You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

August, 2009


I've had this idea for awhile that I should feature some of the finer comments from this site in its own entry. Well, this afternoon I remembered the idea and went about digging through some old entries for the fine comments. I've decided to go with three so as not to make things overwhelming.

Whether or not you're featured below, I can't thank you enough for all the intelligent things you have to say around here. I am constantly amazed at the level of dialog on the site and that's entirely because of all of you. So pat yourself on the back and accept my sincere gratitude.

So, without any further ado, some recent comments (with responses by me).

On Pearls of Creativity, Robin had this to say about the idea of creating a curriculum for teaching kids to make things on the web:

Love this notion. Take one part LOGO, one part IDEO, one part Y Combinator, and make a fifth-grade class out of it.

For what it's worth, I actually think the technology angle is important. I could imagine some sort of problem-solving/design-thinking curriculum built around physical materials, or even simple hardware hacking or whatever, but pixels on the screen have two advantages:

1. Super gratifying. There's no set of tools anywhere that lets you get something working faster.

2. Easy to share. One of my beefs w/ school is that so much the work is intended for a tiny audience (too often an audience of one) and then never seen or heard from again.

So instead, imagine a website brimming over w/ all the little projects made by these kids -- a showcase of problems solved (or at least valiantly attempted).

826 Valencia for design, code & problem-solving!

ytmnd.com for good, not evil! (OK, maybe that's a stretch.)

I absolutely love the connection to 826 Valencia (for those that aren't familiar it's the writing center started by Dave Eggers that is "dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the writing"). I'm going to be writing a bit more about this idea in the coming weeks, I've put a lot of thought into it and have been casually trying to find some funding to help put it together for real. Stay tuned.

In response to the idea of a physical API, Sriram had this to say:

That sounds like an amazing idea. Optimizing between economies of scale, standardization on one side and individuality and local on the other. It is not very far from what franchises are today, but I think there'd be a world of difference pushing the toggle towards the individuality side for a balanced mix. With modern IT, CRM it is more possible now than ever before. For the same reason I like how "chapters" work for organizations.

I have SO MUCH to say about this (in fact before I started writing this comment post I was going to write a physical API post). Basically, and I will comment on this more fully in a longer post, I swear, this has exactly been on my mind since we started likemind. If I knew then what I know now I would have created a very specific infrastructure for the franchises to thrive. I think this is a big idea as more and more organizations go decentralized. To be honest I can't figure out why franchising isn't huge outside the fast food space. What gives? Why haven't other companies leant their brands to start new chapters in other places? Anyway, much more to think about here.

In response to economic insights from Felix Salmon (specifically on what caused the financial crisis), Taylor had this to say:

Perhaps the widespread notion that "markets failed" is mistaken, that the problem is that "communities failed". Perhaps our communities have failed to evolve as fast as networks and markets. Meaning, as people (individuals and groups) we have been unable to keep up with the pace of change in communicating and exchanging information.

Honestly I've been trying to unpack this one in my head since I read it and I haven't gotten there yet. It's a very interesting notion, but I don't know where to begin. Still pondering.

And, so as not to leave anyone out, thanks to everyone who has commented since June 1st (would have extended longer, but as it is this is a pretty big list): Maura, Alan Wolk, Diablo, mils, Arthur Perschino, Rob Day, Kimberly Crawford, Sriram Venkitachalam, Anjali, Scott Rafer, Eric, Ana Andjelic, Abe Burmeister, Marci Ikeler, Denise Lee Yohn, Taylor Davidson, Josh Klein, Eugene Lin, harris, Robin, Steven Kalifowitz, marie young, Joe Barry, Alex Baum, Dennis Demori, Tim Walker, barbara, Matt Daniels, Steve Ames, Benton, Burt, michael tabtabai, amber, Joey, Michael Critz, Wayne, Michal Migurski, Julie, Charles, Randall, kyle schafer, steve, Peter, Adam Nelsen, Marc, Kelly Eidson, @robotsoul, Steven Kalifowitz, Matt, eric pakurar, Jared Gruner, Mike, rikin, Bud Caddell, Max Kalehoff, Elenor, Kristal, Andy, Natasha Acres, lee, Joakim Vars Nilsen, Russel Adams, FOSTER, Gina, andy, Michael galpert, Will, Wesley Verhoeve, Mike Maddaloni - The Hot Iron, Janet S. Payne, Ian , Drew Weilage, Adam Crowe, Adam Singer, Camiel, Robert Auguste , @ryost, Brian Morrissey, faris, J. Nordberg

August 6, 2009
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.