Tom Freston: If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?
Question: If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?
Tom Freston: Oh boy. It’s hard to just give money away. Sometimes that’s the worst thing you could do. But I mean I would look to, say, the Gates Foundation, which now has 60 billions of dollars to give away. How are they doing it? And I think they’re going about it rather wisely. I mean they have put processes in place and objectives in place; and they’re targeting certain things in certain parts of the world that appear to be at first some of the lowest hanging fruit; some of the things that need to be done that might have the greatest leverage for us to move forward – looking at things like, you know, population growth, endemic disease, corruption, and try to apply it in ways that the money gets handed to people who are responsible for it; using techniques that seem to be proven to be effective. Hundreds of billions of dollars have already been wasted in people giving money away. But at the same time when people say, “Aid doesn’t work”, that’s really not true because a lot of aid does work. You can just look at some of the money that’s been spent recently for eliminating simple things like malaria and other diseases. And there’s been a lot of ways to effectively do that, and certainly we should learn from that. And there’s plenty of smart people working on exactly this. And there are . . . There would be ways to give away 100 billion dollars, although I’m sure you wouldn’t do it all in a . . . You wouldn’t do it all at once. Recorded On: 7/6/07
The Gates Foundation, Freston says, would do a good job.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
Quoth the parrot — "Nevermore."
By his mid-30s, Edgar Allan Poe was not only weary by the hardships of poverty, but also regularly intoxicated — by more than just macabre visions. Despite this, the Gothic writer lucidly insisted that there was still a method to his madness when it came to devising poems.
In an essay titled "The Philosophy of Composition," published in 1846 in Graham's Magazine, Poe divulged how his creative process worked, particularly in regard to his most famous poem: "No one point in [The Raven's] composition is rerferrible either to accident or intuition… the work proceeded step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem."
That said, contrary to the popular idea that Edgar Allan Poe penned his poems in single bursts of inspiration, The Raven did not pour out from his quivering quill in one fell swoop. Rather it came about through a calculative process — one that included making some pretty notable changes, even to its avian subject.
As an example of how his mind worked, Poe describes in his essay that originally the bird that flew across the dreary scene immortalized in the poem was actually… a parrot.
Poe had pondered ways he could have his one word refrain, "nevermore," continuously repeated throughout the poem. With that aim, he instantly thought of a parrot because it was a creature capable of uttering words. However, as quickly as Poe had found his feathered literary device, he became concerned with the bird's form on top of its important function.
And as it turns out, the parrot, a pretty resplendent bird, did not perch so well in Poe's mind because it didn't fit the mood he was going for—melancholy, "the most legitimate of all the poetical tones." In solving this dilemma in terms of imagery, he made adjustments to its plumage, altogether transforming the parrot — bestowing it with a black raiment.
"Very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven, as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone," Poe explained in his piece in Graham's. "I had now gone so far as the conception of a Raven — the bird of ill omen — monotonously repeating the one word, 'Nevermore,' at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone…"
It was with these aesthetic calculations that Poe ousted the colorful bird that first flew into his mind, and welcomed the darker one that fluttered in:
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore…
The details of the poem — including the bird's appearance — needed to all blend together, like a recipe, to bring out the somber concept he was trying to convey: the descent into madness of a bereaved lover, a man lamenting the loss of a beautiful woman named Lenore. With that in mind, quoth the parrot — "nevermore" just doesn't have the same grave effect.
* * *
If you'd like to read more about Edgar Allan Poe, click here to review how his contemporaries tried to defame him in an attempt to thwart his success.
Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.
- An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
- Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.