Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the twitter phenomenon

i was averse to twitter for quite some time. it wasn't until @themoneymaven (over there at explained what he saw as the value of twitter that i too stepped into the light. granted, my initial reservations about twitter were 100% correct: you get a LOT of people that tweet absolute nonsense that is of no value. however, there are those special individuals that provide life-changing insights with their tweets. these world-changing tweets can be few and far between, but it is indeed worth it when you catch them. i guess this comes down to a question of efficiency. how long do i have to plough through mediocre tweets before the golden nugget comes through? along the lines of providing a platform you one individual to captivate the world without requiring 'too much' of the world's attention to do it (you only get 140 characters, make it short, sweet and too the point), twitter is GREAT. it is the best way to market and create and propagate branding. i am not so sure that it is just as great when used as a simple means of communication. this brings me to my next point...

(warning, my speculation is coming)

teenagers and twitter. they do not like nor use twitter, opting for more elaborate means to communicate without restriction (sms, myspace, facebook, imeem, youtube). at their age, teenagers do not always see the value in sharing words of wisdom and insightful information. their communication is more social (did you see chris brown's new video) and less like 'did you here about this new way to improve you life.' for their communication needs, twitter is NOT EXPRESSIVE enough. read this nytimes article about this in today's paper [free registration may be required]. notice how the 18-year-old's quote: “[i] just think it’s weird and [i] don’t feel like everyone needs to know what [i]’m doing every second of my life,” she said. you see what i mean. she can only see twitter as another avenue to tell what is going on in her life. she is not thinking about how she could possibly share with the world the great thoughts that she has frequently. i fell into this type of thinking too initially, but i have since been enlightened. thanks to @themoneymaven.

to be fair, younger people (and more mature individuals) may not necessarily see the value of (or be capable of generating) deep thoughts about topics of interest. maybe it is an attention span thing. maybe thinking simply takes too long, and it is much easier and takes less effort to post pictures and videos or comment on people's pages. since sms is so popular with young people (and older people for that matter), it would be interesting to see what type of chatter occupies that space. is it simply gossip? or can you possibly have a deep conversation via sms?

i still find blogging the best way to express ideas and thoughts clearly and thoroughly, but i guess we are adapting to the dumbing down of society with these reduced-attention span communication mediums. i can see twitter as a GREAT platform, but it is NOT a replacement for blogging as some seem to think it is. that is utterly ridiculous to me. what's next, twitter replacing book?!?!?!

p.s. - microsoft poland feels it is NOT good to show black people in ads and photoshopped a black man out in place of a white man--check it out here (note: follow the links to see the actual microsoft pages and notice how the polish site reverted back to the original image)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

24,000 words and counting

24,000 words in my dissertation and it's looking good. it has been non-stop work the last 2 weeks. i look forward to a few days of relaxing in scotland soon. i can see the end, and it is just added motivation to keep pressing forward. i have almost got things on autopilot, but there are some nagging experiments and calculations that i must finish. they are turning into royal pains in the ass, but i hope to have things solved in the next week or so. we shall see. i hope to get back to thinking of thought-provoking blog posts. i do apologize for my slow down.

p.s. - i am reading 4-hour work week and seneca: letters from a stoic and both books are EXCELLENT. i definitely would encourage you to pick them up and read them.

also, make sure to start checking tim ferriss' blog regularly. he has a GREAT post about rev. dr. martin luther king, jr. up now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

finally feel like a phd student.....and it only took 4 years

had an interesting feeling today as i was working frantically to make sure i meet a deadline (in like 3 weeks) that i just became aware of today. although, i am still waiting on experiments to finish so i have results to actually write about, i had a confident feeling as i continued to write as much as i could without data. the feeling was one that made me realize that i am a phd student, and i actually feel like one, FINALLY. i am not sure what sparked this new feeling, but i am sure it has a lot to do with the fact that i have set a deadline to submit my dissertation and am working toward this clear cut deadline daily. there is no more feeling lost or confused or stuck. it's like a job now---i come in, do my work, and leave.

the writing is becoming easier. partly because i know what to write as my knowledge level is higher and the amount of information i have to draw from is larger.

i am working through new problems confidently. using the fundamentals to build up to the problem from basic principles.

