Ideas don’t spread like viruses: my grad-school master’s thesis

I just finished my master’s thesis!

I interviewed ten entrepreneurs, academics, and designers and asked them how ideas spread in their industry. I was trying to poke holes in the “ideas spread like viruses” paradigm, which is the primary way people think of ideas spreading these days.

I created an interactive website featuring long-form versions of three of the interviews. Check it out here.

And it’s been getting good press! Philadelphia-based entrepreneur, Christopher Wink (whom I interviewed) had this to say about it in his semi-weekly email newsletter:

Ideas don’t go viral. Or rather, that metaphor isn’t as effective as an “ecosystem,” in which a network needs to be in place and a complex chain of events needs to be followed. That’s from this master’s thesis from a guy named Marc Hummel who reached out and interviewed me last year. He’s now published that thesis online in a remarkably fun and visual way. Go look at it here, if only to see what a thesis can look like.

Check out the site here and let me know what you think!

Thanks.

Against the digital detox

Matthew J. X. Malady gave up his mobile phone, social media, etc. for three days. His experience doesn’t fit the typical detox trope, one which states that giving up our devices “frees” us and allows us to reconnect and see the world in new ways. It’s a trope I’ve been sympathetic towards in the past.

Mr. Malady’s main takeaway: Going without made him less curious. Writing for the New Yorker:

During the world’s longest weekend, it became clear to me that, when I’m using my phone or surfing the Internet, I am almost always learning something. I’m using Google to find out what types of plastic bottles are the worst for human health, or determining the home town of a certain actor, or looking up some N.B.A. player’s college stats. I’m trying to find out how many people work at Tesla, or getting the address for that brunch place, or checking out how in the world Sacramento came to be the capital of California.

Nicholas Carr, observer of the tech absurd

Nicholas Carr, putting the “Internet of Things” into his razor-sharp perspective, as always.

Take the so-called Internet of Things. When we imbue an inanimate object, a thing, with smartness, we’re not conjuring up that smartness out of nothing. We’re simply transferring a bit of smartness that already exists, in our own minds, into the thing. IBM tells us that we’re building a Smarter Planet, but what IBM doesn’t say, at least not in its marketing materials, is that as the planet gets smarter its occupants get dumber.

Want to visit Darth Vapor, Curl up and Dyes, and Thaiphoon in 1 trip? Now you can.

“Hey let’s start a deli,” said a man to his wife one day a few years ago.

“What should we call it?” the wife asked.

“Well, since it’s going to be a deli specializing in delicious food,” the man continued, “let’s call it ‘DELIcious Bites’. Get it?”

The wife groaned.

That must be how DELIcious bites on South Street got its name, right?

If you like puns in the names of the businesses you patronize, you’re in luck. The good people over at Atlas Obscura are creating a map of businesses with puns in their names.

They’re accepting submissions until Sep. 7.

From this NPR story:

Poems from newspaper clippings that don’t suck.

Austin Kleon art from newspaper

From Austin Kleon.

Austin, if you’re reading this, hi. I saw you in 2012 at the Penn Bookstore. Glad you enjoyed your falafel from Mamas. That is the city’s best. Now that I think of it, I may have made you a list of things to do and given it to you after the lecture. I made it during your lecture. Sorry if that is rude. I think you said you were leaving town right after the lecture, but that you would save it for next time.

I hope you weren’t just being polite.

Via {Christopher Wink/Twitter}.