So that was.. uh, interesting

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One my most beloved professors ever, prof Paul Hoftijzer, once told me 'Everything is interesting if you're interested'. And you know what? He's right (well, of course he would be, he is one of the smartest guys I've ever met and one of the best bookhistorians). Totally right. Everything IS interesting if you take an interest.

Yesterday I went to the second edition of Interesting, the 2008 installment. (If you want a full run down of who was one and who talked about what, check out the Technorati listings of blogposts here and here or WordPress tags here, and see photos here). And it's my duty, as someone who attended last year's installment too, to say that it wasn't as good as last year's. Actually, now that I've availed myself of my duty, I can secretly admit that this year was every bit as interesting as last year's and I yet again had a blast. Where and when else will you learn all you wanted to know and much more about toilets, why horses get scared by crisp packets, what the links between graphic design and music are, find out what zoetropes are and fall in love with them (see Jim Le Fevre's stuff here), see an impromptu 35-person recorder orchestra perform, why lego is brilliant, and why Winston Churchill was loveable. And tons more that I can't remember now but that was equally stunning and touching and brilliant and unexpected. And I loved Steve's presentation on what specifically it is that generalists do, a topic close to my heart (see here). The world can't be all bad if days like this happen!

Special hello goes out to Amelia, who made sure I didn't hide in the corner the whole day. It was weird having my online world collide with my real world (having lots of that lately, colliding worlds), weird and wonderful. Must make that happen more.

On meeting childhood heros

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You know how they say you should never meet your childhood heros when
you're all grown up because they will disappoint? They have a point.
Except, that is, if you're hero is Bruce Springsteen. In which case
that theory is utter bollocks.

I fell in love with Bruce
Springsteen in 1985, lying on my tummy on my aunt and uncle's bed,
watching MTV on their telly in the bedroom (what a luxury, a telly in the
bedroom!). We didn't have cable then, so watching MTV on a TV in a
bedroom was the height of sophistication for me. And there he was.
Bruce. In all his glory. I'm pretty sure my knowledge of English was pretty non-existent then, so I can't have known what 'Dancing in the Dark' was all about but that didn't matter at all. The first ever CD I bought was the Live
1975-1985 box set (80 guilders, which was a lot of money then for me),
and I would listen to it on our family stereo (I didn't have my own CD player then) with these huge headphones on. Later on, I traced him back to his first albums and loved him even
more. But always from a distance. It never occurred to me I could
actually go and see him, live, doing a concert. Until this past xmas then all of a sudden I realised this is one
childhood dream I can make come true.

So
this past Wednesday, I boarded a plane, went to Amsterdam and saw the
Boss in action. And boy, was it good. I didn't want the night to end or
Bruce & the E Street band to stop playing. He was awesome. You could tell he was having a
great time and he worked his butt off to give us a good time too. The
whole band did. Better than I could have imagined. Here's to childhood dreams and making 'em come true.

When bschool and dschool collide

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I love it when a plan comes together. A few weeks ago, at the Innovation Edge 08 conference, I ran into Gabriele, LBS MBA2009 (and a few other 009s), of I want to shadow Steve Jobs-blog fame. Before I knew it, the idea was born in my head to try and do a bit of rapid prototyping of our own and bring together bschool and dschool for a networking event. I roped in two of my studygroup mates from dschool, the wonderful Helena and Julea, and together we started making a plan, picked a date and set the ball rolling (well, that ball was kept rolling by Gabriele, Helena and Julea, I must admit I tried my hand at delegating on this one ;-) And this past Thursday, the two worlds collided and we had ourselves a blast! I think about 35 people showed up (including a special guest, Idris Mootee, who blogged about it here) and I think it went well. 

When people ask me about the diffferences between bschool and dschool, it's so easy to fall into cliches. And some of them are true. There are bschool people wedded to their Excel spreadsheet. And there are designers with not a commercial bone in their body. But they are extremes, and I'm finding that there are a lot more similarities than differences. The problem as I see it tends to lie in language (it is like speaking two different languagees, bschool speak and dschool lingo) and perceptions, both in large part due to the way we are educated to see the world. Once you bridge those, beautiful things happen. And I think they happened last Thursday. I had a blast and thank Gabriele, Helena and Julea. Awesome job! Here's to having some more of these events this autumn. 

PS The countdown is on, 3 more days and then I'm off to A'dam to see Bruce Springsteen, and I can't wait!

Location is so 1995

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So how often do you pick up a call on your mobile and the first question the other person asks is 'where are you?'?

Why do messages sent from a Blackberry always have that line at the bottom 'This was sent from a Blackberry'?

Location, location, location. It's all about location. But it isn't anymore sometimes. After ranting at a friend of mine on the topic on how stupid AND brilliant it is that every Blackberry message has that ‘sent from a BB’ tacked at the end is, he said ‘well, it indicates that I’m on the move, but still replying to email’. That got me thinking. Does it matter to me, sender of said message, that he, receiver of message, is on the move, or firmly wedged at his desk at work? Nope. Not in the slightest. Either you’re available and pick up and reply to your messages, or you’re not. And really, it doesn’t matter where you are. Location is so 1995!*

*except for when you’re buying a house obviously. That set of houses on the photo are on Hampstead Heath.