Sunday, July 26, 2020

Overture, Curtain, Lights

[ If you are on a smartphone, view in landscape, hold sideways ]

Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and nursing a part
We know every part by heart
Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, we'll hit the heights
And oh what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it

Tonight what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it

If you were born in the 60's like me, this was your battle cry. This was the theme song to your life. I remember Saturday Morning Cartoons with Bugs Bunny and the gang like it was yesterday. Saturday morning cartoons were the highlight of the week for every kid in America. This was the original "must see TV". 

Last night (in my living room) at around 9:00 pm I had a little get together with some writers, actors and directors. Some were famous, some not so much. But via the power of Zoom (pandemic or no pandemic) we all spent around an hour chatting about movies, acting, comedy, anything that the audience could post in the Q&A box. Patton Oswalt was the most famous person on the panel, but the director's dog might have stolen the show. As they say in show business: never follow kids or animals. 

Earlier in the week, the NYDLA sponsored a Telehealth Summit - again in my living room. Two days of thought leaders, subject matter experts, and vendors from all around the world. Experts from the world of HealthTech, MedTech, and Telemedicine. It was an excellent event, virtual or otherwise.

The Telehealth Summit was a huge success. But what really struck me was the post-event entertainment. Normally after such a "live" event we would all gather at some venue, such as a bar or restaurant. Or there would be a happy hour or cocktail hour, where everyone would mingle and most likely exchange business cards. Well, since we could not all go to a piano bar - the piano bar came to us. To our homes. And thanks to things like DoorDash and other delivery services, we also had amazing food and adult beverages, as we all mingled and exchanged contact information in the Zoom "break out" (rooms) tables. Click and we're connected on LinkedIn. Click and we're connected on Twitter. I have to admit, these virtual events are growing on me. And with DoorDash powered virtual events, my waistline is also growing. 

Again, since I was born in the 60's I remember Zoom (the TV series). Zoom stylized as ZOOM was a half-hour educational television program, created almost entirely for children. It aired on PBS from January 1972 to around March 1978. Imagine if TODAY's ZOOM existed back then, where we could all Zoom with the original Zoomies. Imagine if kids were able to chat live, talk live, interact LIVE in real-time with the Zoom Kids. Wow, we would ALL be Zoom kids, right? Or what about this: Mister Rogers, live on Zoom, talking to the kids - live - right in their homes. That would have been cool. 

Yeah, the COVID-19 pandemic sucks. But I am amazed how every day there is a new way to use Zoom. Weddings, Meetings, Events, Book Signings, Book Clubs, Comedy Shows, Cooking Shows, Concerts, Class Reunions, Zoom Bingo. Every week I check in at to see what new and creative ways people are using Zoom. Here is what is nuts: even when people are using WebEx or GoToMeeting or other brands, they are called Zoom Schools or Zoom Events or the entire category is called "The Zoom Companies" by Wall Street analysts. 

Ah yes, it is really cool when your brand becomes a verb. 

In August, will be LIVE, with free templates to make Zoom Shows, Zoom Schools, Zoom Conventions, Zoom Concerts, Zoom.......anything....easy for anyone. Virtual events (of any size) will be supported by live "Zoomers" on-demand to help to produce, curate and guarantee the best possible experience for everyone in the room, from anywhere in the world. Zoom (the TV show) had an entire production crew, in a TV studio in downtown Boston. will have the same thing - live people - but everyone will be working from their homes. Ah yes, KNOWLEDGE + TECHNOLOGY + TALENT (where have I heard that before?).

Humans like to have a choice. We don't want to be forced to do anything, even when it is good for us. (See: wearing a mask in public). 

I live 25 miles west of Times Square, and I really (really) miss going into the city for meetings and events. I hope that we will soon be able to have choices once again - for schools, for medicine, for meetings, for events, for anything. Remember, even when we do go back to hosting live events, we probably won't be shaking hands again. And I'm not too sure about exchanging paper business cards, either. 

All of us, we all want to again have choices. "To Zoom, or not to Zoom, that is the question". Hat Tip to Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. The main point of that speech remains the same: Hamlet tries to decide if living or dying is best. 

Hint: living is the best choice, always. Virtually or otherwise. 

Bugs Bunny Overture Theme

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Bring it home!

5.5M+ members of the were invited to attend the TELEHEALTH INNOVATION FORUM, July 21-22, 2020. From home.

Last week, we attended Workplace TRANSFORM which was LIVE at 5:00 AM EST because it was broadcast live from London. Anyone who did not attend the event live can watch the 90 minute archive on demand via

Last month we had 32,000+ attend COLLISION FROM HOME. We expect 100,000+ to attend Web Summit in December. From home. 

All of this movement "to the cloud" was already happening last year. Heck, we have been making the pilgrimage to the cloud for years. But the pandemic forced years of movement to happen in a matter of months. 

BROADWAY in The Big Apple might never come back. How painful to say that word - never. There is nothing more powerful than a live performance on Broadway. I have my fingers crossed that some really smart people will figure out how to bring Times Square and Broadway (and Off Broadway) back to life. 

