Blog Soup 2011.10.27 A Blogger’s Digest

Blog Soup

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

I read a lot of blogs. Maybe, too many. I comment on a lot of blog posts. Maybe, too many. If you are a Triberrati, you do too.

A Triberrati is a blogger that stands out in the Triberr community. Triberr is a web app that connects bloggers and helps them to curate each other on Twitter. You can learn all about Triberr by reading any of the following posts about it.

1. James St. JohnTriberr: They Want To Change The World

2. Yomar LopezHow Triberr Changes The Competitive Landscape

3. Neicole CrepeauFriday Fives: Tips For Using Triberr

Gary Portnoy, Where everybody knows your name (Cheers theme song)

Earth Date 2011.10.27

Just some of the blogs that I commented on this week:

1. 8 Things That Leadership Is Not by Daniel Newman

2. 14 Attributes for Your Entrepreneurial Success from Silicon Valley Icons by Jan Wong

3. 10 Things “Angry Birds” Taught Me About Blogging, Part 1 by Jeremy Hicks

4. What Do You Make by Aaron Biebert

5. Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: a cognitive teardown of the user experience by Charles Mauro

6. All Aboard the Crazy Train – Dealing with Out of Control Thoughts by an anonymous, young, female blogger

7. Don’t Game Your Role as Leader by Shawn Murphy

8. Sybot and his sword by Angela Bassa

9. Asking WHY to accomplish your Writing by Jackie Paulson

10. Why Occupy’s Malcolm Harris Respects Glenn Beck by Lee Stranahan

11. Zombie Novel by Malcolm Harris

12. The Value of Money and Occupy Wall Street by Bruce Sallan

13. Riding the Rails by Jared Karol

14. Riot Police Destroy Occupy Encampment and Tear Gas Media by Lineplot Productions

15. Big Bad Burnout (It Happens) by Jessica Northey

Florence + The Machine – Cosmic Love

Moveable Feasts, Scooby Snacks, Etcetera

1. 8 Things That Leadership Is Not by Daniel Newman

Daniel lists the symptoms of counterfeit leadership.

1. Saying the right thing and not doing it
2. Knowing what should be done and not doing it
3. Making decisions to make decisions

Etcetera.

My comment:

True Leadership is about solving problems in a beautiful manner. Beautiful solutions are solutions authorized by what is good and true. Insofar as a solution lacks in it’s reflection of goodness and truth, it lacks in elegance.

This, of course, is easier written or said than done. In other words, leadership itself represents considerable challenge to those who aspire to be great leaders. And to those who yearn for great leaders. For a leader is not to be measured only be one-dimensional results such as profit, body count (living or dead), or the temporary pleasure of those served.

As Gini Dietrich points out in her comment, one-dimensional results (business sustainability, for example) are essential to the equation. But a great leader is also to be measured by the good and truth reflected in the means by which results are accomplished. AND also the good and truth reflected in the results – those things beyond immediate and urgent necessities.

To be sure, great leaders must have an intimate understanding of the good, the true, and the beautiful. As Confucius suggests, they must be able to see all sides of a problem without bias. Some may be blessed to know these things intuitively and also with the self-control that does not permit their own personal interest and affections to cloud their perception and judgment. But myself, I do not know anyone like this. Nor I have met one so blessed.

I have, however, met men and women who were well educated in the good, the true, and the beautiful, who sought to clothe themselves in virtue, and who served a higher authority than their own selfish nature. I would like to note that they are few. And fewer and fewer, it seems, with each generation that comes after the rise and eminence of the postmodern mind.

Sometimes, I despair that all our well intentioned conversations about leadership are for nothing. While it is easy to judge whether a decision is a good or bad decision regarding one-dimensional objectives, this is just the physics of psychology and it has nothing to do with leadership as a virtue.

2. 14 Attributes for Your Entrepreneurial Success from Silicon Valley Icons by Jan Wong

Jan attended a two day conference in which he heard about entrepreneurship from entrepreneurs such as Shawn Fanning (co-founder of Napster), Jawed Karim (co-founder of YouTube), Jeff Hoffman (co-founder of Priceline.com), and Konstantin Guricke (co-founder of LinkedIn).

Jan’s favorite answer: “When you’re busy looking for [success], I was busy working for it.”

