Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Hamiltonian System

A Hamiltonian System is a dynamical system governed by Hamilton's equations. In physics, this dynamic system describes the evolution of a physical system such as a planetary system or an electron in an electromagnetic field.

Now you might ask: Why is Hamiltonian better than Lagrangian? 

Ah! Well, Lagrange Mechanics gives you nice unified equations of motion. Where Hamiltonian mechanics gives nice phase-space unified solutions for the equations of motion. And of course, also gives you the possibility to get an associated operator, and a coordinate-independent symplectic-geometrical interpretation. 

Wait, what?

What does ANY OF THIS have to do with HAMILTON? 

You know, the thing I just watched last night on Disney + from my living room?

While on vacation from performing in his hit Broadway show In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda read a copy of the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. After finishing just a few chapters, Miranda began to envision the life of Hamilton as a musical, and researched whether a stage musical of Hamilton's life had been created. 

Miranda therefore began a project titled The Hamilton Mixtape

The rest as they say - pun intended - is history. 

Hamilton's off-Broadway engagement at The Public Theater was sold out, and when the musical opened on Broadway, it had a multimillion-dollar advance in ticket sales, reportedly taking in $30 million before its official opening. By September 2015, the show was sold out for most of its Broadway engagement. Hamilton set a Broadway box office record for the most money grossed in a single week in New York City in late November 2016, when it grossed $3.3 million for an eight-performance week - the first show to break $3 million in eight performances. 

On February 3, 2020 it was revealed that Walt Disney Studios had purchased the distribution rights for $75 million with an original theatrical release date on October 15, 2021. 

Miranda later announced on May 21, 2020 that in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry and the performing arts, which shut down the Broadway, West End, and touring productions, the film was released early on Disney + on July 3, 2020 in time for Fourth of July weekend. 

Critics say "Hamilton" is a great musical. That kinda goes without saying at this point, but such a well-known property could have been met with a relative "shrug" in its filmed version. As of this blog, Hamilton on Disney + has received a perfect critic score of 100, and 100% "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes.  

And BECAUSE of the recent hype of Hamilton, millions of people have signed up for BRAND NEW Disney + accounts for $6.99 a month or $69.99 for a year. 

[ Also: Never bet against The Mouse. ]

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story
There is a very good chance that by the time you read this blog, you have seen Hamilton on Disney + since we KNOW that you are on the Internet. And, more and more people will be talking about it on social media. I enjoyed Hamilton in my living room this holiday weekend. I run the NYDLA.org where "DL" has morphed from Distance Learning to DIGITAL Learning to just DIGITAL LIVING

There is no better example of Digital Living than a Broadway Play in your living room. 

We all owe our deepest gratitude to Hamilton - to Sir William Rowan Hamilton. For it weren't for the Irish mathematician and his study of geometrical optics, classical mechanics, adaption of dynamic methods in optical systems, and his theories such as electromagnetism - NONE OF US would be enjoying "the other Hamilton" on Disney + as there would be no Disney + 

And there would be no such thing as the Internet, either. 
There would be no Disney + no Netflix, no Facebook, no Google. 
And most importantly: there would be no Sunday Blog from yours truly. 

Yep. As history shows us: Who Tells Your Story is is important. 

But this is also true: it's not always who has the best story, it's who tells your story the best. 

I'm looking at you Disney +


Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805 - 1865)

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story









Sunday, June 28, 2020

Company is Coming!!!


Nothing strikes fear in the hearts more than hearing a Mom shout out to the rest of the family: COMPANY IS COMING!!!

My stress level goes up just hearing those words. But what happens when “the company” coming to your home is - an actual COMPANY? 

This past week, members of NYDLA.org attended the COLLISION conference - from their homes. 

We have always enjoyed attending LIVE events. Heck, we LOVE attending live events, especially in New York. Having the Javits Center in our "Big Apple" backyard is one of our superpowers at “NYED-LA” as the world would come to us. I used to joke that I could go to Javits Center in New York City EVERY DAY, as there was ALWAYS something cool going on. I live 25 miles west of Times Square, so I can "pop in" for an event or conference in the city anytime. Yes, I am spoiled. And when we say "The City" we all know we are talking about NEW YORK CITY. You know, the center of the known universe.

I really wanted to go to Toronto for COLLISION. We were all set and ready to go. I have attended and supported COLLISION (a Web Summit event) every year since 2016. We expected 30,000+ to meet up in Toronto. 


And then comes COVID-19. Times may be uncertain, but one thing remains true. People enjoy coming together. There is a power in people coming together. No matter the time zone, humans are social creatures. 

Web Summit is a company from Dublin, Ireland that holds events online and across the world - Web Summit, Collision and RISE.

