Category Archives: Thoughts
Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb. Twenty or so inventors and labs had already come up with similar designs when he patented his in 1879. What Edison really invented was affordable and accessible electric light.
Edison’s breakthrough was guided by a fundamental insight: any given product is only as powerful as the system in which it is deployed. As he set out to design his lightbulb, he simultaneously sketched out an integrated set of plans for generators, wiring, meters, light switches, and more. An electric lightbulb without ready access to electricity is a novelty; with it, it’s a world changer.
Edison’s insight provides a useful frame for viewing Tesla’s splashy launch of Tesla Energy and its battery systems — Powerwall for residential use and Powerpack for commercial, industrial, and utility customers. The new products promise to store locally sourced energy and manage its dispatch, helping to mitigate one of the major shortcomings of harvesting power from the sun: the intermittency challenge (in other words, you need the sun to shine). This proposition could make a rooftop solar array less dependent on the grid, while also smoothing the flow of excess electricity back into it. Solar panels without integrated storage are not much more valuable than lightbulbs without an electric grid; Tesla Energy, then, is an aggressive move toward creating the energy system of the future.
Some of the definitions are changing, but most fields have all three.
The politician used to be what we called a bureaucratic operative, someone who carefully chose his words and actions so he would offend no one. (Today, it’s more likely to be someone who intentionally slows things down, who works hard to point fingers at the other side and is constantly on the hunt for money).
The patriot used to be someone who put aside his own interests in exchange for the organization he represents. (Today, it’s more likely to be someone who’s merely jingoistic, with a bit of short-term thinking thrown in for good measure). Plenty of blustering tech company CEOs could be put into this category.
And the statesman? The statesman is the person who will speak the truth, take the long-term view and do what’s right, even if it hurts his position in the short-run. Fortunately, this definition hasn’t changed much over the years. This is the leader who doesn’t want to know which side someone is on before he can tell you if the decisions made were good ones or not. He’s the one who works hard to see the world as it is, as opposed to insisting it must only be the way he expects. And mostly, he’s the one you should work with, vote for or follow as often as you can.
What do you do before you go to sleep? Watch TV? Read? Play on social media? If you want to be successful, adopt some of these habits. Most successful people […]
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If collaboration is key to succeeding in organizations today, doesn’t it pay to play nice in the sandbox? You have to get along with others to get things done, right? Yes, this is true — to a degree. You want to be a cooperative colleague but you don’t want to be seen as an ineffective pushover. Persuading others matters as much as getting along with them.
Rocking the boat or standing your ground may be hard for you but always being the one who’s persuaded rather than one doing the influencing has real implications for your work and your career. Here are signs that you’ve taken being the good guy or gal too far:
- You kick yourself after the fact for not speaking up in a meeting. You only come to realize your point of view on something after the discussion is over.
- You blame your colleagues for not giving anyone the chance to get in a word edgewise.
- You feel overwhelmed and pulled in multiple directions especially as emails and requests for work or input come in.
- Your calendar is full with back-to-back meetings and no time to focus on yourself or critical priorities.
- Your peers get promoted before you.