If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task–mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs–but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Great commencement speech by Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S.Special Operations Command at the University of Texas at Austin last week. He's right. Your attitude determines your altitude. And that begins first thing in the morning.

Stop Selling Ads and Do Something Useful.

That first banner that Modem Media, the fledgling digital agency where I worked, built for AT&T, was helpful, and it was useful. At a time when people wondered what the Web was all about, it connected visitors of hotwired.com to a tour of seven of the world’s finest art museums. It demonstrated how AT&T could transport people through space and time via the Internet — just as AT&T had done 100 years earlier with the first long distance network. Of those who saw the ad, 44% clicked.


Joe McCambley explains well that a good content experience will yield so much more return for advertisers.

Source: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/02/stop-selling-...

Leadership is about emotion.

How can you ask me with a straight face to work for free?

In fairness, most of the people who ask me to write things for free, with the exception of Arianna Huffington, aren’t the Man; they’re editors of struggling magazines or sites, or school administrators who are probably telling me the truth about their budgets. The economy is still largely in ruins, thanks to the people who “drive the economy” by doing imaginary things on Wall Street, and there just isn’t much money left to spare for people who do actual things anymore.

Tim Kreider tackles the issue of getting writers and artists to work for nothing but exposure in a snarky but honest piece in the @nytimes Review section.


Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/...

People - not the government - are most efficient at creating jobs.

A couple of years ago, I decided to invest in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wis., by building a $1.2 million lakefront restaurant. That restaurant now permanently employs 65 people at an investment of $18,000 per job, a figure consistent with U.S. small businesses. If progressive taxation in the name of "fairness" had taken my "extra" $1.2 million and spent it on a government stimulus program, would 65 jobs have been created?

According to recent Congressional Budget Office statistics on the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus program, each job created has cost between $500,000 and $4 million. Thus, my $1.2 million, taxed and respent on a government project of uncertain duration, would have created about one job, possibly two, and not the 65 sustainable jobs that my private investment did.


Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412...

The Real Reason College Costs So Much.

In 1964, federal student aid was a mere $231 million. By 1981, the feds were spending $7 billion on loans alone, an amount that doubled during the 1980s and nearly tripled in each of the following two decades, and is about $105 billion today. Taxpayers now stand behind nearly $1 trillion in student loans.
Meanwhile, grants have increased to $49 billion from $6.4 billion in 1981. By expanding eligibility and boosting the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350, the 2009 stimulus bill accelerated higher ed's evolution into a middle-class entitlement. Fewer than 2% of Pell Grant recipients came from families making between $60,000 and $80,000 a year in 2007. Now roughly 18% do.
This growth in subsidies, Mr. Vedder argues, has fueled rising prices: "It gives every incentive and every opportunity for colleges to raise their fees."
Many colleges, he notes, are using federal largess to finance Hilton-like dorms and Club Med amenities. Stanford offers more classes in yoga than Shakespeare. A warning to parents whose kids sign up for "Core Training": The course isn't a rigorous study of the classics, but rather involves rigorous exercise to strengthen the gluts and abs.

There are a lot of pieces which make up the $1 trillion debacle that is taxpayer-funded higher education -- not the least of which is too many people being pushed to go to college. This piece by Allysia Finley in The Wall Street Journal does a great job deconstructing most of those pieces. 

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412...

The difference between winning hackathons and making money

If you have no clients and no revenues then it becomes your job to find clients and revenues — not make people use your product.

The client doesn’t pivot. You pivot.

There’s a big difference between winning at a hackathon and making money.


Great piece by James Altucher about how building a business is first and foremost about understanding your customers' needs and delivering on them.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/09/five-thin...

What Millennials Really Want Out of Work

When you look at the data, the three generations are remarkably similar. On average, all three generations rated intrinsic values the highest, extrinsic and altruistic values in the middle, and leisure and social rewards at the bottom. If you’re trying to predict what people fundamentally want at work, knowing their generation is largely useless. This is what psychologist Jennifer Deal has found in independent research. In Retiring the Generation Gap, she writes: “All generations have similar values; they just express them differently.” We might have unique ways of getting there, but we pretty much want the same things out of work.

Interesting piece that suggest it's stage of life that dictates what people want from work, and not generation. Although, of course, it also suggests that Millennials are more likely to be disobedient.

Source: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article...

Why print media can't capture digital subscribers.

Industry leaders like the New York Times, Financial Times, and Gannett have found that up to three-quarters of digital-only subscribers today have never subscribed to their print editions! 

By failing to create a clear and simple path for digital natives in the sign-up experience, we are losing those paid eyeballs in the nanosecond that they realise we can’t deliver a quick Amazon experience.

In this analysis on the failed funnel for digital news subscribers was an interesting anecdote. It's surprising to me that such a huge portion of those actually buying digital content haven't previously been print subscribers.

Source: http://www.inma.org/blogs/earl/post.cfm/wh...

There are no journalists.

“A real journalist is one who understands, at a cellular level, and doesn’t shy away from, the adversarial relationship between government and press – the very tension that America’s founders had in mind with the First Amendment.”

There's only acts of journalism, no more journalists, argues Jeff Jarvis in this interesting piece prompted by the NSA revelations.

Source: http://buzzmachine.com/2013/06/30/there-ar...

It's one thing to pitch to VCs. It's another to sell to customers.

Local urban problems and the needs of small businesses are increasingly becoming inspiration for start-ups, and selling door-to-door — that icon of 1950s entrepreneurialism — is back with a new, digital face. Putting on a show for investors is one thing; facing off with an endless stream of bartenders and cash-register attendants over the shop counter is an entirely different proposition. Yet that’s exactly where many members of the newest crop of innovators are winding up as they try to bootstrap their billion-dollar ideas, one customer at a time.

Selling is where business happens. This is going to separate the simple nerds from the real entrepreneurs.

Source: https://medium.com/tech-talk/f84fa1d26f83

Rolling Stone on Hastings

For Hastings, there was no romance to America's misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand: While covering the Iraq war for Newsweek in early 2007, his then-fianceé, an aide worker, was killed in a Baghdad car bombing. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

At just 33, Michael Hastings' life bucket overflowed with more joy and pain and accomplishment than most octogenarians. It's more important to live every day than to live a lot of days.


Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/...