We had the good fortune to see a falconer in action over the weekend, and the pic above shows him flying Bella, an owl originally from India. What struck me most about what he explained to us was that Bella, … Continue reading →
Today we had a lunch’n’learn chat about inspiration and that got me thinking about what inspires me. To keep myself entertained, I thought I’d make a list:
London. Things always change, open up, close down, move around, stop working, start doing new things.
My books. I am a passionate collector of books. I try and stick to a few core collections (books about books, books about Americans raving about Paris, books about Venice, travel guides to every destination we go to, psychogeography) but somehow lots of other books seemed to have crept into the flat.
Magazines. Love ‘em. Spend probably too much money on them. Amazingly, I find the Netherlands a better magazine country (more variety & diversity in titles, easier to get hold of decent mags) than the UK. I try and regularly pick up titles I otherwise wouldn’t read, just to see what’s in them. My favourite recent finds are a girl surfing magazine, a magazine about slow travel and Lucky Peach.
My friends. My friends never cease to amaze me, surprise me and inspire me.
Pushing myself into areas that I’m not sure I can do well. Heck, both the design degree as well as the MBA did wonders for it. There’s something magical about making a new field of study/area of expertise your own. You pull a thread and before you know it, you’re following all kinds of interesting avenues.
Last night, I canceled my order of books on Amazon and decided to instead swing by Foyles on the way home to pick up the books I was after. I figure I want Foyles to stay around so I should put my money where my mouth is.
My beau joined me for a little bit, and then we walked to Tottenham Court Road via Denmark Street, which is where all the guitar/music shops are. All of a sudden, both of us stopped in our tracks. That voice! I’d never heard anything like it. On this street, on a perfectly ordinary Monday night, there was a voice unlike anything I’d ever heard before. It was wafting down the street, seemingly coming from a humble little speaker in a doorway of one of the nightclubs. Wow.
And that would’ve been that, if it hadn’t been for Shazam. Beau whipped out the phone, fired up Shazam and we figured out that this hauntingly beautiful voice was William Elliott Whitmore. Thanks to Spotify and Youtube we were listening to some of his music once we got home. And wow.
‘We prefer knowing to thinking because knowing has more immediate value. It keeps us in the loop, keeps us connected to our friends and our cohort. Ideas are too airy, too impractical, too much work for too little reward. Few talk ideas. Everyone talks information, usually personal information. Where are you going? What are you doing? Whom are you seeing? These are today’s big questions.’ [edit: bollocks, I lost the reference to this]
‘I often think of Australia as an upside-down version of Canada with slightly better weather and more interesting animals.’
‘Sarah Lacy has written about how many of the current breed of silicon valley wunderkinds have been conditioned to behave like the movie version of Mark Zuckerberg, eschewing humanity and decency for personal profit and glory. Nothing either she nor I can write will reverse the trend — there’s simply too much money and power at stake. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t loudly call bullshit on those who use words like “disruption” and “revolution” and “democratization” as cynical marketing buzzwords simply to line their own pockets, only to retreat behind the barricades when the going gets rough. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mourn a not-too-distant past where technology entrepreneurs created things to make the world a better or more interesting place, not just because they wanted to make a billion dollars.
And above all, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remind the current breed of entrepreneurs and investors that, in the final analysis, a billion dollars isn’t actually all that cool. What’s cool is keeping your soul, whatever the financial cost.’
‘So we were caught on one hand between a low-grade, generalised fear that people weren’t buying enough stuff to keep the economy going, and being told on the other hand something we already knew deep down: that a better quality of life stems not from consuming more, but from a range of mostly immaterial things.’
‘Associating: “innovative thinkers connect fields, problems, or ideas that others find unrelated.”
Questioning: ”We found that innovators consistently demonstrate a high Q/A ratio, where questions (Q) not only outnumber answers (A) in a typical conversation, but are valued at least as highly as good answers.”
Observing: ”Innovators… carefully watch the world around them—including customers, products, services, technologies, and companies—and the observations help them gain insights into and ideas for new ways of doing things.”
Networking: ”Innovators… actively search for new ideas by talking to people who may offer a radically different view of things.”
Experimenting: ”Innovators are constantly trying out new experiences and piloting new ideas. Experimenters unceasingly explore the world intellectually and experientially, holding convictions at bay and testing hypotheses along the way.”’