1. If a customer was particularly bad we exercised one of the only powers we possessed and “decafed” them. To covertly rob a caffeine-addicted asshole of their morning jolt was truly one of the sweetest pleasures of baristahood, and one that my subsequent professions haven’t come close to replicating.
    — excerpted from Inside The Barista Class
  2. Cal Newport: “Follow Your Passion” Is Bad Advice. I found this presentation thought-provoking (not simply provocative) and thoughtfully delivered.

    (Source: vimeo.com)

  3. You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.
    — Warren Buffett via Farnam Street
  4. All we have in life is our time. People struggle after success. They hunger for fame, fortune, and power. But in all of these things, the same question exists — what will you do with your time? How do you want to spend your days? As Annie Dillard reminds us, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

    In life, you will become known for doing what you do. That sounds obvious, but it’s profound. If you want to be known as someone who does a particular thing, then you must start doing that thing immediately. Don’t wait. There is no other way. It probably won’t make you money at first, but do it anyway. Work nights. Work weekends. Sleep less. Whatever you have to do. If you’re lucky enough to know what brings you bliss, then do that thing at once. If you do it well, and for long enough, the world will find ways to repay you.

  5. [Mr. Karp] grew up on New York City’s Upper West Side, the son of progressive parents who encouraged him to leave Bronx Science, a prestigious public high school, to focus on his passion: computers. The summer that he turned 15, Mr. Karp was interning as an engineer for the media entrepreneur and TV producer Fred Seibert, and his parents realized he was enjoying work a lot more than school. They “were the ones who caught it,” he says. “I remember very vividly: They came to my room and asked, ‘Are there any teachers you’re excited about this year?’ ” He says that he was oblivious to what they were getting at, admitting, “I never know when somebody’s angling for something.” When he answered his parents’ question in the negative, they told Mr. Karp that he could continue his internship instead of going back to school.

    I think that this is one of the most powerful things parents can do: recognize their kids’ own interests and talents and encourage them to pursue them fully. I hope to have the chance to help Katie (and any siblings) similarly.

    (And I don’t care that David Karp made $250 million by selling Tumblr, the key is that he got to fully pursue things that interested him.)

    (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

  6. image: Download

    Katie’s first hike, an easy cruise through Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. So good to be outside. (at Buffalo Park)

    Katie’s first hike, an easy cruise through Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. So good to be outside. (at Buffalo Park)

  7. Cost of an American Wedding (and Statistical Illiteracy)

    This is inconsequential, but the median figures were interesting to me after hearing the average cited for years. And, it’s wedding season.

    In 2012, when the average wedding cost was $27,427, the median was $18,086. In 2011, when the average was $27,021, the median was $16,886. In Manhattan, where the widely reported average is $76,687, the median is $55,104. And in Alaska, where the average is $15,504, the median is a mere $8,440. In all cases, the proportion of couples who spent the “average” or more was actually a minority. And remember, we’re still talking only about the subset of couples who sign up for wedding websites and respond to their online surveys. The actual median is probably even lower.

    — from Slate

  8. This government lawyer sounds like a real asshole.

    The government also focused on the relative success of the iBookstore, asking Moerer what market share the store held in the months after launch (about 20%, Moerer said) and what its market share was after several years of operation and adding Random House in 2011 (also about 20%). The government called the iBookstore “a failure,” and charged that “Apple pricing was unfair to consumers,” and that “Apple sold fewer books because of the higher price caps.” Moerer challenged that characterization: “I disagree. E-book sales grew 100% last year at the iBookstore and it had over 100 million customers.” The government countered that “when you drop prices you sell more books,” and Moerer said, “sometimes, yes.” But the government bluntly said, “Apple forgot to focus on customers, that’s why the iBookstore is a failure.” Moerer: “That’s not true.”

  9. The Referendum

    Quite a lot of what passes itself off as a dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others’ as selfish or pathological or wrong. So it’s easy to overlook that hidden beneath all this smug certainty is a poignant insecurity, and the naked 3 A.M. terror of regret.

    The problem is, we only get one chance at this, with no do-overs. Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control. In his novel about marriage, “Light Years,” James Salter writes: “For whatever we do, even whatever we do not do prevents us from doing its opposite. Acts demolish their alternatives, that is the paradox.” Watching our peers’ lives is the closest we can come to a glimpse of the parallel universes in which we didn’t ruin that relationship years ago, or got that job we applied for, or got on that plane after all. It’s tempting to read other people’s lives as cautionary fables or repudiations of our own.

    I really enjoyed this editorial submission to the New York Times and have found myself re-reading it a couple of times in the months since I was first pointed to it. The subject matter is well-trod and the themes sort of obvious, but the writer is insightful and the piece is well-written.

    (Source: The New York Times)

  10. Those of you who have started a company know what I am talking about — the constant, daily upheaval of emotions. There are days when you don’t want to get out of bed, when you whimper without tears and then shake it all off because deep down you know you would rather be doing this than something else. Founders live to capture lightning in the bottle: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we still keep trying. And that is the part the non-builders don’t get.