September 11th

Today is a very meaningful day for all  New Yorkers. For me, the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 came at an important time in my life. The Internet bubble had burst and my professional life was all about dealing with the ramifications of that. I had just turned 40, we had three kids, 10, 8, and 5. We had lived in NYC for almost 20 years and we were building a life in the greatest city in the world. That day changed everything and changed nothing at the same time. We stayed downtown, we raised our kids in the post 9/11 NYC, and we still live in NYC in much the same way we lived there before that day. But we were all impacted by the sights, sounds, and smells of that day and the days and weeks that followed and certainly still are.

I don’t think much about September 11th anymore but I do try to remember it every year on its anniversary.

We are in Barcelona today. September 11th means something very different here. It is the “national day of Catalonia” and a holiday.

To make things even more interesting the Catalan Separatist Movement is mounting a huge protest today in Barcelona and they are expecting 1.5 million people to fill the two main streets in town and create a V sign in an effort to pressure Spain to allow a vote for Catalonia to secede.

The streets are literally filled with people wearing the yellow and red colors. We walked around for a couple hours and observed the goings on.

There are separatist movements cropping up all over Europe right now. I imagine the weak economy and rampant unemployment is a factor but underneath it all these are tensions that have existed for centuries and it’s not really a new thing at all.

The hatred that fed the horrible acts of 9/11 isn’t a new thing either. The techniques are modern and so are some of the resentments that feed it but the underlying hatred goes back a long way.

So for me, today is a reminder that conflict and resentment and the hatred that can result is a permanent human condition. We can work to minimize it and we should do that tirelessly. But we are unlikely to eliminate it.

#Current Affairs#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. kidmercury

    Rejoice on this great and wonderful day, for it is the day we were given the truth that will make us free.9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

  2. awaldstein

    You can’t combat hatred without collective memory.The memory of the event is culturally rather thin.Would have been different if the web as we have it today, was at our fingertips then.My thoughts on this:

    1. Salt Shaker

      I think the memory of virtually all historic events dissipates w/ time–unless one has had a first-hand encounter. The memory of 9/11 will never be culturally thin for me. The visual of watching those towers burn and fall outside my office window, the smell in the air that permeated the city for days, the empty triage units, the stories of lost friends, relatives, co-workers, etc., are all indelible images and as fresh today as they were then. It’s still a sensory overload, but upon further reflection a reminder of the mostly wondrous values/ideals that our country stands for.

      1. awaldstein

        True….Remember the play, The Boys, where it made clear that even the further uptown you went the less real the attack was? More true as you move across the county.What I tried to articulate in my post was that commemorating this day in my companies in LA was telling activity in itself.

  3. gregorylent

    the country and the world would be sooo much ahead had there been absolutely no response to that event

    1. Salt Shaker

      What exactly does “the world would be so much ahead” mean? You’d feel quite differently if it was your neighbor, friend, parent, son, daughter, brother or sister in those towers. Yes, the U.S. gov’t’s strategy to combat the spread of terrorism hasn’t been completely sound, but to turn a blind eye and not avenge the loss of those innocent lives would be worse than the event itself. Next time you’re in New York visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I doubt you’d feel the same way after that experience.

      1. LE

        My personal feeling is that when you build memorials and pay attention to something like this you just insure that someone in the future will want to have their 15 minutes of fame (times a million) thinking of the next Pearl Harbor. Other terrorists. Copycat etc. (Happens with columbine type events as well). Human nature about notoriety.As far as “You’d feel quite differently if it was your neighbor, friend, parent, son, daughter, brother or sister in those towers.” why does that matter? You shouldn’t make decisions for an entire country because a small group [1] needs to heal or might have an issue with and want remembrance and a memorial. Of course if there are other benefits to doing so (like using the beheading videos to get support for troops) that’s a different story. Things aren’t clear cut. I just don’t buy into the remembrance rights trumping everything.Kind of goes back to what would be taught in elementary school about ignoring the bully.Obviously it makes sense militarily (which is a separate issue) to do something and get the perps. Obviously but that’s a separate issue.[1] Relative to the size of the country that is.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Wasn’t advocating that decisions be made solely based on personal experiences or encounters, to do so would be quite shortsighted, but to suggest that personal encounters should have no influence in crafting one’s opinion and POV is a bit naive, no? Also, remembrances have cultural and historic significance as they honor and show respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, while providing a reminder of the consequences of past behavior.

