Write stuff

I stepped away from writing and the world for two weeks and here I am writing and writing — and not a word about technology or business — but writing. All sorts of random stuff that is just for my eyes only. I am writing so much that I have finished a notebook Matt Mullenweg gave me (made out CaCO3 paper) and have half filled up a beautiful leather bound book my dear friend Barbara Rybka gifted this weekend. It is fun to not have a reason to write, except for the joy of writing. Much to the chagrin of Nick Bilton I am writing with a pen — a fountain pen no less. And more importantly have learnt to enjoy using my Sony RX-100. Ciao!

The art of equilibrium – Salvatore Ferragamo

Florence is a city of museums and beautiful historical buildings. There is so much to see and so much to savor, but I had just the one place on my agenda  — the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, a museum that celebrates the life and art of shoe maestro Salvatore Ferragamo.

There are many reasons why I have been fascinated with Ferragamo — both the man and the brand he created. One of the first people in the world to understand brand association with celebrities and stars, Ferragamo was a true pioneer, though you can’t tell that from the current devolution of the brand into a somewhat mass-market-Burberry-esque company. This is perhaps even more surprising because the business is still run by the Ferragamo family.

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Now just sit down and listen….

Listening is a masochist endeavor. To do it right you have to put everything down. Not just your phone, even pen and paper. There is nothing to hold on to when you truly listen. You have to use your full attention, registering everything that you see and hear. You have to slow down your self-perception and focus on the outside, on what you do not understand. Compared to how we usually operate, this is like focusing on pain. Like diving into boredom. In order to see the other in slow motion, you need to stop the camera of self-perception that makes you the star, and speed up the camera that records the outside.

Listening requires the patience to recognize your feelings in other people’s words, no matter how trivial, dark and empty their language may seem. It requires you to become someone else while you listen. Listening requires that you accept the nuisance of not understanding and still pay attention. Listening is the first step of deep thought.

Oliver Reichenstein/ Information Architects.

Living By The Bay

I went for a long walk this weekend and carried my Sony RX-1 camera. I took a lot of photos — most of them were terrible. Some of them turned out to be good. Here are my three favorites:

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Kindle Unlimited, Uninterested

So far, I have hesitated to try any of the new services — Oyster and Scribd — that offer you unlimited access to books for a flat monthly fee. Why? Rohit put it best on Twitter, “Feels a bit like gym membership – feels good to have it, not sure if it is fully utilized. Besides, buy+read seems to work.”

These services’ book selection is long of total numbers of books, but is short on the books I really wanted to read. Much like Netflix in the early days, you have a lot of indie-content and old catalog content with some new stuff. Sure they have deals with folks like Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster, I stuck to the true-and-tried buy+read formula. However, when I first heard that Amazon was ready to announce its Kindle Unlimited service — I was interested.

Given the breadth and depth of Kindle library — at $10-a-month, it seemed like a bargain. Especially, considering I normally end up buying three-to-four ebooks a month. So, when the service became available, I quickly signed up and very quickly realized that Kindle Unlimited was less than interesting.

Sure there is Harry Porter and some other well known books, but frankly going back and reading those books is not how l like to spend my time. Books are my time machine: taking me to places I have not travelled — both physical and metaphorical. That is why I read books — mostly to learn and imagine. 

And just as quickly, I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, I unsubscribed. $120-a-year is just too much money to experiment with the service. It is even less interesting from book selection perspective than its rivals, if you ask me. “I think this is a bit of a stumble for Amazon, a money grab,” is how one blogger puts it. I see it as a lost opportunity for Amazon and a reason for them to go back to the drawing board. 

What I am reading today

Bill Campbell on Tim Cook

“Tim is a calm, thoughtful guy “He studies things and thinks about them, makes a decision, and moves on.” — Bill Campbell, outgoing member of Apple’s board of directors on Apple CEO Tim Cook. Campbell was a close friend of Steve Jobs and is well known in Silicon Valley as “Coach.”

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