A Monument To A Rare Burst Of Enthusiasm

“Each website became a monument to a rare burst of enthusiasm.” Perfect description of the entrepreneur’s struggle from Users, Not Customers. We have these big, bold ideas that thoroughly consume us for two weeks. And then one morning we wake up and realize we’ve completely lost interest. I’m just not that into you, we say, as we hopscotch onto the next creative fling. 

good at both art and entrepreneurship is a rare combination.”
 For a hundred years, artists didn’t have to be shrewd businessmen. They just locked themselves in a cabin, drank a lot, did their work and somehow made a living while inspiring a generation. What a gig. But, now that we’ve entered the indie economy, all bets are off. Doing the art gets you through the door, but building a business keeps you in the room.

haven’t written enough to know what kind of writer I am.”
 Love the humility of this statement from Working. Like George Carlin used to say, unless we get up in front of people every day, we’ll never know who we are. Unless we crank out piles of work, we’ll never find our voice. Identity is a function of volume. 

are a cheap substitute for what I have lost.”
Adam talks about dating girls just for the material. Sure, the songs are great. But the constant cannibalization of personal, private experiences is an exhausting enterprise. The key is to find someone whose lightning you don’t take for granted. Someone with enough charge to last a lifetime. 

can read the life you’re living, but you cannot change a word.”
 That’s how Leonard Cohen described Kurt Cobain. Too close to himself to see what he needed to see. So tragic. But also a good reminder that we can’t control people, we can only lovingly expose them to reality. And sometimes even that’s not enough.

barrier that shields me from the sharp edges of reality.”
 Although I don’t have an addictive personality, I quite enjoy reading about the mindset of addicts. It’s helpful in understanding human behavior and a cautionary tale about what happens when you’re unwilling to accept what is. 

want to bring my fans the truest representation of what I have in my brain.”
 Yes, yes, yes. I wish every filmmaker had the generosity, honesty and vulnerability to do what Zack Braff is doing. Movies would be worth watching again. Man, I remember when Garden State first came out. Made me sob like a baby. Perfect mirror of what I was going through in my mid-twenties. I can’t wait to see what he makes next.

People Aren’t Born To Switch On And Off Like Water Faucets

“Old seltzer men never die, they just lose their spritzer.” Endearing piece about the last of the great seltzer men. I didn’t even know that was a profession. Who knew you could build a career from bubbles? I want to have dinner with Eli Miller. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

“People aren’t born to switch on and off
like water faucets.”
 Interesting perspective from a 70’s prostitute on taking your work home with you. As a former whore, I can certainly relate. Clocking out on Friday afternoon is a glorious moment. Yay weekends!

is the fundamental instrument of thought.”
 Once we understand the role of story, human beings are a hundred times easier to understand. Thanks, Mark Turner.

“You always have to be available to your
own work.”
Says writer Meg Wolitzer. Partially true. On one hand, inspiration arrives unannounced. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. On the other hand, you always have to be available to your own health. And if you don’t put that before work, you might end up in a hospital with a tube in your chest.

other people’s discomfort for their own technological convenience.”
 If you wear Google Glasses, you are an asshole. Couldn’t agree more. Do we really need another toy to keep us from being present with each other? Do really need another tool for eliminating any shred of privacy?

services have become relics used by people who had never bothered to change
their habits.”
 Since Marissa Mayer took over as chief executive of Yahoo, I’ve seen more than hundred articles about her style, philosophy and company. And yet, none of them have pointed out the obvious fact: Nobody has used Yahoo since 1996. 

someone for coffee is a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social
 Jerry on coffee. For a man who writes about nothing, he sure knows how to craft a sentence. The best Jerry, the best.

The Shovel Of Sand On Your Bonfire Of Achievement

“Out to eat, face down in their smartphones.” This is where we’re at. This is what we’ve decided to accept as normal. What a crock. My phone has been massively cracked for seven months. And I’m never going to get it fixed. Ever. Why? Because it doesn’t fucking matter. Great cartoon, Jason.

should have something to point to.”
 I’m reading a inspiring/heartbreaking book called Working. Loved this chapter about the satisfaction of visual accomplishment. Can you imagine working your whole life on a project you never saw completed? Funny thing is, that was humanity’s reality for centuries. Ouch.

