Dec 20, 2012

Great Talk by Ken Robinson - about creativity & education.

Sir Ken Robinson's speech about "killing creativity" is the most popular TED talk, ever recorded. It's a brilliant example of GREAT storytelling. Notice how he uses humor to deliver a very important message in a casual unassuming way.

He's a truly gifted communicator - and probably a very good teacher as well. Check out his talk and let me know what you think.........

World Changer....

Sep 12, 2012

Farewell my friend

Don’t Waste Your Life
If you were still with us, I bet that’s what you’d say. You’d want each of us to push forward and make the most of every single day.

We all know that life is full of challenges – problems, setbacks and strife. And yet, what choice do we have but to keep going, don’t waste your life!
You always wanted the best for us. You sought to advice and counsel us to enhance our chances of success in life. In this day and age when so many people seek personal gratification, you remained selfless to the very end.

Thanks for being a great friend to students, a calm, caring, steady presence, as we struggled through our daily grind.

You fought so hard to live, I know you wanted to be around for your family, your loved ones, your students. Sadly, it was not to be, you’ve been called home – much too soon, too soon!

Your untimely passing serves as a stark reminder to all who take life for granted, those of us who are so paralyzed by fear of failure that we don’t step forward to truly pursue our goals. If you were still here, I’m sure you’d smile and say – Don’t Waste Your Life.

So, that’s my legacy to you Don – no matter what the future holds, I promise you this. I will pursue my dreams aggressively and I’ll go on encouraging everyone I know to do the same. Your spirit now soars with the Eagles you loved so much.

Farewell my friend, farewell!

Aug 26, 2012

A Life That Shows

I know a Man whose been told that he has 3 - 4 months to live. He's been fighting cancer for many months now - and after a gruelling treatment regimen, he and his family have made the difficult decision to stop chemotherapy treatments.

Here's an excerpt from an email he recently sent out to friends and well wishers.

" I have decided to not do anymore chemotherapy treatments.  The mix between a few weeks of chemo then blood infections, the hole in the duodenum which helps to feed the infections and can't be fixed, and the hospital, has taken a heavy toll".

"One Doctor has given me 3-4 months to live.  No one knows when my passage will occur. I have decided to live the best I can without chemo and to enjoy my family and friends as best I can over whatever time is left".

I'm sure you've all heard a lot about "making the most of  your time", managing your schedules so you can be more efficient, work-life balance. Some of you may have watched the Steve Jobs famous commencement speech at Stanford, during which he implored students to "stay hungry, stay foolish".  You may also have heard motivational speakers talk about the importance of "living each day as it it's your last". It wasn't until I read my friends last email that those words really hit home for me. He talked about his love for his wife and child, the good times they've shared and how much he loves them.

He reminsced about his career goals - all of which were about helping others "enhance their chances of success". I'm one of thousands of people, whose lives he touched.   As I read through the email, I started to reassess my priorities and rethink my career goals. I often tell people that life is short and I do try to make the most of my time - however I often find myself living day to day, week to week - facing the same core priorities, mostly work related stuff! 

At the weekends, I catch my breadth and try to put work aside - knowing that Monday will bring fresh challenges and new short term priorities. Sometimes we take so many things for granted - our health, our family members, even our material posessions.

It took something like this to happen to someone I've come to know and admire - to make me stop and reassess my plans.

I want to believe that all of us want to live  "a life that shows". We want to look back and feel like we accomplished something meaningful with our lives,  that we looked after our loved ones, touched a few people. Deep down, I believe we all want to make a difference.

If any of you feel that way - allow me suggest 2 things you could do today, to help ensure that no matter what - you will live "a live that shows".

1.Set Selfless Career Goals: Yes, I said career goals and not life goals. The truth is, most of us will spend the majority of our lives working - so it's important that we set selfless career goals. By this I simply mean that we need to set out to do things that help make other people successful. I mean we need to look beyond our desire for personal fullfillment and set some selfless goals which help others. I'm not knocking personal goals - or saying you shouldn't have any. I am saying that we should all have at least one career goal which is simply about helping, enhancing, guiding or supporting others - something that we do without any expectation that well get something in return.

