John Y’s Musings from the Middle: A Growth Mindset

Want to have a brighter future?
Here’s how.
Have a “Growth Mindset” –as opposed to a “Fixed Mindset.”Mindset is a simple idea discovered by Stanford professor, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., in decades of research on motivation, achievement, and success.
Mindsets are beliefs individuals hold about their most basic qualities and abilities.In a Growth Mindset, people believe they can develop their brain, abilities, and talent.
This view creates a love for learning, a drive for growth and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishments.jyb_musingsOn the contrary, people with a Fixed Mindset believe their basic qualities, such as intelligence and abilities are fixed, and can’t be developed.

They also believe that talent alone creates success, and see effort as a sign of weakness rather than as a positive element of life needed to reach one’s full potential.

The diagram above shows how people with different views of intelligence behave in different situations.

(Thanks to Lee H. Baucom for teaching me about this theory and doing it in such a memorable and meaningful way).

Jason Grill: Recovering Politician Turns Sockbroker

From Jason’s newest venture: Sock 101

seven_buck_socks_02SOCK 101

How’s your sock cred?  Step it up for $7.

Sock 101 exists to enhance the style, appeal, and success of young professionals through colorful, yet professional and stylish socks.

Socks you say? Yes, socks. Our question…Why not socks? Socks are no longer your grandfather’s boring Gold Toe’s. The idea that your socks should match your pants is long gone! Socks are now a fun accessory that you can use to spruce up your wardrobe and appearance while remaining professional.  Socks, like ties, can add color and style to any outfit.
Being the self-proclaimed fashionable young professionals we are, we noticed an opportunity that such a small accessory as socks had in the market. Even President George H.W. Bush was quoted in an interview saying, “I’m a sock man!” We are sock men ourselves. We believe in a new sock style.
There was one significant problem, we were tired of paying between $12 and $25 for a nice pair of socks. We knew there had to be a better way. We started with a question…Could we make high quality, high fashion, colorful, yet professional socks and sell them for $7?
It turns out, we could. Without any real experience in the fashion business, but with passion and ideas, we began work on Sock 101. We know what we wanted and now the product is here.
Three “Sockpreneurs” coming together. One an entrepreneur, one an attorney and marketing strategist and one an attorney and media man.
One man was responsible for handling the manufacture. One man was responsible for the marketing and PR. One man was responsible for our website and operations. All helped build the designs. To say the least, it was a learning experience and a total blast! Overall, we were very pleased with the result. Now, we hope you are too!
We design our own colorful yet professional and stylish socks, and sell them for only $7 each. That’s right, seven bucks for a great pair of socks. We ship our socks in 24 hours and there is a flat rate shipping price of $5.95 no matter how many socks you buy. Oh yeh we also have a sock of the month club, a six pack and sock gift cards.
Get noticed. Look Great. Join us in crossing your legs, raising your pant leg and showing off your Sock 101’s!

Great Set of Maps About Israel/Palestine

John Y. Brown, III: Lincoln and the Power of Story

Lincoln and the power of story–and humor. And a lesson in leadership.

Throughout the movie Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis, we are treated (as we should be) to multiple instances of Lincoln entangled in a tense and threatening situation only to hear him start his response with a story. The stories Lincoln tells are usually pithy, homespun, humorous and wise. They each sound at times like an Aesop’s fable all dressed up in grown up clothing. And often-times don’t even seem to be on point with the topic at hand. But work nonetheless.

This story-telling tic, or device, of Lincoln’s worked profoundly well for him. And for our nation.

The stories –and the time it took to tell them–communicated something much more important than an answer to the question posed. Which Lincoln would eventually get to.

First, the story was a distraction which defused an already overly tense situation. But the time Lincoln had finished his story, others present had had time to broaden their perspective and return to the ability to be reasonable rather than just react hastily. And the humorous punchline only helped punctuate this for the president.

JYB3Second, it brought everyone in the room together on an unrelated matter. Sure, everyone may be divided by the national conundrum they were debating, but for a few brief moments they were reminded that there was more than united than divided them by laughing together at a commonplace story. And if they could do that, perhaps they could agree on bigger issues. At least, I believe, that was the subconscious message achieved by Lincoln.

Three, Lincoln would re-establish through his story that he was “one of them” –just an ordinary fella not a slick, manipulative, self-serving politician. He could be trusted and was a person of goodwill trying to solve a thorny problem for reasons beyond merely self-interest. Like his familiar stories. He put his audience at ease with him and the process they were engaged with. 

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John Y. Brown, III: Lincoln and the Power of Story

Artur Davis: Obama’s “Us Versus Them” Speech

The consensus about Barack Obama’s inaugural address is right. It is the most fulsome presidential defense of liberalism we have heard since 1965, and the most programmatically specific inaugural speech since the thirties. This was also the rhetoric of a partisan who believes his opponents are losers and fools, who won’t have much threat left in them ten years from now.

