Now Reading: Inc, business, whiskey, American Hustle

‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics include books, food, culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.

The five stages of a breakthrough idea

For those who enjoy business, innovation, content, entrepreneurship or other forms of real-world creativity, Inc is a cool website with good ideas.

They’re all designed to make you smarter about how you’re doing whatever it is – running a startup, managing people, leading brainstorm sessions and so on. I haven’t consume too much of the site but ran across it recently and began digging into it a bit. I quickly came to love the site for its practicality.

Five ways to become more productive. Three things successful people don’t do. Ten traits charismatic people have in common.

Sure, a lot of those posts are made-for-social-media bait, but there’s usually something of value to find buried in them.

Today, I enjoyed Marla Tabaka’s post on the five stages of a breakthrough idea. My takeaway: Great ideas are like great writing – they’re rarely ever great on the first (or second) try. Like words take rewriting, ideas take redesigning, reformatting and reimagining. It’s a try-and-test process in which you’re never really “finished,” but rather you reach a point where you believe the product meets a certain standard of quality to take to the market.

That’s the beginning. Then you listen to the market and revise again. As Marla writes, the stage right before the breakthrough is “failure.”

This could mean you need a new idea. Or it could mean you’re one tweak away from a great one.

Whiskey as a service in San Francisco

There’s a new delivery service in San Francisco called Lasso, and Alex Wilhelm at Tech Crunch used whiskey to compare Lasso with Instacart, a grocery delivery service that preceded it.

So the question is: If you like whiskey and want it delivered to your place, which service should you use?

Instacart, the more established service, has a much greater selection of whiskeys than Lasso, but Lasso offers better prices. The determining factor is delivery. Lasso, as of now, does not charge a delivery fee, while Instacart does. Consider taxes and tips, and Lasso comes out about $10 cheaper than Instacart on the Jack Daniels that Alex used as his test whiskey. These dynamics will change once Lasso begins to charge a delivery fee and/or adjusts pricing, but for now it’s the better option to get whiskey at the front door.

I don’t think Alex would say this idea is revolutionary – it’s a straight comparison of the pro and cons of two services, after all – but I thought it was a good model of cleanly presented data and proceeding through a logical process that is a service in itself to the readers. At the end, you don’t just say, “Cool.” There’s also a practical application to what you just read, a tangible reward for time invested in content.

Providing that reward, to me, should be a primary goal for content creators.

David Denby on “American Hustle”

The New Yorker’s David Denby reviews “American Hustle,” the Abscam scandal-based flick featuring Christian Bale, Amy Adamns, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and others.

Denby is one of the New Yorker’s most talented and thoughtful critics, which is a high bar to clear. Give it a read.

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