Sunday, October 24, 2021

It's not like it's carved in stone or anything...

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

This morning, I got my "daily" blog from Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Beth Fitzgerald - and several others. I think I get around a solid dozen daily blogs into my inbox, give or take a dozen. There was a connected theme to many of today's blogs, which prompted me to say out loud, over my shoulder: "OK Google.  What is the oldest recorded history?"

Our ancient human ancestors developed language around 35,000 BCE, which is when the world's oldest cave paintings were created.  "OK Google. What does BCE stand for?"

Half second later: "BCE stands for "before the common (or current) era". It is a secular version of BC (Before Christ). "

Thanks, Google. 

In 2016, a 5,000 year old Sumerian cuneiform tablet from the ancient city of Uruk (what is now Iraq) was revealed to be a payslip. The most interesting thing about this payslip is that it says that workers were sometimes paid with - beer. Compensating workers with alcohol wasn't a practice unique to the Sumerians, the Egyptians also paid workers with beer for working on the pyramids. While it might seem a little odd to our modern customs, paying workers with beer was sensible because it doubled as a food source because it was loaded with starches and nutrients. 

Bottom line: the span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script. That's all folks: five thousand years

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa. Wow. 2.4 million years. And we (humans) only started to "write stuff down" a few thousand years ago!

May 29, 1953. At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953 Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. 

"OK, Google. How many people of reached the summit of Mount Everest?" Around four thousand, as of 8:31 a.m. on 10/24/2021. 

Thanks, Google. 

A few years ago, I started doing an audio podcast. Because, well, everyone was doing it. "OK, Google. When did podcasting become popular?"  2004

So, blogging gave way to audio podcasting, which led to video podcasting. I just was told that we ( have just completed our 100th "NYDLAcast" video podcast interview with actors, authors, entrepreneurs, and overall very cool people. 

Since 1953, we went from reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the first time - to "trash and overcrowding" at the top of the world to becoming a real problem. Today, Everest is so overcrowded and full of trash that it has been called the "world's highest garbage dump." 

And so, because of ALL OF THIS...  I am now very optimistic. Yes. I am amazingly and shockingly optimistic for the future - our future. Recorded history is only a recent development. Folks, we only started to WRITE STUFF DOWN a few thousand years ago! Less than 5,000 years! 

Everything good (or bad) that we did to the planet (and to other people) only became HISTORY a few thousand years ago. If it was not "carved in stone" (or painted on a cave wall) it was not going to make it past the weekend. "OK, Google. When did the term "weekend" first come to be?"  1900's during the Industrial Revolution. 

From pollution and tons of trash left behind on Mount Everest, to the International Space Station, it all happened in the blink of an eye. Heck, electricity only started to become popular in 1882, when the USA started to generate electric power, to give the newly invented electric lightbulb its juice. 

Everything that we humans broke on the planet, we can fix. Everything that we consider to be "good" in the world, happened in only the past several thousand years. We went from carving stuff in stone, to having around, 6,542 satellites orbiting the earth as of January 1st, 2021. I did not know this number 40 seconds ago. Google just told me. In less than a second, Google spoke to me. SPOKE to me, like the way a living person would speak to me. Just pause and think about that for a few seconds. 

The "DL" in NYDLA went from Distance Learning to DIGITAL Learning to DIGITAL LIVING, thanks to the Internet. And, "The Internet" is less than 50 years old, in total. Now we have AI, and IoT and smartphones, and YouTube and TED Talks and listening to books on Audible. This blog (yeah, this one...) will reach millions of people this Sunday morning. Not for any other reason than this: it's on the Internet. Well, I have been writing a Sunday Blog for around ten years. Almost every Sunday. And I do have a following. 

Hey, I did not say my Sunday Blog was any good. I just said that millions of people will see it... I have no idea how many will actually READ it. 

Wow. In less than 5,000 years, we went from writing almost NOTHING down, to writing EVERYTHING down. No hammer and chisel required. Heck, no pen or paper required! 

Just....speak it out loud. 

How long before we just need to think it, and it is in the history books....???

Alan Watts ~ How To Enjoy Life

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Rommel, You Magnificent Bastard. I Read Your Book!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

In the movie Patton, my favorite scene is when U.S. General George S. Patton has just spent weeks studying the writing of his German adversary Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and is crushing him in an epic tank battle in Tunisia. Patton, sensing victory as he peers onto the battlefield from his command post, growls, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book! 

