Obama speaks Bahasa Indonesia

“You can hear several brief passages of Obama in Bahasa in the first minute of the clip below, and the Ich bin… sentence that brought the house down begins at around 2:00. For expert analysis of how Obama handles the language, see Ben Zimmer at Language Log, here. To my ear, after the two years my family spent living in Malaysia with its very similar language, it sounds as if he can handle the distinctive Indonesian “R” sound way better than most foreigners, for example me. (You can hear this with some names in the first 20 seconds, and when he gives his step father’s name at about 2:30.) Also, even in his pronunciation of the name “Indonesia” in the first few seconds, you hear local-version vowels rather than normal American pronunciation.”


Seth Godin Linchpin Meetup Recap & Book Recommendations

When Seth Godin announced a series of reader meetups oriented around his new book, Linchpin, I decided right away to organize the Vancouver event. Linchpin’s themes of overcoming internal resistance and bringing a sense of art into one’s work have resonated with me as I have developed RedRovr, and I looked forward to meeting others who felt the same. Vancouver had an absurdly high number of folks interested in this meetup, on par with New York and London’s responses, so it was clear I was not alone!

Thanks to everyone who came out that night for creating a great event! Here’s a recap of how the night went, and links to the books and blogs we talked about:

Gift, Skill, Attitude

We kicked things off with a short talk by Steph Corker Irwin, who spoke about her week with Seth in New York as part of his nanoMBA program. Steph led a discussion about the extent to which the qualities of leaders we admire are a gift, skill, or attitude. As the group weighed in, it was striking and somewhat liberating how almost every quality was seen as ultimately a skill or an attitude, i.e., something you can wake up in the morning and choose to work on.

Open Space Discussion

I had the group write up topics they wanted to discuss and post them at the front of the room. We organized the topic suggestions into clusters which formed the basis for lightweight discussion groups. In line with open space principles, people could come and go from these groups as they wished, joining in on any discussion they wanted. The topics were wide-ranging, and included:

  • Overcoming the lizard brain
  • Gift, Skill, Attitude continued
  • Moving ideas into action
  • Crowdsourcing innovation
  • Making a difference in the world
  • Linchpinning education
  • Using business to save the world
  • What should I read next?
  • Creating community
  • Painting your life’s picture
  • The NanoMBA
  • When to ship
  • Creating Linchpinvilles

Book Recommendations

I spent a lot of time in the “What should I read next?” group. Thanks to Matt and Dave for drafting up this fantastic list of the books we discussed. For those inspired by Seth Godin’s work and Linchpin, check out the following books.

I went a bit berzerk here: you can see them all on this Amazon list of Linchpin Meetup Book Recommendations. You can see the raw list of books below, loosely categorized by me. And if you scroll down all the way, you’ll see a Librarything widget with covers and other info for every book.

Marketing, Sales, Customer Service:
  • The Art of Woo
  • Free Prize Inside
  • Delivering Happiness
  • Flip the Funnel
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Words That Change Minds
  • Made to Stick
  • How to Sell Anything
  • Switch
  • Making Ideas Happen
  • The Art of the Start
  • Startup Nation
  • Early Exits
  • Everything is Miscellaneous
  • Cognitive Surplus
  • The Long Tail
  • What Would Google Do?
Learning, Leadership, & Personal Development:
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  • A Whole New Mind
  • The Creative Habit
  • The Art of Non-Conformity
  • What Makes The Great Great
  • Me to We
  • Style Statement
Business & Misc:
  • The Singularity is Near
  • Superfreakonomics
  • Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance
  • The Swiss Family Robinson
  • The Glass Castle
  • The Mirror Test
Blog recommendations from the group:

http://www.librarything.com/widget_get.php?userid=erlkonig&theID=w22d9a7905dec9f026269e3ebbdb99698My Library at LibraryThing

Thanks for reading!

Linchpins are everywhere


I’m organizing a meetup in Vancouver tomorrow (June 14) around marketer Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. The Vancouver event is part of a worldwide series of meetups about Linchpin all on the same day – set into motion by Seth but organized locally by volunteers.

Vancouver has the 7th largest showing worldwide (!), behind cities like New York, London, and San Francisco. If you’re in Vancouver on June 14, you should come. If not, see if there’s a meetup in your city.

For more info on Linchpin: see roundups of reviews here and here.

Want Seth Godin to come to your city? Request it on RedRovr!

Future Fatigue

William Gibson:

Say it’s midway through the final year of the first decade of the 21st Century. Say that, last week, two things happened: scientists in China announced successful quantum teleportation over a distance of ten miles, while other scientists, in Maryland, announced the creation of an artificial, self-replicating genome. In this particular version of the 21st Century, which happens to be the one you’re living in, neither of these stories attracted a very great deal of attention.

In quantum teleportation, no matter is transferred, but information may be conveyed across a distance, without resorting to a signal in any traditional sense. Still, it’s the word “teleportation”, used seriously, in a headline. My “no kidding” module was activated: “No kidding,” I said to myself, “teleportation.” A slight amazement.

how all the pieces fit together

OK, almost a month old, but great.

Paul Ford, of ftrain.com renown, on leaving his job:

You know what happened, really and without irony? I had an opportunity to be an editor at Harper’s, to edit pieces for the magazine. It was something I expected to really want. I had wonderful editors to learn from. I did a little of it for print and a lot for the web. I wasn’t bad at it, even. Not great, but not bad. I could have been a respected editor instead of a huge nerd. But all the editing in the world can’t compare to building little websites and mangling text and writing things and messing around in spreadsheets and figuring out what’s wrong with comments. I wake up thinking about how all the pieces fit together and I want to do more of it and with lots of people. I plan to be scared and exhausted most of the time. So far that’s working.

More at the Awl.

RIP Alex Chilton


I feel like I’m just marking memorials these days. First singer Kate McGarrigle (RIP post here), now Big Star frontman Alex Chilton.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about my surprise at learning that the Alex Chilton I knew for “Thirteen” and “The Ballad of El Goodo” had been a teen idol with The Box Tops. Check out the post and many Youtubes here.