I've become obsessed with the French artist/band Yelle over the past couple of weeks and can't help but share her music. Take a listen if you're looking to try something new:

If you're digging it, here's another & the full length album.

Batman: The Power of Expectations

I've recently become a fan of podcasts. My interest was peaked with the launch of the podcast Startup (and with it, Gimlet Media). So, of course, I've also become a fan of one of the biggest podcasts ever, This American Life. I wanted to share this particular episode I listened to this morning because it is a great story worth sharing, but also because it has an enlightening message about the psychology and function of expectations. 

It starts with a simple question posed to scientists experimenting with rats in a maze test: do you think that the thoughts that you have in your head (your private thoughts) influence the way that a rat moves?

The answer: Yes.

It's long, I know, but I highly recommend giving it a listen if you have a free moment today. I feel we can all benefit from better understanding how our expectations of others affect them, as well as how our own expectations have such power over our own lives. 

Sunday Reads: The Idea Person & Data

The Idea Person

Many people in a creative field, myself included, have succumbed to the fantasy of the Idea Person.

Ideas are like candy—colorful, fun, easy to indulge in.

The hard part—the part that really matters—is the follow-through.

Why don’t we glorify that instead?

Notes on Company Culture

What are the things that characterise a positive company culture?

Openness. Trust. Respect. Collaboration. Empowerment. Responsibility. Communication. Diversity. Empathy. Spirit. Emotional Investment. Pride in work. Commitment to each other. Openness to criticism. And a lot more besides…

These are the kind of things that embody a positive company culture. One where people feel happy and productive in their work. Where the customer is both the end user of the product and the net beneficiary of the positive culture.

The joyless world of data-driven startups

Everyone tells early stage startups to use data for big strategic decisions. But does that really work, and whatever happened to vision?

The song will never work. It’s too long, too complex, too confusing and doesn’t fit into any musical genre.
— Radio stations feedback to Queen about Bohemian Rhapsody

If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

That’s the tired cliché repeatedly told by the kinds of people who have to put a number on everything. These are the people who are responsible for the existence of Klout, and buy the self-help books in their millions because they believe that there must be repeatable secret rules and quantifiable steps that determine success and failure. Either millions of people didn’t read those books that they bought, or it turns out that the steps weren’t as easily reproducible as the book cover suggested.

Quote of the Week

Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.
— Osho

Sunday Reads: Feedback & No

The Stockdale Paradox from Good to Great

Retain the faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.

AND at the same time

Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

How to give feedback that doesn’t suck by Ben Lehnert

Ben, lead designer for Wunderlist, gives six bite-sized pieces of advice for how to give feedback that doesn’t suck. It’s a short read, but contains super important reminders (that we can all sometimes forget). 

The Habit of No by Startups & Burritos

The habit of no is one of the healthiest habits your startup can develop.

At its most basic level, the habit of no is about accepting the reality that all ideas are not equal. The habit of no means ruthlessly prioritizing ideas, setting goals and then sticking to them. No is having the conviction to eliminate the good in order to get to the great.

Quote of the Week

The hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither

Why you shouldn't have a bucket list.

I love lists. Anyone who knows me has seen my maticilous list creation and management. It's weird, but I like it. So naturally the most cliche list of all was one that I have made and added to over the years: the bucket list. 


Today I deleted my bucket list.  


Why? While lists are great, as well as having realistic and measurable goals, some lists just aren't worth it. Lately I've come to realize how important it is to live life openly and freely. A list, and a bucket list, can be a great way to plan, organize, aspire, and dream, but sometimes it's just nice to say screw it and do the things you want to do, with the people you want to do them with. Keeping track of where you want your life to go has become too common. Everywhere we try to track our successes and failures in hopes of becoming better (at everything). I've decided that instead of creating a bucket list with a clear and definitive look at where I want to see my life over the next 50 years, I'm going to continue journaling my thoughts, having meaningful conversations, and reminiscing with friends & family.  

I, like many of you, have big plans for my life. But if I am living it the right way, I shouldn't need a list to feel confident in them.