“The shovel of sand on your bonfire of achievement.” Bald Bryan discusses the odd insecurity of people who can’t stomach the accomplishments of others. Having grown up with an infinitely supportive family, I can’t imagine how deflating that must be.

my work fire.”
 Last summer I went on sabbatical for three months. Lots of sleep, lots of walks, lots of creating. And the best thing that came out of it was, the discovery of what motivates me. As workers, as artists, as humans, the minute we understand our own engine is the minute everything changes.

could be building cities that make it easier for people to know one another.”
 What I love about living in an urban environment is how easy it is to run into people. It makes life much richer. Proving the theory that we don’t need access to information, we need access to each other.

they have an event, they don’t build a monument to it.”
That’s the difference between America and the rest of the world, says Bill Maher. They know how to get over things. Ah, the bliss of having a short memory.

“I am
working to preserve that splinter of ice in my heart.”
 John says that all writers deal with this condition. Couldn’t agree more. And unless it’s something we work on every day, even if only for five minutes at a time, the ice will start to melt. Not good.

My Greatest Hits Are Not Behind Me

“Be ten cents more trusted, not ten cents less expensive.” You can try to win on price, or you can focus your efforts on more meaningful customer benefits. Inspired by Gitomer’s list of predictions for this year.

“Get on with the real work of making real art in the real
Don’t dream about making art. Don’t talk about making art.Don’t read stories about other people making art. None of that will scratch the itch. Thanks Twyla.

“Just one ingredient in a big, boiling vat of inputs.” The more experiences, the richer the ingredients. The richer the ingredients, the fuller the vat. The fuller the vat, the easier it is to sit down and respond to something. What a great way to make art.

“My greatest hits are not behind me.” Once a band releases their greatest hits album, they’re essentially telling the world they’re done making good music. Kiss of death. We should always strive to make the next piece just a little better than the last.

“Poetry is a form where the language is under so much
 Poetry is one of those art forms I never understood. Similar to jazz, I never quite know what the hell is going on. And yet, every time I sit in the audience of a slam, I’m inspired beyond belief. 

“Congress is the place where progress goes to die.” Bill Maher’s response to our country’s inability to execute democracy correctly. Let’s go, folks.

“The difference between winning and losing is a momentary
mental lapse.”
Speaking of things I don’t understand, here’s a fascinating article on mixed marital arts. When every competitor is just as strong, talented and angry as the next, the difference maker is focus.

Open A Vein Of Freedom That Didn’t Exist Previously

“Another human dream crushed by the uncompromising forces of reality.” The best part about reading The Onion is, every laugh out loud moment is underscored by so much truth, it’s almost scary. Thisarticle should be read by any artist who’s trying to make it. Prepare your heart.

“It leaves a debris field of unwanted movements and bizarre
 Beautiful description of a devastating disorder. Can you imagine having no control over your own body? Even worse, can you imagine having no official scientific explanation about where your condition came from?

“Kisses so narcotic they made my eyes roll back in my head.” These are the interactions that make life worth living. These are the moments in which we feel most alive. These are the memories of time standing still. He who dies with the most, wins. Thanks, Tim.

“Nobody knows what nobody wants.” Kevin Smith said this during his live podcast on Tuesday. Great point. Take the tablet, for example. Not quite a phone, not quite a laptop. Who would ever use one of those? Seventy million people. The best way to predict the future is to create it. 

“Open a vein of freedom that didn’t exist previously.” The biggest difference between my previous job and my current job is, I used to be recording on a four track, and now I’m recording on a sixteen track. Proving my theory that freedom is finding a home for all of your talents.

“People can never have a fruitful argument about something
that’s part of their identity.”
 Tremendous article about keeping your identity small. Helpful reminder of why I don’t waste my time arguing with people whose thoughts are too convenient, too obstinate and too one-dimensional. 

