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Saturday, January 04, 2003

Three Words (and a funeral)

A good friend has succumbed to cancer, and I'm accordingly going to be offline for a couple of days. However, I wanted to leave you with some three-worded links I believe to have broad -- and in some instances interrelated -- significance. Interviews With Judges: I know I just blogged this yesterday, but I didn't mention that, or why, I thought it particularly interesting or important. I do, because I think through his weblog Howard has created a previously unheard of inside channel to the nation's appellate judiciary. I believe judges may share thoughts with Howard (and thus, uh, The World) they never would share with a professional journalist. Why? They know -- or can come to know -- enough about Howard through his daily writing to know they can trust him, to know they will not be misrepresented, to know whatever it is they wish to say will be said. Through a jurist's eyes, Howard is not one of "them," he's one of "us." The medium of the weblog has allowed all the delicate conditions necessary for this -- voice, audience, editorial and technological control -- to converge. Ah, I hear someone saying, that's not Journalism, it's not objective or critical enough. Maybe not, but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear what these people have to say. Do you? Po Bronson's Article: (Adapted from Po Bronson's book.) Fast Company's insightful January cover story is by Po Bronson:
I'm convinced that business success in the future starts with the question, What should I do with my life? Yes, that's right. The most obvious and universal question on our plates as human beings is the most urgent and pragmatic approach to sustainable success in our organizations. People don't succeed by migrating to a "hot" industry (one word: dotcom) or by adopting a particular career-guiding mantra (remember "horizontal careers"?). They thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are -- and connecting that to work that they truly love (and, in so doing, unleashing a productive and creative power that they never imagined). Companies don't grow because they represent a particular sector or adopt the latest management approach. They win because they engage the hearts and minds of individuals who are dedicated to answering that life question. [para.] This is not a new idea. But it may be the most powerfully pressing one ever to be disrespected by the corporate world.
Judge Alex Kozinski: Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit certified an interesting question to the California Supreme Court in the ever-popular "" domain name dispute. The question concerns whether, under California law, Internet domain names are "property" for purposes of the tort of conversion (essentially, civil law's version of theft). It includes an exceptionally well written, entertaining and persuasive dissent by Judge Kozinski, and the entire order is highly instructive on the process of certifying questions from the Ninth Circuit to the California Supreme Court. You can read it here (PDF). As interesting as all this is to me, it is less interesting than the fact -- evident in the three-worded link above, pointing to pertinent How Appealing posts from yesterday -- that within three hours Howard's initial post had resulted in email from Court of Appeals law clerks, California appellate practitioners and Harvard law students (among others, I'm sure) answering questions and offering opinion about issues raised by the certification order. Again, I think the weblog format is utterly unique in its ability to engender discussions like this in the legal field, discussions unhindered by geography or the particular professional, governmental or academic institution the participants call "home." Of course, the credit is not simply the technology's. Howard's knowledgeable, open and droll writing encourages dialogue. Note too that conversation is not hampered by the fact there are no comments at How Appealing. Given the judicial status or affiliation of many of Howard's readers, the ability to comment through email, with anonymity if desired, actually must encourage colloquy. Diet Vanilla Coke: Last but not least. Needs no further explanation. Simply bliss. See you in a few.

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