          1. LE

            but to suggest that personal encounters should have no influence in crafting one’s opinion and POV is a bit naive, no? There is a reason that you want people in decision making situations to have an arms length distance so they are not biased. Would you want to be on trial for murder of someone and have a judge who lost a sister to murder and there was some connection to the circumstances that gave him a reason to not be totally objective with the facts in your case? [1]Also, remembrances have cultural and historic significance as they honor and show respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, while providing a reminder of the consequences of past behavior. If you believe that that outweighs the negative of creating future events and that the money spent is not an issue then “maybe”.What was the ultimate sacrifice of someone who got killed because they showed up to work one morning at Cantor Fitzgerald? Is that really the right word? I don’t think it is. I have relatives that were gassed. I don’t think they made “the ultimate sacrifice” it’s not like they volunteered or made a “Sophies Choice”. (So they can be remembered but not for a sacrifice. )Sacrifice is “man runs into burning building to save someone and gets killed” or “man joins special forces knowing he might be killed on a mission”. To me that’s sacrifice. Or “joins the army in a combat position”.[1] Likewise I hate any rush to judgement based on emotion. An example of that is the Ray Rice case. There is a reason we have a legal system and trials and those trials take a long time. I’m not a sports fan and didn’t know Rice before “the video” but I would defend his right to have his side of the story told (as well as his wife’s). Instead of a fucking witch hunt of emotional people deciding based on what they read in the news and a short video.

          2. awaldstein

            AgreeCommemorating the past makes the present richer. The future comes regardless, but has more meaning when it is connected.

        2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          LE – Interesting rational response (possibly unpopular) but changing perceptions often is.

    2. BillMcNeely

      You are kidding me right?I think you meant to say the world be so much ahead if the Bin Laden and AQ had not attacked the US that day.As I have often said 9/11 was my first day back in the military (Army) and one of the guys uncle in Basic was a firefighter that day. I don’t think we could have left that loss unavenged.The people that perpetuated that attacked were evil. If you don’t think so here is my friend fmr Army Captain Nate Self describing The Battle of Robert’s Ridge in Afghanistan in 2002.

      1. JamesHRH

        Bill, you are a special human being.But, I do think that the comment is meant to say:- the USA would have all the Iraq/Afghan war treasury to shore up its books- every attack on terrorists creates more terroristsI don’t agree, but the logic is unassailable, Both those statements are true.The problem with hunting terrorists, as a democracy, is the need for transparency. Personally, I believe the most effective way to stop terrorists is through fear.

  4. jason wright

    Scotland votes for independence this time next week. it’s going to be very close. London is getting up to some very dirty tricks this week in its propaganda war to keep Scots in the UK. The BBC is showing its true colors as the mouthpiece of the establishment. It’s getting very ugly. Spain is highly relevant because if Scotland does become independent it will apply for membership of the EU, and Spain will be the one member to say no because it fears Catalunya and the Basques would use it as the legal precedent to demand their own independent states and EU membership too.As to 9/ 11, where’s the Kid?

    1. JimHirshfield

      @kidmercury:disqus is in the thread already. He beat you to it. 😉

      1. jason wright

        oh yes, there he is, holding up the truth to the light.

    2. kidmercury

      i was first!

      1. jason wright

        i never doubted it 😉

      2. michael

        is anyone still investigating? will there be a time when everything is declassified?

        1. kidmercury

          unfortunately i doubt much progress will be made. i used to think there would be an awakening, now i think people will get mad and rebel as the trends continue but the larger picture won’t be appreciated or accepted.

  5. JimHirshfield

    It’s seems counter-intuitive to want independence when the economy is going so poorly. How can they hope to build all the governmental infrastructure in such times when the economy is doing poorly? And then once they’re separate, they want “togetherness” by being part of the EU?I’m really not up on this, but sounds as wise as Texas receding (with apologies to @JLM:disqus)

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Spaniard here, so obviously my opinion is not objective. The issue is quite complex.Catalonian separatist blame part of the crisis on the central government. They say they are robbed and that they would have more money if they were independent. There is some truth to what they say because in Spain there is a very strong inter regional income distribution mechanism by which 3-4 rich regions (including Catalonia) subsidize the others.However, it also needs to be said that the Catalan regional government is extremely interventionist and spends a lot of money in things other regions don’t have (several super expensive public TV stations, subsidies for the use of Catalan language, foreign “embassies”…), so not all blame is on the outside. Also, it has been discovered that the amount of corruption has been huge (a regional president that was in charge for around 20 years has recently admitted that he has multi million bank accounts in fiscal paradises).They do want to be part of the EU once they are independent. The EU has already said that they would need to reapply and wait, but the separatists politicians have been denying it and saying that once they are independent they would immediately be part of the EU.This year tension is higher because they want to have a referendum similar to the Scotish one. They have organized one about their right to decide to be held in November, but it is against the law and the central government says they are not going to allow it. They say that they should be able to hold that referendum and that they are going to go ahead.In my opinion it doesn’t make any sense to go for smaller countries and more boundaries in a global age, but the way taxes and revenue are distributed between the regions in Spain needs to be changed.

      1. Ana Milicevic

        Well said, Fernando. Regional redistribution is the root of many a modern day European conflict.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I’d go further, I think that redistribution in general has many damaging side effects and should be limited to a bare minimum… but I understand that my ideas are not shared by the majority and that is a different discussion.

