Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where Do Ideas Come From?


How Alphabet/Google and FB Earn Their Revenues

Source: Zero Hedge, May 2017


Each of these companies is pretty unique in how they generate revenue, though there is some overlap:

  • Facebook and Alphabet each make the vast majority of their revenues from advertising (97% and 88%, respectively)
  • Apple makes 63% of their revenue from the iPhone, and another 21% coming from the iPad and Mac lines
  • Amazon makes 90% from its “Product” and “Media” categories, and 9% from AWS
  • Microsoft is diverse: Office (28%), servers (22%), Xbox (11%), Windows (9%), ads (7%), Surface (5%), and other (18%)



Bill Thurston on Grigori Perelman

Source: Scientific American, Mar 2015

Thurston was back in Paris in June 2010 for the ceremony organized by the Clay Mathematics Institute to honor Grigori Perelman for his solution to the Poincaré and Thurston Conjectures.

Only Thurston took the opportunity to express sympathy for Perelman’s defense of the romantic ideal against the onslaughts of the good intentions of megaloprepeia:

Perelman‘s aversion to public spectacle and to riches is mystifying to many. … I want to say I have complete empathy and admiration for his inner strength and clarity, to be able to know and hold true to himself.

Our true needs are deeper–yet in our modern society most of us reflexively and relentlessly pursue wealth, consumer goods and admiration. We have learned from Perelman’s mathematics. Perhaps we should also pause to reflect on ourselves and learn from Perelman’s attitude toward life.6

Seymour Papert:

Source: MindShift, May 2017

Papert had a vision of children learning with technology in ways that were revolutionary. He believed that kids learn better when they are solving problems in context. He also knew that caring passionately about the problem helps children fall in love with learning. He thought educating kids shouldn’t be about explanation, but rather should be about falling in love with ideas.

Papert also believed strongly in the ways people learn from one another, and he thought technology could play a big role in breaking down barriers between people. In the 1980s when he was talking about these ideas, the technology wasn’t yet capable of what he dreamed, but now it can do more.

Lastly, Papert believed in the transformative power of play — not just carefree play, but “hard play.” He believed when children are challenged through exploration and discovery they can learn a tremendous amount. In this short video Mitch Resnick from MIT Media Lab explains how Papert’s ideas informed his thinking about children, learning and technology forever.

Reasons for an Unpersuasive Argument

Source: Fast Company, Apr 2017


In order to get around that, you need to make the other party feel that you’re both on the same side. That doesn’t mean retreating from your ideas altogether or pretending that they don’t differ when they do. It’s more about acknowledging what you do agree on already, and how your difference of opinion starts from a shared premise.


When someone feels like they’re really being heard, they become more open to your ideas. So to create that openness, you need to avoid the common trap of thinking about how you’ll respond once somebody else is done talking. Listening is just as much a skill as argumentation, but it’s often harder to teach. One simple way to let others know that they’re being heard is simply to repeat back or paraphrase something you’ve just heard them say, then ask for clarification. This way you can delve deeper into what they’re expressing, instead of just bluntly countering their perspective with your own.


If you’re trying to be persuasive, you’ve got to make the other person feel they’re in control of the situation, not you. It’s often said of the best listeners that they talk a lot less than other people—and that’s true of the most persuasive people as well. While the other party is speaking, listen for opportunities to connect and agree with them. See if you can get insights into their values and the reasons they think the way they do.

.. Keep your mouth shut more, and tune in. The more common ground you can stake out with somebody, the better your shot at persuading them. We’re all more likely to trust people who we think share our beliefs, values, and interests.


If you can find something you genuinely appreciate about the other person and get that across candidly, they’ll be a lot more open to anything else you have to say. It also strengthens your relationship and makes them think of you more favorably. Your ability to see the positive in them elevates you in their eyes and gives more credibility to everything you say and do.


one of the best ways to persuade others of your idea is to plant it in their minds and let them believe they came up with it. The best way to do this without being manipulative (or a professional hypnotist) is simply to make suggestions, framing your ideas as possibilities.

It’s all about leaving the other person feeling empowered enough to make their mind up themselves. Again, it’s not about trying to win a contest between two opposing points of view. Take your ego out of it and allow them to take credit for the idea. An idea that we believe we came up with—or even that we’re partly responsible for—always appeals more than one that someone else exclusively generated.


We’re predisposed to put our faith in people who sound confident and appear to know what they’re talking about. If you aren’t totally convinced yourself, your hesitation will show through and undermine your credibility in others’ eyes.





Patrick Collision (Stripe) interviews Tyler Cowen

Source: Medium, Jan 2017

So I think a central question for macroeconomics is economic growth. I think our understanding of the determinants of growth, just like our understanding of how well science does, is extremely poor. Much of that is ultimately cultural, and bridging economic and cultural ideas we’re very bad at.

You need to be weird and have a theory of your own weirdness that’s different from what your own weirdness actually is because you’re, too, looking at it from the inside. And this area has that. It’s great. It’s inspiring.

You want to optimize for “What makes this country the most creative?” And that’s different than just making us happy. We’re doomed to be the somewhat screwed up, unjust, not-quite-happy-maybe-more-mentally-ill country. And we’re the Atlas, in some other sense, partly carrying some of the world on our shoulders.

Tools for Thought

Source: Acko.Net, 2016

What does it look like to explain algebra in a purely graphical way? Can we tackle more complicated subjects like Fourier Analysis this way? With wub wub?