Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Lazy Tuesday

I feel like I’ve not been paying enough attention to this site over the past few weeks. First it was the likemind birthday party (which was a raging success I might add) and now I’ve got a speaking gig to prepare for and a street mine to think about.

So, I’m going with a quick links post to make myself feel better. First, though, I will be in Chicago at ad:tech next week. If you’re around, drop me a line, I’m thinking about trying to get some people together for a Friday evening Happy Hour (since I’m sticking around until Saturday). For those curious, here’s my speaking topic: The Great Re-bundling Debate: Should Media and Creative Come Back Together? “Despite protests from a consistently familiar group of agency executives, the issue of re-bundling is back on the table. Interestingly enough, we rarely hear from clients that an “unbundledâ€? world is a better world and a whole new class of new-breed agencies have risen up to offer clients a world of bundled services not out of convenience or differentiation but out of necessity and real-world market conditions. And although some agency executives may be in denial about what is happening across their own networks and agencies, the reality is that even in the world of unbundled agencies, re-bundling is occurring in plain sight. In this Exchange Series session, we want to hear from you on this subject and hear exactly why you think the world should remain unbundled or whether a re-bundled world is inevitable.”

Okay, enough of that. Here are some links:

  • Coworker and friend Eric with a ‘c’ wrote about small worlds over at the Naked blog a few months ago. I’ve found myself quoting it quite a bit lately, especially this bit: “there is no such thing as a small world. Because I am the sort of person I am, because I was born to a certain type of parents, had a certain type of upbringing, lived where I did, went to the schools I went to, like to pick my nose, and whatever else that make me uniquely me, then it naturally follows that I will be acquainted with people similar to me. People with similar interests. They in turn will have friends similar to me with similar interests as well. The circles of friends rippling out from me are actually quite small.”
  • Speaking of things I quote often, I love this quote from Michael Bierut on Design Observer: “But the great thing about graphic design is that it is almost always about something else. Corporate law. Professional football. Art. Politics. Robert Wilson. And if I can’t get excited about whatever that something els is, I really have trouble doing good work as a designer. To me, the conclusion is inescapable: the more things you’re interested in, the better your work will be.”
  • Speaking of things I quote a lot, Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink has a whole chapter on relationships. It turns out the single most important factor to a marriage failing is contempt: “there is one emotion that he considers the most important of all: contempt. If Gottman observes one or both partners in a marriage showing contempt toward the other, he considers it the single most important sign that the marriage is in trouble.”
  • New York Times article on librarians being hip mentions something called DeskSet which sounds a lot like likemind for librarians.
  • I go up and down on whether I want an iPhone. At this very moment, I’m on the I don’t really want one side . . . Jeff Staple and Shelly Palmer.
  • A recent Russell Davies insight into the internet: “I’ve liked noticing the solidification of the internet recently, it seems to be becoming more like a thing and less like a service or process.” Very interesting . . .
  • Last, but not least, some 80/20 action. As Sarah turned me on to, it turns out GE approaches its employees as a power law. It breaks them down into three groups: The top 20%, the middle 70% and then the bottom 10%, which it manages out (I believe that means fires). “‘You should take the top 20 percent of your employees and make them feel loved,’ Welch advised. ‘Take the middle 70 percent and tell them what they need to do to get into the top 20 percent.’ Managing out the bottom 10 percent of performers is necessary not only for the organization’s continued success but also for the sake of employees affected by the rigorous appraisal system.”

Think that’s it. I have a smarter entry in my head . . . I just need to write it . . . Don’t forget street mining this weekend.

July 24, 2007