Forbes: “The best technology conference on the planet.”
The Atlantic: “Where the future goes to be born.”
New York Times: “A grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.”

When I learned that COLLISION was going to NOT be cancelled - but was going to become a VIRTUAL event, I was actually very worried. Since March we have witnessed so many LIVE events try to salvage their investment by converting their LIVE event into a VIRTUAL event. Most were not very good at all.

Folks, I have been in the MEETINGS & EVENTS space for many (many) years. The MEETINGS & EVENTS game is hard. It’s difficult. It’s expensive. It’s complex. Running an event (of any size) is an art form. I have seen so many try to pull off a VIRTUAL event during the pandemic, and they failed. They tried to salvage their live event, and they should have just canceled. 

Yes, I was worried that COLLISION was going to get a black eye. Who do these guys think they are? Are they so full of themselves that they can pull off a VIRTUAL event where so many others cannot? Do they think they are smarter than everyone else? 

Turns out they are smarter than everyone else. 

634 speakers. 5 channels of programming. People from 140 countries. 32,000+ attendees - FROM HOME. And I was one of them. From. My. Home.

These numbers are shocking. This event, during a quarantine, was the best event that I have attended in years. I did not say best VIRTUAL event, I said the best EVENT. Period.

Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of COLLISION and its parent Web Summit rolled the dice and they won. Big time. The future of MEETINGS & EVENTS was coming for all us, sooner or later. But the pandemic forced their hand. When any of us go to an event live, we are looking to maximize meaningful connections. How can you replace features of LIVE events, like meeting booths or round-tables or break-out sessions with software? 

There were no virtual event technologies (to date) that could properly do the job. In record time, Paddy’s team created a platform to make VIRTUAL events as good as live. In my humble opinion, this was better than a live event. Panel Discussions. Fireside Chats. Break-outs. They had it all. I was impressed, and I'm a very tough critic.

There was a feature called “Mingle” that was like speed dating for business. Every three minutes I was matched up with people (from all around the world) who were hand-picked for me. Based on my profile, I had hundreds of people join me - in my home - to exchange contact information, and chat via HD video. It turns out that three minutes is just the right amount of time to make a new friend, and connect on LinkedIn and social media.

Were there some bugs? Sure. It is not easy to host a global virtual event on a new platform that you built from scratch in record time, during a pandemic. But once you got past the minor bugs, it was flat-out AMAZING. It turns out that Paddy and his team were actually building software to network virtually at their live events for many years. Like for ten years. 

No software, no matter how powerful will fully replace true face to face contact. But during a pandemic, the platform that I just witnessed is indeed the future of the meetings & events world. I cannot see ANY events (LIVE or VIRTUAL) not being a hybrid moving forward. The most expensive part of going to conferences is not just the cost of the ticket but the cost of travel, hotels, food, etc. Even after the world returns to normal (and what is normal?) VIRTUAL EVENTS are here to stay. 

In a tweet last week Paddy said that he is thinking of offering access to their online conference platform to 3rd parties who organize large, bespoke events. NYDLA.org members, vendors and sponsors: are you listening? 

When I learned that COLLISION was going 100% VIRTUAL, I was skeptical. I was worried that Paddy was going to ruin his stellar reputation. I was worried that this was a bridge too far.

Thank God no one at COLLISION asked me for my opinion. 

“Fortune favors the bold, Fortune favors the brave, and Fortune favors the strong” are common translations of a Latin proverb. Courageous action is often rewarded. 

Maybe COLLISION should simply be called COURAGEOUS moving forward? Or how about a new nickname: Paddy “Courageous” Cosgrave? 

OK, I’ll stop now.

Besides, I need to get busy and follow up with a few hundred new friends who came to my home last week. Thanks to Paddy, we had…company. Yes, we had “company” to our home, during a pandemic. No masks required.

Company is Coming

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Highway to Heaven

Cal Darden was my first sale.

For those of you who know me, I was one of the first to sell "car phones" in the USA, when the NYNEX system went live in the 80's. Back in the day, making phone calls from the car was expensive. The phones themselves were expensive, but so was the cellular phone service. There was a monthly service fee, and calls were around $0.50 per minute. Ah, plus taxes and fees.

I think I had my first cellular phone in my car for around five hours, and I was looking for "excuses" to make phone calls from the car. Who could I call? I did make a few calls, to home, to friends. I was just itching to make some "real" phone calls from the car.  And there it was.....

I saw a sweet lady broken down on the side of the road. Busy highway (Rt. 80, Northwest New Jersey) there she was with her hood up and no one was stopping. I pulled up behind her car on the shoulder with my hot little sports car, top down.

Hello, looks like you can use some help.  "Can you take me to a telephone? I need to call my son. I've been here for so long, and no one will stop to help me."

Sure, hop in. OK, who would you like to call?

