Category: entrepreneurial mindset

[Updated] Being a polymath is good for innovation

Or, “a man can do all things if he will.”

From Aeon Magazine:

“To come up with [innovative] ideas, you need to know things outside your field. What’s more, the further afield your knowledge extends, the greater potential you have for innovation.”

“intense study brings rewards that are impossible to achieve by casual application”

“Monopathy, or over-specialisation, eventually retreats into defending what one has learnt rather than making new connections.”

As well as examples of cross-disciplinary innovation, potential problems with the division of labor, and why children learn “all the time.”

Article at:

Update: A related article from Wired:

“The most exciting inventions occur at the boundaries of disciplines”

“As Robert Twigger noted, ‘Invention fights specialisation at every turn.’ ”

“Mathematics is a gift, an unbelievably useful tool for understanding our surroundings.”

“More generally, the world of business and entrepreneurship actively encourages those who see connections between disciplines. One who can recognize a relationship between two disparate fields of ideas will more likely come up with the next, big, new thing. That’s investment gold.”

Article at:


“What are the words I’m supposed to use in this conversation?”

“What are the words I’m supposed to use in this conversation?” may be a common mode in which a less mature and non-risk-taking student operates when interacting with job recruiters.

And yet, this should not be the mindset of “a 20-year-old who should have bright ideas and enthusiasm,” formed in the liberal arts, according to a recruiter from a consulting company, cited in a recent NYT article, “How to get a job with a philosophy degree.”

The article has more on the tensions between education for it’s own sake, and “getting that degree [only] so that I can get a job,” including insight into “student branding.”

The Art of Dialogue: prepare, listen, engage

From Fast Company

Fast Company features multiple pieces on the Art of Dialogue in the February 2013 issue, including “Conversations that changed our world, featuring iconoclasts who refuse to do business the standard way,” “How to talk good,” and Twitter co-founders on “deep talk.”

Some themes:

Also, Twitter co-founders talk with Charlie Rose on “engaging conversation:” “prepare, listen, engage.” “There is a hunger for depth,” says Ev Williams. “The truth is absolutely out there, [but] it’s not necessarily what people pay attention to.”

In a separate article, current Twitter Chief Nick Costolo says on being a CEO: “Nobody is a natural CEO.” A very effective management technique? “Management by terrorism. Either you decide, or I will destroy the company.”

And other thoughts, including “Building a better brainstorm” and “what Steve Jobs would be doing if he were alive.

Be more productive by doing less

Our bodies have limited resources, which need to be replenished. Taking breaks during the day, and vacations during the year, is a recipe to be more productive. From a New York Times opinion piece:

  • basketball players who slept for 10 hours a night increased their shooting percentages by 9%
  • air traffic controllers who were given 40 minutes to nap performed much better on vigilance tests
  • longer naps (60-90 minutes) can improve mental acuity even more
  • full-vacationers were more likely to have higher ratings from their supervisorsEdit

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”

Read it at The New York Times.

“the future will belong to those who can focus”

According to one teacher reflecting on the future of education in a hyperconnected world,

The future will belong to those who can focus. This will be an increasingly small and rare group of people.

Read more teachers’ opinions on this topic at:Teacher express many concerns; you can feel the tension in their words,” an article from the Pew Research center report on the future of the internet titled “Millenials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives.”