What Your Klout Score Really Means

With his jaw still clamped shut, recovering in his Lower East Side apartment, Fernandez opened an Excel file and began to enter data on everyone he was connected to on Facebook and Twitter: how many followers they had, how often they posted, how often others responded to or retweeted those posts. Some contacts (for instance, his young cousins) had hordes of Facebook friends but seemed to wield little overall influence. Others posted rarely, but their missives were consistently rebroadcast far and wide. He was building an algorithm that measured who sparked the most subsequent online actions. He sorted and re-sorted, weighing various metrics, looking at how they might shape results. Once he’d figured out a few basic principles, Fernandez hired a team of Singaporean coders to flesh out his ideas. Then, realizing the 13-hour time difference would impede their progress, he offshored himself. For four months, he lived in Singapore, sleeping on couches or in his programmers’ offices. On Christmas Eve of 2008, back in New York a year after his surgery, Fernandez launched Klout with a single tweet. By September 2009, he’d relocated to San Francisco to be closer to the social networking companies whose data Klout’s livelihood depends on. (His first offices were in the same building as Twitter headquarters.)

Photo: Garry McLeod

Photo: Garry McLeod

Last spring Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP position at a large Toronto marketing agency. With 15 years of experience consulting for major brands like AOL, Ford, and Kraft, Fiorella felt confident in his qualifications. But midway through the interview, he was caught off guard when his interviewer asked him for his Klout score. Fiorella hesitated awkwardly before confessing that he had no idea what a Klout score was.

The interviewer pulled up the web page for Klout.com—a service that purports to measure users’ online influence on a scale from 1 to 100—and angled the monitor so that Fiorella could see the humbling result for himself: His score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” Fiorella says. Later he learned that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.”

Partly intrigued, partly scared, Fiorella spent the next six months working feverishly to boost his Klout score, eventually hitting 72. As his score rose, so did the number of job offers and speaking invitations he received. “Fifteen years of accomplishments weren’t as important as that score,” he says. Continuar leyendo «What Your Klout Score Really Means»

The Creative Monopoly

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As a young man, Peter Thiel competed to get into Stanford. Then he competed to get into Stanford Law School. Then he competed to become a clerk for a federal judge. Thiel won all those competitions. But then he competed to get a Supreme Court clerkship.

Thiel lost that one. So instead of being a clerk, he went out and founded PayPal. Then he became an early investor in Facebook and many other celebrated technology firms. Somebody later asked him. “So, aren’t you glad you didn’t get that Supreme Court clerkship?”

The question got Thiel thinking. His thoughts are now incorporated into a course he is teaching in the Stanford Computer Science Department. (A student named Blake Masters posted outstanding notes online, and Thiel has confirmed their accuracy.)

One of his core points is that we tend to confuse capitalism with competition. We tend to think that whoever competes best comes out ahead. In the race to be more competitive, we sometimes confuse what is hard with what is valuable. The intensity of competition becomes a proxy for value.

In fact, Thiel argues, we often shouldn’t seek to be really good competitors. We should seek to be really good monopolists. Instead of being slightly better than everybody else in a crowded and established field, it’s often more valuable to create a new market and totally dominate it. The profit margins are much bigger, and the value to society is often bigger, too.

Now to be clear: When Thiel is talking about a “monopoly,” he isn’t talking about the illegal eliminate-your-rivals kind. He’s talking about doing something so creative that you establish a distinct market, niche and identity. You’ve established a creative monopoly and everybody has to come to you if they want that service, at least for a time.

His lecture points to a provocative possibility: that the competitive spirit capitalism engenders can sometimes inhibit the creativity it requires.

Think about the traits that creative people possess. Creative people don’t follow the crowds; they seek out the blank spots on the map. Creative people wander through faraway and forgotten traditions and then integrate marginal perspectives back to the mainstream. Instead of being fastest around the tracks everybody knows, creative people move adaptively through wildernesses nobody knows.

Now think about the competitive environment that confronts the most fortunate people today and how it undermines those mind-sets.

First, students have to jump through ever-more demanding, preassigned academic hoops. Instead of developing a passion for one subject, they’re rewarded for becoming professional students, getting great grades across all subjects, regardless of their intrinsic interests. Instead of wandering across strange domains, they have to prudentially apportion their time, making productive use of each hour.

Then they move into a ranking system in which the most competitive college, program and employment opportunity is deemed to be the best. There is a status funnel pointing to the most competitive colleges and banks and companies, regardless of their appropriateness.

Then they move into businesses in which the main point is to beat the competition, in which the competitive juices take control and gradually obliterate other goals. I see this in politics all the time. Candidates enter politics wanting to be authentic and change things. But once the candidates enter the campaign, they stop focusing on how to be change-agents. They and their staff spend all their time focusing on beating the other guy. They hone the skills of one-upsmanship. They get engulfed in a tit-for-tat competition to win the news cycle. Instead of being new and authentic, they become artificial mirror opposites of their opponents. Instead of providing the value voters want — change — they become canned tacticians, hoping to eke out a slight win over the other side.

Competition has trumped value-creation. In this and other ways, the competitive arena undermines innovation.

You know somebody has been sucked into the competitive myopia when they start using sports or war metaphors. Sports and war are competitive enterprises. If somebody hits three home runs against you in the top of the inning, your job is to go hit four home runs in the bottom of the inning.

But business, politics, intellectual life and most other realms are not like that. In most realms, if somebody hits three home runs against you in one inning, you have the option of picking up your equipment and inventing a different game. You don’t have to compete; you can invent.

