Monthly Archives: February 2008
The Evolution of Tech Companies? Logos
Written by neatorama
You’ve seen these tech logos everywhere, but have you ever wondered how they came to be? Did you know that Apple’s original logo was Isaac Newton under an apple tree? Or that Nokia’s original logo was a fish?
Let’s take a look at the origin of tech companies’ logos and how they evolved over time:
Source: Adobe Press
In 1982, forty-something programmers John Warnock and Charles Geschke quit their work at Xerox to start a software company. They named it Adobe, after a creek that ran behind Warnock’s home. Their first focus was to create PostScript, a programming language used in desktop publishing.
When Adobe was young, Warnock and Geschke did everything they could to save money. They asked family and friends to help out: Geschke’s 80-year-old father stained lumber for shelving, and Warnock’s wife Marva designed Adobe’s first logo.
In 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (“the two Steves”) designed and built a homemade computer, the Apple I. Because Wozniak was working for Hewlett Packard at the time, they offered it to HP first, but they were turned down. The two Steves had to sell some of their prized posessions (Wozniak sold his beloved programmable HP calculator and Jobs sold his old Volkswagen bus) to finance the making of the Apple I motherboards.
Later that year, Wozniak created the next generation machine: Apple ][ prototype. They offered it to Commodore, and got turned down again. But things soon started to look up for Apple, and the company began to gain customers with its computers.
The first Apple logo was a complex picture of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. The logo was inscribed: “Newton ? A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought ? Alone.” It was designed by Ronald Wayne, who along with Wozniak and Jobs, actually founded Apple Computer. In 1976, after only working for two weeks at Apple, Wayne relinquished his stock (10% of the company) for a one-time payment of $800 because he thought Apple was too risky! (Had he kept it, Wayne’s stock would be worth billions!)
Jobs thought that the overly complex logo had something to do with the slow sales of the Apple I, so he commissioned Rob Janoff of the Regis McKenna Agency to design a new one. Janoff came up with the iconic rainbow-striped Apple logo used from 1976 to 1999.
Rumor has it that the bite on the Apple logo was a nod to Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple. Janoff, however, said in an interview that though he was mindful of the “byte/bite” pun (Apple’s slogan back then: “Byte into an Apple”), he designed the logo as such to “prevent the apple from looking like a cherry tomato.” (Source)
In 1998, supposedly at the insistence of Jobs, who had just returned to the company, Apple replaced the rainbow logo (“the most expensive bloody logo ever designed” said Apple President Mike Scott) with a modern-looking, monochrome logo.
Source: Canon Origin and Evolution of the Logo
In 1930, Goro Yoshida and his brother-in-law Saburo Uchida created Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory in Japan. Four years later, they created their first camera, called the Kwanon. It was named after the Kwanon, Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy. The logo included an image of Kwanon with 1,000 arms and flames.
Coolness of logo notwithstanding, the company registered the differently spelled word “Canon” as a trademark because it sounded similar to Kwanon while implying precision, a characteristic the company would like to be known and associated with.
In 1996, Stanford University computer science graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin built a search engine that would later become Google. That search engine was called BackRub, named for its ability to analyze “back links” to determine relevance of a particular website. Later, the two renamed their search engine Google, a play on the word Googol (meaning 1 followed by 100 zeros).
Google.com in 1998
Two years later, Larry and Sergey went to Internet portals (who dominated the web back then) but couldn’t get anyone interested in their technology. In 1998, they started Google, Inc. in a friend’s garage, and the rest is history.
Google’s first logo was created by Sergey Brin, after he taught himself to use the free graphic software GIMP. Later, an exclamation mark mimicking the Yahoo! logo was added. In 1999, Stanford’s Consultant Art Professor Ruth Kedar designed the Google logo that the company uses today.
The very first Google Doodle: Burning Man Festival 1998
To mark holidays, birthdays of famous people and major events, Google uses specially drawn logos known as the Google Doodles. The very first Google Doodle was a reference to the Burning Man Festival in 1999. Larry and Sergey put a little stick figure on the home page to let people know why no one was in the office in case the website crashed! Now, Google Doodles are regularly drawn by Dennis Hwang.
Source: IBM Archives
In 1911, the International Time Recording Company (ITR, est. 1888) and the Computing Scale Company (CSC, est. 1891) merged to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR, see where IBM gets its penchant for three letter acronym?). In 1924, the company adopted the name International Business Machines Corporation and a new modern-looking logo. It made employee time-keeping systems, weighing scales, meat slicers, and punched-card tabulators.
In the late 1940s, IBM began a difficult transition of punched-card tabulating to computers, led by its CEO Thomas J. Watson. To signify this radical change, in 1947, IBM changed its logo for the first time in over two decades: a simple typeface logo.
In 1956, with the leadership of the company being passed down to Watson’s son, Paul Rand changed IBM’s logo to have “a more solid, grounded and balanced appearance” and at the same time he made the change subtle enough to communicate that there’s continuity in the passing of the baton of leadership from father to son.
IBM logo’s last big change – which wasn’t all that big – was in 1972, when Paul Rand replaced the solid letters with horizontal stripes to suggest “speed and dynamism.”
LG began its life as two companies: Lucky (or Lak Hui) Chemical Industrial (est. 1947), which made cosmetics and GoldStar (est. 1958), a radio manufacturing plant. Lucky Chemical became famous in Korea for creating the Lucky Cream, with a container bearing the image of the Hollywood starlet Deanna Durbin. GoldStar evolved from manufacturing only radios to making all sorts of electronics and household appliances.
In 1995, Lucky Goldstar changed its name to LG Electronics (yes, a backronym apparently not). Actually, LG is a chaebol (a South Korean conglomerate), so there’s a whole range of LG companies that also changed their names, such as LG Chemicals, LT Telecom, and even a baseball team called the LG Twins. These companies all adopted the “Life is Good” tagline you often see alongside its logo.
Interestingly, LG denies that their name now stands for Lucky Goldstar? or any other words. They’re just “LG.”
