Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 9, 2012 4:16 PM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #103

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:

  • The mystery of La Contessa - San Francisco Bay Guardian. "I'm on the West Coast this week, and seeing many of my Burner friends again for the first time in a while. As the summer kicks off, a certain kind of scruffy Bay Area hipster--what happens when goths meet dust--starts planning for their final summer fling, which happens just North of Reno. Burning Man is an amazing experience, like being a roadie in the middle of a week-long Cirque Du Soleil show. And it's rife with drama and color. I just learned about the torching of La Contessa, a school bus-turned-Spanish-galleon embroiled in a murky (dusty?) lawsuit. Even the scandals of Black Rock City are weird and fraught with kinks, twist, and smoke." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Secret History of Silicon Valley. "The other big event this summer is Startupfest, an annual conference on entrepreneurship run in Montreal. This year's theme is Startups That Matter. I'm lucky enough to work with Phil Telio on the content, and we've got a number of speakers who were around when it all began, building things like DNS and the spreadsheet. Steve Blank, the Godfather of Eric Ries' Lean Startup movement, is a Berkley professor with a long understanding of the patterns that shaped Silicon Valley. In this hour-long (but fascinating and well worth it!) lecture at the Computer History Museum, he reminds us that the Valley wasn't just silicon - DARPA, the CIA, and others fueled the tech boom with government funds. As NASA engineers watch their budgets shrink, replaced by private contracting, this is a sobering reminder of the role governments play in massive, unlikely undertakings that change the world, and in launching startups that matter." (Alistair for Mitch).
  •  Mister Rogers Remixed - Garden of Your Mind - PBS Digital Studios. "Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? You can grow ideas, in the garden of your mind." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The Failures of the Facebook Generation in the Arab Spring - The Daily Beast. "Francis Fukayama (End of History) takes a look at the Arab Spring's rather tepid results in actually changing things. Along the way he looks at the history of popular uprisings, and notes (Quebec, listen up): 'Students know how to demonstrate and riot, but they generally can't organize their way out of a paper bag.'" (Hugh for Mitch).
  • What It's Like To Be The CEO: Revelations and Reflections - On Startups. "This one of the most brutally honest pieces I have ever read about being an entrepreneur. The world sees deals like Instagram being bought by Facebook or leaders like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and think that it's all smooth sailing, easy and that it happens fast. It ain't. I'm in year ten of my agency, Twist Image, and it still feels like a startup and we're still scrappy like it was being run out of our garage (even though it's two offices now). From this post: 'Very tough to sleep most nights of the week. Weekends don't mean anything to you anymore. Closing a round of financing is not a relief. It means more people are depending on you to turn their investment into 20 times what they gave you. It's very difficult to 'turn it off'. But at the same time, television, movies and vacations become so boring to you when your company's future might be sitting in your inbox or in the results of a new A/B test you decided to run.' Yup... feels like just another day in paradise to me." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Pixar story rules (one version) - The Pixar Touch. "Telling a great story is something all of us need to do a whole lot better, but it's way more art than science. The people at Pixar know how to tell great stories. This short and snappy post has a ton of illuminating concepts in it. Some of them are obvious but mostly ignored by the masses. It's a great reminder that in order to sell anything, we need to be able to tell a better and more unique story... and this has some great starting points." (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it's your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

By Mitch Joel

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  • Mitch Joel

    My contribution this week: "How Hashtags and Social Media Can Bring Megacorporations to Their Knees" from The Atlantic - http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/how-the-mighty-hand-held-slapped-the-invisible-hand/258290/

    I appreciate the examples in The Atlantic article about corporations that have had to reverse course after online public outcry (Bank of America, Verizon, "pink slime" producers) and I applaud companies like Zappos and JetBlue that make customer service their top priority.

    However, as the article on the Arab Spring said that Hugh mentioned, "Students know how to demonstrate and riot, but they generally can't organize their way out of a paper bag." I feel a similar about what The Atlantic article describes as consumers' power over corporations.

    Yes, we can "protest" online to get Bank of America to reverse its $5 debit card fee (after all, it's easy to fill out a few form fields), but what about all the homeowners and small businesses that can't get decent loans and the students who are saddled with high-interest private loans that can't ever be discharged in bankruptcy?

    Not so easy to try to organize for real changes in laws and policies. Lawrence Lessig and Joe Trippi have recently formed Rootstrikers (http://www.rootstrikers.org/) to "fight the corrupting influence of money in politics". Perhaps that is a start.

    Reply
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