Monday, December 29, 2008


2009 is already becoming the year of innovation. The Rockafellas kept thousands employed after the Great Depression with their passion for innovation. On the book front Market Rebels was recently released and talks about innovation acceptance. So have you considered your next innovation? Have you tried out biomimicry?

BioMimicry is on the rise and a smart way to approach the process of inventing. Reverse engineering isn't a new concept, but stealing from nature is a smart tactic every great innovator should keep on the back burner.

I don't want to make water wicking windows though, I'm talking about the more challenging concepts like creating a flying device devised from hummingbird wings, or creating an apparatus that allows a human to breathe underwater. These ideas are pretty far reaching but a lot of innovations currently in development are taking advantage of this strategy and making great progress.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Video Twitter:

Just when you thought Twitter was starting to gain some momentum the next new thing arrives.

Now you can video blog, from your 'puter or celly with video that's 12 seconds in duration. It's the beginning of every second of everyone's life being recorded. I also like Eyejot, Qik & Seesmic, but this is the first tool that positions itself as a form of microblogging.

oh just playing some queen on

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mind Bites

Great quotes w/ an enjoyable visual display

Monday, December 15, 2008

Culture Breakdown: Indirect communication

Good films always have two layers. The first layer represents what you see and hear: character, events and story. The second layer reveals motive, emotion, insight, a character's moral fiber and their life philosophy. Linking these two worlds is what makes a good film great. The same holds true for personal expression as well as branding and communication.

Can you communicate your desires without directly stating your intentions?

Expressing yourself indirectly has the powerful of bringing proving what you want instead of simply stating it. It exudes authenticity because it requires knowledge and mastery, which is tough to fake.

Lets say you want a new job. You join LikeMind on Facebook and set out to network in the hopes of getting an interview. You show up at the event and you don't describe who you or even mention you're looking for a job.
You offer up interesting ideas and add insight with a touch of humor. You aren't networking, you're branding yourself. It sounds like advice straight out of "How to Win Friends and Influence People," but the truth is there is something powerful about avoiding the obvious. It is a tactic that allows you to brush off an air of desperation.

Or let's say you're a marketer and want to create buzz about your knew products and do some consumer research.
The best way to turn people off or even piss them off is by trying to sell your product. It's because you're peddling something; but what if you tried to connect with a consumer out of genuine interest? In brand research some of the most interesting insights have come from conversations that consumers have with each other. It makes so much more sense to design a blog or a website that fosters a community and allows you to interact with your consumers. It engages the consumer and genuinely allows them to impact a product or service. It's this authentic collaboration that allows the consumer to shape the company to their needs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The New News Formula

What if you could request the news stories you want reported on? The newspaper business has struggled since the proliferation of the internet and we've yet to see how the news business will evolve. We've become disillusioned with big news conglomerates driven by a corporate agenda and we've become familiar with M. Moore's 'media breeds fear' and 'fear drives consumerism theory,' so it's refreshing to see a new news service that is so pure in form. democratizes the news by allowing the public to suggest and vote on the news they'd like researched and reported. I think it's a great idea because it allows the public to direct journalism. currently provides the architecture for the public to pay for the stories they'd like to have researched. They can also suggest "tips" that provide leads for the staff of journalists. Once a story is fully funded a journalist hits the field and writes the story.

I think it's a crafty model that could be further evolved. Future services might be based on the Digg model allowing the public to vote for instead of pay for their news. It might also include a more interactive way to suggest and discuss tips on issues that should be covered. Broowaha is a good example of this kind of citizen journalism. So then my question is will these new formats also use an advertising based model to pay for quality journalists? The answer naturally seems like it would be yes; that is, I don't see myself paying large lump sums to fund individual news stories; but we have to find a way to support the journalists.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Religion Underground - Super Sunday

I've never seen ravers with such enthusiasm. In fact these Baptists would put any glow stick wearing, fake ball throwing, break dancer to shame.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Personal Space

There's all sorts of personal space. There's personal space in a office, personal space while traveling, personal space while talking and we all have different comfort levels. Everyone reacts differently when their personal space is violated; like the other day I biked in a peloton for 4.5 hours bumping shoulders with my fellow riders. Then on the way home through the Marina I squeezed by an older woman on her beach cruiser and she started yelling at me because I was too close to her. Europeans typically are known for conversing at close proximity. Americans stand on average a few inches further away from one another. It's about comfort level and maybe Europeans have become accustomed to interacting in closer quarters. Is it possible that suburban sprawl has resulted in entitlement to more personal space in public places?