Microsoft’s “groovy logo” source: Coding Horror
In 1975, Paul Allen (who then was working at Honeywell) and his friend Bill Gates (then a sophomore at Harvard University) saw a new Altair 8800 of Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems or MITS. It was the first mini personal computer available commercially.
Allen and Gates decided to port the computer language BASIC for the computer (they did this in 24 hours!), making it the first computer language written for a personal computer. They approached MITS and ended up licensing BASIC to the company. Shortly afterwards, Allen and Gates named their partnership “Micro-soft” (within the year, they dropped the hyphen). In 1977, Microsoft became an official company with Allen and Gates first sharing the title general partners.
On to the logo history:
In 1982, Microsoft announced a new logo, complete with the distinctive “O” that employees dubbed the “Blibbet.” When the logo was changed in 1987, Microsoft employee Larry Osterman launched a “Save the Blibbet” campaign but to no avail. Supposedly, way back when, Microsoft cafeteria served “Blibbet Burger,” a double cheeseburger with bacon.
In 1987, Scott Baker designed the current, so-called “Pac-Man Logo” for Microsoft. The new logo has a slash on the ‘O’ that made it look like Pac-Man, hence the name. In 1994 Microsoft introduced a new tagline Where do you want to go today?, as part of a $100 million advertising campaign. Needless to say, it was widely mocked.
In 1996, perhaps tired of being the butt of jokes like “what kind of error messages would you like today?”, Microsoft dropped the slogan. Later, it tried on new taglines like “Making It Easier“, “Start Something“, “People Ready” and “Open Up Your Digital Life” before settling on the current “Your potential. Our passion.”
Oh, one more thing: what was Microsoft’s original slogan? It was “Microsoft: What’s a microprocessor without it?”
? Microsoft’s very first advertising campaign “Microsoft: What’s a microprocessor without it?,” which touted how Microsoft’s line of programming languages could be used to create software that would take advantage of the early microprocessors. The first advertisement in the campaign appeared in a 1976 issue of a microchip journal called Digital Design and featured a four panel black-and-white cartoon titled “The Legend of Micro-Kid.” The cartoon depicted a small microchip character as a boxer who possessed speed and power but quickly tired out because he had no real training. The other character, a trainer complete with a derby on his head and big stogie hanging out of his mouth, related the story of how the Micro-Kid had a great future but needed a manager, such as himself, in order to succeed. (source: PC Today)
Motorola, then Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, was started in 1928 by Paul Galvin. In the 1930s, Galvin started manufacturing car radios, so he created the name ‘Motorola’ which was simply the combination of the word ‘motor’ and the then-popular suffix ‘ola.’ The company switched its name in 1947 to Motorola Inc. In the 1980s, the company started making cellular phones commercially.
The stylized “M” insignia (the company called it “emsignia”) was designed in 1955. A company leader said that “the two aspiring triangle peaks arching into an abstracted ‘M’ typified the progressive leadership-minded outlook of the company.” (I’m serious, look up the logo-speak here: Motorola History)
In 2002, Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross created an open-source web browser that ultimately became Mozilla Firefox. At first, it was titled Phoenix, but this name ran into trademark issues and was changed to Firebird. Again, the replacement name ran into problem because of an existing software. Third time’s the charm: the web browser was re-named Mozilla Firefox.
In 2003, professional interface designer Steven Garrity, wrote that the browser (and other software released by Mozilla) suffered from poor branding. Soon afterwards, Mozilla invited him to develop a new visual identity for Firefox, including the famous logo.
Update 2/7/08: I goofed on this one, guys: it was John Hicks of Hicksdesign that actually made the Firefox logo, designed from a concept from Daniel Burka and sketched by Stephen Desroches – Thanks Jacob Morse and Aaron Bassett!
In 1865, Knut Fredrik Idestam established a wood-pulp mill in Tampere, south-western Finland. It took on the name Nokia after moving the mill to the banks of the Nokianvirta river in the town of Nokia. The word “Nokia” in Finnish, by the way, means a dark, furry animal we now call the Pine Marten weasel.
The modern company we know as the Nokia Corporation was actually a merger between Finnish Rubber Works (which also used a Nokia brand), the Nokia Wood Mill, and the Finnish Cable Works in 1967.
Before focusing on telecommunications and cell phones, Nokia produced paper products, bicycle and car tires, shoes, television, electricity generators, and so on.
Source: Nortel History
In 1895, Bell Telephone Company of Canada spun off its business that made fire alarm, call boxes, and other non-telephone hardware into a new company called the Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company Ltd. It began by manufacturing wind-up gramophones.
In 1976, Northern Electric changed its name to Northern Telecom Ltd. to better reflect its new focus on digital technology. Nineteen years later in 1995, it became Nortel Networks “reflecting its corporate evolution from telephoney manufacturing company to designer, builder, and integrator of perse multiservice networks.”
Palm Computing Inc. was founded in 1992 by Jeff Hawkins, who also invented the Palm Pilot PDA. The company has gone through some rough patches in its history: its first PDA called Zoomer was a commercial flop. Next, it was bought out by U.S. Robotics who was promptly sued by Xerox for patent infringement over its Graffiti handwriting recognition technology.
Then it gets convoluted: U.S. Robotics was bought by 3Com, and Hawkins, disgusted with office politics, left to create his own company Handspring. Ironically, not long after he left, 3Com spun off Palm Inc as a separate company. Palm Inc split into two, PalmSource (the OS side) and palmOne (the hardware part). palmOne then merged with Handspring and then bought PalmSource to coalesce back into ? Palm, Inc.!
Got that? No? Never mind. All along this journey, they not only change names, but logos as well. Well, at least the graphics designers got some money.
Source: Xerox Historical Logos
Xerox Corporation can trace its lineage back almost 100 years ago to the Haloid Company, which was founded in 1906 to manufacture photographic paper and equipment.
In 1938, Chester Carlson invented a photocopying technique called electrophotography, which he later renamed xerography (Carlson was famous for his persistence: he experimented for 15 years and through debilitating back pain while going to law school and working his regular job). Like many inventions ahead of its time, it wasn’t well received at all. Carlson spent years trying to convince General Electric, IBM, RCA, and other companies to invest in his invention but no one was interested.
