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Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

 

Group of teenagers sitting in classroom with raised hands.

I so love this speech on TED because Sir Ken Robinson puts forward such a powerful argument contrasting what he sees as the current failure of the education system in the USA and his proposed alternative.

I often wonder if education is being ruined by political correctness?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for behaving well and being aware of our behaviour toward other cultures, ideals, religions and the opposite sex; I just don’t think people always think differently, they just know ‘what not to say’, and that’s not the same thing.

I often observe situations where I believe people are less authentic and free as they don’t want to be labelled sexist, homophobic, racist etc and as a result don’t actually say what is on their mind. To accuse people of these things is such an easy take down as it is quite disarming but in my mind is a truly lazy debate.

Is it therefore possible that, because we don’t want to be disliked or because of fear of retribution, we don’t get to have the crucial conversations required to bring about change and ignite real and respectful bipartisan debate? Is it possible that teachers don’t get to teach as they don’t have the confidence to say “Fuck the system, teaching is more important that just testing”?

In this speech Sir Ken Robinson talks about teaching needing to not be about ‘command and control’, but about leadership and influencing children and communities. My worry is that schools seem to be some of the most politically correct places there are, with teachers not wanting to offend anyone. To lead though, you actually need to risk upsetting people and be prepared to take a stand, and ultimately the environment has to support that stand by not being bullied by splinter groups and over zealous parents.

We have to give teachers back their discretion, and support it, but in truth real leaders don’t allow it to be taken from them in there first place. Teachers need to be leaders!

PS I should say I love teachers and value education I’m not however so fond of the current environment.

This is one powerful story. A very inspiring and incredibly convincing story about the power of getting your hands dirty. I love that we’re re writing the rules of society and building the world we want to live in.

“Growing your own food is like printing money”

Wow what an wonderful man.

The Possibility Calculator

Early last year I had three things on my mind. I was researching the possible use of Amazon AWS for a project we were working on; I was watching the events at the Auckland Startup Weekend wishing I was there; and finally I was preparing for a presentation I was due to give at the College of Business at Massey University.

It was a holiday weekend, so much to Sonya’s dismay, I wondered if I could run my own Start Weekend. The question I asked myself was “Could I launch an internet business in one weekend, in the process write all the code, learn AWS including EC2, Route53, Multi Region ELB, RDS, SSL, Cloud Watch and Autoscaling and could I prove to the University Students they had wonderful opportunities available as it was possible to launch an incredibly scalable business for a meer $60 a month?”

First of all Amazon AWS is incredible, if you’re going to build an online business do it there and make sure your start by building to scale.

Anyway I worked like a dog, and I came close, but by the end of the 3rd day I was exhausted; I had a working website, but something that was still a little buggy, and without enough design refinement for me to want to put my name to it. It was however an awesome test and if I had, had a project partner it would have been easily achieved.

I loved this project, and as I am so passionate about helping people design their financial or business futures I didn’t want the work to be just thrown out. I put it on the virtual shelf where it stayed until last week when I had a few evenings free to finally finish and release the project. So on the 12/12/12 I released The “Possibility Calculator” as both a Website and Facebook app.

Slowly over the week people have been trying it out and having fun not just understanding their current financial situation but also playing “what if?” as they create alternative scenarios too.

Anyway, I’m writing tonight to mark the occasion. A few days out from Christmas is probably the worst time to release this as everyone is so busy, but I had set a goal of doing so in 2012.

If you’re game, then please have a play. If you have friends that need budgeting assistance please share this with them. We are in difficult times and most of us could either do with more money, better understand where it all goes and almost everyone wants to pay down their debt. If any of that rings true for you then The Possibility Calculator might be just what you need.

Enjoy!

http://www.thepossibilitycalculator.com

One of the best interviews I’ve seen in a while. So totally agree with almost everything Robert says.

Video : http://vimeo.com/16991128

I love the idea of Kiva and have just made my 170th loan. If you’d like to start doing the same you Kiva is giving away free loans for people to try out the service. To sign up to Kiva, click here

Ira Glass on Hard Work, Taste and Getting Started

This is great. I saw this a while back and wanted to share but lost the link, sorry. Everyone was once a beginner; taste and creative skill develops with time, but only comes once you get started.

Hi everyone, I’ve got busy and having so much fun living life with my direct and Queensberry family. I wish I could get back here, but right now may I just share a video that echoes my desire for us all to be grateful :-)

I’ve been so excited by this story since yesterday I just had to share.