Office spaces create the most discrepancy and are revealing of a firms culture to a certain extent. What's with the cube design? Do we need to blocked off from others so we can pick our noses and surf the web at work? Why not open up the office place and foster an environment geared toward collaboration?

I think one of the most controversial places to violate someone's private space in a public setting is on an airplane. I've started asking people if I can put my seat back in an effort to better respect their space. It's a good policy but it can back fire. The most frustrating moment came when someone asked me to not put my seat back, but then the person in front of me jammed their seat into my lap; I was sandwiched on both ends. To make matters worse this person almost broke my laptop screen when it got wedged between the tray table and the table latch. Maybe there's a right and wrong time to violate personal space. Standing closer during a conversation creates intimacy, but jamming your seat into someone's lap should be done with finesse. Check out this instructional to prevent people from violating your space.

How To Keep Motherfu#%s From Putting Their Seats Back from fi5e on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top Music Videos of 2008

Creme of the crop songs and their accompanying music videos that made an impression on me in 2008. Not only are they great songs but they're great pieces of film. The exception is Collapsing at Your Doorstep, which is a great song, but in my opinion an awful video.

Buraka Som Sistema ft. MIA - Sound of Kuduro

Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

Air France - Collapsing at your doorstep (amazing song but this video might induce car sickness)

The BPA - Toe Jam Featuring David Byrne & Dizzee Rascal

Gnarls Barkley - Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

Feist - I Feel It All

Fleet Foxes' White Winter Hymnal

Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor

Arcade Fire: Black Mirror

MGMT: Time to Pretend

Portishead: We Carry On

Radiohead: House of Cards

Sigur Rós: Gobbledigook

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

Weezer: Pork and Beans

Yeasayer: Wait for the Summer

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Researching up the right tree

The new Olso Opera house is a good example of good design resulting from being open minded. For a long time now architects and the city has fought to keep skateboarders off their property, but the architects of this building went against the grain. Wired reported that they actually enlisted the help of skaters to help them better understand the flow of the building to create a design that more seamlessly flows from earth to sky. The building was inspired by two icebergs colliding but a portion of the architectual research came from the help of skate enthusiasts who have a less conventional grasp of building design . I think it's a freshing idea for the space to embrace public use of its grounds instead of fighting it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Realistic Recycling

Green Bottle has created a new way to look at recycling. They recently released a bottle that recycles in a matter of weeks. A majority of our bottles for juice, oj, milk and soda are largely not biodegradable. They're made from oil and take upwards of 500 years to decompose. Green Bottle on the other hand consumes about a third of the energy required to make a plastic bottle and has a Carbon Footprint that is 48% lower than plastic.

Now don't get me wrong, this is a great idea and a step in the right direction but it's not enough of a disruption. Why don't grocery stores provide the option to refill bottles.? Instead of creating a bottle that takes less time to decompose, why not just innovate a way to keep the bottle out of the dump all together?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

California experiences a Quake measuring 7.8

What have you done to prepare for an earthquake? If you live in California it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when? We may not be able to hide but at least we can be prepared. Aftershock is an interactive earthquake simulation that will play out over the next few weeks. Participants react to various events that occur during and after a quake. It's an interesting large scale initiative to prepare residents for the real thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh yeah, the world is ending

At the end of the year I like to predict what we'll see in the coming year. Actually it's still too early for this list, but it's not too early for my 2012 prediction. I have a feeling you're going to start seeing a lot of these in the weeks to come.

If you aren't familiar with the fear surrounding the Mayan calendar, it predicts that the world as we know it will end in the year 2012. It's a frighteningly interesting prediction because it's odd that a civilization ending in the 9th century would pick such a specific date for the apocalypse. People are paying attention because the Mayan culture made significant scientific advance
ments and developed an extremely accurate calendar, achievements that unlike Nostradamus' predictions are more substantiated.

