Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise

A very interesting talk from Barry Shwartz on the loss of wisdom and how rules and incentives are not the cure all for fixing our problems. Enjoy! Beckmania

The Real Crisis? We Stopped Being Wise

Thursday, February 19, 2009


A very cool article about biomimicry - the use of natural processes and phenomena to solve human design problems.


"As a biologist, I see us as a species among species, and that means everything we make and do is natural. When we make a product or build a building, it's akin to a robin making a nest---it's an extension of our bodies, and just as subject to natural selection. The real question is not "Is this product or behavior natural?" but rather, "Is it well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul?"

Anything that we design-a product, a process, or a policy--has to ultimately pass muster in the biological realm. It has to help us thrive, but it also has to keep the habitat in tact for our successors. A robin building a nest and an architect building a building should have the same concern: "How will the chicks fare here?"

Another quote:

"We humans are at a turning point in our evolution. Though we began as a small population in a very large world, we have expanded in number and territory until we are now bursting the seams of that world. There are too many of us, and our habits are unsustainable."

Fascinating stuff. Enjoy! Beckmania.

Biomimicry: An Interview With Janine Benyus

The Shopper Of Tomorrow: Trading Down

An interesting article on how the downturn will impact shopping habits. Some choice quotes:

"It's important that people know there is no acquisition in life that is transformative -- not a lipstick, not an iPhone, not a new Chevy. Nothing changes you into somebody you weren't before that purchase happened."

"Wharton marketing professor Leonard Lodish says Americans may have a reputation for materialistic values, but are probably not any more inherently consumer-driven than human beings around the world"

"Marketers, he says, do not ignite consumerism, but respond to the urge which comes from within. "It's very hard to create an innate need. That comes from the interplay of society and the values and norms of the culture."

Enjoy! - Beckmania.

The Shopper Of Tomorrow: Trading Down

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How The Crash Will Reshape America

Here is a very interesting (but on the long-ish side) article by Richard Florida that discusses how the current economic crash will affect different parts of the US in different ways - areas that are more dependent on manufacturing will be hit harder and are less resilient than more service based cities. I have read a couple of his books and he is always very interesting to read. Enjoy! Beckmania.....

How The Crash Will Reshape America

Monday, February 16, 2009

The No-Stats All Star

Michale Lewis does it again, this time with an article about the use of statistics in NBA basketball. It discusses Shane Battier and how despite measuring poorly on standard player statistics, his team has much better results with him in the game, mostly bc of the subtle things he does that don't get recorded. At least they didn't used to......Enjoy, Beckmania...

The No-Stats All Star

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Economics In A Full World

A very interesting article about the sustainability of the current global economy. It makes intuitive sense that if the ecosystem is limited, and the global economy keeps growing, that something has to give. "Economic theory has traditionally dealt mainly with allocation. It has not dealt with the issue of scale (the physical size of the economy relative to the ecosystem)". There is also a nice schematic on 'utility vs disutility' that tries to explain 'bad growth'....fascinating stuff. Enjoy! Beckmania....

Economics In A Full World

Can Google Fix Detroit?

Jeff Jarvis wrote a book called What Would Google Do that basically examines a number of struggling industries to see if they could be saved or improved by dragging themselves out of the old way of doing things.....notoriously hard for large organizations, but as the economic crisis is showing, perhaps no longer an option. Enjoy! Beckmania.....

Detroit Should Get Cracking On Its Googlemobile

Monday, February 9, 2009

How Tweet It Is

An interesting article on Twitter, my neighbor here at work in SF, and their current outlook and thoughts on the success they are experiencing.....

How Tweet It Is