But before liberals feel too deep a thrill, they should consider the following proposition: Obama’s words will be paired with a second term resume that could be the thinnest since Richard Nixon. Given the alignment in the House, and the number of Red State Democratic senators on the ballot in 2014, there is no viable chance Obama can actually enact a single item on the liberal wish list. Not one, from an assault weapons ban to an overhaul of corporate deductions, to cap and trade, to comprehensive immigration reform, to a government financed infrastructure plan, to a recalibrated war on poverty, to campaign finance reform.

davis_artur-11So, Obama Part 2 is more about the tactical work of isolating conservatives than classic presidential legacy building: in other words, not so different from the stalemate of the second half of Obama’s first term. Of course, for liberals, the president’s middling results have had the perverse consequence of providing a rallying cry without a record of accomplishments that are susceptible to backfire (the backlash at Obamacare is a window into how vulnerable Obama might have been if he had managed to pass legislation on immigration or climate change).

This entirely unpredictable element–that gridlock has spared Democrats the consequences of their policies floundering–plus shifting demographics which Republicans have struggled to adjust to, have left an altered political landscape. If not quite the liberal dawn that some Democrats are prematurely celebrating (as they did four years ago), the terrain is changed enough that major stretches of Obama’s speech already seem more boilerplate than visionary.

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Artur Davis: Obama’s “Us Versus Them” Speech

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook and Dopamine

Facebook and the levels of dopamine hits.

It’s a good feeling when a friend request on Facebook gets “accepted.” Of course, we are adults and perhaps shouldn’t acknowledge the affirmation rush we feel, but it happens and is pleasing.

But what about the “delayed acceptance” of a friend request?

This gets complicated. The “dopamine factor” (we’ll call it) is reduced the more time that passes before we are notified of the big “accept.”

A week delay is probably only about a 20% reduction in the dopamine delivery. It’s possible this were really busy or is just now checking Facebook for new friend requests. But the chances are they saw the request from you 5 days ago and weren’t excited enough about it to immediately accept but knew they would eventually accept when “other” friend requests came in and they could kill 5 birds with one round of accepts, so to speak.

jyb_musingsA month delay, is concerning and delivers only about 40% of the dopamine an immediate accept produces. In this case, it’s likely the person decided not to accept you but then in the intervening weeks realized they needed to ask you for a favor or remembered you know someone important to them and don’t want you saying bad things about them for not accepting you on Facebook. Hence, the month delayed “accept.” The reason this is 40% and not lower is we know going in these people aren’t crazy about us and getting an accept in the first place is a bigger surprise, increasing the dopamine punch.

6 months or longer. It delivers about 20% of the maximum dopamine surge. Sure it’s offensive to know it took 6 months for someone to finally think of something redeeming enough about you to “accept” but the “relief factor” of knowing they eventually did come up with some reason to accept is worth a 20% hit. In fact, we are so relieved we don’t even need to know what the redeeming factor about us is. Just that there is one at all (for these individuals) is good enough.

1 year and 9 months? This is a tough one to explain. And is what got me thinking about this topic in the first place tonight. I haven’t figured it out yet. I’ll say a 25% dopamine burst. These are people you had written you off as undeserving of a friend accept. And about 639 days passed before they changed their mind…..and you have come back from the social dead to them, figuratively speaking. And coming back from death from anything is worth at least 25% of the maximum dopamine burst. I’m low-balling this one. ; )

Matt & Erica Chua: He Said-She Said — Required Road Reading

Travel itself is enlightening, but we learn just as much by the books we read.  Since our last book report in 2012, we’ve continued reading opportunistically…reading whatever we find left by other travelers.  While this has allowed us to read a variety of books, this year we purchased several titles as well.  Here are our favorite books of late and what we learned.


While wandering the aisles in a Kolkota, India bookstore this year I had a revelation: I should be using this period of my life to study and practice new skills.  Then and there I committed to reading several “self-help” books that I can’t recommend highly enough.

How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie).  I saw this title on my mother’s bookshelf throughout my childhood.  I always thought it was some corny sales book that focused on deception and smooth-talking.  Then the monk at our 10-silent meditation retreat told us it was “Buddhism for real life” and how shocked he was that it contained so many valuable lessons.  I think anyone who can get over the title will be impressed by the lessons.

How to Talk to Anyone (Lowndes).  The 92 tips in this book help people break into conversations, revive failing conversations, and get people that you converse with to leave with a positive impression.  This book is much like Carnegie’s above, but more practical.  Having been a wallflower at too many events, the first few lessons I turned to interested me so much I bought the book.  It was an investment that will pay dividends throughout life.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Kiyosaki).  The seminal personal finance book I’ve read many parts, but never the whole book.  I loved the aggressive “if I can do it you can too” tone of the book along with the practical lessons.  He put to paper many of the lessons I’ve learned from multi-millionaire mentors I’ve had in my career that taught me to focus on investment cashflow over ordinary income.