Until, that is, he went to the Haloid company, who helped him develop the world’s first photocopier, the Haloid Xerox 914. The copier were so successful that in 1961, Xerox dropped the Haloid from its name.
In 2004, fresh from a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for cooking the books, Xerox tried to re-invent itself (complete with a new logo). Four years later in 2008, it tried to get away from the image that it’s only a copier company and adopted a new logo. The good news is people don’t think of copier when they see the new logo. The bad news is, they think of a beach ball.
Update 2/7/08: And yes, I missed the “Digital X” logo of Xerox. Check out Brand New blog for the entire scoop.
6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm
Written by Timothy Ferriss
The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle
I was stressed out? over dog cartoons.
It was 9:47pm at Barnes and Noble on a recent Saturday night, and I had 13 minutes to find a suitable exchange for “The New Yorker Dog Cartoons,” $22 of expensive paper. Bestsellers? Staff recommends? New arrivals or classics? I’d already been there 30 minutes.
Beginning to feel overwhelmed with a ridiculous errand I’d expected to take five minutes, I stumbled across the psychology section. One tome jumped out at me as all too appropriate-The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen or read Barry Schwarz’s 2004 classic, but it seemed like a good time to revisit the principles, among them that:
-The more options you consider, the more buyer’s regret you’ll have.
-The more options you encounter, the less fulfilling your ultimate outcome will be.
This raises an difficult question: Is it better to have the best outcome but be less satisfied, or have an acceptable outcome and be satisfied?
For example, would you rather deliberate for months and get the 1 of 20 houses that’s the best investment but second-guess yourself until you sell it 5 years later; or would you rather get a house that is 80% of the investment potential of the former (still to be sold at a profit) but never second-guess it?
One call wasn’t tough: he recommends making non-returnable purchases. I decided to keep the stupid pooch cartoons. Why? Because it’s not just about being satisfied, it’s about being practical.
Income is renewable, but some other resources-like attention-are not. I’ve talked before about attention as a currency and how it determines the value of time.
The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen explores this using case studies, but here’s one example to illustrate: is your weekend really “free” if you find a crisis in the inbox Saturday morning that you can’t address until Monday morning?
Even if the inbox scan lasts 30 seconds, the preoccupation and forward projection for the subsequent 48 hours effectively deletes that experience from your life. You had time but you didn’t have attention, so the time had no practical value.
The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths:
1) Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action or present-state awareness.
2) Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation.
Too many choices = less or no productivity
Too many choices = less or no appreciation
Too many choices = sense of overwhelm
Some people find that religion enables a practical choice-minimal lifestyle, as tenets often limit the number of possible actions. During his year of attempting to follow the rules of the Bible literally, the then-agnostic AJ Jacobs of Esquire cited the rules and restrictions of the Bible as amazing in this respect. Not having to consider a wide spectrum of options or actions-as he was following immutable if-then rules-allowed him to focus undiluted attention on the areas that weren’t constrained. The result? Increased output.
Even though I attended an Episcopal high school, I’m not religious in the common sense (and I don’t use the term “spiritual”), so this approach isn’t mine.
What to do? There are 6 basic rules or formulas that can be used, regardless of denomination.
1. Set rules for yourself so you can automate as much decision-making as possible (see the rules I use to outsource my e-mail to Canada as an example of this)
2. Don’t provoke deliberation before you can take action.
One simple example: don’t scan the inbox on Friday evening or over the weekend if you might encounter work problems that can’t be addressed until Monday.
3. Don’t postpone decisions or open “loops,” to use GTD parlance, just to avoid uncomfortable conversations.
If an acquaintance asks you if you want to come to their house for dinner next week, and you know you won’t, don’t say “I’m not sure. I’ll let you know next week.” Instead, use something soft but conclusive like “Next week? I’m pretty sure I have another commitment on Thursday, but thank you for the invite. Just so I don’t leave you hanging, let’s assume I can’t make it, but can I let you know if that changes?” Decision made. Move on.
4. Learn to make non-fatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible.
Set time limits (I won’t consider options for more than 20 minutes), option limits (I’ll consider no more than 3 options), or finance thresholds (Example: If it costs less than $100 [or the potential damage is less than $100], I’ll let a virtual assistant make the judgment call or consider no more than 3 options).
I wrote most of this post after landing at the monster that is ATL airport in Atlanta. I could have considered half a dozen types of ground transportation in 15 minutes and saved 30-40%, but I grabbed a taxi instead. To use illustrative numbers: I didn’t want to sacrifice 10 attention units of my remaining 50 of 100 total potential units, since those 10 units couldn’t then be spent on this article. I had about 8 hours before bedtime due to time zone differences-plenty of time-but scarce usable attention after an all-nighter of fun and the cross-country flight. Fast decisions preserve usable attention for what matters.
5. Don’t strive for variation-and thus increase option consideration-when it’s not needed. Routine enables innovation where it’s most valuable.
In working with athletes, for example, it’s clear that those who maintain the lowest bodyfat percentage eat the same foods over and over with little variation. I’ve eaten the same “slow carb” breakfast and lunch for nearly two years, putting variation only into meals that I focus on for enjoyment: dinner and all meals on Saturdays. This same routine-variation distinction can be found in exercise vs. recreation. For fat-loss and muscle gain (even as much as 34 lbs. in four weeks), I’ve followed the same time-minimal exercise protocol with occasional experiments since 1996. For recreation, however, where the focus is enjoyment and not efficacy, I tend to try something new each weekend, whether climbing at Mission Cliffs in SF or mountain biking from tasting to tasting in Napa.
Don’t confuse what should be results-driven with routine (e.g. exercise) with something enjoyment-driven that benefits from variation (e.g. recreation).
6. Regret is past-tense decision making. Eliminate complaining to minimize regret.
Condition yourself to notice complaints and stop making them with a simple program like the 21-day no-complaint experiment. Just a bracelet and awareness can prevent wasted past-tense deliberation that improves nothing and depletes your attention and emotional reserves.
