Our increasingly plastic brains

81Iyp32ZH8LWe’ve long thought our brain structure was effectively set in stone past childhood. How wrong we were. Blown away by Norman Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself, on the many ways our  brains retain their plasticity well into old age. On the heels of tearing through Ramez Naam’s Nexus trilogy, it feels as though reality is quickly catching up to fiction, when it comes not only to advances in brain-machine interfaces, but also to continuously re-tooling, retraining and unlocking capacity in our physical brains, even as we age. Research on neural dust at Berkeley’s Swarm Lab, dynamic functional mapping by Merzenich and team, oxytocin-driven learning: these are only a few of the many avenues to healthier, more resilient brains Doidge explores.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011


Steve Jobs, 1955-2011 - (c)2011 www.apple.com

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs, Commencement address delivered at Stanford on June 12, 2005

Steve Jobs has passed away today, Oct. 5th, 2011. We lost a true visionary.

How sexy can Mint be?

Or rather, how sexy can you make personal finance management for over 5 million users? We’re looking for someone special, a rock-star developer who can engineer software robust enough our users will feel comfortable managing their budget with, but also compelling enough they’ll want to spend hours learning about improving their finances rather than playing Farmville. We’re gearing up and hiring to bring Mint.com to mobile and tablet devices, and reinvent how we look and feel on the web. Read up on the details and apply or get in touch directly!

TEDx Berkeley: doing the unprecedented

TEDx Berkeley, April 3, 2010

Spectacular speaker lineup at Saturday’s TEDx Berkeley event. Eric Cheng’s ocean imagery: mesmerizing. Amit Deutsch’s first person account of his exploration of identity and group narratives: humbling. And boy, did Eric Lewis rock the house on the piano! Watch him do unprecedented, unlikely, and probably illegal things to the instrument at TED 2009:

What an amazing job on the part of the organizers, mostly undergrad students, who put the flawless event together: you are truly an inspired and inspiring group. Thank you!

Leadership: what kind of conductor are you?

In a recently posted TED talk, Itay Talgam likens the challenges of leading in business to those of conducting an orchestra, by exploring the multiple ways in which the best get, indirectly and with varying degrees of success, musical harmony to emerge out of chaos. Leveraging his own experience as a conductor, he demonstrates the range of unique styles embodied by a handful of world-famous masters, and draws potent analogies to the world of business. Fascinating.