Office Feng Shui

I caught the itch to rearrange my office at work. After Googling “office feng shui” and sifting through lots of minutiae, it seems the Big Win is in desk placement. You want to strive for the “Command Position.” To do this, situate your desk as far from the door as possible, while still facing it, and with a solid wall behind you.

After I did this, I was actually surprised at how different I felt sitting at the same desk in the same room.

Reading

I’ve read more books in the last month than I have in probably the last 3 years.

  • A Wolf at the Table
  • Tinkers
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • The Fault in Our Stars

Feels good. Next, Brian Greene’s "The Hidden Reality."

May 28, 2013

Listening

There’s a really cool app on Spotify called Lazify I discovered last week. Basically, it’s Pandora with some extra perks. After you install it in Spotify, you drag a song into it and it’ll spit out a playlist of 25 songs that you’d probably like (using Last.fm). So instead of having to listen to / wait to get through Pandora recommendations, you can see a bunch instantly.

Also:

  • “Smoother” – Daughter
  • “Lost in the Light” – Bahamas
  • “Better Than Love” – Griffin House
  • “Winter Song” – The Head and the Heart

Looking

Some new favorites:

040_Milú curioso

384

This is Paris (Gare Haussmann St Lazare)

Iya Traoré

Reading

The Wikipedia entry on dopamine.

Noodling

As I’ve been looking through random people’s Flickr pages, I’ve been wondering how much you can glean from a person’s personality, backgrounds, hopes, dreams, etc from the photos they favorite. Something else that’s interesting is when I check out the Favorites of some of the people whose photos I like a lot, they’re really different. I thought the photos they liked would be pretty similar in style to what they take and post, but more often than not they’re significantly different. I thought that was interesting. Sort of grass is greener-ish.

“Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”

I just finished reading “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule” by Paul Graham. It’s dead on. Here’s an excerpt:

Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.

When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.

For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.

Some stuff is similar to what I wrote about in April (“When should we meet?“), particularly his idea to set up office hours at the end of the day when you’re open to meeting with others so as not to break up a valuable stretch of working time.

Facebook sliding into Instagram

Instagram now lets you tag (via Wired), bringing it one step closer to Facebook (and one step further away from where I’d like to see it stay). 

With Instagram, I think less is more. It’s two strengths are simplicity and privacy. It’s why Facebook users flocked to it as photo-sharing alternative. In due time, Facebook will junk up it’s $1B purchase and weaken these two strengths — especially the latter.

Stockman’s analysis and others calling him crazy

I just stumbled onto David Stockman’s controversial New York Times piece from two weeks ago, which lead me to the rebutalls and other pieces. Some good Saturday morning reading.

Two parts of Stockman’s piece I find especially interesting:

Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans.

and

THE state-wreck ahead is a far cry from the “Great Moderation” proclaimed in 2004 by Mr. Bernanke, who predicted that prosperity would be everlasting because the Fed had tamed the business cycle and, as late as March 2007, testified that the impact of the subprime meltdown “seems likely to be contained.” Instead of moderation, what’s at hand is a Great Deformation, arising from a rogue central bank that has abetted the Wall Street casino, crucified savers on a cross of zero interest rates and fueled a global commodity bubble that erodes Main Street living standards through rising food and energy prices — a form of inflation that the Fed fecklessly disregards in calculating inflation.

Importance of Statistics and Data Analysis in the Future

“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. And I’m not kidding.”
Hal Varian, chief economist at Google

Also, this TED Talk from Arthur Benjamin makes a ton of sense.