Decision-making isn’t to be avoided-that’s not the problem. Look at a good CEO or top corporate performer and you’ll see a high volume of decisions.
It’s deliberation-the time we vacillate over and consider each decision-that’s the attention consumer. Total deliberation time, not the number of decisions, it was determines your attention bank account balance (or debt).
Let’s assume you pay 10% over time by following the above rules but cut your average “decision cycle” time by an average of 40% (10 minutes reduced to 6 minutes, for example). No only will you have much more time and attention to spend on revenue-generating activities, but you’ll get greater enjoyment from what you have and experience. Consider that 10% of additional cost as an investment and part of your “ideal lifestyle tax,” but not as a loss.
Embrace the choice-minimal lifestyle. It’s a subtle and underexploited philosophical tool that produces dramatic increases in both output and satisfaction, all with less overwhelm.
Make testing a few of the principles the first of many fast and reversible decisions.
20 pop-cultural obsessions even geekier than Monty Python
Written by Christopher Bahn, Steven Hyden, Josh Modell, Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, Tasha Robinson, Scott Tobias, David Wolinsky
The knights who say “nerd”
1. Star Trek
It’s the elephant in the nerdy-obsessions room, and in the Venn diagram of nerd-dom, it may be the meeting point for everything else on this list, with good reason. The original Star Trek-there are only 80 episodes-spawned movies, TV series both good and bad, and a billion fantasies about leadership and green poontang. That’s probably because it’s simultaneously heady and ridiculous, smart and overwhelmingly dumb. For a brilliant taste of the cult Star Trek has spawned, see Trekkies, a feature-length documentary hosted by Star Trek: The Next Generation star Denise Crosby. It gently, hilariously examines fans whose obsession with the franchise takes up a huge portion of their lives-a teen who’s inspired to make his own Trek movie, a copy-shop worker who insists on being called “Commander,” and a woman so obsessed with Brent Spiner’s cyborg character Data that she takes “Brent breaks.”
2. Renaissance faires
“Huzzah! A shilling for the king! Enjoy thy mead, kind sirrah.” No, dude, it’s not a shilling, it’s $8. And it’s not mead, it’s Bud Light in a plastic cup with a picture of a unicorn on it. Don’t get us wrong, the notion of spending a Saturday visiting a reconstituted medieval village is all good fun, with the jousting and the turkey legs and the roaming Shakespearian clowns yelling insults at people. But it’s all too easy to see the cardboard-and-felt fa?ade that most ren-fests are built on, and the compromises necessary to make a true medieval experience palatable to a modern audience. (The true Middle Ages lifestyle involved more plague rats, religious persecution, and plumbing “systems” that are really just buckets tossed out of your front window.)
3. Fantasy sports leagues
That scene in Knocked Up says it all: A woman who suspects her husband of infidelity instead finds him shacked up with a bunch of pot-bellied dudes in jerseys and caps, deep into a mock draft. In the moment, she’s so horrified by what she’s witnessing that she thinks it’s worse than him cheating on her. That may be overly harsh, but even rotisserie addicts are likely to admit that pretending to be the general manager of your own baseball or football team is a bit pathetic, like being the asthmatic boy who watches the other kids play from his bedroom window. And fantasy-sports junkies can’t claim superiority over face-painting superfan yahoos, either, because they watch every game with conflicting rooting interests. If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan in the real world and own St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols on your fantasy squad, you have to root for Pujols to rack up HR, RBI, R, OBP, and SLG numbers while hoping the Cubbies survive the onslaught. There’s no loyalty to it, and little satisfaction beyond the bloodless accounting it takes to win. (Mitigating factor: Thanks to Michael Lewis’ Moneyball-and the stat-centered baseball revolution described therein-the nerds have the upper hand on the jocks, at least in the front office.)
4. Michael Jackson
It should come as no surprise that Michael Jackson has inspired overwhelming obsession: For a while, he seemed to be the most famous person on the planet. But now that he’s gotten certifiably creepy, that African tribe that crowned him king probably wants their crown back. Still, anyone who can maintain millions of diehard fans while fighting court battles and not releasing much/any new music has clearly done something right. There’s plenty of Jacko fanfic and poetry to be found on the web, but the fact that his supporters follow his every move and still show up to support him at his court appearances probably means more than all of that.
We could have filled this entire inventory out just by going down the list of interests, habits, and abilities “Weird Al” Yankovic credits himself with in his hit song “White & Nerdy.” But his proclamation “I edit Wikipedia!” seems particularly apt, given the amount of tinkery focus and emotional energy people put into it. Wikipedia represents a lot of admirable goals, and it’s a damn useful jumping-off point for any research project, but the process of keeping it up to date, accurate, and informative requires a lot of people to be monomaniacal about maintaining it, and particularly about fighting endlessly over whether a given entry is detailed enough, objective enough, deserving of splitting or cleanup or deletion or being folded into another entry, etc. Which is geekier, dedicating weeks to making sure that every single episode of Battlestar Galactica in all its various iterations is listed on a website for future fans, or spending hours furiously arguing with other diehard fans over the structure of the Galactica pages?
6. Battlestar Galactica
Speaking of which? a science-fiction series doesn’t have to be super-successful to inspire crazed devotion. Battlestar Galactica capitalized on Star Wars mania in 1978 as a film and a quickly cancelled TV series. A sequel series, Galactica 1980, was also quickly dropped, but a cult of followers still formed. Twenty-five years later, the SCI FI Channel debuted a re-imagined version, which quickly spawned a new generation of BSG nerds. For whatever reason, all rabid science-fiction fans love starring in related amateur live-action videos, and SCI FI has obliged its contingent with a “Video Maker Toolkit,” supplying the life-deprived hordes with BSG sounds and visuals to incorporate into poorly produced clips. (Giggle at them here.) Die-hards on vacation can head to Vancouver, where the show is filmed, to tour spots around town depicted as the robot-controlled planet Caprica; those who still hold the original series dear can book a spot on the Galacticruise, which sets out to sea this year with cast members on board.