We live in a culture that nurtures competitive skills. And they are necessary: discipline, rigor and reliability. But it’s probably a good idea to try to supplement them with the skills of the creative monopolist: alertness, independence and the ability to reclaim forgotten traditions.

Everybody worries about American competitiveness. That may be the wrong problem. The future of the country will probably be determined by how well Americans can succeed at being monopolists.

See on www.nytimes.com

Introducing the Google+ Share Button – Google+ Developers Blog

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When your visitors come across something interesting on your site, sometimes you want to encourage a simple endorsement (like +1). Other times, however, you want to help visitors share with their friends, right away. Today’s new Google+ Share button lets you do just that.


See on googleplusplatform.blogspot.com.br

Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools Now Track the Impact of Tweets, Likes & +1s

Google is getting more social, and its web analytics tools are no exception; Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools have added new tools for tracking the impact of tweets, likes, +1s & more on your website’s traffic.

Google Webmaster Tools now has a “+1 Metrics” section, which provides reports on the impact of the +1 Button on search. The new analytics show how +1s affect your website’s clickthrough rate (CTR). It tracks the amount of +1s on a given page, the CTR with +1 annotations and the CTR without +1 annotations. The new tool also graphs out the amount of annotated impressions and annotated clicks your website receives over time. Continuar leyendo «Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools Now Track the Impact of Tweets, Likes & +1s»

Analytics medirá el impacto de Google + Twitter y Facebook

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Para los administradores de páginas web y aquellos que se sirvan de las herramientas Google Analytics y Webmaster Tools, el sistema se ha optimizado para registrar el impacto de los tweets, los ‘me gusta’ de Facebook y el botón +1. A partir de ahora la influencia de estos servicios sociales se verá reflejada al medir el tráfico de un site.

Cualquier administrador de un sitio web se verá beneficiado de esta mejora ya que así será más sencillo valorar la importancia que tienen las rede sociales en nuestra web. En muchas ocasiones el número de tweets o las veces que algo se comparte en Facebook no son indicadores claros del estado del tráfico de esa página.

Para que el impacto de tweets, ‘me gustas’ y el botón +1 quede reflejado en el tráfico del site Google ha mejorado sus herramientas de monitorización. En el caso de Google Analytics el nuevo Social Plugin Tracking permite medir cómo la presencia social en una determinada página.

A partir de ahora Google Analytics puede verse enriquecido con tres secciones más. Social Engagement sería la primera, que se centraría en los cambios de comportamiento de los usuarios, como las páginas vistas, la tasa de rebote o el tiempo en el sitio, provenientes de las redes sociales.

Social Actions cuantifica el número de acciones sociales, tanto por parte de Twitter, Facebook o Google +1, que tienen lugar en la web. Por último, Social Pages realiza una comparación basándose en la actividad social que han recibido cada una de las páginas del site.

Webmaster Tools también se ha optimizado para incluir el impacto del botón +1 en una web. La sección ‘+1 Metrics’ muestra datos sobre cómo Google +1 incide en el CTR (proporción de clics), haciendo una comparación de cómo estarían las estadísticas sin el +1.

See on www.ticbeat.com

Google y Facebook lanzan nuevas herramientas de medición – Noticia – Internacional – MarketingNews.es

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Los dos gigantes de internet han anunciado novedades referidas a las mediciones de las campañas publicitarias de sus anunciantes.

La semana pasada, durante la AdAge Digital Conference, Google ha presentado la llamada Brand Activate Initiative, que de momento consta de dos nuevos servicios para los anunciantes: Active View y Active GRP. El primero de ellos, con el que algunos expertos piensan que Google quiere establecer un nuevo estándar digital, mide no solo cuando un anuncio es mostrado o clicado, sino cuando realmente es visto por un usuario del sitio. Google espera que los anunciantes paguen en breve solo por impresiones vistas.

Por su parte, Active GRP es como una versión web de los GRP’s que usan en televisión. Combina resultados de un panel de medición con datos de usuarios anónimos para decirle al anunciante cómo está funcionando su anuncio. Esta información esta pensada para que el anunciante cambie sobre la marcha detalles de su campaña.

Para acceder a más información sobre estos dos nuevos productos, entra en este blog de Google (en inglés).

En el caso de Facebook, el product manager de Pages Insights David Baser, ha declarado en la revista Adweek que en las próximas semanas tienen previsto lanzar herramientas para ofrecer más detalles sobre el funcionamiento de sus campañas en la red social a las marcas anunciantes.

Si hasta ahora, los anunciantes solo podían acceder a datos sobre los enlaces a la página y las descargas de aplicaciones, Facebook quiere añadir datos sobre “me gustas”, los comentarios, las veces que se comparte un contenido, las que se usa una oferta… 

See on www.marketingnews.es

Are sociable people more beautiful? – Barking up the wrong tree

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Stereotypes ascribe positive social traits to attractive individuals. Such stereotypes are viewed as erroneous. However, these stereotypes may have a kernel of truth if more sociable individuals present themselves in a manner that increases their attractiveness, a plausible idea given social engagement goals. To examine this idea, two studies involving 217 participants used a zero-acquaintance design in which unacquainted judges rated the attractiveness of participants in impromptu photographs. Participants high in the self-reported traits of agreeableness or extraversion, the two Big 5 traits most relevant to interpersonal behavior, were rated more attractive. Further results indicated that personality–attraction relationships were mediated by a well-groomed appearance. The results suggest a kernel of truth to the idea that sociable individuals are also attractive.