Oh my goodness! Is that a phone? You have a phone in your car? Oh, my, oh my...

She called her son, Cal, who lived in Budd Lake, New Jersey, just a little further west.

The first few minutes of the call (at around $0.50 per minute mind you) was Momma Darden trying to explain that she was in MY CAR, calling from MY CAR, parked behind HER CAR broken down on the highway. She said that no one was stopping to help her, but now "her Highway Angel" (Ala the TV show Highway to Heaven) showed up. My name was now officially Michael Landon. "Michael Landon saved me! I'm in Michael Landon's sports car" she said with a wink and a smile.

I stayed with Mrs. Darden until her son showed up in a pickup truck. Boy she was a chatterbox. Cal was doing yard work just minutes before, and he looked like it. The folks from AAA were on the way to tow her car, and he would now drive his Mom back to his home which was just a few miles away.

I did not even have business cards yet. But Cal had a business card. He said "Call me on Monday." Cal worked for UPS.

In 1971, Cal Darden was earning $3 an hour as a part-time package handler for UPS in Buffalo. He became SVP of the company's U.S. operation, and according to Fortune magazine, one of the most powerful Black Executives in the nation. At the time, Cal Darden ranked 8th on Fortune's list of 50 most powerful Black Executives, above former White House adviser Vernon Jordan (No. 9) and TV talk show host and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey (No. 10).

Cal Darden ran UPS entire U.S. operation, which included 320,000 employees and almost all of the company's more than $30 billion in annual revenue. He would drive from Budd Lake, New Jersey to Secaucus, New Jersey every day.

Cal needed a car phone. Ah, MANY people at UPS needed car phones. THE DRIVERS needed phones. 

I became friends with Cal. Over the years, he told me how he had worked hard since he was 15. He clerked at a neighborhood drugstore, washed cars and drove a taxi. Working was necessary in his family of seven children. His father earned about $100 per week as a core maker for American Standard (NYSE: ASD) and his mother stayed at home with the children.

Over the course of his career, Cal moved ten times. In 1995 he moved to HQ in Atlanta. He was always aware of his position as a role model for aspiring Black Executives and he volunteered his time to mentor them. He started a chapter of the Black Executive Exchange Program at UPS and he traveled around the nation to colleges and universities talking to students.

Because of Cal, my first sale in the cellular phone business was: UPS. I was profitable from day one, and never looked back. Over the years, we would joke about how I owed his mother millions.

"If it were not for an elderly Black woman you would never have won the UPS account!"

"OMG, you guys are Black? I never noticed!"

Lessons from my father:  you make your own luck in this world.

And, Dad taught me to be color blind.

Happy Father's Day everyone.

Calvin Darden


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Teach your children well

This past week, I recorded one of our Coffee in the Clouds video podcasts with the father and son team of Lee Cockerell and Dan Cockerell. 


I met Lee a few years ago, because I listened to one of Lee's audio podcasts. That podcast led to a connection on LinkedIn, which led to phone conversation on a Sunday afternoon, which led to me buying a plane ticket to Orlando. Which then led to MANY trips to Orlando. And all of this led to the concept of CockerellAcademy.com which is about to be rebooted and relaunched by Lee and his team with all new amazing content. 


The "NYDLAcast" that we recorded this past week was for next Sunday: Father's Day. I don't know what compelled me, but I Googled the word: Father. 


Fathers (and mothers) are key in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Many times children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. Fathers provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. When fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self confidence.


Fathers influence who we are inside, but also guide how we have relationships with people as we grow. The way a father treats his child will influence what he or she looks for in other people. Friends, lovers, and spouses will all be chosen based on how the child perceived the meaning of the relationship with his or her father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children relate with other people.


Young women depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father can show his daughter what a healthy relationship with a man should be. If a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men. If a father is strong and caring, she will relate closely to men of the same character.


Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys model themselves after their father’s character. Young men will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. We grow up by imitating the behavior of others. This is how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, young men will grow up much the same. When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world. And this can be a problem.


We live in turbulent times. Today, the world is lacking in proper leadership. Across our entire world (especially here in the USA) we seem to be living without - and our youth is growing up without proper guidance, without protection, without love. Our world needs leadership - our world needs a good father.


Father. Godfather. Father Figure. The Father of our Country.
There is a reason why the word “Father” carries with it such power, such importance. Mothers and Fathers are supposed to be a team. Indeed, combined they both serve their unique purpose. “Good Parenting” is rooted in our biology, it has been studied for centuries in behavioral science. Nature vs. Nurture is another good topic to Google when you have the time.


I’ll be thinking a lot this week about my father, and my grandfather. I will reflect on how everything that I am, and everything that I will ever be, can be traced back to the body of work of these two men. Mothers and Fathers, Fathers and Mothers. Grandparents. We are what they taught us to be.


