Home Soon

I am on my way home tomorrow from NYC.

It has been a great trip.

I have been able to meet Jory, Phoebe, and Arthur in person.

Nothing can replace meeting people in the flesh.

A Jury of Your Peers

“Whenever Merck was up there, it was like wah, wah, wah, ” said juror John Ostrom, imitating the sounds of Charlie Brown’s teacher makes in the television cartoon. “We didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.”

Merck Loss Jolts Drug Giant, WSJ, 8/22/05

This quote really concerns me. The cornerstone of Merck’s case was that the death of Robert Ernst was caused from arrhythmia, not a heart attack. Vioxx has been shown to cause problems with blood clotting, but there is not been any association with irregular hearbeats. Instead, the jury chose to focus on a potential coverup of concerns about the drug.

I know that communication requires two parties – one transmitting and one receiving. It is clearly possible that the lawyers did not structure message for the audience (the jury). What I am more concerned about is a jury ignoring scientific evidence, because they don’t understand it. They deliberated on the case for a total of one hour.

Busy Two Weeks

Things are a little busy.

I was in NYC for the Book Expo America from Thursday through Sunday. I was with Jack representing 800-CEO-READ.

Yesterday, I had a big pitch with a local client.

This coming weekend, I am going to Chicago for the How Design Conference.

We also have a ton going on with More Space. I know it has been quiet, but you can expect to see alot in the next month.

More soon…

Comments Up

Because of the system problems I had last week, comments are not up and working. Sorry about that. We are working on it. Feel free to drop me a note.

It seems they are working. I updated to MT3.16, so bear with some possible growing pains

Tools of the Trade

You don’t hear people talk much about what makes a good physical environment for doing business. And I mean everything from the chair you sit in to the lighting over your desk. I think it also includes things like the stapler you use and whether or not you have photos of the family.

I posted a couple of posts on the subject over on the BizLinkBlog. Kevin Kelly had great post on how to create marker boards walls and Mike at Rohndesign talks about his obsession with pens (the comments show it isn’t just him).

So here is the potential meme:

Describe your office however you like. What the room like? What furniture do you have? What is sitting on your desk? What works and what doesn’t. I think we take for granted this space that we spend alot of time in.

Here is my shot at it:

I work out of my house. My office is on the first floor of our home. It has a large window looking out onto the front yard. The opposite wall has a built-in bookcase nearly full (big surprise). The carpet is the same beige as most of the house and the walls are white. The final object of note is the large orange recliner in the corner where my black lab sleeps most of the day.

We have three tables that make up the work surfaces in the room. There is one in the middle of the room that I work from. It is covered with galleys, audiobooks (I just got a huge box from Random House), and magazines. The space left is just enough for my Powerbook and wireless mouse. I know I need to get a handle on the clutter.

The other two tables sit behind me in an L-shape. They hold three printers, the old PC, and more books, magazines and bills. I am thinking about removing two tables from the room because they pretty much act as clutter accumulators.

Outside of stamps and envelopes, I don’t use much else. I keep a pen and notebook handy for taking notes on calls and keeps to-dos, but I am inconsistent with their use. The next personal book I am going to read is Getting Things Done. Too many people are talking about it to not check it out and try it out.

What is your space like?

NBC’s The Office or The Importance of Telling a Good Story

I think telling good story is hard. Robots was bad because it was a poorly told story.

NBC’s version of The Office I think is going to have the same problems. It was really hard to watch tonight. I know part of it is because I just got done watching the original. They are using alot of the material from the BBC version.

I really didn’t laugh. As I was watching, I kept thinking there was no appreciation for timing of the jokes. The mock-doc is too produced. Too many tight shots were you miss how the other characters are reacting. They left no time for the romance to develop between Tim and Dawn. I seem to remember the first episode was pretty much David and in the new show they are too concerned about involving the whole cast right away.

Just watch this clip. You’ll know why the original is brilliant.

I beg you to watch the original before you get turned off to the whole thing. I don’t want you to say to yourself, “I don’t know why everyone thinks this is so funny.”

Enough said.

Your Morning Quote

“The average person puts only 25% of his energy into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.”

-Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist and philanthropist

[via zaadz]

Zach Braff on Writing

This is off the very popular Garden State Blog by actor Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State):

So, first of all- thank you all from all over the world for all the wonderful things you’ve been posting about GS, Scrubs, yourselves etc. I feel so lucky to be able to have this direct line of communication with my fans. I love it when you guys share personal stories from your own lives. So many of you ask me about writing, just skim through the comments and you’ll see thousands of stories to write about. All I did was sit down and write about what I was feeling in my own life. What bothers you, what makes you laugh, what do you obsess about, what makes your stomach turn, what do you lust over? – just sit down and write about those things. That’s what’s universally interesting; those are the kinds of movies I like to go see: regular people in real life situations, dealing with emotions and worries I can relate to. Also, think about starting very simply; don’t overwhelm yourself trying to think about the whole movie; write a scene between two people, then write what happens after that, then what happens after that. Don’t get boggled down worrying about outlines and rules, just tell a bunch of stories that happen to the same group of people. And try (for lack of a better expression) keeping it real. There’s a saying I really like to think about when I’m writing: “Don’t do that, they do that in movies.” Anytime I find myself writing something that feels nowhere close to reality, I try to stop and reign it back to what’s true for me. Blah, blah, blah. I just wanted to offer up a couple of thoughts since so many have you have asked about it.

Thanks to Halley for reminding me of his blog and pulling this piece out.

Here was my thought in July.

Be Yourself

“Get rid of your fear of failure, your tensions about succeeding, you will be yourself. Relaxed. You wouldn’t be driving with your brakes on. That’s what would happen.”

– Anthony de Mello, 20th century Jesuit priest from Awareness

[from this morning’s zaadz wisdom e-newsletter]

An New National Holiday

I could not agree more:

When you think about the Super Bowl — it’s hard not to, this week — you have to wonder whether maybe it’s time that we formally recognized it for what it is: a national holiday. Switch the game to Monday (Americans have become conditioned to watching football on Monday night) and make it a three-day weekend. Congress could pass the usual proclamations, the Postal Service could design a commemorative stamp, and the president could issue a pronouncement about what this day means to the American spirit…

“An Idea Whose Time Has Come” by Geoffrey Norman, WSJ W13, Feb. 4th, 2005 [sub. needed]

Happy Groundhog’s Day!!!

Happy Groundhog’s Day!!!

Phil says 6 more weeks of winter.

I have been a big fan of this holiday for some time. I just love the idea that we pull a large rodent out of a hole, see if he casts a shadow, and then decide what is going to happen with the weather for the next month. Could we come up with anything more arbitrary? I have to get to Punxsutawney one of these years to see the event for myself.

This article from MSNBC has the lowdown on this year’s festivities with a little history sprinkled in.

I have been trying to get to groundhog.org (the official site of Punxsutawney Phil) all morning, but the site seems to be down. This is the wrong morning to have trouble with the website.