Today, I feel myself wanting to send an email to Congressman Adam Schiff:  "Adam you magnificent bastard, I LISTENED to your new book!

If you polled one thousand people and asked them: paper books, eBooks, audio books - I am sure that you will get a nice spread. This is something that I guess you can Google and find out quickly. 

I am old enough to remember when "eBooks" first made their debut. There is a pretty good article about paper books vs. eBooks here. Some people really love holding a dead tree in their hands, others love using a Kindle. 

For me, I am now hooked on Audible. When I listen to a book - especially a book read by the author - I feel like I am in a lecture. I feel like the author is right there, in the room with me. Their voice inflections, their tone, their words seem to come alive to me.  

Another benefit of Audible is that once you buy the book via technology - you can get updates, edits, even new chapters - over the air. Recently, a book that I bought via Audible gave me an alert - that a NEW chapter was added to the book, due to recent world events. It's hard to do that via the dead tree version. 

I have watched audio podcasts become video podcasts. I have watched paper books become eBooks. I truly think that the future of books - even the future of the term "reading" is making a pivot. There is now a term called Bookiness. That's the term that Glenn Fleishman, a technology writer and longtime bookmaker, uses to describe the situation. It's how you feel when you are USING a book. You FEEL it. Ask yourself: do you READ a book, or USE a book? Ah so. 

Two thousand years after the codex and 500 after the Guttenberg press, the paper (dead tree) book persists. Why?

OK, joke time. Mother and Daughter are cooking a roast. The daughter asks: "Mom, I see that you always cut off the ends of the roast before you put the roast in the pan. Why?" Mom says: "You know, I don't know why. That is how MY mother always did it." So, they call Grandma on the phone. "Hey Mom, quick question: why did you always cut the ends of the roast before putting the roast in the pan, before putting the pan in the oven?" Grandma says: "Well, I never had a pan big enough, so I would cut off the ends, so it would fit in the pan."

Sometimes things don't change, because we don't ask why. 

Today's blog was ALMOST about paper business cards. Why are paper business cards still a thing? I mean, everyone has LinkedIn, everyone has a smart phone. Heck, why do we need to SCAN a paper business card with our smartphone, INTO our CRM or other tool?  And yet, we still have little mini dead tree billboards that we hand out, just so that someone can scan them, or find us on LinkedIn, and throw the little bits of dead trees into the trash. Or, they throw them into the trash, without scanning them... the horror!

On 11/8, VIP members of shall be attending the NYC book signing for Adam's new book. He will be signing the dead tree version of his AMAZING new book, probably several hundred times that evening. And, I am confident that the dead tree version of Adam's new book will be a best seller, many times over.  

Maybe Adam will sign my smartphone... since that is where I keep my Audible library. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

73° Mainly cloudy. High 73F. Winds light and variable. 8% chance of rain.

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

This Wednesday: 73° Mainly cloudy. High 73F. Winds light and variable. 8%  chance of rain. For the first time (in a very long time) I was worried about the weather. 

I was worried about the weather, because for the first time (in a very long time) we have a major event, outdoors. "Propelify is a wonderful celebration of the technology and innovation hat makes our cities and towns thrive, our bodies and minds healthier, our planet cleaner, and our community full of inclusion and opportunity. I'm excited to see so many startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators learning and connecting to propel their ideas into action." ~ Governor Phil Murphy | State of New Jersey.

The NYDLA (and now, NADLA) have supported the Propelify Innovation Festival every year, since 2016. Aaron Price is the founder and CEO of Propelify, built to empower those who propel their ideas into action. Aaron has served as the tech community expert for Governor Phil Murphy, The White House, NJ Economic Development Authority, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. 

At its peak year, there were 10,000 attendees from 43 states and 10 countries attending Propelify. 

Many years ago, I heard a quote that resonated with me so much, it became one of my guiding principles. Often attributed to Pablo Picasso, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." 

A serial entrepreneur, Aaron has founded several technology startups. He started his first commercial venture while still in High School, after he was awarded a patent for a weight lifting device. 

