daydream believer

Recent readings have included number of books and journal articles. “The Innovator’s Dilemma“, is a seminal business treatise from Clay Christensen and “Ulysses” by James Joyce (admittedly I’m only a few chapters into that one) is one of the great 20th Century tomes. One might wonder why I would write about these two together in a post. I made a connection when I came across an article in an issue New Scientist I picked up at the Bio conference last week. In the article “Daydream Your Way to Creativity” Richard Fisher puts forth that concentration is overrated and that we need to let our minds wander to reach new heights of creativity. In “Ulysses” Joyce has an amazing ability to capture the wandering mind with his prose. The characters feel like they truly come alive as the dialog is seamlessly interspersed with the distractions and meanderings of their thoughts. I am amazed at Joyce’s ability to capture so closely the “feel” of how the mind wanders. Maybe this “feeling” is due to some of the same ideas in the Fisher’s article…it is just how our mind “wants to work”. It is what is truly needed by our cognitive processes in order to be able to properly cope with the flood of information that is continually coming at us. In Christensen’s work, rather than a human mind requiring the distractions to be able to cope, it is the product development entity of a corporation. In order for a corporation to flourish with continuous innovation, it must be able to be “distracted” by smaller disruptive technologies and markets, all while continuing to maintain it’s core business. I’ve tried to follow this type of development strategy ever since being introduced to the Third Generation R&D concept back at Arthur D. Little. Part of the recommendation there was to always make sure some amount of your budget is allocated to the long haul of developing “the next big thing”, even if it is not contributing to this year’s profits.

I’m not saying that focus is not important. Clearly distractions at a personal and corporate level are important, but like everything else in life, moderation would seem to be prudent. Otherwise we would always…wait, what was I just writing about?

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second act

Well today I wake up to the reality that First Act has decided to go a different direction without me and I find myself once again on the job hunt. It was a fun two and a half years.  Power Gig was unfortunately not the success we had all hoped for but the guitar peripheral was a great technical feat and I am proud of that. The latest foray was in microphones with the RFID-enabled toy Voice Rockrz and the iPad karoke pair: Soulo and Disney Spotlight. Hopefully they’ll do well for the company over this holiday season. I’ll miss most of the other products as well… Disney and Nickelodeon keyboards, drumpads, etc. and all of the new products we’ve brainstormed, some of which will hopefully see the light of day soon. …and what do I do with my new home-time? spend an hour stacking wood and then crack open my brand new Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, conveniently with a well-rated solitaire play…

leadership

while sitting here in the Delta Sky Club here in Detroit I’ve been catching up on some blogs that I usually read. As it turns out these two are great musings on Leadership.

Make things
here I particularly love the Freeman Dyson quote “There is a great satisfaction in building good tools for other people to use.”

Wanted: Leadership by Example
if only we could have a scientist/engineer political leader that could say “just as I did”

new to the neighborhood

I have not kept up with this blog in a long time – facebook essentially replaced the purposes I have had for this. Because of that and the squarespace blog was costing money I’ve moved most of the archive over here. Some the links are probably broken (internal photo collections at squarespace for instance) but it is a reasonable facsimile of what I entered over the last seven years at squarespace (and the earlier stuff is still here).

power stimulus

I went to an interesting MIT Enterprise Forum tonight focusing on portable power technologies. The panel comprised two moderators, one from Mass High Tech newspaper and the other from the VC community, and four industry representatives from Honda, Battelle, Argonne and a startup called Lilliputian. The discussions varied from the technologies themselves (Li-Ion batteries, Hydro-carbon-based fuel cells, etc.) as well as the challenges in growing the manufacturing industries for these technologies in the United States. The main thread was on how companies can possibly take advantage of the $2B of the latest stimulus bill earmarked for this sector. Given my recent growing interest in global sustainability issues and the needs of developing communities around the world (including the “third world” communities we can find in our own back yard) I couldn’t help thinking that there must be a way for corporations to both take this government money and give back to the communities that need infusion so desperately. I think about this sort of thing a lot…any other thoughts out there on this are greatly received.

25 cryptic things

by request, here is my 25 cryptic things about me reposted from facebook with a couple clues cleaned up…enjoy

1) First off grass and mowing every Saturday is my favorite hobby (5)
2) Paul Franzosa initially holds writing and the middle of the insurance agency from London represents a great rock band I like. (4,5)
3) What would a human do, Linus, holding an instrument I play? (8)
4) If Mr. Skelton owned Paul Bunyan’s pet, it would be my favorite team. (3,3)
5) A third of a dollar with a follower is my latest favorite card game (8)
6) An infant with Mr. Chaney V gives my favorite show (7, 4)
7) Something magical is holding the place where I work (10)
8) Confused, harried, describes my spouse’s locks (3,4)
9) My political philosophy is a wound coil amiss (9)
10) A tree license lingering around my bachelors degree (10,11)
11) My belief is coasting crazily (8)
12) A near blunder around my favorite film (5,6)
13) Second best without the color of most of my clothes (5)
14) What you see on the Mac screen – a rodent goes back with my main musical instrument (6)
15) Danger man, yes it has a place I’ve been many times (7)
16) Darling, tonight has a hold on my home town (9)
17) Mosaic visas, a confused author I love (5,6)
18) Something I like to listen to is a twisted evil crazy math result with an electronic component (4,6)
19) I love to read confusing scenic cite info (7,7)
20) Junior, a cooking vessel is another place I’ve visited (5)
21) Aw, I mill around to find my older son (7)
22) Dean, relax around my younger son (9)
23) Left two parts of every painting going back to something I like to do (6)
24) Awful hope in electronic gadget I use (6)
25) My favorite crossword type contains the result of sliced onions, physical therapy, and most of the hockey surface (7)

tumbling in new orleans

As some of you know I spend a considerable amount of my volunteer time with a high school youth group at the Unitarian Universalist church in Arlington. Next week thirty-seven of us will be in New Orleans to work on a service project in the ongoing efforts to rebuild after hurricane Katrina. I have set up a Tumblr and, network coverage willing, I will be posting some stuff there during the week. Feel free to take a peek.

chaliceyouthinno2009 dot tumblr dot com

I am trying to keep this particular site off the search engines, hence the lack of real URL

Vote Today

 

http://maps.google.com/vote

 

so…

…somwhere along the line I and everyone I know seem to have adopted the practive of beginning every conversation with "So…". I know I have not always done this but now I seem to do it all the time. In fact I am finding I have to make a focused effort to begin a conversation without an interjected "So…".

So is this blogworthy?

Opa

My father-in-law died earlier today. He had been quite ill since the holidays and the last few weeks were a pure rollercoaster of hospital adventures. It is a blessing that that ride is over. He was a very good man and a wonderful Opa for my sons. He lived a mostly uncomplicated, good, long life. The pastor at the church where we are arranging the funeral asked if he was a veteran – he was, in fact, a veteran of World War II, but not in the way the pastor was asking as he was raised in Waldenbuch, near Stuttgart in the 1920’s. He came to the United States on a family sponsorship in the 1950s and settled in New Jersey to have a family (my mother-in-law, my wife, and her brother). After his children left for college and subsequently started their own families he stayed with Oma in New Jersey, until recently when they moved to an apartment near my brother-in-law in the greater Philadelphia area. He loved his new home where he could look out his fourth-floor balcony over the school sports fields and watch multiple simultaneous soccer practices and games.  He always enjoyed a good soccer game, a sharp schnapps after a meal, and beautiful view. He will be remembered well.

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