prepare them for an increasingly uncertain world. By and large, I think most fail on this count. The average grade school or university…

How Deciders Prevent Dilution of Vision

In June, I wrote about why leaders in many situations would be better off acting as benevolent dictators. I remarked in that post that, “when decisions are made by committee or consensus, debates slow down progress and the vision that drives things forward is diluted by too many voices.” I wanted to flesh this out…

Let’s talk about the Apple Keynote

This is my first Tuesday post ever, deviating from my normal post days of Mondays and Thursdays. I’ve decided to try a variable publishing schedule if I miss one of my regular days but have a good idea later. So here goes! I was deeply underwhelmed by the Apple Keynote this year, and have been…

The Modern Knowledge Worker is a Sprinter

In June of this year, Naval Ravikant (the founder of AngelList) tweeted an interesting insight: “Forty hour workweeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes – train and sprint, then rest and reassess.” That caught my attention because I regularly work anywhere from 45 to 80 hours a week, and…

Seeing the Eclipse in Totality

I’m fortunate that I was able to take some time off work this week to go see the eclipse. Coincidentally, I was helping a friend move down to Atlanta, so we easily drove just over 90 minutes to Clemson to get into the path of totality. Seeing the eclipse in totality was an awe-inspiring experience;…

Role Fulfillment: How We Play Our Parts Socially

I’ve noticed that some bloggers I admire, Fred Wilson and Seth Godin among others, will write very short pieces that elegantly encapsulate a single thought. As I find myself busier and busier, I’ve decided that I’ll try my hand at doing something similar. I don’t want to short-change my readership, so I don’t want to…

On Spreadsheets and How They Changed The World

Recently, an old Steven Levy article from November 1984 re-surfaced on the web. Its topic: the origins of the now-omnipresent spreadsheet. Levy recounts that a Harvard MBA named Dan Bricklin was inspired while doing a project for one of his finance classes. The project required modeling the financial implications of one company’s acquisition of another;…

Our Failed Age of Exploration

I’ve been reading Jon Gertner’s The Idea Factory lately; it documents the history of Bell Labs, an R&D facility shared by AT&T and Western Electric that was directly or indirectly responsible for a number of innovations in telecom. Bell Labs researchers created transistors, signal extenders, and Unix, among other things. They developed the foundations of…

Request for Startup: Forum

I love Twitter, but the public markets do not. Like other consumer tech companies, investors have valued Twitter based on two interlinked factors: user growth and ad sales. Seeing as Twitter added zero users last quarter, it’s easy to understand why investors are a bit irked; in fact, they were so irked that the firm’s price…

Will We Need Sociopaths in a World Without Crisis?

One of my most popular articles ever on Thought Distiller was called “Are Sociopaths Good for Society?” and I think the time has come to dig into another angle on the topic of sociopathy. Last time, I determined that sociopaths (at least the higher-functioning ones) are genuinely good for society. This time around, I’m thinking…