Saturday, September 17, 2011

Idea School Chronicles

What you do is you create awesome content and give it away.

In the spirit of GIVE, one of our classes, I'm hitting this full force. All of my down time is going to build the new, interactive site, with sweet free content.

I always thought it would be really hard to do this, but I decided to subscribe to, which has thousands of modules on all types of computer based software, programming languages, and inspiration interviews with design firms. Really cool.

Check out this awesome video on sharing:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Idea School Chronicles

Idea School is a little over 1 year old now.

The journey has been tough. Really tough in fact. If you know about it, what we're doing is building a creative project school, which is about entrepreneurship, art, and community. We believe in fun, hands-on experiences that allow us to create our callings instead of train for a job. It's about collaboration and creativity. It's about making a difference and having the coolest experience while doing it.

Over the last year we've been working on different projects, started by other individuals, trying to impact them in every way possible. Trying to make them real. At Green Urban Lunchbox, we learned; at Ripple Effect, we tried to force alternate action; and now, at The Granary District, we're going to try ninjas.

Recently we proposed hosting micro-events to add some splash to the neighborhood and tout it as a cool place to hang out. However, it's become clear that we need to be more involved or else we'll be stuck holding an event every few months, which won't build the community as it has been envisioned. We're assembling a team to do this and we'll do all the work, all in order to support the project founder.

The lesson here is that massive collaboration is so important. Following is important. We have to support our leaders without being asked to.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Awesome job fair and polar bears.

Yesterday I ran a booth for Idea School at the Jobs/Volunteer Fair and the outcome was fantastic. I made a lot of awesome connections, both student related and community related.

At first, I was pretty nervous, but my old sales skills kicked in and I was on fire for the whole day. Met a lot of interesting and cool individuals who will hopefully spread the word about our work.

Really should do more events like this. Anybody who says event marketing doesn't work is wrong. Really just comes down to how much will it cost me and what is the audience. Pretty simple.

As a side note: going to Alaska the day after tomorrow. Came up quick. I'll be back on the 5th. Cross your fingers that I don't get eaten by a polar bear.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just came across this book:

Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools

In a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America’s failure to educate its children and points the way to reversing that failure...  -Publisher's Summary

Disappointing... no, wait. It's more than that. It's actually upsetting. 

I'm not knocking what the author has done. We need initiatives like these to help move that movement forward. What I'm upset with is that year after year, week after week, it seems that the public is mostly bent on helping only children have a better education. Granted, this is a real issue. Children don't really get a choice in life.

But there is a big failure that everybody ignores. That failure manifests itself in the children already grown. The young adults of our country who grew up being told that everything would be okay. They would graduate and get a job and have a happy life. Maybe get married and have kids. Become a millionaire and get the chance to travel extensively. 

*Sirens going off*

What's that?! Oh wait, it's the bullshit alarm. Let me turn that off for you. Sorry about that.

Here's the reality:

The truth is hard to swallow. The reason nobody is setting out to 'rescue' the young adult, college kid crowd is pretty obvious. It's hard.  A lot harder than helping kids in elementary school. Children have to go to school. 

Try convincing a college kid to try something new, work hard, be creative, accept criticism and blame, and be generous. Schools are going to continue teaching us the same old things because its easier than trying to get us to actually give a shit, confront inevitable failure, and make a difference.

Here's even more reality:

It's not actually their job to get us to do those things. It's ours. We have to make the choice to care about our art, our work. We have to choose to make a difference and find our own purposes.

The troubling part is nobody wants to help us. The encouraging part is it will make us stronger. Would you have it any other way?

This could have been a book about that. It could have been a book about what to do when you graduate and there are no jobs. It could have been a heartfelt book about creating your own career, starting an initiative, and making your art, while overcoming resistance.

Instead: read The War of Art

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Genres Are Vehicles, Not Content

I realized something interesting today. There are a lot of similarities between books of different genres. Seriously, way more than you think. I hope this post will convince you to search outside your traditional genre for something you didn't know was there. The results will surprise you. Read on...

For a long time I've read pretty much exclusively non-fiction, business books. I read a lot about personal development and the exploits of others. I also have read a lot of philosophical fiction, my favorite being Paulo Coelho, a brilliant Brazilian author. (He wrote The Alchemist).

A favorite business author of mine is Seth Godin, author of Tribes, The Dip, and Purple Cow, among many others. He also happens to have the most widely read business blog in the world.

What I noticed astonished me. The entire premise of The Dip, which is about getting through the tough parts to make it to the wonderful success at the end, was very similar to a lot of the things Paulo Coelho talks about in his books.

Here's an example:

Coelho writes about Beginner's Luck in The Alchemist. Basically he describes it as the Universe wetting your appetite with success. What usually follows are incredibly tough times and heartache. (I know this, I've been there personally). Eventually, if a person perseveres long enough he/she will fulfill their Personal Legend.

Now, lets get away from Coelho's spiritual and somewhat cryptic speech and move toward more pragmatic language.

Godin, in his short book The Dip, writes passionately about starting something new, whether a new project, career, business, or skill. At the beginning, things seem to be fun and awesome and moving along smoothly. Then, you hit a wall and the fun goes away and suddenly everything becomes difficult. The part that makes everybody else quit. This seems to get more impossibly difficult until finally, you're on a rapid upswing. The persistence pays off, and you have your success.

Both are simply different formats for telling the same story. I know I've noticed this before, yet now it's flooding me.

A genre is merely a vehicle for understanding, not the content itself. Remember that.