When You’ve Already Won Her Heart, You Don’t Need to Win Every Argument

It’s Sunday morning. Instead of first being greeted by the traditional media outlets to inform me of all the negativity going on in the world now, I logged on to Facebook to visit my very own community of pseudo-journalists (aka “friends”). I discovered some insightful thoughts about life in the guise of my brother’s post of a blog entry. They were delivered as a convocation speech by a litigator (!):

http://blazingcold.blogspot.com/2008/08/speech-by-adrian-tan-at-ntu-convocation.html

Here are three thoughts which resonated with me:

(1) Pick your Battles (especially with loved ones): This is conventional wisdom but delivered in the context of love and relationships, “When You’ve Already Won Her Heart, You Don’t Need to Win Every Argument.” Change out the “Her” with “his” if appropriate. ūüėČ The litigator/speaker is offering this advice as a married man so I assume this applies to maintaining the peace in the household. Similarly, I recall having a discussion with someone I did business with during the Holidays and he asked me what my plans were. I told him I was keeping things simple by just staying in town and relaxing with friends. I reciprocated by re-asking the question to him and his rapid response was: “I’m just doing what the Wife tells me to do. That’s how I keep things simple.” I have never been married but based on what I hear from married friends and past clients, this is sage advice. Verbal sparring just seems like a huge energy and time waster especially when you are obliged to live under the same roof as the other individual. It’s interesting how Mr.Litigator speaker can point this out when he is essentially a Professional Fighter. Ah, yes. The power of the heart.

 A Big Heart in the Center of San Francisco

(2) Don’t Be Average: Think about all of those “life expectancy” statistics you hear about. Singapore (the residence of the speaker) is in the top tier but he points out that these expectancy statistics are based on averages. Averages set by people who tell you to get a good education, a good job, a good wife/husband, so you can have a good family. Why live based on boundaries set by average people? Don’t expect anything out of life because life is not roses. Life is hard. Bad things happen. Understand that you should not be entitled to anything. Just imagine that your life is over today. Get out there and play. Understand this and just do this and you will be free.

(3) Popular People Have Weak Character: People who are well-liked are accomodating. They don’t have the courage to speak their minds. They don’t have the courage of their convictions. Think about it. ¬†All great figures who have contributed to the progress of humankind have been hated not by one, but by many. Well-liked pleasant people are pleasant to be around with, because well, they are pleasant. But to make great change on the scale of advancing humankind, being popular is not a favorable character trait. Do you think you are popular? If yes, maybe you are doing something wrong, or maybe you are content with being popular, being well-liked and sticking with the status quo. Maybe you are okay with being average.

I encourage you to read the original speech in its entirety. It’s a fun read. And then get out there. Fall in love, work less and do something courageous.

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Everyday is Halloween in San Francisco

I took this picture on New Year’s Eve in Union Square, San Francisco:

The Sparkly Rainbow Guy was out in full force in Union Square. He seemed to be hustling for attention for a while until this lady approached him. San Francisco is full of performance artists. Whether you want to dress up or dress down, whether you want to dress in full regalia or or simply play a role, whether you are crazy or non-crazy, all are welcome in this town. You are free to express yourself.

2011 was an explosion of self-expression all over the digital landscape. Social media is about self-expression and we witnessed major political change globally through this medium and because of this medium. And I believe you will see more acts of self-expression committed by citizens of nations trying to make institutional change in 2012 and beyond.

I remember meeting a New York transplant who told me that his friends back East call San Francisco full of “crunchy” types. I look at it this way. New York has New Yorkers. ¬†Paris has Parisians. And San Francisco has people who understand the value of self-expression to change the world.

