It was a privilege to attend the Sacramento Speakers Series (@SacSpeakers) with Thomas Friedman (@TomFriedman) as guest speaker tonight. It was also refreshing, inspiring and a great perspective on the beginnings of a new year. I wanted to take a minute to share some of the content that resonated with me, and hope you will find it inspiring as well.
We used to live in a world where with an average education, you could get an average degree leading to an average job that allowed you to buy an average house with an average mortgage and live an average life. An average life back then was considered by many as good. Today, we live in a hyper-connected world, where you have to compete on a global scale. Average is not good enough. You have to become above average.
As jobs are replaced and outsourced, our kids will have to invent their jobs, instead of finding them. In order to rise above average, Tom shared with us five important messages for our kids and their future.
1. Think like a new immigrant. This one resonated the most with me, being a first generation immigrant myself. When I came here a few years ago, I had to prove myself. I did not have a legacy to follow or to rest on. Immigrants come here to achieve something, create and innovate. You have to join them and stay hungry.
2. Think like an artisan. An artisan is a master of his skills and proud of the products he or she creates. Artisans are so proud that they are willing to sign or put their initial on their creations. Steve Jobs and his team had their signatures engraved on each Macintosh.
3. Think like a starter. If you think you are finished, you are finished. Always operate in beta (as in software programming). Always see yourself as a work in progress. Things become outdated much faster in this world. The new literacy is the ability to learn and relearn.
4. PQ > IQ. Passion Quotient is greater than Intelligence Quotient. People that have a passion for what they do will be more successful. Stay curious. Be inspired. This message should be a big part of our parenting and our education system.
5. Think as an entrepreneur. Believe in what you do and always give something extra.
I can’t take any credit for the content of this blog tonight. I’ve already done an injustice to Tom by paraphrasing his speech. I just hope something will resonate with you as well and enable you to take action.
P.S. A special Thank You to my entire team at LCS Technologies, Inc. for giving me the opportunity to attend the Speakers Series this year. I’m inspired!
As we approach the end of 2012, it seems that we are constantly reminded of the upcoming “fiscal cliff”, the high unemployment rate and of course the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. It can be difficult to look at the brighter side of things, but I believe the future is bright.
We now live in a world more connected than ever. We can count our online friends in the hundreds. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other network make it easy to connect, share stories, life events and simple moments. Information travels at the speed of light and the world is adapting itself to this new pace. Information is now mobile. It is with you, accessible and anywhere.
We live in a new economy. An economy of the future.
New job titles are added that didn’t even exist 12 months ago. You may be looking for your place in this new world, this new economy. If you are looking for a job or looking for a new position, you will need to speak of the future. While the past is relevant, the future is now prevalent. Let’s take resumes for example. They are a picture of the past but no indication on how you will perform in your next job. Think of the financial report disclaimers “Past performance is not indicative of future results” seen on your retirement statements. Would you hire someone with a disclaimer like this on their resume?
But what if you could present to a company an idea, a strategy or even a plan that would paint a bright future leveraging your unique skills and experiences. What if you could propose a solution rather than explain what happened somewhere else. I recently hired a Social Media person to help us share interesting information related to our field and industry. Instead of reaching to so-called experts or gurus and review countless of resumes, I asked for a strategy on a single page. I wanted to see a picture of what LCS Technologies could contribute to the Social Media world. We received a proposal and I liked the overall plan with its unique 3 bullet points steps to implement the idea. The person was hired.
As we move forward, more companies will look for innovation, ideas, plans and new strategies. Startups and entrepreneurs are looking to hire people who can share and embrace their visions. Innovation is a currency of this new economy. I believe the future is bright, because it will be shaped by new ideas. I believe the future is bright because people will work passionately to implement their ideas. Help me make this future bright.
Last night, the Sacramento Social Media Club (@SMCSac) hosted another great event at the Urban Hive (@TheUrbanHive) with an epic panel. Four local news reporters and journalists shared with us their use of social network tools.
