Nick Hornby sobre crecer:

Los ritos de transición son más fáciles de encontrar en las novelas o en las películas de Hollywood que en la vida real, particularmente que en la vida real de los suburbios. Todas las cosas que se suponía que me iban a cambiar –el primer beso, la pérdida de la virginidad, la primera pelea, el primer trago, las primeras drogas– simplemente sucedieron; no tuve la voluntad explícita de que sucedan y ciertamente no pasé por el doloroso proceso de tomar la decisión (la presión de grupo, el mal temperamento y la precocidad sexual de una chica tomaron todas las decisiones por mí), y quizás como consecuencia de ello salí de todas estas experiencias formativas completamente informe, inmaduro.

HORNBY, Nick. Fever pitch. Londres: Victor Gollancz, 1994. p. 74. Traducción libre.

Allen Gisnberg, lector de Machado de Assis

Ahora recuerdo una conversación con el poeta beatnik Allen Ginsberg, que había llegado de un viaje a Bolivia, cargado de hojas de coca, y se había instalado en la casa de Nicanor Parra en los faldeos de La Reina. Es probable que le haya mencionado mis lecturas machadianas, porque él dijo, con la mayor serenidad, que Machado de Assis era el Kafka de su grupo en San Francisco. Me pareció y me sigue pareciendo una afirmación algo enigmática, pero no del todo arbitraria.

EDWARDS, Jorge. “El insuperable tono machadiano”. Prólogo a Esaú y Jacob de Joaquín Machado de Assis. Santiago de Chile: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2008. p. 7.

Este es el problema de tener a egresados de literatura o semiótica desempleados escribiendo en revistas de música online sobre hip hop:

These are the immeasurably lofty stakes Kanye deals in on Yeezus, his sixth solo album. His intensity here has a heightened desperation as he howls into the void, but the Chicago native has always been beguiled by the view from above. Take “Jesus Walks”, where he references another Psalm while gasping from on high: “I walk through the valley of the Chi where death is/ Top floor, the view alone will leave you breathless.” Then, on “POWER”, he contemplates leaping out of the penthouse, “letting everything go.” In a way, Yeezus is the panicked sound of that ensuing free-fall, a rush of angst and despair with absolutely nothing left to lose.

Más cosas como esa en la reseña de Pitchfork al nuevo disco de Kanye West.

Jad y Robert de Radiolab sobre Ira Glass y la influencia de This American Life:

RK: First off, Ira’s show was, is, and has continued to be, a generation-definer. So many people who have become cultural icons, David Sadaris, Dave Eggers, Dan Savage, Sarah Vowell, and on and on and on, took big bows on his show…and the thing is, he noticed them early. That’s a rare skill – to display a generation as it’s blossoming. That’s one thing Ira did. But then there are his editing skils…Like Jad, (but unlike Jad) he has created a mood, a tone that is distinct, artful, and very him. It’s a subtle, subtle skill…(Jad is wondering what that means…it means two very sharp minds have created to very distinctly sharp sounds) Anyway, there’s all that, and then there’s the journalism, the breakthroughs in explanatory economic reporting, the investigative pieces about the Georgia judge, the Chicago guns…It’s an amazing achievement, TAL is…and it’s definitely our constant inspiration.

JA: Everything RK just said. I’m consistently envious of TAL. I still diagram TAL stories to better understand story structure. Just an amazing show. Hard to summarize.

This American Life y Radiolab están destruyendo la radio y reinventándola constantemente. Más respuesta en el AMA que hicieron hoy en Reddit.

Le preguntaron a Clayton Christensen, el autor del mítico The Innovator’s Dilemma, qué industria cree que está pasando por una etapa de crisis disruptiva. Su respuesta: todo lo que se sostenga en publicidad.

Howe: If you had to list some industries right now that are either in a state of disruptive crisis or will be soon, what would they be?

Christensen: Journalism, certainly, and publishing broadly. Anything supported by advertising. That all of this is being disrupted is now beyond question.

Wired: Clayton Christensen Wants to Transform Capitalism

La manía china de copiarlo todo no necesariamente es una muestra de mediocridad inventiva sino que también puede ser un rasgo cultural muy propio:

But as Bosker documents, this craze for duplication isn’t just creative laziness or a willful disregard of intellectual property rights. It grows out of old and venerable Chinese aesthetic traditions, in which copying is valued not only as a learning tool (as it is in the West) but as artistically satisfying in its own right. As early as the fifth century, a Chinese art scholar wrote approvingly about the power of a copy to capture the spirit of an original. A good copy was like “a wild goose that flies along with its companion,” as one scholar explained. Replicating a preexisting work was a way to display one’s technical virtuosity—and, crucially, to imbibe the best foreign design concepts. As the scholar Wen Fong notes, even outright art forgery in China “has never carried such dark connotations as it does in the West.”