A few years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Lee’s grandson (Dan’s son) over the course of his summer internship in New Jersey. Brevity is bliss: this is the finest young man I have met in years. Maybe, ever. Coincidence? I don’t think so. 


Yes, our world is feeling like one big mess right now. But every generation has probably said the same thing. Just like every generation has said: “Kids today!” 


In today’s world, you can learn anything you want, anytime you want. You can Google it, you can find a YouTube video, you can find a podcast or watch a TED Talk. You can take courses, get certified, you can find a mentor, a coach, a teacher. The “How To” section of our entire world is now at your fingertips. In today's world, ignorance is a choice.


I picked up many "Lee Cockerell Sayings" over the years. One of my favorites is simply this: Teach Everything You Know


Everyone: have a safe and happy Father’s Day next Sunday. And to all the Fathers and Step Fathers out there (and the amazing Mothers and Step Mothers who are doing double-duty) we got work to do. So, let’s get to work.


Fathers and Mothers have the best jobs in the world.
After all, we get to create the world we live in, right? 

Teach Your Children Well


Sunday, May 31, 2020

How smart is your phone?

In 2020, the number of smartphone users in the world is 3.5 Billion, which translates to 45.04% of the world's population owning a smartphone. In total, the number of people that own a smart and feature phone is 4.78 Billion, making up 61.51% of the world's population.

According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, today there are 5.28 Billion people that have a mobile device in the world. This means that 67.95% of the world's population has a mobile device. Back in 2017, the number of people with mobile devices was only 53% and it is predicted that by 2023 the number of people with a mobile device will increase to 7.33 Billion.

I started selling "Car Phones" for NYNEX in the early 80's. Back in the day, I thought that "Cellular Phones" were going to be a big deal - a big enough deal to divert my attention from going to medical school, or even from doing stuff with NASA. Hat Tip to my sister JoAnn for getting me my pilot's license. Yeah, I was one of the first people in the USA to sell cellular phones and service - to Doctors! If you don't GO to medical school, you can always "School the Doctors" right? 

But this SMARTPHONE thing - this might be the story of the century. If there were no smartphones, there would be no Uber, no Twitter, probably no Facebook. Probably no podcasts, video or otherwise. If it were not for smartphones, there would probably be no "Big Four" technology companies Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. And let's not forget Zoom - which has now become a verb. 

I understand that Donald Trump, our POTUS uses Twitter on his smartphone, I'll have to fact-check that, it could be fake news.

Anyway: today, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to be 275.66 million. That means that there are 275 million volunteer TV news reporters in the USA and growing. Today because of coronavirus, authorities everywhere are using smartphones to track the the movement of people, collecting anonymized data to study the movement of people more generally. 

As I write this blog, I am watching (on an iPad) a scene of helicopters and sirens racing around Los Angeles trying to cope with what's been an awful day for that city in an awful week for this country. 

Yesterday, I watched (on my smartphone) the launch LIVE of the SpaceX spacecraft carrying two NASA astronauts - marking the first time humans have traveled into Earth's orbit from US soil in nearly a decade. 

Born in 1960, our first color TV had three major channels when I was growing up in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. And "news" was in real-time. You either were home to catch Walter Cronkite on live TV, or you missed it. There was no VCR, and there certainly was no YouTube. There was no Twitter, but there was a radio in the kitchen. My first memory was watching my mother react to hearing that JFK was assassinated. I can describe that kitchen radio today, in vivid detail. I was three years old.

I don't know if this is true, but today, on this last day of May 2020, the "smartphone" might become the one technology that has/will change the world forever. Banking. Education. News. Commerce. Communication. Collaboration. 

Technology changes everything. But when we look back at the history of our country, I think that having smartphones in the hands of pretty much every living adult in the USA will be credited for what we ultimately become as a nation - good or bad.

Let's hope that (all of us) start using our hand-held superpowers for good and not evil.











Sunday, May 24, 2020

Speed, Quality, Cost



I am sure that you have seen or heard of the saying "Speed, Quality or Cost, pick any two."  I always smile when I come across that quote or meme. 

If you want it fast with high quality, it will be expensive.

If you want it cheap and fast, it will be low quality.

If you want it to be of high quality and cheap, it will not be delivered fast.

It is understood that people might take a few minutes to try to think of a scenario where the speed, quality, cost triangle does not apply. But pretty quick, most people will just say to themselves, "yeah, that's true." Pick any two.


Tomorrow is Memorial Day here in the USA. It originally was a day to honor and celebrate those who died in the Civil War (1861 - 1865). Today, it is a day to honor anyone who died while in service of the United States military. Interesting, it was not until 1967 that we officially named it Memorial Day.

