BOOKS - Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business

Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas a reality. This explosive combination is the key to getting everything you want out of your business. It worked for Disney. It worked for McDonald's. It worked for Ford. It can work for you.

From the author of the bestselling Traction, Rocket Fuel details the integral roles of the Visionary and Integrator and explains how an effective relationship between the two can help your business thrive. Offering advice to help Visionary-minded and Integrator-minded individuals find one another, Rocket Fuel also features assessments so you're able to determine whether you're a Visionary or an Integrator.

Without an Integrator, a Visionary is far less likely to success long-term and realize the company's ultimate goals. Likewise, with no Visionary, an Integrator can't rise to his or her full potential. When these two people come together to share their natural talents and innate skill sets, it's like rocket fuel--they have the power to reach new heights for virtually any company or organization.

Freakonomics Radio - In Praise of Maintenance

This is such a good podcast episode. I've listened to it several times now. So many good insights in this and reminds me a little of the book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, that I posted about a few months ago.

More and more I'm becoming dissatisfied by the fact that so many things only last a few years. Why has it become acceptable that so many things are designed to be disposed of in a couple years? It reminds me of this recent campaign from Greenpeace. I think its a much bigger problem than just personal electronics, but a good example of the problem.

Surely it is nice and very convenient to not have to even think about maintenence on most of the things we have, but I think it comes at such a huge cost. When will we get to see more things that are designed to be repaired and maintained? I do not believe that innovation and maintenence are exclusive to one another. I think it's time to see more products that are designed to be repaired. That would be pretty innovative!


Texas barbecue has no peer on earth

Just saw the 2017 Top 50 Barbecue list by Texas Monthly. This makes me so friggin homesick for Texas! I was there about 6 weeks ago stuffing my face at several of these places.


BOOKS - The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

This Timely Collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States--winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other honors--reminds us of fundamental American principles.

Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now as many Americans engage in self-reflection following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCollough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume that articulates important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. The American Spirit harkens back to core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.

Let me be clear, I did not buy this book because I want to "find my way" after a "bitter election." Like many, I'm sure, I'm super annoyed with the state of politics and especially its coverage, so I'm trying to avoid more politics in my life to be honest. I got this book because it looks good, i've never been disappointed in a David McCullough book and I was excited to see he had a new book, so I got it.

There is more than enough political opinion, coverage, and commentary available at any moment to get completely overwhelmed, so I'm not going to add to it. I will share my thoughts on this book as I read it though, and if you feel up to it, pick up your own copy and follow along with me. And if you do feel like you need to pick up the pieces a little after the election, maybe this book will help.

Quotes from the book

Introduction - pages xiv & xv

...history, like music, like poetry, like art, is a wonderful way to enlarge the experience of being alive...

so very very true. I have gained a lot by studying history, especially an appreciation and respect for those that have come before me and given me a lot of gratitude for my life, when times are tough its helpful to have some stories from history to lean on.

Simon Willard's Clock

pages 12-14

I have decided that the digital watch is the perfect symbol of an imbalance in outlook in our day. It tells only what time it is now, at this instant, as if that were all anyone would wish or need to know.

In the years when the House of Representatives met in Statuary Hall, all deliberations were watched over by the muse of history, Clio. She is still there ove rhte north doorway. She is riding the winged Car of History, as it is called, keeping note in her book...

...The clock in the foreground is by Simon Willard. It was, as I said, installed about 1837. Its inner workings, cut freehand...

It is also a clock with two hands and an old-fashioned face, the kind that shows what time it is now...what time it used to be...and what time it will become.

I really like this. His contrasting descriptions between the digital and analog clocks is thought provoking, as a way to describe sociatal outlooks of present vs past is quite thought provoking.

Civilization and the City

page 19

I have a suggestion and it is this: We must enlist the power and resources of our universities in a new way.

As through the years of the Cold War our leading universities, with millions of dollars in federal support, were actively involved in research and development for military purposes, let the leading universities centered in our cities become actively involved in helping to understand and solve the terrible problems of our cities.

I really like this idea, on a few levels. It works for other large projects and problems, imagine if the same investment were made in solving some of our societal troubles. And also, I like the idea of putting students to work solving real problems, getting outside themselves and making a real impact.

Update 4/21/17

Speaking of putting our universities to work on our challenges, check this out: ATC - Roundtable 6/19/17 especially this moment at minute 17:10. This is really cool. This is all part of a new initiative by the Trump Administration called the American Technology Council, check it out. I think it can be a really big deal.

page 23

...when so much that we hold dear about American life is at stake. Let's do something about it.

Be generous. Give of yourself. Have the courage of your convictions. And whatever path you take, whatever your work, enjoy it--because, for one things, if you're happy, you'll think better.

I enjoyed this speech. I lived in Pittsburgh for a short time in my 20's and enjoyed that city. I really like how he ended it with advice to be generous and give of yourself, and to be happy. I think with all the big things going on we often forget about the little things that can make the biggest difference in our life.

Which Way Forward

page 38

I think what most of us want--as most people everywhere want more than anything--is to be useful. This and to feel we belong to something larger than ourselves. What is needed now, now especially in this momentous change of scenes in world history, is a common understanding of what that larger something can be. What we Americans need above all is leadership to define the national ambition.


Let's do something about public education. Let's stop the mindless destruction of historic America. Let's clean up our rivers and skies, and while we're at it, let's clean up our language--private and public and on the airwaves. Let's stop the dumbing and degrading and cheap commercial exploitation of American life.

