I made this using my D90 and Sofortbild to control the timing. Exposure had to be manual which is why you see lighting changes. Click through to see the higher res version.
So today I joined a live interview video/chat room of a local business person. The content was generally useful but what was amazing to me was just how much annoying spam was created by users joining the chat room. I don’t know how they found it but it was ironic to me that here I was, watching a webcast talking about “Community and Marketing 2.0″ and at the same time its users were actively destroying the room by acting like a-holes making crude comments. Two things I got out of this:
a) people can be a-holes when they think no one is watching them.When all anyone knows about you is a random username then people become characters experimenting with different personalities. That’s the problem with anonymity online. Maybe these people are pretty normal citizens in everyday life, but in the chat room there were tons of degrading and sexual comments being made to a person they didn’t even know. It was a virtual crime in my opinion – just like harassment is.
And b) a live chat room needs to have moderation decentralized and handed over to the community if it’s going to really be a “live community event”. A single administrator can’t keep up with deleting comments, banning users, finding good comments, and staying engaged with the person being interviewed. It just doesn’t work. Why not hand over control to the community itself? Let other people thumbs up/thumbs down other users. If the majority is really there to engage then the spam users will be voted out quickly. Otherwise, let the administrator quickly assign other users as administrators. The point here is where is the balance between decentralizing authority and making communities self policing vs. retaining traditional old-school mentalities of centralized control watching over a community?
Learning how to kite surf in Indonesia sounds like a really good idea. Oh, and this movie sounds cool too.
Is this: http://www.wherethehellismatt.com. Matt is definitely my idol right now.
I really like this:
“Stay in the loop” as a tagline can be the result of brainstorming for a couple days, like it was for loopnote.com – a product I co-founded. Or it can be the result of millions of marketing dollars, 9 separate focus group studies, outside agency “experts” and multi-departmental Kool-aid drinking. The justification for the latter? Why, millions in increased revenue and higher consumer loyalty of course!
It’s the product stupid!
I haven’t updated the blog in quite a while so it’s about time I did. For the last 4 months I’ve been an assistant boys basketball coach at North High school in Denver. It’s been a period of intense learning, filled with moments of frustration, joy, humility, and excitement.
I decided to “get involved” for a couple reasons. First off, I had the time. I parted ways with my startup called Brightkite back in late October. I spent the summer working on Brightkite at Techstars and most of the fall trying to raise money for this mobile social network. I’ll talk more about that experience at some other point. For now I want to focus on coaching. And so the other reason I decided to volunteer as a coach was that I’ve always had a desire to be a mentor, a coach, and a teacher in some capacity or another.
What I got in return was a good education and for that, I am grateful. Ironically, I also have a better understand of just how fucked up the Denver Public School system is – one in which hardly anyone gets an education. To understand what I’m talking about, consider this statistic which I learned last night: more than 50% of Denver Public School High School students never graduate. More than half! All I can say to that is WTF!? We’re not talking about Med School here, we’re talking about algebra, US history, basic fucking geometry, and maybe some geology. Not only that but the average reading level of a high school student is something like 4th or 5th grade. I’m not making this stuff up – this was straight from a guy who works for the school board.
Anyway, the kids are falling way behind academically. But right now I don’t care to talk about policy or grammar or teacher salaries, etc. My experience was as a coach. One of 4 coaches trying to motivate and instill some semblance of order and discipline around the sport of basketball for about 20 kids. 20 kids who have chosen to be there, who have tried out, who proclaimed their love for the sport and their commitment to being the best basketball player they can be!! “C’mon coach, give me a shot, I know I can do it!”…
You’d think so but actually that’s now how it was at all. I lost track of how many days we were missing several kids from practice. I lost track of how many days we’d spend practice time in the locker room lecturing the boys about how they need to do their homework, show up to practice, stay eligible, stay out of gangs so they don’t get shot, work hard, believe in themselves. I lost track of how much we had to make them believe that loving the sport of basketball is a good thing, something that can be used to get them ahead in anything they put their minds to… Much easier said than done. Unfortunately, for a lot of these kids, the love of the game is seldom enough. It competes with friends, taking care of family members and it competed with “not playing basketball”. By that I mean that for most of these kids there’s no real aspiration of being a good high school basketball athlete. It doesn’t have the same status it does in other schools or it did when I was in high school. They may as well be playing in a rec league. The result: no hard work, on or off the court. Spoiled is a word that comes to mind.
On the bright side, for those kids who truly love the game, there’s always a way to reach them. They work harder, they listen more, they show up to practice, they have fun on the court and they know when they’re not playing up to their potential. Now, I should say. It’s not fair to group the kids into two groups. Each kid has his moments when he loves the game and is focused – and times when he’s lost his focus, when he’s searching, lost, scared, timid, doubtful. There’s also the guys who just work hard no matter what. The kids who hustle, show up, study hard, are passionate.
That’s what coaching inner city basketball is like, or at least how it was for me and the other coaches. I’ve seen so much of what’s wrong with these kids’ lives and I don’t really have formula for how to fix it. The geek, inventor, analytical, hopeful and optimistic person in me really wants to know what the fix is, but this one’s not that easy. What I can say though, is that getting involved helps. Money helps, time from people who care helps. Face time is golden. It takes consistent face time and a lot of patience to influence the mindset of these kids – but it can be done – and when it does, it’s an amazing thing.
Last thing. Last night Coach Mario, the head coach put together a great little banquet for the boys team. He invited alumni from North High Basketball who graduated in the 50′s. They all love the community and they stay involved, which is awesome. He invited players and their parents. The guest list must have been 50 or 60 deep. All in all, it was a fabulous night. But you know what will stick in my mind more than anything from that night? Not the awards handed out or the inspirational speeches given by some of the alumni. What sticks in my mind more than anything is the fact that 6 out of the 11 varsity boys players didn’t show up. It was a free meal in their honor and they didn’t show up. Riddle me that. And that sums it up for a lot of the season.
Maybe Coach Mario said it best. I said to him “where are all the other guys coach?” – he smiled, rolled his eyes and said “they don’t understand this coach, they’ve never experienced anything like this, no ones ever done anything like this for them”. In other words, how can you appreciate something you don’t appreciate – because it’s not in your realm of consciousness. Who’s to blame? I don’t know, I think we all are. You are. I am. The parents are. The players are by no means the victims here. They’re definitely to blame to.
Yes, they’re definitely spoiled in a way. Coach Mario sees it as a lack of exposure to character building experiences – if that’s true then what’s going on?
I agree that these kids need to have their awareness expanded. I really like Coach Mario’s idea of taking the kids to Houston for a tournament. Considering the fact that most of them have never been outside of Colorado, let alone been on a plane, I’m looking forward to the mind blowing experience this should be for a lot of them. If you want to help, get in touch with me. North High Vikings are accepting donations. Go Vikes!
I’ve wanted to experiment with Garageband on the Mac for a while and finally got around to it last week. HERE IS THE RESULT. A sort of House/Trance/Techno song. I had so much fun putting this together. It was kind of like photography for me, I can spend hours and hours working on it without knowing time is going by. Thinking maybe something more acoustic for my next song. Call me DJ Al