Who am I?

I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    by Eric Ries
  • The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    by Daniel Coyle
  • Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    by Ron Chernow

Paul Tevis

Entries in things that resonate with me (36)

Wednesday
Mar162011

Link Roundup For 16 March 2011

I mentioned previously that Peter Bregman is a writer whom I’m glad to have discovered. Today’s link roundup is short and courtesy of him.

If I could manage to do these three things, I would be tremendously effective.

Friday
Mar042011

Doing and Being

Repetition, process, and awareness: These were the things on my mind after lunch with Christina on Monday. That conversation revealed some patterns in my experiences recently, which included:

What I see in all of them is the idea of creating a change not in the external world but in the internal one.

Take code katas as an example. Why write the same code over and over again? Clearly the code is not the point; the coder is. It’s not about doing something different but becoming something different. And sometimes the way to do that is not by trying to get anywhere. It’s by trying to be where you already are.

With all that I write about doing more and producing more, ultimately I’m interested in becoming more.




1 Inspired by the Coen Brothers’ remake of True Grit.2

2 And I contend that Montsegur 1244 and a number of other Nordic scenarios come close.3

3 Thought I suspect Robin might be thinking of something more like Borges’ Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote.

Monday
Feb142011

Less Complaining is also a Valid Choice

The Oatmeal wins the Internet today.

I love the Oatmeal, and xkcd, and — quite frankly — improv because they distort life in an utterly true way.1 In improv, we’re taught to go toward the danger in a scene. Why? Because in real life we spend all of our time moving away from it. The audience doesn’t want to see us make safe choices. If they wanted that, they wouldn’t have to come to the theatre. They want to see us do the things they would never do — and sometimes wish they could.

I heard an interview on NPR with Nick Galifianakis, who draws cartoons that accompany a relationship advice column.2 Here’s the juicy part:

“I like to do what I call the ‘logical extreme’ of a situation,” Galifianakis tells Weekend Edition’s Scott Simon. “I try to put myself in the intimate context of the relationship and then think, ‘What is true — but often inappropriate?’”

Art is participatory. What makes something art is not how it’s made or what it is itself. Art causes some sort of reaction in the audience.3

In this case, I’m hoping it’s the sexy rumpus.




1 Some of you have heard me talk about the difference between fact and truth. This is one of those things.

2 That the column is written by his ex-wife is utterly delicious.

3 The creative process, on the other hand, is rarely about the audience. I’m talking here, though, about the results of that process.

Saturday
Feb122011

The "Tell People They're Awesome" Challenge

On Wednesday night, I ended up sending Will Hindmarch the following text message:

You, sir, are far more talented than you will allow yourself to believe.

When asked what had brought that on, I replied:

The proximate cause is beer. The ultimate cause is left as an exercise to the reader.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we interact with each other, whether it be how we show our appreciation or considering what sort of emotional wake we leave. It is in that spirit that I introduce the “Tell People They’re Awesome” Challenge.

Your Challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to tell five people that they’re awesome. It’s not just enough to say, “You’re awesome!” You need to tell them what it is that is awesome. Perhaps they have a keen fashion sense; maybe they’re really good with dogs. What ever it is, tell them that. Then see what happens. What changes when you tell someone that they’re awesome?

Are you willing to take the Challenge? All you have to do is sign up in the comments and report back when you’re done.

Tuesday
Feb082011

Say Cheese

As those of you following me on Twitter or Flickr know, I’ve fallen in love with Instagram. Like blogging, it gives me a chance to create something cool out of a moment. I just have to take enough chances.

Here’s why I like it:

  • It’s ubiquitous. I’ve always got my iPhone with me, so taking pictures with it is trivial.
  • It embraces its constraints. The iPhone has a fixed focal-length lens with not a ton of resolution. Instagram owns what it is and turns those optical limitations into a feature.
  • It gives me just enough choices. It gives me twelve filters to choose from. That, combined with the aforementioned fixed focal length, means that my only real choices involve composition — which is what I’m primarily interested in improving anyway.
  • It gives me fast feedback. See it, shoot it, apply a filter to it, have a look. I can go from zero to finished product in under a minute, and if I don’t like it, I can do it again. Once I’m happy, caption and publish. Done.

All of these add up to something that allows me to learn quickly. I won’t say that I’ve made great art with it so far, though there are a few shots I’m proud of. I can see that in the short time I’ve been using it, I’m been happy with a higher percentage of my shots. So there you go.

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