Reading List 6

Still going strong.

June, 2015

The Light of the World: A Memoir (Elizabeth Alexander) - A beautifully written punch to the gut.

What Is Code? (Paul Ford) - Technically it's a magazine/online article, but clocking in at nearly 40,000 words, it deserves inclusion here. It's a fine article with mountains of knowledge, but I personally felt a little let down after all the hype surrounding its release.

Between Here and the Yellow Sea (Nic Pizzolatto) - The best and absolute worst of Pizzolatto is on display.

Bullet in the Brain (Tobias Wolff) - This short story shows you how powerful a few well written words can be.

Thoughts on Design (Paul Rand) - I need to read this a second time to fully absorb it.

Currently reading

The Ghost Network (Catie Disabato)

On Intelligence (Jeff Hawkins & Sandra Blakeslee)

Previously

One /Two / Three / Four / Five

Setting a positive culture

This was originally published on Medium, in response to Please Don’t Applaud Apple For Putting Women Onstage.

Going out of one’s way to praise Apple’s long overdue display of inclusiveness is on par with praising a toddler for picking up the Cheerios they threw on the floor (though most parents will agree — that’s something you have to do from time and time). As a black man who worked hard for a very long time to get a job in tech, I can say without a doubt that we have a long way to go.

But I believe setting a positive example and environment for the generation to follow includes approaching these difficult situations positively, i.e., let’s talk about how we can continue to make things better, rather than just about how things are broken.

While Apple is a worthy target of criticism for its lack of diversity, why aren’t we also concerned with Google, Facebook, Microsoft, or Amazon? All equally powerful and influential companies; all overwhelmingly white and male. Yet, Google’s training initiatives are pointed out as something they’re doing that Apple isn’t (at least publicly), disregarding the fact that Google’s diversity numbers haven’t really improved in the last year.

Three months ago, Apple committed $50 million to increasing diversity.

Criticism is good, healthy, and in this case more than deserved. I may be alone, but I’d like to consider this from a different angle — taking another step on the path to a new norm. Along the way, I’d like to develop a culture where it’s acceptable to celebrate small victories.

Let's continue fighting for those small victories.

Why I share all my secrets

Billionaire investor Chris Sacca, whose investments include Twitter, Kickstarter, and Instagram among others, was recently on Tim Ferriss' podcast, The Tim Ferris Show.

He brought up a good point about why he openly shares his investing strategies and secrets. It really underscored why I share as much as I have about freelance work and filmmaking here on my blog, culminating in my 11,000-word essay on Medium, The Little Freelance Handbook.

You can listen to the podcast here, but to paraphrase Chris' reasoning:

Sharing secrets or strategies only takes you so far. It requires execution to actually have success with those tips. If you don't have the passion, or frankly, the skill to compete, then it doesn't matter how much I share. But if you do, and the advice given helps you even just a little bit, you'll be an ally for life.

EVERYDAY

No short film has touched me as much as Gustav Johansson's EVERYDAY.

I've come back to this short over and over this past year. It's a reminder of so many things to me: To be present, to enjoy what life has given you, but also to not waste time and to tirelessly chase the things you want. 

To my surprise, sometime last year I came across a post on Instagram featuring a picture with the EVERYDAY poster hung on the wall. I asked the person where they purchased it, but never got an answer.

Thankfully, I decided to check and see who did the title design for the short, in hopes that they were also selling the print. It turned out to be work from a fantastic designer based in Stockholm, Sweden by the name of Albin HolmqvistI couldn't buy a print fast enough.

After receiving my package, complete with Swedish stamps on the poster tube, I purchased a custom frame from Frames By Mail because this didn't just deserve any old frame. It's not hanging on my wall at the moment because we'll be moving soon, but it'll be prominently displayed in our new place as a reminder to value everyday.