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Failures of Kindness

by | Aug 6, 2013 | life, people i admire, philosophy | 0 comments

The inimitable George Saunders delivering words of wisdom and provocation at Syracuse’s 2013 commencement:

“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly.  Reservedly.  Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope:  Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.”

Man. For some reason that gives me goose bumps.

Read the whole thing and feel something new — perhaps. 




Does it trouble anybody else that the biggest story right now is whether or not the President of the United States is sane?

“Our ability to live and work on other places in the solar system will end up giving us the science and #technology that we need to save the species,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m talking about human beings. I’d hate to miss all that fun.”


“Stripe has always put the needs of developers first. This philosophy has heavily shaped our approach to developer tooling… How can we help our users get the most value out of the limited developer resources they have available?”

"All of these moves fit into Ama­zon’s core mis­sion as a data-dri­ven in­stant-grat­i­fi-ca­tion com­pany... Imag­ine the data-col­lect­ing power of Face­book wed­ded to the sup­ply-chain em­pire of Wal-Mart—that’s Ama­zon.

It's not perfect, of course, but these are the reasons why some (including myself) believe we will learn more about economics & democratic governance in the next 10 years than in all human history combined.

Pre-blockchain, those skilled at manipulating other people have enjoyed tremendous success in political and corporate spheres.

Post-blockchain, those skilled at not being manipulated may enjoy even more.

Blockchain isn't anti-government. In your lifetime, you'll see some governments run on a blockchain in a decentralized, public, verified & democratic fashion.

Blockchains could make government better—more transparent and less prone to abuse by wealthy and influential elites.

You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.

I have decided to leave the LA Weekly. It was a great experience and I was lucky to work with such talented and dedicated people. Thanks for reading the column.

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