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If you could drop everything what would you do? — My challenge to you

July 30, 2008 3 comments

Answer this: If you could drop everything, without consequence, and follow one dream, what would it be?

Now think about what is stopping you? The barriers that immediately shut down your idealism. Are they able to be breached? Are they materialistic? Are they family based? Are they rooted in fear?

My dream?

The Six Degrees of Separation Project

The Mission: America needs to remember its beauty – The idealism that has captivated millions to risk death just for a chance to succeed. To jump borders. Leave family. Drive a taxi by day, go to school at night. America needs to hear the stories of idealism beyond Disneyesque packaged prime time. The need to see the faces of struggling entrepreneurs. Stay-at-home mothers. Hourly wageworkers. Wall Street wonders. The project will link together, using the philosophy of six degrees of separation, the everyday fabric of our lives.

Execution: I would start out with one person, and listen to their story. That one person would then be responsible for introducing me to the next individual. I would then listen, learn, and document their story. The individual would then be responsible for introducing the next person. The catch, however, is the person cannot introduce me to a person the previous person knows. I also will need to spend at least one night with the selected individual, so I can accurately portray a sliver of their life.

Deliverables: By meshing my love for storytelling with technology, I will produce a variety of multimedia components: video, written word, photography, podcasting, GPS oriented content to name just a few. The project would be available via a website, and social networking tools.

The Crux: Before embarking I would compile a bucket list of goals: be a guest on the Tonight Show, run a marathon in a major city, help a kid learn how to throw a baseball, learn how to sail, and have dinner with the President. That I wish to complete during the trip.

Barriers: Capital. That’s it.

My Challenge to You: If you feel as though reaching your goal is out of reach, help me reach mine. I will make a promise to fulfill on this. All I need is a little help. This does not necessarily mean just cash, though that will put some gas in my tank. A simple introduction may be more than enough.

What would this take? Honestly, I’m not sure. Startup costs would be roughly 5K to get the appropriate equipment and website built. Then it’s a matter of gas, food, and enough cash so when I stay with a stranger I can cook them dinner, or take their kids out for ice cream. Ideally I would start in Colorado, and work east.

It is also important to note that I am not just asking for a handout to travel without risk to myself. I am willing to put my own capital behind this journey, as well as my personal name and time. Several people noted that “this seems a little strange,” and “I’m not sure what my first impressions are,” which is more than reasonable. I will work on answering these questions in a more detailed post shortly, but for now I wanted to just put the idea out there.

Think you can help? Let me know. If I can raise 20k I will hit the road and follow a life-long dream, which will hopefully change one persons life for the better.

Note: 20K is also equal to 200 folks taking a $100 chance. Broken up, anything is possible.

Please feel free to circulate this post to whomever you like.

If you don’t know me and would like to talk, please feel free to give me a ring at 303.406.1876 or email me directly at timshisler (at) gmail (.com) – I will be more than willing to answer any of your questions.

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Drop everything – The next hour and fifteen minutes will change your life

July 25, 2008 Leave a comment

We have all heard the story by now: Randy Pausch, a computer science professor, became an internet celebrity when his “last lecture,” video appeared on YouTube. The lecture discussed what matters most to individuals, and beautifully laid out the soul of a dying man.

Randy passed away today. He was 47. Describing him as brave is an understatement. No matter what you are doing, drop everything and watch the video below. It is an hour of your life that will live with you forever.

Lord have mercy for Randy and his family.

Categories: Advice, Gen-Y, Personal

Failure, Youth and Success

January 14, 2008 Leave a comment

For I am young, and young people always believe that tomorrow will be better than today. Youth try the impossible. Scale the mountain that is supposed to be inaccessible. And dare the things that age will fear.
~ Unknown

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchhill

Toaster Status and the Wall Street Journal – Must Read

January 4, 2008 Leave a comment

It was 1963, a golden age for newspapers. Budgets were high, TV a threat but not enough to take advertisers money. Photographers had stopped carrying around fake birds to frame shots and the Internet was only a word circulating through the deepest geek circles.

Then one morning, in the depths of San Francisco’s financial district, a young 23-year-old journalist was hired by the Wall Street Journal. Green, ambitious and full of energy, the young reporter worked his way to the top.

Now after 26 years, managing editor Paul E Steiger is packing his bags and moving on.

But unlike some exits, Paul took the time not to reflect just on his own career, but on the industry itself.

