One of the more exciting IDEAS in education and certainly entrepreneurialism is the opening this week of Draper University of Heroes, in San Mateo, California.
Founded by Tim Draper, one of the leading venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, the school is dedicated to turning out people who know better than to follow the rules. Pointing out that an MBA prepares students to run companies, not to create them, Draper and fellows are bent on creating “superheroes” who are empowered to go beyond mere business, to fix problems in all areas of society.
And for those who do decide to create the next generation in business, no doubt Draper will be their first stop to funding their post-graduate ventures as well.
Bellwether is a word you just don’t hear enough. It comes from a word meaning “lead sheep” (a nice oxymoron) but has the connotation of either predicting or influencing future events.
Google is certainly proving to be the bellwether of the century. Their Google Fiber, which brings the Internet at 100 times the speed of other carriers, has brought a new industry to its test site, Kansas City, with “hackers” moving there from all over the country to get their share of speed.
What next? Google has decided to bring Google Fiber to a city that is already an intellectual, creative and artistic oasis — Austin, Texas. One can only begin to imagine how the youthful infrastructure of the home of SXSW will handle x’s and o’s at 100x.
The City of New York ran a contest on what to do with its 11,412 phone booths, now that they are being abandoned for cell phones, and even Superman is too modest to use them as a changing room.
A design firm called Control Group won the contest with, not an IDEA as much as a realization. Clearly, the “what” is to turn them into information kiosks; that is clear. However, the “how” is why Control Group won. Interestingly, many of the things in their impressive video a smartphone can already do. Also, they didn’t say if the phone booths will still have phones in them.
Google has released the winners of their GoogleGlass contest. The entrants were asked to submit “IDEAS” for how they would use the product if they won. Some of the IDEAS were pretty cool, but surprisingly fairly mundane across the board.
That’s just as well, though. The prize is not actually a pair of glasses; it’s the right to buy, for $1500, one of the first pairs of glasses. That should suffice for the early-adopter, conspicuous (con-spec-uous?) consumers.
Speaking of embarrassing, I may be late to the table with this revelation, but… have you seen Quirky? This website is an invention cooperative, or, as Mashable puts it in an interview with the founder, Ben Kaufman, “reinventing invention.”
The video on their home page is a fine essay on invention, and is — as everything about the IDEA — utterly inspiring. Basically, you submit the one percent, inspiration, and Quirky does the 99 percent, perspiration. If your idea has marketable possibilities, then you will receive both praise and financial rewards.
Meanwhile, you can always purchase one of their inventions on their website. They come out with three new inventions a week, so it can be habit-forming.
I used to wear my swimsuit under my baseball “uniform” so I could pretend to head off to baseball practice, and instead, turn left on Lake Park Drive and head to the swimming pool. This worked so well that I thought I would use it to escape the games, too. That probably would have worked if not for Mike Scarlett and Mike Craig both taking vacations in the same week, leaving me as the only lousy player left to fill out the roster.
The thing is, baseball is so dang embarrassing, and not just for those who skip practice. The sports shows love it when baseball rolls around because their cache of goofs and gaffes fills up faster than a fan on quarter-beer night.
Fortunately, parents in North Texas cared nothing for little league. Those who did live vicariously through their kids did so with football and cheerleading. So, at least, empy stands didn’t intensify the dread of a ball coming my way.
Of course, being a boomer, I do live vicariously through my kids. Though that rarely includes being embarrassed by them, I was secretly ecstatic when both my son and daughter preferred to skip baseball for the beach.
When it comes to concealing uncoordination, inadequacy and, therefore, embarrassment, though, no sport is as good as soccer. Soccer is a true team sport, that way. Except for goalie. If you tend to get embarrassed by your children’s sports performances, don’t let them be goalies. And, definitely, don’t let them play baseball.
Here, by the way, is an early “gaffe” from spring training.
And, now that our short spring break from IDEAS is over, here are some inspiring words by George Carlin on the metaphor of baseball… and football.
We’re so used to blue-sky ideas that will be the norm someday that Time magazine’s recent issue, with “Ten Ideas That Make a Difference,” doesn’t seem very revolutionary. But maybe that’s part of the charm. These ideas, for the most part are here and now — or could be. From fixing traffic jams to medical microchips to constitutions for burgeoning democracies, these have a refreshingly doable quality.
Now that Steve Sinofsky is no longer head of Windows and is a true guru, teaching at Harvard, he’s more inclined to dispense free advice — and it actually is worth more than the price.
Sinofsky deals with the five ways of “doubting” (read, killing) a new product, and ways of curbing that doubt. Inasmuch as a new product is an IDEA, his advice can be handy in selling any IDEA. Akin to that is an article on why Sinofsky uses an iPhone, and what it really means to scope out the competition.
Since tickets to TED.com, which is going on right now in Long Beach, are impossible to come by, and nearly impossible to afford anyway, it’s good news that TED.com is living up to its innovative motto and posting its speeches “day of.”
Among the array of brilliant speeches is Sugata Mitra’s TED Prize-winning speech on Building A School in the Cloud. Stay tuned, as TED will be putting up speeches throughout the seminar. It’s the next best thing to being there.