Does it “Pay” to be homeless?


I ran across an interesting article today (Click here) “Donations Pour In For Homeless Man Who Returned Ring He Got By Mistake”. It’s a warm story of a woman who threw a homeless guy some change and accidentally dropped her engagement ring in along with her change. The homeless guy apparently didn’t notice it until hours later but instead of pawning it decided to keep it. The woman noticed the next day and traced her steps back to him. When he was approached by her he gave the ring back. Sweet story right?

Well, the next day the husband apparently reported this event to a local news station that created some good publicity which then prompted the husband to create a “Pay it Forward” donations page for “Billy Ray Harris” that to date has generated over $168,000. Yes, you heard me. ONE HUNDRED and SIXTY-EIGHT THOUSAND dollars.

Now don’t get me wrong here,  I am all for the nice story and the pay it forward thing. But have we become the type of society that by giving back something of value to its rightful owner has become such a HUGE deal? To me, I think that this should be second nature to everyone. Yes, he should be praised for not pawning the ring and giving it back. But this is a bit much in this readers opinion.

I hope that Billy Ray enjoys his new-found fortune and cleans himself up. But I also hope that he values what happened here for what it is and not for what it has become. Go out and continue paying it forward Billy!

I’ll leave all of you with this….Acts of Kindness should not be rewarded, they should be admired and copied. I would rather have seen the reports of this event spark 168,000 single acts of kindness than $168,000 dollars of payment for one nice deed. But that’s just me.

What do you think?

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.


The “Magic T”


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!

Thanks Captain “Sully”


One of the most impressive keynote presentations I’ve ever seen! WOW!

Captain “Sully” Sullenberger is the man! He talked about his life and the preparations he had leading up to that day (the Miracle in the Hudson). He described the 208 seconds that changed his life and the effects it had on everyone around him. His demeanor is of a man full of integrity, honesty, excellence, and pure leadership. If you want anyone to be piloting a plane for you, he would be it. We listened to the flight recorder and the conversations that went on during the flight and listened intently to him describe every thought and every manoeuver he made that day. It was incredible.

He later talked about process, innovation and other things that helped educate him throughout his career. Some pretty cool things were said. Some of his quotes during the presentation:

“I never knew on which 208 seconds my entire career would be judged.”

“I practiced calmness so that when I needed it I was able to force it into this extraordinary event.”

“Our reputations are built one action at a time”

“Real Innovation to me is, changing before you are forced to.”

Extraordinary person all around (to say the least). Thanks Captain “Sully” for the 5 minute chat after the presentation and for the book signing. I will truly treasure it.

Here are some videos of the flight recorder and the CCTV footage of the landing.
Flight Recorder
CCTV Landing

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Picture taken by me at Pink13 Conference - Feb13
Picture taken by me at Pink13 Conference – Feb13

I was at an IT Conference last week in Las Vegas and was fortunate to see, hear and meet some really cool people talk. Amongst those I met was Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is the Astrophysicist that led the effort in downgrading “Pluto” from planet status to dwarf planet. I was very much into Math and Science when I was a kid and grew up dreaming of a future very similar to the one we now live in and then some. I always wanted to live long enough to see us all in flying cars, or to live in a house that you simply talk to in order to get things done. Well, these things are reality today, maybe not mainstream but I have lived to see it.

We were quite fortunate to have met him during this conference because as luck would have it only a few days prior the earth experienced two major astrological events. One was the near miss asteroid (2012 DA14) that missed us by a mere 17000 miles and the other was the Chelyabinsk asteroid that exploded over Russia with a force equal to 500 kilotons of energy that injured over 1000 people and blow out windows in buildings, etc. Neil discussed these in detail for us and explained the repercussions that we would suffer if these were direct hits on earth. Fascinating and very scary data.

He followed his presentation by emphasizing how the USA is falling behind in the space program by comparison to the rest of the world. Quite sad if you ask me, being that we were once the leaders. Today countries like Japan, China, and Brazil are the leaders in this research. The fact is that after the cold war ended, the USA had no political reasons for continuing so strongly with the space program. This is really sad that things like this are affected by politics and money. Neil explained how scientists and engineers have many options for us to save our planet from these type of events (and I’m not talking Bruce Willis type options either) that cost relatively very little if the government would fund it. Thankfully, Neil told us that we should not fear because if we don’t do it, at least someone else will. The other countries that are working on these type of space programs will hopefully save us all one day.

The talk was extremely interesting and enlightening. I had the pleasure of meeting him and having him sign his book for me. He’s obviously a brilliant human being who unfortunately is having a tough time getting through to the right people these days. Politics suck!

Here are some videos of Neil and some of his talks that hopefully will enlighten you more rather than me babbling about it!

Courtesy of – Neil Degrasse Tyson

March Madness


Leonardo Aranda takes a gander at who has won in each round since 1985, by ranking, with a color-coded bracket that resembles a stacked area chart.

It’s college basketball time again and friends and co-workers gather around the water cooler to talk top seeds and Cinderellas. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy watching the NCAA tourney. I’m not into the NBA as much anymore because the sport has turned into a commodity. It’s all about the money. The NCAA also is very much about money but the kids that play are truer to the game and not so much about the money. So there is still heart in the game and it makes for interesting and exciting matchups.

Plus, there is less predictability. Contrary to the chart above, there are certain teams that sometimes make a run for it and successfully beat teams that they really had no business beating. I think this simply illustrates the power of the mind. Those successes come from those teams that totally commit to themselves and their desire to achieve greatness. It happens only once every couple of years, but when it does it brings a ton of excitement to the tournament.

I’ll be filling out my bracket(s) again this year and I can tell you that one of my brackets will have some big upsets predicted in the hopes that we have another “Cinderella” team in the making. It makes watching the event much more interesting and you find yourself rooting for that cinderella hard. I hope that this year will be one of those years!

A couple of my early predictions for potential Cinderella greatness – South Dakota State and Montana! (Subject to change as we get closer to the tourney)

Enjoy the tourney and good luck!