The awards ceremony event will be held on March 16, 2018 at the The Grange City Hotel London. Caleb Storkey (co-author) will be on hand at the event.
Check out the trailer video:
The four other finalists are: Continue reading
The awards ceremony event will be held on March 16, 2018 at the The Grange City Hotel London. Caleb Storkey (co-author) will be on hand at the event.
Check out the trailer video:
The four other finalists are: Continue reading
Written by Mitch Joel, a man [and social media guru] whom I have had the pleasure of being connected to for the past 5 years, “Six Pixels of Separation” has just come out in North America. I haven’t read the book yet, but I surely will. In the interim, I thought I’d post this YouTube video from Mitch.
It is one of the world’s greatest questions, and yet one that is so often left out, especially as it regards management orders and style. If you give the why, you will get the buy in. And, as this 1″19 video from Mitch Joel says, if you understand WHY, you might put in place and execute a better social media strategy.
“Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.“
Available on Amazon of course, here.
For those of you following this blog, you may know that among my interests is Astrophysics, with a focus on the String Theory, smoothly vulgarized in Brian Greene’s “The Elegant Universe.” (Here is Greene’s Faculty page at Columbia; and PBS NOVA provides excerpts of the eponymous documentary). On an ongoing basis, my interest in astrophysics does not play a large part in my daily life. Other than in lively dinner conversations, as an explanation for the random things that happen in life or as the founding principle for creating a whole new philosophy of life (based on the unifying String Theory), astrophysics has been, at best, an elegant support system in my life.
Not until recently, however, have I heard of a truly useful and practical application for astrophysics. And, in a two-for-the-price-of-one mentality, so in vogue in today’s economic climate, astrophysics and star wars technology bring a truly unique (if not unifying) value with a singular objective: the demise the mosquito. You can read here about this extraordinary invention in this CNN Report.
My exceptional and visionary wife, founder of the ERACE ‘EM Campaign, the Eternal Radical and Complete Extermination of Every Mosquito, is in full support, “this [potential eradication] would truly be a stellar reward after years of struggle against the mighty mosquito.” Mosquitoes serve no grand purpose in the eco-system. As Dr Jordin Kare indicates, no animal feeds exclusively on the mosquito and no one would miss them if they disappeared. They are responsible for having killed many millions of people over the years and I would hate to think about the aggregate lost sleep caused by that very dear little shrill buzzzzzzzzzzzzz sound they make. In place of donations to the ERACE ‘EM campaign, we are gladly accepting comments on this blog.
The evolution of all media is fascinating to follow, but today I am going to zero in on the printed word. Whether it’s the future of magazines, books, mainstream newspapers or even research & professional journals, the internet platform is causing radical paradigm shifts and there are some hefty decisions to be made/duked out for each category of the printed word. For the book, there are two massively important phases: the democratisation of the eBook and internet referencing. As beautiful as the Amazon solution has been for e-commerce, the digital reader platform is still in its nascent phase and has room to improve. Nonetheless, there are a number of exciting functionalities that make the digital book much more viable for the regular book reader. You can immediately download content through the wireless internet connection, search for the definition of word, open to a reference map, use RAM to search for words in a text, copy and clip text you want to remember, and when you go on a long trip you carry many books & magazines in one tidy place… and probably many other functions yet to be integrated. And, importantly, technology has improved dramatically, including the lighting, font sizes and definition; and the price is now accessible, especially as the competition heats up.
The two leading options at this point are Kindle 2 (from Amazon with 230,000 titles currently) and the Sony Digital Reader PRS-700BC (right). As a quick analysis of the their sites reads, it is interesting to see Kindle focusing on the content (see the video) and ease of use. Sony seems more interested in its technical specifications and the upgrading of the different products (they have already issued multiple model numbers). You have to scroll down to the very end of their site to find that they have “thousands of eBook titles available.” Based on these virtual observations, for now the Kindle (below) gets my vote for best presentation, and I love the free wireless access to wikipedia. But, there are going to be plenty of other players jumping (the more expensive Fujitsu eReader with its colour screen, the iRex Iliad with superior hackability, the BeBook from Endless Ideas BV…).
