Money can buy happiness!

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I really enjoyed watching Michael Norton’s TED prevention on How to Buy Happiness (aka if money can’t buy happiness, you’re spending it wrong). It’s a light hearted and fun, yet empirical, talk on how spending your money in different ways can greatly improve your sex life (or at least your overall happiness). Give it a watch:


What makes a good life?

Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: , , , |

 

I was listening to Martin Seligman at the RSA talking about positive psychology. His discussion of the causes of suicide (a lack of meaning in daily activities) dovetailed with an earlier discussion on the Suicide Paradox from Freakonomics. Two bits that stuck with me from the Freakonomics episode was that suicide rates increase as standards of living rise and that the time from the suicidal impulse to the suicidal action is often as short as two to five minutes.

I know, this doesn’t sound very “happy” so far. The RSA lecture made me look up more of Martin Seligman’s presentations and I came across the TED.

If you can’t be bothered to watch a 15 minute TED, here is what makes for a happy life. Read the rest of this entry »


Turning windows into electric generators

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Watch this TED now!

Justin Tipping-Hall discuses how a film of carbon nanotubes applied to windows could make them your next electrical power plant.

Check it out!

Creative Commons License photo credit: James Jordan


Niall Ferguson: 6 killer apps of prosperity

Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: , |

Excellent TED on the macro cultural qualities which promote growth and prosperity, stability and security:

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity | Video on TED.com.


Moving plastic recycling beyond bottles

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Plastic in durable goods from electronics to appliances generally are not recycled. This TED discusses the current “solutions” to the the amount of plastics being used: including third world sorting and burning. Mark Biddle presents large scale technologies to recycle these plastics back into usable basic plastic pellets that can be used again in many industries (not just faux wood benches and the like).

This got me on a “plastics” kick. Read the rest of this entry »


On Purpose

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I was watching Janet Echelman’s TED presentation on taking imagination seriously. Beyond an amazing form of large scale art, I am amazed at Echelman’s perseverance:

  • 2 years searching for a fiber.
  • Connecting with an aeronautical engineer.
  • Connecting with industrial fishnet factories.
  • 3 year to develop a method to mass manufacture 50,000 square foot lace netting.

And that was just on one project! How you pay the mortgage in the mean time?

I suppose this ability to take on a large scale project and develop the tools necessary to tun dreams into reality is what makes for a good TED presenter. This makes me think that three factors required in achieving such goals are direction, determination, and connections.

  1. Direction: knowing what you want to do
  2. Determination: being and remaining resolute in pursuing your direction
  3. Connections: knowing or being able to find the people to help you over hurdles you face in pursing your purpose.


Permit, Recognize, And Reward Change

Filed under: Editorials, Practice Tips | Tags: , , , |

Torn & Cut One Dollar Note Floating Away in Small $ PiecesThe Japanese have a concept called Kaizen – or “continuous improvement.” The idea is that you continually make little changes which improve your overall product. Over time these changes add up and add to the quality of your product. My personal take on Kaizen is the string of pearls metaphor: keep adding features to your practice and improving on the ones you have.

These can be big or small changes:

  • Update your logo.
  • Add color printing.
  • Add SMS reminders for your clients’ appointments.
  • Revise the copy in your brochures and website.
  • Revise your letters.
  • Update your letter format: freshen the style, change the font, increase the white space.
  • Call up 5 contacts you have not spoken to in half a year.

Why polish when it is not rewarded?

The problem in many law offices is that the firm culture actively fights change. Even if it is the stated goal at the office to “empower” workers, completing assigned tasks or maintaining billable hours rules the day. Read the rest of this entry »


Take The Challenge To Become A Maker

Filed under: Blogging, Editorials, Podcasts | Tags: , , |

Say It | Скажи

CC photo credit: Mishel Churkin

I have been writing writing for some time (and before that, talking to anyone who would listen) that lawyers must become makers: we have to create, we have to write, we have to make videos.

  • From a purely mercurial standpoint, it’s good marketing. You can easily stand out from the crowd when you create. Who do you think your prospective clients want to work with: the lawyer that shares themselves and their knowledge, or the one who hides it under a rock?
  • Creating also helps you, the lawyer, because it forces you to verify what you think you know about the law. You end up strengthening your knowledge and giving that knowledge to others.

Watching this TED talk with Chris Anderson on “Crowd Accelerated Innovation” resonates with all of those points and many others. Creation and sharing makes us all step up our game, and everyone benefits. This is truly an example of a high tide raising all boats. And we can all be a part of it.

Go ahead a watch. It’s only about 15 minutes long (not counting the commercial at the end).

I am sitting here writing with tears welling up in my eyes. I feel as breathless and excited as the first time I watched Carl Sagan’s Cosmos as a child. Any knowledge was within our grasp and potential understanding. You could grow up to make a difference and add to the wealth of the world’s knowledge.

We are not on the verge of a new Gutenberg printing press; the technology is already here.

As lawyers, we are the guardians and keepers of hidden knowledge. Through training and hard won experience, we know processes and shortcuts that are hidden to others. Let us not be recluses with this information. I have been trying to encourage you to create and share. Let’s take it a step further:

I am offering to help any legal professional create a video or screencast (actually, the offer is open to  any kind of maker — I have already been profiling artists and crafts makers). If you do not have the equipement or the skills to do this on your own, I will help you. It’s that simple.

  • Show how to file a restraining order.
  • Show how to contest a petition to modify custody.
  • Show how to file for patent.

My conditions are that I am not going to volunteer my time if you just want a commercial (that is still a paid Planet10tech service). You have to be willing to create a valuable “how to” guide. I also can’t do a 30 hour series. Let’s keep it short, to the point, and watchable.  Last, it has to be within my power to help you. However, if I can’t travel to you, as one example, I still may be able to help you remotely.

Are you willing to take me up on my offer? Add to the pool of publicly available knowledge. Test yourself and set a new high mark for clearly explaining how to handle a legal issue. Make something!