Duplitecture is an offshoot of this tradition. It’s quite old: In the third century BC, Qin Shihuangdi conquered six holdout kingdoms and, as a marker of his triumph, created mini-scale versions of the palaces from each. “People in the US look at copies of these buildings and go, ‘How unoriginal!’” Bosker says. “But in China they go, ‘Isn’t this awesome? Look what we’ve done! We made the Eiffel Tower!’”

Este comportamiento debe de haber sido muy natural en sociedades previas a la aparición de la imprenta, del mercado cultural y de la idea de autoría. La copia o imitación como una forma de consumo y recreo cultural está todavía presente en todos nosotros, desde los niños que aprenden a dibujar retratando a sus personajes favoritos hasta los músicos que empiezan haciendo covers.

Wired: Imitation Can Be the Sincerest Form of Innovation por Clive Thompson

Los creadores de WhatsApp explican qué significan los checks de su aplicación:

El País: ¿Qué significa una tick (la v verde) y dos tick junto al mensaje?
Brian Acton: (Risas) Uno, que se ha recibido en el servidor. Dos, que se ha enviado el mensaje al destinatario con éxito. Pero, ojo, eso no significa que lo haya leído, solo que ya está en su móvil.

Muy divertida la entrevista completa a los creadores de WhatsApp en El País. No soy muy fan de su producto pero me despierta mucha curiosidad la forma en la que llevan su negocio Acton y Koum. Parecen fuertemente comprometidos con su labor de simples mensajeros y no desean convertirse en nada más, sin rollos sobre cambiar el mundo ni modelos de negocio complicados con ingresos por publicidad y por suscripción.

Millonarios menores de 25 años

When they say “it’s all about the journey, rather than the destination” that’s absolutely true. The part that I’ve most enjoyed is hanging out, meeting and become friends with amazing, successful, smart and ambitious entrepreneurs. It’s inspiring, invigorating, and just plain fun. 

I still don’t have a private plane or NetJets card, I fly economy-class around North America most of the time, I don’t even have a maid to do my cleaning. I prefer to buy clothes when they go on sale, and I cringe at people who waste thousands on Gucci-this or Prada-that. I upgrade my MacBook every few years, not every model. I still use an original iPad. I’ve never bought a new car (except for my parents). The biggest TV in my apartment is 42". 

Experiences, even when they cost thousands of dollars a day, so far have been my best investments. I’ve stopped postponing as much as I used to. The best time is “now”, but to be honest, I could have done many of these things much earlier, and on a lower-budget, and probably still had a great time.

Try this as a test–

Make a list of all physical things you would buy if you had $10 million. Let your mind roam free. Don’t limit yourself to the reasonable. 

It’s not that long, is it?

And if you worked a decade or more to earn that money, you’d cross 90% of the items off that list anyway. There’s amazingly few physical things that are worth spending money on once you’ve covered the basics. If I gave you $100K in cash and told you to spend it in a day, you’d be hard pressed unless you bought jewelry, or a car. 

Gadgets? Clothes? A bigger TV? Unless money fell from the sky into your lap, you’re probably going to be quite pragmatic about what you invest in. There’s a reason why most lottery winners end up bankrupt within a few years. 

The utility of money once you get past a certain threshold is very limited. And I honestly think that most people who want to be “rich” don’t really mean it. What they are really saying is that they’d like someone to hand them a check. 

But when push comes to shove, and there’s hard work, sacrifices, and tears involved, they’d rather spend 4-hours a day watching TV along with the rest of America.

Quora: What does it feel like to be a self-made millionaire under the age of 25?

El fin del sueño del Couchsurfing

I used to say that Couchsurfing was globalization done right, where ideas and exchange mattered more than money or status. When you met someone who said they were a Couchsurfer, that it meant they had a different viewpoint on life, that they knew how to share, and were culturally open minded.

Back in the day, we would test travelers to see if they were worthy of Couchsurfing – if they had the values or mindset to join. Once, I met a friendly Malaysian in Bulgaria, with whom I shared a train ride with. Couchsurfing was so small back then that Noel had never heard of it. But I felt he was an open, warm, giving person, so I told him about Couchsurfing and recommended he join. He did and quickly became an active user, and later, an Ambassador.

That was natural, organic growth, a site which spread through word of mouth, introduced by people who shared the same ideals. If you were meant to be a Couchsurfer, you would find it. If not, it would remain apart, a subculture in a world of diversity. With time, we felt, the larger society would be ready.

The End of a Dream: Couchsurfing’s Fall