Changing Education Paradigms – Brilliant Content and an Even Better Presentation of It.

I don’t know what is more impressive about this presentation – the thought process and flow or the visual. Such a great way to tell a story? Could someone do a business pitch for me like that?

With education costs raising and the content becoming less and less relevant – something is going to have to give. Or you would think.

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The Resistance

Maybe the best “first page” of a book I’ve read in a long time.  Following on the current them after reading and listening to Seth Godin‘s Lynchpins for the past couple of months, I landed on “the War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.

Page One -What I Do

I get up, take a shower, have breakfast. I read the paper, brush my teeth. If I have phone calls to make, I make them. I’ve got my coffee now. I put on my lucky work boots and stitch up the lucky laces that my niece Meredith gave me. I head back to my office, crank up the computer. My lucky hooded sweatshirt is draped over the chair, with the lucky charm I got from a gypsy in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for only eight bucks in francs, and my lucky LARGO name tag that came from a dream I once had. On my thesaurus is my lucky cannon that my friend Bob Versandi gave me from Morro Castle, Cuba. I point it toward my chair, so it can fire inspiration into me. I say my prayer, which is the Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, translation by T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, which my dear mate Paul Rink gave me and which sits near my shelf with the cuff links that belonged to my father and my lucky acorn from the battlefield at Thermopylae. It’s about ten-thirty now. I sit down and plunge in. When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired. That’s four hours or so. I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. Copy whatever I’ve done to disk and stash the disk in the glove compartment of my truck in case there’s a fire and I have to run for it. I power down. It’s three-thirty. The office is closed. How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it. All that matter is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome resistance.

Page Two – What I Know

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.

What keeps us from sitting down is the Resistance.

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Real Artists Ship

After some back and forth emails with a real artist, Jessie from Stray Dog Arts, she sent me a link to a podcast interview with Seth Godin talking about his new book Lynchpins on the Accidental Creatives Blog.

It is a great listen and pushes all the right buttons.

I read Lynchpins a few months back and it has been kind of top of mind this summer in my daily journeys.  Its about becoming remarkable, indispensable and doing things that matter.  Acknowledging and accepting the resistance as part of being creative and inspirational and GETTING THROUGH IT.

From the interview….The days are over where we can expect Ford to open up a factory next door and pay us $120k to build cars.  It’s OVER.  What is replacing that is organizations big and small made up with unique individuals that are doing things that matter and most importantly without a manual.  To do things that matter and to do them without a manual you have to get over the resistance and you have to learn to ship…..This economy is punishing the fearful and and increasingly benefitting those that are brave enough to be creative and generous enough to give it away.  But to give it away you have to ship.

The single biggest part of Lynchpins that I think about is the Chapter on Shipping “Real Artist Ship”.  Who said that?  Steve Jobs (even when the antenna doesn’t work I guess). For me, there are thousands of things to get in the way of shipping – it can always be a little bit better if I just spend a few more hours on it – but value isn’t happening when something is still in my laptop or in my head.  If it is going to matter, I have to ship it.

And to ship it – I have to confront the resistance.

Am I shipping today or am I giving in to the resistance.  For me its not a philosophical question it is a daily challenge.  Next

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@OldSpice guy is off the hook brilliant! How long can he keep this up?

In case you have seen this.  The new Old Spice guy you’ve been seeing on tv lately is all over Twitter and YouTube replying to (it looks like) ALL comments with short you tube videos.  I don’t know how long this can go on – but it is definitely one of the most interesting and  noteworthy re-branding campaigns I’ve seen in a while.

Here are a few of the replies.

Reply to Kevin Rose of Digg

Reply to Ashton Kutcher

Reply to Starbucks

Reply to Guy Kawasaki

Reply to Allyssa Millano

He’s even doing proposals

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Best Press Release Ever!!: Woot Gets Acquired by Amazon

Nice job Woot. On getting acquired and making the best press release. This is the way to not take yourself too seriously and let your customers know – you are going to be the same company, even after you get bought by the man.

Kind of funny though how time flies. When did amazon become the man? Zappos and Woot in the same house – that’s kind a awesome.

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After a Weekend with the New iPhone 4

I usually buy the new iPhone every time it comes out. So it’s not a big deal that I got this one the first week it was available. My logic is $200 for something that I use about 5 hours (or more!) a day is almost free. The same with my computer – which I’m on all the other hours I’m awake. Anything that makes me more efficient and better at work – I’m in on. So, I usually get a new phone every year and a new computer every 2 years. Thats also pretty easy when you use Macs – cause they’re always coming out with cool new stuff. Actually it’s hard to wait two years on the computer side – but anything sooner than two years is kind of silly.

