A very interesting article from the ever-interesting GOOD magazine.

It covers the chicken/egg problem of which is better for the developing world: laptops or cell phones? I’ve witnessed the dramatic proliferation of cell phones across Africa and, along with the mobility of Toyota “matatu” van taxis, the accompanying economic activity.

…voice communications do not require literacy, and are thus more egalitarian and more inclusive.

— Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameenphone

But Negroponte argues that while cell phones connect, laptops are a window to literacy:

Asynchronous and high latency communications is very inexpensive… When we ship 100 laptops into a village, each can have 100 different books. That means 10,000 in the village, without any connectivity other than to each other.

— Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT

An interesting anecdote from Negroponte:

Ten years ago, most students are MIT and Harvard wanted to start companies and make money. Today, those students want to be social entrepreneurs. They are more interested in changing the world and doing good.

h/t Kara

Heart to the Storyteller

We guard our hearts with zeal, knowing their power to move us.

Our minds are relatively open, but we guard our hearts with zeal, knowing their power to move us. So although the mind may be part of [the] target, the heart is the bull’s-eye. To reach it, the [storyteller] must first display his own open heart.

— Peter Guber, The Four Truths of the Storyteller

But feelings are pesky critters, cropping up inconveniently, and then disappearing just when you want them. And the thing both terrible and wonderful about feelings is that they change… In fact the more you let yourself feel whatever you are actually feeling, the more available you are to a new feeling.

The director is in a position to do violence to [these] delicate emotional mechanisms.

— Judith Weston, Directing Actors

The Magic Number of Greatness

Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness

— Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

Just read this article in Harvard Business Review. According to Malcolm Gladwell and Geoffrey Colvin, becoming great at anything — whether it’s art, business, sports etc. — requires ten years of practice and 1,000 hours of practice every year.

It’s repetitive, which means that when it’s time to perform for real (sinking a putt, pitching a product), you don’t feel the pressure. It’s informed by continuous feedback; practice only works if you can see how you’re improving. And it isn’t much fun, which isn’t all bad. “It means that most people won’t do it,” Colvin says.

— Bill Taylor, Harvard Business Review