Here's are my friends career goals.  "My goals were to: 1) advise and counsel students to enhance their chances of success for a college degree (BA, Master's, PhD); 2) to help change the structure of the university so it would be more responsive to the needs of students". 

2.Maintain a Positive, Encouraging Attitude: Whenever I bring up the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, there's always one or two people saying I just don't understand the issues, the battles, the challenges. Actually - I do. Staying positive doesn't mean that one is naive or in denail. It simply means that you've chosen to stay upbeat, to encourage others, to look for the Silver Lining (there's always one).

If you strive to achieve some selfless goals, you'll likely learn to develop a positive attitude. If you're someone with a positive, encouraging attitude - you probably already know the joy of being selfless, of helping to enhance or improve the lives of others.

I don't know how much time my friend has left, I do know that he touched so many lives, that he's  a true inspiration and he will be sorely missed. He's encouraged me to be more selfless as a Servant Leader and a person. He's also inspired me to keep a positive attitude, no matter what!
Sometimes, we act like we have all the time in the world to do the things we want to do - the truth is, we don't!

Hope this post inspires you all to think about what you can do to ensure that you're leaving a life that shows........

World Changer..

Jul 25, 2012

I Can Only Improve..........

What will your legacy be, in life? Will people say that you were smart, hardworking, determined, confident, caring? Will they say that you made lots of money and enjoyed the finer things of life.
We all grow up wanting to have an impact on the world. As we get older and our priorities change - we tend to become very risk averse and settle into predictable patterns, afraid to jump out and take on new, "scary" challenges.

I watched a trailer for an upcoming movie last night - about a young boy who seemed to have a great positive impact on everyone around him. One scene from the trailer, really caught my attention. the young man was trying out for a soccer team and clearly hadn't played much soccer. He wasn't doing very well on the pitch - but seemed to remain very good natured about it, laughing, playing and having fun.

at one point, the coach looked over at him and said "why are you laughing" - he's response was, "I can only improve".

That's the attitude we all need to embrace, in every aspect of our lives.

Instead of being scared to take on new challenges, scared of what others will think, scared of failure, scared of how we will be percieved - let's just take the plunge and try new things.

Even if you don't do very well at first, in that new job, that new sport, that subject in school, that new skill that you're trying to develop - if you stick with it, you can only improve.

World Changer.......

Jun 11, 2012

What Pacquiao's loss really means for boxing?

A few months ago, Manny Pacquiao lost to Tim Bradley in a controversial split decision.
Judge Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Pacquiao, but C.J. Ross and Duane Ford both scored it 115-113 for Bradley, a junior welterweight titlist who moved up to challenge Pacquiao in his fourth title defense. had it 119-109 for Pacquiao. HBO's unofficial judge, Harold Lederman, also had it 119-109 for Pacquiao, meaning he gave Bradley only one round. Most ringside media also scored it clearly for Pacquiao.
The CompuBox statistics favored Pacquiao, who landed more punches than Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds. Pacquiao landed 253 of 751 punches (34 percent), while Bradley landed 159 of 839 (19 percent). Pacquiao also landed 82 more power shots (190-108).

Clearly, there's some controversy here - much of the commentary that I've read about the fight would seem to indicate that Manny won the fight. I'm sure Tim Bradley's fans may beg to defer. Either way, there's only one true winner here - Dana and the UFC.

Any keen observer of sporting events, will tell you that UFC is growing fast, it's been heralded as the 6th most popular sport in the U.S. One would expect that UFC will likely continue to grow in popularity, especially as boxing declines......

Dec 8, 2011

The hopeful continent

Just came across an interesting article on the rise of Africa - below is an excerpt......
Over the past decade six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were African. In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the knock-on effect of the northern hemisphere’s slowdown, the IMF expects Africa to grow by 6% this year and nearly 6% in 2012, about the same as Asia.

The commodities boom is partly responsible. In 2000-08 around a quarter of Africa’s growth came from higher revenues from natural resources. Favourable demography is another cause. With fertility rates crashing in Asia and Latin America, half of the increase in population over the next 40 years will be in Africa. But the growth also has a lot to do with the manufacturing and service economies that African countries are beginning to develop. The big question is whether Africa can keep that up if demand for commodities drops.

