welcome back to the real world

We just got back from a wonderful time down at Disney World.  They sure know how to do it right.  Not only do they have excellent customer service, they go all out to make sure their customers have a great time.

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

This was the first time we actually spent time on their property.  That’s how you got to do it.  I drove our van once over the entire week for a beer run. Everything else has been taken care of.

I have some observations that I’d like to share.

Tattoos

Now, I have a tattoo.  I got it when I was 18. I can hide it easily.  At Disney world, tattoos are the new goatee.  You ain’t cool unless you have a tattoo. At Disney World, one will get to see a lot of tattoos.  I saw plenty of arm sleeves, leg tattoos, and heck, I even thought about getting another one on my leg, (in college I had picked out the most awesome Japanese Shadow puppet for my calf), but there were zero neck tattoos.  That is, until we returned to Georgia. It still boggles my mind why anyone would get a neck tattoo.

Oh yeah... I am very cool

Mr. Dumas

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cycles of improvements

A good friend of mine shared something with me that was really cool.  Surely, you’ve heard to TED Talks. In case you didn’t here’s a brief description:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

And that’s taken right from their website.

I honestly don’t watch enough of them.  Some of videos I seen are “knock-yer-socks-off” type of good.  Most everything I’ve seen so far has been really inspiration.

So, my friend shared with me, TED Curator Chris Anderson on Crowd Accelerated Innovation, which was featured in Wired. I’ll embed the accompanying video here. I think both the article and the video have profound impact. Anderson’s video focuses on videos, but I feel the same sentiment can be applied towards Twitter and Facebook, and other social media outlets.

What I find interesting, is the concept of people who have passion and are self-taught, can raise the bar on those classically trained.

Innovation is hard work; it based on 100’s of hours of research, practice… abscense of desire… it’s not going to happen…

– Chris Anderson

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holding the spoon the right way

At work I’ve been doing some skunk works projects on Enterprise Collaboration, or Enterprise 2.0.  I enjoy setting up new things and seeing how they work and fit together. I also enjoy teaching new things to people and seeing them digest new ideas, so this has been something I’ve really enjoyed working on.

Cisco Networks released Cisco Quad, and I thought the best description I heard was, “When you are at home, you are addicted to Facebook… when you are work, you are addicted to this…”

That sums up my sentiment exactly.

There have been some well intentioned, yet primitive attempts at increasing collaboration across the company… wait… let me rephrase that.  People have been collaborating all long, via primate methods, at least by what has been available.

We have Microsoft’s Sharepoint 2007 in house, and I’ve become very knowledge about it in the last half of the year.  And I do see it as a potential enabler of virtual collaboration, but to me, it seems lacking in several areas.  Granted, our implementation has suffered from stability and usage issues, but it only recently began gaining any noticeable traction almost eight months after it’s initial implementation.

But, it hasn’t been good for sharing media, or spontaneous communication, and I certainly realize the potential is there.  I’ve seen Sharepoint 2010and it is an improvement, but unless it becomes part of our daily habits, or routine, Sharepoint 2010 could still languish.

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big picture thinking

I fancy myself as one of those guys who can see the big picture, the end game, the whole enchilada.

Some call me crazy, or half-baked, but I’m usually more right than naught.

Anyways, I’ve found a killer artist/musician that I just can’t seem to get enough of; Wax Tailor

Wax Tailor is the alias of French trip hop/hip hop producer, Jean-Christophe Le Saoût[1] (born 19 July 1975 in Vernon, Eure). He started in 2004 with two EP‘s (Lost The Way and Que Sera / Where My Heart’s At). The first album Tales of the Forgotten Melodies he released in March 2005, mixing hip-hopdowntempotrip-hop with samples extracted from movies. This album became one of the best selling electronic releases of the year[citation needed]. The second album Hope & Sorrowreleased in April 2007. It was nominated for the French “Victoires de la Musique” and US Indie music award.

I think hip-hop is an understatement. Sure, his music has hip-hop elements, but listen to his songs, and imagine what goes into it. He samples quite a bit of audio from old movies and songs and adds many different audio tracks over the samplings.  That’s a real artist. He can take the various elements, put them together, and create something beautiful.

What strikes me about his music is that I think it is really complex. He’s not tossing random samples into a bucket, hoping they come out sounding good. I am pretty sure he has a seed or a kernel for each song he starts off with, and has some sort of vision to carry it through.

Check out this song. Listen and pay attention to the many levels you might hear.

I don’t know if he had a hand in making the video, but I think it is pretty good. What strikes me is that the samples he’s using, isn’t something he is creating, but something he took from other sources. In my opinion, (in trying to read other people’s code), that is exponentiationly harder than creating your own content.

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inconceivable, yes… impossible, no.

please stop the voices

I’ve posted before about innovation and creativity.  Recent events have brought this back into my daily thoughts and how I continue to try and define myself.  Those are mere details that I don’t want to get into, however I do have some things to share.

you’re not helping

On Twitter, someone tweeted about this incredible post (apologies to you; I can’t find the original tweet):

The Makers of Things

In the late 1800s, the Brooklyn Bridge was built with no power tools, no heavy machinery, and only a basic, evolving understanding of how to make steel. It’s not these facts, but the stories surrounding the facts that inspire me when I take a good, long stare at a suspension bridge. But first…

Rands has quite a following.  I had not seen his blog before but you can bet I’ll be following it.   To me, the message is that despite the impossible, don’t stop trying.  Sure, I over simplified it, but that’s okay.  It’s such a great post, any summation I do would not do the post justice.  Just go read it.

realizations

However, it does help slam some things I’ve been juggling into perspective.  I don’t have or know all the answers, but I am not afraid to try new things and take some lumps, (or teeth marks on my skull) for something I believe in.  Change is scary.  New ideas can seem silly.  The wrong motivation can really crush the spirit.

In preparation of this post, I was trying to come up with a catchy title so I looked up innovation in the thesaurus:

Main Entry: innovation
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: change, novelty
Synonyms: addition, alteration, contraption, cutting edge*, departure, deviation, introduction, last word*, latest thing*, leading edge*, modernism, modernization, modification, mutation, newness, notion, permutation, shift, variation, vicissitude, wrinkle*
Antonyms: custom, habit, old, old hat, rut, tradition

Naturally, the synonyms are all familiar to me, but what was interesting was seeing them in this context.  The synonyms that speak to me are:

  • addition
  • alteration
  • departure
  • deviation
  • introduction
  • leading edge
  • modernism
  • modernization
  • modification
  • mutation
  • newness
  • shift

nuggets

The element that all these words have in common, is “change.”  Could the essential nugget of wisdom of innovation boil down to one thing?  Change?  Yeah, I think it does.

I’m conflicted.  I like to think of myself as an “Agent of Change” but I sure feel like a jerk saying that.   And there are probably people out there who think I’m a jerk for saying it, but the truth is, I do like change.

what about the risk?

But what about risk?  I’m not afraid of the risk of a change or a new idea, what I am shy about, is the risk of exposing myself.  For the most part, I feel like I am confident in who I am, but it’s one thing to pitch my ideas to higher ups or more experienced people in my arena.  It’s a personal risk, for sure, but also it’s pulling back the kimono a bit, right?  It’s exposing myself to someone who could squash my spirit or worse.  So it is risk? Or fear? Or both?

What holds me back?  What holds you back?

Alright, I feel like I am rambling a bit.  I think I went down the rabbit hole.  Anyways, where was I…

Back to innovation.  Whatever word you pick to use to describe it, I’m okay.