Attention Economics

The notion of attention economics is often traced back to Nobel prize-winning American economist, political scientist, and cognitive psychologist Herbert Simon. Writing about the problems of information overload in the 1960s, Simon wrote,

in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

Source: “Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” in Martin Greenberger (ed.) Computers, Communications, and the Public Interest (1971)

In meetings, don’t repeat what others have said just to be heard

Forbes’s William Arruda shares eight impediments to effective meetings:

It’s important to make an impression in a meeting. Just being in a meeting is the equivalent of having a check mark next to your name indicating that you showed up to gym class. Attendance isn’t enough; you need to contribute, but repeating others’ contributions doesn’t impress people. In fact, you just waste meeting time. Instead, acknowledge others for their brilliant point when you agree with it. “Chloe—as always—identified the most important challenge. As she suggests, I totally agree that we need to focus on that first.”

Sleep is the Unrivalled Hero

Columnist and best-selling non-fiction author Michael McGirr writes in Tales from the Land of Nod:

In the history of human civilisation, sleep is the unrivalled hero. It is the wellspring of creativity. In sleep, we are most ourselves because we have to surrender our egos. It is the space in which so much happens, mainly because, while we are asleep, we cannot squeeze any extra appointments or make any extra phone calls or look at one more thing on the internet. Sleep is the daily visit that people who live in crowded dairies make to a wide open space.

15 Most Beautiful Villages in Italy

Lori Zaino of The Points Guy lists some of Italy’s most charming villages:

  • Collodi
  • Limone sul Garda
  • Ostuni
  • Bracciano
  • Chianale
  • Ragusa
  • Riomaggiore
  • Bosa
  • Boccadasse
  • Civita di Bagnoregio
  • Vieste
  • Amalfi
  • Bassano del Grappa
  • Molveno
  • Alberobello
  • Montepulciano
  • Peschiera Maraglio (Monte Isola)
  • Pitigliano
  • Gubbio

9 Historical Walking Tours

Daniel O’Shaughnessy of The Points Guy identifies top places to walk into the past:

  • Neuschwanstein Castle—Schwangau, Germany
  • The Old City Walls—Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • The Acropolis—Athens, Greece
  • Plague Burial Sites—London, U.K.
  • Lübeck Trade Route—Lübeck, Germany
  • Jesus Trail—Nazareth, Israel
  • Mont Saint-Michel—Normandy, France
  • Giant’s Causeway—County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path—Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, Cumbria, U.K.

Don’t Let Conflict Fester

Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital on what it means to be fearless as a leader:

Too often we try to avoid conflicts, simply hoping tomorrow will be better or frankly that there is only 10 minutes left in this meeting. But conflict avoidance isn’t being fearless. It’s not fair to you, the person you are managing or to the rest of the team. deal directly in a respectful way and without personal attacks.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail in Public

Sarah Friar, CEO of the social network Nextdoor, on lessons learned from working for Jack Dorsey at Square:

Jack told me over and over again is, don’t be afraid to fail in public. It’s very wise advice, particularly for women and particularly given my background. There was always this sense of having to be perfect, be the best, be the A student and the good girl in school. Failing, it’s one of the things I find hardest. But when you get things wrong and can be frank about it in front of other people, it gives you strength.

Tesla’s Open-Source Patent Pledge

Freeing up all Tesla’s patents was a bold, smart strategic move by Elon Musk. Helping the car industry innovate faster than their competitors is—in a good way—good for the planet and for Tesla.

Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

Patents serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors.

We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.

Singapore: Efficient, Smooth, Comfortable and Safe

Paul Callan, author of The Brigadier’s Daughter (2017) recalls how a journey to Singapore sparked a creative idea:

On approach into Singapore, the sight from out of the clouds lends itself to the orderliness of what repeatedly spellbinds me. On the drive into the city, rows of great umbrella-spread rain trees border the highway, until they are taken up by tall palm trees, and it is at this point that Singapore begins to demonstrate its ingenuity. Running along the centre of the road is an almost never-ending stretch of flowers, planted in huge movable flower planters, all of which instantly introduces travellers to a sophisticated and elegant society in the extreme. In the event of an emergency, the flower planters can be moved to the side to create an additional temporary runway.

The Problem with Single Founders

Paul Graham from Y-Combinator expounds what’s wrong with having one founder:

What’s wrong with having one founder? To start with, it’s a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn’t talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That’s pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best.

But even if the founder’s friends were all wrong and the company is a good bet, he’s still at a disadvantage. Starting a startup is too hard for one person. Even if you could do all the work yourself, you need colleagues to brainstorm with, to talk you out of stupid decisions, and to cheer you up when things go wrong.