In just shy of 2,500 words, Paul laid out the history of the modern newspaper and the threat the Internet poses. It is a must read.

Best quote?

After a print journalist suggests the Journal give away its online content for free an online editor responded, “It relegated their site to “toaster status,” as in savings banks giving away cheap gifts for opening an account.”

And obviously the online guy won.

New Social Capital blog — Worth checking out

December 12, 2007 1 comment

A few months ago, I wrote a post about social capital and why college is a perfect place to build your network.

In the post I referenced a very smart blog I had been reading on the subject of social capital and interconnectedness.

Now that blog has spun off into another blog, and even though I truly hope it can survive, I’m still a bit skeptical about the business model of a blog and if it can make money to support its writers.

Penelope Trunk, the “it lady” of modern Gen-Y blogging, left a great comment on Ben Casnocha’s blog regarding book deals, questioning why more people don’t write blogs instead of pursuing a book.

I agree with Penelope, but only to a point. My blog helped me get my current job as an Intern at a national magazine, but editors still want hard clips that have been printed on someone else’s dime.

Not just digital content that lacks an editor and submission process.

So then why do I continue to write a blog you might ask?

For starters, it allows me to voice my opinion on a wide range of topics in an open forum which can accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Secondly, a potential employer who spends more than five minutes on my blog will see I can discuss several high-level issues regarding journalism, technology, economics, photography and others.

Thirdly, it has allowed me to make connections and build relationships with professionals who were not accessible beforehand.

For The Little Red Suit, that is exactly what building social capital is all about.

So as Tiffany Monhollon breaks away and starts another blog, I can only hope her decision to go digital will pay off .

Which is exactly why I think you should take a second and check it out.

Forget Facebook and Pick up the Phone

November 26, 2007 1 comment

The business card is no longer. At least that’s what several new social networking sties want you to believe. I personally use a few, but am now finding it impossible to keep up. With hundreds of millions of dollars being invested by over-zealous-money-driven VC’s, and just about every superpower taking on Facebook, it’s a wonder any new network can stand out.

Take for instance my situation:

Facebook – Started in college senior year and quickly added a few hundred friends. I used the site to join frivolous groups, stalk perspective dates and post pictures. After college I started to use the site to network with potential bosses, and found myself interacting with journalists. With the explosion of apps a few months ago, I now spend minutes every day rejecting stupid invitations like: Slasher App and Top Friends application.

MySpace – Stared after college and now have almost 300 friends. Every person I can pick up the phone and call (my one criteria on Myspace). The layout is archaic, and an eyesore. I hardly use it.

Linkedin – Joined last year. Use it to network with perspective employers, journalists, co-workers and old bosses. Spend 10 minutes a month on the site, and haven’t checked it for a few weeks.

The list goes on.

What I’m finding here is that I’m spending almost an hour a day, throughout the day building my online presence, and hating it. When I could be outside drinking beer, going on a run, or actually talking to a friend, I find myself making connections, writing emails and looking at pictures of last night’s keg stand.

In other words, the applications which are supposed to “bring us together” are really tearing us apart.

So what is a young professional to do? For starters, pick up the phone. Everyone is busy, some are really busy, but in reality no one should be too important that they can’t talk to you. A CEO may be booked for weeks, or just give you the runaround, but a younger professional may not be.

I’ve found myself calling numerous editors, writers and professionals for advice. They initially clam up, wondering why the hell this kid is asking for an open ended conversation, but when they have the courage to converse it becomes beneficial for both of us.

Everyone has an ego. Online the egos are inflated by number of friends, subscribers, comments and trackbacks. On the phone, the ego is limited to time.

So I challenge the younger generation to step outside the box and connect the old fashioned way. Because as we all know when the Internet goes down it seems the world tends to stop, and God forbid your livelihood depends on such a fragile infrastructure.

I need your help please

November 24, 2007 4 comments

If you have a moment, I would love to hear how you consume media.  

 

  • Do you read headlines online? 
  • Do you pay for a Wall Street Journal.com subscription? 
  • Do you get a local newspaper and rely on it for national news?
  • When was the last time you watched one of the “big three” nightly news shows?
  • Do you read blogs? 
  • How do you involve yourself in the conversation?
  • Do you comment on stories?  Do you write a blog?  Do you talk with your friends?
  • Finally, if you read a story in print, what would it take for you to go online and pursue other multimedia facets?

 

Thanks for helping,

Tim