July 30, 2012
Singularity University, Women@TheFrontier & 10 Incredible Women Design the Future
The program: "Designing the Future 2012", brought together some of today's female game-changers who are designing the future and disrupting the status quo.
Women@TheFrontier's Susan Fonseca and KristinaMaria T-Gutierrez introduced inspirational women who had one heart warming story after another to share.
NASA's Yvonne Cagle also paid a sentimental tribute to astronaut Sally Ride who passed away on July 23.
Ray Kurzweil kicked things off and also closed the event in a unique appearance with his daughter Amy Kurzweil who interviewed him in fireside chat style.
Ray's son was also in attendance with a beaming smile throughout the interview as he watched father and sister chat informally in front of a few hundred people on everything from inspiration and life lessons to technology, health and the future.
Below is Women@TheFrontier founder and CEO Susan Fonseca.
A poised and graceful Kay Koplovitz took the stage with confidence, something certainly not new to her as the first woman to head a television network; she founded USANetworks under the banner of Madison Square Garden Sports in the seventies.
She is also known for founding the Sci-Fi Channel which has become a top ten rated cable network and USANetworks, which runs in 60 countries worldwide.
President Clinton also appointed Kay to chair the bipartisan National Women’s Business Council. With a success record that keeps going, she is a great reminder that persistence and tenacity pays off.
She reminded the audience that 57% of women have masters degrees and 52% of women have doctorate degrees as she threw a quote from Coca Cola CEO onto the screen who said in 2010: "The drivers of the post American world won't be led by China but led by women."
She added a quote from Hilary Clinton who had encouraged companies and individuals to "unlock potential of women by investing in girls and women" at the Global Impact Economy Forum this year.
Lakshmi Pratury, who I first met in the early days of TED, then stepped onto the stage to share her magic as a natural storyteller, using humor, authenticity and life examples in her tales on India and inspiration.
Lakshmi is the Founder of INKTalks, the INK Conference and Ixoraa Media, whose mission is to strengthen the ties between United States and India through sponsored corporate, cultural, and media events.
She says of her time spent in America, "the one thing I learned from my time in America is how to tell a story." And let's be honest, all great stories ignite emotion through shared resonance and reflection, which is something Lakshmi does so well.
She says: "what we are is who we focus on feeding and the community we build around us - it's never about us individually." Hear Hear.
Lakshmi talked on the early days of India before the economy took off, which frankly is the only India I know. My first and only visit was in 1989 and rest assured, it is a very different country today.
Says Lakshmi of the perception of India, then and now, which is one of the things that led her to start the INK Conference: "the way people describe India from inside out has always been one dimensional, so I felt we needed to bring the depth and complexity of Indian culture to the world."
The notion of diving in even if you don't have the experience, is not only a great message to all girls and women, but to every and anyone who has an idea. "Every time I say I'm going to do something without really knowing how to do it, it just happens," she says. "You always have to remember that whatever you do or embrace, you don't have to do it alone."
Like me, she is a collector of people, and says that "collecting people IS HER passion." How wonderful is that? Connecting those human dots isn't a bad way to spend your life. Extraordinary things always happen as a result, like the work she is doing in India.
Wearing bright pink/red shoes and a necklace made from a 3D printer, she connected with the audience with her own great storytelling.
Ping describes herself as an artist and a scientist whose chosen expression is business. It's in her bio and it's something she says often in her presentations.
She co-founded Geomagic, a leading US software company which pioneers 3D technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed and manufactured around the world...from repairing vintage cars at Jay Leno's garage to preserving US treasures and digitally recreating the Statue of Liberty.
Another woman who has faced challenges and adversity, she has shown that staying close to your passion and not giving up works if you believe in what you're doing. She is known for her work with geometry processing, and computer graphics as well as her time as a writer for The China Times.
Inspirational on and off the stage, she has spent many years lecturing on such subjects as feminism, cultural criticism, and was news commentary at National Taiwan University and Taipei National University of the Arts, also serving as ambassador at large for Taiwan for a few years.
While we're on the topic of inspiration and female role models, it doesn't get much better than Amy Purdy who lost both her legs to Neisseria meningitis, a form of bacterial meningitis, at the age of 19.
As a double amputee, competitive snowboarder and spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, she talks to people around the globe about her experience and overcoming life obstacles in order to reach your life dreams and goals, regardless of what is thrown your way.
Amy has played a runway model in a music video for Madonna, taken on a role in an independent film and has modeled for a number of photography projects.