Lesson One: Why Social Media Experts are Idiots

This post is for the entrepreneur or aspiring one. Guy Kawasaki worked for Apple and Steve Jobs twice. He learned some things. He shares Twelve Lessons with you that he learned from Steve Jobs. Here is the YouTube video of that presentation which was given after Mr. Jobs’ passing. It’s about 47 minutes long. I will summarize each lesson in twelve entries or if you want to listen to its entirety here it is:

Lesson One: Mr. Kawasaki thinks that experts are clueless. Especially the “social media experts” or the “social media gurus.” If someone tells you that they are one of these, run the other way. Experts can’t help you. They are arrogant and will just tell you to do the better sameness. They are disconnected from customers. Steve Jobs did not listen to experts. In fact, experts listened to him. As entrepreneurs, you are supposed to figure it out for yourself. Social media has allowed you to get close to people and influencers very fast. Use it correctly and learn something.

Why Mentorship is Dangerous

I’ve been thinking of this concept of mentorship. Through my young adult and professional life I have always been encouraged to seek out a mentor. And we seem to read about it a lot in career advice columns, blog posts, self-improvement literature, etc. And yes, I have had a handful of more wise, experienced individuals guide me through challenging and uncertain times, both men and women. Not sure I would call them mentors though.

Here’s the observation that I’ve made. It becomes dangerous when the mentor is treated as a hero. Then the mentorship experience becomes hero worship. This creates limitations on your self development. You fail to develop to your fullest potential because you become so focused on BEING your mentor. Do you really want to be a second-rate copy of your Mentor or a first-rate you? So here lies another meaning of “bcc”: do you want to become a Blind Carbon Copy?

Here’s a simplified analogy regarding the above. Steve Jobs died this past year in case you didn’t hear. He is probably the first person associated with that brand called¬†Apple. There was a lot of attention focused on him after he died. Lots of people were sad. There were a lot of tributes written about him. He was worshipped and he continues to be worshipped. He has been deified. ¬†So the question I’ve heard is “Who is the next Steve Jobs?” And it continues with “Who is the next Mark Zuckerberg?” Or “Who is the next Arianna Huffington?” Or “Who is the next Angela Merkl?” Or “Who is the next Margaret Thatcher?” (Huh? That was a curve ball, right?) Yes, I look forward to watching Meryl Streep portray the Reagan era politician in “The Iron Lady” which is coming soon to a theater near you. These questions are silly. Seeking out “The Next” whatever creates limitations and ceilings on inventing something different that can change the world in even a greater capacity. Sure, the aforementioned people have made a major impact on the world but that does not mean that they represent the absolute potential. Mentorship and learning from great leaders has value but be careful not to diminish your own ability to do amazing things. Do something different.

How the World’s Most Powerful Blogger Masters Fear

Sometimes this is what I do on Friday afternoon before an evening out. I seek to entertain and educate myself by checking out YouTube. I had a recent discussion with a date about Arianna Huffington and why she is such a Big Deal in the media and blogosphere. So I decided to find out what Search results YouTube (Google) would produce for “Arianna Huffington”, the woman who has been called the “World’s Most Powerful Blogger.” And I found this piece from 2007 uploaded by GoogleTalks where a very pregnant¬†Sheryl Sandberg¬†then of Google, now the COO of Facebook¬†interviews the New Media titan.

Aside from her explanation of how she transformed from a Conservative to a Liberal what I found interesting was Ms. Huffington’s insight about the concept of fear. Women and men handle the feeling of fear differently. Nothing too earth shattering there. But what kinds of things are women fearful of? Ms. Huffington illustrates her point with the concept of the “Evil Roommate” which lives in our brain and tells us mean or undermining things. The Evil Roommate exists in the minds of both men and women. But here again lies the difference. For example, women wake up in the morning and the Evil Roommate may whisper something like this to them, “Look in the mirror, is that another wrinkle?” or “Those jeans are tighter on you because you threw them in the dryer, right?”¬†She goes on to posit that it’s not about the absence of fear which will move us forward, but of mastering it. I think this thought approach applies to human beings in general. Both men and women have different perceptions of what may cripple them mentally and/or emotionally but ¬†perhaps it’s a matter of first identifying the nature of the fear and why it’s given permission to exist in our minds.