Reflecting back on the talks, here are some highlights. Twitter came out as the clear winner as the most discussed topic/media. In this fast paced information age, speed and outreach seem to dominate the landscape. The 15 minutes of fame has been replaced with 140 characters. Fact checking is still at the utmost importance, but publishing strategies have been developed to keep an edge with the competition (i.e. the 4:50 rule). The stories are also shorter than before, specially on TV. Facebook was mentioned as a tool to connect with people and share a more personal side. Social media adds a two ways street to the stories reported. LinkedIn is used primarily as a medium to connect with the business community. Google+, well, there are only 24 hours in a day…
It was interesting to hear the various policies – or lack thereof by some companies. Use of common sense still prevails and it is refreshing to hear. I’m a bit surprised that YouTube, Tumbler, WordPress (blogs in general), StumbleUpon and Foursquare didn’t make the cut tonight. On a lighter note, while Twitter took the center stage and each panelist is active on Twitter, you may have better luck getting in touch with them by using good old email
A special Thank You to the SMCSac organizers and our panelists:
- Judy Farah, News Director and Senior Editor, KFBK @newsbabe1530
- Kelly Johnson, Reporter and Social Media Strategist, Sacramento Business Journal @KJohnsonsacbiz
- Sabrina Rodriguez, Reporter, Fox 40 @SabrinaRFOX40
- Matt Weiser, Senior Writer, The Sacramento Bee @matt_weiser
- Moderated by: Jen Picard, Senior Producer, Insight, at Capital Public Radio @SacInsights
June 2nd, it was another sunny weekend in Sacramento and most people had chosen to go hiking, biking, or just chill by the pool or the lake. However, a group of local coders, graphic designers, entrepreneurs, students and other web aficionados gathered for a 30 hours challenge – The Cereal Hack.
9:00am The doors of the Sacramento Press offices Downtown Sac opened to welcome more than 60 geeks ready to disrupt the local tech community and build something amazing. Over the weekend, these tech warriors were ready to team up with each other, put their heads together and let the creativity flow. After a few introductions, a set of rules and advice from a Sacramento angel investor, the idea guys were ready to pitch. They had just 60 seconds to tell the audience about their ideas and attract the right talent in the room. Less than an hour later, teams were formed and ready to hack.
With their laptops setup, cloud servers ready to smoke and the right amount of energy drinks, the Challenge was on. Designers were designing, coders were coding, mentors were mentoring, tweeters were tweeting, and there was no dull moment right up to the finish line. At that point, each team presented their work to a panel of judges in front of a full house – standing room only. The judges gave their verdict and prizes were distributed to the top 3 teams. At the end of the day, when the laptops were shutdown and the doors closed, everyone had won. Some gained new friendships, new opportunities, new skills, and above all, Sacramento’s tech community kicked-ass.
Can’t wait to see you guys again…
By now, you probably heard about Facebook buying Instagram for… sticker shock of $1B. There have been plenty of stories in the press covering the event from “Oh, this is a new bubble” to “smart move from Facebook”. Only time will tell.
I would like to take a moment to thank the Instagram team for what they accomplished. No, I do not own any stock options in the company and Yes, I do think their application is cool. It makes my pictures and memories look incredible and so much fun to share with my friends and followers…
… but the real reason I’d like to thank this team is that on that day they inspired me, they energized me and above all showed the world that there are opportunities to create new and exciting ventures.
Most of us take every day for granted; go about our lives and jobs with the stuff we have been taught and the skills we have acquired over the years. But what if you paused for a second, and looked at your skills through the various filters of Instagram? Can you see the opportunities? Don’t dismiss these cool vintage filters or the one that makes your shots look super-exposed. Take a simple idea and let your creativity shine through new ways.
This is what happened to me on that day. Now it’s your turn!
Think about the last time you presented a concept or brainstormed an idea with your team on a dry erase whiteboard. What came to your mind in the first two seconds? Did you think about your idea and how you will present it? What else?
One challenge I always encounter in the first few seconds is how to fit the idea and its flow within the dimensions of the whiteboard. A whiteboard is defined by its size, however most of our ideas are not. Working with a whiteboard, you will artificially constrain your thinking and your idea to the surface you have to work with, thus loosing incredible value and potential.
Unleash your ideas with IdeaPaint by transforming any unused wall surface into a limitless idea canvas. It is easy to install and cures within 7 days.
Either at home or at the office, let you mind express itself, engage with others, create something great and then share it.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, the Geeks ruled the land. They spoke many languages that no-one else understood. With their knowledge and a few keystrokes, they could either make your day, or make your life miserable. Some were friend, some were enemies, but all were Gods. Depending on their attitudes and mood swings, we mortals, had no chance. They imposed their way of life into every organization faster than wildfires. They lived above us all in a place called the IT Department. A place where screens blink as fast as their budget needs. In a mere twenty years, everyone had to have one of their selected devices at work, at home and now even in our pocket. Devices controlled by logins, passwords, accounts and a multitude of features and choices too confusing for most of us. It seemed that they could monitor, hear, trace, listen and know everything we did from their mothership.