In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3:00 pm in an act of national unity. That time was chosen because that was the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.

You cannot have freedoms without sacrifice. 

But you cannot make a sacrifice for another, without putting the needs of others ahead of your own. And without gratitude for the sacrifice of others, there can be no freedoms in society.


As you pause for one minute at 3:00 pm tomorrow in a act of national unity, you shall be doing so during a national pandemic. At that time, there may be 100,000 who have died due to COVID-19 here in the USA. 

We are currently fighting a different kind of enemy. Hopefully (all of us) can think about what it truly means to a hero, a patriot and a citizen of the United States of America. 

Freedom, Sacrifice, Gratitude. 

Indeed, we must find a way to have all three at the same time, for without all three in harmony and in balance, none of the three can exist alone.


"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." – Adlai Stevenson

"I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism."– Bob Riley

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."– Joseph Campbell

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."– George S. Patton

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." – John F. Kennedy


"Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering." – Theodore Roosevelt






Sunday, May 17, 2020

Alice's (Cloud) Restaurant

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...
Excepting Alice

If you are old like me, you know this classic song.

Alice's Restaurant Massacree is commonly known as Alice's Restaurant, a satirical talking blues song by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, released as the title track to his 1967 album Alice's Restaurant. The song is a deadpan protest against the Vietnam War draft, in the form of a comically exaggerated but true story from Guthrie's own life.

We would play this song every year, at Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember. Last year when I Googled it to play it, I came across Alice's Kids.

One thing led to another and next thing you know, I'm chatting live with Ron Fitzsimmons, founder of Alice's Kids. Next thing you know, Alice's Kids becomes the official charity of the NYDLA.org

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

A few years ago, during a snowstorm, I stumbled across a podcast of Lee Cockerell (of Hilton, Marriott and The Disney Company fame). I said to myself "Wow, this guy would make a great keynote for NYED-LA." One thing led to another and next thing you know, I'm connected with Lee Cockerell on LinkedIn.

I said in LinkedIn chat: Lee, I met you via David Burkus. You are amazing, I would love to add you to the TALENT pages of the NYDLA.org. You have the gift to get the point out to the millenials. Can we talk one day soon?

Lee types back to me in LinkedIn chat: "I am on a speaking tour right now, I will be in my car from 2-5 today and tomorrow from 1-5 if you to call me, here is my cell..."

Next thing you know, I'm buying a plane ticket to Orlando. Next thing you know, we are building out www.CockerellAcademy.com. Next thing you know, Lee's grandson needs a place to stay in New Jersey for the summer, during his college internship. I offered up our vacant 2nd floor, no charge. Next thing you know my wife is in her glory as she once again has "a baby" in the house to pamper and spoil for the summer. A 6'2" baby, a Captain America stunt double. (We were empty nesters at that time, both of our boys moved out). Point: Lee's grandson is an AMAZING human, like straight out of central casting at Disney.

Next thing you know we meet Lee's son Dan Cockerell, as he comes to visit HIS son. Next thing you know, we have TWO Cockerells on the talent page of NYDLA.org

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

Last month I saw a tweet from Tom Peters that caught my eye. Yeah, THAT Tom Peters. I must be getting slow in my old age, but it took me a week or two to connect with Tom. What a body of work. I wonder if we could do a NYDLAcast.com with Tom Peters? I wonder if we could promote his new book, to our global community? What about promoting www.TomPetersAcademy.com? (Point: we are recording a video podcast with Tom Peters on 5/19).

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...



Want to talk about the Elephant in the room?

Yes, our lives have changed dramatically over the past few months. Many of us are holding onto the belief that soon, everything will return to normal. People have lost money. Industries have been decimated. And - new industries have been flourishing due to unexpected demand. The technology sector in particular has seen massive profit spikes. As people are staying home, they're using new devices and programs to communicate, collaborate and live.

Zoom has become "a verb" as it gained 318% in just over a week in the middle of the crisis. Indoor cycle and fitness software producer Peloton, which had been struggling before the crisis, gained 32% in less than a week. Work messaging app Slack gained 33% in less than a week, after it's been lagging behind in performance for a year.

COVID-19 changed our lives, but our lives were already in a state of flux. It was just last year that we were talking about Climate Change and we were all worried about AI (Artificial Intelligence) totally disrupting our world. AI robots were supposed to take our jobs, remember? Not a virus.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

Remote Work has become Work. Distance Education has become Education. Telemedicine has become Medicine. And so on. The world was already changing, COVID-19 just made the future (our future) arrive early. And, our future showed up with a BANG. 

OK Tom, land the plane - tie it all together for us!

You can get anything you want, at Alice's (Cloud) Restaurant... DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR IN MINUTES!

