Life is a Mystery

30 November 2012 . Comments Off on Nobody over 30 ever had a good idea

Nobody over 30 ever had a good idea

Monica Ertel spent 16 years at Apple. I met her when she ran the Apple Library Users Group in the 1990’s. I love this anecdote from a 1996 interview:

Steve Jobs–he was president then, and he had an open door policy and anybody could go and talk to him. Down the line I hired some people and this woman was about 32 years old I guess, and she went to talk to him. And you could just go in his office. And he made some remark about how nobody over 30 ever had a good idea. And he was like all of 24 years old. And she was just inflamed by this! So she came back to me and said we have to do some research. We have to put together a list of people over the age of 80 who had great ideas, so we found in the Book of Lists people over 80 who had revolutionary ideas and we sent it to him and we never heard from him again. But, I’ll never forget that because he was 31 when he started Next. And I never forgot it and I thought–I wonder if he remembers his arrogant youth when he said that no one over 30 ever had a good idea. You know, Next hasn’t been all that successful, so maybe he was right! Maybe it’s come around.

Monica left Apple in 1998 when Steve returned. Apple’s corporate library was one of the things that fell under his ax as he slimmed Apple into a fighting trim. Some might say he had a few good ideas left in him after 30!

30 November 2012 . Comments Off on Tweets of the Week

Tweets of the Week

28 November 2012 . Comments Off on What is $2000 worth?

What is $2000 worth?

I just got an email from the White House asking me to tell the President and Congress why it is important to keep taxes from going up on the middle class. They would like me to explain what $2000 is worth to our family. Here is how I responded:

$2000 is a month living in our home. It is the new computer for our high school student. It is a couple months of food on our table.

We are not even halfway to the $250,000 cutoff the President is considering for raising taxes, but we believe in our government and its ability to bring us together to do things we cannot do alone. As members of the middle class, we are willing to give up this $2000 right now if it goes toward health care for all, services for the poor, maintenance of vital infrastructure, and education for all our children. We are ready to pay the price of living in a vigorous society that builds a bright future.

So, please, take our $2000 and build a stronger America for all of us. We would rather start paying now, than saddle our children and grandchildren with a decayed America that has forgotten the price of freedom.

I welcome tax increases. I see our tax-sheltered society as a shameful abdication of responsibility to future generations. I hope we come to our senses and start building a stronger society together again, because I fear the one we are building as individuals is getting more ragged and divided every day.

Look at the image the White House presents as representing this cause. A family becomes shoppers. A house alone and isolated. Pavement and suburban grass. This is the ideal we are striving for? I think this vision is part of the problem, it separates us from each other, it encourages us to carry as much as we can into our mortgaged houses. Will we wake up?

A caring society is worth much more to me than $2000. Let’s build one! Tell the White House what you want to do with your $2000.


23 November 2012 . Comments Off on Tweets of the Week

Tweets of the Week

  • @ediblestories websites have been down for over two hours… any ETA on return? 2012-11-16
  • I don't think I could be confirmed in today's Catholic Church either. Would I want to be? Do I want to be? #fb 2012-11-17
  • @atebits yes, someone reads those… 🙂 2012-11-17
  • @atebits please investigate landscape bug… E.g. Keyboard comes in from side on friend request, os thinks landscape game is portrait. 2012-11-17
  • Beware: @lifetimefitness makes it a practice to charge credit card without any receipt or notice, then refuse refunds of stealth charges. 2012-11-17
  • Surprised at how much I enjoyed Wreck it Ralph! I love that Pixar is rubbing off on Disney. 2012-11-18
  • Yes! Amy is on board. Reform the filibuster: Sign this petition. (Al, we are still waiting for you.) 2012-11-19
  • Awesome book scanner… scan a novel in 60 seconds. Here we go… 2012-11-20

16 November 2012 . Comments Off on Tweets of the Week

Tweets of the Week

15 November 2012 . Comments Off on Fix the Filibuster

Fix the Filibuster

Two years ago I created the 51 is a majority campaign. It didn’t catch on and neither did filibuster reform in the US Senate. This time around I hope the Democrats in control of the Senate will realize that they have to fix the filibuster.

