I Just Don't Understand an Open Mind

I woke up this morning with only two thoughts in my brain. First, I must listen to Electric Feel by MGMT (am listening to it now). The second thought is that I just don’t understand an “open mind”.

Curiosity ensues…

I mean on one level, an open mind is simply being able to see. I found a writing about photography where the author explores what she natively sees. Most of the time she goes in search of something directly in her mind. When she finds the beautiful shot she then ignores the possible ugliness around. Often, though, a dramatic and sad experience will force us to see the ugliness or difference, sometimes even search for it. For most the native state is baised and requires a force to see.

On another level, our city planners long ago realized that citizens need to be broken out of their workday lives. But rather than force them to go for a walk in the park, they would build them into ideal locations and just watch it happen. For example, an “open campus” in Sapporo, Japan is so open that it not only serves as campus and park, but has grown to become a vital water source for the city. Examples such as this and even New York City’s Central Park, show that parks and public places have easily become an insitutional part of any city. Strangely enough this structural addition is very easily accepted, no force required. Just place a park next to an office building and people will want to break out of their office and walk in them. For all, the need for a change in environment is inherent, institutional, and no force need apply.

A while ago I was browsing through Agust Jackson’s blog and found a TED Talk video he liked on the difference between Liberals and Conservatives (embedded below, highly worth watching). In it, Jonathan Haidt talks about openness. How liberals are not really liberals at all, they are just a group of being with a higher value of openness. Those conservatives are really folks with a lower value (theortically replaced by tradition, “the way it is”). I generally agreed with the points he is making that that some people are just going to be more open to change than others. For those that are open, change is inevitable, for those that are not open, it is worth it to fight against it.

Finally, Jeff Nolan in his post on the value of being open and honest talks about corporate values being resistant to change. In a sense this can be extrapolated beyond a business culture in into our broader society. The innate culture of almost any country on earth is very resistant to change. For some change takes the form of revolution or coup. Others like the USA have found a peaceful way to enact change (elections, term limits). Either way it shows that stasis is the ideal state of a culture or corporation because it allows folks to understand, make rules, and easily traverse the waters. For society and corporations, change is natural but dangerous.

All of this research still leaves me not understanding what an “open mind” is. What it needs. How it functions. More importantly to me, how it will act. Arggh!

The need to understand is undying.

Two Conferences Worth Attending – SXSW & ETech

It’s another year and another round of conferences to attend. Personally, I love conferences but can only stand one or two each year. I learn so much and make so many contacts from each one that I prefer to learn/digest/build rather than continue on the roadshow.

As such, here are two for 2009 that Amy and I are most interested in. They are the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactice and the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. What you will find below is a write-up about the conferences that I create for my customer and bosses. I really hope to get one of them to come with us this year.

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SXSW Interactive

The Brightest Minds in Emerging Technology

Summary:

SXSW Interactive Festival covers a full range topics, from blogging trends and CMS techniques to tech-related social issues and wireless innovation. There will be more than 180 panel sessions on the following topics:

  • Advertising / Marketing
  • Business / Entrepreneurial
  • Community / Social Networks
  • Content
  • Digital Filmmaking
  • Human / Social Issues
  • Mobile / Wireless
  • New Technology / Next Generation
  • Programming
  • Web / Interface Design

Keynotes:

  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos.com)
  • Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, author of the “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More,”
  • Guy Kawasaki (of Apple and several VC companies)

Date/Location:

  • Friday afternoon, March 13 through Tuesday afternoon, March 17
  • Austin, TX

Website:

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O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference

Summary:

The event gathers together the world’s most interesting people to bring to light the important and disruptive innovations that we see on the horizon, rather than the ones that have already arrived. ETech hones in on what’s going to be making a difference not this year, or maybe even next year, but around the corner as the market digests the next wave of hacker-led surprises.

Since 2002, ETech has put onstage the blue sky innovation, from thought leaders finding ways to solve the world’s ills to hackers modding, breaking, and building for the fun of it, from P2P and swarm intelligence to social software and collective intelligence. Radical and unknown at the time, today many of the ideas first seen at ETech are on the tongues of investors and business pundits–and in the hands of consumers, fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and play.

Topics:

  • Mobile & the Web
  • City Tech – Can technology create a livable, prosperous, sustainable city? Which emerging technologies are poised to deliver a brighter, greener future?
  • Health – What are the breakthroughs in technology, genomics, medicine, anti-aging, drug development, and delivery that will make a difference in extending our lives and enhancing our quality of life?
  • Materials – We’ll examine the latest in mechanics and the materials that enable new developments. What mechanisms will be possible? How will the coming age of materials change our clothes, our products, and our everyday lives?
  • Life – What are the emerging technologies that promise to infuse themselves into our cultural and social fabric to help us work smarter, more efficiently, and create greater connectivity?

Keynotes:

  • Mary Lou Jepsen, dubbed one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2008
  • Joi Ito (Creative Commons), Creative Commons – Creating Legal and Technical Interoperability
  • Drew Endy, David Grewal (BioBricks Foundation)
  • Jason Schultz (UC Berkeley School of Law), Building a New Biology
  • Eric Paulos (Carnegie Mellon University), Enabling Citizen Science
  • Jane McGonigal (Avant Game), Superstruct: How to Invent the Future by Playing a Game
  • Aaron Koblin of Google, Making Art with Lasers, Sensors and the Net
  • Tony Jebara (Columbia University), Mobile phones reveal the behavior of places and people

Date/Location:

  • March 9-12
  • San Jose, CA

Website:

Two Conferences Worth Attending – SXSW & ETech

It’s another year and another round of conferences to attend. Personally, I love conferences but can only stand one or two each year. I learn so much and make so many contacts from each one that I prefer to learn/digest/build rather than continue on the roadshow.

