Six topics for the price of one

I’m spending the first quarter of the year learning experientially by walking around and trying new things.

This blog is turning conversational. It’s me to you. Informal. Personal. I’m returning to the impromptu, stream-of-consciousness style I used when I began blogging a dozen years ago.

I’ll be narrating my work, describing my discoveries before I mesh them into white papers and polished posts. When I’ll post things ready for prime time to, my official blog. Here at, you’ll find thought fragments, tips, speculation, and experiments.

If you want to view lots of Jay and ideas in the making, subscribe to

If you prefer just the industry-changing posts, finished white papers, and a more conservative tone, subscribe to

You may also want to check out my curated topics, too.

Hacked? Last year hackers infected four of my sites with malware. I was at a loss until a friend turned me on to They cleaned up the mess and now monitor my sites for badness.

HTML5 plays natively on laptop, pad, and phone.

HTML5, why should I care? When I first grappled with the web, I loved learning and writing HTML. View source enabled me to figure out how people created various effects. I learned by tweaking: do it, try it, fix it. Immediately seeing the result was tremendously motivating.

As HTML advanced, many original conventions were no longer supported. I began getting lost when CSS replaced declarations like <font size=”small” color=”red” />. HTML5 joined my list of things to learn on Walkabout.

Why switch?

  • HTML5 automatically resizes for PCs, tablets, and smart phones.
  • Flash is on the way out. HTML5 plays all manner of videos natively.
  • HTML5 uses vector graphics, which don’t pixelate degraded when you blow them up.
  • HTML5 creates pages that are better, faster, cheaper, simpler to develop, and secure.

And more.

Can anyone suggest some good tutorials? I’m starting with HTML5 Rocks.

iCloud ate my most important file.

I store a file named 2013 Jay’s Stories in Apple’s iCloud so I can easily access it from any of my computers. (I have Macs on each of the three floors of my house.)

The file contains my journal, reminders, ideas for stories, to-do list, and plans in Pages. These forty pages are at the center of my life.

I can no longer open the Stories file; it reports that I’m missing index.html. I cannot download the file. I can’t pull a copy from my back-up because Time Machine hasn’t been backing up iCloud. I am hosed.

This makes me suspicious of the whole iCloud deal. Dare I leave other files out there? Do I have to do manual backups? I’ll talk with Apple about this but I am going back to Dropbox.

Pokey Plug-ins

Brian Dusablon turned me on to a WordPress plug-in that scans your site and calls out slow plug-ins. Called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), it’s free and it works.


Quiet, the power of introverts

Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Today, People, GoodReads, Fast Company, the Guardian, Kirkus Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Inc., Inside Higher Ed, and Princeton Alumni Weekly rate Quiet a top nonfiction book of 2012. I wouldn’t. It’s a good book, but not a compelling book.

U.S. society in general and the business world in particular celebrate the outgoing Extrovert Ideal. Around 1900, America shifted from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. The Culture of Character emphasized attributes anyone could work on improving: citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners, and integrity. The Culture of Personality embodies qualities that are harder to acquire: magnetic, fascinating, stunning attractive glowing dominant, forceful and energetic. We became obsessed with movie stars. We all became performers.

We left the farms and citizens became employees. Introverts like J. Alfred Prufrock were forced to “prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” Dale Carnegie became a best seller. Outgoing people were winners; shy folks were losers.

Harvard B-School
Class at Harvard B-School

Cain goes to my alma mater to check the temperament of future captains of industry. A student wished her luck, thinking that “finding an introvert at Harvard Business School no doubt believing that there were none to be found.”

“The essence of the HBS education is that leaders have to act confidently and make decisions in the face of incomplete information. The HBS teaching method implicitly comes down on the side of certainty. The CEO may not know the best way forward, but she has to act anyway. The HBS students, in turn, are expected to opine. Half of the students’ grade, and a much larger percentage of their social status, is based on whether they throw themselves into this fray. If a student talks often and forcefully, then he’s a player; if he doesn’t he’s on the margins.”

Cain is absolutely correct. I should know. When I attended HBS, my Myers-Briggs score put me two standard deviations away from the norm toward introversion. I never volunteered to speak. I rarely said anything. My years at B-School were among the worst in my life.

Nonetheless, I made it through. I wish I’d been able to read Quiet back then. Reading about the benefits of introversion would have made the situation more tolerable. It turns out that introverts are often more creative, more insightful, and more reflective than their outgoing peers. Teams and group action are not the answer for everything. Introverts and extroverts working together are more productive than either group working in isolation.

Twenty years after school, my personality flipped. Myers-Briggs now pegged me as an extreme extrovert. I became more outgoing, starting speaking up, and became fearless about meeting people. My conversion coincided with lifting the cloud of depression. The Black Dog had turned me negative about interactions with others. Choking off the depression made me an optimist. Curiously, Cain doesn’t mention depression in the book.

Quiet is a worthwhile read if you’re not familiar with this subject or if you’re a suffering introvert. You’ll learn that introverts can be mighty contributors and to “fake it until you make it.”