Learn from one of the masters:

1. Find a subject you care about

2. Do not ramble, though

3. Keep it simple

4. Have guts to cut

5. Sound like yourself

6. Say what you mean

7. Pity the readers

I can’t remember exactly how I originally came across Chris Guillebeau’s blog, The Art of Nonconformity, but it is very cool.  Chris is a writer and entrepreneur whose goal is to visit every country in the world, and he is writing about his experiences (along with tons of other interesting things) along the way. 

My favorite post is 100 countries or an S.U.V.?  As you might guess, it is about choosing to spend money on travel as opposed to a more typical expenditure, like a pricey car.  I completely agree – I’d much rather spend on travel (and I travel cheaply) than pretty much anything else, especially an expensive vehicle (granted, I do live in a city where it is very easy to get by without a car – and hey, one less car on the road is better for the environment and all that).  And I quote:

“But for me, I feel much more comfortable valuing life experiences. I value meeting people all over the world. I value stamps in my passport and real-life adventures I would have missed if I would have stayed home.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

From Paul Gillin’s blog – How New Influencers are revinventing journalism:

“With no formal journalism training, no editorial oversight and none of the trappings of conventional media, Ben Popken is becoming one of the most powerful voices in consumer journalism. And what’s funny is that if you ask him about the secret of Consumerist’s success, he uses the same words that any good editor uses: “The secret is to be reader-centric in a fundamental way. The content is driven by the readers and reacted to by the readers. We’re really just a curator of consumer-generated content.”

Get used to this. It’s the online journalism model of the future.”

A speech by Clay Shirky entitled “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus” – another look at how media is changing – and how it is becoming inclusive – the user creates/generates their own experience.

“Here’s something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here’s something four-year-olds know: Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change. Because four year olds, the people who are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won’t have to go through the trauma that I have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching Gilligan’s Island, they just assume that media includes consuming, producing and sharing.”

And last but not least, an entirely unrelated but heartwarming story about Chicago’s feral cats.

 

From Grant McCracken’s 2008 PSFK talk:

“Paul Allen, the Microsoft cofounder, has a yacht that is 416 feet long.  It cost something like a quarter of a billion dollars.  It carries two helicopters.  It’s so large it cannot dock anywhere on the French Riviera.  (That’s why it needs those helicopters.  They are the only way to get to port.)  The “Octopus” seems to be a perfect example of way-too-much.  Possessions of this kind act like barnacles that slow movement and limit freedom.  “Going for a sail” must seem to Allen like something that requires him to mobilize a third-world country, an event so wearying that it must seem better, most of the time, just to leave the thing be.  Allen’s Octopus is really an Albatross.”

There’s more to the idea than just a Fight-Club-esque sentiment – it’s the notion that “just enough” is actually just about perfect; that it is better to be small, mobile, and independent than anything else.

“In the case of an entrepreneur, “just enough” is about control.  Staying small(ish), staying private, supplying your own capital, all these mean calling your own shots.  Venture capitalists and Wall Street can drive someone else crazy.  The just enough entrepreneur can take his or her own chances.  When it comes time to choose between interesting and profitable, you can go with interesting.  Just enough in this case is about control.”

In fact, this applies to me (as well as many other writers and entrepreneurs I’m acquainted with) – by keeping my lifestyle streamlined I can work with the people and companies I find interesting/valuable/challenging.  Also, as one of the commenters on the original post pointed out, small firms (perhaps ones that focused on local goods and services) and the whole concept of striving for “just enough” – as opposed to aiming for billions and worldwide acclaim – seems much more sustainable and environmentally friendly in the long run. 

At Camp Nou

April 21, 2008

My brother and at FC Barcelona's Camp Nou

Although American football will always be my first sports love, the sport that the rest of the world calls football/futbol is catching up, especially after attending two La Liga games in Spain (Real Madrid vs. Sevilla and FC Barcelona vs. Valladolid).  The atmosphere is akin to a college football rivalry game – it’s amazing how passionate the fans are.

 

Tax Day Treats

April 15, 2008

(un)Happy Tax Day to all the Americans out there – and if you’re in need of some kind of treat, please refer to my delicious sangria recipe here, which I developed after extensive testing in Spain.  It’s cheap and easy to make, and if you put enough fruit in it, it’s kind of healthy!

On The Road

April 6, 2008

It’s been a while since I last posted (I’ve been on the road), and I’m taking a bit of a break at the moment, but I’ll be back and better than ever with new plans and projects soon.