makers

I didn’t understand the role of simplicity and messaging early on. One of the things that happened at one of my start-ups was that I would get bored saying the same thing every day. So I decided to change it up a little bit. But then everybody had a different idea of what I thought because I was mixing it up.

So my big lesson was the importance of a simple message, and saying it the same way over and over. If you’re going to change it, change it in a big way, and make sure everyone knows it’s a change. Otherwise keep it static.

One is, to use the words of my colleague Reid Hoffman at Greylock, find your tribe. You should look around and figure out whose team you’re on and whose team you’re not on. And for the people whose team you want to be on, you need to invest in those relationships and treat them well and spend time with them. The choices you make on who you stand with, and who you stand against, will matter.

The other thing I would say is to stay close to professions that create and make things, and stay away from derivative professions like finance. I think makers increasingly have the power in our society.

John Lilly: Simplify Your Message, and Repeat Often with Adam  Bryant The New York Times

accuracy

Walking away from him, she realized she was exhausted by the effort of the interview. Talking to a reporter these days was like a deadly chess match; you had to think several steps ahead; you had to imagine all the possible ways a reporter might distort your statement. The atmosphere was relentlessly adversarial.

It hadn’t always been that way. There was a time when reporters wanted information, their questions directed to an underlying event. They wanted an accurate picture of a situation, and to do that they had to make the effort to see things your way, to understand how you were thinking about it. They might not agree with you in the end, but it was a matter of pride that they could accurately state your view, before rejecting it. The interviewing process was not very personal, because the focus was on the event they were trying to understand.

But now reporters came to the story with the lead fixed in their minds; they saw their job as proving what they already knew. They didn’t want information so much as evidence of villainy. In this mode, they were openly skeptical of your point of view, since they assumed you were just being evasive. They proceeded from a presumption of universal guilt, in an atmosphere of muted hostility and suspicion.

-Michael Crichton Airframe

loyalty

People now in their 20s have a lot of self-advertising talent, but are they, I wonder, close to the point where a bad breakup, say, or a death in the family, isn’t a moment of opportunity for the protective and dignifying balms of old friendship, but simply a quiet day on social media?

The times we live in are big on loyalty. Technology has driven us wild with questions of loyalty to flags, to nations, to a “way of life” or to brands who give out “loyalty points” to those who stay tight. But the only kind of loyalty that matters is to know your friends and stick with them. The relationship has nothing really to do with outside people, or with your self-image or with status updates, and perhaps our vision of friendship has been degraded by the instantaneous, relentless nature of our communications technology. Replace “watch and click” with “listen and feel,” close the curtains and mix two drinks, download nothing, “share” nothing, but lose yourself in the sort of communication that has nothing to sell.

Love gets all the big headlines, but friendship is where the action is, especially if you consider that it is really a lack of friendship that makes an unhappy marriage.

-Andrew O’Hagan ‘Reflections on true friendship‘ The New York Times

identity

In an attempt to be open-minded toward other groups and to address social justice issues through a lens of intersectionality, clear and distinct lines have been drawn between people. One’s words and actions are inextricable from one’s identities. For example: this is not an article, but an article written by a straight, white, middle-class (etc.) male (and for this reason will be discounted by many on account of how my privilege blinds me — more on this later).

-Aristo Orginos ‘Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice‘ Medium

on me

He told me, ‘Having the hell scared out of me at an early age, and having all my assumptions about life turned upside down, made me realize that it was on me. I have to do it myself. Visiting the Sistine ceiling in Rome can wait until I pay for it, and I will.’

-John D. Spooner No one ever told us that

the story

She had a sudden image of her father, reading a big stack of newspapers from all over the country every Sunday after church, muttering to himself, “That’s not the story, that’s not the story1″ as he dropped the pages in an untidy heap around his living room chair. Of course, her father had been a print journalist, back in the 1960s. It was a different world now. Now, everything was on television. Television, and the mindless chatter on the radio.

-Michael Crichton Airframe

truthful

I learned long ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then you are an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth.

And we have to be prepared to fight especially hard for the truth in a world where the Oxford English Dictionary just announced its word of 2016: post-truth.

We have to accept that we’ve had our lunch handed to us by the very same social media that we’ve so slavishly been devoted to.

Are we in the media going to keep whipping up that war – or are we going to take a deep breath and maybe have a reset?

It matters to us out there abroad too.

For better or for worse, this is the world’s only superpower. Culturally too.

The political example, the media example set here, are quickly emulated and rolled out across the world.

We, the media, can either contribute to a more functional system or to deepening the political dysfunction.

Which world do we want to leave our children?

-Christiane Amanpour ‘In this dangerous new world, journalism must protect itself‘ The Guardian