Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Midweek Miscellany

I can tell I’ve been studying Dutch too long…

…when I looked at this sign in London and thought the injured gingerbread boy must be named “Deets”.


passion-moneyThere’s a lot of simple social dichotomies being drawn in political discussions these days. I’m not sure how the Dutch are phrasing it, but the Americans use  Makers/Takers, the British prefer Strivers/Skivers.  Either way, it’s shorthand to separate the unrewarded working from the undeserving shirking.

Now Mary Meeker includes entrepreneurs with Missionary/Mercenary: those with deserving passion for their ideas vs. those out to make a quick undeserved exit.  She borrowed it from John Doerr, who clipped it from Jeff Bezos, who picked it from Randy Komisar’s book The Monk and the Riddle

Komisar’s message was actually much different: “Make work pay not just in cash, but in experience, satisfaction, and joy”.  I agree with that more that version of the quote more than with Mary’s judgment on the undeserving entrepreneur.

It’s interesting how meaning gets distorted as each teller makes their point.  And the distinction is no cleaner in business than in social class: I have my days where I swing each way.



I was inventorying all of my biometrics and permits today – it’s turning into quite an array. 

I’m not sure if I should feel accomplished or saddened with the results.  More broadly, I’ve been thinking about travelers (never really leave home), expats (leave home long-term), and immigrants (leave home permanently) and how the three states relate to each individual’s self-perceived identity.

It’s something I want to reflect on here, sometime soon.  But, in the meantime, my identity exists in my pink cards (appropriately blurred).


I’m focus my flight miles on Delta: it usually goes where I want to, it delivers good service, and my prior years mileage give me nice perks. Delta wrote last night to tell me that they “wanted to create an even more exclusive experience”.   Their solution is to require passengers to meet spending criteria and to raise the service class required to get miles.

Translation: Too many people are getting perks, so we’ll make it much more expensive to qualify.

I feel backhanded at a time that the airline should be saying thanks for flying 124,000 miles with us.  Like so many of the petty insults airlines inflict, there’s no good reason for the penalty and no offsetting benefit.  Delta earned $1.05 billion in Q3 2012: a simple opportunity to upgrade on Transatlantic flights would be wonderful.


I’ve long known that my capacity for different types and intensities fork varies throughout the day.  I’m good at dreamy generalities in the morning, excel at focused, convergent tasks in the afternoon. The October US issue of Wired echoes this n a 24-hour clock that shows the rise and fall of substance that affect mood and thought.

Apparently the best time to learn a language is between 3 and 6 pm, when long-term memory is strongest.


enbAnd, finally, the London Evening Standard (my favorite evening train reading as I rattle north to Cambridge) reports that the English National Ballet  is being hit hard by the new points-based visa system.  

The culprits are the income thresholds, a problem for low-paid young dancers, and the level of English that they must be able to speak.

I sympathize.

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