“Willingly taken on a career that promises a lot of raised
 Scott Adams makes a powerful point about the ordinary superpower of non-embarrassment. Having worn a nametag twenty-four seven for the past 4,559 days, I’ve certainly trained that muscle extensively. And it goes a long way.

They Use Every Part Of You Like A Buffalo

“They use every part of you like a buffalo.” That’s how MC Chris summarized his stint at Adult Swim. We should all be lucky enough to work and live that way. Firing on all cylinders, making use of everything we are and leaving no talent untapped. That’s how meaning is made, that’s how value is created.

“That’s just one shelf in the room.”
 Finally saw Kevin Smith live this week. Laughed my ass off, but more importantly, inhaled the inspiration I needed. Really appreciated his perspective on creating lots of art in lots of genres over lots of years. Ever evolving, always expanding and never shirking from doing it your way.

“It’s like your life flashing before you eyes, all day, and
you don’t die.”
 Dave Grohl’s description of jamming with Sir Paul. Brings up the question of whether or not we should meet our heroes. I don’t know. Sometimes they let us down, sometimes they lift us up. Might be worth the story.

“Most Americans have never had a real beer.” My favorite line in Beer Wars comes from the founder of Brooklyn Brewery, Garret Oliver. Especially relevant considering this week’s massive merger between ABI and Modelo. It’s funny, I don’t even like or drink beer. But I really dig the ethos of the craft brewer. Dethrone the king, son.

“What happens to most people is, when their first dreams get
killed off, nothing takes their place.”
 Great insight from The Boss about the difference between your twenties and thirties. I can totally relate. In my twenties, I had enough dreams to keep God busy. Now, I pretty much have one dream: Just be happy. Lately, it’s been coming true.

“You can’t schedule innovation.” Cool article about serendipity and workplace architecture. As an employee of an innovation company, our philosophy is to always believe there has to be a better way. And with a little googling and a lot of collaboration, there usually is.

“Technology should be so intuitive that no one stops to
question how difficult it must have been to create.”
 Stop making me think. Stop making me work. Just build stuff that’s fast and useful. That’s a fact, @Jack.

The Pain Of Having Not Created Anything

“When your hobby transforms into your livelihood, you become
a lot more pragmatic and a lot less romantic.”
 While researching the world of craft beer, I stumbled across this fascinating thread. Been there before. When our passion becomes our profession, a lot of the love and purity and joy of the work gets reduced to a task. We have to ask ourselves if it’s worth it.

“The pain of having not created anything.” Is greater than the pain of rejection. Is greater than the pain of mediocrity. Is greater than the pain of anonymity. I don’t know about you, but when I stop making things, I grow anxious. Quickly.

“The world doesn’t need another decent but disinterested
What the world needs is more people making use of everything they are, coming alive in the service of others. Thanks for that one, Jason.

“The trade on their fame has lost most of its zeros.” To avoid becoming footnotes in the book of life, we have to change our relationship with delayed gratification. Sadly, patience is not a primary adenda item for most of the world. Technology tricks us into thinking that everything does (and should) happen right now.

“You cannot stay cocooned off from how the world really is.” Rob Bell speaks out in favor of gay marriage. Nice. What’s interesting is, in fifty years, we’ll all look back at this video and be amazed that it even made headlines. 

“Art is about taking an audience to the limits of human
 And, once they get there, making them glad you brought them along. Thanks, Steven.

“This should never be normal.” When we start accepting atrocity as commonality, we’ve already gone too far. Rewind, rewind, rewind. So thankful for articles like this.

Discover Something The World Was Waiting For

“On most shows, the guest is a prop.” The hosts are just interviewing themselves.” Larry King is the last of the great interviewers. He asks short, smart, simple questions and shuts up. What a concept. I wish more podcasters and television hosts would heed his advice. 

“You can’t blame the computer for what the producer does.” I appreciate Dave Grohl’s democratic stance on electronic music. It’s not an issue of technology, it’s an issue of talent. If you’ve got the chops, it doesn’t matter what instrument you use. People will notice.

“Here’s my virtual trophy case.” Mike Mills talks about his fantasy sports obsession. I tried that once in college. Lasted about two weeks. What a waste of time. I’d rather break a sweat than stare at a screen.