Just last night, I attended a virtual book signing for one of our comic friends, Mike Birbiglia. If you bought his new book, you were invited to his virtual book signing, on Zoom. It was cool. Normally, we would all meet up in NYC at one of the cool boutique bookstores. Sometimes the line would stretch around the block. Last night thousands attended the book signing. From all around the world. 

My own son will be having a "Zoom Wedding" this year. Check out for amazing stories of how the world is now 

We are all moving at light speed into the new world of virtual EVERYTHING. Virtual teaching, virtual training, virtual coaching. Telemedicine has become just MEDICINE. Distance Education has become just EDUCATION. Remote Work has become just WORK. Meetings, Events, Weddings, Parties, Book Signings, every day some "new thing" is being done via technology. 

There will be a day in the future (not tomorrow, but one day) where we shall be able to meet in groups, like we did last year. We might never shake hands again, but we shall be in the same room. 

For now, just sit back and continue to be amazed at how technology is changing our world forever. 

Oh but do first. Then sit back.  

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Does this taste funny to you?

Two cannibals are eating a comedian. One of the cannibals looks up and asks the other:

"Does this taste funny to you?"

When I was growing up, my father would say to me (at least a few times a month) - out loud for all in the room to hear: "What are you a comedian?" Dad would ask me this so many times that I started to wonder if he was trying to give me career advice. 

Another one of his "go to" comments was: "NOBODY LIKES A SMART ASS".  

One time our family was having lunch at a diner and Dad saw this plate hanging on the wall. "How much for that plate!" The owner of the diner said it was not for sale. "Name your price!" says Dad. 

So $100 later, Dad has his smartass plate. And then, he hands it to ME, across the table, with a big grin. Mom and my sister knew what was coming.

I paused, and then said: "Wow. I almost bought this exact same plate for YOU. They are selling these plates nextdoor at the Five and Dime store for $10."

I think every comedian was once a smartass, but not every smartass can become a comedian. 

At least not a professional. 

We have been doing our "Coffee in the Clouds" podcasts for a few years now. Thanks to the power of Zoom we upgraded from audio only to video podcasts. Sure you can just listen to the audio file, but humans are visual creatures, and VIDEO killed the radio star, right?

I met Shaun Eli a few years ago when his comedy show was in BOONTON, NEW JERSEY! Boonton, around 25 miles west of Times Square. NYC COMEDY comes to Main Street BOONTON! I'm in. 

I went to the show, and then another, and then another. I have always been a fan of comedy, especially the "science" of comedy. Over the years I learned of The Second City WORKS, the corporate education and entertainment arm of the world-renowned Second City comedy theater. They would use the same methods pioneered on stage to drive individual growth and organizational improvement. They created engaging, fun virtual learning and on-demand digital content to help dispersed teams to stay connected, engaged, and performing at their best. Man, that "is" right? I felt the connection in my bones. 

SO: here comes COVID-19 and the global pandemic. The world gets flipped on its head in 2020. And, the world of COMEDY and COMEDY SHOWS becomes decimated. Amazing professional comics who would normally be doing sold out shows in NYC (and around the world) are now doing NO SHOWS AT ALL. 

None, Zip, Nada. 

AND: Probably because we had too much time on our hands, and after all these many years, we did a CoffeeInTheClouds - with COMEDIANS. At first I think we were just going to do a Zoom interview, talking about the pandemic, talking about show biz, and discussing how SOME people are using technology (ala Zoom Shows) and are trying to do SOMETHING while we are all on quarantine at home. 

One show lead to another, and another and then another...

And now we are doing Coffee in the Clouds - with ACTORS. And AUTHORS. And ATHLETES. And we are talking with so many thought leaders, subject matter experts and business leaders that have been deeply affected by the new world of COVID-19. runs on Zoom. We were selling, marketing, promoting all things "Zoom" before Zoom became a verb. Today, we are honored to help people to get back to work, whether it's hosting fitness classes, planning events, or any of the other imaginative ways people run their lives and work "in the clouds". Being separated from our teams, our family and our friends is never easy. But even in the most trying times, we are seeing new ways to come together. From dance parties to pitch meetings, happy hours to hair care, life's biggest moments are still happening. 

One of MY last happy life moments with Dad was yet again at the heels of another one of his: "What are you, a comedian?" bits:

ME: "Well Dad, I see you peed your pants again. Was that me, or do we have something else going on here?"

My mistake was being a smartass standing too close to his wheelchair when I delivered the punchline. Man, he still "packed a punch" in his old age. 

Ah, so THAT is where the term "punchline" comes from!

My best joke is "The Pig with the Wooden Leg" story. My jokes tend to be stories. 

Maybe I'll tell you about The Pig with the Wooden Leg one day over Zoom. But my days of working for free are OVER!  It's gonna cost you at least a dollar.  

After all, I AM a COMEDIAN

I'm old enough to remember the birth of MTV:
The Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star

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 he researched whether a stage musical of Hamilton's life had already 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 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 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