On another front [page], another battle is being waged with books, this time with Google and the referencing of book content on the Internet. Google has finally come out with its Google Books search function. Having laid dormant for some three years in the lawcourts, since October 2008, Google Books is now live in beta format. This function allows you to search for terms or names within a large volume of books. The site is in beta testing. Punch in your name, your brand or a specific term and you can find out where it is embedded in the database of over 7 million books.
With the settlement of October 28, 2008, the Google Books site states: “Three years ago, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and a handful of authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Book Search.
Today we’re delighted to announce that we’ve settled that lawsuit and will be working closely with these industry partners to bring even more of the world’s books online. Together we’ll accomplish far more than any of us could have individually, to the enduring benefit of authors, publishers, researchers and readers alike.
It will take some time for this agreement to be approved and finalized by the Court. For now, here’s a peek at the changes we hope you’ll soon see.”
The books are catalogued into two different types and, according to the agreement reached, you can either read some information on the book plus some snippets for Library Project books; or for Partner Program books, you can flip through a few preview pages, as if you were in a library/bookstore. There is a mobile version of Google Books as well that works on iPhones and Android. You can read more about the settlement here.
The bottom line is that the book — and its printed paper form — is not dead yet… but it sure is going to evolve. Apparently, book publishers had a very reasonable year in sales last year (no worldwide data is publicly available it seems as this google answer says), but it strikes me that the tsunami is out there for the book world and, as iTunes and the iPod revolutionised the music world, so will the trio of Amazon, Google and Sony change the book world. Perhaps book companies would be wise to take heed of the bloodbath in the music world to involve themselves in the changeover rather than fight against it. Bookstores should be quick to find out how they will need to change their model… perhaps stocking digital readers and preloaded USB keys (for the Sony Reader). And I will be curious to see how schools and universities move to the new e-platforms.
The difference between Educating and Teaching… and the emptiness inside
I have decided to translate into English a post I did in French over the weekend due to the interesting discussion that it provoked. An article, entitled (for you francophones) « Il y a un divorce entre enseignement intellectuel et formation morale », by Jacqueline de Romilly, published in Le Figaro on October 29, 2008, inspired this post.
The article features a speech by Jacqueline de Romilly on the state of education and teaching in France. Education is a subject dear to my heart both personally and professionally. In a post I wrote earlier this year, I touched on the topic addressed in the speech by Ms. de Romilly, writing about the differences between education and training.
While teaching relates to the transmission of knowledge and intellectual learning, Ms. de Romilly stresses the importance of education in the larger scope, including the transmission of values. “Education … means enabling someone to develop and flourish with his own qualities; for human beings, such human qualities relate to the spirit, character and suitability for life in society.” She cites three major problems in French ‘education’: (1) the poor knowledge of the language which affects the ability to communicate [with a risk of giving way to violence]; (2) a poor understanding of history and, therefore, of one’s past and one’s culture; and (3) a lack of reading of literature that is formative in the development of ideas and one’s imagination, not to mention what one can learn via certain iconic characters.
A fundamental concept is that the education of children begins at home. For example, at the dinner table, a family can forge links, telling stories and, at the same time, transferring the family history. But, today, with the quest for time, broken families and stress of work, the transmission of values, personal history and sharing of free time have become rare commodities for a child. I also know that the French philosopher, Luc Ferry, would approve when I say that we, as parents, must cultivate the passion for — and reading of — great classics, in which there are real lessons of life. In fact, it is vitally important for a child to develop his or her passion(s). Through this passion, a child will cultivate his/her curiosity, learn, connect and ultimately give meaning to his/her life.
Extending the concept of education beyond academia, I am a strong believer in the educational value of sports: how to work as a team, be a leader, to deal with physical challenges, to learn to win or lose with grace. Of course, sports are not all equal in the transmission of these values and are not necessarily for everyone. But for many, sport is also a avenue to channel one’s [excess] energy. In another domain, I believe deeply in the importance of performance arts, such as theatre and dance. Participating in theatre at school (I had roles in a dozen plays) was very formative for me – theatre called for the development of the self, opened me up to the diversity of personalities, and exercised my communication skills and stage presence. In England and university in the United States, I also greatly appreciated the art of debate – an environment that hones one’s talents in defending one’s ideas. It also serves to sharpen communication skills and how to compete in a public forum.