“His innovation has long been eclipsed in public memory.” Everyone credits Jonas Salk with the invention of the polio vaccine, but Hilary Koprowski’s discovery was equally as important. Reading his recent obituary was truly inspiring. Vindication, son.

“Rally the animal and squeeze the speed out of weary legs.” Admirable article about a female jockey with high hopes for this year’s Derby. Makes me think about the energy reserves mammals are endowed with, and that once we learn how to tap into them, amazing things are possible.

“What really matters is when your worst gets better.” That’s professionalism. That’s craftsmanship. That’s mastery. When you’re so good at what you do, even your bad days blow people away. Nice one, Louie.

“Discover something the world was waiting for.” Can’t seem to track down the origin of this phrase, but I think it’s a fantastic approach to an artistic life. By creating with an inspiring, global end in mind, it forces you to matter on a massive scale.

The Future Is Rapidly Articulating Itself

“I’ve been looking at stains ever since I was seven, waiting for a message.” What I love about Tom Waits is that he was weird first. Long before the Internet became a digital pissing contest to prove whose life is more interesting, Tom was already doing his thing, in the analog world, just cuz.

“Lots of generals but no troops.” In the past two years, I’ve fallen in love with manual labor. There’s something humbling, cleansing and meaningful about getting your hands dirty and doing the work nobody wants to do. This article about Pompeii made me realize how few people actually want to do that work.

“Sundown no longer marked the moment the world got ready for
 Time recently released a special edition on the life, brain and output of the greatest inventor who ever lived. Can you imagine having that level of impact on the world? Edison’s competition was the sun. And he beat it. Dude.

“The future is rapidly articulating itself.” And yet, we’re terrible audience members. It’s easier to hide our heads in the sand and pretend our planet’s climate isn’t getting worse. Good thing we have great novelists. Their beliefs aren’t too convenient to be killed. Happy Earth Day!

“Everyone congratulates each other on how upset they are.” That’s not grieving, that’s narcissism. Please stop. Facebook has become one big transcontinental circle jerk. If Louie noticed it, it’s probably accurate.

“He’s got no problems once the cage door is shut.” Even as a lifelong pacifist, I can dig how Jon Jones approaches professional fighting. I think we all have that place, that territory, where the rest of the world disappears and leaves us with nothing but pure focus, pure creation. Hopefully that doesn’t involving punching people.

“Getting ready for the job of creating.” The work before the work is just as important as the work itself. When you try to start cold, it’s a lot harder to get the pen moving. What helps is to install a ritual that gets the shanks out and loosens the pickle jar of creation. I suggest morning pages.

We’re Not Into Math, We’re Into Feelings

“It only takes two and a half minutes to piss away your good will.” Conan talks about actors who become assholes when they’re forced into an unprotected setting. Fascinating. Never thought about that. I guess if you pretend to be other people all day, it’s probably hard to be yourself.

“We’re not into math, we’re into feelings.” How can we think about logic in a time like this? How can we think at all in a time like this? That’s the problem. Too much emotionality, not enough rationality. Thanks, Ace Man.

“Grounds for a healthy dose of skepticism.” Cynicism is the easy way out, and it doesn’t look good on anyone. Skepticism, on the other hand, is a healthy way to navigate the world. Especially when congressional stupidity is at an all time high.

“Falling into a deep hole of day drinking alone in my apartment.” I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two unemployed people yesterday. The girl was discussing the importance of a daily routine, as it prevented her from depression. Couldn’t agree more.

“Lock eye contact and experience the reality of each other.” Conversations force us to challenge our beliefs. Emoticons don’t. Sadly, we have an entire generation who doesn’t know how to talk to people with their mouths. We must rescue them from their thumbs.

“The majority has done my thinking for me.” The only answer to the question, “What do you think about Anne Hathaway?” is, “Who cares?” Seriously. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but there has to be a better use of our calories.

“Vigilantly on the lookout for something to be offended by.” The realization that nobody can truly offend you is incredibly liberating.

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