February 21, 2013 by Chad Biggs

What We're Reading

We wrap up a busy week on the blog with some weekend reading choices. If you missed Doug's roundup of visual badassery, Amanda's professed love of Maker's Mark as a product and the brand's rebound or Amber's insights into how businesses should dive into Pinterest, we'd shamelessly recommend those as well.

Jessica Flynn

Any Two Pages on the Web are Connected by 19 Clicks or Less
-Smithsonian Magazine

This was my 'holy crap' moment of the week – brought to us courtesy of big data, a Hungarian physicist and Kevin Bacon. Plus – the article features this fantastic visualization of the connected fabric of our digital world.

Loosecubes' Pioneer Rides the Ups, and Downs, of Startup LifeSmartPlanet: Following a recommendation from a connection on LinkedIn, I stumbled on the story of Campbell McKellar – a story probably all too familiar for faceless startup founders across the globe. What jumped out at me was the sentiment she shared about the unknown, what comes next, who do you become when you are in the between space of what you have done and what you will do. It's a position that I think many in our career-mobile generation may find themselves in.

“I think the hardest thing,” she says, twisting her glasses around her finger, “is when you’re a startup founder you have this identity as a Startup Founder. And when you’re in between, and you’re trying to figure out where next to place your energy, you don’t have a title. I think my challenge right now is creating an identity for myself as a professional that’s worn a lot of different hats, that’s sort of between that one defining professional identity.”

Tammy Duckworth's Deadly Hot Cocoa NYT Magazine: A short but powerful interview from someone who served and lost, and is serving our country again – albeit in a different way. It brought me new insights into the recent decision to allow women into combat roles, and the ongoing discussion in our nation…

All this ruling does is give everyone the chance to do these jobs. You want to be infantry? Here, carry this 80-pound rucksack and march 20 miles. Can you drag a 200-pound dead weight 200 yards like you may have to? If you can do it, and if you’re willing to lay your life down for this nation, then I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, black, white, yellow, male or female, good for you, thank you for serving. Go do the job.

Chad Biggs
The fall of Time Inc is more about bad leadership than a dying industry. This is a blow-by-blow recap of Time's downfall that pulls no punches, and perhaps throws in a few extra for good measure. I was stunned to read that stalwart publications like Time and especially Sports Illustrated account for such a limited piece of the conglomerate's revenue.

Bungie’s Destiny: a glimpse of gaming’s future | Seattle Times. Letting my ancient geek flag fly here. When I think Bungie, I think of the Halo franchise and how it blew the minds of gamers everywhere and really launched, for me at least, the communal gaming experience. I spent many hours trying to snuff my brother-in-law and spent quality afterhours time at a Paul Allen business battling engineers in new lands. True to form the team sounds poised to reshape expectations of what a video game can be, elevating it to a new form of entertainment and investment. Even part of the score was developed at Sir Paul McCartney's pad. Will be interesting to see the final bill and revenue for this.

Jenn Connor
Football and Head Injuries: No Device Eliminates Concussion Risk, Experts Say: Concussions in young athletes and the long term damage multiple concussions can cause have been making headlines. Parents, coaches and medical experts are at a heightened awareness of the dangers. As a result, many are seeking products to minimize the risk of concussion. Enter the emerging industry of 'concussion reducing technology'. ABC recently ran a reportthat investigates whether or not these devices are actually effective – medical experts say no. Interesting case study in the fine line companies walk with their marketing claims and language.

Justin Nyquist
I am reading a new book called "How Did You End Up Here?" by Davy Rothbart. Davy is a writer and filmmaker who has traveled across the country numerous times. He compiled a list of his favorite questions to ask someone that you've just met, and put them all into this book. Crowdsourced from seminars and appearances, the questions are actual submissions from audience members that he has encountered.

Some of the questions are simple like "What is your name," while other ones are a bit more invasive. His thread is that all questions connect us, and are meant to garner a deeper understanding and connection to the people that come in and out of our lives.

I wish that I had asked some of these questions to the strangers that I have sat next to on a plane. By asking even one simple question, you never know whether you may have one of the best conversations of your life.

Doug Self

Get Ready to Lose Your Job: Despite the sensationalist title, this TechCrunch article discusses the downside to accelerating technological innovation. We certainly shouldn't think of purposely slowing innovation, but examples in the article provide food for thought about preparing our workforce for continued job takeover by machines.

Embracing Uncertainty: Knowing exactly what's coming next is detrimental to any company, but especially in tech. Alan MacCormack makes a case for integrating uncertainty, variation, and diversity into your corporate culture to avoid stifling innovation and slowing progress.


Others you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!




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