• "Predictions are based on our understanding of the past and the present. They have less to do with what might happen in the future, and more to do with the writer succumbing to the ‘top 10 list’ syndrome that afflicts us at this time of the year. In this era of data driven decision making, why do we believe that predictions are valid when they are little more than crystal ball gazing?… Strategic thinking takes informed views about possible futures and generates value by identifying a range of strategic options today to ensure their organisation is sustainable no matter what future eventuates…. Prediction is the enemy of strategic thinking, and the sooner we stop thinking we can fix the future, the more robust our strategic thinking will be today."
  • "As much as we focus on developing new technologies, it is also essential that we break free of certain metaphors that bind and restrict our thinking about what these technologies can ultimately achieve. The familiar “document” metaphor, among others, has cast a long shadow on how we think about the web, and is standing in the way of some innovation."
  • On the Human Terrain System and its critics. "Eight years into the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan, American troops are focusing less on killing insurgents and extremists, and more on isolating them from the local populace — in effect, flushing them out and starving them into submission, often without ever firing a shot. It’s a strategy that hinges on a detailed understanding of how overlapping Afghan communities work: who’s in charge where, what villages are in need of what resources, how disagreements create schisms between neighbors, rival mosques and entire villages. The idea is to make key interest groups into allies, swaying whole communities to the U.S. camp and convincing them to turn in or simply kill bad actors in their midst."
  • "Human-flesh search engines — renrou sousuo yinqing — have become a Chinese phenomenon: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, run out of town. It’s crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online — with offline results…. The popular meaning is now not just a search by humans but also a search for humans, initially performed online but intended to cause real-world consequences…. Human-flesh searches highlight what people are willing to fight for: the political issues, polarizing events and contested moral standards that are the fault lines of contemporary China."
  • The modern library "incorporate[s] a constellation of nontraditional and even non-library uses, like cafes, shops, theaters and auditoriums, galleries, classrooms, conference centers, meeting rooms, recording and broadcast studios, government offices, even housing. Some are placed adjacent to theaters, concert halls and museums to form cultural campuses; others are joined to schools or even hotels."