7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
A rite of passage for every high-school theater geek, Rocky Horror is designed to be off-putting to outsiders. It’s an intentionally cheesy movie-musical with audience heckling built into the script; the only way to really understand why people are throwing toast and toilet paper in the air or shouting “asshole” at seemingly random moments is to see it, preferably a couple of times, with people who already know what’s going on. Insularity breeds dorkiness, which becomes accentuated when you add in the not-ready-for-dinner-theater live shows that grace many Rocky Horror screenings. Of course, the whole point of Rocky Horror is that you should never be ashamed to be different, so it isn’t surprising that its subculture embraces that ideal.
8. Joss Whedon
We need a Venn diagram for this one, too. (Maybe diagram-making deserves its own entry?) Map out one with traditional geeky obsessions (vampires, spaceships, superheroes) in one portion, a desire to see strong female characters (see clip below) in a second portion, and a gift for wittily unforced and infinitely quotable dialogue in the third portion, and you’ll find Joss Whedon’s work in the overlap. It’s an almost perfect storm for rabid fandom, and Whedon fans have risen to the occasion. Those folks you see at comic conventions wearing Joss Whedon Is My Master T-shirtsare only half-kidding. It doesn’t hurt that Whedon has remained humble and approachable in spite of the raving fan-love his shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly have sparked. On the fan site whedonesque.com, he comes off more like one of the gang than like a creative overlord. (Of course, some high-profile setbacks might also help keep his ego in check.) But beyond that, Whedon has become an unassumingly inspiring figure, using his entertainment as a Trojan horse for social commentary and dedicating his free time to good causes like Equality Now, as in this clip:
9. Media-specific role-playing
You know what’s totally cooler than watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer endlessly on DVD? Actually getting to be Buffy the vampire slayer. At least virtually. Especially since you can probably make much better life choices than she did, even if you can’t manage the banter. To that end, Eden Studios published a handful of rulebooks for role-playing in the Buffyverse, letting would-be slayers (and witches, and Watchers, and so forth) create their own Buffyverse characters, or use pre-modeled statistics to pretend to be pre-existing characters from Buffy and Angel. Nor is Buffy the only show with an official, licensed role-playing tie-in: Other publishers have released rulebooks to let players officially bang around in the universes of Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek, Hercules and Xena, Dr. Who, James Bond, Species, Highlander, and Stargate. And that isn’t even getting into the at-least-thousands of unlicensed, fan-created fora, MUDs, MUSHes, AIM channels, etc. that let people get together for the express purpose of pretending to be their favorite characters from Pirates Of The Caribbean, Anne Rice novels, and especially the Harry Potter series. Some people just can’t let go of their favorite fictional world, even once the authors and creators have; others want to experience what it’s like to be cool, like their chosen characters, instead of dorky, like the people who want to role-play them. And still others just prefer for their netsex to be flavored with a lot of angsty, complicated backstory. Ohhh, Draco!
10. Magic: The Gathering
Pretty much any collectible card game could go on this list-the entire CCG industry rests on the assumption that players will become obsessively nerdy over certain games, and pour an endless stream of money into the quest to be the best. But Magic, at least in America, is the granddaddy of them all: an endlessly variable pyramid scheme in which the most successful players have to sink vast amounts of money into buying all the latest and greatest cards, in order to keep their complicated strategies up to date. Actual Magic games tend to be fairly short, often 10 minutes or less; it’s the shopping, strategizing, and endless deck-refining that eats years of players’ lives. Dedicated players have thousands of cards, but have to choose only a bare handful of them for each game, which makes deck-building and deck-tuning a major obsession. Aggro or control? Creatures or spells? One-color deck or mixed colors? Is Akroma’s Memorial worth it if you don’t know whether your opponent is playing a black or red deck? Are thallids worth the work? Argh! Only hours of Internet arguments and days of painstaking sorting, planning, and thinking through card interactions could possibly answer these fiddly, incredibly trivial questions.
11. World Of Warcraft
Similarly, the vast number of variables in complicated video games like World Of Warcraft call out for serious wankery, as players choose races, classes, professions, specializations, guilds, abilities, and strategies, then grind their way obsessively toward becoming the ass-kickingest of the virtual ass-kickers. Five minutes in a room with any two World Of Warcraft players will drive any non-player mad, amid jargony babble like “Next time we run MC, sheep one of the core hounds while I rush in and pull aggro. Damn, I wish they hadn’t nerfed paladins.” That’s if the players are actually talking, rather than editing together funny little WoW videos for YouTube, reading the WoW comic, shopping online for WoW collectable figures, playing the WoW board or card game, or, more likely, silently hitting their 14th straight hour of playing WoW.
12. The Simpsons
Everybody loves The Simpsons. It’s one of the few things in this world you can call “great” and have it almost qualify as fact, rather than mere subjective judgment. But some folks (not pointing any fingers here) approach Simpsons fandom with a zeal and passion that would creep out David Koresh. It isn’t just that super-fans speak in the densely coded language of Simpsons references-shoehorning Ralph Wiggum quotes into conversations about anything-or that they start frothing at the mouth the moment somebody suggests the show maybe kinda sorta is not all that funny anymore. It’s that these people clearly prefer the Simpsons universe to the one in which real people reside. And given the liberal use of the Simpsons trademark for every kind of merchandise under the sun, it’s frighteningly easy to live in the fictional Springfield.
13. Doctor Who
As nerdy as a Star Trek fan can be, the potential nerdiness of the Doctor Who fan is far greater. That’s not a knock on the quality of either show (please, let’s not start that debate), but the result of two other factors: Trek‘s much greater mainstream success, with half a dozen TV series and 10 feature films boosting the brand, means that when someone says “Beam me up, Scotty,” at least people know what the hell they’re referencing. The relative obscurity of Doctor Who, especially in the days when it was only viewable in America on PBS, kept it further underground. And the fact that the central character of Doctor Who is a flamboyant eccentric who wears things like a 25-foot scarf or a piece of celery on his lapel, whereas Star Trek favors dashing ladies’ men in uniform-well, at best, you can say that one encourages individualism where the other encourages conformity. But dress like the Doctor in real life, and your ensemble is only barely missing a KICK ME sign. (That’s less true of the new BBC series, at least.)
