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Archive for the 'community' Category

How to be a good neighbour

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The other day I was walking around my neighbourhood when a woman stopped me to ask for directions. “Where is de Courcelle street,” she asked. I pointed her in the right direction, and left with a spring in my step. There’s something great about being asked to do your civic duty, either giving people directions […]

A Quick Thought About Anti-Social Douchebags

Friday, August 26th, 2011

You’ll often notice guys in airports, washrooms, cafés, etc., talking loud on their phones, disrupting conversations everywhere. You’ll also often notice that these are often powerful-looking guys: business-types, tall maybe, expensive phones, etc. In fact, you might even have a situation in mind. I know I can think of a few. Sometimes, these scenes go […]

The Future of Blogs is Paid Access

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Update: Aaron Wall left an epic comment here which adds significantly to the discussion. Click here to see it (it’s #55). Pay attention. This will be on the test. I remember having a conversation with Chris, sitting in Café Méliès in Montreal one time, talking about business. We had an idea for a private forum. […]

Where the Poor Go

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I was checking out some graffiti in my neighbourhood the other day and thinking about gentrification. It seems natural that those that are poor would be able to see opportunity in places (neighbourhoods) where the rich are not looking yet. This is how startups get profitable and why artists move into sketchy areas of a […]

Choose Your Web Wisely

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Voting, food, career, spending, success– all of these and more are political acts. We don’t realize it while we’re doing them, but all are meaningful in terms of who they help– ourselves, our families and communities, or the world at large. The mere act of paying rent to the stranger who owns your apartment building, […]

The Benefits of Human Sacrifice

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Human sacrifice doesn’t just appease the gods– it’s also what builds a community. Last year, when I came back from Japan, I had to fly in from Narita Airport in Tokyo straight to Toronto. When I arrived, I realized I wasn’t going home but to a conference instead. But I was exhausted, so I didn’t […]

Incentive vs. Character

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The fine for smoking at the New York Marriott Marquis is $250. Feel free to do it; they’ll just charge your card. Smoke in your friend’s house, however, and he just won’t let you back in. These two examples display the difference between two kinds of repercussions– financial and social. If you don’t smoke in […]

What are we going to do about the BA?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I was discussing with someone last night about the uselessness of the basic university degree. I compared it to an arms race– when one group has a BA, the other needs the BA to compete with them in the job marketplace, but when both sides have them, they no longer provide any employment advantage whatsoever. […]

Community vs Currency

Friday, November 13th, 2009

In The Nature of the Graph earlier this week, I talked about friction– ie, transaction costs– inside groups and how they impact the efficiency of groups. A transaction cost within a financial relationship can be a lot of things: from a broker taking 10% to a lawyer drafting a contract. We have to pay these […]

Getting Support

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Everybody needs a Craig Silverman. I’ve just started going to a neighbourhood Crossfit gym. My roommate had been into the system for a while (which is like an intense, military-style workout that pushes you FAR beyond your comfort zone), and I’d been once, but I was slacking until Craig called me up last month to […]