In the past few months I had the opportunity to talk with many business owners and business executives regarding their IT needs. IT has become very heavy in many organizations. A common thread is that the efficiencies promised fall short in many ways. Costs are increasing, but the associated results don’t seem to be in line with business expectations. Many leaders are reluctant to move to a new system, to introduce new software and to change their current processes. Too many times I hear the phrase “it will take much training and time to get our people up to speed”. I then ask the people:
“Are you on LinkedIn?”, “Do your employees use Facebook?” – So far everyone has answered Yes to both questions. My next question is then “How much time and money have you spent on LinkedIn or Facebook training?”
With the move to the cloud, IT will quickly become as ubiquitous as electricity. We will take it for granted, it will be readily available, simple to use and you will only pay for what you consume. Software is also changing rapidly. Open collaboration is key. Features must be intuitive. I call it the Facebook Effect.
A full year in the making and deployed within 10 minutes of the scheduled go live time with no surprises! How many IT implementations can boast such results? This was the outcome of a well-run project at a major California State Agency this morning. A team successfully migrated a legacy application to new technology.
I’d like to take a minute, skip the usual “lessons learned” and simply reflect on 5 key project areas I saw over the last 12 months.
1. Committed Team
If you’ve been part of an IT project, it usually starts with a feel good “Kick-off” meeting. We talk about the project, the timeline, the people and how great this is going to be. Most of the time, people have never worked with each other and are expected to hold hands and get along for the ride. This time it was different. The project manager set the tone with a high-level plan, tangible milestones and a meeting that lasted less than 30 minutes.
You came out of this meeting feeling like “We’re going to kick some ass!”.
2. Engaged and Trusting Leadership
It’s not enough to just be the boss, sit at the head of the table and listen to project status. You have to be engaged, able and willing to make tough calls, and above all, trust your team. That’s what leadership is and that’s what the team saw.
3. Focus on Results not Blame
Is it going to be the smooth ride we’ve been promised? You bet it won’t be! So, let’s check your ego at the door, don’t look for blame and find ways to help your teammates. In most IT projects too much time is wasted on blame going around. Some people thrive on the resulting chaos, which not only results in delays but fragments a team and lowers the morale. Stop the blame and let’s move forward. This team understood this from the get go.
4. What Turf War?
Technology is going to change. You have to be ready to change with it. Protecting your turf from change using all kind of excuses is not helping your organization. If you are not ready to embrace the changes, your position will be commoditized. Instead, understand what is needed, how you can help, and make it happen. The only turf I saw here was the one the team was playing on!
5. A How-To Attitude
Do I really need to explain? If so, you can learn from these guys!
There you have it! I’m proud to have been able to participate in the background and watch the events unfold. Great teamwork and looking forward to the next successful migration!
This morning I woke up to an email from my 1st grader’s teacher that included an insightful article from Darell Hammond called “If We Don’t Let Our Children Play, Who Will Be The Next Steve Jobs?”.
This article reminded me of my own path, from running in the woods and fishing to building computers at an early age. Back then it wasn’t so much about sitting in front of a computer, but instead solving enigmas and earning a feeling of accomplishment. It was about discovering how every little component worked, and when put together, creating something magical.
Today it would be difficult to put together an iPad from scratch. To the same extent, the last couple of paragraphs of the article are a sad representation of today’s public education system. There is a movement to push kids to remember pre-defined concepts and structures rather than create and think, all in the name of “success”. I’m glad to see that some schools, like Sacramento Waldorf, still embrace same values and teachings of my up-bringing.
Life is not a set of pre-defined choices. It is one of as many choices as you can imagine and much more. Let’s not confine our kids by teaching them to think of only what is proposed in front of them, but rather in what is inside of them. The same rule should apply when looking at your career today. Create and propose new ideas, don’t simply follow the same old format you’ve been taught.
Now take some time and remember to go chase some butterflies. Oh wait… it is a bit early in the season for this! So what, how about chasing some imaginary ones instead? Let me know, I’ll follow you along.