Yesterday Danny told me that one of our developers, Simon, had launched a game on the iTunes app store. I was interested but to be honest, at least initially, more polite than excited. That was until Simon introduced me to “Nutty Bugs”, and then I was blown away.

I am not easily impressed, but it’s not an overstatement to say that I was stunned. Stunned, not just because I had no idea about the project, but because what they have created is so complete and professional. In six months they have not only developed a game, they’ve started a company, they’ve integrated it into Facebook, in fact they even needed to learn how to program the damn iPhone.

Seriously, I can’t see any difference between this game and those launched by much bigger organisations. It’s impressive, the game play is great, it’s good fun, maybe even a little addictive.

That isn’t however the part that excites me

What excites me is the entrepreneurial spirit these guys have.

I loved getting this skype message from Simon as orders rolled in a little faster after I tweeted

“my heart is pounding with excitment!! thank you!!”

In Gary Veynerchuks book Crush It, he talks passionately about the fact that if you want something bad enough you have to Crush It!. You have to throw yourself at something, you have to work through the night while your friends sleep. You have to commit your personal time to your passion constantly. Then you have to get up and go to work so you can pay the bills until your successful.

In my opinion, not many people have the heart and stamina to do that but … Simon and his partner have done exactly that. Launching however is just past the starting line, getting noticed will be as hard. When they get there, their success will be completely deserved. I’m of mixed emotions, I know that if this takes off a great developer will probably leave us, but I would never want to deny someone the excitement of chasing their passion.

Well done guys, you have my every support, and I trust success will be with you soon.

I just had a wonderful evening with CEOs from some of New Zealand’s best companies. The group was brought together by Better By Design to visit some of the USA’s best Design-led and Innovative companies. It’s going to be an amazing week, challenging I am sure, but an interesting thing happened tonight: if you like, a small distinction became clear to me.

There I was talking to Diego Rodriguez a partner at Ideo, a brilliant design company, and Perry Klebahn a consulting associate professor at Stanford Design School, two great people who were truly gracious in the knowledge they shared. To be honest, I was little in awe, I wanted to launch into the Queensberry story, to sell what we do and why what we do matters, but I got stuck.

The first reason was, my normal story is an IT-led one, and I was in Google, Facebook and Apple territory so that was going to be hard to get anyone excited about us. The main reason however was I don’t really care about that anymore. Sure IT is an enabler, but it comes at what we do from the wrong direction.

We make tens of thousands of albums a year, all in New Zealand and every single one different. Not a little different, completely different. Like this one by Johannes van Kan of Virginia and Richard’s wedding in Barcelona.

This was a truly special event, set in a beautiful church and the story carefully captured and presented by a very talented photographer.

So why don’t I care about the technology any more?

Well of course I still do. It’s an enabler, but what I care about more is the fact that, unlike the people we met at a printing exhibition last week, we aren’t bragging about having taken all the people out of the manufacturing process. In fact we celebrate the fact that people are crucial to the process. Have a look at this video, and listen to the talk about it on blogs and around twitter, and you realise that there is a yearning in people for ‘things that are special’, items ‘made for them’ and for objects ‘made with love’.

We do this – this is Queensberry – and I am incredibly proud of it. We make albums for royalty, celebrities and the not so famous. And in that moment when we make your album, it is the only one that matters to us.

And why am I scared?

I’m scared for two reasons. It’s easy to get caught up in the technology, and I must admit I am one of the worst. I love my iPhone 4, and in fact right now it looks like Apple threw up on my desk. I love sharing and I love watching my friends and family through Facebook when I can’t be with them.

But I am also scared because in our desire to share, I think we forget to ‘remember’. Throwing images on Facebook is great, but if history is any guide it is unlikely that Facebook will be around when our children or grandchildren are wondering where they came from. I don’t really care if it’s an album you store them in, but people need to take more care of how they bring these images through the different changes in technology.

I’m even more concerned that people start to highlight what’s precious. A DVD of images is great, but how does anyone know which people and memories are most important? Your wedding day is precious, it’s a carefully staged and choreographed event. Everything is perfect, but sadly with too many people their memories fade as quickly as the flowers, because they don’t care about the photography until it’s too late.

We’re ok!

Fortunately Queensberry is ok, we have a strong brand and our core message is simple, and heard by the people who get us. We are storytailors, it’s not our job so much to tell you how to tell your story, as to help you tell it the way you want it to be.

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