Ms. Huffington is an interesting personality to listen to. Her thoughts about the perception of the “outspoken woman” and what needs to change to move women forward are not revolutionary but she speaks to the themes of human dignity and the democratization of the Voice. Human beings feel valued when they have a Voice that is acknowledged and heard. So regardless of whether you agree or disagree with her political views or maybe just don’t like her, in the big picture she reminds us about the beauty and power of the blogosphere to deliver Truth from ordinary people. The emergence of New Media has granted a voice to ordinary people who can blog about things that matter to them up to a potentially institution-changing and revolutionary way. ¬†I do understand that a double-edged sword exists where any non-Truth can also be broadcast by an ordinary person with evil intentions to destroy the World. ¬†But the global activism that this form of communication ¬†has spawned just in 2011 also amplifies the new era of individual self-fulfillment and attempting to “do good” in the world. So the next time the Evil Roommate rears itself, press the mute button. That Voice does not earn the right to be heard.

You can follow Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff and her Internet Newspaper the Huffington Post @HuffingtonPost

Celebrities in the Digital Age: Why James Bond Thinks the Kardashians are Idiots

In the upcoming January issue of British GQ magazine, Daniel Craig the latest James Bond incarnation will tell you why¬†the Kardashians are lame. His Big Rant is about celebrities demanding privacy when they choose to sell out their privacy. (think back to Kim’s failed foray into marriage and her request for privacy.)¬†To me it’s as simple as “If you don’t want the attention, then get off the stage.”

Regardless of whether you are a reality tv star or celebrity, is it possible to live privately in the digital age? Social networking sites are ubiquitous ~ Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+ permeate the Web. Technology is ubiquitous and I hardly know anyone who does not participate in online living. When was the last time you logged on? Can you imagine life without a smart phone and a computer? You can choose to remove yourself from participating in the online world but would that make you irrelevant?

The irony is that these non-private networks or online communities which can be built can also transform a nobody into somebody. Anybody can be somebody. Any human being can feel like they are a big deal. Let’s face it. People like recognition. Create a twitter profile, gain a massive following, become influential and you’re a star.

In the same vein that James Bond seems to perpetually be in his mid-thirties, creating an online persona presents an opportunity (and perhaps a danger) to create a fantasy. How do you distinguish a fact from an opinion, a self-labled journalist from an attention seeking fictional storyteller? Are opinions becoming construed as fact in the digital age? How many different truths are floating out there on the Internet?

I would add Daniel Craig’s Twitter handle here but I don’t know which one is real. There are also multiple James Bond Twitter handles.¬†¬†In any case, the next James Bond movie¬†“Skyfall” is scheduled for its United States release in November 2012. ¬†Here are the worldwide release dates¬†for globetrotters.

The Silicon Valley Ecosystem Now: Investing or Gambling?

I just read an article expressing Sean Parker’s opinion about an impending bubble in the Valley. Not sure why he posted it on his Facebook page (which I subscribe to) two weeks after it was published. Or perhaps it could be the result of the heightened chatter on the Web today of the Facebook IPO which could be valued at $100 Billion. Anyway, it brings up questions that anyone can ask themselves when they think they are making a good decision for a favorable monetary outcome. One of Mr. Parker’s assertions is that because there is so much money floating around, the talent is not playing the correct function on the team. So when making an investment are you approaching the right people to get the best possible advice? You may have access to a lot of talented people but how do you know who exactly is the best equipped to handle your specific objectives. Are they the right match? If you don’t know that you don’t know you are talking to the wrong people, then are you gambling?

Secondly, Mr. Parker asserts that there is a strong sense of entitlement to just be a player at the table and throw money at a project without considering whether certain elements are fully baked. Put simply, is your ego driving you to make decisions which are not based on logic or analysis? As human beings is it possible to make any investment decision without an emotional dent? When does investing become gambling?