How it works and why I love it

The Matterhorn in between a Valais canton flag and a Swiss flag
The Matterhorn in between a Valais canton flag and a Swiss flag
Beautiful Switzerland

I’ve been living in Switzerland for more than 2 years now. There are many things I love about my host country, but probably the most unexpected one is the waste and recycling system. It’s pragmatic and effective and I’d like to see cities and towns in the US, my home country, adopt it.

The system is built upon the principles of self reliance and individual responsibility. The Swiss don’t want to trash their beautiful country and they don’t want to be reliant on other countries to take their waste and recycling¹. Therefore…


2020 has been a no good, very bad year. In no particular order, here are some things that I enjoyed in the midst of it.

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Hiking above the Engadin Valley in Switzerland, one of my favorite places I visited in 2020

Media

Things I read

The Browser. A daily digest of five recommended articles, a podcast, and a video on… basically anything, as long as it’s interesting. Consistently introduces me to things I love learning about. Some of my favorite discoveries from it include:


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Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

The business performance that impresses me from the past decade is Disney+.

Over the course of 2016–2018, with the cable and movie business under threat and Netflix and HBO are looming, Bob Iger surveys the landscape and decides that Disney needs to get in the game. He goes out and buys a bunch of different media franchises (Star Wars, Fox), a technology layer (BAMTech) and then wraps it together into a complete consumer offering that feels complete at launch in 2020.

This basically never works! It’s difficult for a start-up to do something like this, but it happens, because the…


My notes and reflections from reading Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

One day a couple of months ago, it occurred to me that day that my job requires me to do a lot of negotiating. With this in mind, I decided I should invest some time in learning how to negotiate better. After looking around some online, I picked up Never Split the Difference. I’m really glad I decided to read this book. It provides practical instruction on how to negotiate that I’ve already been able to put into practice.

The author, Chris Voss, is a former FBI hostage negotiator and is clearly someone who has been personally involved in hundreds…


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Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

The NBA offseason is upon us. Teams and the league are both regrouping after one of the most unique seasons in the league’s history. There’s the usual off-season speculation (the draft, free agency) and some unusual off-season speculation (how they salary cap will handle the dip in revenue, what the cause of declining ratings is, when next season will begin).

I want to add another item to the list: the NBA App.

The NBA app (and website), is where many of us with league pass spend a lot of our time during the season. To say that it is a…


A book review of Three Ring Circus, the story of the 2000s Los Angeles Lakers dynasty, by Jeff Pearlman

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Kobe Bryant at the free throw line courtesy of @rapiana

The conventional wisdom about the great Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal Laker teams of the early 2000s goes like this: Shaq was content for basketball to be one of his many interests, while Kobe was solely focused basketball above anything else. They were a poor fit as teammates, and ultimately went their separate ways, dooming the dynasty.

This is how I remembered it and I don’t think I’m unique. The Lakers were the first great team I knew as an NBA fan. …


The New York Times ran a story this week about how the press should cover the health of our elderly leaders. This happened to be the same week that Chris Rock made a pitch for term limits on Saturday Night Live.

Seeing these two stories side by side made me wonder: Why we don’t have maximum age limits for holding office?

There is precedence for this already. One must be 25 to run for the House of Representatives, 30 for Senate, and 35 for President in the United States. …


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[No spoilers]

Completely immersive book about a father and a son at the end of the world. Beautifully written. Probably the most scared I’ve ever been reading a book. The sort of book that costs you sleep because you can’t put it down, you have to know what happens next. Similar to Station Eleven in that way.

The book doesn’t have any chapters, just paragraphs. I think it’s the longest book I’ve ever read that I can say that about.

You never find out how the father and son ended up surviving whatever knocked out the rest of civilization or…


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I picked up this book on a whim because I’d seen the David Lean movie and thought it would be fun to learn about the man behind it. I saw someone recommend this title and got hooked on the sample and here we are.

This book tells the story of the Arab Revolt in WWI through the eyes of T.E. Lawrence and three other men: Curt Prüfer (a German), Aaron Aaronsohn (a Jewish-Romanian immigrant to Palestine), and William Yale (an American). …


Like a lot of Americans, I’m disturbed by President Trump’s behavior. He doesn’t seem to respect the Constitution, the People of the United States, or human rights more generally. I’d like to see Congress place checks on the Executive Branch, but Congressional Republicans have made it clear that they’re not going to take any concrete action to do this.

Because of this, I want to see the Democrats win the majority in the House in 2018. Having some access to power will allow them to take real steps to check the Trump administration. But what can I do to help…

James Edward Dillard

operating a bit outside the lines

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