Notes from the Road

Thoughts about the world as I travel through it

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Archive for the ‘People’ Category

BIG and Small

Glen Small writes about Bjarke Ingels in this article. The comparison is interesting: Both are full of energy and ideas. Their architectural strategies have a number of things in common. But they could not be more different from a business perspective.

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has a stream of prestigious comissions, and a portfolio of significant projects in many parts of the world. Glen in contrast has a lot of breakthrough ideas, but much less built work.

There’s no answer to the question of which is the right approach. At the end of the day, some choose to produce ideas, others choose to produce product. Ideas can be very influential (think Adolf Loos), and so can product (Frank Lloyd Wright). It’s probably more comfortable to make a living out of product than ideas, and Glen can attest to that.

How anyone can benefit from religion

This is a great talk from Alain de Botton. It reflects an idea I’ve struggled with for many years: how to make use of and participate in the great religious ideas without subscribing to all the doctrinal mumbo-jumbo.

He insightfully shows the many virtues of religious practice, and suggests that rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we should be learning from the best practices of religion: ritual, symbolism, organization, mutual support and more.

Strategy

I have been involved in strategy for a long time, both inside companies and as a consultant. I have recently joined forces with a small group of strategically minded executives to offer a new kind of consulting. The group is called Interlink Partners, and our focus is on helping tech companies rapidly make changes that will strengthen their business.

We combine strategy, operations, venture and international experience, and we really represent a complete virtual management team.

Technology will let us live forever

Ray Kurtzweil is not only a respected technologist and innovator, he is also known as something of a futurist. His latest book, The Singularity is Near, argues that technology will radically change our experience of living, and will fix a lot of the things that eventually kill us. There’s a summary of some of the main points here.

It occurs to me that there’s a connection to something the Jesuit theologian Teilhard de Chardin said many years ago – that there’s educational evolution as well as physical evolution. When we learn new things, we are irrevocably changed. The connection is that Kurtzweil is reminding us that technology, which is the result of knowledge, and therefore inextricably linked to education, evolves faster than we do biologically. Our bodies will be overtaken developmentally by machines. This is unavoidable.

The challenge for all of us is to make the absolute best of this that we can. To be responsible, forward-looking, and to express our care for the future of our world in the way we harness the potential of our technology-rich future.

Another “Notes from the Road”

At www.notesfromtheroad.com (he got the URL before me!) you will find a great site that’s described thus:

Notes from the Road is a project in experimental travel writing – it is about subjective travel; the kind of real world of random things and real people.

The author is Erik Gauger, and I’m impressed with his photos and descriptions of some very interesting journeys. This is the kind of thing the web is great for – a fascinating personal story told with artistry and good observation. His pictures are wonderful and contribute immeasurably to the overall package.

 Have a look!

Web 2.0 – Inside the Bubble

I had the chance to attend a panel discussion in London this week – at the Serpentine Gallery, in the inflatable bubble building.

The topic was Web 2.0 – the set of techniques upon which this site is based. The meeting was sponsored by Banner – a UK agency that’s part of the WPP group.

It was interesting because it shows how much the web has changed. We are no longer satisfied by pushing HTML out at our audience – we crave interactivity, and the ability to connect with real people through their web presence.

Banner published a set of pictures on flickr here, and a video on YouTube with a snippet of an observation I made in the discussion here.

Web 2.0 may be important enough to start another Internet bubble – this time funded by advertising and fuelled by consumer and business participation.

A link to a friend…

Nancy Wolfberg is a wise consultant and a friend for many years. She describes herself as an Executive Pathfinder. She has a website at http://www.wolfbergandassociates.com, and a blog here.When I was first getting started as an independent consultant she was kind enough to introduce me to one of her clients, and she gave me a wealth of sage advice over the years during which I had my own business.Even though I’m not actively consulting now, some of the materials I put together at that time are still up on my website here.

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