The Giving Pledge

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Back in March of 2013 I wrote a blog post about Billionaires, I mention in this article that if I ever joined the ranks of billionaire status that I promised to form a club.

Millionaires, Billionaires…Trillions?

Well, unbeknown to  me at the time there was already a movement started called “The Giving Pledge” that Warren Buffet and Bill & Melinda Gates started.

This week on 60 Minutes I watched a segment on it. Here it is for anyone that wants to see it.

The Giving Pledge on 60 Minutes

My take on this….

a) I think its a phenomenal cause and I give credit to these folks that are pledging to do this for the better of humanity. If that’s truly the reason they are doing it.
b) There are many people that criticize this in a number of ways. The fact that the pledge is not a legal binding commitment for instance, or that there are other superseding legal binding clauses in their wills that don’t obligate the members to donate half their wealth after death.
c) There are critics that say that they are doing it as a tax shelter. Or that many of the billionaires are simply still donating to their own philanthropies and just using the Giving Pledge as a public relations vehicle.
d) There are 1426 Billionaires in the world, only 150 or so are participating in this effort. Although the Giving Pledge is growing year over year with more billionaires, one has to wonder if it’s for the right reasons.

What do you think?

I think that in the end, I want to keep a positive outlook on all this and I hope that they are all in it for the right reasons. I will still repeat the same thing I said a few years ago in my previous blog post. If I ever join the ranks of the Billionaire Club, I will lobby to get them to join a club that has these good intentions. Combining wealth for the greater good.

I’ll probably blog on this again in a few years. Let’s see how they progress. And maybe by then I’ll have won the billion dollar jackpot!

The difference between impossible and “nearly” impossible…

Is as big as any difference we encounter. All we need is ‘nearly’ and we have completely transformed the problem–changing it from one to avoid to one to commit to.

Here’s the hard part: having the ability to see (and to announce) the ‘nearly’ part.

Almost every breakthrough comes from someone who saw “nearly” when no one else did.

I hope this inspires you….

RIP Bubba…you will be missed!

This is Bubba about 2 weeks ago!
This is Bubba about 2 weeks ago!

Today is a sad day for the Estigarribia household. Abby lost her pet Betta fish Bubba today. He was over 4 years old (taking into account that when we got him he was almost a year old). Which in Betta fish land is a pretty good lifespan for a fish that is in a 1 gallon bowl with no filtration system.

Bubba came to our family as a Hanukkah gift to Abby in December 2009. I think that Abby has learned quite a lot from this fish. Some of the experiences that I can remember talking to her about with regards to Bubba included mostly questions about life itself. Early on she questioned why Bubba lived alone in his tank and didn’t have friends. We had to explain to her that Betta fish are not fish that really enjoy each other’s company. She also questioned life itself. She asked us how long Bubba would live. We wanted to ensure we prepared her for the inevitable so we explained that the lifespan of a Betta fish is usually not more than 2-3 years. This prompting her to associate death with people and herself too. Which is not an easy subject to discuss with a 4 or 5-year-old, but it is part of life. I’m sure at the time she was a bit confused but over time she’s obviously getting a full understanding of the concept of death. She was sad about the fact that eventually Bubba would possibly die. But understood it.

As the years past we taught her the importance of keeping Bubba fed, his tank clean, and how he was her pet. Abby being very loving in nature accepted this responsibility and always kept on top of things. Over the last few months Ilyssa and I suspected that Bubba was getting old and would not make it through the summer. You could see that he was slowing down. So we started to talk to Abby about it and started to prepare her for what happened today.

Despite all the preparations, it was quite sad this morning when she discovered that Bubba was not moving. Tears rolled down her eyes as she came to me with the news. We held her and consoled her for a few moments and I promised her that when she got home from school later today that we would have a proper burial for him in our backyard. I’ll probably be tasked with doing the eulogy….what do you say about a fish? “Bubba was a good fish, he swam. He swam like no other fish…” Ok, that’s a good start!

I am sure that after a week or so we will go to the pet store to get another Betta fish for her. This is another thing we’ve told her throughout the years. A new friend will come into her room to keep her company for another 4-5  or longer years. Life will go on…but Bubba will always be remembered in our hearts.

Rest in Peace Bubba! 12/09 – 4/13.

 

Balls of STEEL!

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I have a bit of a problem with heights. To be more precise, I have a fear of not being in control of the height. I have no problem with flying for instance because while I’m in the plane I feel safe that I won’t “Fall” out. But if you put me near an edge of a cliff or on a balcony of a tall building that doesn’t have a caged in fencing to protect me from falling off I get anxious and completely freaked out.