Innovation. Creativity. Passion. There is certainly something to be said to having a career, a job, a calling where you "get" to go to work, rather than "having" to go to work. Due to COVID-19 Propelify 2020 was virtual. Digital. Live, but not LIVE live. Propelify made the pivot to a live virtual event. And, it was one of the best events that I ever attended. I did not say it was the best virtual event that I ever attended. I said best EVENT, period. 

October 6th, In Person Festival. And, it looks like it is going to be PERFECT weather. In order to attend Propelify LIVE this year, you will need to have proof that you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. You can sign up here to get a free pass, and $1000+ of "swag" from our various vendors and sponsors. Even if you cannot make it down to Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken, New Jersey, sign up anyway. We will send you your swag. 

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Well done, Aaron Price. Well done. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Truth, Justice, and the American Way is a catch-phrase of the comic book character Superman.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the history of Superman, because - well - you already know most of it. But I do want to spend some time on the creators - writer Jerry Siegal and artist Joe Shuster. 

In a contract dated March 1st, 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster gave away the copyright to Superman to their employer, DC Comics (then known as Detective Comics, Inc.) prior to Super man's first publication in April. Contrary to popular perception, the $130 that DC Comics paid them was for their first Superman story, not the copyright to the character - that, they gave away for free. This was normal practice in the comics magazine industry at the time. 

In 1965, Siegel and Shuster attempted to regain rights to Superman using the renewal option in the Copyright Act of 1909, but the court ruled that Siegel and Shuster had transferred the renewal right to DC Comics in 1938. 

Under current US copyright law, Superman is due to enter the public domain in 2033. 

Shuster died in 1992. DC Comics offered Shuster's heirs a stipend in exchange for never challenging ownership of Superman, which they accepted.

Siegel died in 1996. His heirs attempted to take the rights to Superman using the termination provision of the Copyright Act of 1976. DC Comics negotiated an agreement wherein it would pay the Siegel heirs several million dollars and a yearly stipend of $500,000 in exchange for permanently granting DC Comics the rights to Superman. 

Truth, Justice, and the American Way. At the time, $130 seemed like a good deal. In 1938, who would have known that Superman would become - well - SUPER! Who knew that the copyright of Superman would be such a big deal?  

And now I fast-forward to 2021. Who would have known that "The Facebook" would become Facebook, Inc. with 2.9 billion monthly users as of 2021? Or that near bankrupt Apple would become the world's most valuable company since January 2021?

Truth, Justice, and the American Way reminds me of the quote:

Speed, Quality, Price. 

You can pick any two. 

"My" Superman from childhood.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Lend me your ear

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

What does lend me your ear mean?

The phrase "lend me your ear" is interpreted to metaphorically mean that the speaker wants the listener to grant the speaker temporary control over what the listener hears. 

To ask for someone's full attention. To listen to someone carefully. To pay attention to what someone is saying or teaching. To listen to someone with concentration or understanding. 

The Van Gogh Immersive Experiences are real-life or virtual reality (VR) exhibits of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. The for-profit events range across venues, cities and organizers, though the majority are being held in North America in 2021 and 2022. 

The events are typically set up in large gallery spaces. Images or videos of the artist's works are projected onto walls, ceilings, and floors. Sometimes accompanied by animations, narrations, music or fragrances. 

This past Friday was my first time using Virtual Reality (VR) for an extended period of time. VR, a simulated experience that can be similar or completely different from the real world is pretty amazing. But is truly nuts when used for more than a few minutes. Kids today (damn, I'm old) think this is totally normal. Anyone near my age realize how game-changing this is, and how THE FUTURE is right around the corner. 

Just like anything else, things happen slowly, then all at once. Over the years, applications of virtual reality included entertainment (e.g. video games), education, (e.g. medical or military training) and business (e.g. virtual meetings). 

I remember playing video games with my brother-in-law in the 80's. We had a blast (there was beer involved) but the quality of the graphics then vs. today is like comparing a chalkboard to an 80" HD SAMSUNG. 

Launched in 2012, Oculus was bought by data-hungry tech giant Facebook for $2.3 billion in 2014. At the time, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey said you would not need a Facebook account to use Oculus. And now, Oculus for Business eliminates physical barriers and provides powerful new ways to connect, collaborate, and learn.

