A trend I’ve noticed in people who exhibit a high level of mastery in a given domain is the ability to distill knowledge into digestible chunks for others. This is often accomplished though the use of relevant metaphors.

To be effective at this, a deep understanding is required — not only of an area of expertise like software engineering or theoretical physics — but also of the complexity inherent in everyday things.

If you can help me understand your point of view through a metaphor relevant to my life experience, it’s possible that I’ll immediately understand you. If you articulate the point of view in a way that’s relevant and accessible to the people you’re trying to reach, it’s possible that you will win.

Shonda Rhimes is a boss.

I particularly enjoyed the style and delivery of her talk.

Shouts out to all my spoken word artists (active and retired).

My rules

02/24/2016

Yesterday, I had a great call with my dear friend and board member Andre Blackman about leveling up and creating healthy professional boundaries in the interest of productivity.

This is particularly relevant for ‘Dre because he’s a super-connector. And during our call, I realized that I hadn’t shouted him out in my post with the other great folks I mentioned.

I was mortified and almost lost my train of thought mid-sentence. I knew he probably saw the piece when it went live—what if he felt slighted by the omission? It felt lame to try and justify the mistake to myself, so I certainly wasn’t going to invest thinking cycles in “making it up” to him.

Because I remembered that this is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

So this post is for Andre.

Connect with Andre on LinkedIn, Twitter, and his site. I can’t promise that he’ll connect with you in return, of course — Andre is busy leveling up right now.

If the question you think you’re asking yourself is, “how can I begin now?” but it really feels like, “how much shame should I feel for not having done this already?” — don’t despair.

The dissonance you detect between what you think and what you feel is a part of the human experience, and how you deal with this dissonance is up to you.

I’m not being glib, I literally mean that you can decide how to act rather than acting reflexively. If you’re ready to be the kind of person who sticks with tasks until they’re done, you’re allowed.

Sounds like freedom to me.

Having a good answer to this question is more important that you might think.

Compassion for all

02/21/2016

You included.

If you wrote down the things that you say to yourself in your head—the critical, judgmental, harsh things you say reflexively—you would be horrified.

What if you countered those hash statements with ones of compassion and understanding? What if you trained yourself to show compassion proactively?

How would that make you feel after 30 days?

Don’t be selfish

02/19/2016

Why would you keep your gifts from the world?

I know it’s scary, I know it’s hard, and yes, you might fail.

But that’s kind of the point.

The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.

— Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Introduce two people who need to know each other.

Then two more, and keep going until you remember how dope your network is, how fortunate you are to know so many amazing people, and how great it is to have such abundance in your proverbial rolodex.

[This post is inspired by Ivo Philbert, Nkrumah Pierre, Michael Roderick, Pam Slim, and the other generous and thoughtful connectors in my life.]

The security and privacy debate continues to rage on in Silicon Valley. While discussions have been taking place for years in technology and academic circles, the very real implications of weak security were thrust into the spotlight most recently with the Snowden leaks.

Moral and practical considerations aside, there’s some interesting research around how people behave when they’re being watched—when they know they’re being watched, that is. The “I don’t have anything to hide” argument simply misses the point.

Alas, in 2016, true electronic privacy, security, and anonymity is largely an illusion. This doesn’t mean that all is lost. I would encourage everyone interested in this topic to spend some time thinking about why privacy matters.

Maybe not today

02/16/2016

Have you ever read a book that was recommended by others, only to find yourself let down by its content? Have you ever found yourself shocked at the power of a book after you read it the second time?

On the other end of the spectrum, I have books in my collection that I’ve read dozens of times, and I get something new each time.

I have no idea why it happens.

But it’s probably worth creating a routine where you read (or listen to, if you love audiobooks like me) important books—and yes, podcasts—regularly.

If you’d like, you can start with this one.