Source: «Are sociable people more beautiful? A zero-acquaintance analysis of agreeableness, extraversion, and attractiveness» from Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 44, Issue 2, April 2010, Pages 293-296

See on www.bakadesuyo.com

Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions on health-care innovation


Thank you for taking the time to shareyour questions on health-care innovation and entrepreneurship using the hashtag #AskSUMed or the comment section on Scope. Here are my answers.

@NBBJCommunity asks: How can medical technology be integrated with tools like LEAN, architecture etc. to create holistic solutions?

Let’s take LEAN as an example. LEAN has its roots in the Toyota production system and process re-engineering. One of the key insights from the Toyota production system is that each handoff, when an item changes hands between individuals or departments, in a service system or production process is a potential point of failure.

In health-care, many preventable problems and medical errors occur at handoffs between staff members or during shift changes. You can use technology to make those handoffs work more seamlessly. You can start with things like electronic medical records to help reduce workflow failures. But you can also envision medical technologies that can be used to radically redesign the process of care delivery to eliminate handoffs. For instance, consider devices that could be used by a patient to perform activities and collect data that would otherwise be gathered and managed by a health-care provider. If we can integrate that information in a way that works seamlessly with the provider’s workflow, we can minimize the back and forth between the provider and patient that creates room for error.

Graeme asks: As the number of uninsured Americans continues to r Continuar leyendo «Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions on health-care innovation»

6 Tools Social Media Experts Use to Update Facebook Pages



One of the things that the new Facebook pages design makes obvious above all others is the lack of updates on a Facebook page. While updating your Facebook page on Facebook itself is recommended, many businesses will still prefer to use a social media management tool for the sake of productivity and ease of use. This post will show you six tools that social media experts and marketing agencies use to update their Facebook pages.

Why You Should Use Facebook

Before we get into third-party tools and applications, I want to suggest that you use Facebook itself to update your Facebook page for the following reasons.


Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine which updates are shown in your fans’ news feeds. You can learn more about it in this post from Econsultancy. One thing that EdgeRank has the potential of doing is lowering the value of an update from a third-party tool and prioritizing updates that are made directly on Facebook. This means that pages with updates from third-party apps may not get as much engagement.

Users Can Hide Third-Party Apps

Facebook users have the choice to hide updates made by third-party apps from their news feed entirely.

facebook hide all app updates

If a friend, subscription, or page annoys a user with updates from a particular third-party app, that user might hide any updates from that app altogether. This means that they would never see your page’s updates from that app.

Updates Lumped Together… Continuar leyendo «6 Tools Social Media Experts Use to Update Facebook Pages»

Five Steps To Get Started with Social Media Measurement


If you’re using social media, you should be measuring it. But don’t measure just for the sake of having metrics. Instead, measure your social activities so that you can learn what’s successful, what isn’t, and how you can improve.

In this post we will help you get started with social media measurement for your organization by addressing these questions:

  • How do you know if your social media activities are effective?
  • How do you decide what metrics you should be monitoring?
  • How do you calculate those metrics?
  • How do you interpret the numbers once you have them?

The Two Types of Social Media Measurement

The two types of social media measurement are:

  1. Ongoing Analytics – Ongoing monitoring that tracks activity over time
  2. Campaign-Focused Metrics – Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end

Ongoing analytics are necessary for keeping up with the overall pulse of general conversation about your brand and company. Once your brand tracking is set up, you can just let it run and check in regularly to see how everything is going.

Campaign-focused metrics, on the other hand, help you understand the impact of targeted marketing initiatives and will be vary from campaign to campaign, depending on your goals for each. An effective social media measurement program will likely include both ongoing and campaign-specific measurement.

Let’s Start With An Example… Continuar leyendo «Five Steps To Get Started with Social Media Measurement»

How To Write The Great American Novel

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Great American Novel if your name is George R. R. Martin or Suzanne Collins. You guys are doing great; somebody give them genius grants. I had never before read a 1,000-page book, and now I’ve read like 5 of them. If Westeros had subways things would move along much faster, George. Think about it. (Unless it was a weekend! Then they’d have shuttle buses between King’s Landing and Riverrun like only once every few hours. Ugh!) And obviously Katniss Everdeen should have dated both those dudes in the book rather than suffer the guilt and sorrow of having to choose just one. Let’s stop living in the 20th Century, with all its bullshit morality and monogamy. Hot people can do whatever the hell they want. Those two whatstheirnames would be like, “Aw, Katniss, but I love you so much.” And she’d be like, “If you truly loved me you’d make out with each other.” And then they would and then everything would be awesome. But overall, Martin and Collins get a billion gold stars. The rest of you novelists, who knows what you’re thinking. The entire world economy depends upon the Great American novel to enrich the world with vampire and werewolf love triangles that become giant blockbuster movies that sell popcorn, tickets and movie tie-in gear. Have you ever seen a blockbuster movie based upon a French bestseller? Camus’ Stranger in IMAX 3D? No. And you never will. Only Americans possess the ability to create a breakout crossover global phenomenon. It’s a heavy burden, but there you go. Deal with it, American novelists. They don’t base movies on sonnets, otherwise Ted Berrigan would be the most famous writer of the last 50 years.