Alice's Restaurant was originally recorded in 1967. On CBS This Morning on Thanksgiving 2016, Arlo Guthrie said: "It's not an anti-war song, it's an anti-stupid song. Because you can't run a country that way."

Anti-Stupid. 

I love that. My friend Lee Cockerell has a saying: "If you have flies in your kitchen, you must like flies."

Today, with the power of the cloud - if you are stupid, you must like being stupid. BUT you don't have to REMAIN stupid. And you certainly do not have to do it alone. We are all in this together. There are tough times in America today.

But none of us is as smart as all of us. You don't get extra points for going solo. Ask for help, get the help you need - and pay it forward.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's (Cloud) Restaurant... 


Join the NYDLA.org and THRIVE in the clouds











Sunday, May 3, 2020

Muscles, Brains and Heart

Wow. It feels like it was only a few months ago that 5,000+ gathered live at Javits Center in NYC for the AI Summit. So many smart people in one place, all discussing how AI (Artificial Intelligence) was going to change the world, and how AI (Robots) were going to make us all unemployed.

Well, not all of us would be unemployed, but enough to cause global chaos and economic upheaval.

It feels like it was only a few months ago, because it was only a few months ago. In December of 2019, our big fear was from technology taking our jobs. Not biology.

The only constant in life is change.
It is a good time to remind yourself that 2020 - 1776 = 244

It  has only been 244 years since Congress renamed the nation "United States of America" which replaced the term "United Colonies," which had been in general use.

In less than 244 years, we went from worrying about fighting the British to fighting AI Robots to fighting a Virus.

The British were once our enemy. Today we are allies. 

Just a few months ago, many felt that Technology and AI was the enemy. Today, we are relying on Science and Technology to save us.

NYDLA.org "NYED-LA" has changed - a lot. In 1983 we were all about Distance Learning. And as the world changed, we morphed into DIGITAL Learning. And now after 37 years, we are just DIGITAL LIVING. I only got involved in running NYDLA back in 2012, but what a ride the past 8 years have been.

Change is the only constant in life. NYDLA was born as a source of information for professional development. It was created to serve corporate training, teaching, training, learning and performance professionals. NYDLA was a "go-to" resource for innovative global learning and development news, trends, research and statistics, best practices, new products, services and technologies.

Basically, NYDLA was a glorified newsletter in 1983, and sounds like it was boring as hell.

Well, there is nothing boring about our world today. Technology will play an oversized role in learning in our future - and our future is NOW. But that role shall also be fulfilled by humans. The future is all about teachers, trainers, coaches, peers, families, and communities at large working for a common cause. The "Digital Divide" which refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology must go the way of buggy whips.

Together, we will need to evolve from us learning about technology to technology learning about us.

Learning in the future will be about humans becoming more human, while technology will assist. In the words of London School of Economics Professor Minouche Shafik: "In the past, jobs were about muscles; now they're about brains; but in the future, jobs will be about the heart."

Transformative Change happens when there is a catalyst and a crisis. A crucible. A time of profound trial at the end of which something new and much better emerges. The term crucible comes from a vessel used by medieval alchemists that withstand extreme heat to turn base metals into gold.

Today, COVID-19 is our crucible. 

The severe trials of the pandemic have revealed fundamental weaknesses in our society - many of which we knew about but were content to ignore. COVID-19 has forced our hand. The pandemic has made the future happen in months, not years. The future we knew was coming, has simply arrived early. We now have an opportunity to change because we have to, we have no choice but to embrace change. If we must change, let it be transformative and good for all. 

244 years happened in the blink of an eye. An entire nation (ours) was born out of conflict, stress, sacrifice and loss. What can help us today is for all of us to learn from the past, and - for all of us to draw on the collective wisdom of the past.

The British were once our enemy, now we are allies. 

Now, today: Science and Technology are our allies, and AI is not the enemy. 

Our nation was born only 244 years ago. Let's embrace the transformative change that has been thrust upon us, and ALL OF US shall make our nation better.








Sunday, April 26, 2020

What's the gravity of the situation?

I've got some nerd in me.

There are four fundamental forces in the physical world: electromagnetism, strong force, weak force, and gravity. It's effects on big objects, such as planets or stars, are relatively easy to see, but things get complicated when one tries to understand gravity in the small world of elementary particles.

So basically, the smartest people on the planet still don't know why I just broke my favorite coffee cup. And, they also don't know where my wife keeps the broom and dustpan.

I bring up gravity (get the pun?) because I think it is the scientific principle that 99.999% of the people on the planet would agree actually exists - even if they cannot explain it. Only the most obtuse person would say that gravity does not exist. And if you ever do find such a person, ask them to hold a bowling ball for an hour.