My comment:

These are interesting check box items. But it’s not pearls. Technology and business, like post-modern art, has to be three things:

1. Interesting
2. Memorable
3. Epic

If you listen to the MOMA lecture by Howard Gardner that I linked up on the previous blog soup, you’ll understand what I’m saying. [grin]

3. 10 Things “Angry Birds” Taught Me About Blogging, Part 1 by Jeremy Hicks

1. Understand the problem that you aim to solve
2. Use your tools carefully
3. It’s okay if you don’t get it right the first time

Etcetera.

My comment:

Jeremy Hicks lists five things in Part 1. And I couldn’t find a link to Part 2. Still, I enjoyed his translation of Angry Birds strategy to blogging.

Great game play, in my opinion, is all about problem solving. And, problem solving, is something we all must do in life, work, love, and play.

What I didn’t write:

Blogging is not a game. It’s neither fair nor equal. You don’t begin blogging on a level playing field. Success is neither predictable nor likely.

You may not get to try again and again until you get it right. Someone may turn off your internet if you don’t pay your bill. In 10 years or less, your computer will die. Most give up on blogging within six months. And those who do not give up? They do not increase their chances of succeeding.

As Charles Mauro points out in his blog post:

“These little birds are packed with clever behaviors that expand the user’s mental model at just the point when game-level complexity is increased.”

Neither life nor blogging are like that. Complexity and failure increases, decreases and waivers without notice, hints, and/or simple rules. And success is neither here nor there. Nor is there a clear path forward. There are many paths, in fact, and many of them go nowhere.

4. What Do You Make by Aaron Biebert

Aaron is inspired by Jeep’s Grand Cherokee commercial.

Some of the text from the video:

The things that make us Americans are the things we make.

As a people, we do well when we make good things. And not so well, when we don’t.

This was once a country where people made things, beautiful things…

The things we make, make us.

My comment:

I was doing my best to avoid so quickly bringing up the Beautiful, the Good, and the True. I figured I have spoken to these things too directly in my last two blog soups and even this forthcoming blog soup. But what can I do when they jump out at me like they did in the Jeep commercial?!

I appreciate Aaron’s ambiguity on what he should make. His ambiguity is honest.

Most of the answer, however, is right there in the simple words of Jeep’s narrator.

Make things that are beautiful, good, and true. And that’s all I’m going to say for now on the matter. [grin]

5. Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: a cognitive teardown of the user experience by Charles Mauro

“Why is it that over 50 million individuals have downloaded this simple game?”

Charles Mauro attempts to answer the question of what made Angry Birds so successful and popular that the total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players world-wide is roughly 200 million minutes a DAY, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year.

My comment:

Charles describes the elements of winning user experience that he identifies to be happening in the Angry Birds game:

1. Simple yet engaging interaction
2. Cleverly managed response time
3. Short term memory management
4. Mystery
5. Sounds
6. Look

Of course, placement and hype helped a lot to get the Angry Birds out there for smart phone owners to love and enjoy it. And Charles recognizes this in the comments.

Does engagement go beyond the usability mechanics? Cuteness of concept, range of audience, and story – obviously.

Could Angry Bird’s success be taken to a whole new level of addiction and attention through more psychologically relevant rewards, social game mechanics, and meaningful revelations of the mystery?

6. All Aboard the Crazy Train – Dealing with Out of Control Thoughts by an anonymous, young, female blogger

Writes the anonymous, young, female blogger:

“I can completely let a train of thought drive itself out, fantasizing the worst case scenario, and not realize how far off track I am until things are really out of control…”

The anonymous, young, female blogger suggests some ways to get off the train to nowhere.

My comment:

I liked the song, Dog Days are Over, by Florence + the Machine. But that is video is quite a runaway train in itself. [grin]

7. Don’t Game Your Role as Leader by Shawn Murphy

Leadership is about love, hope, and trust. That’s what Shawn Murphy seems to be saying. If your people are asking where the love is, you’re not leading.

My comment:

Are you as amused as I am about how leadership, gaming, and other things keep showing up in this blog soup?

Maybe, you think it’s intentional on my part. But I assure you that I move from one blog post to the next with a certain random abandon.

I think Shawn is on to something here, but he’s not sure what it is and where it is going. That’s ok because I’ve already said it in my comment to Daniel Newman’s blog post.

This is what I said:

To be sure, great leaders must have an intimate understanding of the good, the true, and the beautiful. As Confucius suggests, they must be able to see all sides of a problem without bias.

