Pixelated – Sui Generis Conference

Oct 7, 2008

Mitch Joel recently started the Pixelated Conference, a free business conference you can watch from anywhere. Chris Brogan took the idea one step further, encouraging all of us to create our own Pixelated Conferences.

I think it’s a really good series. So here’s mine. The Pixelated – Sui Generis Conference. 7 sessions (in no particular order, because I think you should watch all of them) about being remarkable, following your passions, and changing the world.

If you the videos don’t appear (if you’re reading via RSS, for example), you can check it out here.

And if you like it, feel free to grab the list and share it. Or better yet, make your own and join be part of the series.

Social Media – Changing the World

Dec 21, 2007

Yet another inspiring story about how social media can make a difference. Blogs, Twitter, Podcasting, etc aren’t tools being used to waste time. They aren’t just about being heard, and getting your voice out there. It’s about relationships. Connecting with people.

I personally haven’t gotten involved in this too much partly because I haven’t been on Twitter that much in recent weeks, and partly because I personally don’t know how I can really help (can’t donate online because I don’t have a credit card).

Susan Reynolds is an artist, author and just a really creative person. She’s been quite involved in Twitter and Second Life, and just building relationships in these digital realms. Recently, she has been diagnosed with cancer. After a “full afternoon and multiple stab wounds”, as she put it, she needed something cool to help keep bleeding down and relieve the pain, and finding traditional ice packs too heavy, she decided to use a bag of frozen peas. She took a photo of it, and shared her story on Twitter.

A few days later, Cathleen Rittereiser suggested that people donate the cost of a bag of frozen peas to fund cancer research. Susan’s friends took that off-the-cuff remark, and ran with it. And as of today, we now have the Frozen Pea Fund, which will be raising money for breast cancer research, in Susan’s name. Lots of people are contributing in different ways. Spreading the message by inserting peas into their avatars (pea-vatars as they call it), building the wordpress site, and many other ways I’m probably unaware of.

You can read more from Connie Reece. Or you can go straight to the Frozen Pea Fund and donate.

I just thought I’d try to help by spreading the word. Social media, all this blogging and Twittering and all, is about real people. It’s about real connections being formed. It’s about a real difference being made. Why don’t you join in?

Friday Flip-Through: iWoz and Bringing Down the House

Nov 30, 2007

Every Friday from now on, I will post a “Friday Flip-Through”. Basically, it’s where I review/write about books that I’ve read and find interesting. I’ve been thinking of reviewing and sharing books with you guys for quite a while, but never got around to it. So this will serve two purposes. First, it will spur me on to read more books. Which is always good. Secondly, and more importantly, I hope that you’ll find value in this. It’ll basically allow me to share what I read with you, and I hope that it’ll maybe help you discover more books, that you might not have read already. Or if you’ve heard of the books I mention, maybe it’ll encourage you to go get the books. Or just to go read more in general.

So, for my first ever Friday Flip-Through, these are two books that I read about a month ago, while I was in Boston. Bringing Down the House and iWoz.

Bringing Down the House is not exactly a new book, and was a New York Times Bestseller. So you probably have heard of it, especially if you’re in America.

It’s a really cool book. A non-fiction narrative thriller, that reads as well as fiction. It’s a true story about how six M.I.T students used card counting methods, and won millions in Vegas.

Other than being quite well written(in my opinion), I really like the premise of the story. And the fact that it’s a true story just makes it all the more intriguing. It’s a really good narrative showcase of the possibilities available around us. Yes, it might be on the verge of morality, but nonetheless, the creativity shown by the M.I.T students is awesome. It really shows the possibilities out there. And while I don’t encourage you to go and try to win millions by using these methods in a casino today, it’s a good reminder that our lives don’t have to just be the boring, standard 9-5 lives that society expects. It’s a good reminder of the excitement out there, that is available if we think creatively and use our abilities well.

As you read it, it will definitely get your mind going as you start imagining what’s possible. And who knows, maybe it will spur you on to something amazing as well.

iWoz the memoir of Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. He was one of the driving forces behind the Macintosh, and though he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves (Steve Jobs gets more of it), his story is still a great one.

There are so many lessons we can learn from his story. Throughout the book, the first thing which comes across very clearly is his passion for technology. And it’s clear to see how that was a driving force in his life. That’s a very valuable lesson for all of us. Yes, he’s (arguably) a really successful person, being one of the people behind the first Macintosh, but he didn’t get there by wanting to get rich. He got there because he enjoyed doing what he did. The passion for technology and electronics was what made the Macintosh possible.

A second lesson that comes across really well is how he was educated from young. He writes about the impact his father had on his life, and how his passion was nurtured from the time he was a child. And if not for that, he probably might not have been able to do what he did.

There are more lessons that can be learned, so I encourage you to pick up his book. It’s always good for us to learn from people who have impacted the world, and Steve Wozniak is definitely one of those people. Read his story, learn from his life, and apply the lessons in your life. You can change the world too.

If you like these books, check out my other recommendations at my aStore.

Smartest People in the World

Nov 9, 2007

John P from One Man’s Blog has posted a “Massive List of Geniuses”. These are apparently the smartest people alive:

An interesting list. But what strikes me is how many of these people are unknown quantities. How many of these people have you heard of? Or do you know what they have done? Most of us probably know the likes of James Wood and Sharon Stone. A number will know who the Paul Allen is. But Philip Emeagwali? Or Kim Ung-Yong? As a math geek, I know of Andrew Wiles, but even then my knowledge is limited to the fact that he solved Fermat’s Last Theorem. Non chess fans might not even recognize the names Robert Byrne and Judith Polgar.

I’m not trying to knock these people. I admire their intelligence, and I’m very sure they’ve done well in their field, and contributed in some manner. Full credit to them. But what I do want to highlight is how the people that have made the most contributions to our lives, the ones that have really pushed the boundaries and changed things, aren’t really on the list. From the world of technology, has Paul Allen’s contribution been any more than Steve Jobs, Steve Wosniak, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin or Larry Page, for example? I personally don’t think so. Is he smarter than all of them? I don’t know.

Also, it’s interesting to note that no prominent businessman, those whose products and decisions tend to affect our lives, is on the list. Donald Trump or Richard Branson, for example. Would anyone disagree if I said they are two very intelligent people? Certainly the decision-making and foresight of all these people (Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, etc) are really good as well. Just as good as the likes of Christopher Langan, perhaps?

What am I trying to say? Firstly, that I believe the IQ testing procedure is flawed. There are so many facets to intelligence. IQ tests tend to test more of the academia aspect of it, in my opinion. Jim Loy has a short, interesting writeup on it. A quote from there: “Someone once said that IQ tests measure your ability to take IQ tests.” I think that’s a very good statement. The controversies around IQ tests are well documented, I believe, so I won’t go into it much. But just want to say where I stand in the debate.

The second and more important point, if you ask me, a high IQ is not an accurate measure of the impact one can have on society, and the difference a person can make. I doubt anyone will say that Sergey Brin has made less of a difference in the world than Kasparov has. You don’t have to have a high IQ to be significant. And that’s the most important thing that the list reflects, in my opinion.

I doubt any of us have IQ levels of the people in the list (if you do, I would really love to hear from you). I know I don’t. But even then, it doesn’t mean you can’t change the world.

Link via Hoovaloo: The Massive List of Geniuses