The most common explanation of the end is based on disasters caused by sunspots and magnetic fields that will cause earth quakes, floods, etc. However there have been a few interesting discussions that have erupted in an effort to inspire change. Edward Burtynski talked at TED about how he's observed changes in civilazation and goes on to discuss China and how the rapid expansion of civilation is affecting our planet. His research is thorough in showing how rapidly we're depleting our limited supply of resources. He drives the point home when he discusses and the effort that is still needed to get climate change back on course. His most interesting insight comes when he asks us our "progress" and how civilization is changing. Daniel Pinchbeck has his own hilarious theory about 2012. He dives off the deep end with post modern times and predicts that 2012 will usher in a signifcant advancement in civilization based around a more developed sense of conscious. Of course Hollywood doesn't miss a beat either, they've dumped the concept into another formfitting disaster film with a twist of aliens in 2012 the movie.

So many possibilties, they seem endless, Earthquakes, Evolution or Aliens. Or what about the Matrix hypothesis, we're just living in a computer simulation; or possibly Singualarity will come early and artificial intelligence will take over. Well my prediction is the obvious and unimaginative; we'll see a spike in gun, water and gasmask sales the week before 2012, just like we saw before Y2K; and then life will go on.

Edward Burtkynski - TED

Daniel Pinchbeck - Post Modern Times

2012 Film Teaser

Monday, November 17, 2008

Transport w/ Style

One of the biggest gripes I've heard about biking as transportation is that you often arrive at your destination in a sweaty mess. Well I've found a solution to your problem. It's called Derringer. These motorized bicycles are going to be hotter than Vespas.

They've strategically p
artnered with Starck to create a design savvy bicycle that gives you that extra umph. I tried racing a guy on one of these up in Marin on my road bike and they're fast. The SF Bike Coalition recently announced that commuting by bike is up something crazy 22%. I have a feeling that number might increase now that getting places faster and avoiding traffic is going to be even easier and more stylish.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Robot suit

The Japanese are at least 5 years ahead of the US in terms of technological advancement. So maybe it's a branding initiative of one Japanese firm called Cyberdyne to permeate US culture with it's newest product - Hal5. When I first read it I thought it was a joke, but Cyberdyne is for real. Cyberdyne is the company famously known in the film Terminator as creating the technology that led to robots taking over the world.

The main focus of this Japanese firm is to build suits that facilitate human movement. They provide seniors with the ability to stand and walk, they aid rescue workers in moving heavy debris and allow autoworkers to accomplish heavy moves with precision.

It seems like this recent progression has come about because of lighter robotic materials that also allow for strength without compromising speed or flexibility. Another firm called Applied Motion is working on robotic legs that allow humans to run up to 30 mph. Berekley Engineering is also working on a project that allows people to accomplish tasks with superhuman strength.

I guess it's not that much of a stretch to assume that this is a step in the direction of Singularity.

change is damn right!

Awesome - our country is already moving in the right direction! I'm impressed with the web 2.0 execution Obama has undertaken to talk to his constituents. This is how government should be run. went up the day he was elected and he already has a strong online presence. He has committed to posting a weekly video summarizing what the administration is working on and created a blog to discuss issues. I'm waiting for the interactive component with a system for feedback, blog responses and other ways to get the public involved - brilliant!

I just added the blog to my bookmarks for daily reading and it was a pretty good feeling.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Proud Citizen

I am proud to be an American again - check.

I am proud to be a Californian - currently, no comment.

In a time when I'm once again happy where my country is headed I am unable to say the same about my state. One day my kids will laugh that I lived in a time when a majority voted down the right to gay marriage. There are so many reasons it's just wrong. Here are a few well articulated words by Keith Oberman and this is a link to Courage Campaign, a petition to change this decision.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Religious evolution

TED has created a strategic initiative to combat creationists disapproving of science and evolution. Their strategy is brilliant because it unconventionally embraces religion and seeks to convince people to understand their religion and use it to do good things.

