Dr. Paul Fleischman’s talk

Meditation is the hardest thing to do. The world slows down as more people discover its benefits. Here’s a recent talk by Vipasanna teacher and author Dr. Paul Fleischman. This recording was shared in a recent public program in Berkeley.

(The password is known by anyone who’s taken SN Goenka‘s 10-day course. Glad I still remember it)

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Here’s a brief synopsis based on one of many themes. I really like Dr. Fleischman’s concept of meditating in order to stay in one’s own swim lane. Our fast-paced lives spur a desire to win and overtake others’ swim lanes when we only need to survive by maintaining our own journeys. The more we can meditate, the more we quiet the mind to avoid friction and negative influences, while developing the strength to help others.

Self-care takes precedence over rat-racing. In a world designed for armies of rats, is it possible to survive as a compassionate healer? So much of the world risks becoming catatonic due to stress and tech addiction. This seminar was given to a competitive group of business professionals@McKinsey and it speaks truth to power about who we really are and who we can become.

It may come across as one guy’s opinion, but Dr. Fleischman has done the work — by meditating tens of thousands of hours — to stay in his swim lane while helping others do the same.

I discovered Vipassana, so I could learn to meditate like Dr. Fleischman and become a better person. It’s the hardest thing to do, but I find peace when I manage to sit still for an hour or two.

Amae

The Japanese concept of ”amae” is not easily translatable. Entire books have been written about it. It can mean setting undefined expectations— where you expect others to understand what you think or what you want without stating the obvious. This is part of daily life in America, too. Communication in Japan is subtle and requires reading between the lines based on societal hierarchies (parent-child, boss-worker, shacho-hisho, etc.) whereas frank opinions and directives connote normal communication in America. Being loud can get results in the USA. 🤣 Understanding “amae” helps when interacting frequently in the Japanese society.

Japanese psychiatrist Takeo Doi wrote a good book for anyone interested in this facet of Japanese culture. In America, we tend to react and respond quicker. In Japan, there’s often a pause followed by an indirect response or no response at all. It’s a really good thing or a bad thing based on the situation.

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Account Planning for Better Customer Success

Great presentation by Keri Keeling from Oracle about formalizing the account planning process…

Where Brick and Mortar Thrives

My favorite record store in Austin closed 15 years ago. If I want the Tower Records experience I have to go overseas.

When I visit Japan every couple of years or so, I can still drop by Tower Records in Shibuya and the Toys ”R” Us Japan headquarters in Kawasaki (where I was a consultant many years ago). Toys ”R” Us never shut down in Japan. Japan loves vintage ’American’ brands.

Struggling retail brands continue to find success in Japan where the population density swells in city centers usually near train stations. Thanks to a strong public transit system, the foot traffic is endless for stores which rely on customers to visit the old-fashioned way.

While shopping malls shrink in America due to the smartphone lifestyle, the Japanese remain loyal to big-box retailers making the effort to market themselves and provide ”omotenashi.”

If you enjoy classic rock, I recommend Phoenix where old bands keep strumming. If you love old school shopping experiences, visit Japan and think about opening a store there.

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77079 and 77030

Few large cities in America offer master-planned communities and estate homes similar to Houston for a fraction of a million dollars. It’s rare to find metros in the South that have successfully built industrial sectors capable of surviving recessions and globalization.

The Energy Corridor (77079) in Houston employs over 100,000 folks. The Texas Medical Center (77030) supports a similar figure enabling another growing cluster for jobs. These two zip codes help power Houston’s economy. The tech sector is a big part of the growth story in Houston. Austin and Dallas have tech stories of their own which are masked by higher real estate prices than Houston, but nothing like the mediocre housing on the East or West Coasts.

I don’t know many people on the East Coast or West Coast who have joined the migration of ’housing’ refugees coming to Houston. Houston attracts all walks of life from across the globe which creates a unique diversity and mishmash of cultures.

Austin or Dallas first comes to mind whenever I think of Texas. If Houston can fix its flooding and crime issues, it could become a third coast gem for families seeking normalcy amidst the bluster of high-strung living on expensive coasts. There are plenty of tech jobs in Houston— to go along with cheap gas and doctors on standby. 😆

With wealth inequality increasing in almost all large metros, Houston counters the trend with a not so secret sauce: by developing strong industrial sectors around affordable housing. By limiting zoning laws, residential communities and condos (that are actually affordable) sprout up all over the city, near the key zip codes where people work. This trend is definitely changing, but Houston has done a good job of addressing the affordable housing crisis plaguing NYC, San Francisco, and Seattle. Houston will become unaffordable in 5 to 10 years —- when everyone starts moving there after Austin and Dallas get saturated.

The jobs growth must continue because Houston is not the most exciting or geographically-pleasing place in the world. These two zip codes are worth looking into if you are expanding your business or organization.

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Forward.

Andrew Yang is a long shot, but as long as the Democratic Party and liberal media networks like MSNBC focus on ‘beating Trump’ versus focusing on the needs of the American family, 2020 will bring little change. This excellent op-ed points to what is missing — Andrew Yang deserves more air time to share a positive vision for American families.

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Motherboard

There’s a gap in investigative journalism. Vice is stepping up to the plate while The Markup tries to reboot itself. I was looking forward to The Markup taking off, but don’t see much coming from them. It’s great to see Vice doing this.

Motherboard Link

Someone needs to watch the shenanigans running the tech world and colluding with bad actors. Sorry, I don’t trust NYT, CNN, Fox, or MSNBC — all have been bought out by the tech industry and politicians. Most of all, I don’t trust Google, Fox, Twitter, and Facebook. That’s why I maintain this blog.

Ninety-nine percent of tech people are good, but 1% execute with bad intentions. That’s all it takes to cause mass disruption.