Sade, Sixty & still a Smooth Operator

Sade, has been part of the soundtrack of my grownup life and at every significant moment, there has been a song of hers in the background. She turned sixty today, but she is timeless, and so is her music. The Nigerian-born songstress is one of five artists that will make me go to live performance. Two of the other four are dead.

I also love her ethos about creativity — something that we forget in our times of fractional attention, multi-tasking and engagement as marketing. I wish more creatives would take a cue from her! I am waiting for her next album — very patiently.

A letter from Om

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500 years of globalism

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake shook my apartment building hard, woke me up and just like that I ended up making coffee and getting on the Internet. And long before you know it, I was watching a video talk by Thomas Joshua Cooper, an San Francisco- born artistic photographer, who now resides in Scotland. (His photos are here, here, and here.) He talked about his various journeys and many adventures, and the images he made. In his talk he mentioned about Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese adventurer, explorer, and sailor, who was the first to circumnavigate the Earth — going from the (west) Europe to the (east) Spice Islands (Now part of Indonesia.)

Unable to resist, I was soon reading about him on Wikipedia and other places.  He left Spain on August 10, 1519, at the age of 39. He set sail with 270 men and five ships. They returned to Spain in 1522, and only 18 made it back. Magellan wasn’t one of them — he died at age 41 in what is the modern Philippines. The crew never got fully paid, and the Crown made a little profit from the sale of cloves and cinnamon that was brought back. The Spanish Crown funded Magellan’s exploration, and the reward for Spain was a chance to get access to the riches that come from the trade of spices.

The Long Fall of Google+

Did you know that Google+ is shutting down? I hadn’t, and frankly, I don’t care, because I had stopped thinking about Google+ a long time ago. But Gideon Rosenblatt, who was an early adopter of Google+ cares deeply, and he wrote his synthesis of what went wrong with Google+. It is worth reading, as it is frank and very revelatory. Apathy, mismanagement, and a lack of clear vision perhaps would be my core causes — however, for me, the heavy-handed way I was forced into Google+ is what turned me off the service.

….changes in management resulted in numerous twists and turns in Google+ strategy that, much like the layers of an archeological dig, are still visible today in the user interface. All this turmoil simply leaked the life out of the network. Employees with a strong vision and passion for the service eventually left and over time, many of its biggest user advocates simply dropped away. Over the last three years, there have been virtually no new features added to the network and it is badly overrun by spam that should be easily controllable by a company with the technology chops of Google. The service, in short, was abandoned: first by management and eventually by the community.

Rosenblatt argues that Google+ was a “shared ideas network” (which it was) that the media didn’t quite get. Having been on the other side of the table at the time, I would argue Rosenblatt doesn’t realize that none of Google’s leaders were able to every articulate the “shared ideas network” concept. I hit my head against the wall of Google gobblygook so often that I tuned out Google+. The one upside of Google+ was that I ended up subscribing to Gideon’s blog and his Twitter. (From the archives: Google and affliction of me-too-ism.)

A letter from Om

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The anatomy of a media startup’s failure

Founders work hard to turn their dreams into reality. Sometimes, success — or at least other people’s idea of your success — looks so close that you can taste the spoils. Happy endings, unfortunately, are for TV, as James O’Grady, the founder of The Cauldron shares in his goodbye post.  Having been in his shoes, I know how it feels. It will take a while, but let yourself be sad after you are being done angry. Eventually, in about three years, you will get over it.  Read the piece — it is an excellent dissection of his journey.