Religion is a way of life that has been shaping our world since the beginning of time. It's tied to ethnic and cultural roots; it drives our communities. It's probably the biggest reason why atheism has been so slow to catch on. I continue to be amazed at how religious followers have lost touch with the purpose of religion. In most instances I feel like people don't know why they do what their religion tells them, they just follow what everyone has done before them. It's no wonder Richard Dawkins released The God Delusion and talked at TED. At the root of religion is the Golden Rule; treat others the way you would like to be treated, yet religious fundamentalists have lost touch with this reality. Jesus Camp is a good look at what some religions are teaching, showcasing how religions are developing more extreme rituals that separate people instead of bring them together.
The Charter For Compassion is a recent TED backed initiative that seeks to do the opposite; change the way people think about religion, as a way to build a global community. The core premise is to remind people of the Golden Rule in an effort to unite communities and prove that religion is intended as a framework to help people coexist. It is a refreshing way to think about religion by seeking to change disillusionment and all negative associations currently attached to religion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Smart Architecture

This is no doubt a house that will define an era. It's sleek, urban, polished and minimalist. More importantly it's sustainable, design savvy and uses materials that serve a purpose. Fires have been ransacking the hills of Cali but we continue to re-build them out of wood. I can't vouch for the cost effectiveness of concrete and steel but it seems worth it if it saves your house from burning to the ground.

Olson Sundberg recently unveiled this house in Montecito by Tom Kundig. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I love it. The materials, expansive windows and integration with the terrain make it feel like an enjoyable place to live. I would personally plant a few more indigenious shrubs, but I think the general feel can be an inspiration to the way we design homes in the futre.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our 10 Dimensions

As the Hadron Collider is making it possible for scientists to research physics at a new deeper level and so we're just starting to see new findings about subjects like how we understand space and time. A while back I came across a site called the tenth dimension that explained the 10 dimensions and think it segues nicely into this recently published article about new findings on the dimension of time and a theory about holography.

Crank Creative

Americans have been slow to adopt European sensibilities but that is starting to change and we're seeing an increase in international ideas that influence American culture. The Swiss have an eye for design, the Italians offer sleek fashion and Germans are known for engineering and efficiency.

Well Crank is a US company that falls at the intersection of design, functionality and sustainability. The premise is simple, recycle used inner tubes and turn them into a fashionable wallet. Crank found a niche popular among bike enthusiasts and focuses on re-purposing materials that would have normally ended up in the landfill. It's not a new idea, but it makes sense in a time when raw materials are becoming more scarce.
Crank @

Monday, November 3, 2008

Changing Behavior

"If you want to change the future, play with it first." World Without Oil recently won a webby for best game in 2007. It's a game that is a powerful educational resource and interesting tool for facilitating large scale behavior changes.

I like this idea b/c there's so much truth to the fact that people won't start resolving an issue until they're confronted with a reality. It's a great way to break our habit of procrastination and start solving problems before we're already two feet in the hole.

From a planning perspective this is a great brainstorming tool. It has the potential to facilitate large scale changes in behavior. We are used to media like movies or television. The Inconvenient Truth created healthy discussion, but World Without Oil is more comprehensive. It's a great use of new media because it encourages interactivity and takes engagement with an issue to the next level. Everyone involved has the potential to collaborate and although the results technically exist in an "alternate reality" it is an exercise that produces real solutions.

I think there are at least two important things going on here:

1. When people participate in a game like WWO they become engaged in a community, it increases their level of understanding and they become more willing to change. This is a powerful tool because it enables people to anticipate a problem and change before the problem becomes a reality.

2. Ideas come from ideas. This kind of immersive role playing environment let's people create solutions for a future problem. Creating a frame of mind makes an alternate reality tangible and that is a great stepping off point for resolving an issue before it manifests.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Learn from Fail!

Failing is shunned in our culture. It is an activity for losers, a behavior that must be avoided at all costs because with failure comes humiliation and lost respect.

This is all about to change.

2008 has revolutionized the way culture fails. Failing is no longer good or bad, rather it's part of the process; a necessary experience on the path to success. Failing is about learning. Many times I've been told to "Fail early and fail often."