What struck me in the article by Ms. de Romilly was the way in which what she described echoed with the state of education – and society more broadly – in the United States. Ms. de Romilly does not cite the influence of the Internet which is normal to the extent the Internet is merely a tool and not at the root of the problem. But she could have expanded about the lack of attention span of children, distracted by the hyper-visual world, the addictive online games, chat rooms without profound meaning, and so on. Across the Atlantic in the US, a book was released this summer called “Why We Hate Us,” by Dick Meyer. In a similar sense, but coming from a completely different angle, Mr. Meyer writes of the lack of interest that have vis-à-vis each other. For Mr. Meyer, hate is not the hatred of fear & loathing, but the hate as in “oh, [women] don’t you just hate it when the men start talking about sports.” The level of conversation in suburban dinners in the United States, says Meyer, pushes some Americans to seek solitude, isolation (at the very least, it does nothing to encourage meaningful bonding). The conversation is too dehumanized. Many are disappointed by the lack of culture, the lack of depth – and indeed, the dulling effect of being permanently “politically correct.” Americans, he writes, naturally turn to the Internet to find interaction with others who share a specific passion, people who are present at any time within social media networks. Is the same phenomenon currently spreading to France?
Taking a helicopter view on Ms. de Romilly’s speech, I would say that teaching in France focuses too much on academics in general and should incorporate a broader scope on “education,” such as sports, theatre and even debate. With the emphasis on subject matters that promote the left side of the brain (maths, sciences…), schooling in France is flawed and gives less chance for children to blossom fully. Both Ms. de Romilly and Mr. Meyer talk about their values as “old” values; yet, even if some consider them retroactive, these are, in my opinion, timeless values and seem – in some circles, at least – to find a resonance on both sides of the Atlantic (and, of course, the Channel, too).
As a marketer, I am always on the lookout for people who think and act differently. A part of my gestalt, my personality, I associate with people who think differently. Sometimes, that means being the contrarian or the devil’s advocate in a conversation. At other times, it just means looking at issues using different filters. Of course, thinking differently only happens in spurts and in certain arenas. There is plenty of good sense in thinking normally too. However, for the breakthrough ideas, putting on the rose-tinted glasses — or a re-wired thinking cap — is invaluable.
How does one actually come to think differently?
I cannot declare whether one is born to think differently or whether such a disposition is acquired at a given moment or simply over time. Using Apple products alone certainly won’t cut it, although I truly believe it has helped me as I have had to relearn lots of new functionalities (having crossed over from the PC world). However, that is only a recent transition for me. My journey into the world of thinking differently began more precisely when I was at University. And there were exactly three elemental building blocks which helped craft my propensity to think differently — each stemming from one central thought: Discover what you do not know. Being aware of what you don’t know is already a challenge because, you might say, how do I know what I don’t know if I don’t know it exists?
The three areas I became attached to studying were:
1. Women’s Studies.
In minoring in Women’s Studies at Yale University, little did I know I would end up working in a cosmetics company, serving primarily female customers. I fell into the subject of Women’s Studies via literary criticism; but I kept on taking more classes in a more or less direct pursuit to understand better the other 50% of the population. And no, it was not a pick-up ploy–not exactly the right environment in any event. More importantly, by studying Women’s Studies, I became aware of the study of all minorities — and how minorities are frequently obliged to think and act differently to succeed. Via Women’s Studies, I was opened to a whole new world of literature and literary criticism, fascinating insights into the differences between the sexes, the politics of touch (Nancy Henley’s landmark essay) as well as the interplay of females and males in groups (at all ages). I also embraced Jungian philosophy and my anima. I did not know how much, at the time, this minor would take on major importance in my career.