For the phone, there have always been enough new features each year to make it worth it. And most of the time I don’t anticipate the ways that those new features are going to make an impact in my life until they happen. Then I almost feel like I couldn’t get along if my phone didn’t do that.

So, I’m always pretty satisfied with my new phone each year and glad I bought it. But after a weekend with the new iPhone 4, this is a different upgrade. I still have my old one – I’m basically turning it into an iPod touch for my kids – better driving trips this summer!  Going back and forth between the two phones is a stark difference. The old upgrades had new capabilities added in. This is just a whole new phone. It is just better on every front. Faster, Wickedly Clearer – Wickedly, longer battery – I’ve only charged it once since I got it on Friday, and I shot a movie of my kids, edited it, added titles and emailed it to the grandparents all from the park.  And I haven’t even used the whole face time thing.

Anyway – that’s my take – lovin’ the new iphone 4 over here.

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MBA Mondays from Fred Wilson on his AVC.com Blog (it’s like a cheat sheet for entrepreneurs)

One of the blogs I read the most is AVC.com.  AVC (I assume stands for A Venture Capitalist) is written by Fred Wilson (who is guess what – a venture capitalist).  And from the looks of it – a very good one.  He (actually his firm – Union Square Ventures) has funded all of the coolest things like Twitter, Boxee, Etsy, Foursquare, Meetup, Tumblr, Zemanta.

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All that’s good and stuff – but the big reason I try and read his blog everyday is that he is real.  He loves his company, he loves technology and he loves his family.  And he shares real stuff about it all.  All the way from his frustration with not being able to find an email client that he really likes (can’t we all relate) and how he and his wife can finish each other’s sentences so much that sometimes they don’t even start them, to all of the inspiration he finds on a daily basis from his technology portfolio companies and their courageous founders and the love and commitment he makes daily to his wife (who refers to herself as the Gotham Gal – he probably gave her that name?) and his kids (who blog too – Emily and Jessica).

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Not to often you get to see inside success and all that makes it and all that it comes with – ALL.

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On to the topic.  Earlier this year the AVC blog started running something called MBA Mondays.  The series lasted for 21 weeks – I think he missed one or two – go figure.  But they covered all the topics that any startup business would ever need to know, from things, like the difference between cash flow and an income statement, forecasting, budgeting (in a small, growing and big company), Pricing, Metrics, and on and on…..

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This series is like a cheat sheet for anybody about to or in the middle of getting a business off the ground.  They are things that I mostly knew about and all the definitions of – but had never really heard (or listened to) the meanings straight from an honest investor who is writing the check and getting involved.

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Anyway – good stuff – both the blog and the MBA Mondays.  Check em both out.
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Winning – When You Don’t Have Your A-Game

Kobe Bryant holds up the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Image via Wikipedia

I’m not a lakers fan.  Never have been – never will be.  Also – not a Kobe Bryant fan.  But he is kind of growing on me and I can’t really explain that.  So why is a non-Lakers fan blogging about the Lakers?  Because it not about the Lakers – its about winning.

Actually more than winning.  It’s about winning when we don’t have our A-Game.  And Kobe Bryant didn’t have his A-Game last night and he still found a way to win.  It’s about finding other ways to win – anyway we have to – no matter how hard.  Because the closer we get to what we want – the harder it is going to get.  That is just life.

Kobe showed up for game 7 and he wanted it badly – probably too badly.

And what happened in that defining moment – he couldn’t find his A-Game.  I think because he wanted it so much.  That is kind of how things work.  But here’s the rub and what makes Kobe Bryant great (yep – great).  When he didn’t have his A-Game, he did other things he could do – things that didn’t require his A-Game.  He rebounded. He Hustled.  He just worked harder than everybody else.  See – rebounding doesn’t take talent – it takes will and commitment.  He had that.  He got others to step up, led them and then trusted them.  He did that and didn’t fall into that easy place of “why can’t I do this – why can’t I hit a shot – why can’t I get a call – a break”.  He didn’t do or say any of those things.  He found another way.  He did the small things that he knew could could do and trusted the rest.

For non-Lakers fans or even non-Basketball fans – there is something in that game for all of us that want to be great and want to win.

We may not always have our A-Game – nobody does.  You may think others do but they don’t.  Everybody has to rebound sometime and we need to know that.  Rebounding isn’t complicated – but that doesn’t mean its not hard.  It’s really hard.  Find out where our rebounding is.  Focus on the effort and commitment to the thing that is right in front of us.  Our shot will come back later.  It always does.

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