I've been entertained by the FAIL! website, FAIL! flickr pictures and recently came across the history of 'fail' and an attempted explanation of the 'threshold of epic fail.'

Although the video is funny and the website funnier because it's filled with the result of poor judgments, I think it's the beginning of a new way to approach learning and accomplishing great things.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Things exist that are greater than brand; this is an example of one of them.

Comedy, culture, human interaction; they all get associated with brands because writers use comical copy to embed their client's products into our culture. I think this short might be an example of something that is greater than the brand it was conceived from.

When this spot first came out "Wazzup" was my new favorite buzzword. It became my default phone answer for the 3 months following its release and I still start emails with it. Sequels are usually annoying but this one has been timed well and I love that it's genuinely transcended brand and product.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Video in the Right Direction

At the end of last year one of my predictions for 2008 is that we would see the rise of video communication. Adoption has been slow despite the Macbook's integrated webcam and fun applications like Seesmic. The next logical progression is to use your cellphone so you can see who you're talking with and broadcast what you're doing as you talk. Although it didn't look like it was likely to happen in '08, I just heard that Qik is helping iPhone users to stream video.

Their new phone application will allow users to broadcast live video feed. It hasn't been officially released but it on the way and this seems like it can be a powerful, fun, little tool.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Twitter Tools

I just got back from another technology, branding and innovation summit - exciting times, I know. Most interesting was to hear how interactive experiences are becoming the predominant medium for brand communication. Twitter was at the top of the discussion so I thought I would expand.

The list of Twitter tools and applications is diversifying. It's great because they make Twitter an even more interesting and relevant medium. The people who Twitter provide great insights, interesting links, breaking news, creative perspectives and a slew of other interesting information. The problem is that it's hard to sort through it. Here are a few tools that I found at PR 2.0 that make Twitter more useful.

TwitterLocal is the ideal service for quickly finding active voices within a specific city, state, postal code as well as the vicinity, ranging from 1 mile to 20.

Twinkle is a location-aware network for the iPhone and iPod Touch that helps you discover, connect, and send messages to the public timeline and also to people nearby.

Twubble can help expand your Twitter network. It searches your friend graph and introduces and recommends new people who you may want to follow.

GroupTweet allows anyone who wants to broadcast and share private tweets to a specific group can do so for free using this unique and helpful service.

Twitt(url)y is a service for tracking popular URLs people are sharing on Twitter as a way to identify trends, topics, and new and interesting tools and services. It's basically Techmeme or Google News for Twitter, but for all popular links shared in a given day.

TwitLinks aggregates the latest links from the worlds top tech twitter users.

Gridjit is a social portal that lets you view your web universe in a more visually rich way. It becomes your hub for tracking conversations, interesting people and those they @ frequently, and also provides a central location to post and share.

Twist analyzes and presents trend comparisons and volume between keywords and tags. makes it easy to find relevant, like-minded friends as well as friends of friends based on keyword and validated networks.

Tweet Scan, like Summize (Twitter Search), is a search engine for Twitter. Both services provide the ability to search keywords, company/product/competitors names, users, etc. The services also feature the hottest search trends at that particular moment.

Twitpic provides a bridge from your camera phone to Twitter.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Designing A Rubber Band Powered Boat

I've been taking a mechanical engineering class and our most recent project was to design & create a rubber band powered boat that would travel 35 feet to the center of a pool and skewer a ring before a competitor. The requirements necessitated that the boat be 2 feet long or less and weigh less than 24 ounces. My teammates and I spent the past few weeks engineering a boat that accomplished the feat. I thought I would share the experience so I've included our deck and a short film chronicling the experience. We also used Google Sites to collaborate and it was a great hub for our team enabling us to brainstorm, hold online discussions, post sketch-up designs & coordinate meetings and materials.

Rubber Band Boat Deck
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: engineering design)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Idea Village

I worked on a brief for Planning For Good a few months ago. The objective was to help re-invigorate the economy in New Orleans. We submitted an idea explaining how great minds cultivate smart ideas that lay the foundation for creativity and productivity. Flooding New Orleans with a team of innovators and entrepreneurs would enable them to rebuild their city around an infrastructure of businesses headed by brilliant people. It seems the initiative is under way and this film encourages the concept behind the brief.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are We Still Evolving?

