AZTALK : Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

aztalk - marijuana


Yes.  It is a less dangerous drug than alcohol.  It is resulting in incarceration of non-violent criminals.  It would be a nice boost in tax revenue.  Ultimately, it gets dangerous when government gets in the business of regulating morals.


Sunday Book Review: The Art of Doing by Camille Sweeney

The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So WellThe Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well by Camille Sweeney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised by this one. I expected it to be a bunch of science around how to get more done. Instead it was a collection of thoughts from successful people about what made them successful. The variety of people, all at the top of their field, was inspiring.

The interviews give a taste of experience, wisdom and perspective about what makes the best tick. It was inspirational to hear many of the stories. I really enjoyed Tony Hsieh, Yogi Berra and Martina Navratilova (I mentioned the diversity of the interviewees right?)

A theme that seemed relevant to me. Self-Awareness. To be great you have to be hyper aware of who you are, what you want and your surroundings.

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Sunday Book Review: Hitmaker by Tommy Mottola

HitmakerHitmaker by Tommy Mottola

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love music history. Tommy is full of great music stories. That alone endeared me to this book. I expected it to be much more about the music industry and less stories about Tommy and the artists he worked with at Sony. Imagine my delight that not only did it have a unique take on the music industry, but also all these great insider views about artists I grew up loving.

I am glad to report while there was some chatter about his relationship with Mariah, it didn’t dominate the book and was always in a good context. Oddly there was some interesting insight from Tommy into the life of Michael Jackson. Mottola and Mellencamp are decidedly not friends. :) Mottola worked with so many great artists and was at the top when the music industry and sony were at their crest.

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Sunday Book Review : Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products by Leander Kahney

Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest ProductsJony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products by Leander Kahney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A rare look into the life of Apple’s star designer and right hand man to the genius of Steve Jobs during Apples rise to the top. Leander Khaney does a good job of putting as close to the inside of Apple with out being an insider as possible. Khaney highlighted Jony’s early life and decisions that landed him his role at Apple.

It was interesting to see a divide between design and engineering expressed. Rumored in the book to even lead to the departure of more than one executive employee. I enjoyed the stories, but wish that they would have been from Jony’s voice instead of just assembled from anecdotes. This is a good read for designers and product people.

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Sunday Book Review : Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for LessScaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I grabbed this interested in Sutton’s take on scaling. I am already a fan of greatness/excellence as a path to magnificence. This book re-enforced that there are no silver bullets and that everyones journey is a bit different. It did a good job of laying out what others have experienced and what it looks like. Scaling isn’t about simply more. That more has to be excellent to scale. Additionally an organization is really a collection of individuals and having great ones is pre-requisite to scaling. I am reminded again that illusion, impatience and incompetence are sure fire traits that will kill scaling in it’s tracks. If you are serious about scaling the work you are doing, you should check this out. If you feel that it is the role of someone else or you aren’t attempting to scale I would skip this one.

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AZTALK : Discourage American Aid Workers from Dangerous Locations

AZTALK : Ebola

AZTALK : Should the U.S. government do more to discourage American aid workers from going to the most dangerous places in the world?

No.  It isn’t the governments place to dictate, incentivize, etc where or who it’s citizens choose to give their time / resources to.  Unless doing so would constitute some treasonous behavior.  Ex: funding weapons for our enemies.  However, the government shouldn’t make exceptions for those that choose to make decisions that put them in danger.  Going to a region and catching a disease (think Ebola) or being taken as a hostage (think Middle East) might put you in a position where the United States government can’t (and shouldn’t) put itself at harm in helping.

Sunday Book Review: One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard L. Brandt

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.comOne Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard L. Brandt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good high level look into where Amazon came from and where they are going. If you are wanting an indepth dive into Amazon culture and operations this isnt the book. If you want a 3rd party view point on how the company got started, some of its early history and some nice anecdotes. The book is well written but a bit shallow. It is a shame that Brandt didn’t take a deeper dive.

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3 Rules For Dealing With Trolls

Spotting a Troll Victim

I see it time and again. Someone has their feelings hurt on the internet (or real life). They spend time obsessing or feeling the victim. Often times pleading for sympathy or trying to villianize the offender. While noble, it is not very effective.