          1. Ana Milicevic

            I very much agree with that — the challenge is how and where to draw the line since we’re now dealing with borders and territories that have largely been formed in a time when a different economy and an entirely different sense of national identity were prominent.

      2. JimHirshfield

        Thank you so much for the enlightening background. Really appreciate that.

      3. fredwilson

        that’s really helpful context. thanks!

      4. William Mougayar

        How about the Swiss cantons models. I think it has a lot merits. Decentralized authority, coupled with a common identity.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I like almost everything Swiss, but I don’t know that much about their system. The only problem I have with that level of decentralization is that sometimes it leads to big inefficiencies. It can fragment the market and duplication of tasks happens all the time.

    2. JLM

      .SECEDE not recede.Remember Texas was a country when we merged with the United States.We will never secede cause we love y’all!JLM.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Doh. I must have been thinking of your hairline or coastal erosion. Sorry ’bout that. Love me some TX, especially Austin.

    3. thinkdisruptive

      Separatism makes sense when the majority, whether by culture, politics, language or economic resources, is seen to act not in the interests of all. When there is no trust, and the minority feel like things are done to them without their input or consent, there will always be a tendency to want to separate/secede. In general, the best government is always local, and the more we create artificial “big government”, the more we create power hungry politicians who are more interested in featherbedding and promoting their own agenda (regardless of cost), rather than serving the needs of the community. Power should always devolve down the level where decisions can be best made, and that is rarely at a national (or supra-national) level except in matters of national defense, border control, and some kinds of taxation. When cultural enemies are forced to co-habit by historical accident or military conquest, then you get separatist movements. When the only reason to stay together is financial, that creates resentment or a feeling of being trapped. Better that the groups who want to secede do, and find another form of coalition if it’s necessary to handle bigger issues.I say these things as a Canadian, who spent most of his formative years watching one futile separatist movement after another in Quebec, resulting in riots and violence (in the 60s and 70s) and crazy concessions by the English to the French (the country was largely ruled by a the equivalent of a sibling having a temper tantrum), and for what purpose — because we had an emotional attachment to the concept of Canada? Even today, 30 years after it was supposedly resolved, many in Quebec still want to leave. I suspect we’d have gotten along better if we split, and then formed a looser coalition, as many divorced parents do to manage the common interests they have in their child’s welfare. Usually those divorced parents get along better after the split, despite the expense and havoc it wreaks.And don’t think it can’t happen in the US too. The way the federal government is spending, there are several states, if not big regions, who might feel that it is in their economic interest to escape the debt load being forced on all of us. The biggest benefit to being together is national defense, but our ability to defend ourselves is being seriously compromised by accumulated debt that is now almost 20% larger than GNP, and still growing like there’s no tomorrow (which there may not be for our children). And, we are becoming increasingly polarized politically and socially.Can anyone say why the Catalans or the Scots shouldn’t have the freedom to go their own way? The Scots have never thought of themselves as being “English” or even British, but rather as a subjugated people. There’s every likelihood they’d get on better with the English after a split, and they’d have no one to blame but themselves if things went south afterwards. Why does it matter if they separate?

    4. LE

      It’s seems counter-intuitive to want independence when the economy is going so poorly.Better way to put it would be “stupid”. Daddy would definitely not approve of that.Like going through a divorce all the economies of scale go out the window until either one or both parties remarry.Of course things like this are emotional decisions just like much of conflict is as a result of emotional decisions.Now a word from General Seque about emotional decisions: We have much of that going on in our country as well although it’s masked by our economic power. By that I mean we have one kid killed in a city in the midwest and all the sudden we are running fire drills and pissing away money (it grows on trees after all) as if it’s a crisis or something happening all over every day in every city. And dammit we need to do something so not 1 other person dies from this and it never happens again.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Ah, you are forgetting the basic axiom: Newspapers need to sell!

  6. jason wright

    The Treaty of Versailles 1918 created an unnatural patchwork of states all across Europe. It’s now pulling itself apart at the seams, and the web is the accelerator of this process.

  7. Leonardo Gjoni

    I immigrated to the United States with my family in 2002, a few months after the attacks at the age of 9. I remember watching Bush on the news through our antenna because we couldn’t afford cable.God bless the United States, the greatest place on Earth where you truly can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I’ll forever be grateful to my parents for bringing me to the country of Freedom and Opportunity.

    1. JLM

      . A legal immigrant. God bless you radical law abider.We were waiting for you for a long time.Welcome and good luck.JLM.

    2. Aaron Klein

      +1 Post of the day.

    3. awaldstein

      I love the comment.I love this sentiment. My grandfather came 110 year ago and he felt the same gratitude for the opportunity, which in his day was simply working on a sewing machine.He was happy and seriously loved this country as his own.

