Reading List: Great Teachers, Trust, Cooling Venture, and the NRA

After a week away, I’m catching up on my inbox and news feeds.  Here’s what’s catching my attention today.

One of the great pleasures of my holidays is the greeting card.  It will be the last tradition I will abandon to the digital age, in part because it is the one time each year I remember people who were fundamental to my education: Mrs. Clark, my fourth grade teacher who taught compassion along side long division; Miss Rundel, the Spanish teacher turned post-Title IX coach of our rag-tag junior high girls’ sports teams; and Ms. Cerroni, the English teacher who pushed us to think beyond the bounds of our Western Pennsylvania mindset.  Once a year, I send a card to these great teachers to thank them for being more than the instructors of math and penmanship and Spanish and Shakespeare.   I thought of them again when I read this essay by Leon Wieseltier, who takes on UnCollege founder Dale Stephens and his advocacy of  “unschooling.”  In an era where we have easier access to more and more data and information, Wieseltier reminds us that great teachers give us the tools to make sense of it all.

Trust is the new black, says Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Company’s manager of Global Trends and Future, in a the recently released Looking Futher with Ford: 13 Trends for 2013.  (You can get the abridged version in this interview with Connelly.  Whether you are building cars or brands or just trying to peek a little further over the horizon, it’s a thought-provoking report.

The Wall Street Journal is predicting a “quiet year” for Silicon Valley venture capital in an article that cites the Facebook IPO cuckup and disappointing performance of on-time Web darlings as reasons investors are entering 2013 with checkbooks firmly in their pockets.  While there’s no denying that the public markets aren’t trending in favor of tech IPOs, the challenges with Silicon Valley venture are far more endemic to the culture of this place than to the conditions of Wall Street, a point WSJ writer Pui-Wing Tam fails to explore (but one I’ll be spending more time on in the days ahead).

And completely away from the technology landscape, but far more important, is this petition to demand that Congress and the President pledge to reject political contributions from the NRA.  It’s a first step.

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