JScott’s Monthly Missive February Edition

My monthly list of resources, life hacks, and life lessons. Hit reply and tell me what you have been up to and what neat stuff you have discovered lately ! If you find this information interesting or useful you can subscribe here or Forward to a friend.



  • Ripple. A professional networking app (iOS and Android) based on a Tinder style user interface. You “swipe left” if you don’t want to network with someone and “swipe right” if you do. If they also swipe right on you, then you are connected. For an old slacker teetering on 50yrs old, this seems odd and confusing (I had to watch a youtube video on how to swipe right properly). However, Ripple uses a user interface that a younger generation has come to trust. So perhaps it will turn into something useful. (They should have picked a better name considering that Ripple is also the name of a cryptocurrency of some fame/infamy.)


Last semester was rough in terms of reading, so I made up for it with a lot of reading over the break! Here are the best reads so far.

Eccentric Orbits by John Bloom

If you like biographies of leaders in technology (Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, etc.), then you’ll find this book fascinating. It is the story of the iridium network of global communication satellites. This was first conceived by a small group of engineers at motorolla. And it would have succeeded if motorola had not screwed up the business side of the operation so poorly. Eccentric Orbits covers the rise, fall and resurrection of this network and company by one man, Dan Colussy. The book also details the rise and fall of Motorola, and iconic technology company that now basically exists in name only.

Amazon Link: Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story

The Third Wave by Steve Case

Mr Case was the founder of AOL and he weaves a lot of the story of AOL into his narrative on the coming “Third Wave” of the internet/technology. Some interesting concepts, but his ideas about the broad distribution of wealth and innovation, education reform, and democratic engagement are nice yet naive. I would not recommend unless you are interested in reading different perspectives on what the future might hold. This book does make me want to go read a book by Kara Swisher about AOL (There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future).

Amazon Link: The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

Move Fast and Break Things by Jonathan Taplin

Highly recommend. Well written and a great follow up to The Four by Scott Galloway. Jonathan got his start with Bob Dylan in the late 60s and worked in music and movies for decades. In this book, he takes a critical eye toward Apple, Facebook, Google (especially YouTube), and amazon. While he makes an argument about monopolistic practices, his concerns is more about the impact on artists and the diversity of our culture.

Amazon Link: Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

Reset by Ellen Pao.

This is a bit of insider baseball in the tech and Venture Capitalist world, but I liked it a lot. “The daughter of immigrants, Pao was taught that through hard work she could achieve her dreams. She earned multiple Ivy League degrees, worked at top startups, and in 2005 was recruited by Kleiner Perkins, arguably the world’s leading venture capital firm at the time. In many ways, she did everything right, and yet she and other women and people of color were excluded from success — cut out of decisive meetings and email discussions, uninvited to CEO dinners and lavish networking trips, and had their work undercut or appropriated by male executives. It was time for a system reset.” Ms. Pao was also the CEO of Reddit when they got rid of most of the hate/revenge porn subs on that site.

Amazon Link: Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change

One Person, One Vote: Estimating the Prevalence of Double Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections.

This is not a book, but an excellent paper (download here) provides an quantitative approach figuring out if there is massive double voting that occurs in elections. For a non-technical summary of the research, listen to “Fraud Complex” on This American Life.

Inside China’s Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking, a wired article recommended by my study abroad student Thomas G.

Writing and Creating

This year I didn’t make any resolutions per se, but have decided to really take to heart the mantra by David Seah, embodied in the huge sign that I put up in my office:

As such, I have been sharing a lot more about what I have learned and know. I moved my blog to medium and have been posting more regularly. I have also started a couple new series of videos on my YouTube channelsabout project management, college life, and technology It is really interesting to experiment and see what subjects/styles get the most views or reads. Somethings that I think are nothing special get lots of hits, and others that I think are brilliant never get read. Still Learning. Here is a sampling:


My experiments with diet and exercise continue.

  • Besides increased sauna use, I have been more regular with intermittent fasting (eating in a window from noon to 7pm). This is much better for your body and certainly a lot better than calorie restriction if you are trying to lose weight. While weight loss is not my goal, I have been steadily losing weight. However, there have been three times when this trend has reversed. Two can be blamed directly on the Italian peninsula. The other on teaching too many courses. If I can avoid Itally and keep my teaching load to a reasonable amount, I should be close to my “College weight” by the end of the summer. We’ll see!

What I’m looking forward to

  • Getting responses to this month’s missive from you all, hearing about the cool stuff you are doing and the resources/lifehacks you are using!! (just hit the reply button and fill me in!).

The Free-Range Technologist

Technology and Tales from the road

J Scott Christianson

Written by

UM Teaching Prof, State Tech College Regent, PMP, CISSP, Technologist & Entrepreneur.

The Free-Range Technologist

Technology and Tales from the road