She says to the audience, "When you face adversity and rough patches of trying to fit in, ask yourself what defines normalcy, beauty and what defines you? Embracing your uniqueness whatever that is turns your life from ordinary to extraordinary." Hear hear Amy. You were truly an inspiration to watch and meet.
Hannah Chung is the co-founder and force behind Jerry the Bear, a stuffed bear that helps children learn how to manage their diabetes. Inspired to help children, she says she is never looking back and laughs as she shows us a photo of her in a stuffed bear costume.
"I'm happy to wear a bear costume for years to come if it means making an impact on kid's lives," she tells us.
When Jerry’s eyelids close, he is showing that he is low in energy, until he is fed certain foods or given a pretend insulin injection which then boost his glucose levels. The results are shown on a little screen that is implanted into Jerry's belly.
Hannah’s father and grandparents have Type II diabetes and after her grandfather passed away from hypoglycemia, she was inspired to make a difference by helping others manage diabetes as effectively as possible.
Kudos to the Singularity University and Women@TheFrontier teams for pulling off an incredibly inspirational and moving event with a group of remarkable, dynamic women.
I look forward to future events they plan to host in other cities around the U.S.
Below is the video of Amy and Ray Kurzweil in a fireside chat:
Photo credit of Laskshmi taken in Munich: Nadine Rupp/Getty Images Europe. Hannah: From the Mccormick.northwestern.edu site. Amy Purdy and Legs: AmberB Photography. All other photos: Renee Blodgett.
July 26, 2012
MobileDay for Connecting to Your Biz World From Some Exotic Spot
You Want to Talk When? It’s happened to the best of us: we plan for months to get away from it all, leaving the laptop and the smartphone back home, while taking in the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, or the coves of Kauai.
But, as you’re setting up your vacation auto-response with one foot out the door, an R&D team manager says they’ll be ready to present early next week, or your coworker explains that he just doesn’t feel comfortable dealing with a client on his own, or your CEO schedules a review at the exact moment of your tee time.
For business professionals, taking off on a jaunt to some remote location is a fleeting reality when people in your business and personal life expect you to be connected all the time.
MobileDay is a new app which launched earlier this month, which provides one-touch access to any conference call in North America, without the need to remember call-in numbers and access codes.
It's great for connecting when you otherwise wouldn't or find difficult to. Need to discuss last month’s business plan with your boss from the top of Deer Valley? Want to review projections with your team from the scuba rental shop in West Palm Beach? Or, outline next steps with product development from the Victorian Grand’s porch at Mackinac Island?
With MobileDay, you can handle this with ease on your smartphone, which surely you'll need for all the cool Geocaching you plan to do with your family on vacation anyway.
July 20, 2012
Flipboard's 2nd Anniversary: The Team Celebrates in Palo Alto
Flipboard is turning two years old this weekend and celebrated its anniversary this past week in its Palo Alto CA parking lot with friends, family, employees, investors and Silicon Valley influencers.
For those of you who don't know what Flipboard is, you're missing out on a beautiful online experience. Pegged as a 'social magazine', Flipboard is an app for the iPad, iPod and Android which allows you to view content in a way that is stunningly delicious, where photos and simplicity rule.
Part aggregator and part stunning UI for content you already consume, it was listed in the 50 Best Inventions in 2010 by Time Magazine and they describe the experience: "Flipboard ends the chaos by grabbing updates, photos and links from your friends and other interesting people, then reformatting everything in a wonderfully browsable, magazine-like format." Well said and it's spot on.
The team is headed by former Tellme head Mike McCue, who is a natural "marketing machine," precisely because he "isn't one."
Mike one of the most genuine, down-to-earth understated entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, with a heart and brain that are equally matched.
So, when the team said c'mon down and celebrate with us, how could I refuse?
They have attracted great talent who want to make a difference in the way we consume content today.
In a world where we're constantly barraged by irrelevant stuff, whether its from social media or websites and blogs, Flipboard lets you dictate what you want to see in a gorgeous format.
The casual outside party held a number of surprises, such as the photo booth where you could get your photograph taken in front of magazine cover, like Rolling Stone. You could also feel ten years old again, while you fished for a miniature teddy bear wearing a Flipboard T-shirt from a machine. And, they had a buffet of pork, beef and chicken barbecue as well as a variety of salads, beer, soda and wine.