So maybe you’re saying, I don’t want to create a global phenomenon. I just want to write my little book about me and my little friends texting each other and such. And I’ll answer, Jane Austen already wrote that book, but okay. There is nothing wrong with trying to write something a little more adult contemporary. Maybe Ryan Gosling will be cast in the lead and we’ll want to bone him. There have been maybe 15 truly great American novels, and you and none of your friends have ever written them. They are all basically unfilmable, except for maybe To Kill A Mockingbird and I think Stranger in a Strange Land would make a good movie. But maybe you want to make kids forever have to read your book in freshman English classes and struggle with the magnitude of your truth and beauty. An honorable goal, to be sure. Here’s a few tips on how to write a book that ought to be carved into marble, made into a bestselling movie with action figures and make you a much better, much happier person.

I know not every novelist in America lives in Brooklyn, it just seems that way. There are a million stories on the L Train, and they’re all basically about dorky people doing dorky things. Which is fine. The best novel to come out of Williamsburg was obviously A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. That was The Pre-ironic Brooklyn Age. And while Brooklyn might be a great place for other artists, poets and painters to live and interact and steal from each other, all your sad little Brooklyn novels end up sounding about the same. Novelists in packs are like Smurfs, except drunk and bitter. Short stories: no one should be writing them. Too short to be filmed. Brooklyn novels are written by smart people who are tuned-in to all the various things that might seem like a life, but just because you’re smart and tuned-in doesn’t mean anyone is ever going to want to read your book. Most likely the opposite. Writing a truly page-turning novel is a weird skill set. And while I might take comfort in the idea that every backpack on the train contains a manuscript, they’re generally the wrong kind of manuscript.

I live in the Southside area of Williamsburg. Here I’m thrilled by the constant whoosh of traffic and trains on the bridge. I mourn the view that has been darkened by another ironic condominium. If you stand on the sidewalk in Brooklyn for long enough, they will build an ironic condominium on top of you. There is a large Hasidic community; I wish someone would write a novel about them. Or the abutting Dominican community. Or looking down from inside the Marcy projects. Why should I care about your story? You have a bad job and want to be doing something different but feel paralyzed because of something and so you gchat with your friends all day the end. Collins and Martin keep you reading deep into the night because at the end of a chapter Katniss’ head suddenly falls off. And you’re like, her head just fell off??? I have to keep reading. Like holy crap. And so you stay up all night furiously turning pages. What happens at the end of your chapters? Someone doesn’t reply to your email or something. Or, like, 9/11 happens. I’m so fucking riveted.

All of these celebrated Brooklyn novels of the moment probably won’t amount to much. Just go to the Strand to visit all the half-read Jonathan Franzen books in their natural habitat. Even though he no longer lives there, Franzen remains the prototype alpha dog to which Brooklyn wanna-be novelists ruggedly aspire. But hey, one day you’re on the cover of Time magazine and hanging out with Oprah; the next minute you’re still Jonathan Franzen. No one will be putting your mug on the side of a Barnes and Noble bag, pal. It’s the books the Strand can’t keep in stock that you’d want to have written. The ones that people hover over freshly opened boxes to find. That they stare blankly at wooden carts full of yesterday’s award winners and Michiko Kakutani darlings to discover. Try to find a used copy of The Recognitions by William Gaddis, I dare you. You’ll live and die and be reborn and then die again.

We need a novel from Kodiak Island, Alaska. And the streets of Topeka. We might never need another Brooklyn book ever. It’s cheaper to move back home. And there’s probably a better story about America there. You can’t go home again, but go home.


If being a great writer could be taught, wouldn’t it have been taught by now? How many great books have been written out of writer’s workshops? Approximately the same amount that have been written from the decks of steamer ships. We all might delight in the idea that we will actually win the lottery, but the chances are better that you’ll get to sleep with Angelina Jolie. If you think the writer who is running the workshop actually wants you to go out and write a book that is any better than a book that he’ll write, you’re crazy. And not in a good way. And none of those other student writers want you to write Harry Potter either. If you’re in an MFA program, you’re basically living in a hornets’ nest of crazy ambition and anger, resentment and fury, where the ones you trust the most with your brilliance are trying to destroy you. It’s like playing on the New York Knicks. What possible good could come from offering up your fiction to a bunch of people who will quit writing fiction about five years after graduation? That’s like me giving novelists advice from a poet’s point of view. Who the hell would care about that?? No one.

Suffering is a key essential to great writing. But there’s probably enough suffering in your life already—or suffering will come on its own.Likewise, I don’t know that the burden of perpetual debt has ever made any American writers any better. It’s pretty distressing that you’ve spent all that tuition money on something that’s basically worthless. And when your old teachers won’t even remember your name or recognize you on the street you come to the horrible realization that even sunlight is an illusion. Suffering is a key essential to great writing. But there’s probably enough suffering in your life already—or suffering will come on its own. If you feel like paying someone to teach you to be a writer will make you a better writer, PayPal me $100,000 after reading this here article.
If you want to write a Great American Novel, drop out of graduate school and join the Army and go to Afghanistan and tell us all about it in your fiction. We’ve had ten years of reporting about the wars, but we still don’t seem to know shit. If you get your head blown off, your book will probably become really famous. Or join a circus. I want to read a book told from the point of view of a bearded lady. Or become an assassin. One who kills lousy novelists.