I recenlty read an amazing article in Seed on Evolution. Here are the highlights:

Humans "showed up" 45,000 years ago and it doesn't appear that we've changed much in those years. It's easy to make that assumption since natural selection chooses the most fit to survive through reproductive success; the problem however is that we nurse our sick back to health. Mating isn't a privilege so even the less fit pass their genes on. Well the Human Genome and HapMap projects are changing what we know about how we're evolving. It appears that up to 10 % of the human genome appears to be evolving, but most mutations have a neutral effect, making them neither fitter or less fit. The HapMap project has found gene variations in some populations that were not present in other geographic areas, but are moving over time proving that genetic drift is occuring.

One of the best examples of recent human evolution is the spread of the mutation for adults who can digest milk. It popped up 8,000 years ago and has spread to most parts of the world, but not all, only 9 of 10 Asian Americans lack the mutation. Hawkes, an anthropolist studying demography and the constraints on our adaptation believes that the global population explosion that coincided w/ the agricultural revolution is the main driver of adaptive evolution. He exclaims that our world has changed rapidly and our DNA is still catching up. Hapmap has provided great insight because it lets us compare parts of the human genome that are different between people; it gives us a glipse at patterns of gene inheritance.

So now for the question at large: Are we getting smarter?

Several different studies have been conducted on the topic. Bruce Lahn an evolutionary geneticist raised some controversial issues because his work could easily be misinterpreted as claiming that brain evolution has occurred in some races but not others. The fact is we know very little about brain evolution and it's difficult to understand how intelligence is selected for. Here is one of his most interesting thoughts about the possibility of the evolution of intelligence: "500 million years ago earth experienced the Cambrian explosion, a rapid increase in diversification of life forms. It may take a long time to evolve certain components, but once you have them, very little evolutionary time could give you great diversity. The brain may take a long time to get to a certain level of intelligence and then, once it's there, it makes possible a cultural explosion."

He goes on to say intelligence builds on intelligence, increasing intelligence, increases the complexity of culture, which pressures intelligence levels to rise, which creates more complex culture and so on.

I'm fascinated by the way humans are evolving and becoming more intelligent. It's clear that some people are smarter than others; but that is somewhat of a subjective statement since there's mathematical intelligence, emotional intelligence, creative intelligence, etc. If we follow Lahn's theory it could be possible that these intelligences are merging. In this way maybe we are moving toward another explosion where the brain becomes able to do exponentially more than it has been. Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Slacker Uprising

Today Michael Moore released his newest documentary called Slacker Uprising which can be downloaded here and watched for free compliments of Mike. It's an effort to encourage younger generations to get out, vote and make a difference this upcoming election. I hope the film helps, after all our president doesn't use the internet and our vice president doesn't believe in dinosaurs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Greydone Square - Aethiesm & Hip Hop/Hop

Atheism is hitting mainstream culture and it's getting harder to ignore. I've been interested to see how evolution has shifted our religious perspective and how people from gen X are torn on how religion should be a part of their life. It's also been interesting to see all the content being created by a new generation who is expressing how their views on religion have shifted.

I recently got Compton Effect and Greydon Square (Eddie Collins) is one smart cookie. He's thoughtful, writes intelligent lyrics and tells a great story. He is also very public about his belief of atheism. He mixes great beats and his most recent album has been a success. More importantly, hearing hip/hop embrace atheism is refreshing. His fascination with physics and atheism has enabled him to create a powerful album. The hip/hop category has been littered with drugs, violence, and women cliches; so how will things change now that Greydon is showing that hip/hop raises important issues? Collins, who calls himself the 'black Carl Segan' isn't Will Smith and he isn't 50 Cent; he's a new breed and he's challenging youth to think about who they are. He's had some interesting experience and it shows; his stories and lyrics resonate with authenticity.