  8. Fernando Gutierrez

    A couple restaurant recommendations while you are in Barcelona:-Abac. Two Michelin stars. Great product with a lot of elaboration. Maybe difficult to get a table because the chef jumped to stardom last year with a TV program and it is now more crowded than before-Embat. Less elaboration but great product also. Fish is great. Cheaper and less well know, but one of my favourites restaurants

    1. fredwilson


    2. fredwilson

      We are going to Abac tonight. Any suggestions or “must trys”?

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        I’m sorry, I didn’t see your reply yesterday! I hope you enjoyed!I haven’t been to Abac in a few months and they change the menu a lot, but I can still taste amazing mussels with curry (and a few more things, the names of the dishes are insanely long), cod with truffle, seabass with artichokes, rabbit with foei… Anyway, when I go to that type of restaurants I usually obey the maitre and have some crazy long menu because I’m unable to choose. Then I have to rest for a couple days 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          we did the crazy long menu at Paxta the night before… so we couldn’t bear to do it againwe ended up eating too much anyway as there were three complimentary starters, we did three courses, plus a cheese course, and drank too much wine tooit was a blast!

          1. Fernando Gutierrez

            Glad you enjoyed!I had just read GG’s post on Paxta and was fearing for your health if you had done the same at Abac :)I have not been in Paxta, but with those photos I need to go!

  9. Manuel

    I live in Barcelona, and there is a huge difference btn Scotland and Catalonia. Here, everything starts from an economic point of view “why Catalonia pay taxes to subsidize other regions that have less income and “work less”. I do not share this opinion at all. If you are living in a “country” you should share the good and the bad things. What a like from US is the sensation that people loves a Country, formed by very different States.Spain had a dictatorship, then a democratic transition were Catalonia and other regions decided how they wanted to be, with a formal Constitution.Scotland has a very deep historical reason + also a economic one.Nowadays, this situation, that initially started from Catalonian autonomous government in order to get more budget from central government, is evolving to ask independence and secession, and making a deep breach in the citizens. People do not feel comfortable talking about this, and extremism is not good. This is not what people vote in the last election.If you consider that, there has been a huge corruption in ALL the spanish politics, including the Catalonian ones, and there is also an extremism, p.i.e where I can not take my children to a public school that speak spanish, public ones is only Catalan…Is this reasonable?I´ve been traveling and living around the world, consider myself a citizen of the world, and I love Barcelona, Spain, but I do not love this politicians where in moments of crisis, the last 3 years they only talk about independence, etc..doing almost nohing in order to recover the country

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for sharing that with us. it’s helpful to hear from someone close to the situation

      1. Manuel

        Thanks to you for the interesting post you publish. Life is not only about business. Enjoy Barcelona, and feel free to contact me for any suggestion of good restaurant or plan you and your wife could need.

  10. Ana Milicevic

    It was a quieter morning than usual here in New York. For the last 13 years it’s always been a little quieter and more pensive while we all reflect. As it should be.I’ve lived through the Balkan implosion in the 90s and walked away with a few scars and the first-hand understanding that once you’re at war normal goes out the window in a matter of seconds. That conflict was also brewed on old hatreds that pop up seemingly out of nowhere whenever you scratch the surface a little. The only remedy for old hatreds I can think of are new opportunities.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia?

      1. Ana Milicevic

        For me it was always Yugoslavia. Serbia now. Belgrade forever 🙂

        1. JimHirshfield

          I’ve never been. Maybe someday. Enjoyed my trips to Zagreb and Ljubljana.

          1. LE

            Was watching Rumsfield [1] on Netflix. I think he said something like the only thing we are certain about in the places we have conflicts is that we can’t pronounce the names.[1] Hah. I mean “rumsfeld”.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Rumsfeld on Netflix? Is that like Seinfeld on Netflix?

          3. LE

            They are both “blow hards” but of a different type. Rumsfeld held a real job with responsibility. I don’t think entertainers are anywhere near the same class of person in my pecking order. [1]…[1] Btw, all generalizations are false.

          4. JamesHRH

            Your footnote is an all time classic.However, the most Rumsfeldian turn of phrase ever, is the next part of the movie title’s quote (which, IMHO), should have been the title:The Unknown UnknownsWhich literally means the things you did not know you needed to know. All of which comes from Rumsfeld Congressional testimony, where he lists them all out: the Known Knowns, the Unknown Knowns & the Unknown Unknowns.History will look upon Donald Rumsfeld very, very unkindly.

          5. JamesHRH

            Errol Morris had a run at him.