I’m actually typing this article on a blue Selectric II typewriter in a meadow filled with ducks. I have a very long extension cord. Stop asking so many questions. I’m entirely unclear who was the first hopeful writer who thought the atmosphere at coffee shops was the ideal place to get some work done. It’s loud there and people are having completely awful conversations about their boring lives. (Side note: People having conversations in public: Please make them more interesting! Who told you your lives could be so banal?) Which is not to say I don’t have coffee with me. Coffee is portable. I got my little Dwight Gooden mug and the sounds of birds whose names I don’t know and also I think a little bird crap between my shoulder blades, but I can’t reach back there. One does not paint a masterpiece on a canvas with ketchup already smushed all over it. And it’s not necessary to be in nature to write great. The only great poem I have ever written was written on the Cyclone at Coney Island. It was about God living inside a vending machine and not accepting my wrinkled dollar. It will be in my obituary. What will be in your obituary? “Saffo wrote several middle-of-the-road novels that were fatally flawed for having been written inside a crowded chain coffee shop.”

I’ve been to the bungalow that Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn in. It’s tiny and snug and has been dragged out of the woods to be placed on the campus of Elmira College in western New York. I suggest you roll up on Elmira, steal this bungalow and bring it to a grove of sequoias or the bottom of the Grand Canyon and get to it.


This is mainly for the male contingent of American writers. The female contingent can skip this part and just know how truly beautiful and perfect I think you all totally are. I find women’s adultery completely transfixing and please cheat on your husbands or wives with me, ladies.

Now then, dudes. No one cares that you want to cheat on your boyfriends, girlfriends, wives or dogs. No one gives a crap. I read on the cover of Lolita that it was the only believable love story of the 20th Century, and while that seems almost completely like total bullshit since the guy is, in addition to being a cheater, a child molester, and while Nabokov might have managed that plot point, you yourself are just not suited to writing about matters of the heart. Because we’re all, basically, cheaters. It’s part of your little cheaty nature. Even if you are not physically cheating on someone you are probably writing novels in which the character is you and they are cheating and so getting away with it and it’s just totally lazy writing. The best novel of the last few years is called «Mad Men” and it’s on AMC Sunday nights and he is handsomer than you and when he cheats I am somewhat interested but not much. And nothing ever seems to happen on that show and yet we watch and imagine ourselves cheating on whoever we are sadly with. Like, Don Draper, sit on my face, etc.

But you’re not Don Draper or even Philip Roth so who cares about your desire to cheat on your wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands. It’s boring. Your grandparents cheated, too. What do you want, a Nobel Prize? I liked adultery better in, like, Klima and Kundera novels, people crushed by a monolithic society whose only escape was to sleep around. Or so that’s what they told their wives. But what do I care if you break your mousy wife’s heart? Everybody gets divorced. It’s the American Way. I married someone who I knew going in I wanted to resent forever. When I cheated on them it was barely even interesting to me. It’s really only fun to sleep with people for a few weeks but then you’ve seen everything they’ve got going on and see their little sex face and hear their sex dialogue and it’s time to go back to imagining having sex with Don Draper. I’m trying to think of a great novel I have read in which adultery is the main rising action of the thing and I can’t really think of any except Nabokov maybe or Klima’s Love and Garbage but the adultery seems more incidental in that one. Like just another piece of sprawling puzzle of Prague, Kafka, the death of his father and the dark cloud of Communist country despair. William Vollmann has cornered the market on hookers. We’ll give Roth adultery since he doesn’t have anything else. Jeanette Winterson gets hot genderless sex. Jaime and Cersei Lannister have incest. So go out and find something even kinkier. All this mommy porn is nice, but so vanilla. I wouldn’t mind if men stopped writing novels altogether, frankly. Your drunk little egos get in the way of most good writing. But since that’s still a dream, find something a little more exciting than the adventures of your penis. Unless it is a magic penis—like the one in The Seducer by Jan Kjaerstad. Hooray for magic penises!


I think we can all agree that Jonathan Safran Foer’s magic child in Close and Loud has officially ended the need to ever write a book again told from the point of view of brilliant magical children. The desire of adults who are not YA authors to place themselves inside the lives of kids to make a more-perfect and more beautiful version of themselves in youth: Puking sound. YA authors are actually performing a vital service: Please continue doing that, YA authors! There’s nothing self-conscious and plodding about what you’re up to. Kids in general are rarely magical. They’re kids. Sometimes amusing, sometimes accidentally saying interesting things. When adults write kids they make them unbearable. Like Harry Potter. What a bore. Hermione was the real hero of all those books. They should have all been called HERMIONE GRANGER SAVES HARRY POTTER’S DUMB ASS AGAIN.

I’m not sure that the current waves of autism and other related illnesses are all officially on the level. I just think some kids have found a way to truly not pay any attention to their parents. Parenting is hitting all-time high scores of annoying and yes, every child in America is so super special. That’s why they ought to live with their moms in Park Slope for the rest of their lives, so they’ll never be too far from a breast-feeding at age 25. But why should anyone find your child, or the child you write about in your novel, compelling? There are roughly 100 million kids in America. Is your child an actual ninja? Then let them write a novel about it. I would totally read a book written by a 12 year old about 12 year olds. I think that would be completely fascinating. Do 30 year olds know what happens in the lives of autistic 10 year olds? There’s just no way. You can follow them around and put their clothes on and roll around with their Transformers and I’m still pretty sure there’s just no way you’ll even begin to comprehend what it’s like to be a kid. The only book I read as a kid that even remotely got what I thought it meant to be a kid at the time I was a kid was Bridge to Terabithia, which understood me and my relationship with the love of my young life Harumi Tanaka pretty damned well. If Harumi wrote a novel about my childhood, I’d be totally OK with that. Although I am not, in and of myself, a very interesting character. Harumi, on the other hand, like Hermione, is a hero for the ages.