14. Frank Zappa
Because Frank Zappa was so prodigious, so eclectic, and so keen on parodying modern music, fans of his work can dive in so deep that they rarely listen to anything else. (After all, what Zappa fan can be expected to take doo-wop seriously after hearing Cruising With Ruben And The Jets?) Zappa’s style and sensibility-combining the ambition of prog, the improvisation of jazz, and the chummy snark of Steve Allen-particularly appeals to misfits and music-theory majors, who respect Zappa’s musicality and identify with his superior attitude. Those fans often aspire to become as smart and skilled as Zappa, so that they too can, with authority, mock a culture that they perceive as excluding them.
15. Game-show tape trading
Pity the poor game-show fans, who’ve been either pandered to or ignored by the major networks for the past decade, and have seen their one TV refuge-the Game Show Network-gradually shed its retro programming in favor of less appealing originals. So the stalwarts gather on the Internet, offering videocassettes and DVD-Rs of Classic Concentration and The Joker’s Wild, and comparing notes about the greatest hosts, the greatest contestants, the greatest celebrity guests, and the greatest eras of long-running series. And the really faithful gather in person at the Game Show Congress in Los Angeles, where they attend panels, meet legends, and play the games themselves. The ranks of those who remember Bullseye and Blockbusters may be dwindling, but they’re all going to go down together.
Compared to where anime was 20 years ago, it’s practically mainstream today. Not that long ago, non-Japanese-speaking fans (or otaku, as many of them prefer to be called, even though that Japanese word for “fanboy” is heavily pejorative) had to get their fix by buying imported Japanese-only laserdiscs and watching them while reading script translations they exchanged online. Today, a handful of distributors exist just to license and market anime DVDs in America. There’s an Anime Network, Cartoon Network has made anime a staple of after-school viewing, American animation is increasingly anime-inspired, and the popularity of anime has dragged manga into American markets, heavily influencing the American comics industry. And yet anime still has a rep as a haven for arrested-development pervs who like watching battling robots, tentacle porn, and big-eyed, saccharine magical girls with a tendency to lose their clothes whenever they change costumes. Funny, Japanese otaku face similar prejudices in Japan.
To paraphrase a popular office poster, you don’t have to be crazy about anime to engage in cosplay-the act of dressing up as your favorite cartoon character-but it certainly helps. Why else would grown adults cross-dress, show obscene amounts of cleavage, don capes, style their hair impossibly high, and strap tails onto their belts? It’s far more interesting than dressing up like Bob Newhart from Newhart, plus non-anime enthusiasts can easily/snottily be brought up to speed: “It’s from an anime! I’m [obscure character] from [equally obscure anime]!” And isn’t flaunting your esoteric knowledge about things the world at large couldn’t care less about the very essence of being a nerd?
18. Live-action role-playing
The dice required to play Dungeons & Dragons lack the weight and heft of a mighty broadsword or a +3 wizard’s staff, so it was only a matter of time before role-players donned costumes, took to the woods, and maxed out their charisma and dexterity by poking each other with padded “weapons.” So while it’s easy to ridicule LARPers (live-action role-players), when was the last time you got together with 50 of your best friends in a forest and ran around having the time of your life, even if you didn’t get any experience points or potions? (Or, alternately, skulked around university meeting rooms with 50 of your direst enemies, politicking it up as a creature of the night.) Plus, LARPing has adapted to the 21st century swimmingly. YouTube is overflowing with endless footage of videos with serious production values: Boffer weapons strike with skull-shattering cracks, wizards unleash lightning bolts from their pasty white hands, and a kick-ass orchestral score from a Lord Of The Rings-like soundtrack instantly makes the whole endeavor majestic.
19. Second Life / MySpace / FaceBook
It goes by many names, but it’s really just a digital substitute for socializing. But if you’re lonely, shy, live in the sticks, or just don’t know anyone, you’d probably be encouraged when your computer screen effectively announces: “You are connected to 243,502,001 friends through 1 friend(s).” These “friendships” would probably resemble normal interactions if the participants interacted in any way at all, but aside from Second Life (which actually gives people the rare opportunity to write each other sentences in real-time), it boils down to an exchange of images (usually from some drunken party), e-vites (to some drunken party), and the now-immortal words “Thanks for the add!” But whether you’re an amateur child molester who wants to send your favorite links, or you just met a carbon-based life form on the street, you’ll probably demand digital friendship-and now the only thing more annoying than someone who sniffs, “I won’t give you my MySpace page,” is someone who smugly announces, “I don’t have a MySpace account.”
Because cartoonist Jim Davis, for instance, will probably never tap the raw, unspoken sexual tension between Garfield and Odie, diehard fans are obliged to write their fan-fiction version of the steamy scene, post it on the Internet, and insecurely encourage readers to review the typo-ridden and laughably out-of-character scripts of their favorite book/game/movie/TV show. True, fan fiction isn’t always relegated to weird, unnecessarily erotic original stories with awkward dialogue, plot holes, and spelling errors, but it frequently is, and even fanfic devotees know their hobby lapses into the unfathomable: fanfiction.net’s Garfield board yields a good cross-section of reader responses, from the justified “WTF” to the not-helpful “the writing is good. But the jokes are horrible!” Yes, there are also interesting scripts, like a Home Improvement where Mark gets addicted to drugs, or a Fight Club epilogue that finds Tyler Durden eerily resurrected, but who wants to read that? There’s also a Dilbert where Dilbert finally rapes Dogbert.
9 Simple & Bizarre Design Marvels
Written by Sawse – Stir it Up!
?Designing is not everybody?s cup of tea? ? Not really! Some of the most creative designs that transformed our lives came not from any great celebrated beings. However, these designs did transform them into celebrities. After all, all of us are quite creative?
Well here are a few Designs that are incredible. These designs compel us to think of ways in which we can express our creativity and innovative ideas to simplify our lives; and thus make things easier for us.
