Put away the pink slips and rethink

The Harvard Business Review on surviving rough times without firing people:

Estimates by Mercer and others indicate that losses just for the major risks (e.g., employee accidents, office theft, etc.) exceed $85 billion annually; in effect, these dwarf the near $40 billion annually that US companies were hoping to save during the last two years of employee purging. Thus, even a managed reduction of these risks by 50% would have achieved the same cost-saving feat as cutting people without the consequences.

04. April 2011 by Chris
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Upcoming moves for the week of 4/4

I spend more time than I’d like to admit refreshing MarketWatch’s Virtual Stock Exchange. The VSE has all the fun of trading without the joy of making money (or the equally probable sorrow of losing money). While I am in no way a financial adviser and none of my actions should inform any real financial decisions, I thought I’d share what I’m doing with my fake money tomorrow morning: Continue Reading →

03. April 2011 by Chris
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Lásló Moholy-Nagy, Alexander Bortnyik, and Walter Gropius: The Issue of Depth in Geometric Abstraction

The discussion of art history is a discussion of a narrative, a thread of artistic consciousness that is passed from artist to artist and movement to movement. When studying the whys and wherefores of this thread, frequently the relation between two artists (and thus the relation of their respective styles) is intricate. That is, it is rare to find a clean pass of the needle from one artist to another, there are always fuzzy middle grounds – Thomas Hart Benton taught Jackson Pollock, but how much of Benton’s influence carried through Pollock and on to Mark Rothko during those late nights in New York pubs? Thus, when the relation between two artists is crystal clear, an exploration of both is warranted if for no other reason than to fully grasp the complexities of the artistic style at hand. Continue Reading →

03. April 2011 by Chris
Categories: Academic writings, Art | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Defense of Melnikov, et al.

The narrative thread of art history in Russia during the 1920s is a convoluted one, brimming with constant attempts to find a form of socially beneficial and anti-bourgeois art. The original push was against Suprematism due to its abstract and arguably conceptual nature as that made it antithetical to the good, hard working people the Soviets wanted themselves to be. Suprematism was too in the mind, too much like the aristocrat viewing his fields and not enough like the worker plowing them. This is not to say there was a want for dumb art, but rather a desire for honest art that owned up to what it was and did not try to hide behind a veil of the mind. The Soviets did not want Matisse’s fauteuil. Continue Reading →

02. April 2011 by Chris
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Digg founder Kevin Rose has been interviewing startup founders and VCs from Jack Dorsey to Philip Rosedale. A combination of high production value, great interviewees and quality subjects means you should check this out if you have any interest in tech startups. Also, if you want to support this new project of Kevin’s, think about heading to foundat.io/n and subscribing. It is worth it.

02. April 2011 by Chris
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Group Discounts, Small Businesses and Unfortunate Valuation Practices

The success of startups like Groupon and LivingSocial, and the courting of the former by Google to the tune of $6 billion, is not a result of a brave new business model that connects the masses to small, local companies but rather a result of a deluge of struggling small companies that see the promise of increased foot traffic without knowing how to truly capitalize on and maintain said increase. Further, the resulting valuations of these startups seems not be be based on sustainability but instead based on short term income. Continue Reading →

01. April 2011 by Chris
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Scared S***less

Merlin MannMerlin Mann, a person who I have roughly the same admiration for as he does for John Gruber, recently gave this talk at Webstock ’11 in New Zealand. The subject of the talk is being scared. Being at a time of great transition as I am, Merlin’s message was just what I needed to hear at just the right time. I hope you get something out of it too. Do note, however, that there is some colorful language.

Go watch it >

31. March 2011 by Chris
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Energy Efficiency of Food and Personal Transportation in Rural and Urban Environments

Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. Photo by flickr user LN.A thought experiment: there are two population centers, one of which is a relatively small town of 50,000 and the other is a major metropolitan area of 1.5 million. The smaller town, Smallsville, has a vibrant farmer’s market where for the sake of simplicity 100% of the population buys their food. The larger town, Bigsville, has no farmer’s market and 100% of Bigsville’s residents buy their food at major grocery stores. At first blush one would think that the citizens of Smallsville with their locally sourced food would use less energy than the residents of Bigsville who rely on long supply chains of 18 wheelers for their food.

This is not necessarily the case. Continue Reading →

31. March 2011 by Chris
Categories: Thought Experiments | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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