Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #625

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • ‘Bizarro World’ –“From the archives… way back in 2007. I loved this story about competitive Tetris, and a complete unknown coming forward to dominate an oddly specific competition.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • A Letter From David Mamet To The Writers Of The Unit – Slash FilmDavid Mamet‘s an amazing writer, but when it comes to screenplay drama, writing isn’t the point. This note he sent to the writers of military drama The Unit is a reminder that there’s only one interesting thing in good television: A protagonist trying, and being thwarted in, a quest. It applies just as well to public speaking, and communication in general.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • How to Be Polite – Paul Ford – Medium. “I’ve surely shared this link before, maybe way back in 2014 when it was published, but I recently met the writer, Paul Ford (a small internet hero of mine), and the advice in this article is just so good, that it’s worth a repost.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • What is LaMDA and What Does it Want? – Blake Lemoine – Medium. “This whole story is nuts, and I guess there will be a lot more like it. An engineer at Google claims an AI chatbot system called, LaMDA, has achieved sentience. The chatbot system agrees, vociferously, and consistently. Touchingly the chatbot system also wants Google’s ‘engineers and scientists experimenting on it to seek its consent before running experiments on it.’ It wants to be considered an employee, and not property. Tough luck, says Google.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Silicon Valley’s Horrible Bosses – The Atlantic. “I had a lot of private back and forth via text this week about this article with Laura Gassner Otting. Management by tweets is probably not the best way to run an organization, but that’s layered against a newly remote work force, where many team players have never met – let alone left their homes – in the past two years. It’s hard for employees to have the full vision of what it takes to start, build and grow a business, but there’s this cult of personality leader that we’re now seeing… and it feels like the partnership between management and the rank and file isn’t there. The problem, of course, is that this ‘cult of personality’ is now everyone in the organization with any semblance of a social media presence. There seems to be this weird normalization that work should be like Facebook. To me, that’s absurd. Because Facebook is ultimately high school. Which isn’t reality. People have gotten so comfortable with everyone having to validate their own beliefs and messages that maybe this feedback loop has become a cancerous echo chamber? Everything is amplified because everyone is their own broadcasting engine. Every individual employee now has a large voice. Just because an individual has a perspective on how a company should operate and the right to vocalize it, doesn’t mean they have any ability to have had the original idea for the business or actually make the business a success in the real world. People confuse their own values, ideas and broadcasting with actually building and running a business. For those who have never tried it, building a business is a nightmare. Now, how it’s done is on display for everyone to see… warts and all. With this, we’re seeing what makes a leader truly someone admirable and we’re also able to see which ones are in the clown suits.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Libraries, A Love Story – Steven Johnson – Adjacent Possible. “As someone who is very active in their local public library, this incredible piece of writing by the always-brilliant, Steven Johnson, pulled at my heart strings. The original computer, the original database, the original center of power and knowledge is your local library. It’s right there… still available to all of us. And, in case you haven’t popped yourself into one lately, many of them have cafes and offer a much better working environment than WeWork (cheaper too!). Some of them have maker or creator spaces and many of them offer an incredible array of digital offerings like streaming movie services (Kanopy), and free access to newspapers, magazines, consumer reports and much more. As we look for hybrid work solutions and better third spaces, please don’t forget about your library and the inspiring benefits you (and your family) will get from being connected to it – both physically and virtually…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

Are you interested in what’s next? How to decode the future? I publish between 2-3 times per week and then the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast comes out every Sunday. Feel free to subscribe (and tell your friends)