True Success

John Wooden talking about what is “true success.” He had this great quote that was told to him by his father:

Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be — that’s under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.

That’s how I define success: being the best you can be, and making sure that you give 100% to everything that is under your control.

Keep being the best you can be!

Quantified Self Improvement

Gary Wolf talks about all of the different methods we use to quantify different aspects of our life – heart rate, sleep habits, spending habits, and a whole whack of other things. Why do I care? Because of this quote:

So, if we want to act more effectively in the world, we have to get to know ourselves better.

Know yourself better, learn how to improve not only yourself, but the world around you as well. Go get ‘em.

Where Great Ideas Come From

This great TED talk by Steven Johnson discusses how some of the great ideas in the world have come to fruition and the sorts of environments that have facilitated that sort of activity. My favourite part was him discussing how scientists get their scientific breakthroughs, and he mentioned this:

They happened at the conference table at the weekly lab meeting, when everybody got together and shared their kind of latest data and findings, oftentimes when people shared the mistakes they were having, the error, the noise in the signal they were discovering.

I’ve known this for a while, but I hope that if you have a great idea, bounce it off people and get their thoughts on the matter. I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who are much more talented and intelligent than I am, so their feedback on my crazy and out there ideas mean the world to me.

Find your group of smarter people, and share your idea with them!

YouTube: Copyright Hero?

Margaret Gould Stewart, the head of user experience over at YouTube explains the Content ID system over at YouTube, and mentions that the minute you upload some copyrighted material, the rights holders get to determine what happens to your video.

Once again, not a huge fan of copyright protection being too far and overreaching, but you really do have to realize that YouTube is making small and incremental changes to copyright protection. The story from the video is a great example: the wedding video that uses Chris Brown’s Forever brought the song back to number 4 on the iTunes charts, having been long dead before that. Had Sony, the rights holder to Chris Brown’s Forever, simply blocked the video from appearing, that song would have stayed off of the charts.

Keep in mind, years ago, these RIAA companies would simply have blocked the content and prevent anyone from enjoying the video. Now, you have companies thinking about all of the possibilities that can come from that one video. As Stewart said:

By simply blocking all reuse, you’ll miss out on new art forms, new audiences, new distribution channels and new revenue streams.

Now, the real task is to get them to move from only allowing popular videos to benefit from this sort of leniency, and to all videos that simply want to share the song – you want more people to listen to your artists, don’t you?

No Copyright Protection – Doing Just Fine

This great presentation from Johanna Blakley discusses how the fashion industry, which does not have the luxury of copyright protection, is a flourishing and innovative industry despite their lack of protection. Being strongly opinionated on the matter of copyright protection, I felt I had to make a few comments.

I think Johanna’s use of the fashion industry doesn’t necessarily apply to the movie, music, software or games industry (Anything that suffers from piracy.) because in fashion, it’s designer to designer copying, not consumer to designer. In other words, it isn’t a consumer issue as much as it is with the aforementioned industries.

But Johanna brought up a fantastic point: designers are making it more difficult for other designers to completely rip off their designs, but they aren’t making it more difficult for the consumer to consume, unlike all of the initiatives that the movie, music, software, and game industries have been undertaking. (Cough, Ubisoft, cough.) I think it’s a very valid point: these people who have no copyright protection are becoming very creative at designing something difficult to rip off, and people want it because it’s designed well.

So lesson to the movie, music, software, and game industries: make something we want, something unique, and we’ll buy it.

Trust me.

School Isn’t For Everyone

This blog post was inspired by Cameron Herold’s speech at TEDxEdmonton.

As someone who’s grown up not really fitting into the school system and always trying to do things on my own, this speaks volumes. It was really difficult to get through all of school, and not because I’m dumb, but because it isn’t a system I jive well with. Of course, this was because everyone in and around the system would try to get you into the “stable career” path without any regard for what you might be good at.

I really wish there was more emphasis on building on your strengths, rather than being constantly reminded of your weaknesses. I don’t believe that people shouldn’t be well rounded, but their strengths should be leaps and bounds ahead of everything else.

The Nielsen Equation

In an effort to blog more and more often, I have set a goal for myself to watch one TED video every morning, and write a short blog post about it. So… let’s kick this off shall we?

There was one particular point that struck me in this video:

If you’ve got an elementary particle and you shine a light on it, then the photon of light has momentum, which knocks the particle, so you don’t know where it was before you looked at it. By measuring it, the act of measurement changes it. The act of observation changes it. It’s the same in marketing.

