In between places, dreaming of secret spaces

I have always been in between places, and in between days.

I can certainly relate to what Haruki Murakami’s Danish translator Mette Holm was saying in this sequence in “Dreaming Murakami“.

But I think we need to find a way to translate the moments of our lives into something meaningful.

To embrace and accept everything that we experience, whether good or bad.

It’s the journey, not the destination, and I’m glad I’m traveling through life with my wife Ellen and daughter Sam, one day at a time.

The spirit of the Mediterranean

The Cafe Mediterranean is one of our favorite restaurants, from the time my wife Ellen and I were still dating.

Apart from the great food (my favorite dish is Shish Taouk, the marinated chicken shish kebab), I love their decor. I was fortunate to visit Istanbul almost 18 years ago, and brought home some Iznik tiles, though just small pieces being sold in the Grand Bazaar.

What is the Zen mindset?

Can you look at things as if seeing them for the very first time?

I often say that I’m just being Zen about things, or, maybe more accurately, Zen AF. Just getting through today’s horrible Friday night traffic required being Zen. And I’m not even home yet as I write this.

But what exactly is a Zen mindset?

Here’s what an article in Psychology Today has to say about it:

“With a Zen mindset, you can allow your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions to be what they are without judgment. Circumstances and situations are just occurrences that mean nothing until we place our own subjective ideas and emotions onto them. How we choose to focus our attention shapes how we experience a given situation. We must invite our thoughts and feelings to the forefront so we can learn from their wisdom. This is very different from suppressing them or impulsively reacting to them.”

It’s easier said than done, but a Zen mindset is something we can all aspire to.

So, yes, I’m being Zen. Zen AF, but still Zen.

The magic of Stockholm’s Science Fiction Bokhandeln

All roads lead to Gamla stan (Old Town) whenever my daughter Sam and I accompany my wife Ellen on her business trips to Sweden.

And that always includes a visit to one of our favorite bookstores in the whole world, Science Fiction Bokhandeln at Västerlånggatan (Western Long Street) 48.

Sam and I discovered this awesome bookshop during the first time we accompanied my wife in 2014. Since then, it’s become a tradition for us to go there whenever we’re in Stockholm. This photo is from last year’s trip.

How about you, what are some of your favorite bookstores?

Live in the moment

Things will change.

This is a great reminder. I follow Joshua Becker on Twitter and regularly read his Becoming Minimalist blog, and his post “Everything Could Change Tomorrow” really struck a chord.

“If life is good, count your blessings, be thankful, and enjoy the moments—every single one of them. Slow down, take a deep breath, and savor this season as best you can.

“If, on the other hand, your life is not in a good place, take heart, because change is coming. As the seasons change, so does life. Value love, faith, and hope. Find peace to accept the things you cannot change and courage to change the things you can. But through it all, remember, this is only a season. Things will change, they always do.”

Whether good or bad things are happening, let’s remember to live in the moment. I know, it’s also a hard lesson for me to learn, but it’s something we have to accept.

Things will change.

Why great companies fail to innovate

Clayton Christensen’sThe Innovator’s Dilemma” is arguably the most important and influential book on innovation.

Contrary to what some of us might believe, when market leaders fail, it isn’t necessarily because these companies are badly managed. The irony is that more often than not, the same sound management principles that lead to an incumbent company’s success are what cause it to fail in the face of disruptive technologies.

Mainstream organizations are great when it comes to creating sustaining innovations — incremental improvements to existing products and processes — but fail miserably in embracing disruptive innovations.

As Christensen put it:

 “What this implies at a deeper level is that many of what are now widely accepted principles of good management are, in fact, only situationally appropriate. There are times at which it is right not to listen to customers, right to invest in developing lower-performance products that promise lower margins, and right to aggressively pursue small, rather than substantial, markets.” 

“The Innovator’s Dilemma” seems to explain why it’s impossible for big companies to “think like a startup”. The better route seems to be to spin off a smaller company from the mainstream organization, so that it will not be constrained by the processes and values of the incumbent. This would explain the trend of conglomerates spinning off their own startups focused on disruptive innovations and new markets.

What other books on innovation would you recommend?

UFC 234: Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva passes the torch to Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya

What a fight! Undefeated Nigerian-New Zealander Israel ”The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, 29, who got into mixed martial arts because he idolized Anderson “The Spider” Silva, 43, will be a future UFC middleweight champion.

I’m a longtime fan of The Spider, and I was so afraid to watch this fight, which became the main event in UFC 234. I knew it was likely to be painful, and that everyone expected Adesanya to destroy his idol, who came into this fight as the huge underdog. But I still watched and rooted for Anderson.

What can I say? The Spider truly is one of the greatest of all time.

While a lot older and a lot slower, Silva still managed to bullet time, dodge Adesanya’s deadly kicks, and even showboat by keeping his guard down. As the announcers said, it was like a mirror match between two deadly and flamboyant strikers.

And what a show of respect between the two when the fight ended and they embraced.

Silva: You the man.

Adesanya: You’ve been doing this for a long time. UFC 90. I still remember the DVDs, bro. I’ve been watching you for a long time.

The torch has been passed. The Spider will always be my favorite, but I’m looking forward to seeing Adesanya as the future king of the UFC middleweight division that Anderson ruled for years.

Adesanya beat his idol, and took an important step in his own journey to becoming a legend.

As Adesanya said in his post-fight interview: “This is crazy. This is like, for a kid just to play, you know if I’m playing basketball, to play against Michael Jordan. This is it for me.”

Why we all need to hit refresh

While I’m a huge fan of Steve Jobs, I’ll be the first to admit that Bill Gates and Microsoft have made a bigger impact on computing and in changing the world than Apple.

Which is why I’m happy that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has succeeded in reinventing Microsoft and helping it rediscover its soul.

Hit Refresh” is the ninth book I’ve finished this year. Nadella shares his insights on leadership, culture, and technology as he talks about his journey from India to America, the ongoing transformation of Microsoft, and the ways mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing will reshape human society.

“Democratizing AI means enabling every person and every organization to dream about and create amazing AI solutions that serve their specific needs. It’s analogous to the democratization that movable type and the printing press created. It’s estimated that in the 1450s there were only about thirty thousand books in Europe—each one handcrafted by someone working in a monastery. The Gutenberg Bible was the first book produced using movable type technology, and within fifty years the number of books grew to an estimated 12 million, unleashing a renaissance in learning, science, and the arts.”

A truly inspiring book. May we all hit refresh and rediscover our own purpose in life.