Category Archives: Just Jay

Weird night vision, cause unknown

“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” Eric Raymond
The Cathedral and the Bazaar

I suffer from Pronoia, the belief that the world is conspiring to make me happy and successful, so I’ll ask the net if anyone has a clue as to what might be going on with this.

A week ago, walking the dark steps from the Internet Time Lab to my upstairs office, I sensed something wasn’t right. I soon realized that I was nearly blind in my left eye. The right eye was working fine,.

I just went outside. Here’s what I saw:


This only happens at night. My daylight vision is fine.

I visited my optometrist this afternoon. He is totally baffled. The problem is persistent and hasn’t changed much over the week since I first noticed it.


keenecardShame on Walter Keene. 

Monterey Car Week



Monterey Car Week 2015

Thursday morning we arrived at Ocean Avenue in Carmel just in time to catch the arrival of the cars in the Tour d’Elegance. These cars, that would participate in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, had driven from Monterey to Big Sur and back through Carmel where they park for a couple of hours to enable people to gawk. 

Carmel Tour d'EleganceCarmel Tour d'Elegance

This fantastic array of cars included antiques such as Mercer, Stutz, Pope, Auburn, HIspano-Suiza, ancient Rolls-Royces, lots of Ferraris, blower Bentleys, Cunningham LeMans cars, Jags, Porsche Spyders, Alfa-Romeo race cars, and more. I walked among these beauties, talking with the occasional owner who wasn’t having lunch provided by the city of Carmel.

Carmel Tour d'EleganceCarmel Tour d'EleganceCarmel Tour d'EleganceI’d visited the event before. Six years ago we rented a cottage in Carmel for the month of August that was only five blocks from the Tour route. Things have changed. This year’s Tour was overwhelmed with people. Too many of them. Weaving one’s way among the cars felt like being in the crowd leaving the stadium after a popular baseball game. The Concours de Carmel, two days earlier, is less crowded and lasts all day.  Concours d'EleganceThe streets of Carmel, well, they’re really lanes, are a show in themselves. Every other car is a Maserati, Lambo, or custom Porsche. Ferraris are so commonplace you get tired of them. I was sitting in a wine bar yesterday. Up pulled two McLarens, one  chartreuse right down to its wheels, the other an eye-popping neon lime green. To the front and read were custom Ferraris. Across the street, I talked with the owner of a Lambo Countach, his third Lamborghini. He’s driven the Countach 165 but usually tools along at 120. “Feels like 60 in a regular car,” he told me. Carmel Tour d'EleganceThat evening we tried to get into the Baja Cantina, a Mexican restaurant covered floor to ceiling in automotive memorabilia. Thousands of other people had the same idea. They parked on the highway up to a 1/4 mile away. The wait time for a table was three hours. The patio had a live band and shoulder-to-shoulder car enthusiasts. We bailed and had a great dinner at Cafe Rustica in Carmel Valley.  Monterey Car WeekEvery year sees new events. The Concorso Italiano and the Ferrari meet-up at the Barnyard Shopping Center are old timers. There’s also a fancy invitation-only show at the airport, The Motorsports Gathering at the Quail, Legends of the Autobahn, a Porsche-only show, and my favorite, the Concours deLemons, a show dedicated to automotive failures and oddities (Pinto with license plate Ka-boom!) Throw in half a dozen major auto auctions and countless private events. Here’s a list This is the largest gathering of exotic cars in the world. People are talkative during Car Week. All share the lingua franca of automobiles. I’m generally reserved, but I talked with more than 100 folks in four days. Friday we drove to Laguna Seca Raceway for the Rolex Motorsports antique car races. We walked into the paddocks, where six lanes of cars were being prepped to race. A couple of Bugatti 47s drove by, almost clipping us, on their way to the track. Then minutes later, we saw them racing. Laguna Seca  Laguna SecaThe noise made by a Ford muscle car or a Lola is unbelievably loud, especially if it sneaks up behind you and revs the motor instead of honking the horn to get you out of the way. I took out my hearing aids but the roar was still one of the loudest things I’ve heard in my life.   Watching race cars from the 50s and 60s is a gas, made even more pleasant by the margaritas and beer that are for sale on both side of the track. We came home dusty and sunburned; the races are fun but one day (of three) was enough. RetroAutoRetroAutoSaturday we drove along the 17 Mile Drive (free if you’re doing something related to Car Week) to the Inn at Spanish Bay. I picked up my Pebble Beach tickets at Will Call. The Inn is host to the free Retro Auto show, a group of vendors selling books, posters, models, car literature, neon signs, and event clothing. Out front was a beautiful custom Delahay and a gigantic Bentley convertible. The driver started up the Bentley for me to hear. He drives it daily. He gets 6 to 9 miles per gallon “but I’ve got a 50 gallon tank,” he said. Laguna SecaLaguna SecaI registered to bid in the Rick Cole auction, one of two remaining auctions with free admission. Convince them you’re a potential buyer and you get a pass. On the second floor of the Marriott was a showroom containing a beautiful red Maserati race car from the late 50s, a 300SL, a Delahay, numerous Ferraris and Lambos, comfortable seating, and an open bar. We didn’t make it to the other freebie, the Mecum Auction at the Monterrey Hyatt, where you can wander among hundreds of cars ready to go on the block. Sunday I put on my blue seersucker suit and a flashy yellow tie and boarded a shuttle bus from Carmel to Pebble Beach for the capstone event, the Concours d’Elegance. Twenty thousand people joined me there on the 18th hole green of the Pebble Beach golf course. We’d each paid $300 to ogle two hundred incomparable cars. Concours d'Elegance Jay Leno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sterling Moss were in attendance but I didn’t see them. The weather was perfect, as it had been for our entire stay (this area is notorious for morning fog but we had none of it for four full days.)   Concours d'EleganceI began with the Duponts. I had never heard of the marque, so I asked a well-dressed fellow in a blue blazer and straw hat what the story was. Turns out I was talking with Peter Dupont. He explained that the cars were manufactured in Philadelphia at the beginning of the century. He owns three of them. Custom bodied, usually with a hood ornament of Lalique crystal. Amazing cars. Up next, a row of Dusenbergs and then historic cars from an Italian body maker. After a while, I came to a dozen Ferraris that had competed in the original Tour d’Elegance three decades ago; they all looked brand new. Monterey Car WeekConcours d'EleganceOn it went, past a half-dozen SS coupes (SS became Jaguar when the Nazis came to power with their SS, the Schutzstaffel.Schutzstaffel_SS.svg).  Invictas (I’d never heard of them.) The 300 SLR Mercedes in which Sterling Moss won the Mille Miglia in 1955. A gigantic Renault that was a gift to the president of Bolivia from the president of France; the fellow I was talking with brought it from La Paz. Three Cunningham LeMans cars. A Stutz Bearcat.  A Fiat Abarth that came in third in the competition that afternoon. A Moon. A gaggle of Alfa race cars. A rank of vintage Rolls Royces. So many cars, any one of which would draw a crowd under normal circumstances. Concours d'EleganceConcours d'Elegance