Why? Well, I’m not sure if any of you are aware of the number of television shows are canceled every year, nevermind the number of shows on FOX that have been canned, but they are all determined by one thing: Nielsen ratings. Nielsen ratings are basically a sample of people who statistically represent the nation as a whole. They are what determines the fate of a show. Basically, the better a show fares on Nielsen tests, the better ad dollars it can pull in, and everyone on the show can get paid.

I am not a huge fan of Nielsen ratings; they cannot accurately measure everything about television shows, which is evident because a large number of very well made shows have been canceled in the past. Of course, set top boxes are unreliable for data; all they can do is tell whether it is turned on or off.

I offer two alternatives:

  • Make the set top boxes measure actual data. Sure, demographics may not be able to be measured accurately, but you can certainly give it a shot.
  • Measure your shows online. Give people access to your shows, make them sign up on your website, and track their watching patterns, anonymously of course. This kind of information would be invaluable, but possibly limited to the younger generations.

The biggest problem behind television is that all of this is being done because they need to sell advertising on these time slots, and that’s exactly why I dislike it. Commercials are a nuisance, and I would love for the entire model to change.

If only!

I would love to get your thoughts on the matter: Nielsen ratings, television shows, commercials, anything and everything in between! Comment down below.

My Mic Broke, And They Fixed It!

It’s been a while since I have blogged here, but I have been busy traveling, building the business, and creating a list of things to consistently blog about (Hopefully!) So here’s the very first: my RODE VideoMic broke, and they fixed it for free – and fast too!

The Story

While filming something with my good friend Darius Bashar, I accidentally left my camera standing on a tripod in his car while we started driving. All it took was one hard turn for the camera to fall down and for one of my fears to come true: my microphone was broken. In reality, the functionality of the microphone was still intact, it was just now impossible to mount it onto the camera even after countless attempts to superglue the cold shoe pieces back together.

Tape all over.
I went on for months sort of sulking about my loss – the RODE VideoMic is $230 + tax on the regular, and it seemed stupid to buy another just because of the cold shoe. I did the stupidest thing I could think of and resorted to taping the microphone on whenever I was filming something – making me look rather unprofessional and making my tiny camera look even worse than it already was.

Finally, last week while filming with Andrea Liew, she asked me “Why didn’t you just buy another one of those parts you broke? I’m sure you could buy it for a couple bucks, it’s plastic!” After hearing that, I immediately cringed due to my extended stupidity and shot out an email to the Canadian service agent for RODE products: Audio Distributors International.

Within a couple hours, I received back an email from Eric Lasnier telling me they would not only replace the part, but they would do it for free! Well, the package came yesterday with two, count them, TWO cold shoe replacements!

I am quite impressed and appreciative of the prompt response and service that I was given by ADI, and they’ve probably just made a customer for life. Thanks guys, you’ve saved my life (and career!)

The new cold shoe on my mic

Staying Fit – Best Apps for Biking / Exercise

As a self-employed individual, you often have to find ways to stay in shape without the luxury of a gym when you’re just starting out. I have managed to run into this problem myself, so I decided to stay proactive by getting on an exercise program that I can run out of my own house. Of course, I wanted to track my progress and ensure that I was actually making gains!

One of the first problems I ran into was having trouble tracking my running or cycling – at the gym, the machines that I use would clearly display your distance, your speed, calories burned, etc and I missed that when just cycling or running around my neighbourhood. Knowing that my iPhone has a huge arsenal of apps available to it that would probably do just that, I asked around and received three great answers: RunKeeper, iMapMyRide, and MotionX GPS.

Here is the quick and dirty run down of the pros and cons of using each:

RunKeeper

Pros
- Simple and easy to use interface
- Tracks everything beautifully
- Gives you all the details clearly and neatly
- Great integration with RunKeeper.com

Cons
- No music control (Not really an issue)
- No sharing in-app

iMapMyRide

Pros
- Works quite well
- Accurate
- Web integration

Cons
- Not very intuitive user interface
- Website is just cluttered and ugly
- Registered as metric, still measured as imperial (Didn’t auto update in settings)

MotionX GPS

Pros
- Works well and accurately
- Detailed information
- Email sharing works very well

Cons
- Ugly user interface, very cluttered and not intuitive
- Email sharing works but is riddled with advertising

Overall, all three of the apps were accurate and worked as desired, but iMapMyRide and MotionX GPS were both so clunky and did not have intuitive user interfaces that I decided that they just weren’t for me.

At the end of the day, I decided to go with RunKeeper for its well designed user interface and fantastic integration with runkeeper.com, a beautifully designed website that shows all of the information you could ever ask for and much more. I know this is a really quick and brief post without many details but it really comes down to preference – all three apps I have listed have Lite versions (They’re what I used!) and you should make the judgment call for yourself.

Happy exercising!