Slowly, then all at once. Gradually, then suddenly. But all change happens only when something is experienced DEEPLY enough to make a difference. 

I could have bought an Oculus years ago, but did not. If I did not experience the Van Gogh Immersive last week, I would have probably started using Oculus in the next 12 to 24 months, due to my partnership with Workplace from Facebook. I would have "had" to do it, just so that I know what I am talking about for my job.

Today, now, I WANT to do it. I want to use Oculus, all the time. Daily. Friday was this tipping point. The "Ah Ha" moment where I was thrown in to the deep end of the pool and had to swim. Now, today, I want to be deeply involved in the new technology. Because we are all living, learning, working, playing - in the new cloud (VR) economy. 

Gradually, then suddenly. I have now arrived at Suddenly Station. 

You can learn more about how VR is transforming business here. Don't be surprised if you see Oculus for Business in page one of next month. Slowly, then all at once. 

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" - VR is transforming business. 

Now. Today. Every day, the Internet is getting FASTER, and of course, VR headsets will continue to become smaller, lighter, less expensive and as popular as a smartphone in your pocket. 

I wonder if Vincent Van Gogh ever said that. 

You know, "Lend me your Ear" 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Greatest Bar On Earth

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I think that the day after an event is always more important than the actual event. Any event. All events. When you wake up the day after, and think to yourself - did that really happen? 

July 4th 2000 was the last time we had an event at Windows on the World. We would have our monthly BoD meetings there, I became very friendly with the staff of both the restaurant and the bar. The July 4th celebration in NYC that year was a big deal for me, for our company. We rented out the restaurant, and the bar that day. We invited our VIP clients and vendors to come to The Big Apple, to come to the 107th floor to celebrate with us. My boys were young, but they were old enough to realize that this event, this holiday was something special. During the day, we watched the "Tall Ships" coming into the harbor. At night, we watched the fireworks, by looking DOWN at them from The Greatest Bar On Earth. We all sang patriotic songs - words and music was supplied. 

We learned later, that the 9/11 attack was supposed to be during July 4th, 2000. It was supposed to be while we were all in NYC. They just could not pull it off, so it was "rescheduled" to 9/11/2001. 

I once asked a very good friend and mentor - what would he have done different. He is a little older than me, and very successful. Suffice it to say, he wants for nothing. I asked "what would have done different, what do you wish you said yes (or no) to in your past? He did not answer right away, he said he wanted to think about it.

For me, 20 years feels like 20 days. NYC was my playpen, or so it felt. I was selling car phones since the 80's but there were no smartphones. Monthly phone bills could be hundreds - even thousands of dollars. NO ONE used Skype, because the quality was poor. No tablets, laptops were heavy and very expensive. 

20 years ago, the Internet was very young. No podcasts, no YouTube, no TikTok. Audio conference was still around $0.10 per minute per person - and videoconferencing was for the Fortune 1000. There was no alternative currencies. 

The day after 09/11/2021 - today - is just like any other day. Every other day over the past 20 years. 

If my mother did not have cancer, I would have never met my wife - my mother's nurse. If COVID did not happen, or if COVID was only discovered earlier, quarantined earlier, if COVID did not leave China. What if we (still) had NO vaccine yet for COVID? What if our only defense was masks and social distancing, as of today? One recent vaccine used a new technology surrounding mRNA (basically gene therapy) that was completely science fiction 20 years ago. Now, today, we are using mRNA to shrink cancer tumors. 

Today, El Salvador decided to use BTC as a currency because their national currency had been massively manipulated, and they wanted something more stable, more measurable and meaningful. And now artists are using NFTs, which are creating a whole new way of collectibles for people to trade or share. 

Today, Zoom is a verb, allowing people to stay in touch with family and friends and work during a global pandemic. For years, technology was changing the way that we live, learn, work and play. But it took a global pandemic to force the entire world to rethink - well, to rethink just about everything

It is really easy to go down the rabbit hole of what ifs. What if Al Gore won, and not George Bush? What if COVID was crushed and contained? We shall have many questions about Climate Change, and AI, and Internet of Things. What if Trump was still POTUS - or what if Trump was NEVER POTUS? 

My friend and mentor did get back to me with an answer, about what he would have done differently. He said - nothing

Because changing anything would have changed everything. It is like the ultimate Butterfly Effect, that even the smallest change is actually the biggest change possible. 