As such, here are two for 2009 that Amy and I are most interested in. They are the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactice and the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. What you will find below is a write-up about the conferences that I create for my customer and bosses. I really hope to get one of them to come with us this year.

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

SXSW Interactive

The Brightest Minds in Emerging Technology

Summary:

SXSW Interactive Festival covers a full range topics, from blogging trends and CMS techniques to tech-related social issues and wireless innovation. There will be more than 180 panel sessions on the following topics:

  • Advertising / Marketing
  • Business / Entrepreneurial
  • Community / Social Networks
  • Content
  • Digital Filmmaking
  • Human / Social Issues
  • Mobile / Wireless
  • New Technology / Next Generation
  • Programming
  • Web / Interface Design

Keynotes:

  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos.com)
  • Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, author of the “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More,”
  • Guy Kawasaki (of Apple and several VC companies)

Date/Location:

  • Friday afternoon, March 13 through Tuesday afternoon, March 17
  • Austin, TX

Website:

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference

Summary:

The event gathers together the world’s most interesting people to bring to light the important and disruptive innovations that we see on the horizon, rather than the ones that have already arrived. ETech hones in on what’s going to be making a difference not this year, or maybe even next year, but around the corner as the market digests the next wave of hacker-led surprises.

Since 2002, ETech has put onstage the blue sky innovation, from thought leaders finding ways to solve the world’s ills to hackers modding, breaking, and building for the fun of it, from P2P and swarm intelligence to social software and collective intelligence. Radical and unknown at the time, today many of the ideas first seen at ETech are on the tongues of investors and business pundits–and in the hands of consumers, fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and play.

Topics:

  • Mobile & the Web
  • City Tech – Can technology create a livable, prosperous, sustainable city? Which emerging technologies are poised to deliver a brighter, greener future?
  • Health – What are the breakthroughs in technology, genomics, medicine, anti-aging, drug development, and delivery that will make a difference in extending our lives and enhancing our quality of life?
  • Materials – We’ll examine the latest in mechanics and the materials that enable new developments. What mechanisms will be possible? How will the coming age of materials change our clothes, our products, and our everyday lives?
  • Life – What are the emerging technologies that promise to infuse themselves into our cultural and social fabric to help us work smarter, more efficiently, and create greater connectivity?

Keynotes:

  • Mary Lou Jepsen, dubbed one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2008
  • Joi Ito (Creative Commons), Creative Commons – Creating Legal and Technical Interoperability
  • Drew Endy, David Grewal (BioBricks Foundation)
  • Jason Schultz (UC Berkeley School of Law), Building a New Biology
  • Eric Paulos (Carnegie Mellon University), Enabling Citizen Science
  • Jane McGonigal (Avant Game), Superstruct: How to Invent the Future by Playing a Game
  • Aaron Koblin of Google, Making Art with Lasers, Sensors and the Net
  • Tony Jebara (Columbia University), Mobile phones reveal the behavior of places and people

Date/Location:

  • March 9-12
  • San Jose, CA

Website:

How a Nerd Starts a Business

Step 1 -find a pretty girl. Check, that’s Amy Senger.

Step 2 – completely geek out on the technology. Check, see below

Step 3 – throw a rad party. Hmm, we just started and we aren’t sitting on a horde of cash…this is going to be tough.

Step 4 – plot world domination. In due time my friends, in due time.

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I should say that it’s been surprisingly easy and fun to start this business. There are so many cool tools to use and I seem to know an awful lot about this internet thing.

Though…should I be surprised that all my nerd hobbies are becoming crucial “business elements” now?

Sounds like a solid career choice to me 🙂

Now to get down to business. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken in the formation of the business.

  1. Domain – this is our business card, our google rep, and our contact info. It was real cheap too, at less than 6$ per month. I registered our domain at Go Daddy and then used my existing web host 1&1. We have tons of server space with 120gb, easy FTP using cyber duck, and all the sub domains we want.
  2. Email – this was kinda fun to set-up. Google for Business lets you create a ridiculous amount of email accounts for free. You can choose any name you want and use your domain/business name as the address. You use gmail and all of its great features, including the ability to forward mail. Which is great because Amy and I can forward all business email to our main inboxes. This allows us to view all email in one location and we can even choose which addy we want to reply from. Here are our new addy’s:
    1. amy@1h57.com
    2. steve@1h57.com
  3. Design – ok, I’m not too proud of this, but I just used a standard theme for WordPress. It’s just too easy to create a mySQL database and then install WordPress. It comes ready to go with a blog, site manager, and tons of plug-ins. It’s easy for non developers like Amy and I, to manage. I hope to someday master firebug and put my design skills to the test, until then we are enjoying the fruits of the amazing WordPress theme designers.
  4. Presence – this is actually the easy part for Amy and I. It’s kinda our specialty. We integrated ourselves in Virginia and filed all the correct local and federal papers. We post our resumes online (mine, Amy’s), twitter the heck out of it, and write blog posts like this one. Only trouble now is we have to “digitize” our resumes, which means converting them to html, pdf, and adding links all over them.
  5. Other – this is where i get to play. Our site is tracked for metrics using Google Analytics. I’ve installed Recaptcha, comment subscriptions, created a favicon, pushed an XML sitemap, checked our google rank, and began registering 1h57 on every site I can think of.

Whew, sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really wasn’t. The combined time, energy, and money spent is very tiny. We have so much to build upon too. Which is great because being a small business is all about building. We have a solid foundation to grow on now.

Still, there is tons left to do, like complete step three by throw a “coming out” party. It will have to be cheap though, since we are just fledgling entrepreneurs. Tossing around ideas on how to do that…

Any ideas you have for that, for help on step four – world domination, or anything else are welcome.

Thanks for reading.