All these tweeters and bloggers and gifs of cats, that’s what’s keeping you from writing! Articles like this! You’re totally wasting daylight here! Stop being so distracted. There’s nothing so very important happening on the internet that won’t be happening next week. Or that you will remember next week. “It’s 11:11 on 11/11/11!!” Good for you. It’s taken me since January to write this article, which I am writing in a few hours finally on a Saturday. Why? Because I’ve been much too busy fucking around on the internet to actually get anything done. Can you believe who the New York Observer named “The Sexiest Nobodies of New York 2012??” I know, neither can I! Don’t worry. The Observer will always have another Top 50 list of unbearable people in the works. If you want to write a novel, no one but yourself is stopping you. In my novel, the character of Tim is in love with the cute lady who works at Marlow & Daughters, who he sees whenever he goes in to buy sausages. What will happen to Tim? We’ll never know! Because I’m too busy writing this. And then looking at cats. And then playing with myself.


Have you read The Call of the Wild? That’s a great book. I reread that on my phone recently. It had cool little woodcuts and everything. Books need more woodcuts these days. Why did we get away from pictures in books? Especially e-books. They are just so goddamned white all over the place. It’s nice to be turning little pages of your e-book with your thumb (or, if you’re on the subway, your penis) and be presented with a woodcut of a dog attacking another dog. I think John Gardner’s Grendel would make a great movie, except he should get away at the end so there can be $equels. Animals are great. And most books written from the point of view of animals are great.

I remember some Vintage paperback about a woman who have a love affair with a dolphin. Told from the point of view of the woman! What a missed opportunity.
Although I was glad when the dog in that short story by Dave Eggers drowned, so that one was an exception. That dog was annoying. He was the Holden Caulfield of dogs. Everyone should stop trying to write Holden Caulfield characters, too, by the way. That dude was a dick. My friend Steve Himmer wrote a novel from the point of view of a bear that I feel is the greatest thing ever written anywhere ever. Because bears are awesome. I think a squid who also had legs would be a good main character of a book. Wouldn’t you want to know who that dude was sleeping with when his wife wasn’t around? Eyebrows up and down! Cats are sorely under-represented in our Arts and Letters considering what a giant online industry they’ve become. They’re obviously smarter than us or they’d be the ones that have to work all day. And too often they’re personified. Try giving actual lasagna to an actual cat. Because they don’t go for that, believe me.

But monsters, goblins, whales, beavers. They can be the best narrators. I remember some Vintage paperback about a woman who have a love affair with a dolphin. Told from the point of view of the woman! What a missed opportunity. Some ex-girlfriend gave it to me and was mad when I took it back to the store and traded it in for some Eastern European thing I wanted to read. Kafka had it right. The bug is much more interesting than boring old Gregor Samsa. No one would want to read a story in which a dude woke up in the morning to find himself transformed into some boring Czech person. No one would read that. I know, because I wrote it.


We’ve somehow entered an age in which we all must rage against all slights, perceived and imagined. The internet has somehow made us less able to take criticism and less likely to give frank criticism. Because haters be hating. So what? Why should anyone’s opinion matter to you? If you think your novel is amazing, then keep banging away. Even the best novelists usually only write like 1 ½ great books. The rest of them are like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Or Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010, 2061 and 3001. What was it Robert Walser said when his friends visited him in the sanitorium and asked if he was writing? “I didn’t come here to write, I came here to be crazy.” Except in German. Which sounds way more awesome. People on the internet are no more real than the people you imagine. And if you imagine Lincoln Center audiences giving you applause at the end of every paragraph you write, you’ll be better off than if you worry about some dude on Twitter or in the London Review of Books. What great novel did those people ever write? The really great novelists don’t review books or even read anybody else’s stuff. They are too busy counting their money.

The ache for content in America is palpable. And never have there been greater opportunities for writers. You used to have to type things up on typewriters and carry them around with you but then a strong breeze would come and blow it away which I think happened in a Michael Chabon book which became a Katie Holmes and Michael Douglas movie which is really not very good. The lives of writers are not interesting. Just as when Letterman interviews an actor you’re like, wow, they are boring and dumb. It’s other people’s words that fill up actors like helium and makes them dance. And the only thing that’s interesting about most writers is just the tap tap tap of keys. Otherwise they’re just as boring as the rest of us.


Well, you don’t have to stop. You just have to stop caring about it so much. Doing coke and drinking has never made anyone a better writer. It’s destroyed good writers. Now benzedrine, that’s another story. But just because you drink it doesn’t make you interesting. It just makes you feel interesting. Just pull up a stool next to some stranger at a bar and find out. I admire professional alcoholics as much as the next guy. The people who really aren’t fucking around, that’s their true calling in life. The people who dabble in both writing and drinking usually fail at everything. And all this trendy binge drinking? It’s like the disdain Paul Newman feels for 9-ball billiards in The Color of Money.