Be generous--with your money, of course. But more important, give of yourself. Take an interest in people. Get to know people. Get to know what they've been through before you pass judgement. That's essential.

Read history. By all means read history. We are all where we are, each of us, because others helped. As my friend Dr. Samuel Proctor, former pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, likes to say, "If you see a turtle sitting on a stump, you know it didn't get there on its own."

Read books. Try to understand the reason things happen, why they are as they are. If you see only the surface phenomena, then the world becomes extremely confusing, ever more unsettling. But if the reasons are understood there's a kind of simplicity that emerges.

Somtime, somewhere along the line, memorize a poem. Sometime, somewhere along the line, go out in a field and paint a picture, for your own pleasure. Sometime, somewhere along the line, plant a tree, buy your father a good bottle of New York state wine, write your mother a letter.

And sometime, somewhere along the line, do something for your country.

I really like this. Stop and live a little, take the time to understand the world around you.

The Lessons of History

page 57

A sense of history is an antidote to self-pity and self-importance, of which there is much too much in our time. To a large degree, history is a lesson in proportions.

History reminds us that nothing counterfeit has any staying power, an observation, incidentally, made by Cicero about 60 BC.

History teaches that character counts. Character above all.

I think we could all use a good dose of more history in our lives.

History Lost and Found

page 91

We live in a world where there are twenty cities with populations over ten million people. The entire population of the American colonies was 2,500,000. Philadelphia, the largest American city, had all of thirty thousand people, a small town by our standards

The same week the Continental Congress voted for independence, the British landed 32,000 troops on Staten Island. In other words, they landed a military force larger that the entire population of our largest city. When the delegates signed their names to that Declaration, pledging "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," those weren't just words. Each was signing his own death warrant. They were declaring themselves traitors.

One of my favorite of all moments occured when old Stephen Hopkins, a delegate from Rhode Island, who suffered from palsy, after fixing his spidery signature to the Declaration, remarked, "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

This was a really good speech, this passage was one of several I found very profound. Perspective is a pretty powerful thing.

Knowing Who We Are

page 105

trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers. We're raising a lot of cut flowers and trying to plant them

pages 106 - 107

Stop and think about those great teachers who changed your life, maybe with a single sentence, maybe with one lecture, maybe by just taking an interest in your struggle. Family, teachers, friends, rivals, competitors--they've all shaped us.

And so, too, have people we've never met, never known, because they lived long before us. They, too, have shaped us--they who composed the music that moves us, the painters, the poets, those who have written teh great literature in our language. We walk around every day, every one of us, quoting Shakespeare, Cervantes, Pope. We don't know it, but we are, all the time. We think this is our way of speaking. It isn't our way of speaking--it's what we have been given.

The laws we live by, the freedoms we enjoy, the institutions that we take for granted--and we should never take for granted--are all the work of others who went before us. And to be indifferent to that isn't just to be ignorant, it's to be rude. And ingratitude is a shabby failing.

How can we not want to know about the people who have made it possible for us to live as we live, to have the freedoms we have, to be citizens of this greatest of countries? It's not just a birthright, it is something that others struggled and stived for, often suffered for, often were defeated for and died for, for the next generation, for us.



I miss bookstores

I went to a book store today to see if they had a copy of a book I've been wanting to read. I knew it would probably be next week before a book would get here by mail from amazon, and I'm kind of flipping my reading habits back to paper books. If I really like something I'll often buy the digital copy too...which I think should become a thing, you buy paper you also get the digital copy...hint hint publishers!

It's been a while since I went to a bookstore, I used to really enjoy going to the bookstore and browsing for a while until something just felt right. The selection was a lot smaller than it used to be, but I still ended up just browsing for about an hour. I kept finding lots of books that looked really good. I think I took pictures of about 10 books that I wanted to remember for later, and mental notes about just as many.

There is something nice about just thumbing through a bunch of books.

I miss book stores.


I got an email today about a new mobile phone plan called XFINITY Mobile that looks pretty interesting. Its Comcast + Verizon, free calls/text, and $12/Gig for data. Seems pretty sweet, however there are a couple gotchas. Here's the main details on the plan:

  • Unlimited Domestic Talk/Text - $0.00, Roaming rates apply when traveling international.
  • 4G LTE Data - $0.00 first 100MB, $12/Gig shared data or $45/line for unlimited data on "Launch" sale from $65/line
  • 4G LTE Network is Verizon
  • There is currently no Bring Your Own Device option, you must buy a device. I was told this by a customer service rep.
  • $10/Line charge is added if you don't maintain a residential XFINITY internet account, you can find this on the Plan page by clicking on "Pricing & Other Info."

I'm super happy with my Ting plan, and although I'm not a huge Comcast fan, this seemed like it had potential to save me some more money on my mobile plan. However, the requirement to buy a device is a definite deal breaker for me. Right now I pay about $45/Mo with Ting and with this plan and my current useage I'd be looking at around $25/Mo, however I am not sure what their extra fees would be so I'm guessing probably around $35/Mo. which I could probably get with Ting if I tried a little harder.

I'm gonna watch it for a while and see how XFINITY Mobile shapes up, I'd definitely need a BYOD option and I really like the control I get with Ting being able to add limits, useage reminders and getting all the useage stats and such, so I'd want that too.