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Fame vs. Community: The Small Army Model

I don’t often discuss news articles or reblog things from elsewhere, but I loved a recent article on an independent musician who recently raised $1.2M through Kickstarter for her new album. A couple of things struck me from this story. Point #1: “It doesn’t feel like a windfall,” Ms. Palmer said in an interview before…

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On Destiny, Influence, and the Impossibility of Being Self-Taught

1. Self-Taught Back when I played music I used to say I was self-taught, because I never went to music school or took lessons. But then someone corrected me: “Really, you taught yourself everything?” he said. “You never listened to other people’s music?” he continued. “No one ever showed you something? You never asked for…

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Beginnings, Process, and the Calm Before the Storm

Greetings from East 42nd Street in New York City. I’m here to begin a new journey as The $100 Startup goes out to the world tomorrow. Here are a few notes on the early beginnings. *** It all started back in 2009. I had established the blog and began a new way of life: writing…

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There’s A Letter You Need To Write

Dear Reader, I found these letters in a beautiful book based off this website. There are a variety of stories expressed in the letters, some hopeful and some painful. I thought I’d share a few with you below. Reading the letters reminded me of something I’ve believed for many years now: If you love someone,…

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Intentions, Decisions, and Outcomes

I recently posted a question to readers about what to do in an uncertain airport situation. This was the scenario: You arrive very late at an airport you haven’t been to before. Security takes forever, but the flight is on time—which means you’re even more rushed. You walk into the terminal and look for your…

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Life In the Tower, Somaliland Edition

Many thanks to everyone who has been reading or supporting the launch of The Tower, my new manifesto. If you missed it on Tuesday, you can pick up your free copy in a range of formats. I also want to thank my long-time friend and colleague Reese Spykerman, specialist in branding and magic, for her…

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“There’s plenty of time.” (But what if there’s not?)

I’ve been working on a new, non-profit writing project that I’ll share tomorrow. Here’s a preview of the concept—for more on the project itself, see the note at the end or check back tomorrow. *** A specter is haunting the internet. Everywhere you go, you hear about how you should slow down. First it was…

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Homeland

Greetings from my corner of the world in Portland, Oregon. It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., a time when the internet shuts down and we all eat pie. Everyone else, feel free to enjoy the internet to yourself and eat pie along with us. Earlier this week I was in Cuba, my 174th country and…

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The Sense of Loss in a Big Adventure

An unexpected thing happened on the streets of Seoul, Korea. I’ve been to Seoul several times, and don’t really feel anything special about it. It’s not a bad place in any way, and perhaps I’d like it more if I spent more time there. I just don’t think of Seoul in a special way, as…

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Fear, Doubt, UNCERTAINTY, Brilliance: Book Launch!

Earlier this year I went to Austin to co-facilitate a discussion at SXSW with Jonathan Fields. Our topic was “Fear and the Art of Creation,” and we had a great crowd. Despite the challenging time slot of early Sunday morning, tons of people showed up and filled the room. I said a few things in…

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What Are You Looking Forward To?

It’s a fairly self-explanatory question: what’s coming up in the near or faraway future that you’re excited about? I’ll start. In the short-term, I’m looking forward to getting home from another long trip. It’s been fun, beautiful, thrilling, and exhausting. I live on the edges and sometimes they catch up to me. But that’s OK,…

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Legacy Projects and the Love of True Friends

When you begin to share your important work with the world, a funny thing happens: some of the people closest to you don’t understand it. They damn you with faint praise, or they point out something trivial that could be improved. Sometimes they never say anything at all, which of course is the worst thing.…

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The “Hell Yeah” Roundup: Your Turn

A lot of people mentioned that they liked the “hell yeah” test for making decisions mentioned here and condensed as follows: We all have to make decisions about opportunities. When you think about any opportunity, if it’s not a “hell yeah,” don’t do it. I’ve modified this a bit in my own life to be:…

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An Important Thing No One Will Tell You

I talked with someone who was in the process of calling fifteen people to get their opinions on a project. Why was any one of our opinions worth so much effort? I’m not sure, but someone had told her she should seek out as many opinions as possible before deciding what to do. The standard…

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