"Understand" - A short story by Ted Chiang
This is one of my favorite, most thought-provoking short stories I've ever read. It's beautiful and powerful, gets you thinking more, it's wildly entertaining, it's... I simply can't praise it enough.
A big, big thanks to my friend Jay Winder for sharing that with me. His newest company is MakeLeaps, which makes better invoicing for small businesses. They have all kinds of demos and free consultations and things, so you probably ought to check it out if you're running a small business. Here's the MakeLeaps Blog as well, some good thoughts on there.
If you like this blog, I'd strongly encourage you to go read Understand ASAP. It's not too long, and might well be the best short story you read in years.
I'm pretty annoyed because it's been taken down from that site. I was actually just now searching for it to link it to a friend, and your blog post is in the search results. Small world.
Still, I've GOTTA find it somewhere.
Thanks again for introducing me to this. What a memorable story.
One of my favorite sci-fi shorts:
The Death of Richard Dawkins by Steve Yegge
The end is deeply depressing, but I feel better because he can't have been a true superintelligence - I was practically screaming "considering the attack makes you vulnerable" the entire paragraph.
Thank you for posting this!! Very interesting, I am going to read it again later to see what else I pick up on the second run.
A few of my friends - three friends, to be exact - mentioned to me that I write a heck of a lot on here and they're impressed. I have convinced the ultra-smart Sami Baqai to start blogging, and he just got the holy-shit-this-is-hard-I'm-overwhelmed feeling. Ah, yes, I have been there Sami. Perhaps I can share some thoughts.
First and foremost, I am a huge devotee of the Equal-Odds Rule. As far as I know, I'm the only person talking about it outside of academia. This Amazon review covers it pretty well:
The equal-odds rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist's average publication. In other words, those scientists who create publications with the most impact, also create publications with the least impact, and when great publications that make a huge impact are created, it is just a result of "trying" enough times. This is an indication that chance plays a larger role in scientific creativity than previously theorized.
So I read that, and I'm like - whoa. You know Neo in the Matrix? Whoa.
If you want to make excellent stuff, you need to make a lot of stuff.
Picture is from this article on the cover of The Wall Street Journal's Marketplace section in 2004. Also see my more recent blog post with a video demonstrating how I find names & compose specific emails that work to get reporters' interest
In this post I'll spill the beans and tell you how I get really good press in outlets like TechCrunch, Mashable, CNET, CNN, CNBC, CSPAN, ABC, the WSJ (cover of Marketplace 7/04), Forbes, TechMeme, FastCompany, BBC, and literally hundreds of other publications.
Nothing I'm going to say here is so revolutionary that others couldn't figure it out yourself, but somehow I've figured out the details to make my formula work, and the magic really is in the details.
First off, let's think about what a reporter's daily life is like. Most reporters, from what they tell me, get several hundred emails a day. Many of those emails are from PR people spinning their latest client. So already it's hard to get their attention. And if you're just another one of those PR people, forget about it.