The Flux is in fact a really compact vehicle that was created to offer a pleasing drive to the occupants of the car. The design of the car has been inspired by the umpteen number changes that we go through in each day of life both during play and work. The car also includes a X ? Box console and has a dynamic character to it. The Peugeot car has been designed by Mihai Panaitescu. The car runs on hydrogen and the body of the car has been made of both plastic and metal ? including aluminium.
Writing is something that comes quite easily to most of us, however, little do we think about the complexities that the task involves when it comes to brain and muscle coordination. The sad part is that some people find it quite difficult to perform this complex thought that we find so easy. Here is a pen that Oskar Daniel designed for people who find it difficult to write.
This device is shaped like an hour glass and has a rubber grip knob that allows one to hold the pen and thus write. In this case one would have to use more of the arm rather than the hand; thus, making things more simple for people who might find it difficult.
This really cool sofa is actually a wall. No this wall is actually a sofa. Ok ok, this is a ?Wallfa!? The Wallfa has been designed by a Barcelonan designer by the name of Jordi Canudas. Wallfas is basically a trendy piece of furniture that is double sided. On both sides, the furniture features a sofa. In between the two sides is a membrane that is made of some kind of stretchy material. The design of the Wallfa is fun and also provides for a great deal of aesthetic appeal.
This really cool complex structure in the picture is the design for the New Hamburg Science Center and Aquarium. The design of the structure has just been reveled by the Office of Metropolitan Art and will be able to see the light of the day very soon. The design of the building is quite unique in every sense and it would definitely be quite awe inspiring once finished. The structure will feature 10 blocks that are interconnected. These blocks will feature a Science center, an aquarium, offices, labs, theater and a commercial space. The designer with his design is not only encouraging revolutionary designs but also setting an example for the whole world.
After a rainstorm most of us would like to move out of our houses, into the clean air. This is the time when the mood is just right, however, benches do act spoilt sports. None of really want to sit on those wet benches or chairs in the park. Thanks to a group of Korean designers, we do not need to stand through out. The group of designers includes Yoonha Paick, Jongdeuk Son, Eunbi Cho, Minjung Simn and Sungwoo Park. All of these innovative designers have designed benches that are equipped with slats that can rotate. So when the bench is wet, all one would have to do is use the crackling to rotate the slats. Now one could sit on the drier side. That?s a simple solution! Perhaps not that simple to think about, or we?d have them installed in all our parks.
Who says we are not sensitive as we used to be towards those who are not as physically as we are? Here is another great example of how designers ensure that they make things easier for the disabled. Here is a lightweight chair that is collapsible. This chair is basically a commode and shower chair. The lightweight chair has been so designed, such that it can easily be carried around. The chair has been designed by Julie Clyde with the aspiration to help as the disabled gain more freedom and independence along with some personal space which is very often compromised upon in their case.
The pins on the chair are simple to remove and insert, thus, it is quite easy to collapse the chair. The chair also has castor wheels that provide for easy mobility. The chair also comes with an easy carry frame too.
Here is another incredible design; rather an incredible invention. This invention not only protects you from the rain but also prevents a messy house. This is basically an umbrella that is an inside out umbrella. The outside of the umbrella is an umbrella and the outside of the umbrella is a small bag. After one has used the umbrella, all one has to do is follow some easy steps and convert the umbrella into a bag that can hold the dripping umbrella. This invention has been designed by Seung Hee Son.
Then there is one of the most aesthetically appealing fire places. This has been designed by Bloch Designs and has been created in a way so as to ensure that everybody in the room enjoys the fire from all the angles. The fireplace here is enclosed in a glass case and looks quite contemporary yet stylish. The fireplace is also equipped with a clear smoke glass. The fireplace is available both is triangular and rectangular shapes.
Stunned?! Well this was nothing. There are so many more designs that are not only innovative and unique but also have the potential to transform our lifestyles in a small way.
As long as there are creative designers, one can be assured of the fact that there will be more and more innovatively designed structures and devices.
The 10 most memorable tech Super Bowl ads
Collected by NICHOLAS CARLSON
Behold the best tech ad in Super Bowl history: Apple’s “1984” ad, which cost $1.6 million to make and run, and only aired nationally once. The following nine ads, while perhaps not as iconic, are all fascinating in how they seek to make the mysteries of tech compelling to the masses.
Apple’s “1984” ad
Monster.com from 1999
CareerBuilder.com from 2005
GoDaddy from 2005
Xerox from 1977
E*Trade from 1999
Pets.com from 2000
Computer.com from 2000
SalesGenie.com from 2007
OurBeginnings in 2000
How to work from the beach
Written by Mike Elgan
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The designer and blogger behind the Outline Design Blog plans to spend the summer “living and working from the sandy beaches of Costa Rica” starting this month. He has put together a very good list of online resources that make his “extreme telecommuting” possible.
You can read Danny Outlaw’s extensive blog entry here, but, in a nutshell, here’s his list with my comments:
Picture storage: Flickr
You can’t go wrong with Flickr, but photo sharing isn’t really a “work” activity for most people.
Online data storage: Media Max
The big advantage of Media Max is that it’s free, and offers a lot of storage — 25 GB. However, backup is too important for some of us to trust a small company that’s not charging anything. I use Jungle Disk, which isn’t free but is very, very cheap, and that serves as a front end to Amazon.com’s S3 service, which is super reliable and secure. Here’s more about Jungle Disk.
I used Skype on my previous trip, but I’m currently looking for an alternative. Their service is OK, but customer service and billing headaches have ruined the experience for me. Any advice?
Snail Mail: Earth Class Mail
I’ve just recently signed up for Earth Class Mail. They give you a new address, and all your mail goes to them. They scan both sides of the envelope and put all scans in an online list. You can look at the envelope and, click to tell them to trash it (recycle it, actually), open and scan the insides, archive it and other options. It’s a way to make paper mail electronic, and a Godsend for people who travel constantly. Here’s more about Earth Class Mail.
Office Software: Zoho
I haven’t tried Zoho, have you? I’ve been using Google Docs and I’m very happy with it. I especially like Google Doc’s versions feature, where you can go back in time and access any previous saved version of your documents very easily. Here’s more on Google Docs. However, my cursive glance at ZoHo was intriguing. In addition to standard office applications, they offer Zoho Wiki, Zoho Projects, Zoho CRM and Zoho planner. I’m going to come back and spend some quality time with this, and I’ll let you know what I discover.