Me: So, there is NOTHING that you would have done differently - nothing at all?

He: Nope. I would have made all the same decisions again. Because changing anything would change everything. Well, maybe one thing. Even though I would have done it all the same way - I might have been a little nicer while doing it. 

If my mother never got cancer, I would have never met Dianne. If my mother never got cancer, I would have stayed at PURDUE, and probably have gone to medical school, as planned. If my mother never got cancer, there would be no Tommy and Bobby Capone. 

The only lesson that I think worth teaching is this: you never know what the future holds. There are no small decisions. But kindness and empathy will always be the best way. You might not always get it right, but you can always be nice along the way. Be nice, and enjoy the journey. 

"Living in dreams of yesterday, we find
ourselves still dreaming of impossible
future conquests." ~ Charles Lindbergh

Sunday, September 5, 2021

I'll give you three guesses

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

What's up with things of three?

Three strikes. The Three Stooges. A trio of friends. Three: ring circus, coins in a fountain, feet in a yard, wise men, goals in a hat trick. Three: legs on a stool, minute egg. Paper, Rock, Scissors. The good, the bad and the ugly. The three wishes from a genie. 

The three wishes joke (or genie joke) is a joke format in which a character is given three wishes by a supernatural being, and fails to use the best of them. Common scenarios include releasing a genie from a lamp, catching and agreeing to release a mermaid or magical fish, or crossing paths with the devil.

Such as: Three men stranded on a desert island, when a bottle washes up on the shore. When they uncork the bottle, a genie appears and offers three wishes. The first guy wishes to be taken to Paris. Poof! Done! The second guy wants to be in Hollywood. Poof! He is now standing on a movie set in Tinsel Town. The third guy, now all alone on the island, looks around and says, "I wish my friends were back."

This would be a good place to stop, look, and listen. 

Tomorrow, is Labor Day here in the USA. So, today is Day Two of a Three Day Weekend. 

Is there anything that sparks more joy than a three day weekend???

Something is a little off about this Labor Day Weekend. Not having to physically "go to work" tomorrow (as in, GO TO the office) is not the same in COVID world. Long before the pandemic, remote work and the ability to work from anywhere was already a movement. Zoom became "a verb" long before the pandemic. 

"I'll give you three guesses" is used when someone is trying to guess something, because you will not tell them, often because the answer is so very obvious. "I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count" means the person believes you know the answer but may not realize you know it. 

Are you working tomorrow?  "I'll give you three guesses....." Well, now I really don't know....ARE YOU WORKING TOMORROW or not???

Labor Day of a few years ago, no work really meant NO (none, zip, nada) WORK that day. Banks: closed, the Post Office: closed. Most true BUSINESS OFFICES were closed, please call back tomorrow. 

Now, because of COVID the difference between "I'm not working tomorrow" and "I'm not going to BE at work tomorrow" could not be more evident. I think the future will be: "I'm not going to be online tomorrow" will be the new normal. Being "off the grid" is going to become the new "I'm not at work" phrase. 

Will you check emails tomorrow? Will you do ANYTHING work related tomorrow? Will you do anything to prepare for work on Tuesday? What does "working" even mean anymore? 

And now, back to things of three.

The charter boat The Minnow, got caught in a storm during a three-hour sightseeing tour around Hawaii. And "Professor" Roy Hinkley Jr. with his three degrees could not figure out how to repair the damn boat and get off Gilligan's Island. They were OFF THE GRID. Working, but not AT WORK. 

HOW could a three-hour sightseeing tour around Hawaii get lost at sea? At the time, Thurston Howell, III brought $300,000 in cash with him, on what was supposed to be a sightseeing tour around the Big Island. You know, close to the shoreline. On the show, Thurston was worth $3 billion. A billionaire on three-hour tour on a tiny boat. Don't even get me started about the Movie Star. What a crazy plot that was so full of holes - for 3 SEASONS. 

And so, if you made it this far, you probably are wishing to have the last three minutes of your life back. For me, I'll be working (on something) tomorrow, probably for around three hours. Because I work from home, and I am owner, I work seven days a week. 

Just not in a row. 

I guess there were 3 Shopping Malls 
on the Island