And coke just makes everyone unbearable. Have you ever heard someone say, “When you do lines of coke you become so incredibly charming?” No. No one has ever said that before in the history of the world. Cocaine makes you a terrible person, and not even in an interesting way. If you realized how angry and on edge you’d feel as a writer without coke and drinking, you’d go for that. Not drinking has improved my writing dramatically, which used to be 99% about drinking or about wanting to drink. I thought stopping drinking would get me laid more often. That was a bad call because mostly I got laid during last call with my back against a urinal. So those opportunities went down dramatically. But no matter. I’m now a rageball of infinite beauty, watch my terrible power drift magnificently across the page. The murder mystery I’ve been working on is still ridiculously stalled: Tim will probably never win over the nice sausage woman, but at least he’s not wallowing in his own whiskey about it. People only like being drunk, not necessarily watching idiots be drunk. So the drunkenness in your books or your real life really doesn’t amount to much. Except to slowly chip away at you until you cannot write anymore. Which would be sad if you were any good. Save the drinking until after your writing is done, when it’s not hurting anyone but yourself. I wouldn’t stop drinking entirely unless you truly have to, but just realize that everything you say and do while drunk is stupid bullshit that doesn’t mean anything. If you’re ironically smoking crack to write better novels you’re probably dead by now.


I have this idea for a Showtime show. It is kind of like “Dexter” except the main character is a child molester. But wait, it’s OK because he only molests really bad kids who deserve it. I’m pretty sure this is a brilliant idea that can make me millions, but that’s all I’ve got so far. We’ve fallen so in love with lovable bad people that we can’t accept bad people as they really are: bad. Why can’t we celebrate and embrace criminals and psychopaths for who they really are? Well, in general, criminals and psychopaths don’t write novels because they’re too busy doing the things that matter to them, like killing people. It’s too bad, because I bet if they wrote books about why they kill it would be interesting. Not in all cases. That Unabomber manuscript had some serious Fourth Act problems.

Not that all narrators need to be goody-goods. Most goody-goods are secretly awful people driven by terrible motives. Just depict people as they are. Complicated. Sometimes douchey. But hopefully as hot as Jon Hamm. I read most books and hope most characters will actually be brutally murdered on the next page. It’s a shame when they aren’t.


There are so many reasons not to write. But few are any better than because you are going to get laid. That is a good reason. Everything else, all these other distractions are meaningless. Friends betray you. There will always be another party. I remember when John Updike blew off some big important New Yorker Party because he was writing. The only thing I ever liked from him was the story about the supermarket, but he lived in the town I lived in and I used to ride my bike past his house and wonder what he was up to, typing away in his house. Adultery stories mostly. But it must have been unbearable for John Updike to show up at parties anyway. Everyone bothering him for something. Everything in the world is trying to distract you from getting something on the page. Our own doubts about everything we do is crushing. Don’t let it crush you. No one has any idea what they’re doing. And even J. K. Rowling once lived in her car and her next book will probably be no good anyway. The Great American Novel is inside you, I just know it. Especially if you’re Canadian. Like the David statue in the stone, it’s up to you to release it. And then leave it on a window sill or the M train so I can steal it and take all the credit for it.

Even the greatest writers died horrible deaths terribly alone. Try to enjoy it.

See on www.theawl.com

Neuroplasticidad, la clave de la creatividad | Franc Ponti | www.francponti.com

See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

El pasado martes 17 de abril tuvo lugar en EADA el esperado seminario de la investigadora y profesora de la Harvard Medical School la Dra. Shelley Carson. En un magnífico taller de cuatro horas celebrado en el Hotel Majestic de Barcelona, Carson reveló algunos de los secretos de la creatividad:
– Las personas creativas rompen los patrones rígidos de su cerebro. Combinan conceptos, mezclan cosas aparentemente diferentes… Desarrollan hábitos de neuroplasticidad que les permiten crear nuevas conexiones neuronales. Ejercicio: ¿qué tienen en común un gato, un reloj y una galaxia?
– Los individuos creativos son tanto deliberados como espontáneos en su creatividad. Alternan estados de conciencia deliberados (“quiero ideas para esto”) como momentos espontáneos de ensoñación, ralajación, intuición y visualización. Un excesivo dominio de uno de los dos estilos puede ser perjudicial. Ejercicio: ¿cómo crearías un país perfecto? Enumera diez acciones.
– La gente creativa, por tanto, alterna actitudes mentales (brainsets) deliberadas (razonar, evaluar) con otras más espontáneas (visualizar, conectar, absorber, transformar) y ello les permite fluir creativamente en armonía. Estar demasiado centrado en un estado mental impide salir de la zona de confort y lograr ser creativo en profundidad.
Ejercicio: cuestionario de actitudes mentales de Shelley Carson o ver el libro, recientemente publicado por Profit Editorial “Tu cerebro creativo”.
– Las personas creativas, de forma consciente o inconsciente, cuando desean ser creativas, preparan el terreno (recogen información, definen el problema, etc.), generan ideas sin juzgarlas, evalúan las mejores ideas y rechazan las menos adecuadas, elaboran la idea y la implementan.
Y algunos hábitos creativos interesantes:
1. Es importante ser curioso y acumular mucho conocimiento
2. Hay que estar en contacto permanente con trabajos creativos novedosos (arte, ciencia, empresa…) y crear conexiones con nuestra especialidad
3. Debemos aprender a apagar el censor que tenemos en nuestra mente y aceptar las cosas sin juzgarlas de entrada
4. Aprender a estar solo, en meditación, en recogimiento…
5. Disfrutar de la naturaleza, caminar por el bosque, disfrutar de la belleza que nos rodea.
6. Tomar nota de las cosas interesantes que vemos en una libreta o un grabador.
7. Aprender a crear conexiones entre conceptos diametralmente opuestos (pensamiento jánico).
8. Pasar tiempo con personas creativas, mezclar ideas, hibridar conceptos…
9. Hacer lo que nos gusta, perseguir nuestras utopías y pasiones.