True Leadership is about solving problems in a beautiful manner. Beautiful solutions are solutions authorized by what is good and true. Insofar as a solution lacks in it’s reflection of goodness and truth, it lacks in elegance.

To answer Daniel’s rhetorical question: Is this hard? Harder than you could ever have begun to imagine.

8. Sybot and his sword by Angela Bassa

Sybot gets his new, all powerful sword stuck in a tree.

My comment:

The story is unusual. Where are you going with it?

Anyway, I found my way into Angela’s website slash blog slash portfolio via her comment on Frank Dickinson’s blog post, Four Reasons Your Blog is Dying.

There’s a lot of potential here. Angela has great potential to create a powerful online experience through art, story, and imagination. But for now, it all seems to be under construction. My recommendation is to do something that invites engagement. A kingdom cannot go up in a day. Another thing: the most important thing about a community is not the castle, the towers, and all the stage decorations, it’s the people that live there.

Angela only needs determination and some quick rewards (comments and engagement) to keep her going and see it through.

9. Asking WHY to accomplish your Writing by Jackie Paulson

Jackie Paulson doesn’t mess around. If you want to get something done, find the reason why you want it to happen. Make a sign and put it somewhere where you’ll see it everyday. Commitment is a force multiplier. That’s what she’s saying.

Jackie writes tips for writing.

My comment:

This is good advice for those who find themselves putting themselves and what they want second to other people and things. Yes, it is Spartan method and one may be tempted to chuckle at its unsophisticated determination. But it was also the Spartans that stood against an army of hundreds of Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae. Vastly outnumbered, King Leonidas of Sparta led the Greeks to hold off the mighty army of Xerxes I until they were betrayed and the Persians found another way to get around them.

10. Why Occupy’s Malcolm Harris Respects Glenn Beck by Lee Stranahan

Lee Stranahan joins Glenn Beck in the concern for the radical and extremist currents that move in the shadows of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Lee profiles Malcolm Harris, one the the key intellectuals involved in OWS. Malcolm would like to see the filthy rich dragged into the street and butchered a la the French Revolution. At least that’s what Lee is saying that Malcolm is saying.

My comment:

When the rule of law has failed and justice is circumvented by expensive, clever lawyers, the rich and powerful should be afraid. We all know half of Wall Street should have been shut down, thousands should have gone to jail, and the Federal Reserve reappropriated by the American people. If you didn’t know, the Federal Reserve is controlled by European bankers and it has been manipulated by them ever since President Roosevelt.

As President Abraham Lincoln once said:

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

The problem with Wall Street etcetera is that their greed led them to take scandalous and unconscionable risks: trying to fool all of the people all of the time.

Wall Street, financial institutions, and the Federal Reserve put the welfare, peace, and state of our nation at terrible risk.

So I have a problem with Lee pretending not to see what’s wrong with America. If America has anything to be very afraid of, it’s people like Lee who don’t see any problems. There’s way too many people walking around and looking down at their shoes. Because they losing all sense of self respect.

Don’t misunderstand me, I kinda like Lee Stranahan. I wouldn’t like to see Lee Stranahan strung up from a limb of the tree of liberty. [grin]

I do not believe, however, that Malcolm Harris is something to be afraid of. At least not when he’s writing a mixed review of a Zombie novel.

11. Zombie Novel by Malcolm Harris

Malcolm Harris (Lee Stranahan’s murderous anarchist) review’s Colson Whitehead’s upcoming novel, Zone Out.

My comment:

I couldn’t resist the Zombie review for several reasons. Because the Zombie genere has a sordid reputation for social criticism. And I just finished watching season one of AMC’s Zombie series, The Walking Dead. Also I wanted to know if Malcolm is as scary as Lee Stranahan says.

But can Malcolm Harris really be that scary if Lee wants to buy him a beer?

Malcolm’s reading of Whitehead’s novel reveals Malcolm as he is: full of intellectual contempt, heart-broken, and ineffectually passionate. Note to Lee: Malcolm will always be more bored than angry. For example, he pats Whitehead on the back for past accomplishments with affectionate devotion and simultaneously veils a sneer because Whitehead, Malcolm suggests, sold out, abandoned contempt, and speaks plainly with the unwashed reader.