Excerpt from Wikipedia on Greydon Square:
Collins grew up in Compton, California, where he was raised as an orphan and would become immersed in the gang culture. In May 2001, he enlisted in the United States Army. He would go on to serve in the Iraq War in March 2004. After returning from Iraq, Collins began attending college in Phoenix, Arizona as a physics major. It was at this time that he began questioning his prior religious beliefs and became an outspoken atheist, posting videos on YouTube and becoming a member of the Rational Response Squad, and of the pro-democracy movement Grand Unified Theory. He has appeared on Nightline in regard to the RRS' Blasphemy Challenge, and his music has attracted fans such as Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Realistic Approach to Conservation

Some of the world's problems seem unconquerable these days. Take the energy crisis for example; we could probably sell our SUV, ride our bikes more often or turn in our empties to redeem the CRV, but what's the impact? The problem is that for some reason this doesn't feel like enough; we can't see any impact so we don't change our habits.

Well, what if there was a way to see how our actions impact society? Relight NY is a good start. It's an interactive site that lets you do good and see the tangible results. It lets you adopt a building in NYC and tasks you with converting all it's lighting to CFL. The objective is to get organizations or schools to help make NYC more efficient and help the city conserve massive amounts of energy. Most importantly, it provides a way to see the progress and encourage action to accomplish a goal that will positively benefit the community.

For a while now there have been a lot of good ways to conserve energy, like recycling, eating local food or giving up your car, but the difficult thing seems to be finding a way to get people on board. What if we find more ways to involve everyone, to change habits? Nike Plus allows people to track their workout behavior, compare their progress with other in the community and compete with their athletic friends.

Well now there's a way for you to show off how green you. Wattson is the Nike Plus of energy. They have a transmitter that connects to your electric lines between your fuse box and electric meter that sends data to an alarm clock looking device that you can set up in your house. Holmes is the software this device pairs with that allows you to analyze your power usage and determine ways to become more efficient.

I think this is a great idea because often we forget how much money we are spending by leaving the lights on or the computer running. If we're constantly reminded that we're racking up the bill maybe we'll be more likely to conserve?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Technology reversal

Apple is trying to be Microsoft and Microsoft is trying to be Apple. Today Apple released Genius, an application that "helps" connect you with music by means of a complex algorithm; and Microsoft released the first film in a series of comedies that is supposed to brand Microsoft as a more user friendly company.

These are my first two initial thoughts.

1. Microsoft, you need to create something that is user friendly; software or a product people love to use, then re-brand yourself. In the mean time, thanks for the parody of what it would be like if Bill & Jerry got injected into reality TV.

2. Apple, I like the Genius play list feature; not because I can't figure out how to make a playlist myself, but because I like to look at the 38,172 songs I have loaded in iTunes arranged with a fresh perspective. I do not, however, like the genius sidebar that insists on telling me songs that I need to buy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Take Action

I love it! Here is a powerful message, a strategic campaign that not only urges Californias to take action, it explains why and then provides an easy way to do so. Blue Shield wants to change healthcare for the 6.7 million Californians who aren't covered. They recently produced an entertaining message; this video in combination with placing life size statues around California to make the statement that it's time to do something.

Yes, it' s a compelling message but I like how they've also created a tool for people to voice their opinion by using a feature on their site to quickly and easily send an email to nancy Pelosi.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Quick Snippit

Postcards are great because they let people know you're thinking of them. Several companies have offered services allowing people to send cards to one another but this is the first one I've seen that is truly customizable. The best part is that it's simple to use yet highly personal. It's called and it lets you upload a song and picture of your choice and send it off to someone you know. Share a moment of your life -

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Digtial is the new color

I listened to an NPR podcast today about Hollywood's reluctance to embrace color filming back when black and white was the standard. A lot has changed and the film industry is experiencing an evolution backed by digital video and equipment and software. The power of the Red One camera enabled this beautiful film that was shot at 120 fps. It demonstrates the power and quality that is more readily accessible to the average filmmaker.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So Many Solutions

I've become fascinated with design and engineering over the past few months. As a trend design aesthetics have become an important part of a product experience. With the advent of the iPod there has been a shift towards creating something that looks great and provides a superior experience. I think this change has been a long time coming and is a better, more comprehensive way to create a product experience.

