Motivation and being happy

a snoopy day at work.jpg

Cleaning out – uploading ‘stuff’

Unexpectedly a couple of links to TED talks.

For some reason, I made notes about these on a plane… maybe they’ll make someone who hasn’t seen them, watch them.

Daniel Pink

(‘In the C20th…Management did not emanate from nature… somebody invented it. And it doesn’t mean its going to work forever…’)

Intrinsic motivation:

The desire to do things because they matter, because we like it, because because they’re interesting, they’re part of something important

Fedex time, 20% Time – the results only work environment

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose the building blocks of a new way of doing things.

Traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance. But if you want engagement, self-direction works better.

Think again about motivation – they don’t always work for every task.

3 Conclusions

1. 20th C rewards “if then” motivators we think are natural do work, but only in a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances
2. If…then rewards often destroy creativity
3. The secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments but that unseen intrinsic drive the drive to do things for their own sake, because they matter.

Alain de Botton

Happiness – A kinder, gentler philosophy of success (a lot of ideas and some deep implications packed in here!!):

Easy to get a good job, very hard to be happy.

Not necessarily materialistic – society has pegged emotional rewards to acquisition of material things – we crave the emotional reward


Meritocracy a ridiculous idea if you take it to its extremes self help books – you can do it – but any position in life becomes purely a result of merit – “an unfortunate” vs ” a loser” 400 years of evolution – who’s responsible for our lives? but too many random factors

envy (dominant emotion in modern society?) driven by equality – they’re just like me – when you can’t relate to somebody, you don’t envy them

Made to feel by media etc that likelihood of becoming Bill Gates is much greater than acceding to the French Aristocracy

A real correlation between a society that tells people they can do anything and the existence of low self esteem

Fear of ridicule linked to a lack of understanding/appreciation learning from Tragedy – Hamlet is not a ‘loser’ but he has lost

Lack of anything transcendent at the core of our lives, for the first time…

You can’t be successful at everything…

Definition of success (where does it come from? Are they our own?) Any vision of success has to admit where the element of loss is

Don’t give up on visions of success – interrogate them and own them.


Mental Models

mental models.jpg

Complete the following by substituting for x and y:

Munger is to Buffett
as x is to y …

If you’re like me – a few months ago, that question would have created two responses – a nonplussed look and an icy recollection of aptitude or reasoning tests.

What happened to me that now means I could now complete it (Merchant is to Ivory, Allen is to Gates, Ben is to Jerry etc.) was as usual a coincidence. I had been thinking that I had too many RSS feeds – still under my psychological break point of 200 but too many. Whilst whittling them down to a respectable hundred it occurred to me that I choose to read people who largely think like me or at least have viewpoints that I share. (Yes – a blinding flash of the obvious).

Secondly, for some reason I cant even remember I was reading about Charlie Munger (the equally successful, wealthy and bufferish ‘partner’ of Warren Buffett – the incredibly rich and respected stock investor) on Wikipedia and it said:

“Munger’s worldly wisdom consists of a set of mental models framed as a latticework to help solve critical business problems. According to Munger, only 80 or 90 important models will carry about 90% of the freight in making you a worldly-wise person.” Read the rest of this entry »


opinion.jpgpic courtesy foxxyz

Some of my literally dozen of readers have insisted that I should veer towards ‘genuine’ blogging and express strong, divisive and deeply personal opinions.


In no particular order.

1. Women look better with little or no make-up. makeup.jpg
More evidence? here

2. Fast motor bikes are better than comfortable ones. Think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill vs Tim Allen/John Travolta in Wild Hogs.


3. Audi is better than BMW. Think TT vs Z3


4. Engineering is better than motorsport. (Yes, the one used to drive the other but today you might as well watch money and fuel being hosed down the drain – over bimbo’s…) Think Le Mans 1956 vs Max Mosely.

Le mans F1.jpg

5. Design is better than engineering. But they can’t live without each other. Think Dehavilland Comet vs Volvo 240

design engineer.jpg

6. Apple is better than PC. Think different.


7. Evolution is – it just is. Think – there’s no vs.


8. Free is better.

“I believe that all generally useful information should be free. By ‘free’ I am not referring to price, but rather to the freedom to copy the information and to adapt it to one’s own uses… When information is generally useful, redistributing it makes humanity wealthier no matter who is distributing and no matter who is receiving.” Richard Stallman

Another 8 another time.

Digital Fingerprint

digital fingerprint.jpgpic courtesy chrischappelear

As requested by a friend recently – a list of the programmes I use on my Mac and those on my iphone:

I haven’t linked them, you should be able to find most of them with Google – if there are any you need let me know. This is just a peremptory inventory, I will do a more considered post in the future.