Malcolm is not going to lead a bloody rebellion. The bourgeois lifestyle of a discontented intellectual (even a post modern marxist) is contingent upon capitalism. In the communist era, there was no home for the likes of him – not even in the party. Nor would he have been free to express his opinion. Malcolm would be just another alcoholic stumbling in the park at twilight, homeless, and desperately avoiding being caught and shipped off to a work camp.

What Lee doesn’t get is that Malcolm gets it. That’s why Malcolm is writing reviews about Zombie novels in the US and not hanging out with me in the old communist stomping grounds of Bucharest.

12. The Value of Money and Occupy Wall Street by Bruce Sallan

Bruce thinks the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests are a lot of hooey.

My comment:

I like Bruce despite the fact he got on a crazy train to nowhere with his OWS rant. I have no idea where he was headed with his concerns about values, the value of money, and OWS. Did you get it? If you did, could you explain it to me?

Some say that Americans lost an appreciation for money in the 80s – just when there seemed finally to be enough of it for everyone (Americans) to have the opportunity to get more of it. Others have blamed the internet because all those start ups have done is to trade in inflated user counts and free online services. As if that was a business model! Apparently, Twitter, Facebook, and Google have made it their business model.

Consumption as an key economic indicator, a counterfeit of empowerment, and opiate for the masses on the other hand, has contributed to the problem. In order to increase consumption, credit was extended beyond reasonable risk, more and more money had to be made, and people did questionable things to get and make more money accessible. Meanwhile, the cost of everything went up and the government has been printing money like mad to keep up.

I don’t know if blaming the kids in the OWS protest for being clueless is relevant. Americans are clueless – generally speaking. Things have changed. The shit has hit the fan. Americans can’t compete on the global market, they aren’t making enough to sustain American business, and what few dollars they have are being paid out to China, etc. for more low cost product. And, as Bruce pointed out, the cost of education is out of this world.

Oh – education seems to be the last thing on people’s minds in the third world. Many young adults in Romania question the value of education. They don’t see a disparity in income between the college educated and the street smart. Actually, they do. They see the street smart driving BMWs and Range Rovers while the college educated take the bus. The majority of the employed population are complicit with their employers in tax evasion. Because every little bit helps when you don’t get everything you want. This is the future, I bemoan. This is the future for us all.

Did I just get on my own crazy train to nowhere? [grin]

Actually, I wanted to talk about the lack of cohesive, coherent messages coming from OWS protestors. I also wanted to talk about the lack of leadership coming from OWS critics. The failure to successfully negotiate the noise and move people forward together (even young people) speaks to our own lack of insights, imagination, courage, and commitment to each other.

Can I repeat that?

The failure to successfully negotiate the noise and move people forward together (even young people) speaks to our own lack of insights, imagination, courage, and commitment to each other. Yours and mine, buddy. Because kids are just kids.

What I didn’t write:

I am reminded of a video clip from the Romanian Revolution where a mob is beating a student to death. The people were told that students were the problem. Angry miners were bused into Bucharest to beat the shit out of these enemies of the state. And so they did – any student they could lay their hands on.

As I mentioned, a mob was beating a student and one woman was shouting, over and over again, for them to kill the boy. And they did.

And when the crowd dispersed and she saw the broken body of the boy, the woman let out a long, terrible groan of despair. It was her son. And he was innocent.

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother… Luke 12:53

13. Riding the Rails by Jared Karol

Jared Karol loves riding the train to work because it gives him a time and space to read.

My comment:

Perhaps, the literacy problem will be solved by public transportation. But we’d have to kill Angry Birds and other smart phone games. [grin]

14. Riot Police Destroy Occupy Encampment and Tear Gas Media by Lineplot Productions

“Riot police clad in gas masks used rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, flash grenades, tear gas canisters and an LRAD sonic cannon against non-violent peaceful protesters. Mass Arrests are being reported, and although the police reported that there were no injuries, live-twitter accounts disagree.”

My comment:

The first comment there: “It’s about time they start treating these punks like the thugs they are. Way to go OPD!”

Do we make good things by reproaches and barbed tongue?

Did we ever make beautiful things by our enmity and scorn?

Can the truth be made more true by a heavy hand or curse?

Can we conceal a crumbling foundation and once stone walls that we have repaired with straw and mud? From the coming storm? For what purpose? For the counterfeits of peace and security at the expense of everything once known to be beautiful, good, and true?

Recently, the Vatican made a similar comment that includes the concerns of OWS:

If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid.