  11. LE

    that conflict and resentment and the hatred that can result is a permanent human condition. We can work to minimize it and we should do that tirelessly. But we are unlikely to eliminate it.I’m always amazed at the truly shitty situations that others have in different parts of the world. Growing up all we knew about really were the proverbial children starving in Africa. They didn’t look like us and so there wasn’t any way to relate. (Not to mention being younger which is a different ball game to begin with). I know I didn’t lose any sleep thinking about them.Things are different now. You see so much more going on in the world then you did when I was growing up.Thinking that your life will be perfect if you just get something you think is “the answer” means you don’t understand that once you get that thing something else will then become “the problem” that you will need to worry about or are unhappy about. And will take it’s place.Take “my man Trump” (who I often use in comments). Here’s a guy will tons of fame and money who many in the world envy but I’m sure he’s totally unhappy about the fact that that his name is on two casinos that are closing in NJ (which he only owns 5% of). Meaning he’s psychologically in a worse place because of this “burden” then perhaps a guy who works a desk job at the Port Authority and has a barbecue that he’s waiting to go to at his sister in laws house this weekend.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Thinking that your life will be perfect if you just get something you think is “the answer” Yes, once on an job interview I was given a test where one of the questions was, “Everything would have been okay if my mother had only … My mother wasn’t perfect, but certainly there was nothing, even more certainly no one thing, she could have done to have made “everything … okay”.Who got paid for being dumb enough to dream up that question? Who got paid for being dumb enough to ask people to answer it?But there does seem to be a pattern that a person will pick out one issue in their lives, regard that as the main issue, and guess, if only from a case of conceptional myopia, that once that issue is solved there will be no more issues.But for someone who has some one such issue, if can find what that issue is, then all their other issues will be in a sense less important from which can estimate how good their life is.The fundamental problem in life is doing something effective about feeling alone. At least from a distance it looks like Trump has not been doing well with this problem.

      1. LE

        “Everything would have been okay if my mother had only …”Who got paid for being dumb enough to dream up that question? Who got paid for being dumb enough to ask people to answer it?There are no dumb questions just dumb people! (plenty of that).I would say any question you ask is helpful in determining something about a person. I’m always pinging people like sonar and I find it helpful.Anyway when a person answers it by telling you what they think is wrong with a parent you gain valuable insight into many things. Whether they blame others as only one example. And/or what their family life was about. Even if they say “everything was perfect”Maybe I don’t want to hire someone that had a mother who “drank to much”. Bingo! Not like I can say “did your mother drink like an alcoholic” and they are going to answer honestly, right? But maybe it will slip with an open ended question or I can probe further (law permitting of course!).Just yesterday the girl who was over babysitting asked to borrow two of my wife’s books and she was also curious where she was “is she working!” she said very assertively. I was impressed because I drew many conclusions from not only how she asked the question but the fact that she was bold enough to literally say “I’m sure D______ wouldn’t mind if I borrowed these books”. I thought that was great! Don’t be bashful step right in and go for it! (I really was impressed..) Tell me much about her. My brother in law wanted to drive my car but didn’t have the balls to even ask for a ride (source: my sister in law). Reason he is a cog in a company (smart guy as he is). No balls.Next, one of the books she wanted to borrow had to do with “Bad Mother” (I’ve attached a pix because I shot it to show my wife which books she took). She said “oh this is of interest to me”. And she said it in a way to indicate that she “had a bad mother”. So I gossiped that with my wife when she got home. (I’m not 100% sure I’m 90% sure though my take was correct).Point being there is always info to be gleaned from what people say and do.[picture attached]

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Your analysis has a lot of good insight.Still, the question “Everything would have been okay if my mother had only … is an insult to the person being asked because the question presumes that the question actually has an answer while often quite literally and meaningfully it will not.So, as I wrote My mother wasn’t perfect, but certainly there was nothing, even more certainly no one thing, she could have done to have made “everything … okay”. That is the answer I should have given and, really, tried to within the limited context of the written question.Still, for me an honest answer to the question did not exist.BTW, the question was at the NSA in Laurel, MD. Good place to stay away from anyway!

          1. LE

            is an insult to the person being asked because the question presumes that the question actually has an answer while often quite literally and meaningfully it will not.Why does it matter if it’s an insult (not that I agree that it is imo)? And also no matter what the question isn’t the good sportsmen always ready to engage and have a comeback?Still, for me an honest answer to the question did not exist.For “honest answer” you have already spoken many times about this and you experience dovetails my experience.When my aunt who looks terrible say’s “how do I look” or the wife says “how do I look” do you think that the idea is to answer honestly? She doesn’t want an honest answer, right?