Concours d'EleganceConcours d'EleganceI bought a plastic flute of Moët Imperial for $25 to whet my whistle and went back to revisit my favorite cars. It was sunny and warm and after three hours, I was totally carred out. I walked out past the temporary exhibit halls of KIA, Tesla, Lexus, and Cadillac and caught the shuttle back to Carmel.   Here are the  winners. That evening, Uta and I headed back to the Baja Cantina, parked next to a gigantic Rolls from Ontario, and got a seat immediately. We pigged out on Mexican food and margaritas. When we got rolling Monday morning, the party was over. No more traffic jams in which half the vehicles were Italian exotics. Everyone had packed up and left. Car Week 2015 was over. Photographs of the cars are at We drove back to San Francisco via Highway 1 past fields of Brussels sprouts, artichokes, peas, strawberries and pumpkins. Ended up in Sebastopol to pick up the dogs and headed home. Monterey Car WeekMonterey Car Week

Imagining the internet. It’s what futurists do.

The 2014 Survey: Impacts of AI and robotics by 2025

A very good read. Opinions from all the hot shots. VInt Cerf, Jerry Michalski, Ben Schneiderman, Hal Varian, Howard Rheingold, Tiffany Shlain, Stowe Boyd, JP Rangaswami, John Markoff, danah boyd, Doc Searles, and more.

My contribution was chopped to three sentences:

Jay Cross, chief scientist at Internet Time Group, responded, “The nature of work will change. Heaven only knows what comes after the service economy but it won’t be mass unemployment. Perhaps finally people will only need to work a few hours a day.”


Free form for self assessment and career development


Goals provide the motivation for self-directed learning. Writing down career goals makes it more likely you will attain them.

Participants in The Aha! Project asked for a structured way to go about self-assessment and goal-setting.

We developed this Learning Plan template to lead them through the process. Feel free to use it. If you have feedback, we’ll be glad to hear it.form

Learning Plan Template in pdf  |  Learning Plan Template in MS Word

Don’t Smoke

Don’t Smoke.