Below Flipboard CEO Mike McCue and Klout's COO Emil Michael
We all know that Scobleizer aka Robert Scoble is a huge fan of the app :-)
Back to the local touch. Sinister Dexter who has an awesome sound, played blues, rock and hopping jazz for several hours and sadly by the time I wanted to kick off my shoes and swing dance to a number, they were starting to pack away their instruments.
Kudos to the Flipboard team for all of their successes to-date. I, for one, am a fan, and no I sadly don't have any stock or work for them.
Photo credits: team show in car and Emil/Mike shot from Eric Alexander of Flipboard, other photos by Renee Blodgett.
CarWoo! Teams Up With AOL Autos: Consumers Get Best Offer Deals on Cars
This week, CarWoo! announced a partnership with AOL Autos.
How it works: the partnership provides "Best Offer" deals from 10,000+ U.S. dealers to arm buyers with the information needed to quickly and easily negotiate great market prices on the car of their dreams while retaining their privacy.
CarWoo! essentially puts consumers in the driving seat so to speak, allowing them to accept the best bids on cars in an open transparent way so they can get the best price for a new or used car.
Below is the CarWoo! interface, but gives you an idea of how the system works.
July 09, 2012
Is Social Media Turning You Into a Low Self Esteem Anxiety-Rich Freak?
Roughly half of the survey’s nearly 300 participants, reported that their use of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and others reduces the quality of their lives.
Confidence is affected, they say, self esteem is lower they say and two-thirds claim they find it difficult to relax or sleep after spending time on social networks.
This isn't rocket science. Ask anyone you know who spends a lot of time in front of a screen, glued to online games, social networks, management platforms like Hootsuite or sites where they're engaging in any way.
Roughly a quarter cited work or relationship difficulties due to online confrontations and more than half of the participants say they feel “worried or uncomfortable” at times they are unable to access their Facebook or email accounts. I have seen anxiety arise around me when people can't access their worlds online, including something as small as a Foursquare check-in.
Spend more time in an always on digital world and of course you're anxiety will increase. This isn't rocket science. But people are so hooked into the notion that it connects us 'more' that they don't look for the obvious negative side effects.
Sure, I can meet new people across the globe if I am constantly glued to my Hootsuite stream, and given that I run a travel blog, there's a lot of pluses to that, but bottom line, it takes us away from real human connections - there's only so many hours in a day.
It doesn't help that tools like Klout, Kred, PeerIndex and others assign us grades on a daily basis that encourage high school "who's the popular kid of the day" behavior. Offline for a day or a week and your Klout score goes down.
The tools are so one dimensional and dare I say "unheathily addictive" that it keeps you drawn into a social media online game you can never win, particularly if you want to have healthy relationships offline. Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains doesn't lie. Not a new book, but the behavior shift is real whether or not you agree with everything in the book. Also see my post from last year on multiple digital personas.
I find it ironic that a post entitled: How Social Media Makes Romantic Relationship Thrive is immediately above a post entitled: Social Media Fuels Low Self Esteem & Anxiety on Mashable, where I originally learned about the study. Here's a link to a video reporting some of the results.
People I talk to seem to be fighting to get quality time with their other halves and the main culprit in the way? Mobile Devices and their PCs. Enuf said.
July 9, 2012 in America The Free, Europe, On Geo-Location, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, On the Future, Reflections, Social Media, TravelingGeeks, United Kingdom, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 03, 2012
In Honor of Our Childhood Fourth of July Memories
I grew up in the northern Adirondack Mountains, so summers were about as perfect as any child could hope for. Within a two hour drive, there are over 60 lakes, the majority of them available for swimming or boating.
If you are changing the radio station in your car as you drive through the town of Caroga Lake, you might miss the shops, or should I say shop.
There's one small convenience store where you can buy necessities and food, a laundromat, a gas station, a cafe where you can get breakfast, lunch and homemade rice pudding, a pizza joint, a bar with a restaurant attached, and a soft serve ice cream stand. On the left is the 'other lake,' the west side of Caroga Lake, which is attached to the 'east side of the lake' where I grew up, via a bridge.
When motor boats pass under the bridge to get to the 'other lake,' they have to slow down to a snail's crawl and raise their motor since its so shallow, although my insane uncles and father skiied under the bridge as kids, ruining more than one engine along the way, something my grandfather was so furious about, the keys were taken away for half the summer.
Also on the west side of the lake was a very small amusement park called Shermans which has been sold twice since then and although its no longer a 'real' amusement park, the locals who have been around for generations still talk about the times Shermans was open for merry-go-round rides, games, dancing and dinners all summer.
