43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Off Topic

Generate your official seal

The Offical Seal Generator is a tremendously enjoyable, old-school-interweb way to fritter away your day. Believe me, I know.

[via The Presurfer]

TOPICS: Heh, Links, Off Topic

Interviewing with "The Sawatsky Method"

I enjoyed this recent ATC story about the interview skills guru, John Sawatsky. "The Sawatsky Method" contrasts sharply with the confrontational attack dog methods most of us associate with people like Mike Wallace:

Sawatsky's rules are simple, but he says they get broken all the time: Don't ask yes-or-no questions, keep questions short and avoid charged words, which can distract people. In his seminar, Sawatsky points to Mike Wallace of CBS' 60 Minutes and CNN's Larry King as examples to avoid. In Sawatsky's illustrative clips, King favors leading questions that generate curt answers, while Wallace's rapid patter fails to get a subject to speak candidly.

More on Sawatsky here and here, including this gem:

The best questions, argues Sawatsky, are like clean windows. "A clean window gives a perfect view. When we ask a question, we want to get a window into the source. When you put values in your questions, it's like putting dirt on the window. It obscures the view of the lake beyond. People shouldn't notice the question in an interview, just like they shouldn't notice the window. They should be looking at the lake."

Even for non-journalists, if you need to conduct the occasional interview, Sawatsky's got some golden tips.

Shaving tips, or, 'how I remain Gillette’s bitch'

shaving brush

About six months ago, I read this excellent MSNBC interview about shaving (via the wiki’s shaving page), and I ended up experimenting with bits of what it suggested in my own periodic attempts at grooming. My results to date:

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Washington Post: Why do we carry so much around?

Burdens of the Modern Beast

What’s in my bag: Yes, I will cut you.Washington Post on the growing amount of crap people carry around (present company very much included).

The increased quantity of carry-on items for our flight through life, he says, reflects "the tendency of our society to dispense with sources of shared stability -- the long-term job, neighborhoods, unions, family dinners -- and transform us into autonomous free agents."

The Walkman, introduced in 1979, Hine says in an e-mail, "probably set the precedent; it allowed people to be physically in a space, but mentally detached. The plethora of 'communications' devices we carry are also tools of isolation from the immediate environment. And, in the words of the recruiting ad, we each become 'an army of one' carrying all our tools of survival through a presumably hostile world."

It's the perfect posture for the Age of Insecurity. We fret about our jobs, families, country, manhood or womanhood, ability to be a good parent. We believe someone is out to get us. And to get our things. So, like the homeless, we carry our stuff with us. Just in case something, or anything, happens.

[ via Joe Ganley on The Google Group ]

So what should you carry, hmmm?

If you're looking to shed (or, perhaps, more efficiently augment) your on-board crap pile, check out these fun pages from the 43F wiki:

Use the Interwebs to Get Rich!!! Promote Your New Product for FREE on Blog$!!1!1!

So, either I forgot about sending out a lot of requests to receive press releases or, more likely, an extraordinary number of people have suddenly decided I should be talking about their product on this site. Lucky me.

My mitzvah to you once and future senders of PR comes in the form of these million-dollar tips for promoting your product. Before you send email to (or, God forbid, telephone) Z-list bloggers like myself, please consider these friendly tips for not coming off as a complete tool:

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Cyber Monday safe shopping tips

"Cyber Monday" is a new one to me, but allegedly today is the biggest online shopping day of the year. Yay, capitalism.

Get out there, type up some bargains, and have fun; but be sure to shop safe. It's a crazy world, and somewhere there's a 14-year-old Russian kid who needs one more identity theft to buy that Xbox 360. Good-looking tips for playing it safe online:

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Open Thread: Your best tip on doing presentations

As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be leading a discussion on Tinderbox and "the trusted system" tomorrow. Probably running a few Keynote slides, but mostly just casually chatting with a small group of enthusiastic Tinderbox fans.

I'm not a seasoned public speaker by anyone's estimation, so I've made my share of rookie mistakes in the past (hint: avoid doing a rambling, overlong talk without slides at ETech; people get confused, hungry, and eventually want to defenestrate you).

So, as I prep myself for tomorrow, I turn to you guys:

What's your best presentation tip? What's the "never break it" rule for PowerPoint/Keynote decks? What's your favorite site, article, or link on great presentations? How do I get that Lessig-, Jobs-, or Veen-like fu that makes audiences so giddy? (Self-links are okay within reason here)

I'll be over here imagining people in their underwear, but I'd love to hear your best advice on this stuff.

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TOPICS: Off Topic, Tips

Vote: alt or option?

Vote: alt or option?, originally uploaded by merlinmann.

An eagle-eyed reader took me to task for calling this the "option" key. The reader found this vexing and thinks it should always be called the more agnostic "alt" key.

Got an opinion?

(Vote in Flickr comments.)

Upcoming.org picked up by Yahoo!

Waxy.org: Daily Log: Yahoo and Upcoming, Sitting In A Tree

Terrific news for Andy, Leonard, Gordon, and Yahoo! themselves; Upcoming.org is moving up to our neck of the woods:

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TOPICS: Off Topic

'Where it began / I can't begin to knowin'...'

How did people start singing “Sweet Caroline” at Red Sox games?

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TOPICS: Heh, Off Topic



An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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