For the past few years the requirement to get any work done in the Senate has been 60 votes. This is so common that 60 votes is the new normal. But the Senate was designed to work as a body that, for the most part, respects majority rule. The filibuster is a tool for the minority to raise serious concerns, but was never intended to be invoked on nearly every piece of legislation that comes through the body.

We must reform the filibuster, and I want my Senators out front on this one. There is a proposal being put forward by Senators Merkley, Udall, Gillibrand, Harkin, and Warren to make sure the filibuster is a “talking filibuster,” one that requires Senators to actually stand up and say what they believe if they want to block the action of the majority. Why are Senators I respect, like Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Michael Bennet, and Sherrod Brown not out front on this. We must have filibuster reform to get anything done in the next two years.

Please, write your Senators and sign the petition to reform the filibuster. Here’s what I said to my Senators (write Amy and Al yourself if you are in Minnesota):

Dear Al and Amy,

I hope and expect you will support filibuster reform. Make the filibuster a “talking filibuster” that requires a Senator blocking a vote by arguing that more debate is needed to do so by taking the floor and making a case to the American people.

Abuse of they filibuster has crippled the US Senate for long enough. A talking filibuster will protect the minority with enough power to block truly controversial legislation, but it will ensure that the filibuster is reserved for only important cases.

Please, be swift and clear in your support of filibuster reform. Fix the Senate!


UPDATE (19 Nov 2012): Amy Klobuchar has signed onto the effort! Thanks, Amy. Now are are just waiting for Al.

9 November 2012 . Comments Off on Marriage in Minnesota

Marriage in Minnesota

Let me start by saying I support marriage for same sex couples. I think marriage, the public commitment to build a life together and support a family, strengthens our society whether it is between one man and one woman, one man and one man, or one woman and one woman. I am eager for the day Minnesota welcomes this commitment from all. I am particularly excited that this week Minnesotans rejected a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Now I’ll get to the harder pill to swallow…

I think Minnesota should move slowly to changing its law to facilitate marriage between same sex couples. If the DFL (Minnesota’s “democrats”) moves to legislate that change ASAP, now that it controls both the legislature and the governorship, it will come back to haunt us all too soon. The conversations opened by the beautiful campaign of Minnesota United need to continue, we need to continue to open hearts and minds to the coming change. We need some time to allay the fears of many friends and neighbors.

I fear some in the party are pushing to make marriage a priority in the next legislative session. I think we first must build a new budget, fund education properly, add some new revenue to the picture, then we will be ready to address marriage. This year should be a year of fundamentals: a year to undo damage done to us by leaders who refused to pay the cost of a vibrant modern society, to avert our slide into mediocrity.

I also note that the marriage amendment drove our voter turnout this year. More citizens voted on the marriage amendment than voted for president! I believe the marriage amendment made our new DFL lead statehouse possible. We will need that turnout again in 2014 if we are to keep the governorship and legislature facing the future. After a year of deep conversations on the issue and some practical accomplishments under our belt, 2014 will be the right time to take on marriage equality. I believe this change will spark joy and reveal the demons of the right as myths. It will be a very positive story for Minnesota. I want that positive energy as close to the next election as possible.

In order to build our constituency for change through respectful conversations, in order to get some important gritty work done in the legislature this year, and in order to place a positive story closer to the next election cycle, I hope Minnesota’s progressive community takes a deep breath, enjoys our recent victory, and targets 2014 as the year of marriage equity in Minnesota.


9 November 2012 . Comments Off on Tweets of the Week

Tweets of the Week

2 November 2012 . Comments Off on Tweets of the Week

Tweets of the Week

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /