I write to you from a cafe like many other cafes I’ve sat in before: fast wifi, high ceilings, a choice of coffee beans from Colombia, Kenya or Ethiopia. Around me are a plush couch, and simple yet wonderfully comfortable wooden tables and chairs dotted around the mezzanine level, each seat conveniently placed next to a power plug for the many laptops people just like me a tap-tap-tapping away on.
It’s like any hipster cafe I’ve been in before, in Melbourne, New York, London or San Fransisco… but I’m in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Instead of the sounds of trains and trams, I hear the clap of thunder momentarily cutting through the roar of the monsoonal rains, and I’m at once both intrigued and pensive about the ubiquity of the hipster cafe aesthetic. On one hand, I love that I can find a decent coffee in almost any city around the world (although some cities I have to work harder than others!). On the other, I wonder about the underbelly of the global ‘freelance’ lifestyle: on where, despite the believe that we are ‘alternative’, doing something ‘different’ and experiencing cultures and lifestyles outside our own, we still seek places that are familiar no matter where we are? I mean, I’ve found a hipster cafe and ridden a ‘Grab’ (Malaysia’s version of Uber) here - I could have just walked down the road to a street food vendor and camped out there, right?
But sometimes I think - life is already full of friction and challenge, full of meeting new people on a regular basis and seeing new things (I live in a new continent, after all!) - why not treat myself to something familiar? Jury is still out on this - how do you experience a new city that you travel to for work?
I spent a significant part of an hour reading this article on the Murdoch empire. Have you read it yet? The story of the Murdochs fascinates me, as much as it frustrates and in some ways, angers me - and so I finds exposes such as this compelling and enlightening. As the article suggests, the influence of Rupert Murdoch on Western (Anglo, shall we say) democracies cannot be overstated really. The question I am left with, is what do we do about it? Is it possible to build another empire in the same way, if one started today? Is it possible to build an analogous empire ethically, one bound by morals and a framework based on social justice? I’m not sure. I think these may be questions which scratch the surface of deeper philosophical queries to do with power and the reason one has for living… but alas. We’re only on day two on May musings, folks. Let’s ease into it, shall we?
Another article I found useful was this one in the Harvard Business Review on the true challenges of building an innovative culture. In some ways, it ties in with I was talking about yesterday re discipline.
Fascinating twitter thread on the breaking of the engima code and a reminder of how so often, no matter how well we design a machine, it comes down human error (or just, the human condition)?
I’m also on the Board of the Electronic Frontiers Australia and we’re doing a couple of profiles of folk in the tech industry in Australia ahead of the federal election. If you’re part of said industry and wouldn’t mind sharing a little about yourself, email Lyndsey here! Thank you!