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Keeping Your Message Simple – The Bloom Box

February 25, 2010 1 comment

Last week while watching 60 Minutes I found it amazing that Bloom box founder K.R. Sridhar was able to describe his new power block in less than five steps. When asked what was in the block, Sridhar explained the insanely complex process as if it was a child’s toy with paint-by-numbers instructions. Sure the majority of the block’s technology was omitted, but the high-level concepts were not.

Though not a literal transcript of Sridhar’s explanation here is a CBS excerpt about how the Bloom box is created:

He said he bakes sand and cuts it into little squares that are turned into a ceramic. Then he coats it with green and black “inks” that he developed.

Sridhar told Stahl there is a secret formula. “And you take that and you apply that. You paint that on either side of this white ceramic to get a green layer and a black layer. And…that’s it.”

Sridhar told Stahl the finished product, a skinny fuel cell, would generate power.

I’d highly recommend watching the piece if you have time. The box is phenomenal and so is Sridhar.

Categories: Advice, Journalism

Building Your Day

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

While at my favorite coffee shop this morning I ran into an older gentleman pouring his coffee. A long line had formed behind him as he methodically added in just the perfect amount of sugar and cream.

“I don’t move too fast in the morning,” he said to me while I filled my cup. “I let the day build. No point in throwing up a roof if there isn’t any walls.”

I nodded my head in agreement not sure what to say. He smiled, tossed his stir stick and walked away to continue building his day.

Categories: Advice

Toddlers, a Bus Stop and Life — Why Horizontal Growth is not Always a Bad Thing

February 17, 2010 3 comments

Just shy of two years ago while sitting at a bus stop in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California, my mother crudely drew on a napkin the growth pattern of toddlers. “Typically when a toddler is getting ready to make a big emotional jump,” she explained in the cold morning fog, “they regress before taking a big step forward.” I nodded as I waved off the passing bus and continued to listen. “This may be why right now you feel you are regressing in your career,” she continued. “It may just be a sign you are getting ready to take a giant leap forward. Just be patient and pray.” True to her motherly instincts three weeks later I landed a speaking gig that effectively launched my freelancing career.

Seriously how do moms do this?

In today’s world there is constant social pressure to always be moving upward. New jobs aren’t supposed to be steps back and second homes aren’t supposed to be smaller. And while in some areas forward momentum is vital, a majority of the time regressing can lead to a big step forward.

But what about moving horizontally? These past several months I have been having hundreds of high-level conversations with CEOs, editors, publishers, freelancers and businessman. Each conversation has the potential to catapult me forward, but many times they leave me stagnant in my career. Or better yet, moving horizontally as a good friend and mentor said.

This got me thinking: Is moving horizontally really a bad thing? With every conversation I gain more experience, learn how to articulate myself and identify the keywords that resonate with different professionals. I’m smarter, quicker and see the industry through a clearer lens. With each conversation I’m finding myself closer and closer to my ultimate goal and, while it might not come for a while, I’m ready to not only continue to grow horizontally, but regress a bit when the time feels right. Of course I’ll have to consult with my mother on that one.

Categories: Advice, Personal

Apple’s iPad, Apollo 13 and The Media Industry

January 27, 2010 2 comments

During the past 18 months I’ve been having lots of conversations about rethinking media. A month ago while speaking with several Conde Nast employees I used an example from Apollo 13 as my thesis for what media has to do today. In honor of Apple’s Tablet iPad, I thought I would share my entire thought processes in one, one minute clip.

Want to Stand Out? Do Five Minutes of Research and Then Contact the Person.

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This weekend I got an email from an editor asking me for my contact info. I had to wonder how much time the editor spent looking at my website and if he/she had decided to Google me. If they had, they could have found my contact info including phone number, email, Twitter account, Facebook page and LinkedIn profile on my blog, website, and a variety of other websites.

Am I calling the editor lazy? No. But I am surprised by the amount of people who choose to ask for information instead of just going out themselves and finding it.

The truth is, to stand out today it’s important to do at least five minutes of research online to get your bearings. If you don’t know anything about the person your contacting the conversations value can be reduced to simple questions you might not have needed to ask.

So next time you reach out to connect with someone take five and do some research. The results will pay off.

Categories: Advice

Keeping Things in Perspective: Wise Words Regarding the Creative Process

August 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Filmmaker R. J. Cutler discussing his reservations while shooting the upcoming film The September Issue. The quote is speaking to Cutler’s thought process involving a hard-to-convince Vogue editor to appear in his film.

“The rule I was taught by D. A. Pennebaker is that you’re going to miss 80 percent of what you want, but when you’re making the film it feels like you’re missing 98 percent.”

NY Times Imbedded at Vogue, Trying a Charm Offensive

Categories: Advice

Impossible

August 19, 2009 1 comment

What have you deemed impossible and thus holding back from?

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enought to know they were impossible.” ~ Doug Larson

“Never tell a young person that something can not be done. God may have been waiting for centuries for somebody ignorant enough of the impossible to do that thing.” ~ Dr. J. A. Holmes

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” ~ Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis

Categories: Advice, Quotes