An Example

Troll Victim

Let’s take a play out of the play book of a famous wise man, James Dalton. Let’s lay down the rules for dealing with these trolls, so we can stop being the victim. People who want to enjoy life won’t tolerate these trolls.

Sound too good?

Rule 1: Never Under Estimate Your Opponent, Expect the Unexpected.
Your offenders will come in all shapes and sizes. They will say and do things that hurt you in ways you can’t currently comprehend. They will cross the line and take another hundred steps. They will be relentless. They will infuriate you. They will involve people you don’t want involved.

Rule 2: Take It Outside. Never Start Anything Inside. Unless You Absolutely Have To.
Don’t take the bait. Keep your incoherent emotional tranmissions to yourself. If you feel like you are going to explode if you don’t respond, that is a great cue to NOT RESPOND. Keep your cool and move the conversation to a place and time where you won’t damage yourself or the things you care about.

Rule 3: Be Nice.
Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Be Nice.

“If someone gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice.”

That might sound impossible to do, but think about it. If someone says something to you that isn’t true; why do you let it bother you? If it is true and it bothers you, maybe you need to change something about you, not be mad at the offender. If you struggle with this ask for help.

Remember your offender is only trying to illicit a response. Don’t give them the satisfaction of providing one.

The Path to Immediate and Unanimous Team Decisions

Digging a Hole / Copyright Jay Wood

Digging a Hole / Copyright Jay Wood

The Tanga team uses the Decider Protocol, part of the Core Protocols fromSoftware For Your Head by Jim & Michele McCarthy, which is a great way to move a group immediately and unanimously towards results. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? Part of the reason it is so effective is it removes discussion and gets to the heart of what it is that is keeping people from committing to moving forward. A bias to action so to speak.

How does it work?

It starts with someone proposing something. A very simple, concise and clear something. Immediately followed by people stating their level of ability to support the proposed action via vote. Voters, using either Yes (thumbs up), No (thumbs down), or Support-it (flat hand), vote simultaneously with other voters. Voters who absolutely cannot get in on the proposal declare themselves by saying “I am an absolute no. I won’t get in.” If this occurs, the proposal is withdrawn.

What is the difference?

People new to the protocol often ask what is the difference between Yes (thumbs up) and Support-It (flat hand) or No (thumbs down) and Absolute No.

Historically I have used the following to illustrate “absolute no”.
An absolute no, should be used only if there is nothing to do to get you in. Example, “You propose we rob a bank to fund our startup. 1.2.3.” I might be morally opposed to theft so am an absolute no. Nothing can justify to me robbing a bank. However, I might hate banks and be totally fine with that but only if it isn’t armed robbery, because I hate guns. Thus, making me a thumbs down, to get me in we can’t use guns.

I have used this to illustrate “flat hand”.
If “I propose lets dig a six foot hole. 1.2.3.” and you say flat hand. If I hand you the shovel to be the first to dig, you can’t say no I didn’t really want to dig.

An easy way to remember.

Our team made the following humorous matrix which I quite enjoyed.

If “I propose lets dig a six foot hole. 1.2.3.”

Thumbs Up means I am so eager to dig that I will fight you for the shovel.
Flat Hand means I will take the shovel if you hand it to me and start digging.
Thumbs Down means I won’t take the shovel unless something changes.
Absolute No means I would rather you hit you with the shovel, than start digging.

Please remember hitting people with shovels is not polite. Please refrain from doing it often.

Sunday Book Review : Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

Wittgenstein in 90 MinutesWittgenstein in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paul Strathern gives the 90 minute run down on the “last philosopher” Wittgenstein. I love the 90 minutes series for philosophers as it gives you a good idea of their background and careers while jumping into their most famous works. Wittgenstein like most the rest of his time seemed to toe the line between genius and crazy on a regular basis.

I was curious to learn of his relationship with philosopher Bertrand Russell as some how I missed the two were friends and exchanged ideas often. Wittgenstein came from a tremendously wealthy but disturbed family (three of his brothers committed suicide). Wittgenstein is one of the few philosophers that was truly original and summed up key thoughts into simple yet powerful postulates.

“God is Dead” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“I Think Therefore I am.” – René Descartes
“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

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