Category california

Waste 3 minutes here

What would it take for a person to become proficient at skateboarding… with his fingers? How much time did he spend getting the angles right, filming the segments, editing to work with this score? Wild commitment…

This guy’s like the Rodney Mullen of finger boarding…

California inspires me

I grew up in the midwest and have lived all over but nothing quite compares to California. I’m in love with it’s sense of optimism and insatiable desire to recreate itself. Oh… the sunshine and wave consistency are also pretty darn awesome.

For these reasons and many more I also love these beautifully illustrated stories that seek to capture why California inspires us.

California inspires Jack Black

California inspires Mark Mothersbaugh

California inspires Brian Wilson

California inspires Mike Mills

California inspires Thao Nguyen

California inspires Kim Gordon

Rob Machado and the singlefin

I’m into singlefin surfboards. They are designed to ride a wave and not try and overpower it.

Rob Machado has always had grace and style and it’s great to see him surfing some singlefins that he has shaped and is putting out under his own brand.

Machado’s Self Shapes from Mollusk Surf Shop on Vimeo.

Next geopolitical hack… weather modding

The pairing of human control and weather systems isn’t new. Every year we get better at forecasting; we tune algorithms to hone our knowledge related to when and where rain will fall… but we still have to be reactive to the rain event itself.


Or do we?

I remember reading that the Chinese hacked their weather during the Beijing Olympics. They fired 1,100 rockets filled with silver iodide into the clouds. The result was that clouds let their precipitation fall before they arrived in Beijing. How do you improve the odds for dry weather connected to an event important? You take things into your own hands, there is even a government office for this, the Beijing Weather Modification Office.

Of course the U.S. is into this area as well, cloud seeding has been experimented with for a decade. Other experiments connected to weather mods literally go back a century.

This is one of those subjects that sounds small until you fathom how it could be used to streamline and focus access to natural resources. Of course it will be used to drive economic returns (crop yields, water table replenishment, access to clean water, etc). It might even be used to address the massive amount of energy used to move water (an estimated 19% of California’s energy used to move water). It could also be used to force one region to comply with another region’s geopolitical preferences.

The simple truth is that it’s hard to tell where this will go but the road ahead is bound to be (sorry) slippery.


Many small bets are less risky than fewer large bets

betsWhen innovators talk about failure they are really talking about innovation. I.e. the road to ultimate traction with customers is the result of small iterations, constant evolution. They are talking about lots of small bets.

Larger, or more legacy-oriented organizations, sometimes hear “failure” and hear something “going out of business.” The simultaneous ironic and tragic point is that without constant, smaller risks a company is forced into a situation to make a single, company-betting decision.

Placing many small, early bets is less risky than fewer, later large bets.

A recent, pithy Jeff Bezos piece succinctly captured this point.

Bezos said “If you place enough of those (small) bets, and if you place them early enough, none of them are ever betting the company. If you invent frequently and are willing to fail, then you never get to that point where you really need to bet the whole company” (on any single initiative).

He’s building on one of my favorite thinkers, Peter Drucker is another. Peter also summarized this point with the following…

“The innovators I know are successful to the extent to which they define risks and confine them. Successful innovators are conservative. They have to be. They are not ‘risk-focused’; they are ‘opportunity-focused.’”

Of course there is nothing new here, this is a summary of how the venture capital industry lives every day. Still, there is wisdom here for all of us.


Beauty is embarrassing – Wayne White

I was in the first time I saw his word paintings.

Actually, that’s not the truth… I was in more than thirty years ago when Pee Wee’s Playhouse first aired. That show is hard to understand from a contextual standpoint. It was birthed in a desert of ultra-predictable, off-white bland television shows. Pee Wee’s Playhouse was a visual anarchy of ideas… if Salvador Dali was a Producer of kids television programming he would have created that show… and he would have hired Wayne White just as Paul Reubens did.

This a great, straightforward film about an artist born in Tennessee, living in Los Angeles and addicted to creating.

More on Wayne’s world here.

Flying through Los Angeles

It’s always best to go forward.


This video by Colin Kennedy does that. It provides a driven and raw view into the city of angels. It reminds us that LA isn’t the prettiest cities on the globe… not even close. Still, you have to love the intensity of the skater (Austyn Gillette), the dense editing and the well-timed soundscape.

Ladies and gents, speeding through Los Angeles.

Yosemite in all its grandeur

Spending time in Yosemite is like spending time in the ocean; there is something about entering a region that is wild, foreign and enveloping of your entire being. You become aware that the control you thought you had… is in fact a fallacy.

The title of this blog is, of course, lame. I’m pointing to a video which isn’t anything close to the actual Yosemite experience.

And yet it is.

The video offers a different perspective of the park.

It offers an alternative experience of the park.

Can a person “capture” the essence of a place as grand as Yosemite? Maybe they can’t… but this video makes a yeoman’s effort to do so.

I suggest headphones (turned up), full-screen and hi-def.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.


Ocean cubed

I’ve written about Alex Weinstein’s work before. The simple truth is I love his visual interpretation of something that I hold so close to my heart… the ocean.

The following offers a nice little peek into his approach.

And yea, I love the ocean cube at the end of this vignette.


Postcard from Santa Barbara

Clean little video vignette from Alex Kopps of Dane Reynolds on a singlefin. This is #2 in a series. Check out #1 for Al Knost asymmetrical, finless, barrel tomfoolery and check #3 for that same thing but with Dan Molloy.