For centuries, 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was said to be the average, normal body temperature. It's not. More recently, researchers have known that normal body temperature is actually lower than 98.6 and can vary by gender, size, age, time of day and other factors. So, today most healthcare providers consider a fever to be 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

A German physician came up with 98.6 Fahrenheit as "average" human temperature in the 1800s. And it stuck. Until it got unstuck.

In science and math, there are some things we KNOW to be true. And then there are some things that we know to be true - but we still don't fully understand. We know the coffee cup will hit the ground if we knock it off the table with our elbow. But we don't exactly know WHY. It will be hard to find someone who will predict that the coffee cup will hover in midair and not fall to the ground.

OK, let's do Pandemics. For 100 years:

  1. Phase 1 is the period during which no animal viruses are reported to cause infection in humans.
  2. Phase 2 is the first level of threat wherein a virus is confirmed to have jumped from animal to humans. 
  3. Phase 3 is when sporadic cases or small clusters of disease are confirmed, but human-to-human transmission has not occured.
  4. Phase 4 is the point where human-to-human transmission has caused a community-wide outbreak.
  5. Phase 5 is when human-to-human transmission of the virus has caused spread of the disease to at least two countries.
  6. Phase 6 is the point at which the disease is declared a pandemic, having spread to at least one other country.
Got it? OK, now forget all that. 

As of February of this year, the WHO (World Health Organization) said there is no official category for a pandemic. The 6 phases listed above are no longer valid. Just like 98.6 is no longer normal, we don't exactly know how to define a pandemic. The smartest people in the world are not exactly sure when an epidemic becomes a pandemic. 

Where are you going with this Tom?

There is a time and a place to embrace science, to embrace truth, and to live our lives in a way that incorporates science into our behavior. We turn to the experts: scientists, doctors, nurses, public health specialists, and the wide range of medical professionals whom we trust. We all want answers. We want guidance on how to keep ourselves and our families safe. We want to understand how to combat COVID-19: to beat it together, and to beat it quickly. 

Land the plane, Tommy..... bring it home for us......

We don't know exactly WHY the coffee cup falls to the floor, but we are certain it will fall. Just because science cannot exactly explain GRAVITY does not mean we don't believe gravity exists. A lay person is not qualified to compare, contrast or define the general theory of relativity or Newton's law of universal gravitation. 

Just because we don't fully understand ALL of it, does not mean as a global community we should not fully embrace the parts that we DO understand. When fighting a pandemic, do not say "we are not certain, we are not sure, we don't know" because in the world of science, we never know for sure. That is the beauty of science.  

Normal body temperature is no longer exactly 98.6 degrees. The WHO says the 6 Phases of a pandemic is no longer useful or accurate. We still don't know EXACTLY how gravity works, but we know the coffee cup will fall. Every time. 

Science and medicine will get us through this pandemic - and the next one. Yes, there will be another one, just as there were pandemics in the past. 

Don't let the weakness of human nature slow down the healing process. Allow the experts: the scientists, doctors, nurses, public health specialists, and the wide range of medical professionals to do their jobs. We must let the smartest people on the planet to do their jobs - for all of us. We must support them. We must listen to the experts, and take their advice - even if their advice changes from time to time. That's how science works.

Now is not the time for "opinions" from emotional, well-intentioned but ill-informed people. I get it, we are all worried, we are all scared. But we must be mentally AND physically strong, and we must trust the experts. The experts and the scientists are not the enemy, the virus is the enemy. 

One day in the future, I am sure we shall indeed fully understand gravity. And our full understanding gravity will certainly change our global society and our world forever.

But for now, until we DO know exactly how gravity actually works - you should move that coffee cup away from the edge of the table.








Sunday, April 19, 2020

What if Simon Sneezed?

As of this morning, Simon Sinek's September 2009 TEDx Puget Sound "TED Talk" has 49,512,510 views. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." It supports organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community.

There is a 99% chance that you have seen a TED.com talk. There is a much lesser chance that you know that TED Talks / TED Conferences LLC (Technology, Entertainment, Design) were conceived in 1984 but they were financially unsuccessful. It took six years for the second conference to be organized. 

What if the folks at TED never tried again, after their initial failure?

Simon's September 2009 TEDx talk - starting with the golden circle and the question: "Why?" became one of the most watched TED Talks of all time. 

When I came across Simon's TED Talk it was already a massive hit. When I learned that Simon was doing a book signing in NYC in July of 2011, I put my two sons into the car and we went to meet Simon.

What if Simon's 2009 TEDx Talk did not go so well? 

What if Simon had a cold that day, or what if Simon just was not on his "A Game" in Puget Sound? That famous TED Talk might have only been really, really good - not freaking AMAZING. Ah, but it WAS AMAZING. Simon Sinek caught lightning in a bottle in 2009. It happened because it was supposed to happen - because IT HAPPENED.

