Thanks to everyone who pinged me with their thoughts on topics for here (per my last post). I also had some time to think about what I actually *wanted* to write about. I’ve got a bunch of topics that I’ve written down that I’ll be rapid-fire turning into posts in the coming days. Now might be the time to unsubscribe if you haven’t been entertained yet! As my professors used to say at Rutgers: Publish or perish!
On another note, I was struck again today by how great traveling is for me. Why? One of the main things that turns a mundane, one-day turnaround business trip into something great is the alone time. Being outside of all your normal surroundings, around new stimulus, and usually being alone gives me the perfect setting to listen to the voices in my head. When I was on the plane I was able to process feedback people sent me and the things bouncing around in my head and turn them in a few handfuls of topics I wanted to blather about more. I’ve also found this to be true about training sessions, team offsites, working from coffee shops, etc. Just the act of breaking my routine unleashes *so* many new ideas and insights that it’s amazing.
So, this is me, recommending to you to break your daily routine and let that mind wander. I’ve known what an impact it has on me for about ~8 years now and I’ve neglected to cultivate it. Don’t make the same mistake! Off to grab dinner in Phoenix.
Here’s a laundry list of what’s been bouncing around in my head the past few days.
1) Obama likely ran the best campaign in history. From approaching the campaign with a data-based decision making process, thinking through weakness and strengths and letting this guide a communications/tactical strategy, a consistent (reassuring) image and message to voters, and an efficient deployment of technology– just from a business case approach this was remarkable. The New Yorker has a good article on it all. When insiders either write, or contribute heavily to a definitive account of the operations and logistics of the campaign, I’ll be first in line to buy and study the book.
2) There is more fear in the air than I can ever recall. September 11th was a very different kind of fear and nakedness to the harsher elements of the world. Talking to friends, and more importantly strangers, and reading the accounts of what’s going on in broad swaths of America– there is real, palpable fear for the future. The stock markets are a reflection of sentiment (and probably themselves guide sentiment to some degree, completing the cycle) and it’s ugly. An organization, nation, etc needs renewal. The thing is we needed this back in 2001 at the latest. But we put it off by inflating home values and pushing the levels of credit. Continue reading
Off to Dubai (UAE), Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Goa (India) for a couple of weeks. This will be the first time in my life I’m out of the country for both an election and my birthday. Not to worry, my absentee ballot in this critical swing state of California was dropped in the mail earlier this week. And I’ll be anxiously watching election coverage through the night and early morning. In fact, observing opinions and reactions to the elections overseas might be pretty interesting.
Hopefully some posts from the road! I haven’t traveled since my amazing Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Paris trip in May 07.
this is freaking awesome. makes me want to travel! thanks to jared for the link.
Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.
In Vegas staying at the Wynn. This trip prompted a couple of random thoughts:
Flew Virgin America. It’s actually a pretty great airline. Their employees are shockingly friendly. The flight attendants actually sound excited to be flying on a VA plane, and it rubs off. The colors make me feel like I’m in a club, I can text other seats to bother co-workers, etc. All-in-all, a very different experience from dealing with disgruntled traditional airline employees, crappy planes, and late flights. Having said all that, I don’t get how anyone makes money flying airplanes. Here’s one industry that could use a little collusion. What other industry goes into bankruptcy en masse every decade?
The Wynn hotel is sweet. It’s across the street from Trump’s new gold-laden tower. Whenever I stay in a nice hotel I always have the same thought: “I wish I could live here.” I’m still shocked that someone hasn’t built one of these in the NY’s, LA’s, SF’s, etc and sold /rented units. A lot of 20/30-somethings would be happy to have a small space w/ a nice bathroom, that is an efficient use of space. No kitchen, dining room, etc is fine. Among young professionals, I’ve always seen a wish to recreate freshman year of college. (I share it.) Anyway, I think that business idea would kill. So if there are any rich people in Asia or the Middle East with a ton of extra money you’re no longer putting in US treasuries, and would like me to build this for you, say the word. Sovereign wealth funds are also open to apply to work with me and my zero experience developing property.
5/27/13 – Sort of. Microstudios are finally becoming a trend. Or so I’ve read.
I got on a plane from JFK yesterday afternoon and after two hours on the runway, and six in the air, arrived in SF.
It still feels like I’m just visiting. Like this is just another one of the many trips that I’ve taken in the last few years. I’m not sure when it’ll feel real. But not yet.
Today I took the train around the city. I talked to a bunch of random people. Living up to it’s reputation as a world-class city, I met someone from Madrid and Iceland. Just randomly. Another guy was as stand-up comedian from NY. My good friend Sara had told me this: One of the things that I’d love most about the West was that almost everyone you meet is interesting. So far so good.
Still working on finding a place to live. Once that’s wrapped-up, I’ll consider the transition over and life to have resumed. And I’ll resume my regular reflections, etc.
I also have cool pictures that I’ve taken recently that will be posted. But anyway, I’m alive, staying on my buddy Ray’s couch, exploring the city, looking for a place to live and everything is pretty interesting and good so far. More soon!
5/28/13 – So much of what we perceive to be externally driven is actually internal. Yes, there are a ton of interesting people in SF. But the reason I was coming across them at this point was because I was open to it. Being in a new place, I wasn’t stuck in my own world, I talked to strangers, I asked for directions, I was just open to it all. That happens when you’re new to a place – as a transplant or a tourist. It’s one of the reasons I love travelling. You’re open to so much because you bring much less of you along.
Had lots of random thoughts on my two week trip. But two kept floating to the top:
1) I feel like the essence of travel is really captured when it’s done alone.
2) It’s the details and context of the places you visit that matter.
When in a group, I’m so likely to fall into old habits. I’m more likely to ask for directions or help in English. I’m more likely to engage in my traveling partners’ company than in observing and immersing myself in what’s going on around me. Etc.
I spent my time pretty evenly Continue reading