          2. sigmaalgebra

            In K-8, the teachers treated me like dirt. So, in ninth grade algebra I discovered that I could get correct answers that no teacher, whatever the heck she thought of me, could criticize. Presto — I was in love with math, and it, and that way of defending against criticism, saved my tail feathers the rest of the way through academics.By the time I went for the NSA interview, I was still thinking that way — get things rock solidly correct or have someone dumping on me.Later I got more completely socialized and understood and was willing to work without fear and effectively with the ambiguity common in most of oral communications. So, then, for such a question which literally had no answer, I would, thusly socialized, give an ambiguous but socially acceptable answer.After that socialization, if some HR babe asked me such a question, then I’d regard her as a really sweet, as expected, non-literal, imprecise, likely confused, scatter brained, ditsy, sweetheart, anxious, insecure and in need of praise, acceptance, approval, and reassurance, and give her a nice, reassuring, sweet answer with an accompanying smile! Meaningful? No. Socially appropriate? Definitely!Then, in her most serious contemplation, she would conclude, with pleasure, that I was easy to work with, and would be a good fit, an evaluation that for her was high among the best possible!Lesson guys: Before answering, think about how and what the other person is thinking and how they will react to what you say, do, etc. and, then, cook up something effective and not otherwise negative for the situation. Right, have to think about not just the answer but also the person to receive it — double thinking.Or, to borrow from a movie, often the other person “Can’t handle the truth.” — in that case, give it to them at most very slowly and in small parts, easy to take, with stuff to make the taste less bitter. Or if they can’t handle the truth, then maybe conclude you are not obligated to give them the truth and suffer their negative reaction.Sexist? Not less than 99 44/100% and at least that much appropriate, wise, and well informed! We’re talking my reality here, not some blog of fun, foolish, future, feminist fantasies! Ah, I get an A for awful alliteration!But that’s now, not then!So, right, another chapter in Girls 101 for Dummies — Boys. Lesson guys: People who write interview questions like that have their panties showing, even if they are dressed like a man! Then, don’t give them an answer suitable for someone trying to engineer a new submarine to go 75 nmph 4000 feet down, an airplane go to Mach 15, or a server farm able to send 100,000 Web pages a second and, instead, give an answer for a nice HR babe as if she were in your lap!The HR babes can be some of the very best lap warmers! We’re talking supportive, sensitive, sympathetic, empathetic, “squeezably soft”, etc. Whatever they say, answer something like, “Yes, dear. That’s nice, dear. Now relax, honey, and lean back here ….” But, don’t do that in the office!

  12. sigmaalgebra

    Yup, compared with the US, Russia, China, and more, Spain is not a very large country, and Catalonia is just a small part of Spain and, thus, likely too small to stand on the ‘world stage’ as an equal.Or, some of the big advantages of the US, for its economy, standard of living, national security, and more, is a lot of shared values, one common language, and a huge market without boundaries. In contrast, independent little Catalonia would have a tough time in the same respects.But the US makes biggie mistakes, too: E.g., going way back to Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (my, what a long name you have there), the US often wants an identifiable, locked-in underclass, and that creates resentments, human suffering, crime, and no end of psychological and social problems and loss of psychological and social ‘capital’.And, with a lot about current immigration policy, we are trying to do it again.Biggie problem is, mostly that pot doesn’t melt. So, we shouldn’t do that.The US should mostly regard itself as a child of Europe and western Russia. Asians fit in fairly well. After that the ‘fit’ gets poor. Sorry ’bout that. Drawing from the whole world, that pot doesn’t melt and, thus, causes a lot of serious problems. Now we are trying to solve many of the problems, and we should, and we will be able to make progress, but it’s tough; did I mention, that pot doesn’t melt?Deliberately constructing a pot that we know in advance has little or no chance to melt is a bad idea. Sorry ’bout that — it’s just true, and here in the US, and plenty of other places, we’d have to be just blind not to see it and/or a denier not to admit it.Pots not melting? For today, here’s a list: Syria, Iraq, East Ukraine, Catalonia, and Scotland. For Scotland the explanation is easy: They need to do more selling and less drinking up of their profits.This is simple, dirt simple, stuff guys: We’re not talking solving P versus NP here!

  13. ShanaC

    Culture is a hard thing that impacts all of us.It impacts how we communicate in these deep ways, and pops up when we least expect it

  14. Elizabeth Spiers

    I don’t know that what’s happening in Europe now is just an extension of old tensions. There’s a lot of anger between the periphery states in the Eurozone and the core because EU leadership is widely perceived as elitist and out-of-touch, and prone to making decisions that are in the best interest of the core (and Germany in particular), at the expense of the periphery. The Bundesbank-style focus on price stability at all costs is doing some serious damage, and the resulting uptick in anti-European right wing political activity is pretty scary. It’s hard to say whether that would be happening if European monetary unification had never happened.Personally, I like the theory that unification happened largely for not-very-well-thought-out political reasons, as articulated in my favorite UK comedy, Yes, Minister: Sir Humphrey Appleby (Cabinet secretary): Let’s look at this objectively. It is a game played for national interests and always was. Why do you suppose we went into it?James Hacker (Prime Minister): To strengthen the brotherhood of free Western nations.Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, really. We went in to screw the French by splitting them off from the Germans.James Hacker: Well, why did the French go into it, then?Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, to protect their inefficient farmers from commercial competition.James Hacker: That certainly doesn’t apply to the Germans!Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, no. They went in to cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for readmission to the human race.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s helpful context Elizabeth. it’s true that the EU has caused as many problems as it has addressed (or more). but from an outsider’s prospective, being in Europe is so much easier now, and trading with Europe is so much easier now