About 12 years ago a friend of mine lived on the upper east side and while at a party one night at his place he invited us to the rooftop. Pretty cool, we were having some cigars and having some fun. No problem. He asked me if I wanted to see a nice view of the city from the other side of the roof and I said sure. Well, what he didn’t tell me was that I had to swing over to the other side of the roof by dangling my feet over the edge of the roof and swing over to the other side. This required a very simple task really. You literally would sit down on the edge of the roof and flip your feet over to the adjacent corner of the roof. The building was about 50 stories high by the way. He of course did it by jumping up on the edge and swinging his whole body over in one swoop. I told him that there was no way I could do that. After a long debate and I guess because I was drinking a bit, I decided to go ahead and try this and luckily I am here to talk about it today. I sat on that edge and swung over to the other side. The view was nice, but I don’t know if it was worth the effort to see it. It was by far the most fearful thing I’ve ever done with regards to heights and my logic in doing it was purely to try to combat this problem I have. Well, it failed. I still have the fear and when I think about this story today I say to myself “what the hell was wrong with you that day, why did you even put yourself in a situation where you could have literally died”.

You ask why I’m even talking about this today? Well I saw a video yesterday that reminded me of that day and figured I’d blog about it and share that story, but more importantly wanted to share the video(s) I found on this russian kid. He calls himself Mustang-Wanted. To me he is completely crazy, but to him and many others that are fearless of things like this it must be somewhat normal or maybe even a rush. He says in one of his videos that he does feel fear, but he’s simply learned to overcome it. Simply for some I guess.

As for me, I can barely watch these videos without my hands getting clammy and my heart racing. I kind of envy people who have the ability to do this but I think he is completely nuts and has no regards for his life by doing what he does. One small mistake and its over.

Then again, who am I to judge right? I’m sure he enjoys this “Hobby” as much as I enjoy a round of golf.

Anyway, here are some links to some of the videos that I saw that literally made me queasy simply watching them.

He’s also on Facebook – Mustang-Wanted Facebook Page

How do you deal with heights? Anyone else have this fear?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSsWLiu1s00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0lF56yEfkM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajVurrUvELc

 

 

Educating our children…don’t take away their creativity!

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I saw this guy live a few years ago at an IT conference and his talk still resonates in my mind. I’ve since watched it several times and have also seen his most recent talk on Ted as well. Equally impressive. His first talk on Ted is most watched TED talk worldwide.

His philosophy and thoughts on education have made me think twice about how to raise my daughter through her years of schooling that are yet to come. He makes valid points on how we, as a society somehow have managed to “educate our children out of creativity”.

He argues that we need to stop having reform or evolution in education, but rather we need to have a revolution in education.

I hope you spend a few minutes to watch these two TED talks. If you have children, I urge you to watch and listen. His presentation skills are great, he uses humor to break things up and makes watching him extremely entertaining and wanting to hear more.

Here are the links to the two TED Talks he’s had:
Schools Kill Creativity
Bring on the learning Revolution

Some of my favorite quotes from his talks:
“Creativity today is as important at literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”
“Creativity as I define it, is the process of having original ideas that have value”
“Human communities depend on a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability”

There was no way I was leaving this one out of my blog. He’s on the “A” list.

When Ideas Have Sex

Matt Ridley on stage at Pink13 - photo by Hugo
Matt Ridley on stage at Pink13 – photo by Hugo

One of the keynote speakers at the Pink13 ITSM Conference this year was Matt Ridley. His keynote was great! I totally enjoyed it. I looked him up on TED and found that his talk (or at least a very similar version of it) is available – Ted Talk. The talk is all about interesting facts of how human progress can be attributed to the meeting and “Mating” of ideas to make new ideas. He argues that it’s not that important how smart one person is but what really matters is how smart we are collectively.

I tend to agree with him and really never looked at things quite the way he does. I’m sure you’ll find it quite entertaining.

Enjoy!

The “Magic T”

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Why is it that when it comes to sporting events, concerts and entertainment we always tend to want the best seats in the house, but when it comes to learning and training we shy away and want to sit in the back? There are cases where you walk into a training room and the first 2-3 rows are practically empty. The class can be  packed and people will actually stand in the back or sides of the room to avoid having to sit in the front.

Did you ever wonder why the kids that sit in the front row of the classroom are usually the best students? Not saying that you can’t be an “A” student sitting in the back of the class. I was, but I had to try twice as hard as those in the front of the class to get my “A”. The kids in the front of the room don’t have as many distractions as you do in the back. They don’t have to see through iPhones and Blackberry’s, iPads, and that tall person that decides to sit in front of you.

What do you gain by sitting in the front you may ask? Well, besides fewer distractions, don’t you think you’ll learn something from the people around you? Those that are in the front already “Get it”, therefore they are a positive influence for you. They get to class early, they come prepared, they are sitting at attention anxiously waiting to learn. They say that if you hang around someone long enough that you start to act and be like them. Why not be like the “A” students then?

So the “Magic T” if you haven’t figured it out yet is the front row and center isles.

Where will you sit from now on?

If you decide to take this advice, be a leader and do this with conviction. Don’t just do it once, set the example for your kids if you are a parent, and don’t limit this to school. Sit in the front at your church or place of worship, sit in the front at meetings or seminars.

I credit this post to Kirk Weisler  – I’ve seen Kirk speak several times now and he is truly one of the most inspirational people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I heard him speak about this topic at a recent event and could not wait to share it. I’ve been sitting in the “Magic T” since!