Instagram is the kind of success story entrepreneurs dream about. Launched in 2010, it gained over 100 million users within its first two years, and today has more than six times that number.
NPR's How I Built This interviewed Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom to find out how this simple photo sharing app became an overnight success and attracted enough attention that Facebook bought it for a cool $1.1 billion in 2012. The episode is worth listening to, as is the previous week's interview with Spanx founder Sara Blakely.
Here are 10 key takeaways for people interested in founding their own tech startup:
In an emotional gathering July 12th, President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush delivered challenging speeches, calling for unity and progress in light of the Dallas police shootings. Below is a collection of highlights from the speeches of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Some of these remarks are long and sermonic, but are well worth the read. I recommend listening to at least portions of each speech to get a sense of the gravitas with which they spoke.
“Most of us imagine if the moment called for it, we would risk our lives to protect a spouse or a child. Those wearing the uniform, assume that risk for the safety of strangers. They and their family share the unspoken knowledge that each new day brings new dangers.”
“Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
“To renew our unity we only need to remember our values. We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the Spirit, by shared commitments to the common ideas. At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions.”
“It’s not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the stories of our fellow citizens and finding our better selves in the process.”
“At our best, we honor the image of God we see in one another. We recognize that we are bothers and sisters sharing the same brief moment on earth and owing each other the loyalty of our shared humanity.”
“We do not want the unity of grief or the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection and high purpose.”
"Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see. Right now, those words test us because the people of Dallas, people across the country are suffering."
"Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves. They weren’t looking for their names to be up in lights. They’d tell you the pay was decent, but wouldn’t make you rich. They could have told you about the stress and long shifts. And they’d probably agree with Chief Brown when he said that cops don’t expect to hear the words “thank you” very often, especially from those who need them the most. No. The reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law, that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor, that in this country we don’t have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules.
Instead, we have public servants, police officers, like the men who were taken away from us."
"Despite the fact that police conduct was the subject of the protest, despite the fact that there must have been signs or slogans or chants with which they profoundly disagreed, these men and this department did their jobs like the professionals that they were."
When Donald Trump trademarked Ronald Reagan's "Make America Great Again" slogan in 2012, his marketing strategy was intentional and insightful. For older conservatives who had lived through the Reagan years, the slogan hearkens back to an era of supply-side economic policies and the restoration of national morale after the Vietnam War. For younger voters and those unfamiliar with Reagan's speeches, the slogan is less historical than it is rhetorical. In the interest of understanding where this rhetorical power comes from, let's break the slogan down one word at a time, starting with "Again."
Again: The dictionary definition is fairly obvious: “once more; relating to a previous position or condition.” Again is nondescript, unspecific, and precisely because of that, inspiring. It rallies supporters to charge bravely towards something once held, like King Henry V rallied the troops into battle:
Once more [again] unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
This presidential election is by far the craziest that I've witnessed in my 30 years on this planet. If you've been around longer and can remember another election season that comes even close, please leave a comment, I'd really be interested (apparently some of the Founding Father's could have held their own with Trump). But despite the name-calling and theatrics happening in the Republican debates recently, there have been some bright lights.
-JEB!, regarding dialogue and treating others with respect, even across party lines:
JEB!: "I don't think Barack Obama has bad motives. I just think he's wrong on a lot of issues... If you start with the premise that people have good motives, you can find common ground."
JEB! also points out that the divisiveness we've been seeing in Washington isn't present at the state and local level.
America needs more leaders who can admit this. I suspect that behind the scenes even Washington politicians get along better than the media portrays.
-Bernie Sanders on religion:
"I worry very much about a society where some people say spiritually, 'It doesn't matter to me. I got it [right]. I don't care about other people.' My spirituality is, we are all in this together. When children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me."
I'll leave it to the economists to prove whether or not Democratic Socialism has any real possibility of remedying these problems, but you don't have to agree with Bernie's politics to agree with his sentiments (I would point you to JEB!'s quote above). This idea is at the heart of Christianity: "Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27). And as Bernie has pointed out in other places, it's also present in Judaism: "Love your neighbor as yourself; I am the L-RD... The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the L-RD am your God." (Leviticus 19:18, 34). And in Islam: "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself" (An-Nawawi’s Forty, 13, 56, Hadith); "Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself, that you may be a believer" (Sukhanan-i-Muhammad, Teheran, 1938). To see examples from other religions, click here.
These are the bright lights I've seen this election, I'm sure there are others. Let's learn from them how to respect people on the other side of the aisle, and let's work together to care for those who are most vulnerable in our country, and in our world.
Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember those who have fallen while serving in the armed forces. It began shortly after the Civil War as survivors on both sides gathered to commemorate the dead. Those of us who have never served, who have never faced the threat of death from enemy fire and IEDs may never fully grasp their sacrifice. Nor will we know the world that might have existed if they had lived. How many dreams went unfulfilled? How many children were raised by single parents when a mother or father was cut down? What gifts would these men and women have brought to the world?
We lay flowers and plant flags on their graves to remember... and to hope that these tragedies will not occur again.
This Memorial Day, let's do more than honor those who have fallen.
Let's make today the day that we stand up and say “War is still too frequent” and work for a world where there are less combat veterans and less combat casualties because there is less combat.
It’s time to make a change. We can no longer focus on whether we are justified in putting boots on the ground or sending drones into the air. When violent events have gone that far, we have already lost. Instead, let us focus on how we can promote a more just and peaceable society where every nation and every people group flourishes together.
It begins in peacetime, with how we treat our own poor, with how just our own society is, with who we vote for in the next election. It begins with our international relations, with our foreign aid. We must keep our promises, we must never exploit the disadvantaged, we must encourage healthy sustainable growth, we must build trust and use our power to heal. A rising tide raises all ships: the way forward is not found in policies isolationism, tariffs and closed borders. To make the world a better place for ourselves, we must make it better for others.
The late Dr. Glen Stassen, my former ethics professor, coined the term “Just Peacemaking” to describe this way of acting in the world. He learned nonviolence marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who learned it from Gandhi… whose nonviolent revolution in India was based on the Sermon on the Mount.
These are the ten practices of Just Peacemaking, as taken from Sojo.net:
- See more at: https://sojo.net/magazine/january-2005/ten-practices-just-peacemaking#sthash.HNmeioOp.dpuf
Oops, did it again! Clicked "send" on an email and immediately wished I could take it back. It's so easy to give the wrong message, especially when you are preoccupied or in a rush. You came off as snide, obnoxious, rude or demanding, when really you just weren't paying attention. Now that business associate you've never met, the college admissions adviser you are hoping to win over, or the craigslist seller you're trying to negotiate with is set on edge and dis-inclined to help you. Nothing ruins relationships faster than miscommunication, and it all could have been prevented with a nearly effortless practice Mirabai Bush calls "Mindful Emailing."
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." -John Muir
Russ is a business and personal coach who helps people lead meaningful lives at the intersection of faith, psychology, movies and business.