Copper, gold, oil—and a pinch of salt
Optimism about Africa needs to be taken in fairly small doses, for things are still exceedingly bleak in much of the continent. Most Africans live on less than two dollars a day. Food production per person has slumped since independence in the 1960s. The average lifespan in some countries is under 50. Drought and famine persist. The climate is worsening, with deforestation and desertification still on the march.

Some countries praised for their breakneck economic growth, such as Angola and Equatorial Guinea, are oil-sodden kleptocracies. Some that have begun to get economic development right, such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, have become politically noxious. Congo, now undergoing a shoddy election, still looks barely governable and hideously corrupt. Zimbabwe is a scar on the conscience of the rest of southern Africa. South Africa, which used to be a model for the continent, is tainted with corruption; and within the ruling African National Congress there is talk of nationalising land and mines (see article).

Yet against that depressingly familiar backdrop, some fundamental numbers are moving in the right direction (see article). Africa now has a fast-growing middle class: according to Standard Bank, around 60m Africans have an income of $3,000 a year, and 100m will in 2015. The rate of foreign investment has soared around tenfold in the past decade.

China’s arrival has improved Africa’s infrastructure and boosted its manufacturing sector. Other non-Western countries, from Brazil and Turkey to Malaysia and India, are following its lead. Africa could break into the global market for light manufacturing and services such as call centres. Cross-border commerce, long suppressed by political rivalry, is growing, as tariffs fall and barriers to trade are dismantled.

Africa’s enthusiasm for technology is boosting growth. It has more than 600m mobile-phone users—more than America or Europe. Since roads are generally dreadful, advances in communications, with mobile banking and telephonic agro-info, have been a huge boon. Around a tenth of Africa’s land mass is covered by mobile-internet services—a higher proportion than in India. The health of many millions of Africans has also improved, thanks in part to the wider distribution of mosquito nets and the gradual easing of the ravages of HIV/AIDS. Skills are improving: productivity is growing by nearly 3% a year, compared with 2.3% in America.

All this is happening partly because Africa is at last getting a taste of peace and decent government. For three decades after African countries threw off their colonial shackles, not a single one (bar the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius) peacefully ousted a government or president at the ballot box. But since Benin set the mainland trend in 1991, it has happened more than 30 times—far more often than in the Arab world.

Population trends could enhance these promising developments. A bulge of better-educated young people of working age is entering the job market and birth rates are beginning to decline. As the proportion of working-age people to dependents rises, growth should get a boost. Asia enjoyed such a “demographic dividend”, which began three decades ago and is now tailing off. In Africa it is just starting.

Having a lot of young adults is good for any country if its economy is thriving, but if jobs are in short supply it can lead to frustration and violence. Whether Africa’s demography brings a dividend or disaster is largely up to its governments.

More trade than aid
Africa still needs deep reform. Governments should make it easier to start businesses and cut some taxes and collect honestly the ones they impose. Land needs to be taken out of communal ownership and title handed over to individual farmers so that they can get credit and expand. And, most of all, politicians need to keep their noses out of the trough and to leave power when their voters tell them to.
Western governments should open up to trade rather than just dish out aid. America’s African Growth and Opportunity Act, which lowered tariff barriers for many goods, is a good start, but it needs to be widened and copied by other nations. Foreign investors should sign the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which would let Africans see what foreign companies pay for licences to exploit natural resources. African governments should insist on total openness in the deals they strike with foreign companies and governments.

Oct 30, 2011

Google's Halloween Home Page

I just checked out the Google home page, to see what they would come up with, for Halloween. I have to admit - I really like what they did with their home page - link here:

Really creative stuff....

Oct 22, 2011

Okay - Groupon's IPO is on, really......

So, looks like Groupon is finally going through with it's IPO offering afterall. According to the Wall Street Journal

"Groupon will in fact be listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol “GRPN,” with shares starting between $16 to $18. The Chicago-based venture has also set a date for Friday, November 4th for its IPO with an updated plan to raise up to $621 billion, meaning the company will be valued at up to $11.4 billion"

Earlier this year, the company had planeed to raise less than $1B, so clearly it's valuation has gone up considerably.

I'm still amazed by it's high valuation, given it's business model and balance sheet. The US Financial markets have been very unstable all year, so there's no telling how it's IPO will land. Should be interesting to see what happens, come early November.