My memories revolve around live music, stuffed animals, bumper cars and soft serve ice cream. The Frostee stand at the front of the park shown below, used to have a line day or night and although its offerings were pretty simple - vanilla or chocolate - the cones were creamy and delicious, and at the time, they used unprocessed dairy products.
"Big band" played in the large hall next to the frostee stand and they had family style dinners that were affordable for most families. I used to love to watch my grandparents waltz or jitterbug and they weren't alone; most couples from that generation spent time kicking their heals up on the floor since dancing was such an integral part of their era.
Despite the fact that my memory included a lot of over indulging of martinis and manhattans, the dancing and laughter somehow diffused the drunkedness not to mention the smoke in the air that exuded from everyone's cigarettes dangling from their right hand fingers.
Families hosted clam bakes at their camps -- adults drank, smoke and chucked clams, and children swam, played tetherball and badminton. Joint activities included cards, croquet and skiing and afterwards, the women always retreated to the kitchen to wash up 'together' while the men lit up again while preparing the firepit for marshmallows in the evening.
In the seventies, I always felt that there was no better place to be during the summer. While Caroga Lake may have been the poor stepchild to some of the larger more upscale lakes like the Sacandaga or Lake George, which had many more year-round homes and expensive properties, it had its own charm that was hard to beat. It still does.
Sadly, it doesn't draw the crowds it once did, some of which is the result of the economy, the amusement park no longer in operation and so many businesses shutting down.
Fireworks would be the draw on July 4 and us east side dwellers would venture over to the west side often by boat to see the fireworks go off, although the best memories were of the fireworks we fired off ourselves. Whatever we could afford was shot out over the lake from our docks and patios.
When you live on a lake, the water becomes the centerpoint. As kids, we used to bath in the lake every day. Not everyone had showers and most were on septic tanks. Often even before breakfast, we'd throw the plastic neon green Prell tube out 20 feet or so and swim out to greet it.
You'd wash your hair, swim for a bit and then return to a full breakfast you'd share outside. The lake took a beating in those days. Some people even drained the water from their sinks into the lake after washing dishes.
No one realized at the time the damage the soaps and conditioners were doing to the bottom of the lake, changing the ecosystem, creating 'weeds' and affecting the fish. As soon as the warnings were out, people stopped 'soaping' and started a committee to preserve the lake. My grandfather was a big part of this committee, which was set up through the "lake association" dedicated to 'lake business.'
Part of 'lake business' included the festivities on the Fourth of July. We'd help my grandfather with his association duties, which on the Fourth, meant driving around in a station wagon with the windows down and a bull horn. Shouting as loud as we could through this thing, we let residents know about the boat parade that would take place that evening and that we had flares for sale....a buck a piece.
Flares were used for the front of your proprety when it got dark, which meant that the entire lake would light up in red, adding to the magic of Independence Day.
Flares were also used for those participating in the boat parade and placed on the back of the boat, so the line of boats too would light up as a red circle. Magic.
If you were in the boat parade, you'd talk to people in nearby boats and our voices would echo across the lake, so everyone heard what we were saying. In a small community, everyone knows everyone else's business and this was part of learning about who was doing what. As it got darker and darker, you either made your way over to the other lake for the official fireworks or you headed back to your own camp to light up your own.
Usually we did both.
As I got older, we'd head to New Hampshire to buy fireworks, since it was pretty much illegal to purchase them everywhere else. Our neighbors always had some they'd shoot off from their docks as well yet the more expensive "splashy stars in the sky" were only part of the experience.
There were also sizzlers and firecrackers, to ensure no one slept, as light would illuminate the sky and sounds would echo across the lake all night long.
The thing that was most memorable aside from the shared firework experience between the camps, was the community that was created as a result.
The front of the camps were open (for the most part, they still are), so you could walk across the front of the properties visiting neighbors, borrow an egg or milk if you needed to, or take in the 'coming of nightfall' on another family's front porch. Along Garlock Road, which was a dirt road for my entire childhood, the families have lived there for as long as I can remember....second and third generations are not uncommon.
So, today, I light a candle for my grandparents who gave me the best summer memories any child could hope for and one for the Caroga Lake community who gave me many years of red lit moments as we brought in the Fourth of July together star after star, year after year.
Photo Credits: housedreamsphoto and Caroga Lake site. All of my best photos of these precious moments were not taken digitally.