The Alchemist Logo

Scientifically Speaking, Your Shoes Are Untied

According to a recent scientific paper, our shoelaces are put through the physical wringer with every single step we take, reaching a combined impact and acceleration rate of 7Gs — about as much as an Apollo spacecraft on reentry to Earth’s atmosphere. Being the wizards of science and whimsy that we claim to be, are there scientific explanations for other mundane misadventures we all experience every day? 

First-World Paint Problems

At its best, innovation is about solving people’s real problems. And, sometimes, the best way to solve people’s problems is to truly empathize and experience the struggle first-hand. Over the past few weeks, I’ve experienced my fair share of painter’s plight as I took on the ambitious job of painting six rooms in my house. As I sanded, stretched, sweated, climbed and cursed my way through the painting process, I was struck with a few, simple ideas that could have made my life a whole lot easier. 

The Dots: Gravity and the Fabric of Influence

We wrote a book! The Dots is our examination of influence in the modern age. Through humor, a series of analogies to physics, a litany of pop culture references, and an algorithm to harness the power of influential people, it helps readers develop an actionable approach to influence. Plus, it has pictures! We really want you to read the whole thing, but to get you started, here’s a free chapter.

The New Lexicon

If you’re a regular reader of Wired Magazine, then you may have come across Jonathon Keats’  ‘Jargon Watch’ column. As stellar a job as he does, he can’t cover every new word that gets added to the social lexicon, and in today’s always-evolving digital landscape, creating new words is the norm. That being the case, we’ve been having fun noting down some of the interesting turns of phrase we’ve seen and heard recently…

Superforecasting 2017

The book, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Predictionsuggests that accurate predictions are less about supercomputers and scientific methods, and more about compelling evidence from a variety of sources, probabilistic thinking, teamwork, and the ability to admit error and change course. With that in mind, rather than offering our predictions for the year ahead, here are some of our own Superforecasts for 2017.

Our Soundtracks to 2016

From Blackstar to Coloring Bookwe fancy ourselves a pretty musical office. That being the case, rather than putting together a typical year-end retrospective, we’re sharing some of our personal soundtracks for the past twelve months.

How to 2017 Like a Creative Boss

This piece originally appeared on Little Black Book.

Aaron Powers, strategist at Sylvain Labs, shares his ‘SMART’ resolutions for the coming year.

The Not-So-Scientific Science of Spending

According to a professor in the finance department at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, our propensity to spend and save money is coded into our DNA. Much like athletic ability, we are pre-programmed to be good (or bad) with money. When faced with a spending choice, such as how much to spend on a glass of wine, there’s a specific gene that helps determine our decision. 

What Chance The Rapper Changed For Young, Black Chicago Men

He was damaged, like many of us, and had tapped into the sources of that damage just before the lyrics spewed eloquently from his mouth. The apparent pain and frustration that flowed between his words stood as proof that my assumption was correct. The content of Paranoia describes a lifestyle that Black men in Chicago are all too familiar with — and not by choice.

What if Google Ran for President?

What if we had another option in this election? A candidate without any of the typical east coast, Washington ties? A nominee programmed from birth with the kind of temperament and intellect necessary to lead? What if we could vote for someone whom the American people trusted? What if Google ran for President?