See on www.francponti.com

Is the Digital World Killing Creativity? [INFOGRAPHIC]

See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

Our age of digital disruption has opened a cornucopia of creative endeavors, but the ability to multitask may also hinder creativity.

Sure, you can use that smartphone to create an emotionally stirring Instagram of the waffles you had for brunch in mere seconds. But that same device can also serve as a ball and chain for the working world: emails constantly arrive, even during off hours; LinkedIn requests buzz after networking events; and has that important new contact followed you on Twitter yet?

While our current age of digital disruption has opened a cornucopia of new casual creative endeavors, the networked generation’s ability to multitask — and the constant need for instantaneous action — may also be hindering creativity.

Consider this: In a recent global study, three-quarters of respondents said their creative potential is being stifled. More than 60% of American said their education systems squelch creativity, and a majority of total respondents said pressure at work hurts creativity. Yet 80% of respondents worldwide said allowing creativity to flourish is critical to economic growth.

Those numbers come from a recent survey of 5,000 adults in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. The study was commissioned by software giant Adobe, and its results were announced Monday. 


See on mashable.com

1 in 5 Macs Has Malware [STUDY]

by  | http://mashable.com

In a challenge to the prevailing belief that Apple computers are immune to the sort of cyberattacks that plague WIndows-based machines, research firm Sophos has released a study claiming that one in five Macs have malware.

The report, released on Tuesday, is based on a “100,000-strong snapshot” of the millions of Macs that downloaded Sophos’s free Mac antivirus software. The study found that 20% of Macs were carrying one or more instances of Windows malware.

Such malware doesn’t cause symptoms unless the Mac owners run Windows on their machines, but it can be spread to others.

However, this doesn’t appear to be solely a Windows-based problem. The report also found that 2.7% of Macs were infected with Mac OS malware. The majority of such Mac OS malware is composed of fake antivirus attacks, like the recent Flashback botnet. Mac owners can contract such malware by downloading email attachments, visiting rogue websites and unknowingly installing it via their USB drive. The chart below provides a breakdown of the types of Mac OS malware:

To avoid downloading such malware, Sophos recommends running an antivirus program and keeping it up to date, exercising caution about which links you click on, keep software patches current and keeping an eye out for email-based scams.

Thumbnail image courtesy of FlickrAdam Fagen.

4 Secrets of Great Critical Thinkers

See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

The best problem solvers see a complex problem through multiple lenses. Here’s how to become a better strategic thinker and leader yourself.

In 2009, J D Wetherspoon, a chain of more than 800 pubs in the UK, was facing declining sales. Demand for beer had been down for five years. In addition, pricing pressure from super market chains was intense, and higher alcohol taxes further squeezed its already tight margins.

What would you say is the company’s real business problem?

Most people see it as a sales problem and recommend better marketing and promotion. But this reflex may be wrong. In Wetherspoon’s case, the company examined the problem more deeply, looked at data, and framed the situation from multiple angles. In the end, they found the real problem: A subtle but profound shift in consumer preferences. As a result, the chain responded with much bolder actions, transforming all its pubs into family friendly cafes during day hours.

The strategy worked. Wetherspoon saw its earnings per share jump by 7.1 percent in the first year. Two years after this frame shift (2011), it has maintained its earnings per share and, with the investment in this new strategy, its free cash flow is up 12.9 percent. Exploring multiple problem framings, by zooming out rather than in, gets you to the root of issues and more creative solutions.

If you fail to do this, you risk solving the wrong problem.

Ironically, the more experience you have, the harder it will to break from conventional mindsets. Leading companies often get stuck in old business models. Kodak engineers developed an early version of the digital camera, while the rest of the company remained focused on chemical film processing. Microsoft executives doubted the value of online search as a revenue model. Barnes and Noble seemed convinced that people would always want a physical book in their hand.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman attributes shallow framing to people substituting easy questions for hard ones. We often miss the crux of the issue by drawing imaginary connections between what we see and what we expect to see. As our own book Winning Decisions explains, the essence of critical thinking is to slow down this process, learn how to reframe problems, see beyond the familiar and focus on what is unique in any important decision situation. Here are four ways to hone these critical thinking skills:

1. Slow down. Insist on multiple problem definitions before moving towards a choice. This doesn’t need to be a time consuming process – just ask yourself or the group, “How else might we define this problem – what’s the core issue here?” This should become a standard part of every project scoping conversation you have, especially when the issue is new or complex.

2. Break from the pack. Actively work to buck conventional wisdom when facing new challenges or slowly deteriorating situations. Don’t settle for incremental thinking. Design ways to test deep held assumptions about your market. Of course, different is not always better so seek to understand the wisdom inherent in conventional wisdom as well as its blind spots.

3. Encourage disagreement. Debate can foster insight, provided the conflict is among ideas and not among people. Increasingly, we live in a world where people can choose to interact only with those who agree with them, through Facebook friends, favorite news sources, or our social cliques. To escape from these cocoons and echo chambers, approach alternative views with an open mind. Don’t become a prisoner of your own myopic mental model.

4. Engage with mavericks. Find credible mavericks, those lonely voices in the wilderness who many dismiss, and then engage with them. It is not enough to simply be comfortable with disagreement when it happens to occur. Critical thinkers seek out those who truly see the world differently and try hard to understand why. Often you will still disagree with these mavericks, but at times they will reframe your own thinking for the better.

This article was co-authored with John Austin and is second of in a series examining the key components of strategic aptitude: anticipating, thinking critically, interpreting, deciding, aligning, learning. 

See on www.inc.com


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