According to this declassified CIA document from 1944 (PDF), many of my previous bosses and coworkers were CIA operatives, actively engaged in sabotaging their own operations.


  1. Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

  2. Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.

  3. Organizations and Conferences: When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large and bureaucratic as possible. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

Source: “Timeless Tips for ‘Simple Sabotage'”,

Marina Diamandis is my new musical crush

My new musical crush is Marina Diamandis, better known by her stage name Marina and the Diamonds. Marina is a Welsh singer-songwriter of Greek heritage. She writes all her songs, and I love every single one of them. I particularly like how she switches between major and minor scales — a popular (if formulaic) device that she uses consistently throughout her songs, and which gives them a recognizable pattern.

Her third album “Froot” was originally scheduled to be released on April 3, 2015, although it was ultimately released on March 13, 2015 in reaction to unauthorized internet leaks. (source: Wikipedia)

Below is the official video for track 12 of Froot, “Immortal”. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Choose Your Ride — $8,000 vs. $20

A clever and visually effective campaign from the North Brunswick (New Jersey) Police Department compares the price (and other effects) of a DWI against the cost of a taxicab ride.

Choose Your Ride -- $8,000 vs. $20
Choose Your Ride — $8,000 vs. $20

Avoid compulsively making things worse — schlimmbesserung, farpotshket

Schlimmbesserung is a German word for an effort to make something better that actually makes it worse. Farpotshket means the same in Yiddish. Why is there no English equivalent word for an activity so common?


Today’s fortune. #managerlife

A photo posted by Jason Wong (@attack_gecko) on

What if you get pwned?

The New York Times piece “How My Mom Got Hacked” (google it, I don’t link to NYT) reminded me that too many people I know create a single point of failure by storing all their digital data in one place only — be it their phone or their PC. I’ve heard plenty of rationalizations for this behavior, but none of them makes sense.

Unless you are Gus Fring, you should back up your data to the cloud of your choice. Yes, the NSA will have it, and Kim Jong-un will have it (just kidding, he won’t), but so will you when your phone crashes, or when you get pwned by CryptoWall (like the mother of the NYT journalist). If you have privacy concerns, there are solutions (like encryption). If you don’t know how to use encryption, I am available for consulting. But don’t delay — backup today.

Pro tip: Never open email attachments, no matter who the sender appears to be. If you must view the content of that Word document your cousin emailed you, do not open the file on your PC. Save the document to your Google Drive and open it there with Google Drive Viewer.

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The story of “Bicycle Stories”

“Bicycle Stories: What the bicycle means to me, my family, my community, my planet” is a documentary film produced by the students of International High School at Union Square. They want to present it at the Youth Bike Summit in Seattle in February 2015. And they need your help.

Bicycle Stories -- bicycle program at International High School at Union Square
Bicycle Stories — bicycle program at International High School at Union Square

Meredith Klein is a teacher at the International High School at Union Square — a small Title 1 public school in Manhattan for recent immigrants. An avid cyclist, Meredith founded a bicycle program at the school four years ago, and runs it to this day. The program teaches students to ride, fix, and maintain bikes, convinced that “students who learn to ride for the first time experience autonomy in a new city, or from expectations placed on them by their families or home culture.”

This excerpt from a student’s college essay is a powerful testament to the program’s success:

I feel that is possible anything to finish if I try more and get the opportunity and support. In my opinion no one born smart, everything depends on how much effort we put into action. According to this experience, riding a bike is one of my most influential events in my life.

The students made a documentary about their experiences with the bicycle program, and want to present it at the 2015 Youth Bike Summit. They lack funds for their trip, and they are asking for donations. It is shocking how little they ask for ($5,185 total, $239 already raised as I write this).

Help if you can. Donate here.

How to go viral on Twitter (hint: I haven’t got a clue)

I tweeted a joke about PDF. I thought it was funny. I thought maybe a few of my geogeek friends would get a chuckle out of it. Maybe it will get a few retweets. Maybe a few faves.

Two days later my “PDF joke” was seen by over a million people all over the world.


Twitter Analytics -- PDF joke -- one million impressions
Twitter Analytics — PDF joke — one million impressions

Lessons learned:

  1. Your tweet is not always about what you originally thought it was about. For over 90% of the people who reacted to it, my tweet was not about PDF — it was about religion.
  2. When something you post online gets seen by a million people, you are guaranteed to get an occasional unfriendly reaction.
  3. This is the second time an online piece of mine has gone viral (the first was my New Jersey gas station map in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy in 2012). I was totally caught by surprise both times, and still have no clue why it happened and how to replicate it.
  4. Nevertheless, I’m willing to listen to social media marketing consulting contract offers.