I recently started using Fantastic Contraption, a website that allows you to create devices to solve problems. It's a game for engineers, but it was also a fascinating lesson in the psychology of design. The objective is to move an object into a goal area. The premise is to construct a device using gears and materials to overcome gravity and obstacles. Any physics fanatic or mechanical engineer would enjoy the challenge.

The best part about the game is that you can share contraptions that you've built with your friends and fellow builders. What is most interesting is how people come up with such a diverse array of solutions to the same problem using the same materials. It amazed me to see how people think so differently in achieving a common goals. Give it a try and after you solve a puzzle be sure to see how others designed their contraptions.

Check it out for yourself:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Designing a Merman

Designing products based on something that exists in nature is nothing new. It's funny though because whenever I see a new invention that was derived from an animal part or something I've seen while hiking, I always wonder 'why I hadn't thought of that?'

Here's a great example; a new flipper engineered from studying a dolphin. It is attached to your feet and can propel a human up to 8 mph under water. It seems to me like there are a lot of good ideas right under our noses yearning to inspire design. I think this is a great example of how we can increase our creative efficiency. The Lunocet reminded me how evolving or developing something that already exists is great design strategy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Being interesting means something is worth thinking about. It seems obvious enough. Creating an experience that engages your viewer is too often over looked. I always wondered how those ridiculous car commercials make it to air, you know, the ones where some guy is yelling at me to buy now with 0 down and a low apr. Then we started to see commercials that told a story; they would engage their audience.

Interesting is often described as not being fully understood; it's good to be mysterious, unexplained or random. Interesting isn't the same thing as entertaining. Interesting, however, means something is worth thinking about after it's happened. It means being memorable and engaging. David Costillo not only explains this point; he demonstrates it. He sets the tone for the Interesting Conference, where you can check out the thoughts of a few other interesting people.

Interesting from David Castillo on Vimeo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Spreading Great Ideas

There are a few things in Seth's TED talk (posted below) that resonate with me.

1. Innovators and the early adopters are the people who spread great ideas; they are the influencers and the viral contingent who help disseminate great ideas to the masses.

2. We are creatures of variety; create things that are remarkable, literally, they should make people remark and create discussion.

3. Brands must find ways speak to the people who care about their products or services; this is the way to break through all the noise and reach people inundated with too many options and too little time to listen.

4. Create, innovate; and most importantly, take risks.

A great product or idea will sell itself, right? Maybe, but people who spread their ideas win. We can try to spread our ideas to the masses using TV, but these people aren't paying attention. So what if our strategy is to target the people who care, the enthusiasts and people who are passionate about a product; they are the ones will do it great justice, the ones who will spread the idea. I mute commercials, but I will rave about how great the photo quality and customer service is at Canon. Be risky, create something remarkable & target people who care.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You're Not Past Your Prime

Creativity is a passion of mine. I try to get my hands dirty as often as I can. I have my hands in a variety of different mediums like film, design, sculpture, textile, painting, photography & writing and I think it's safe to say that I'm not a prodigy in any of those fields. This is fine by me because I see myself more as a determined, hard worker than a natural genius; which is why this article by Gladwell that I recently stumbled upon makes good sense.

Gladwell gives a speech at Columbia and discusses a theory by Galenson stating that the creative person is one of two types; either a genius who peaks in his mid twenties or a late bloomer who earns his master piece after perfecting his work over a lifespan. It's actually kind of funny because he compares Fleetwood Mac to the Eagles and then goes on to compare Picasso & Cizanne, Melville &
Twain, Welles & Hitchcock, even Apple & Dell; each is an example of an early success and a late success. The difference between these two trains of thought is that the first knows their great idea and the second keeps working until they have something great. Galeson's book Old Masters & Young Geniuses highlights the life of innovators and artists to demonstrate how their creative thinking develops and becomes tangible.

For me it was reaffirming that I can still release my inner-genius even though I'm older than 26.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bright Minds Align

This past July 17th PSFK threw a conference out in San Francisco that brought together some great thinkers to talk about evolving trends. Discussions hovered around how to inspire people, thinking intelligently and how to develop great ideas. I caught up with a few of the speakers and put together the following film to summarize a few of the key learnings.