As a rule, we tend to study all things conscious. Whether it’s history, literature or sciences (each basically through the eyes of men), the focus of our daily lives is what we know and do during our waking day. Thus, when I came across the study of sleep as a subject at university, I was enchanted: an opportunity to learn about the other 1/3 of our day. Certainly, there can be interest in understanding one’s own dreams — though, typically not given much credit in academic circles (nor for university degrees). But the subject of sleep is much more profound, including sleep disorders, sleep patterns… There are plenty of important questions that should concern everyone. For example, how much sleep do we REALLY need? Why do we sleep? On this question, scientists are still arguing (as regards adults). The science of sleep and the work of FSRs (famous sleep researchers) such as the giant apple seed and jazz man, William (“Bill”) C. Dement, is a completely undervalued field. I tip my hat to Professor Mark Rosekind for enlightening me on this fascinating part of our existence. I highly recommend any students out there to seek it out; you can start with Dement’s “The Promise of Sleep.” In the meantime, I can also recommend reading one of my favourite books “L’Art du Temps” or, in English, The Art of Time (by Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber) which provides a shortcut view to how I manage my sleep and my philosophy with regard to time management more broadly speaking.
I am not left-handed and left-handedness is not exactly a “subject” in the same sense as Sleep or Women’s Studies. Left-handers are not unique — concerning apparently about 7-10% of the population (but they certainly get my attention on the tennis court). Neither is being left-handed a sign of a genius, although there are some wonderful examples, including Albert Einstein, Michelangelo (retrained right), Isaac Newton (the original Apple man), Charlie Chaplin, Benjamin Franklin, Bobby Fisher, John McEnroe to name a few. And, it’s worth noting that Apple chose a whole raft of southpaws — including Pablo Picasso, Jim Henson, Bob Dylan, Jerry Seinfield and Einstein — for their Think Different campaign. Interestingly, we have been fielding more frequently left-handed presidents in the US since Gerald Ford: four of the last six! In the history of the USA, there have been a total of seven lefties in the White House (6 coming in the last century) out of a total of 43 (i.e. 16%). At this time, it should be noted that that both John McCain and Barack Obama are left-handed (read here about Washington Post’s “Left-Handed Conspiracy“). There is a good body of research done on left-handers, indicating that lefties have a propensity to be more into visual arts. Also, according to this 2005 ABC report, there is the suggestion that being left-handed can entail some health hazards, too. (See also “Brains that work a little bit differently” by Bragdon and Gamon). But, what has always attracted my attention is that left-handers need to operate in a right-handed world. When I imagined my wife before even meeting her, I always thought that she would be left-handed. It turns out that she is absolutely right-handed, but created two sterling left-handed children.
So, what does this mean… at least, in the business world?
For one, I believe that having been attuned to these different topics throughout my adult life is part of how I have cultivated what is described as a “Whole New Mind” (in the book by Dan Pink and highly recommended reading), essentially a balanced right/left brain. In turn, this has been useful in coming up with new ideas and strategies. And finally, most importantly, it has led me to be more mindful of diversity. Whether international, unorthodox or just different, having opposing or alternative thinking people in your team is healthy and enriching. It also requires differing management styles to make the most of their talent. What are other areas of study that can procure “think different” mentalities? I’d love to hear your stories.
Here is a great site for people with a global mindset: Worldmapper — a wonderful way to review the the worldwide situation… The site features maps of the world distorted according to the criteria. In their own words, “Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, using equal area cartograms where territories are re-sized on each map according to a particular variable.”
As of today, the website contains 366 maps, with associated information and a PDF file, covering 99+% of the world’s population, and drawing on information from 200 territories. Much of the data is admittedly old or estimated. Anyway, you’ll get the picture.
Below is the world map according to population.
The World’s Ecological Footprint – As we know, the United States, China and India have the largest ecological footprints — but it’s the per person CO2 footprint (i.e. combined with the map above) that makes it scary for the US.
Tertiary education – with the highest percentage of the student-aged population enrolled being “in Finland. Finland is 3.6 times the world average, with 140 times the chance of a tertiary education than in Mozambique.”
Hazardous Waste – “The three biggest producers are the Russian Federation, United States and Uzbekistan.” And Russia seems to have a big lead in this category.
Books published – A major European bubble, albeit with old data (1999). The most new titles produced in that year were in the United Kingdom, China and Germany.
Gender Empowerment – which points out that women are never at parity with men… even in Rwanda where there are now more women in government than men.