A friend confided she’s taken up smoking again.

Whoa! Full stop! Nicotine is a mind-altering trickster. It will kill you. Painfully. The short-term buzz is not worth the long-term consequences.

I gave it up 30 years ago after 20 years of Luckies, Camels, Gaulois, and worse. Here’s my Journal‘s notice of the day I quit.

Don’t smoke.

New Book: Aha! 75 Ways to Work Smarter

cover_smallMy new book, Aha!, is for all those people we’ve made responsible for their own learning. This is the missing manual.

Aha! explains self-assessment, setting goals, dealing with feeds and flows, improving retention, curation, working out loud, social learning, and more. Each technique is backed with a practical exercise.


Aha! reveals how to:

  • Learn from experience
  • Take advantage of the latest findings from neuroscience
  • Save time by accelerating how you learn
  • Remember things faster, better, deeper
  • Adopt sound learning practices as lifelong habits
  • Form a sustainable, nurturing community
  • Use shortcuts, cheatsheets, and rules of thumb

Aha! is about how to learn for yourself. No classrooms. No instructors. No training department. Little in the way of theory. Just stuff that works.  (Although learning with your team is encouraged,)

The core focus is experiential learning and tacit knowledge. It’s learning to be all you can be rather than amassing more content.

I expect Aha! to have more impact than my previous book, Informal Learning. There are tens of millions of prospects whose approach to learning has been seat-of-the-pants. Aha! can double their learning effectiveness.

The beta electronic version is available now for $2.99. The soft-cover edition will be available next month for $16.00.

The beta edition is the complete 170-page book that is going into print, with one exception. The content will always be fresher. Aha! is updated frequently. The electronic version is a snapshot of the most recent text.

Here’s a summary of Aha!, the table of contents and an overview of The Aha! Project.

The wake-up call

dogMonday morning. Flirt, the happiest miniature longhaired dachshund in the world, shakes all over with tail-flapping enthusiasm to wake me up. On auto-pilot, I arise, brush my teeth, and take the garbage and recycling out to the curb. I brew a cup of tea.

Undoubtedly email has arrived overnight. Phone messages await my pick-up. The day’s New York Times has interesting stories to read. I sip my tea. I write these words. I contemplate what I want to accomplish today. The interruptions can wait.

Each of us has a choice of what we think about, what we learn, and what we do. Our minds are an inner sanctuary to which we alone possess the key. No one else will ever see what’s inside. It’s ours alone. Private.

“each of us is at the center of the universe
so is everyone else”

e.e. cummings

Less than 99% of the light, sound, taste, and touch that bombard our senses ever make it into our consciousness. Behind the curtain of awareness, our minds take a snippet of this and a smidgen of that, connect the dots, and play the internal movie we experience as reality. Your mind’s eye and mine see different worlds. Reality is all in our heads.

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.
Albert Einstein

Listen to what’s going on in your head at this moment. There’s a conversation in there. It’s about that inner movie.

You can listen in or you can join the conversation. You can let the inner voice prattle on, making comments sparked by your inner movie. Or, if you like, you can actively participate in the conversation.

We’re working with neurons here, not film. You can influence the script writer, make suggestions to the director, and edit out things you don’t want to see.

Young thoughts need shelter from the elements to grow. I nurture my thoughts in the morning, before the cacophany of ringing phones, flashing lights, and FedEx trucks tries to make me a passive listener in my inner conversation.

Asked whether he didn’t hate the Chinese, the Dalai Lama responded, “They have taken my country. Why should I let them take my mind?”

There are few absolutes in life. Success requires balancing your inner self and new sensations.

You don’t want to shut out all the interrupters knocking on the door. The hot stove may not be what you think, but don’t put your hand on the burner.

You must revere your inner mind and believe that you are more than a mere pebble in the stream. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re unlikely to reach an enjoyable destination.

That’s what the Aha! book will be about, help for people to get better, faster.


Roadtrip! What’s the coolest thing between Berkeley and Kansas City?

A dozen days from now, Uta and I will pack the dogs into the car and drive the 1800 miles from Berkeley to Kansas City, Missouri. After ten days at our son’s new house, we’ll drive the long way back via Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons.

coonskinLike most coastal Americans, we hardly know the interior of our country. I haven’t been in a car on this route since I was four years old.

We’ll be whizzing right along, my daredevil co-pilot at the wheel while I ride shotgun. I’d hate to miss a cool trading post or natural site or place to eat because I didn’t ask about it. Help us find the best stuff to do.

