Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why Do We Read?

I read this article last week in the New Yorker, and I've already forgot some of the key details. It deals with the idea that when we read, we frequently forget not just those details, but before too long, even the main idea. It brings up questions about the value of reading, as well as the culture around reading.

Here's the article, it's called The Curse of Reading and Forgetting:

My two take aways:

  1. The experience of reading is just as important as the concrete take aways. Usually when one reads thoughtfully, the richness of the experience involves emotional and intellectual growth, which is valid preparation for the world. 
  2. Rereading is just as important as reading for the first time. A second or third read yields new insights, and also solidifies specific information, ideas and understandings. At the same time, reading widely leads to valuable overlaps of ideas and information. If I read multiple different articles on the Iraq War, much of the same information will appear but in different forms, and that will enhance the understanding of the broader concept. 
I love reading, and if you're here, I suppose you do too! What are your thoughts on reading and forgetting? Does it bother you? Is that part of what you love about reading? How do you remember the things that you read that you don't want to forget? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Working past midnight isn't uncommon when you're obsessed. When your thoughts are consumed with a pressing challenge, sleep doesn't come easy, and the pressure mounts each day the problem goes unsolved.

When you realize that you've stumbled on a huge pain point, with a corresponding huge opportunity, you evaluate. Do I have the skills to do something about this? Do I have the resources? Do I have the GUTS?

You realize it doesn’t matter what you have, because others didn’t have any choice. So you go for it. You also imagine  fantasies of wild success, which makes the plunge easier.

You start building a solution. You quit your job, you pour every ounce of energy into the mission. You become a risk-taker, an entrepreneur. You rewrite your personal biography. You kick your own ass.

And then you hit your first roadblock, and your second. You face the dilemma of what to focus on. You debate whether to aim for impact at scale or depth. You ask, why not both?

You doubt, and if you're smart, you analyze. You learn to measure, and then you measure to learn. You solicit feedback and you test your assumptions. You iterate as you look at the data, and over time, you know you’re getting closer to delivering the results: both the social change and the profit.

But you’re not there yet. And it's a long way off. 

Finally, you persevere. This is not a hobby. This is not a job. This is a calling. This is a mission.  There is no quitting. Only pausing. As long as kids are bored, uninspired, and stunted by their education, the game never ends.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Games for Change

If you're in NYC on June 17th-19th, you should try to come out to the annual Games for Change Festival. It's a really cool event where you can connect with tons of creative people and projects.