First the MacBook:
Firefox – I use quite a lot of greasemonkey scripts and extensions (another post I think) I also have Gmail notifier (I use Gmail for everything now.) – Mac for offline reading of mail on MacBook
iCal – Calendar – sync to iPhone also with my Gmail Calendar
Contacts/Address Book – sync to iPhone but not yet Gmail contacts
Microsoft Office (specifically Word, Excel and Powerpoint) I have 2004 but am almost ready to migrate to:
Pages – been using recently
Keynote – been using for quite a while
Numbers – been using recently
Itunes – duh
Preview – used Xee for a while but don’t really find the need now.
VLC – for all your media needs
Vienna – Opensource RSS feeder – excellent
Omnifocus – GTD/Lists, organisation tool – also syncs with iPhone
Tinderbox – thinking, hypertext, notes and much more
Yojimbo – catch all (thinking about moving to Evernote)
MarsEdit – Blogging tool
OmniGraffle – for doing great diagrams and some pdf documents
Adobe Creative Suite 3 – mostly photoshop (yes, at which I sjuck)
iPhoto – syncs with iPhone I also have a Gmail extension with automatically sends

There are a great number of other apps on my machine which I use occasionally or are tweaks, not to mention the ones I have tried – as mentioned above, I must do a post on those.

Similarly on the iPhone I have tried a great many apps, but am currently using:
(Some of them are for jailbroken phones only – so obviously Cydia and Installer)
SB Setting – Big Boss Prefs but evolved
Omnifocus – sync with Desktop and also location aware
Fring – skype and other messaging services on iphone
Threads – cool Threadless images, great for wallpapers
GeoCaching – just beginning to explore
Moleskinery – notes, sync with desktop
File Magnet – sync a format of files to the iphone
NeoReader – Quick response code reader
Newsstand (still trying vs Pro RSS)
Around me and…
Locly – both do the same – location based info/services
Web Search – cool preload for popular search sites
Twitterific – Twitter
WordPress – Blogging
Linked In – Profile
PDA net – Tether MacBook to iPhone free wifi
Splash ID – secure information
Tube – London Underground
Google Earth
Oblique strategies – strange but sometimes useful(look it up!)
Camera Bag – different camera effects
Night Camera – uses stability to judge when to take shot
Banner – scroll messages in a cool way
Instapaper – read stuff from the web later
MyRail Lite – find out what time and what platform for my trains
Night Stand – digital clock
WiFinder – find wifi

Again have tried many more and I have left off the games and apps just for showing off the iPhone such as Koi pond, Guitar, Ocarina etc – I promise I will do proper post in the future on both.

Maybe I need a procrastination/promise-keeping app!…

Essays – thinking and trying?


I often think in quotations.

In fact I sometimes even look for quotes to help me start thinking, trying to make sense of or answering a question. In my experience this often frustrates others – for 2 reasons :

1.‘Why don’t you use your own words/thoughts’?

My words are often not as well thought through as they might be – “in other words” (sic) if someone has said it better than I was beginning to think I could, it would be extreme arrogance to assume that I could say it better (given enough time – see below) just because its me.

2. ‘It’s lazy’

Perhaps it’s lazier to bumble out knowingly, something which closely approximates what I wish to communicate but not exactly. Read the rest of this entry »

Moraine – or why I failed Geography O-level

morraine.jpgpic courtesy mckaysavage

Moraine from the slow movement of mental glaciers. In fact glaciers are interesting for a number of reasons:

1. Thermometers of human destruction

2. They ‘calve’ to produce icebergs and aside from the fact that one of these indirectly led to Celine Dion torturing us with one of the most irritating Movie theme songs ever, I really love this idea – they are so big they can’t splinter so they calve – I often think that this term is better than ‘shatter’ or ‘split’ when it comes to human feelings and personalities.

3. See 1. – Their absence will probably coincide with ours as a species.

My ability to collect and carry a mass of mental “rocks and sediment” meant that there was no room for my O-level Geography revision. After all I was doing 11 of them – 1 of them had to go and despite the fact that my brother’s house was on the Ordinance Survey Map for the first section and a brave attempt in the second at describing the exports of Scotland as including Tartan and Whisky, it was Geography.

So this is an occasional piece where in the manner of Moraine, I deposit some of these rocks and sediment… Read the rest of this entry »


Picasso bull evolution sized.jpg

Pic courtesy

Been avoiding this to some extent, because it has been ‘blogged’ to death but more probably because it is scarily concise as I wish I could be! (even with its typo – ‘are’ instead of ‘and’) A brilliant sketch.

Perhaps I have waited the equivalent of a Victorian Mourning period for it to be socially acceptable or perhaps I have finally overcome the personal quandry it put me in!

Instead of beautifuly crafted rubrics about work, brands, love or anything else, I wish some Advertising/Marketing Companies had something like this on the wall in their reception area for staff and visitors to see.

It could have been more beautifully put but not much shorter or more powerfully.

Better – Seth Godin

Are you better at what you do than you were a month or two ago?

A lot better?

How did you get better? What did you read or try? Did you fail at something and learn from it?

Does that mindless stuff you do at work when the boss isn’t looking (or all those meetings you go to are all those emails you answer) make you better or just pass the time?

If you got better faster, would that be a good thing? How could you make that happen?

A lot of questions so early in the morning, but the truth is that marketing rewards improvement. It didn’t used to. It
used to reward stability.

Corn Flakes are Corn Flakes.