Tag Archives: Three Things

The Three Things #31

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Workin’ By Jason Rehmus

Michael on Career Paths: So often we think we can decide what we want to do, and then do our best to try and turn that fantasy into a reality. I have spent much of my life attempting to do exactly that. As I get older, I tend to see it more as a path than a destination. I also believe the destination we’re heading towards early on is rarely the one we reach (or would even want to reach).

I’ve been fortunate to watch my friend Jason Rehmus’ career unfold during the past few years. I watched from afar as he set his sites on a career goal, achieved it, but then decided to keep moving along his path. With his new newsletter we’re all fortunate to get to look at where his career path – which somehow manages to seem both unique and familiar – has led and where it’s about to go.

Notes from the Frontline of the War in Cyberspace

Howie on Information and Hacking: Amazing article. Some of the best quotes ever, such as “you can’t arrest an idea.” There will always be a battle between those who create and want to protect what they created, and those who want access to those creations to set them free. This article has great insights into the hacking culture and data/content wars.

Twenty Things I Wish I’d Know When I Was 30

Gini on Perspective…Again: I am quickly becoming a big fan of the writing of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and this article is no exception. We’re talking about a man who, by the time he was 30, achieves more than most of us do in a lifetime. And yet…he says he wants to climb into a time machine and go back and shake his 30-year-old self. There are a few of themes in it: Get as close as you can to your family, learn how to do things yourself, and stop being so shy. You’ll read this and smile a few times, but it’ll also make your heart hurt a little bit. This man, while a great basketball player, seems to be an even greater intellect.

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The Three Things #30

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Why I stopped caring about the numbers — 512 Pixels

Michael on Success: All too often, we’re so obsessed with how we’re doing we tend to forget to focus on the work. We fall into a rhythm where all that matters is the stats. Instead of doing the work we’re meant to do, we do what we see is working. We water ourselves down hoping for one more link or one new subscriber. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, but thankfully this week Myke Hurley was here to remind me (and all of us) what matters most. It’s not how many people you can reach but how much you care about those you do. A great post and a great reminder.

Clean, Safe and it Drives Itself

Howie on the Future of Cars: I can’t wait for a car I can sleep in while it drives or makes pancakes or martinis. One that never crashes and reduces traffic. Oh wait. I live in a town where there are no traffic lights or interstates or even double-lane roads. I’m really just excited to not have to drive.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Gini on Perspective: While I was on vacation, I finished reading The Stand (finally), read Dark Places, and read We Need to Talk About Kevin. The story is about a mother who sees all sorts of sociopathic tendencies in her son, starting as early as birth when he refuses to nurse, through high school when he pours Liquid Drano in his sister’s eye. He goes on to kill several kids, a teacher, and a janitor after school one day and the book deals with the aftermath, from his mom’s perspective. Written as letters to her husband – Kevin’s dad – it’s a compelling look into how a family of a murderer has to deal with society scorn. I finished it as the manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was coming to an end and it left me haunted. I highly, highly recommend it, if only to give you a different perspective on the human beings who are supposed to love these kinds of people.

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The Three Things #29

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks (although Gini is away, so the ever-awesome Lindsay Bell is filling in), Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

The Donut by Pat Dryburgh

Michael on Willpower and Habits: As a gentleman who is far from slender, I have a great appreciation for what Pat Dryburgh is attempting with his Hundred Down project. His podcast chronicles a one year journey to lose one hundred unwanted pounds.

In addition to the podcast, Pat occasionally shares his progress and struggles with the project on his personal website. In a recent update Pat shared how he started falling off the Paleo wagon while staying with his family. I really related as I tend to break many a habit – especially those that center around living a healthier life – while away from my routine and environment. The entire piece is an honest and enjoyable read, but his parting words are an encouraging reminder for those of us who struggle when our larger goals face little (and often tasty) challenges.

It is in Our Nature to be Self-Deficient by Scientific American

Howie on Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan and Those Delusional Haters of Help: I know I know sounds political right? Not really. Just rational. We can all debate the role of the state in our lives. Whether or not Government is the solution to certain problems. I know I have an ornery independent streak. Sometimes things fester out of pride, and then the help I end up needing is bigger than if I raised my hand at the start. We also tend to mock those we deem helpless. But this article proves we need other people. Everyone does.

If that wasn’t the case the victims in Boston would still be bandaging themselves and the suspects would be free with no police or FBI or anyone caring to find them. So fans of Ayn Rand or folks like Paul Ryan – both who benefited from massive help from many people to grow and prosper – should change the discussion from do we need help…to what kind and from whom? Because I wouldn’t be alive without family, friends, and community…and neither would you. Read and be humbled…I surely am.

