So hopefully I will soon be hosting an Inspirathon event. An Inspirathon is an inspirational movie night, where we all get together and watch concept-challenging videos and then discuss in a salon/casual atmosphere. Jeff Lindsay invented and hosted the first Inspirathon.

It will probably be at my house (Bay Area, SJ, CA, USA), and we’ll have a host of videos, like this video and this video. Though we don’t intend on making this a giant event (it has to fit in my house), you are welcome to inquire and see about capacity. Probably best to join the mailing list and see how things are going.

http://inspirathon.pbwiki.com/

http://groups.google.com/group/inspirathon

The point is to meet great people, talk about great things, and have fun.

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I had a massive conversation with Jeff Lindsey yesterday. Eight hours of non-stop education talk. Our conversation ranged from computer games, learning, history, to religion. However, we always focused on one major theme, Design. Jeff is the first Design Scientist I have met.

Most people think of design in a purely aesthetic framework. Computer graphics, art, and the shapes of consumer items, are classic examples of the popular conception of design. But design, at its most fundamental, is analysing and synthesizing systems. Design is about the understanding of interaction. This is Jeff’s and my domain.

As Design Scientist, both Jeff and I are enamored by Systems. We learned Systems Theory through different iconoclasts. Jeff learned it from Russell Ackoff, who approaches systems from an organizational management point of view, though Ackoff does discuss systems in the abstract. I found systems through Buckminster Fuller, who approaches systems from a geometric/structural approach, but again talks about systems explicitly.

This article really has no purpose other than to celebrate having met a fellow Design Scientist. And I suppose it is kind of an introduction to some useful iconoclasts. Thinking of it that way, here are a few links that discuss Systems Theory at the essence level.

Ackoff:

Fuller:

  • Synergetics, a online book illustrating a system of geometry that is triangular/tetrahedrally based (stable structure), not square/cube based (unstable structure). Describes the basic interaction of systems.
  • Image Index for Synergetics, check out some of the different indices, some amazing shapes and interactions all based on the closest packing of spheres.

My Friends, My Founders

April 30, 2007

My co-founders are people who can tell me when something is wrong. For example, my co-founder called me today and talked about misgivings he was having about the company. He didn’t see how the company was aligning with a lifestyle that would get him the things he wanted. The beautiful thing is that he was telling me this. I’m so happy to be working with friends who are unafraid of discussing such things. Not only can I discuss my often radical (and sometimes stupid) ideas, but I can operate unafraid.

I hear things like, do you have an A-team or a B-team? Do your co-founders have the proper skill-set? I am lucky that my friends and co-founders have a very dynamic sense of competence where they move from unknown to unknown with little difficulty. But the thing I am happiest about is the sense of fearlessness we manage to generate in our culture. It would be naive to say this is all you need, but you can always acquire skills and more expertise.

An open culture is invaluable and far more difficult to create because it requires the sacrifice of pride. It takes a lot of practice to say, “No, that’s a bad idea,” to someone in the middle of their sentence. And it takes even more practice to not snap back and tell them they’re full of shit. However, when you finally achieve this state, you save so much time!