Why so serious?

"What doesn't kill you makes you stranger" - The Joker from The Dark Knight


I'm not sure what's been drawing me towards these commencement speeches as of late (spoiler - there's another one coming next week), but I am finding that there are incredibly powerful ideas interwoven in them. Maybe it's simply because they are they rooted in tradition; or that some ideas or insights shared to the next generation are manufactured to have impact; or maybe as I get older, there's a bit of deeper reflection and soul searching for patterns that reinforce or alter my own perceptions on how to navigate our brief time on this rock.

Or, maybe it's nothing more than the simple challenge to be a better leader/father/husband. To be a better human. To experience a different type of life.

In January 2016, Matthew McConaughey gave one of these incredible motivational speeches at the University of Houston, which has been compiled into a short video called "This is Why You're Not Happy".

There's some amazing stuff in here, sit down and take it all in.

If happiness is what you’re after, then you’re going to be let down frequently and you’re going to be unhappy much of your time. Joy, though, joy is a different thing. It’s something else. Joy is not a choice. It’s not a response to some result. It’s a constant.

I've also recently been reading his book "Greenlights", which are his journal notes that have been compiled into a guide on how to "get relative with the inevitable". He describes the book as being "about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me."

How to be more me. I like that. A lot.

The full commencement address, which is 45 minutes long, can be found on YouTube.

If you're interested in my daily ramblings, follow me on Twitter or my posts on this blog.

Forward Thinking

For your enjoyment, here is a 1997 interview with Jeff Bezos entitled "Web and Internet Pioneers". Some amazing insight on how "attention is a scarce commodity".

Latest obsession

The latest addition to my desk (thank you Liz!) is the amazing Stagg EKG Electric Kettle.

Maybe it's an artifact of the being in the home office all day long, but I love having an amazing gooseneck kettle that stays hot for hours so I'm not running back and forth to the kitchen. This thing is awesome.

Here's a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • What a great quote - "We wanted the unboxing to feel like it’s your birthday" from Michelle Enright, Head of Packaging Experience at Sonos in "Roam’s Packaging Represents a Premium Approach to Sustainability" - More

  • File under "what could possibly go wrong" (I think there's been a few movies that opened with this scenario). Apparently, "Russia Is Going to Try to Clone an Army of 3,000-Year-Old Scythian Warriors" - More

  • Two "meme" discoveries this week for folks to enjoy:

    • "The World Has Learned the Man Behind the Nodding Guy Meme" - More

    • "An oral history of the Dawson crying GIF and its outsized legacy" - More

  • Seneca was against too much rest, claiming "sometimes rest itself is restless". I found this insightful post that dives into the notion that "sometimes the answer is not just to rest, but to find a way to stop worrying" in "On resting vs working" - More

  • Sure - it's 2021 so why not. Here's all you need to know about hydration with the new Pantone Pee Chart. Read all about it's creation and meaning in "Pantone and Highland Spring Release a Helpful Pee Chart Because Y'all Need to Hydrate" - More

  • "How I Approached a Recharge Week" is a great dive into how one team leader dived into a week off when today it often feels that is can be "a waste of vacation days when stuck at home" - More

  • Amazon has neither confirmed nor denied that Nina Rolle is the voice of Alexa, but "Meet the real Alexa: voice actor reportedly responsible for Amazon’s AI assistant revealed" - More

  • "Everest and COVID-19: What's going on and should they still be climbing?" looks at the terrible situation in Nepal. On one hand, Everest in 2021 has not seen a single death, but COVID is spiking again in a country that only has 1600 intensive care beds - More

  • With the way technology is advancing, next we won't even need actors. A new company, Flawless, calls themselves a 'neural net film lab' that uses "deepfake" techniques to manipulate video footage to make a subject appear to be saying something he or she is not. Read more about it in "Movie dubbing sucks. One filmmaker is using AI to fix that." - More

  • "Why Short-Term Solitude Makes You a Better Thinker" explores how to rely on your own thinking, and other people influence our opinions and thoughts all the time. "Solitude helps you focus on things that matter" - More

  • Mark Manson always hits it out of the park, and in "Why You Should Have Difficult Conversations", he dives into a key aspect of self-awareness in that 'Knowledge is knowing lots and lots of stuff. Wisdom is understanding how your mind uses that stuff.' - More

  • I've been enjoying each of the new Disney+ Marvel series (though I cannot wait for Loki), check out this on "How Marvel’s FX team created a new 'visual language' for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" - More


Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" remains one of the best movies of all time (not only a 'superhero' movie). Wrapping this week up is a behind the scenes interview with both Nolan and Heath Ledger on how they crafted the most iconic performance of The Joker.

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Jamie Larson