Monday, February 14, 2005

tipping what?

ever since i got to san francisco, i've decided that i should take up reading again. a very smart co-worker of mine at microsoft once told me that reading keeps the mind sharp - now that i've started, i wholeheartedly agree! i'm not really sure when it happened, but sometime after i no longer had to attend high school english class, reading slowly dropped further and further down on my priorities list until it was nowhere to be found. i could probably come up with a ton of excuses for this, but in the interest of keeping this entry semi-short, i'll save that for another time :)

what's been on my reading list? well, i started by picking up fortune magazine. in my youth i'd never really cared too much for business magazines, but now i find it absolutely fascinating. i think i've at least skimmed the past few months worth of the magazine cover to cover.

next, i read "Touch the Top of the World" by Erik Weihenmayer. i actually didn't pick this one out, they gave away copies for free at google's sales conference. anyways, it's a great story about overcoming obstacles, rising up to challenges and learning to break through the barriers that other people shy away from. if that weren't reason enough, Erik gave an excellent speech at the sales conference which i got to see live.

then, i read "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. this was a terribly frightening read. if you like eating at mcdonald's or any other franchised fast food chain, don't read this book. if you want to see a new perspective of how this vertical operates, prepare to be shocked. ignorance might be bliss, but i definitely wanted to know this information. from now on, the only place i'll eat a fast food burger is in-n-out. yeeks!

while i was finishing up "Fast Food Nation," someone recommended "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. as much as i enjoyed my previous reads, this book had by far the most enlightening content i've read in a long, long time. if you're into marketing, social networks, viral epidemics, communications, psychology or just human nature in general, pick up this book. you won't be disappointed and you won't want to put it down. basically, Gladwell explores an exciting phenomenon where due to the right mix of people, message and circumstance, something - anything at all - explodes with an exponential uptake. he explores case studies where these principles apply to a wide range of scenarios including viruses, fads, human behaviors, children's television and more.

now, i'm reading Gladwell's next book, "Blink." it's about how people make snap judgments. it's about first impressions, how people sense danger, why art experts can just know a piece is fake and more. i've only just started the book and it's as gripping and eye-opening as "Tipping Point." i think Gladwell is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers - great ideas and great writing, what an awesome combination.

internet savvy readers will notice that i'm using amazon's associate links for all the stuff i've mentioned. just like my adsense search box and ads, i'll be donating all proceeds to charity. as a bonus, i'm getting to check out these technologies which have started an epidemic of their own across content providers' websites.

which reminds me, in case any of you out there were wondering, i took out those google adwords ads promoting this blog. i did it so i could get a jump start on getting to know the google ads system. it was one of those start-up assignments you get at a new job where you are supposed to familiarize yourself with the product.

it's getting late so i'm off to bed. ah, there's so much to post about the past few weeks but so little time. oh, and also, believe it or not, i do read all those comments so if you have a question specifically for me, please leave an e-mail address or contact me directly. otherwise, i won't be able to get back to you with an answer ;)

good night, blogosphere!


Blogger Saint of Speed said...

I was looking for a blog of an employee of Google. I was curious to know who the worlds most innovative IT company functions. The irony is that I came to know about you after Google let you go. It is sad that Google let you go. Also I have not been able to read you original post as the were removed by the time I came to know about it. Anyways I cannot blame Google, they must have had their reasons. Anyway I wish you all the best.

2/14/2005 03:25:00 AM  
Blogger Brett Nordquist said...

I ordered Tipping Point and Blink on your recommendation. I was just promoted into a marketing role and both sound like they could help. Thanks.

2/14/2005 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Olaf said...

Oddly, my reading trend ramped >up after school. I never read much then, as my grades will reflect. I guess I managed on "creative expression" instead. With a daily commute, I've discovered the beauty of books-on-x (x being tape, CD, what have you).

2/14/2005 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

i read the newspaper

2/14/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...


I clicked on the link for fast food nation and it took me to a Harry potter book.

You might check your link.

2/14/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger jwfbean said...

Read Brunneleschi's Dome by Scott King. Read blogs.

I hear is hiring.

2/14/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dimitar Vesselinov said...

IT Conversations: Malcolm Gladwell - Human NatureAccelerating Change 2004Web 2.0 2004

2/14/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan Weinberg said...

Hey Mark. About the AdSense ads: Was that your idea, or is it SOP. Seems like a pretty smart way to learn about the system from your customers perspective.

2/14/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger chunkybacon said...

Mark - you really need to STOP reading and get yourself an agent. Your 15 minutes of internet fame is rapidly running out - you really need to exploit this pronto. In 6 months time, nobody will care who you are or what you do - NOW is the time to really make the most of it.

2/15/2005 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger Jose Sandoval said...

I agree with "LinuxNotes admin."

You are probably a very accomplished individual, but for you to continue on the technical path it will be a bit hard after the reason for google letting you go. Right now you either turn off ALL the attention to you (And stay off radar) or get a good PR agent and try to figure out how to capitalize on the opportunity you have. I.e. All the web fame has to be worth something, so either start writing a book or start selling something. You even made wikipedia: Mark Jen.

I wish you luck and hopefully you figure out a way to take advantage of the "rare" opportunity.

2/15/2005 02:20:00 PM  

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