What are your favorite things along our easterly route from Berkeley, across Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska to Kansas City? 




Similarly, what should we not miss among the National Parks and natural wonders on the trip back? Food tips, off road suggestions, lodging, anything that put a smile on your face? 








Dogs. Flirt (left) and Azure (squirms too much to get picture) are geriatric miniature longhaired dachshunds. Ten pounds apiece. They will ride in a car cage on the back seat. This will force us to pace ourselves as well; breaks every two-three hours.

Any pet friendly suggestions for us?


Diet. When we moved to San Francisco in the mid 70s, I was impressed by the Californians’ dedication to preserving historic buildings. The next time I visited New York, Philly, and Washington, I found that historic preservation was a national phenomenon.

I have my fingers crossed on finding healthy food I want to eat. Hello, triple-D. (I have not eaten at a McDonalds, Wendy’s, KFC, PizzaHut, Burger Chef, or ChickFilla in over twenty years.) I usually find some local specialty to sustain myself; Uta is vegetarian.


Please comment on Facebook.



Future of Education 2020 Summit

mastheadcollegesiloAt a Stanford education conference this morning, speakers made presentation after presentation without once involving the audience, not even asking for questions. For the first couple of hours there was zero audience participation. Finally, following a panel session, we were invited to stand at a microphone if we had questions. Naturally, I was first in line.

I explained that I came to this event as an outsider. I am not an academic. In fact, my corporate title is “Chief Unlearning Officer.” A speaker had mentioned silos, referring to departments at schools. I said I felt like I was in a college silo. It’s as if the world outside didn’t exist.

Take STEM (Science, tech, engineering, math). All of these folks are vitally interested in STEM. After all, that’s what the Gates Foundation, the NSF, and the other benefactors are paying them hundreds of millions to produce. I said I don’t get it. The shelf life of STEM knowledge is about the same as for French mustard, several years. After that, the mustard begins to smell funny and the STEM knowledge is obsolete.

I didn’t mention my suspicion that STEM dumbs down education. It’s explicit knowledge. Life’s grand lessons are largely tacit. Besides, isn’t STEM often the algorithmic knowledge that robots are going to being doing in a few years? When that happens, lots of STEM grads may find themselves in the position of John Henry, the steel-drivin’ man. Nobody here was talking about liberal arts and continuing the culture.

Consider the role of STEM education in someone’s career arc. A career is a marathon. College teaches people to run the first 100 yards. Running the rest of the race is the individual’s problem.

“But we are working with industry,” replied the panel. Oh yeah? People have been touting big data as the ultimate quality control and planning tool in education. Are any of you looking at big data on people outside your walls? Correlating education with what happens after graduation? No; it’s a closed system.

Big data can help Arizona State University refine their algebra course to near perfection, but unless they go off campus to look at the world of work, no data will tell them whether algebra is worth studying at all. (I love Roger Schank’s putdown of the quadratic equation. When’s the last time you had to solve for AX2 + BX +C = 0?)

How’s the water?

It was troubling to hear one person after another lecture about learning more about how people learn whlle violating most of the principles we already know. Aside from the Push format, problems included no hashtag, no Tweeting, no backchannel, no power outlets, inoperable wi-fi (for me, at least), slow wi-fi at the podium cut several presentations short, weak visuals overall, and no encouragement to network online (although many probably already know one another). I don’t know how someone as astute at Peter Norvig could sit through an entire day of this stuff.

A few highlights. The president of Capella talked of converting their curriculum to competencies. Competencies can be counted up after the fact to give credit for courses. I suggested he wasn’t going for enough. Who needs courses? He wisely pointed out that accrediting bodies have a fixed mindset on this one.

Arizona State has put an entire first year curriculum on line. For free. Pass a course, no matter how many tries it takes, and you can pay a fee for credits. He sees no reason the entire four years shouldn’t go online this way. (And the guy from Capella suggested that as in the UK, we could probably have three-year bachelor degrees without losing that much.)

True to form, the LMS vendor supporting the show twisted the definition of “informal learning” so it could claim to have some:


What’s informal about purpose-built content? Most people probably missed this because next up was a hip-hop singer who claimed to be a customer of the LMS (he lists his tracks there). Naturally, he had put together a song for us. As he began his incomprehensible lyric, the batteries on my hearing aids ran out and I bailed out from the event.

The other attendees seemed quite satisfied, even impressed. “Brilliant presentations.” I guess events like this are de rigueur.

The Stanford campus is beautiful, the weather cooperated perfectly, and nobody was keeping score.