    2. sigmaalgebra

      I like the theory that unification happened largely for not-very-well-thought-out political reasons My explanation: There are people, say, the Change the Worlders, with some really big dreams and ambitions, especially for themselves. So, they have grand ideas about how much better everything would be if everyone adopted the dreams of the Change the Worlders and put some such people at the head of all of it.So, the Change the Worlders get big offices in the high rent districts of Brussels, Paris, Bonn, Stockholm, Zurich, Rome, London, etc., form committees, hold meetings, write documents, make regulations, take long lunches with lots of Beaujolais, spend money, etc.Things get a lot better? Any better? Usually, nope. Worse? Usually a little.Instead things get more complicated, and have a lot of dead weight, make-work, bureaucratic nonsense.For as much as I like some of the best of Europe, at heart still I’m nearly all American and not much European.

  15. thinkdisruptive

    Thirteen years later, I didn’t even remember that today was September 11. I didn’t think I would ever get to the point where it seemed like any other day again.On the morning of 9/11, I recall waking up in Seattle after a long flight the night before, but my brain still on east coast time (which is why I was getting up at 5:30 for a 9am meeting). and turning on the tv to watch a plane fly into the World Trade Center. It was so shockingly surreal, that I wondered if I was awake, or had maybe tuned in to a movie instead of the news.Once I began to process what was happening and realize that it was real, I sat down on the bed in my underwear stunned and watched tv for about an hour, and a few things occurred to me that morning.- my meetings for the week were likely not going to happen- flights were likely to be grounded (especially after the 2nd plane), so I wasn’t going anywhere soon- was this what it felt like in 1942 when the world heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor?- did my family (and especially my young kids) know about it, and how were they taking it (did they know I was safe if they did)- life was going to be different- did I know anyone who was in the towers at the timeI was stuck in Seattle for a week, and had a great deal of time to contemplate. I went to the company I was supposed to be meeting with, and we all spent the morning in the boardroom watching tv, and talking about what it all meant. Eventually, we decided that since I was there, and not likely leaving, we should have the meeting to take our minds off things for a while (and thankfully, it did).Other than the imagery, the most memorable thing for me was how I was adopted by folks at the company I visited that day. They set me up with an office and security pass to come and go as I wanted until I could leave. One of the VPs organized a bbq for me and invited anyone who wanted to join us to come over. They took me sailing on Lake Washington one night, which was an amazingly quiet and serene contrast to the reason I was stuck there. In some ways, the world stopped while we had a group hug and tried to absorb what had happened.When I was finally able to get a seat on a plane home a week later, it was a very strange new reality, with security lines 3-4 hours long snaking through the entire airport and outside (and that was for a 5:30am flight), big green trash buckets full of nail clippers, scissors, 1″ pocket knives and anything else being confiscated. Every single person had their luggage hand-inspected with every article of clothing removed, and we weren’t allowed to touch our own stuff, even after being cleared. Some people were quietly discussing what had happened while in the lines, and one person was pulled out and given the full military pat-down at gunpoint for being overheard to say the word “gun” — most of us stopped talking after that.I remember thinking that the terrorists had won, and I still think that today, only more. We have changed our behaviors and restricted our freedoms in so many ways we couldn’t have even imagined pre-9/11 that our 1999 selves wouldn’t recognize us as Americans today. And, we’ve piled up enormous unpayable debts to fight unwinnable wars, secure the unsecurable, and militize our police forces (hello Ferguson) so much that we now resemble Orwell’s 1984. We shouldn’t forget 9/11, but we certainly should contemplate how it has changed us, and whether we handed the terrorists a victory by fighting a military war, rather than a cultural one.To New Yorkers who lived through that day, I wish peace and community, and the ability for 9/11 to be an increasingly normal day over time.

  16. Mariah Lichtenstern

    Hatred is a confounding human condition…I’ve never understood haters, but I agree we can and should work to minimize it and the conditions that breed it. Lots of solutions out there that give us something meaningful to do with our lives.On a Biblical note (being the apologetics lover that I am), there is a prophesy that peace will come with the Anti-Christ, which is defined in scripture not only as an individual, but a anti-theological movement (notice I did not say “anti-religous”). So, at some point, presumably after “the rapture,” there will be world peace ushered in by some neo-theological government (something like the New World Order you referenced in earlier post on Kissinger’s op-ed).On a technological note, Revelation 13 elaborates that there will be some mark, perhaps a sensor or implantable device, that citizenry wears on the forehead or right hand that has something related to 666 embedded in it. Without it, no one will be able to buy or sell. Seems like we are moving in that direction with Bitcoin etc.Old news for some, but worth bringing up for those born after Bibles were banned in public school (1967) and don’t have theological foundation of previous generations – the moral foundation public schools were actually created to facilitate (another story). From the sound of what follows, we haven’t seen anything yet.

