The Last Jedi

Star Wars VIII has a name: The Last Jedi.

As is custom, we will now endlessly and thoroughly analyze a single image for as much signal as possible. My first thought: the typeface color is red. My second thought: in my head, each of the original trilogy movies is associated with a color.

  • A New Hope: Blue (like Luke’s sword)
  • Empire Strikes Back: Red (where Luke and Vader fight)
  • Return of the Jedi: Green (like… Endor?)

Update: As Dan McClain points out on Twitter, the color matches the lightsaber of Luke, Vader, then Luke again.

Isaac Asimov wrote 500 books in his lifetime

Asimov wrote a lot:

To match the number of novels, letters, essays, and other scribblings Asimov produced in his lifetime, you would have to write a full-length novel every two weeks for 25 years.

The six tips:

  1. Never stop learning.
  2. Don’t fight getting stuck.
  3. Beware the resistance.
  4. Lower your standards.
  5. Make MORE stuff.
  6. The secret sauce.1

(Via Quartz)

  1. Secret seventh pro-tip: Read the Foundation Trilogy, it’s excellent. 

Hemingway’s Bad Day Drink

“Death in the Gulf Stream,” as he called it, was Hemingway’s salve for 1937—a dark year marked by an economic recession in the US, Joseph Stalin’s wrenching Purge Trials, a new war between China and Japan, and the Spanish Civil War which he covered as a journalist for the North American Newspaper Alliance.

Via Quartz

I know my manager is flailing and/or drowning when:

  • Too busy all the time
  • S/he starts contradicting herself day to day.
  • There is all talk and no action.
  • She doesn’t have the time to check in and ask how to help; or she has too much time and keeps changing the story of what’s important.
  • The asking is replaced with telling.
  • They end the conversation with acknowledging open issues.
  • I am afraid of bringing him news because I know he will not like it.
  • They don’t follow-up on action items we identified (team, 1:1, or hallway meeting).
  • They stop asking questions.
  • Her messages and manner become inconsistent.
  • They stop coming out of their office.
  • Staff members start getting thrown under the bus.
  • His calendar is full of weekly project meetings with no time blocked for 1:1s or other work.
  • They have a new opinion after every meeting they attend.
  • Every new thing becomes the highest priority.
  • Communication becomes limited to terse tactical directives.
  • He asks me questions that indicate he doesn’t know what I do.
  • Becomes insecure and creates conspiracies.
  • They don’t ask about what team members are trying to learn/get better at.

(Sourced via the fine humans on Twitter.)

Word of the Year: “Dumpster fire”

As a metaphor for a situation that is out of control or poorly handled, dumpster fire came into prominence in 2016, very frequently in the context of the U.S. presidential campaign. It evokes an image of an uncontrolled blaze in a dumpster, a large trash receptacle that originated as a proprietary name. Dumpster was in commercial use beginning in the 1930s before becoming genericized.

Isn’t that two words?

(Via The American Dialect Society.)

Regardless of seniority, every good manager will:

  • Order pizza.
  • Give feedback.
  • Listen.
  • Take out the recycle/trash. Not a metaphor.
  • Need to find additional things to delegate.
  • Try to support their direct reports to eventually become better than them.
  • Consider constructive feedback regardless of who delivers it.
  • Do what they say.
  • Have regular, un-cancelable 1:1s.
  • Protect their team, push for greatness, and prepare for the future.
  • Get their hands dirty when called for.
  • Focus on helping their team to be wildly successful.
  • Put people first.
  • Give a shit.
  • Relentlessly hustle for their team.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Care.
  • Feel deeply and profoundly awful for disappointing someone on their team.
  • Make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Remove fear.
  • Be the bullshit umbrella and not the bullshit funnel.
  • Remember (and maybe learn from) the time when they weren’t a manager.
  • Work harder than their employees.
  • Educate.
  • Provide consistent and predictable structure.
  • Back up their team when they say “no” to something.
  • Not be a prick.
  • Model the culture and spirit they want to develop in their workplace.
  • Translate corporate bullshit into normal-speak.
  • Empower their staff members.
  • Move things out of their way, including yourself.
  • Regularly feel self-doubt.
  • Be an advocate.
  • Be an ally.
  • Amplify the good in people.
  • Fight the grapevine confusion.
  • Be the first to metamorph to the chrysalis phase.
  • Define reality and say thank you.

(Sourced via the fine humans on Twitter.)

Nine Headlines for the Best Nine

Flew back through amazing clouds in New Zealand. The Dancing House in Prague has advertising at its base. In a battle between El Capitan and Half Dome, the latter only wins on curves. Most good photos contain fractals. Some are just different angles of familiar things. Manhattan always wins on buildings. The iPhone camera can amaze you. Why Half Dome wins. Why home always wins.

Stupid Cat Pictures

I’m still angry with Facebook. It’s unfair anger because Facebook is full of the things (fake or not) that we created. Facebook algorithmically determines which of those things (fake or not) to show to a particular set of humans. They do this matching quite well because they have a bajillion daily active users.

There’s an easy way to avoid being a daily active user. You don’t show up.

However, twice a day, I want stupid cat pictures because they make me laugh. This one makes me laugh 48 hours later just thinking about it. In the morning and at night, I have a short window where I need the inane and Facebook protest is hindering my cat stupidity.

Reddit to the rescue.

I’ve been a daily active user of Reddit for years, but this break I installed the newly revamped mobile application, and it’s good. A clean interface accompanies a front page which does a far more aggressive job of unfurling videos and images. This means very little of clicking to see the reveal behavior that I do on the website.

Stupid cat pictures, dumb questions, insane videos, and pictures of cute animals. Perfect.