In 2011 I became part of the START WITH WHY movement. 

Before that, I was running my own telecom and technology company (technically, I still do). I was attending the NYDLA (Distance Learning) events for years, like a good salesman should. These were the folks who were buying the stuff I was selling, so this was a target rich environment for sales. But because of the recession, nonprofits like NYDLA were suffering. NYDLA was broke, and the association was on life support. The leadership of NYDLA basically said: we're out of money and we are shutting it all down. Unless someone wants to take it over.

Because I was evangelizing Simon's START WITH WHY movement, I gave a "WHY" presentation at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey. One thing led to another, and I told the folks at Rutgers about NYDLA and how I was thinking about "taking over" the defunct NYDLA. Rutgers became our first NYDLA sponsor, and with one stroke of the pen, NYDLA had 500,000+ new members - the living alumni of Rutgers. And then, we met all of the businesses that "did business" with Rutgers.

What if I never went to Rutgers that day? Well for one, there would be no NYDLA today. It happened because it was supposed to happen - because IT HAPPENED.

When my son was attending Quinnipiac University School of Business, I made it a point to get to know his professors (helicopter parenting, guilty). One thing led to another, and I was invited to speak to one of my son's IT/MIS classes. From that, I was invited by the Dean of the School of Business to "present" to all of the graduating High School students living in Connecticut. I had to wake up at 4:00 am on a Saturday to drive up to Quinnipiac from New Jersey to make that presentation. I almost talked myself out of going that day. Little did I know that my presentation was going to be professionally recorded by a local TV station, and that it would go viral.

What if I never went to Quinnipiac that morning? It happened because it was supposed to happen - because IT HAPPENED.

Ever hear of this thing called Zoom? 

Eric Yuan, a former Cisco Webex engineer and executive founded Zoom in 2001, and launched its software in 2013. Zoom's aggressive revenue growth and ease-of-use and reliability of its software resulted in a $1 billion valuation in 2017. Approximately one year ago to the date of this blog post, the company went public. Zoom was valued at $16 billion by the end of its first day of trading. Again, Eric Yuan rose to Vice President of Cisco Webex, but after realizing that customers were not happy with the product, he left in 2011 to start Zoom.

What if the Cisco Webex customers were just "a little more happy" back in 2011 - would Eric have felt the need to leave his Vice President position and start Zoom? It happened because it was supposed to happen - because IT HAPPENED.

The NYDLA went from "can't pay their website bill" to servicing 300+ of the Fortune 1000 and 46% of the Schools of Business, including the alumni of all 8 Ivy League Schools. Similar to Zoom, there is a free version and a paid version of NYDLA.

And today, NYDLA is www.PoweredByZoom.us as all members receive the paid version of Zoom (Zoom Pro) for free. It's "baked in" and is a value-added member benefit of our paid membership fee.

As of this blog post, COVID-19 is ravaging our country, and the entire world. 2,343,293 total cases worldwide. 161,330 deaths. The entire US economy is shut down, as "working from home" is the new normal. The pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to near-total closures of schools, universities and colleges. The pandemic has led to severe global socioeconomic disruption, the postponement or cancellation of sporting, religious, political and cultural events. There are widespread shortages of supplies exacerbated by panic buying. Some of us are waking up this morning and asking ourselves: why is this pandemic happening? Why is this happening to me, and to my family? 

Today, the NYDLA services the 55M+ people who live, learn, work and play in the "New York Megalopolis". The 14 states that make up the Northeast of the USA. When and where we can help people to get through the coronavirus pandemic, we do so - at no charge. We have gone from "we are shutting down" all operations in 2010 to becoming a source of knowledge, technology and talent to assist and support anyone who needs help.

We (NYDLA) have gone from a bankrupt trade association in 2010 to a global community servicing millions of like-minded people who are living, learning, working and playing in the new cloud economy. 

I have learned many things in the past ten years. As the TV commercial says: "We know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two." Personally I did not have global pandemic on my list of things to experience in my lifetime. But I also would not have predicted working with Simon Sinek, or Eric Yuan or taking over the NYDLA or now - being on the front lines of helping people in dealing with COVID-19 on a global basis.

I've had the honor to work with many amazingly successful people in my lifetime. Celebrities, professional athletes, people from the world of entertainment. But the most important lesson that I have learned from working with any and all of them is simply this: 

It's people first, then money, then things. 

When and where the NYDLA community can help you, your family, your employees or your business to get through this pandemic, we shall do so. No charge. 

Be safe.

Thomas A. Capone
Chairman, CEO
NYDLA.org


On December 20, 2011, Quinnipiac University hosted the
E-Commerce Entrepreneurship Experiential Event
for high school students in Connecticut.