    1. kidmercury

      so refreshing to have another student of eschatology here with us in fredland. welcome!

      1. JamesHRH

        Is there anything kooky that you are not up to speed on Kid?On like, a principled basis. You know, a line of thinking or interest where your reaction is: ‘that’s goofy / crazy talk.’

        1. kidmercury

          kookology is a remarkably vast subject, and so one is forever a student. if modern curriculum standards were applied, though, i think a case could be made that i have the equivalent of a PhD in kookology.

  17. Robert

    If you are in Barcelona today, what is really worth seeing are the castellers (human towers). They are impressive to look at, quite risky endeavors and symbolic of so many collaborative enterprises humans undertake, such as building businesses.

  18. kirklove

    Nicely said.

  19. JamesHRH

    Regardless of whether Scotland or Catalonia secedes, secession is inevitable and will be a major theme of the 21st century.It is 80% about the Benjamins and 20% about ego. The last 70 years have been an unusually peaceful time. Terrorism, yes – major conflicts b/t major powers – no. But, when this current economic cycle runs out of steam, the entire world will go through this type of upheaval.By 2100, Canada will be at least 3 countries and the USA could be more like 6 (Texas, California, FLA could all go it alone, easy). China? India? Russia? Likely in the same boat.This period in time will precede an era where the nation state and many other traditional institutions fall apart. They will be replaced by a larger number of smaller groups that will be the basis for human identity.The definition of country may morph a lot and who knows what people will use as currency (that is about to shift radically, but not in the digital bitcoin direction, in a easily settled but highly fragmented direction.

    1. William Mougayar

      3 countries???? Quebec, Canada and BC? just a wild guess.

      1. JamesHRH

        I am just having fun here, but I would bet it like this: the energy provinces would go together (Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC would be needed – for pipelines to ports); Quebec would bail after that happened & the RoC would be all of Canada at that point.The wildcard here is fracking. There are frackable plays in places like New Brunswick but the prevailing social attitude is very negative. If that was to change, the Western energy provinces and the Eastern energy provinces (offshore in Newfoundland) could pull the plug at the same time.I honestly believe that NA will split into several smaller states (SE US, SW, US, NW US – could include BC & Alaska, Midwest – which could include Ontario, Energy North – the Dakotas, SK, AB, etc.) but then ally themselves as a NATO of NA.When people have so much information about the world, common sense becomes a stronger force.I have always held the opinion that people in Denver have a more obvious connection with people in Calgary, than NYC. And, people in Toronto have more in common with NYC than with Calgary.That’s why other Americans look and feel like rubes in places like NYC & LA.

  20. Alex Wolf

    I lived my senior year of high school in Barcelona and still am in touch with my Spanish family, and am the godmother of my little Spanish brother’s daughter. They are my second family and Barcelona is my second home. It changed me deeply as an artist, designer, and person.Speaking of Candela, my godchild, I just spent 3 days in SF at the World Congress of Play. We are in an extreme crisis of play for our kids in the US and the world. I deeply feel that terrorism springs from the tough childhoods many extremists have had. I wrote about this arriving back to my hometown this morning. is develops the whole child, glues families and communities together, and makes us smart. Play is the most useful and dynamic activity we engage in. I encourage everyone to play together with their loved ones and strangers today as an act of radical counter to the misery which we remember today on 9/11.

  21. leigh

    Many and sharp the num’rous illsInwoven with our frame!More pointed still we make ourselvesRegret, remorse, and shame!And man, whose heav’n-erected faceThe smiles of love adorn, –Man’s inhumanity to manMakes countless thousands mourn!- Robbie Burns

  22. Tom Labus

    I was downtown this morning and spent some time over at he Memorial. There’s enough distant now that you be an observer but for those people who lost family members It will always be ground zero.

  23. Jeff Jones

    View from Jersey City

  24. pointsnfigures

    There are days in US history we should remember. Independence Day, the day shots were fired on Sumter, and the day the Civil War ended. Armistice Day, Pearl Harbor Day, VE;VJ Day-9/11 is one of those days. God bless the US. God bless the volunteers that are fighting for us. Individual liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness are too precious to cede to terrorists, or anyone else.

  25. William Mougayar

    On 9/11/01, we were driving somewhere between the regions of Burgundy and Champagne on a 10 day vacation not unlike your current one. Suddenly, the radio cut out and in came the news flash. If took a few more hours to fully comprehend the magnitude and the significance of that event. Later that evening, at dinner, a table of 5 Americans behind us were discussing what had happened, and we got talking to them.Everybody remembers exactly what they were doing on 9/11.I agree with you that (sadly) we can’t totally eliminate the bad stuff that happens around the world, but we can do our bit to minimize it.

  26. paramendra

    “There are separatist movements cropping up all over Europe right now. ” This is a major political trend. The nation state is not working out for a lot of people, not for the Snowden era techies, not for the Scots, looks like, not for Albert Wenger.