Baby’s Latest: Going Diaperless by The New York Times

Lindsay on ‘elimination communication’ and…really? Just…what??: Ok, trust me when I say it’s worth a link click just to get a gander at the photo accompanying this article. Hipster New York mom, in on-trend black and white striped shirt, engaging in ‘elimination communication’ with her adorable 4 month old son. Did I mention he’s naked from the waist down? Yup. He’s using the toilet. Well, she’s holding him over the toilet, to be precise. But advocates of this latest in a long line of child-rearing trends insist that their little darlings actually respond to special elimination noises that Mommy makes. In a nutshell: They pee and poo on cue.

I don’t know about you, but I raised a child (who by some stroke of luck or other divine intervention manages to still be alive at age 13), and I know the special hell that is diapers. Thousands of diapers. I suppose if you can eliminate most of those diapers, you’re doing yourself – and the world – a big favor. But I don’t know. This latest “thing” pained me today. I pity the poor young women of today. What with advice on attachment parenting, breastfeeding until four, sign language for infants, co-sleeping (or not), controlled crying, sleep training, permissive parenting or baby bootcamp – how any parent makes it through the first year is beyond me. What are your thoughts? Has ‘new parenting’ gone haywire? Would you aim for a diaperless life…?

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The Three Things #28

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks (although Gini is away, so the ever-awesome Lindsay Bell is filling in), Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Michael on Story: Here’s something you probably wouldn’t expect… an agnostic Jewish New Yorker is about to suggest that you read a book from a Christian spirituality writer… Yeah… that just happened…

I’ve loved A Million Miles in a Thousand Years ever since Chris Brogan posted about it back in 2010. The book chronicles author Donald Miller’s experiences as he adapts his book Blue Like Jazz into a movie. As Miller learns what makes for a good movie, he is inspired to tell a better story with his life.

I’ve been rereading it this week and nothing else I’ve come across comes close. There’s a slight religious slant to the book, which may not appeal to some, but I’m as non-religious as they come and it is one of my favorites. If you’re looking to tell a better story with your life, start by reading this book. No matter what you believe, you’ll want to do better.

No News Isn’t Good News by The Economist

Howie on the News Media: This article is really a wake up call. Our Fourth Estate is in trouble but maybe finally figuring out how to rebound. When Cable TV exploded and viewers fragmented, TV production companies did less original big budget shows and more reality due to the new economics.

Who cares if instead of X-Files they made Super Nanny or Celebrity Rehab. This didn’t affect me. But without the resources for our news companies to keep government and business in check, our democracy could be in danger.

The most shocking part is the explosion of PR infiltrating the news creation process. This didn’t have to happen had digital agencies not falsely promoted online ads as a revenue replacement for subscriptions and paid content.

Sometimes people are suckers. Sometimes whole industries.

Of Mammoths and Men by National Geographic

Lindsay on Science: Anyone who knows me know I’m a total science geek. Like, spends Friday nights watching documentaries, subscribes to National Geographic science geek. While archeology fascinates me, what truly blows my tiny mind is our more recent past. How herds of prehistoric animals were still roaming this earth as recently as ten thousand years ago. Like mammoths, for example.

While scientists and others have discovered incredibly preserved mammoth specimens in the far north before, there’s a new breed of hunter trolling the frozen northern wastelands. And while they’re looking for mammoth remains, they have one goal in mind: Profit.

The trade in mammoth tusk ivory is brisk, with an estimated 60 tons a year being hauled out of Siberia. I’m not sure how I feel about this. If it saves one elephant from poachers it’s a good thing. But how many potential archeological sites are plundered for this ancient ivory? How many ancient secrets will we never discover? Read about Siberian mammoth tusk hunter Karl Gorokhov, and the five months a year he spends 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Be sure to subscribe for free by Email or RSS to automatically receive future editions of The Three Things series and more from A Better Mess.

The Three Things #27

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

5by5 | Systematic #38: Patrick Rhone on Challenges and Success

Michael on Career Paths: This week, two of my favorite thinkers – Patrick Rhone and Brett Terpstra – got together to record an episode of Brett’s always excellent Systematic Podcast. Like any good episode of Systematic, they cover a lot of ground, but I was particularly taken by Patrick’s comments on the arc of his career. While I was late to realize my writing ambitions, I connected with the way he “became a writer by way of technology by way of being a writer.” It certainly touches on my own emerging experience of looking for better ways to go about my work only to discover my own fascination about the ways we go about improving.

I need to expand on this at some point, but Patrick touches on a growing interest of mine that relates to what we do, what we care about, and what happens when they collide. That, no matter what we do to make our living, it can be shaped by our fascinations. That, when we allow our unrelated personal fascinations to infuse our work (and vice-versa), it can lead our life in unexpected directions. It’s also just a great conversation between two guys who I admire greatly.

I Never Wanted to Take Your Guns Away

Howie on Google Search: Or how a little Google will do you. Allow me to explain…

Jim Carrey did a spoof on Funny or Die, which I found through a Google search after reading this on Huffington Post. Then I thought maybe Carrey is small fry against the NRA and FOX News. But if those people had Googled, they would find he has 10 million Twitter followers versus only two and a half million for FOX News and 145,000 for the NRA.

