Spam innovation

I just posted a stray thought on innovation in the spam business on my (otherwise generously neglected) Fragments of Knowledge blog: It seems that Total Quality Management has come to the spam business. Used to be, you could tell spam emails by the weird names, non-English phrasing and requests that you’d have to be quite caffeine-deprived to respond to. That,Continue reading “Spam innovation”


Cool website that allows normal people to do microfinance: I think there could be a business idea in creating a similar site for normal entrepreneurs. Forget about getting 20 m dollars from venture capital companies or business angels – rather, find projects that can be started for less than 20.000 dollars, and post themContinue reading “Microfinance”

The Reusability of Words

Like radioactive atoms, words have a half-life. Or rather, they have a recharge time, which is the time (or length of text) from you use it the first time til you can use it again without vexing the reader. Basically, when people read a book, they are not very conscious of the actual words andContinue reading “The Reusability of Words”

Follow-up: Musical Redemption

Re. the phenomenon described in the ‘Musical redemption’ post below, I thought of another, interesting manifestation of the same thing. It happens when I write notes to myself. I normally walk around with a couple of blank record cards in my pocket. Whenever some stray thought hits me, I write it down. Sometimes, if I’mContinue reading “Follow-up: Musical Redemption”

The Problem With Procrastination

We all know that procrastination is a bad thing. We really shouldn’t be doing it; putting problems off till tomorrow that we could be dealing with today. Action is good. Being proactive about things is even better. An immense amount of praise will flow towards the employees that are being proactive, dealing with issues beforeContinue reading “The Problem With Procrastination”

Musical Redemption + Angry Email Syndrome

I can practically never make my friends recognise the tunes I sing to them. If I try humming the latest radio hit, I will receive perplexed looks from them, followed by general sniggering and good-natured ridicule. The explanation seems simple: my musical talents are not quite up to scratch. Well, that, or maybe, just maybe,Continue reading “Musical Redemption + Angry Email Syndrome”

The Death of Complexity and The Rise of Small Things

I have an obsession with simple things. Normally, we take pride in getting the complex stuff right. It is more glamorous, more prestigious; getting simple things right seems so mundane in comparison. The formulation of the grand overarching five year strategy traditionally occupy the finest minds in the company (or at least those with theContinue reading “The Death of Complexity and The Rise of Small Things”

Ultimate vs. proximate causes

A mental framework that I have found useful is the distinction between proximate and distal causes – or, if you prefer, immediate versus ultimate explanations for things. The best way to illustrate the difference is to consider the following question: Why do we have sex? A proximate (or near) explanation is simply to say ‘becauseContinue reading “Ultimate vs. proximate causes”

The Hedonic Threadmill

In the scientific study of happiness, a particularly interesting finding is that people quickly adjust to new-gained wealth – even major increases in income or life quality have only a passing effect on your basic happiness level. Lottery winners are in heaven for a month or two, and then it’s back to feeling averagely happyContinue reading “The Hedonic Threadmill”