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Matt & Erica Chua: He Said-She Said — Required Road Reading

Saul Kaplan: Dear Avis, Please Don’t Screw Up Zipcar

Dear Avis: If you want to win big with the Zipcar acquisition you will have to try harder.

Resist the temptation to impose your core car rental business model on the upstart transformer. Zipcar is your sandbox to scale a car-sharing model with potential to disrupt the automotive and car rental industry. Stop with the number two shtick, Zipcar can help Avis become a market maker instead of a share taker. Your main competitor, Hertz, is a share-taker demonstrated by its recent acquisition of Dollar Thrifty. Your opportunity is tremendous but throw away the classic post-merger integration playbook. Here are five ways to do that:

It isn’t about Avis. It’s about Zipcar

Saul KaplanChange your lens. It isn’t about you. Zipsters aren’t your current customers. Your business model, renting cars by the day or week, isn’t designed for Zipsters. Start by understanding their experience and view the world through the lens of Zipcar’s business model, which provides members with access by the hour to a network of shared cars. You aren’t buying a platform to improve the Avis business model. You are buying a new business model that will benefit from access to Avis capabilities. ZipCar was struggling to scale its model and Avis can help. This is about enabling more Zipsters and improving their car sharing experience.

Innovate Through A Connected Adjacency
Scaling Zipcar without suffocating its nascent business model will require both autonomy as well as access to resources and capabilities from the core. Set Zipcar up as a sand box adjacent to the core. Give it plenty of room to operate independently. The more disruptive the new model the more line-executives from the core will try to undermine its success. Autonomy doesn’t mean Zipcar should operate in isolation to the core. It’s imperative to build strong connections so that people, ideas and capabilities can flow in both directions. This tricky balance requires significant CEO involvement to run interference on what will be many inevitable conflicts and tension points.

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Saul Kaplan: Dear Avis, Please Don’t Screw Up Zipcar

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You don’t have to be a Frankfort statehouse junkie to appreciate this free service — The RP’s KY Political Brief provides you with a one-stop shop for all of the latest news, commentary and analysis about what could be the hottest 2014 campaign in the country: the re-election attempt by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who looks like he will face the challenge of his career from Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.  And The RP’s KY Political Brief is your best place to find all of the latest stories about Tea Party favorite (and potential 2016 presidential candidate) Rand Paul.

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KakiemugbyjacksmithYour tour director is former editor of The Kentucky Enquirer, Kakie Urch, who took over for founding editor Bradford Queen. She is currently an assistant professor of multimedia at University of Kentucky in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. Kakie also served as assistant managing editor of The Kentucky Post and as assistant managing editor at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif. In 2011, Kakie served as a professor-in-residence on “The Caucuses” site of the Des Moines Register for coverage of the Iowa Caucuses.

In these roles, she had the honor of editing some of the best political reporters in Kentucky and had responsibility for Washington, Frankfort and Sacramento bureau coverage for the newspapers and their Web sites. Her favorite political ad of all time is the Kentucky radio spot from an 1980s campaign that said “Just because you sit in the garage for 10 years, that don’t make you a Buick.”

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The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Immigration

There’s a new CNN poll out that was taken about week before his inauguration. For that poll, researchers at research firm ORC International asked respondents their opinions on a number of President Obama’s 2nd term objectives, including climate change, healthcare, and immigration. Some of the poll’s results are entirely unsurprising: voters are split on whether climate change is anthropogenic, with Republicans more skeptical than Democrats, that sort of thing. But the immigration responses are worth examining. By a 10-point margin (53%-43%), Americans favor policies that  focus on providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, rather than deporting them, a major change from a year ago when voters favored deportation 55-42.

This is big.

As Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick (both, I should note, prominent conservatives) point out in a Wall Street Journal editorial this morning, the notion that illegal immigrants should “wait in line” is not only untenable, but wildly inaccurate. There is, quite simply, no mechanism for such undocumented workers to have come into this country in the first place. At the risk of sounding too much like a cliche, this is a huge problem for Republicans. To the party’s credit, there are some leaders working to fix that problem, most notably Cuban-American Senator Maro Rubio. His proposal, however, focuses on high-skill visas, to some extent at the detriment of lower-skilled workers (it seems more than a tad unrealistic to expect someone who has been laboring in such a position to be able to pay fees, let alone take time off from work to do community service).

This sort of mindset, one that focuses on punishment (albeit, with a more positive outcome than, say, Jim Sensenbrenner’s proposals) is the real problem for the Republican Part. That is not to say that a wholesale embrace of the Democratic strategy is the best route for the GOP (as Ruben Navarrette points out, the DREAM Act and its proponents have their own issues). Rather, balance and a Buckley-esque acquiescence to reality is the key here, and that is what this WWG set out to formulate and communicate.

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