Assorted Links

I wish I could go in depth on some things, but it’ll have to wait for another day, so until then just some quick shots and bon mots:

1. We Read the News to Signal Intelligence. Robin Hanson makes this good point that any daily newspaper reader should consider:

It seems to me that in our world most track the news to talk intelligently with others who track the news.  By coordinating to talk on the same recent news topics, we can better evaluate how well connected and intelligent are those around us.  If we tracked very different topics, it would be much harder to evaluate each other.  If our conversation topics were common but old, it would be harder to distinguish individually thoughtful analysis from memorized viewpoints, and harder to see how well-connected folks are to fresh info sources. 

But if you care less about signaling intelligence and connectedness, and more about understanding, then consider reading textbooks, review articles, and other expert summaries instead of news.

2. The Glue That Holds Together Our Online Life. Michael Arrington, at TechCrunch, offers a nice reflection on how FriendFeed is trying to become yet another centralized silo of data. It was inspired by Loic Le Meur’s post on his scattered social data. Here’s Foundry Group’s thoughts on the "glue" that needs to hold together our online life. All interesting stuff.

3. The San Francisco – Brooklyn Shuttle. Do San Francisco and Brooklyn have a sisterly relationship? Maybe so. By the way, San Francisco is #1 on Richard Florida’s creativity index in his new book, Who’s Your City?, which I’ll be reviewing soon.

4. Cities and Entrepreneurship. A new report out from Kauffman on how cities can foster entrepreneurship. It notes the importance of "clusters" (a university, big companies, small companies, etc. in one place), but also says that a big research university is by no means necessary for entrepreneurship. Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft had little to do with the University of Washington in Seattle.

5. The Power Paradox. Obtaining and using power is important if you want to get stuff done. In this interesting article, some Berkeley profs talk about why Machiavellian approaches to power are wrongheaded. Instead, "nice guy" approaches can often be more effective.

6. Film Version of David Foster Wallace writing. A quick update on the film version of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. Rejoice, DFW devotees, rejoice.

7. How to Write Conversationally. Some good tips here. For example:

Kurt Vonnegut.. advised writers to have a specific reader in mind, and write as if you’re talking to that person. His ideal reader was his sister. Who is yours? If you are talking to the world in general, you’ll probably write more like a speech, rather than like a conversation.

8. Entrepreneurship in Latin America. A good take on what the state of things is down south for entrepreneurs. I intend to study Spanish there this summer and will be interested in doing some fact finding myself.

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