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Must Read List

Here is my must-read list:

  • Cluetrain Manifesto
  • This passage really hits home:
    Pots are made by people. Large ones especially remind me of that human authorship. Smaller things -- mugs, cups, pitchers -- touch me as well. They're fitted to a potter's hands, reflecting their measure. I can gauge the size of the artisans' hands, the length of their fingers, from lips, spouts, and pulled handles. There's so much more life invested in a thrown piece than in anonymous cast or stamped ware. A medium such as clay, elevated and transformed by human shaping, bears witness to the life that molded it into something more than plain stuff.

    When experienced potters describe their craft, they often talk about seeing the form they're creating in their mind's eye, applying force to make the spinning clay match its virtual, internal archetype. There's an incredible amount of practice, failure, and learning that has to take place before we develop the courage and surety to trust such an internal, private muse, to ignore the contrary opinions of others and do what we know will succeed.

    Despite too many years spent behind keyboards and display screens building software, creating Web sites, and generally using technology more than is good for me, I'm still a potter's kid. I consider myself an artist and a craftsman, and bring a craftsman's attitudes to my work and life. One perspective that seems to surface with some regularity is a deeply instilled obligation to do new work, create stuff people have never seen before. It's a peculiar approach to life, picked up mostly by osmosis at some early age from my parents and relatives. In execution, it's a standard requiring constant exploration and reinvention, but also a certain studied ignorance of what's considered right and proper. There's a bit of irrationality in believing that if I follow my own intuition and, at some level, don't pay attention to what other people think, I'll create unique works that will surprise and delight. Artists have a stubborn faith in their ability to create newness from next to nothing. This faith shapes their work, enables them to establish themselves as individuals, fingerprinting their way through their medium.

  • Creating Passionate Users
  • The Secret Source of Google's Power
  • How Craigslist works, and why