Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:33:43 +0000
Wed, 21 Sep 2016 16:03:18 +0000Last week I saw Ian Bogost speak at Town Hall Seattle about his new book, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. Of the many ideas he offered about how to think about fun, he shared three stories that stayed with me more than anything else he said.
Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:42:36 +0000A tradition is simply a custom that has been passed down from one generation to another. Their longevity can have many reasons, some good and some bad. We can not assume that persistence alone provides moral justification. Instead we must ask better questions about traditions before we judge their value. The problem is we instinctively defend
Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:02:04 +0000Despite our cultural obsession with new technology, we forget that the idea of new technology is old. We also overlook that there are patterns for how new technologies impact cultures and societies that technologists are often ignorant of. Without understanding the social impact of past technologies, we’re more likely to repeat mistakes, since we don’t
Mon, 08 Aug 2016 15:27:59 +0000From Neil Postman’s lecture On Culture’s Surrender to Technology: What is the problem that this new technology solves? Whose problem is it? What new problems do we create by solving this problem? Which people and institutions will be most impacted by a technological solution? What changes in language occur as the result of technological change?
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:12:52 +0000How would you explain the events of 2016 to someone from the year 2050 who time traveled to visit us? Many adjectives come quickly to mind: turmoil, danger, violence, drama, unrest, uncertainty. But if you think deeper about trying to explain what it all means, you’d realize this challenge is impossible. We couldn’t tell someone
Wed, 20 Jul 2016 17:33:08 +0000One of my favorite podcasts is Here’s the Thing, and on a recent episode host Alec Baldwin interviewed Viggo Mortensen about his latest film, Captain Fantastic. Towards the end he mentioned this: “By taking the risk of trying hard means you are going to make mistakes, and then the most important thing is hopefully realizing that and
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 19:12:43 +0000Father’s Day is always a tricky time for me. I had a tough relationship with my father, and the day has often made me sad. I’d see friends celebrate and think of what I wish I had experienced, but never will. Many people have similiar stories to mine, or their father’s are no long alive, making the
Tue, 24 May 2016 15:15:12 +0000For any skill, the only way to improve is through practice. Reading is not practice. Watching other people do something is not practice. Reading and watching help only if you apply what you learn while you are practicing. Most people do not practice, which is why most people are bad at most things, including public speaking.
Wed, 11 May 2016 21:16:22 +0000[This is an excerpt from chapter 12, of the bestseller, The Myths of Innovation] The Simple Plan If you want to make progress happen, or be someone who brings good ideas into the world, this is for you. It’s the simplest, easiest, most straightforward way to convert your ambition into action. When I’m asked to give
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 15:56:37 +0000We take great works for granted. We forget, but the fate of even our most famous ideas and creations was far from certain at the time they were proposed. A powerful exercise anyone can do is to pick a famous creation and go back in history to the days before it was made. Only then can
Fri, 04 Mar 2016 19:06:11 +0000We all tend to think our own political views are sound, but that it’s “the others” that are crazy, dumb or both. To get some perspective this election season, I recently read Political Animals: How Our Stone Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics, by Rick Shenkman. It’s a good and important book.
Tue, 01 Mar 2016 23:25:48 +0000On Tuesdays I often write about the top voted question on Ask Berkun (see the archive). This week’s question is from C. with 101 votes] is Why Do Idiots Get Ahead? I’m a diligent individual, but find it frustrating to continually clean up after the mess “idiots” create – but yet the “idiots” cannot be stopped.
Tue, 23 Feb 2016 18:32:35 +0000I am a heavy podcast listener. It’s a primary source of news, entertainment and education for me. Between daily workouts at the gym and frequent bus rides, I go through 10 to 20 hours of podcasts every week. I love audio only media as it frees me to listen while I’m cooking, running or doing
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 17:24:15 +0000I recently announced a new workshop on public speaking, taught here in Seattle. Here’s why you should sign up: You will have fun. Yes, it’s true. Public Speaking can be fun. The exercises and games we play are designed to make you feel safe, comfortable and have fun while you learn. Leave with confidence. Since
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 20:08:53 +0000If you could only pick one, would you rather have power in your home or a working iPhone? We tend to believe that the latest inventions are the most significant, but often the opposite is true. Running water, electricity, shelter, heat, safe sources of food, and good medical care are far more important for quality
Tue, 05 Jan 2016 19:20:00 +0000Many of our popular stories of discovery are portrayed as accidents or matters of luck. We love these stories as they make creativity seem easy and fun, regardless of how misleading they are. A recent NYTimes opinion titled Cultivating The Art of Serendipity, by Pagan Kennedy, offered: “A surprising number of the conveniences of modern life were
Wed, 30 Dec 2015 23:17:50 +0000Best of lists are fascinating things. They have their problems, but they’re a fun way to summarize, review and organize simultaneously. My method was simple: I reviewed all of my posts of 2015, sorted them by popularity and comments (I read every one and reply to most), and then edited based on my own subjective
Mon, 28 Dec 2015 23:37:50 +0000I like “best of lists” as they are fun, convenient and easy to argue about with friends, but beneath their luster lurks notable problems if you seek great works. It’s far too easy to forget the label “best” is an invention granted by the list maker, whose tastes and opinions of quality might not align
Mon, 30 Nov 2015 23:17:15 +0000One consistent annoyance of the holiday season is the terrible music that comes along with it. It seems stores and coffee shops resort to the blandest, most cloying choices in some desperate effort to make sure we are 100% certain what time of year it is. Even the good versions of excellent songs have been
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:06:40 +0000Last month I took a long train ride from Atlanta to Seattle over six days for my Amtrak Writer’s Residency. Each of the 24 writers chosen in 2014 from nearly 16,000 applicants, took solo trips of their choosing across the USA. We were granted a private sleeper car and free room and board. I was one