They’d also find FOX News has more than one million viewers watching at any given time and the NRA has more than four million members, which means they have one tenth the fans of Jim Carrey. How many times do I have to say ‘a little Google would do ya’? Heck, even a Yahoo Search would have helped!

As Web Search Goes Mobile, Google Loses its Edge

Gini on Mobile Search: Because of all the writing I do every day, I spend a lot of time studying Google, search engine optimization, and other things that will help us continue to grow through content. That’s why I found this New York Times article so interesting. No longer do we go to the web on our phones and tablets to find something; we go to an app. Yelp if we need a restaurant recommendation, Amazon for goods, books, and wares, Apple to bypass the counter register, and the WeatherBug to see if what kind of wind is facing a bike ride. Soon the day of link building and first page results will be gone. Are you ready?

Be sure to subscribe for free by Email or RSS to automatically receive future editions of The Three Things series and more from A Better Mess.

The Three Things #26

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Michael on Passion Projects: If, like me, you make any kind of an attempt to balance a job, a family, and a passion project, you must read this. Hat tip to Dan and Merlin for sharing this on the latest latest Back to Work. That’s all there is to be said about this, seriously, just go and read it.

Why the World is Losing Faith in Democracy

Howie on Democracy: This is a great timely discussion on the subject. Vermont just had a big fight against wind power. They want to build massive wind farms on mountain tops destroying the views, the ecosystem, and causing erosion problems. All in the name of going green, even though the power generated is so small it doesn’t make sense. Yet Ben and Jerry’s, Senator Bernie Sanders, and many environmental groups opposed a law giving towns the right to decide if wind comes to their mountain tops. In the United States, we all feel all politicians are owned by big business and special interests. So is our democracy in decline? Seems like it.

Long Night at Today

Gini on TV Drama: When Ann Curry left The Today Show more than a year ago, I watched with some interest, particularly because I thought she was a great replacement to Katie Couric, deserved the promotion, and was very good at delivering relevant news. But also because she never really said anything about what happened choosing, instead, to let others tell her side of the story, even if it was pure speculation. While this still doesn’t tell her side of the story, it’s a very well-researched, thoughtful, and balanced piece about what’s happening at the once most popular morning show program.

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The Three Things #25

The Three Things, is a weekly series where Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks, Howie Goldfarb and I share the one thing that captured our attention and that we believe to be worthy of yours.

Discipline Code – Rules & Policies – New York City Department of Education

Michael on Bureaucracy: I didn’t read much this week. Actually, that’s not true. Despite trying to distract myself with a friend’s new book, I read the same thing over and over and over again. This week, I found myself having to get familiar with the discipline code in New York City, especially as it applies to kids in grades K–5. Something needs to change! While details vary on how situations are handled from grade-to-grade, there are only a few instances that are exclusive to grades four and five:

  • Plagiarizing
  • Gang-related Behavior
  • Sexually-related comments and conduct

It’s assumed children in grades K–3 have a limited understanding of these concepts, so they are treated differently. In fact, the phrasing used to “protect” K–3 students is “engaging in inappropriate or unwanted physical contact or touching someone in a private part of body.” Of the five infraction levels (level one being the lowest and level five the highest), this is only a level two infraction, regardless of the severity. This puts contact, that would otherwise be considered sexual at any other age, on par with “leaving class or school premises without permission […]” or “violating the Department’s Internet Use Policy.”

The bureaucracy put in place to protect some kids and get others the help they need nearly prevent the best possible decisions from getting made. If you read one thing this week, read this…because it needs to change.

The Westboro Baptist Church is About to Get the Shock of its Life

Howie on Google: So much is made about some of the privacy blunders by Google, but they do some good, too. Google Earth allowed us to see refugee camps in the Darfur bringing a closeness from far away. Now Google Earth plus Maps plus Street allows someone to fight back against the hate group ( my opinion) Westboro Baptist Church in literally a very colorful way.

The Art of Fiction

Gini on the Art of Writing: Late last year, my dear friend Abbie Fink told me I had to read Stephen King’s latest novel, 11/22/63. Look, I’m a book snob. My creative writer professor and college advisor drilled it into our heads that King is not a great writer. In fact, critics dismissed him for nearly 30 years until he finally won a National Book Foundation award in 2003. So I’d never read him and was reticent to pick up this book. But I did, because I trust Abbie’s opinion greatly, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. I LOVED the book (so much so, in fact, I’m reading The Stand right now).

That’s why I was happy to see one of my favorite magazines, The Paris Review, do an in-depth interview with King, which is 12 years in the making. They cover everything from Carrie and Cujo to how he got his start as a six-year-old and why he began to write about writing. It’s long, but very well worth the read.

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