Changing the World

From the folks at Harvard Business Review:

People who successfully tackle big social, environmental, and economic problems are driven by what I call a moment of obligation — a specific time in their life when they felt compelled to act. These moments become their North Star; they keep them going in a positive direction when everything seems dark. The obligation is not only to the world but also to themselves.

Here are a few tips for recognizing your own moments of obligation.

They’re strong. You can recognize the moment by the intense feelings it invokes. The moment itself doesn’t necessarily need to be dramatic, but what it brings up in you is.

They keep showing up. Sometimes, the experiences will reoccur. You’ll notice an issue again and again. Patterns will emerge and you will see that, for whatever reason, you are drawn to delve deeper into this particular issue.

They’re personal. The moments are very often personally meaningful. They are connected to your own experiences, or the experiences of people you care most about.

They take hold. Finally, they just won’t let you go. They scream for your attention, creeping into your mind when you are minding your own business — sitting on the couch, watching TV, or trying to get a good night’s sleep.

NOTES: Click the link in the title or here to read the entire article. Image Credit

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A great video with Seth Godin on taking risks. He is discussing his book Poke the Box.

Some highlights:

If I fail more than you do, I win. If you fail, you get to play again, and if you keep playing enough, you will eventually win.

Take appropriate risks. Risks that keep you in the game even if you fail.

It’s ok to fail. Experiment so that you can figure out what works. This requires us to try new things.

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crossword 14

Aristotle’s three appeals – logospathos, and ethos – are effective tools in the rhetorical framework, or the art of persuasion. Using all three as part of a rhetorical strategy, in fact, is one of the most effective methods of persuading others, and as a result, changing how others view reality.

Many people, however, have elevated the appeal to logic, or logos, over the other two, despite Aristotle’s belief that ethos is the most effective of the three. The emergence of contemporary brain research, however, demonstrates that emotion (pathos) is the primary driver of thinking and behavior. As such, strategies may need to change regarding the method communicators use to effectively lead others, persuade others and motivate them to action.

In this first post, let’s look at a brief summary of Aristotle’s appeals.

Considered one of the most important people in the development of Western philosophy, Aristotle developed one of, if not the most important works on persuasion ever written. In it he defined rhetoric as “the art to see or identify in any given circumstance the available means of persuasion” (as cited in Smith, p. 67). According to Aristotle, persuasion is made up of three appeals: logospathos, and ethos. Each of these three rhetorical appeals can, or at least should, be found in any persuasive process.

Logos, as used by Aristotle, attempts to persuade using rational arguments. When a communicator employs statistics, what they deem to be credible sources, or reasoned arguments, they are utilizing logos in their persuasion (Wright, n.d., para 6).

When a communicator uses pathos as a persuasive strategy, they are making an emotional appeal. When the rhetorician appeals to the needs, values, or emotions of an audience, this constitutes an argument based on pathos (Wright, para. 7).

Ethos references the character or credibility of the communicator. Ethos is conveyed through reputation, credentials, tone, or style. Seeking to establish the trustworthiness, expertise and …read more


Apple bought a company in March 2013. No surprise. For an estimated $20 million, Apple bought WiFiSLAM, a 2-year-old company that according to AngelList developed a technology that,

“allow(s) your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient WiFi signals that are already present in buildings. We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking.

Getting past the technical language, it is basically GPS for indoors. But this is powerful for e-commerce companies like Amazon.

Apps already exist that will allow a consumer to scan the bar code, take a picture or use text/speech to check the price of the item on (or other stores). The information these e-commerce companies can collect about the user and their interests is amazing. Add to that being able to discover where the consumer is, what store they are in, what building that store exists in… the possibilities could be endless. Heck, even big brother could track you.

But what this may be doing to retail businesses is turning them into not much more than a showroom. Note this quote from Harvard Business Review blogger Mitch Joel:

This business of showrooming has become a contentious talking point in the retail sector, as more and more consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to find a better price at the physical location. These consumers are using the stores as a showroom, but completing their purchases on their mobile devices and having the products shipped to their homes.

I know I do this in bookstores. Why? Amazon is usually always cheaper. Of …read more