more intelligent things come out of my mouth when responding to questions.

and lastly, people come to me expecting me to be able to answer all their storage questions concerning performance and energy. does this mean i am an expert?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the virtue of DOING

my man moh hit me in the head today with this today:

"only those who are asleep make no mistakes" - ingvar kamprad (founder of ikea)

these words are powerful enough on their own, but i had been mulling over another quote from earlier on in the week that made this quote that much greater:

"wisdom is knowing what to do; virtue is doing it" - david starr jordan

i had to go and look up virtue to really make this passage make sense. virtue is defined as effective force, power, and potency. i understood this 'effective force, power, and potency' to be that of the mind's manifestation into execution. thoroughness and execution and follow-through have been reoccurring themes in my thoughts as of late, because i truly value these qualities and see how even the slightest drop of them can position you miles ahead of your competition.

fear of failure is probably the worst fear because it simply paralyzes individuals. have you ever heard anybody say they didn't want to do something because they were scared to fail? it's crazy. we must learn to act and do as if failure is impossible. i guess this is what my parents were trying to say when they would tell me 'you never know until you try.' we all will make mistakes, but the winners understand that DOING in spite of past mistakes (and lessons learned from them) are what make them winners.

i'll leave you with this (from my favorite athlete of all time):

"i've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. i've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, i've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. i've failed over and over and over again in my life. and that is why i succeed." - michael jordan

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

define your fears before you define your goals

tim ferriss (author of the 4-Hour Work Week) has just become my new favorite blogger to follow daily. (check the link to the right --->). here is just a taste of some of the awesomeness that spews from this guys brilliant mind:

"Named must your fear be before banish it you can." - Master Yoda

Thursday, August 06, 2009

litmus test for the rcession in your area

here was an interesting (and funny) article i read today on cnbc's website. next time you go out, take a good look around and 'gauge' the level of recession where you are. it seems to make complete sense as much as we would like to think 'beauty' is not an issue.

the hotter the waitress, the weaker the economy

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

what are you on track for?

whether to make sure you stay on task to complete your day's to-do list or to make sure you are doing the right thing to achieve larger goals, this is a great question to ask of yourself throughout the day. i find it particularly useful to ask this first thing in the morning. this has proven full proof in getting me up out of bed each day.

this question, followed by a morning workout, followed by doing is the essential recipe for guaranteed productive days.

these days, i am doing all i can to make sure i can finish and submit my dissertation before the end of the year. i ran into a minor (at least what i hope is a minor) hiccup that could potentially add much more work before i would be able to submit. let's pray that it is minor and does not cause any major delay. having almost come full circle with this whole phd thing, the feeling is one of slight disappointment. i think too often, we get in our heads that reaching a certain level of achievement will be similar to walking into a totally different existence overnight. most times, it is not like this. and now, i see this with my phd. it's not to say that i am not happy about it all, just that i 'expected' the feeling to be totally different than what it is. at the heart of it all, we are who we are and no accolade will change that or our existence. i guess what i am trying to explain is kind of along the lines of the phrase, 'the grass is always greener on the other side,'; meaning that we desire what we don't have, most times, for the simple fact that we do not have it and think we want/need it. too, we concoct an idea of what we don't have that is much greater than the idea of the thing we don't have actually merits. that is, we give it more value than it actually is worth in a sense.

why do we do this? hmmm, good question. i don't know. maybe this is a false sense of motivation to achieve for some. or maybe, it is a reason for underachievers to feel content in not trying (because the thing is too 'great' for them to possibly achieve in their minds).

maybe i have it all wrong. maybe the feeling of disappointment in the first place is really a manifestation of the realization that i have yet more mountain to climb, and this prevents me from 'enjoying' the moment. i guess this is the way it should be right!?!?! we are to embrace and enjoy the journey (as it is normally a larger portion of our time and energy) and NOT the goal (as this is only a short period of time....a few hours, a day maybe, or some longer period of time but NOT indefinitely). is this the curse of being driven? is this the challenge of understanding how to manage ambition? i think so. to a certain extent, happiness comes from feeling good about what you have done/accomplished. BUT, for some, the happiness comes from DOING more. the challenge is where some get their happiness and enjoyment.