Archive for December, 2013

One Summer: America, 1927, Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

Cover of Bill Bryson

One Summer: America, 1927, Bill Bryson. ISBN  9780385537827. 2013.  Fascinating breakdown of America in the summer of 1927.  Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Coolidge and Hoover, Prohibition, Jimmy Walker, Capone and Arnold RothsteinMt Rushmore and Charles Lindburgh. Hollywood, Henry Ford  and Jews,, Its a history book ad American ethnography, Dirty linen and naivete, Ignorance, bigotry and eugenics. Charlatans and inspiration.  Another winner from Mr Bryson.

The Maker Movement Manifesto. Rules for innovation in the new world of crafters, hackers, and tinkerers. Mark Hatch.

Hackers & Painters book cover

The Maker Movement Manifesto. Rules for innovation in the new world of crafters, hackers, and tinkerers. Mark Hatch.2014. ISBN 9780071821124.  A terrific book that addresses many questions I had about the coming together of the Internet of things and the activities of the creatives among us. If you desire to build an innovative city, culture this is the book for you.  The book makes a compelling argument for opening up the silos of  equipment, machinery and expertise that our institutions are so protective of.  If you want to learn the basics of spot welding in an hour, why can’t you. This brings to learning the minimum viable product idea from software design.  If you wanted to actually “make ‘ something, where would you go now? This is more than software, this is real stuff.  Very readable, compelling and mind opening I recommend this book to parents, youth, educators, librarians, creatives, tinkerers, and just about anyone in this wealthy society of ours. Good for a four hour plane ride.  Hey if this is where Chris Anderson ( Makers, Long Tail)  wants to spend his time, why not you?

Remote. Remote office not required.Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Creative Mornings with Jason Fried

Image representing David Heinemeier Hansson as...

Remote. Remote office not required.Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. 2013. ISBN 9780804137508.  A second book from the Founders of 37Signals ( Rework) which outlines how they have made working remotely really work. Lots of examples form their experience and those of other large and small companies, put the lie to the Yahoo story about working remotely. Some great lines.  You shouldn’t hire people you can not trust nor should you work where you are not trusted.

Good suggestions on easy screen casting, meetups and conferencing tools.  Plus years of experience in assisting their wide ly place “stars” in dealing with what can come up. I appreciate that time slots should overlap by four hours to make for smooth hand offs.Equal pay across geographies is a great concept.  And in hiring paying extreme attention to the writing’s in  the cover letter since  to be good at remote work you must be able to write.

They make good arguments and you will breeze through this book.

Reflections on the cruise life – while sipping cerveza in warm sunny, Puerto Rico

While reflecting on these past weeks in the Carribean I (we ) came to see that the cruise lines are doing themselves a disservice in the islands. They are not looking after maintaining /upgrading their smaller boats while  building bigger and bigger new boats.  This causes the companies ( Royal Caribbean and Carnival are the big two)  to down market their offers to increase their sell plus compete fiercely with each other. To compensate for not being able to increase fares ( for ten years I think) they are cutting back on many of the niceties that caused many people to be such regular repeat cruisers.  We took our last cruise three years ago, and noticed a big decline this time. We talked to several people on the boats and if they were long time cruises, they also  notice a decline.  The island’s tourist executives we met onshore decried the overall reduced spend of the customers, despite the number of cruisers going up.  They also note that the cruise lines are reducing/modifying  the length (and time of day)  each port stop, which impacts how much of an excursion that the cruisers are able to book while onshore – further reducing the offshore spend.   Our hotel in San Juan is across from the cruise port and we saw  each day some boats arriving about 5 pm and leaving at 10 pm – restricting the onshore visit to a limited number of still open Old San Juan shops and no tours.   Yet the boats are dumping several thousand people on a small space, during this time. Major islands are visited on Sundays when many destinations have few to limited hours. The intent may be to capture more of the spend on-board.  However since the advertising is pushing the product downmarket, these first time cruisers have less discretionary income to spend.    Still the first time cruisers, having no reference point will have a great time on a cruise, just not as good a one as a few years ago.  My wife is seeing her clients move to the smaller boats like on River cruises or small land tours, to recapture the traveling feeling of discovery.  If you are retired, the last thing one wants is to be in a big controlled group.  Clearly the big vessel cruse companies are messing with their product value.   This usually opens up opportunities for other players to scoop out the high value customers.