Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Theory And Data

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts”

Sherlock Holmes – A Scandal in Bohemia

Cost vs Value #2

"The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Oscar Wilde

Embracing Failure #3

"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work"

Thomas Edison

Dangerous Ideas

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

Oscar Wilde

We Are Change

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”

Barack Obama

Life Is Rich

“Dear friend, theory is all grey, and the golden tree of life is green"

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832)

Being So Far Ahead

Second, in order to cement your status in the cultural elite, you want to be already sick of everything no one else has even heard of

David Brooks in “Lord of The Memes” NYT 7th August 2008

Problem Solving

“Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework in which they were created”

Albert Einstein

Embracing Failure #2

“Success is 99% failure”

Soichiro Honda, Founder of Honda Motor Co.

Change Ad Infinitum

“Nothing endures but change”

Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher (534-475 BCE)

Choices Matter

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where--" said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"– so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Learn from History

“What is past is prologue”

William Shakespeare in The Tempest (and quoted by Joe Biden in his vice-presidential debate with Sarah Palin).

Creative Destruction

"again out of destruction a new spirit of creativity arises"

Werner Sombart, German economist and sociologist (1863 – 1941)

Hell on Earth

“Maybe this world is another planet's hell.”

Aldous Huxley, English critic & novelist (1894 - 1963)


“Don’t give the people what they want, give them something better.”

Samuel Roxy Rothafel


“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions – the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Agree to Disagree

“…disagree without being disagreeable”

Barack Obama, “Yes we can” speech, 8th January 2008, Nashua, New Hampshire

Leadership Lessons

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that's assault, not leadership.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

Gravity & Levity #2

“You must not think me necessarily foolish because I am facetious, nor will I consider you necessarily wise because you are grave.”

Sydney Smith

Cost vs Value

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Warren Buffett, US financier & investment businessman (1930 - )

Lessons from Aikido

“Techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.”

Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido (1883 – 1969)

Building Tall Towers

"The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation."

Saint Augustine

Fishing Practice

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.”

Leonardo da Vinci

The Way Things Are

“Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.”

Bertolt Brecht, German Communist & dramatist (1898 - 1956)

Thoughtful Silence

“Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Abraham Lincoln, (attributed), 16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

No Fooling Nature

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

Richard Feynman, US educator & physicist (1918 - 1988)

Different Perspectives #2

“We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

Anais Nin

Wasteful Advertising

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”

John Wanamaker, US department store merchant (1838 - 1922)

Roman Persuasion

"If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words."

Cicero, Roman Philosopher, Orator and Statesman (106 BC - 43 BC)

Predicting Behaviour

“To predict the behaviour of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.”

Friedrich Nietzsche
, German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

Invent the Future

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Alan Kay

The Future Is Here

“The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.”

William Gibson, US science fiction novelist in Canada (1948 - )

Freedom of a Tight Brief

"When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost - and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl."

T.S. Eliot

Emotions Are Simple

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

Copywriting Skills

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

Thomas Mann, German writer (1875 - 1955)

The Impossible

“It's kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Walt Disney, US cartoonist & movie producer (1901 - 1966)

Different Perspectives

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.”

Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

Eccentric Opinions

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

Bertrand Russell, British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 - 1970)

Illuminating Light

“There are two kinds of light, the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”

James Thurber, US author, cartoonist, humorist, & satirist (1894 - 1961)

Embracing Failure

“Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.”

Thomas A. Edison, US inventor (1847 – 1931)

Perils of Being Customer Led #2

"If I'd have asked my customers what they'd wanted, they'd have asked for a faster horse"

Henry Ford

Inspiration Hunting

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

Jack London, US adventurer, author, & sailor (1876 – 1916)

Disobedience & Progress

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.”

Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)

Value of Preparation

“There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.”

Swedish maxim

Gravity & Levity

"It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously."

Peter Ustinov

T'interweb 2.0

“Whereas web 1.0 only offered a source of learning via one-way communication, Web 2.0 offers entire ecosystems for people to learn, share, grow, achieve, connect, and promote a cause.”

Jennifer Rice

False Promise of Hope

“Hope may not be the best basis for a management decision”

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman, Daimler Chrysler

People Can't Be Persuaded

"You can’t influence people. You can only put people in a position to influence themselves"

Unknown (at least to me)

What's The Problem?

"Don't tell me you need a bridge, show me the canyon!"

Giuseppe Delena, a designer at Ford

(the inspiration behind one of my other blog's titles.)

Genius Innovation

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”

Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

Perils of Being Customer Led

“These days, you can’t succeed as a company if you’re consumer led – because in a world so full of so much constant change, consumers can’t anticipate the next big thing. Companies should be idea-led and consumer-informed.”

Doug Atkin, partner, Merkley Newman Harty

Limiting Progress

"In other words, embarrass and shackle the progress of improvements of tomorrow by recording and registering as law the prejudices and errors of today."

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

A Definition of Insanity

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), (attributed)


"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand"

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Genius, Innovation & Experience

"Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed."

Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)

Persuade Don't Tell

“The comedian…knows that if the audience is to think he’s funny, then he’s got to make them laugh: he’s got to tell them what we call a joke”

Jeremy Bullmore in a presentation to Kraft, 5th June 1972


“People build brands as birds build nests, from scraps and straws we chance upon along the way”

Jeremy Bullmore

(a statement which he later disagrees with)

The Long Journey #2

“Little by little, one travels far“

JRR Tolkein (1892 - 1973)

The Long Journey

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Lao-tzu (604 BC - 531 BC)

Could vs Should #2

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)

Could vs Should

“Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should”

Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park


"You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi