Category Archives: cool stuff

Hey! Who Makes Your Furniture?

Not a question that you get asked every day. Indeed, not a question that you expect at all!

And yet, we might consider the question for a moment. The things in our home are among our most personal possessions. They express who we are. Our personalities and our values. And while they are just “things”,, we tend to bond with those things. At least I do.

So why do we not pay close attention to who makes the things we bring into our homes? Why would we accept “store bought” as the best option?. Why would we even think about “convenience” as a factor in our furniture shopping? Why indeed.

What if there was a person in your home town who would come over to your home, talk with you about the types of things you want, and then make them for you? Better yet, what if the things that he or she made were eco-friendly. Sustainable and local. And what if they were not that expensive?

An interesting proposition. Here in Tartu, I have that kind of relationship with a young guy who makes stuff for my home. He has made a custom fitted bookshelf, and just yesterday delivered a custom made shoe shelf. Each is made from re-purposed wood. I love them both and already thinking about what’s next. Not only that, with my shoes now properly displayed, I found myself this morning wanting to go downstairs to polish them. Errr … mea culpa, this is not something I would normally do.

This is a really great thing for me, and I think for our town. That is why I began to think this morning (over coffee), why doesn’t everyone have a relationship like that one?

Good question.

Titanic Thompson and the Love Live of Orson Wells

I did not expect much from the “last interview” by Merv Griffin of Orson Wells.  But WOW!

First, before you watch the video, be ready to come back to this link to find out more about “Titanic Thompson”. Wells talks about him, and you will want to learn more. Click on the link when you do and you will not be disappointed.

So — on to the the interview! Enjoy with a glass of pinot noir. That is what I did – Mud Creek, to be more precise!

The Bespoke Travel Jacket

This is not for everyone. But, it may be for you. Here is the pitch

Every jet-setting gentleman should have a good blazer to set the tone for business meetings, fancy dinners, or spontaneous upgrades. A great travel jacket should look and feel good in any situation — hauling through the airport and seated for hours on the plane included. The best kind of jacket holds its shape for hours without creasing or causing you to overheat. It fits right, giving you a full range of motion while stowing luggage in the overhead bin.

And the best jacket will (1) be made from great material – the best, and (2) fit you perfectly.

That means bespoke – custom made for you. And I suspect that this has some appeal to guys who have a bit of cash and who want that special look and feel.

Here is your link from Fathom. Go for it!

It was lunchtime, I was alone in Yorkshire and …

How often does one find oneself alone in Yorkshire?

If you are  Leeds, that might not be such a bad thing!

Grade Dent (who writes amusing restaurant reviews for The Guardian) tells us what she did.

She went to Kirkgate Market

Image result for Kirkgate Market  Leeds

And there, she spent quite a bit of time at The Owl. a bar/restaurant that she reviews.

Image result for Kirkgate Market  The Owl Leeds

Hmmm … Leeds?  It is nearly 4 hours from London in a straight shot north. And according to Grace, folks in Leeds are not unhappy to be that far away.

Leeds is currently hiding in plain sight as Britain’s best city. They won’t thank me for telling you that, though. People enjoying a low-key, Saturday mooch in the gloriously preserved, tastefully re-loved Leeds Kirkgate Market, and stopping for a quick beer and plate of Lindisfarne oysters at The Owl, do not wish for a million cool-hunters from down south.

BTW, Leeds does have quite a thing going on with a number of food and beverage festivals. A cocktail festival? Count me in!


A Global Market Based on Questions?

We live in an era that enjoys amazing levels of prosperity. Errr … when compared to what our forebears enjoyed.

Image result for caveman prosperity

Part of the reason is that we take advantage of resources that we find all around the world to build, market, distribute, and consume products and services. It’s great!

Image result for global marketing

But think about it. What is the real value of these products and services? Some are essentials. Food. Shelter. Transportation. But even there, our consumption patterns are not based on meeting a need. If they were, our products would be strictly functional.

Image result for brown bag lunch

And they are not!

Image result for luxury lunch

In fact, the value proposition that firms make to us is to meet our desires. Or put another way, to meet the desires that we are persuaded to adopt.

Do you really “need” or even “want” that new Porsche?

Image result for amazing porsche

From this perspective, the global economy is based on asserted ANSWERS to the question, what do we want.

So here is a question. Why can’t we formulate our questions ourselves, and transmit them back to producers? Why doesn’t isn’t the global economy DRIVEN by what we say, rather than what we are told?

Good question. I call this orientation, reverse marketing. instead of marketing a given product or service to customers to purchase, it is about marketing questions back to producers in order to get upgrades on what we say we want.

In other words, producers should buy our questions, before they sell us their junk.

Is this pie in the sky? Could be. But if you are sitting in this cafe in Hanoi,

Image result for Hanoi cafes

And need something to distract you, think about it!

Have You Hugged a Journalist today?

One of the most pernicious things Donald Trump has inserted into our political dialog is that the media cannot be trusted. Only he can be trusted.

This is Orwellian. And it is stupid. I am not sure which aspect of it I dislike more.

It is stupid because no human on this planet can make this claim. We are all limited in our abilities to understand what is going on around us. We rely on tools, such as scientific method, to get us a bit more in tune with reality. But as Feynman and others have pointed out, this tool is also imperfect and limited. So for a person — why by the way knows nothing about science — to say “trust me because I am really smart” is, shall we say, a non-starter.

As bad, Trump attacks journalists whenever they criticize him. Even journalists at Fox. This is part of his “no holds barred” approach to politics. To be the biggest beast in the jungle. And it was the way kings and dictators seize power.

Our main defense against this is journalism. People who are not afraid to write about power and its abuses from the outside perspective. People who do not have a political agenda of their own. They give that up in order to find more credible avenues to explore what is happening and share what they find out.

So hug a journalist! Or back the “Enemy” kickstarter. Fred Wilson did.