For more fun, check out the Worldmapper index here.
Thanks to my literary counselor, Kathy, I latched onto the novel “The Echo Maker” by Richard Powers. The book has been amply reviewed (NY Times, EW, Margaret Atwood at NYRB) and rewarded (Pulitzer Prize finalist). And if you want a quick insight into the book, try Wikipedia’s entry.
The story has three great points to it:
* a very vivid description of the frailty of life in today’s society
* a very appropriate rendering of life after September 11th — unheroic, unglorified.
* and, finally, a whole new unexplored territory for me to learn about in the form of rare neurological disorders (beyond Capgras Syndrome which was a discovery unto itself).
Aside from the gory details of middle America as portrayed through the lives of Mark and [fake-] sister Karin Schluter, the more salient character is a cognitive neurologist-cum-author, Dr. Gerald Weber who slides down and takes a wrong turn himself. His life and career epitomize the challenges of commerce … in medical field. And, throughout the book, in a parallel universe, you find out about the world of the migratory Sandhill Cranes where again commercial ends intervene in our interaction with nature. My one regret with the book is that the final reveal was too shallow and quick. Made me want to read on!
The book is novel, gripping and poignant. A very good read. And as if you needed any more encouragement, go buy at Amazon.
I was stunned to see that television ogling by Americans, who are over 12 years old, has continued to rise despite the Internet. A census bureau study, published in the USA Today of June 25, 2008, said that since the year 2000, people over 12 years old are watching television 71 days/year, up 8 days, and spending 202 hours more per year (1704 hours vs 1502 in 2000). What’s not clear in the USA Today poll is whether television via the Internet has been included. Then, between video games and Internet, the American adult is giving new meaning to screen capture.
And, it would be interesting to then compare book sales (which of course do not necessarily mean book reading) during the same period. This Publishers.org site, via the Association of American Publishers, says that “U.S. publishers had net sales of $25 billion in 2007; a 3.2 percent increase from 2006 with a compound growth rate of 2.5 percent per year since 2002.” Naturally, this is no indication of whether people are actually reading more (dollar value is not indicative of units; and there is no neutralisation of the population increase). While internet and television can allow for “zapping” behaviour, reading in byte sizes is hardly propitious for a good read; and with reduced time, it seems hardly likely that reading activity will increase. Then again, is reading on the Internet (news stories, stories, blogs, etc.) viable reading?
I am officially Joining the Conversation, starting with this review of Joseph Jaffe’s latest book, Join the Conversation (JTC). In full disclosure mode, I am writing this review as part of Joe’s experiment UNM2PNM (how to use new media to prove new marketing).
Written in a very conversational style with a slew of real world corporate examples (typically of how NOT to proceed), JTC features Joe’s characteristic verve and bold statements that are bound to entice a few reactions from the world without. For the most part, I could only agree with Joe’s assessments and recommendations. Here are some of the points that I believe deserve highlighting:
Meanwhile, how ironic that the 2K bloggers — the face of the blogosphere, the blog of bloggers blogging — that were part of the creation of the JTC book are in the throes of converting their own website from a blog to a forum… 2k forumers doesn’t sound quite as good.
I have not read yet the JTC alter-ego, The Age of Conversation which just did a rather similar campaign of an Amazon bumrush (was the week of March 29)… I get the feeling that bumrushing is part of the age of new marketing, too. This book, edited by Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan, is a compilation of 400-word essays by 100 bloggers on the topic of conversation. Taking Joe’s Chapter 10 concept all the way, it is obviously a 100% collaborative effort. Anyway, you can order The Age of Conversation here or at Amazon.
In any event, Join the Conversation is a must read for any new media marketiers (marketing + frontier mashup) out there — and hopefully for the old-world marketers as well.
It’s not exactly like me to promote anything to do with cigarettes, but this 1960’s ad by Newport seemed to strike a chord (if not a match, made in heaven). The conversation per se is only symbolic, but this ad does speak to the limitation of television’s one-way communication.
Very enterprising and forward thinking work, no? What do you think? (Joe, u2!) No doubt there are other examples that I’d love to hear about from you. And let me know your feedback on JTC or just this post on JTC.