Disclaimer: i don’t like motivational speakers – at least not in the traditional sense. That said, here is a video that explains a pretty simple concept: if you overcome your fear of something, you can actually get pretty god at it.

The guy is a good story-teller, for sure, and he says some stuff that I agree with (specially at the end of the video). However I have my reservations about some stuff there (learning to dance and getting to the semi-finals of  a professional competition in less than a year? That creates a problem, you see: either that is very very improbable – I would call it simply untrue –  or my previous post about 10.000 hours needed to become a master is a lie. You decide).

And that gets me back to the whole motivational speaker thing. A very American phenomenon, that inspires a lot of people, sure. But we are talking about people who chose Forrest Gump as the best movie of the year in 1994, against the (in my humble opinion) vast superior Pulp Fiction (it was a great year for movies, as Shawshank Redemption – also a much better movie than Forrest Gump – was also nominated). What does this tell us? People like feel-good, motivational stuff. As for me, I like raw reality, and I don’t believe that telling people simple stories is that effective in changing anything. But then again I’m not American, and I don’t buy cereal because it appears on tv commercials.

That’s not to say that I do not enjoy some speakers – I do love a great speaker. But I like them for the rhetoric itself, for the beauty of the language, for the pure brilliance of their speech or their ideas. That’s what motivates me – great ideas – not just uplifting stories.

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The Barrier

Some points are raised here.

While valid, i think they missed a fundamental reason, by focusing on innovation created by existing companies and subject to the corporate world. Water-coolers, office dynamics, bah. Whatever.

The barrier to innovation, as I see it, is a very simple one: how to start. How to get from the idea to the product, how to get going. How to do something, when you know what you want to do.

It is, by far, the biggest barrier: how to get from the idea on paper, to a real business. The article above, while providing some clues how to generate ideas, misses the important part. Having ideas is easy (for the right people). I have a dozen of them, and some are pretty great.

It’s the transition from idea to product that is hard, and that the article fails to address.

Young solutions

Sometimes the people in charge overlook true potential.

This article only confirms some of my ideas about entrepreneurship and the life of big companies – namely that, many times, the big business leaders know nothing about the product (and even less about great ideas and innovation) because they are simply  “money people”.

And what this means is that there is no space for the young creative, apart from a lowly position with no real power to change anything (and it doesn’t even matter how good his ideas are).

What are the exceptions? The young people who, instead of going around trying to get hired by some old and blind (but very well paid and respected) businessmen, create their own thing, and run with it.

That’s what I believe in, and that’s what I will strive to do.

I envy this guy

Seriously.

I always had a passion for computers and programming but, due to a series of reasons, never ended up following that. I can excuse myself with some stuff, like the fact that I could never meet people who shared my interest, or that the place where I grew up in wasn’t the best to follow on that, but those are just excuses. And I think I have naturally found other stuff that I’m better at than programming, so maybe all turned out for the best.

But still, I can’t help but feel a slight sting (which, in the wise words of Mr. Marcellus Wallace, is just “pride f*****’ with me”) when I hear stories like these, because I would love to be the one creating cool stuff.

Not that I am not – some incredibly cool stuff is just around the corner, and I’ve played a major part on that – but I’m simply not able to do it in the role of the programmer which, at least to me, is as (or even more) creative than that of the person who came up with the idea to be implemented.

Oh well, no crying over spilled milk.

Want to be a part of something big?

I might have just the right thing for you.

I’m working on a really interesting project right now, one that has the potential to really change the lives (or, of course, a small part of the lives – I like to be realistic) of a lot of people for the better.

What do I need from you? Well, that will depend.

Are you a creative genius? Are you a very well-connected person? Are you the kind of person who is able to notice what is wrong in something that all others overlook everyday and assume as normal and unchangeable?

Then I want you.

Are you a guy who has a ton of money and would like to invest in a very promising business opportunity?

Then I want you.

Are you just some regular guy?

Then I wan… Oh wait. Nope, not interested.

 

And, more importantly, do you have a passion for efficiency and minimalism, the belief that simplicity is the ultimate complexity and that by the power of innovation people are able to make a difference?

Then I certainly want you.

 

I have a (very small) group of very cool and talented people already, but I’m always interested in meeting others who possess the qualities described above, for they are the ones who can really make a difference.

 

And that’s what I aim to do: make a difference. And if that’s what you aim as well, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Succeed Different

What is the difference between the ordinary man and the successful entrepreneur?

According to this article, at least nine things can be identified – and they pretty much confirm what everybody already knows.

One of the most important things is (you guessed it!) pure will power, and the courage not to give up on the face of adversities. Then we get more specific advice, like being specific and focused in whatever we choose to do, take calculated risks, be realistic but not negative, and be able to focus on long-term goals.

A light read, and kind of interesting at a superficial level, but nothing really new. Tons of articles like this exist all over the web, and I have yet to see the first successful businessman saying that he succeeded because he read something like this.

10.000 hours

Nothing comes from nothing, practice makes perfect.

It takes time to refine, improve and take a company or product to their true potential.

At the same time, I believe in some kind of inate qualities – while it is true that, without practice, it will be very hard to get anywhere, there are some things in, no matter how many years of practice one has, is doesn’t really matter.

The trully remarkable ideas are generally simple, and it is by being able to thinking clearly without being bogged down by experience, that we are able to get to them. And no amount of time can create them by practice.

The brain creates meaning

The brain plays different roles in creating meaning.

This is important to know the best way to transmit a message, mainly via visual cues.

Visual, interactive, persistent. These seem to be the three main aspects to communicate an idea successfully.

We can apply this knowledge to a variety of fields – any field that demands communication, such as teaching, marketing, politics, management. And by doing it we will be improving results, by creating a more aprehensible and lasting message.

They don’t remember to forget

Very, very interesting.

There’s not much I can say about it, but that the human brain never ceases to amaze us in its capacities.

I’ve known for a long time of some impressive feats of the mind, like being able to say the number pi to the 100.000th digit, or remember the exact order of cards in dozens and dozens of shuffled packs of cards, but there is just something about this that is different.

Because it affects everything: we are a result of our memory, so, in a sense, we die a little everyday, by forgetting – only to get new information, to replace that which we forgot. So it is like our lives are capped at a maximum of information we can hold at a certain time, quite like a mp3 player that is nearing full capacity: to get new songs in, old songs have to go out.

But these people are different. They seem to have an (almost) infinite capacity to remember. What difference does that make for them?

It is a really complex question, and I really don’t feel like I’m capable of answering it.

After all, I can’t remember anything that happened more than 5 years ago.

Interesting, but…

I don’t know nothing about what he’s saying. Well, I “know” what he is saying. I just don’t know enough of the science backing it up, so it could all be completely false. I just don’t know.

But, for the sake of it, let’s suppose he is saying the truth.

What does that entail? No idea. Yeah, you can see your brain. And? By seeing the patterns, you can’t change a thing. Yeah, I can see that by writing, this part of my brain is activated. And? That won’t make me write better. You can’t turn on and off parts of your brain just by willing it.

So yeah, we will get to know exactly what part of the brain does what. Big deal, we already know that, to a great extent. But we won’t be able to change a thing about it without external intervention, be it either through drugs or invasive procedures.

I guess i don’t get what he’s saying.