Two stories down from my bedroom window, there’s some commotion going on. It’s the press. They are there almost everyday, in fact. Across the street is the National Anti-corruption Court. Soldiers with AK-47s stand on guard.

I’ll take Mr. Hachi for a walk in a few minutes. Maybe, I’ll see an oligarch. Maybe not. Maybe, I’ll see a Rolls Royce or a Maybach parked next to the building. The oligarchs come and go with impunity. Their lawyers speak to the press. They’re innocent. Yet again.

No charges will be been made. Questions will be asked – usually not very intelligent questions. Answers will be given – usually not very forthcoming answers. It is a ritual of justice. But there is no justice being served. Nor exercised.

Because bringing down one is likely to bring them all down like dominoes. At least, that’s what everybody says. And the people say it often enough that it must be true, right?

15. Big Bad Burnout (It Happens) by Jessica Northey

Jessica Northey offers a strategy for blogger burn out. Are you burned out?

My comment:

Since Triberr, everyone seemed to up their game. Perhaps we all understood that there is little added value in multiplied reach if you aren’t putting it out there. More blog posts, better blog posts, more reading of blog posts, and more commenting on blog posts – it’s a terrible chore for some – a labor of love for others. Even the stoic Jack Steiner is not immune. [grin]

“Are you all headed nowhere faster?”

It’s a question asked by a friend of mine and a question which I find difficult to answer. Of course, I want to reply that we are building communities or a greater community of bloggers. But I don’t reply because such an answer begs more questions that I can’t answer. For example, is that another casual collective that rises and falls upon whim or something that will be sustained, grow into an enduring identity, and have impact on the world?

For the most part, personal interest (for all the right and wrong reasons) has driven our hyperactivity. And, yes, some are falling by the wayside for obvious and not so obvious reasons. The burn out rate for Triberrites is accelerating as Bill Dorman seems to observe in his latest blog post.

We are not unlike the OWS protesters. We blog for our own separate reasons. Some share. Others sell. And what’s being sold doesn’t sell well. It doesn’t look like there is something epic going on – from an outsider’s view of what we are doing. There also lacks a cohesive and coherent je na sais quoi even among the Triberrati.

But we show up when we can to beat our drum. Doesn’t that count for something? We all hope so.

Feedback

If you think that this blog post sucks, let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include a link to YOUR favorite blog post.

If you think this blog post rocks, tell me why it rocks in the comment. “Awesome,””Great post,” etc. works for me. Don’t forget to include a link to YOUR most recent blog post.

If you’re in the mood, stop by my party and wish me a belated happy birthday here.

Stan Faryna
24 October 2011
Bucharest, Romania

P.S. Help me to do something beautiful. More here.

More Blog Soup

1. Blog Soup: 2011.10.06 http://wp.me/pbg0R-r7

2. Blog Soup: 2011.09.22 http://wp.me/pbg0R-pF

3. Blog Soup: 2011:10:10 http://wp.me/pbg0R-rO

4. Blog Soup. 2011:10:13 http://wp.me/pbg0R-s9

5. Blog Soup. 2011.10.17 http://wp.me/pbg0R-sq

6. Blog Soup. 2011.10.21 http://wp.me/pbg0R-to

7. Blog Soup. 2011.10.24 http://wp.me/pbg0R-tw

Faryna Podcasts

1. Why do I blog: http://wp.me/pbg0R-kX

2. If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day: http://wp.me/pbg0R-la

3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lv

4. The First Duty of Love is to Listen: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lO

5. Are You Ready for Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-lX

6. Reading The Desiderata. http://wp.me/pbg0R-mr

7. What is Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-mw

8. Confessions of a Freak-Geek-Misfit. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nJ

9. Do you love strongly? http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY

10. Empty-handed, Less Traveled Roads. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on

11. The Economics of Friendship. http://wp.me/pbg0R-oU

12. Do Not Be Afraid. http://wp.me/pbg0R-p9

6 Responses to Blog Soup 2011.10.27 A Blogger’s Digest

  1. Wow thank you for the lovely comments. I’m really moved you took some time to check out my website!
    The story was totally random, thought up on the spot.
    Thanks for the advice too! I’m building on my website as much as I can through all other activities I try to manage.
    I transformed the whole website in a new format and I will definitely looking into making it engaging!!
    Thanks again for taking some time to look and comment!!

  2. [...] [toread] Blog Soup 2011.10.27 A Blogger’s Digest « The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna – [...]

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