Good advice for engineers entering the workforce; in particular....

Strive to help people.  It is the right thing to do, and people are keenly aware of who have in the past given them or theirs favors.  If you ever can’t help someone but know someone who can, pass them to the appropriate person with a recommendation.  If you do this right, two people will be happy with you and favoritably disposed to helping you out in the future.

Also: communication is a very important professional skill. It's a long read (as far as the Internet is concerned), but worth it.

"The best ideas will win on the Internet [...] they don't have to be served up w an American flag" via @chicagotribune

This summer, a few months after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian flew to Cairo, courtesy of the U.S. State Department. His assignment was to mentor Egyptian entrepreneurs.

One startup he advised, Bey2ollak, is an iPhone app that allows users to report on and get Cairo traffic conditions, which Ohanian called "appalling." (The government doesn't provide real-time traffic data.) Another, Inkezny, searches for nearby hospitals, ranks them by quality and then, with the push of a button, puts a call through to the hospital to request an ambulance. ("There's no real effective 911 system in Egypt," Ohanian said.)

Ohanian, 28, said he found himself answering the same questions in Egypt that he would have been asked at UCLA or MIT, and in English too. "I'm convinced the best ideas will win on the Internet, as long as it's a free Internet. … They don't have to be served up with an American flag," he said.

Sorry for the late post. I missed this article previewing one of my talks for Chicago Ideas Week. Thanks, Melissa!

Looks like @Portfolio is digging the GCal/hipmunk integration! (Thanks!)

Today however, Hipmunk just took a burst of wind beneath its furry little wings (arms). The search engine, which already hosted such features as an “Agony” search filter, allowing you to search for the best possible combination of price, duration, and number of stops, can now dialogue directly with your personal calendar to ensure there are no conflicts. Better yet, by clicking the “Conflict” button, you won’t even see the flights conflicting with existing events.

Because you deserve the best hotel & flight search! even got a shoutout in the @NYTimes Letters to the Editor (thanks, Rebecca!)

To the Editor: Regarding “Fine-Tuning Your Flight Search” (Oct. 16), I love After a few terrible layovers, the “sort by agony” option, plus a visual depiction of just how long those layovers are, is awesome. In my dreams, one of these engines integrates with so that when I go to buy my tickets, a window automatically opens with the right seating map to show me where the best seats are.


Who You Are

We are players in a game we don’t understand. Most of our own thinking is below awareness. Fifty years ago, people may have assumed we are captains of our own ships, but, in fact, our behavior is often aroused by context in ways we can’t see. Our biases frequently cause us to want the wrong things. Our perceptions and memories are slippery, especially about our own mental states. Our free will is bounded. We have much less control over ourselves than we thought.

We Can All Become Job Creators (@NYTimes)

In late August, Schultz invited a handful of employees to his home. He told them that they were not there to discuss Starbucks business. “Let’s try to take a big swing at job creation that will be unprecedented and unorthodox,” he said. The meeting went well into the evening. Schultz served pizza.

Here’s the idea they came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee. Those who gave $5 or more would get a red-white-and-blue wristband, which Schultz labeled “Indivisible.” “We are hoping it will bring back pride in the American dream,” he says. The tag line will read: “Americans Helping Americans.”

Very interesting...

Portrait of a Badass

I start at the Mexico Olympics of 1968. Kipchoge ‘Kip’ Keino, aged 28, was entered in three events, the 10,000, 5,000 and 1,500 metres, something out of the question nowadays.

He was unwell throughout the Games; indeed the German team doctor believed he had gallstones, and that running would endanger him. Run he did, however, and in the 10,000 metres, he was in the lead with a lap to go, when he collapsed, staggering off the track. The race was won by fellow Kenyan Naftali Temu, who thus became the first from his nation ever to win Olympic Gold. Kip was determined to finish, and though disqualified already for leaving the track, got to his feet and completed the distance.

Four days later, Kip was in action again and he took Olympic silver in the 5,000 metres, narrowly losing out in a thrilling finish. He qualified for the final of the 1,500 metres, but still unwell, he was put to bed and told not to run again. On the day of the final, he stayed in bed, but about an hour before the race, he got up, took his kit, and boarded a bus, determined to take part, even if it killed him.  The bus became stuck in traffic, so Kip, already late, alighted and ran two miles to the stadium, just in time to register for the race.

His main rival, Jim Ryun, undefeated for three years, possessed a renowned finish. Kip countered this by setting a searing pace from the start, such that he burned off all opposition, somehow holding form to the finish to win his first Olympic gold in a new Olympic record time, with Ryun 20 metres back in second place. The doctor took Kip back to Germany straight after the Games and removed the gall stones.