Here’s another one I haven’t tried. Outlaw says he likes it because of the built-in chat feature, but I find that external chat (like AIM) works fine. And it’s free.
Personal Finance: Mint
I’ve heard good things about this, but my wife does all our finances, and she has her own systems. Outlaw says it’s “like an online version of Quicken.” You’ll need to be trusting to put all your personal finance info online, however. Personally, I would rather use an installed app, then back up the data.
To Do List: I Want Sandy
I use I Want Sandy every day, but it’s a mixed bag for me. You send e-mail to the special address they give you, and top the note with “remind me in one week” or something like that. Sandy’s computers read that, then do as requested. The biggest beef I have with it is that the e-mails are hard to read. I have to spend five seconds hunting for the item I asked Sandy to remind of, which is always buried in needless I Want Sandy blather. I Want Sandy to fix this, and put my content in an easy-to-spot location in the e-mails. For my real to do list — and a bunch of other lists — I use Gubb. If you’re unfamiliar with this free list management services, give it a try. You’ll be hooked.
Photo Editing: Picnik
I use Photoshop, and can’t imagine going online for photo editing. This is another task that doesn’t fit into the definition of “work” for most of us, and also something that doesn’t need to be done online, unless you’re using someone else’s computer.
Whether you’re working from the beach in Costa Rica, travel on business or just want to set yourself up to be able to work from wherever you please, it’s a good idea to make a list of the applications you’ll need, then do your own trial-and-error to find the online apps that will suit you best.
I’m interested in your input on all this. What are you using/loving/hating in the online application space?
8 Keys to Instant Charisma
Written by Think Simple Now
There is a simple fact of human nature that states we all want to be liked. Don?t be afraid to admit it. If we think about it, underlying many of our actions, we are really seeking ways to validate ourselves and to fulfill this desire of being liked.
Have you ever met someone and instantly took a liking towards them? You can?t explain why, but you feel a fondness and you want to do things to help them. I?m not talking about sexual attraction, but a genuine and innocent feeling of fondness towards another person.
In a job interview, you are more likely to be hired if the interviewer likes you as a person. In a business situation, you are more likely to get deals done and gain favors. In a personal situation, you are likely to gain trust and loyal friendships.
When we decide that we like someone, it is a psychological process that we cannot quite articulate. It?s not a secret that we make decisions emotionally and justify them logically. So, does this mean that we can influence an emotional decision that happens subconsciously?
I believe that decisions can be influenced. I know that the qualities of a likeable person can be cultivated and proactively developed. Do you want to know how to develop the skills to be likable?
I was helping my partner Adam prepare for an interview last night. At one point, I had explained to him the power of Mirroring and that it can make others feel more comfortable around you.
When I first heard about Mirroring, I was told that ?If you?re afraid that the other person will get suspicious of you mimicking them, then you must be the type of person who thinks that people are actually listening when you?re talking.? I mentioned this and we laughed at it. I said, ?Trust me, just try it out. It really works.?
We went off on another topic and he asked me a question about usability testing in software. I went on answering it, and 10 minutes went by and I was still talking. It felt as if I couldn?t stop talking.
When I finally finished covering all areas of software usability testing (including excruciating details that he would have little interest in), he burst out laughing.
So, apparently, he used mirroring on me. And it worked. What?s amazing is that it worked on me after having just told him about it. I didn?t even have a clue that he was mirroring me.
It occurred to me that like-ability can actually be cultivated, like many skills.
What are these skills?
Aside from being polite and respectful, there are several specific things we can pay particular attention to. I?m not asking you to pretend, but be aware of these things when engaged in a conversation. The little things make a big difference in how others perceive us.
This simple technique was the inspiration for this article. Mirroring is copying the other person?s physical mannerisms, movements and facial expressions when engaged in a conversation. You become a mirror image of the other person. (see Wikipedia)
Mirroring happens naturally in social interactions, but when you are conscious of it and are aware of its affects, it can be used as a tool in effective communication for generating rapport.
Mirroring someone closely will cause you to feel what they?re feeling (to some extent). I did an exercise once, in a group of three, during a workshop. One person starts by visualizing a scene; seeing, feeling and experiencing the scene. A second person imitates this person?s facial expressions and physical postures. A third person adjusts the second person?s facial expressions and physical postures until he thinks that they are identical. After several minutes, the second person explains what she was feeling. Not only does the second person feel the feelings of the first person, but will at times see what the first person is seeing in his imagination. I was blown away after trying this out, myself.
Next time you?re engaged in a conversation with someone, try mirroring body language, posture, and facial expressions. You will find that the conversation suddenly feels very friendly and open.
For example, you are sitting across the table from someone. You watch them pick up a glass of water with their left hand and gently lean forward, then to the right. You mirror them by holding your glass of water with your right hand, leaning forward and towards the left.
Try it next time ? just for fun. 🙂
2. Remembering Names
Personally, I?m always impressed when others I?ve just met remember my name and use it in a sentence. Since birth, our parents, teachers, friends, and family, have hard wired the sound of our name in our brain. It is certain to get your attention, instantly. It makes you feel important and respected, filling our desire for attention and love.
Recall the last time someone who you just met parted by declaring ?Nice to meet you, [insert your name]!? Weren?t you impressed? They are clearly interested in you enough to remember your name, and you want to show them the same respect.
Always make an effort to remember people?s names. Here are some techniques to help you.
3. Be Interested
People love talking about themselves, seriously.
Ask questions that the other person will enjoy answering. If it?s a complete stranger, start with the basics and dig deeper. Rephrase their words to make sure you really understand what they?re saying. You can think of this technique as verbal mirroring. By asking questions about their interests or feelings, you are mirroring their interest in themselves.
Really listen when the person is answering. Only when you are listening will you actually absorb what was said and will actually feel interested. If you run into a boring conversation, find ideas that do interest you and re-focus the conversation. Ask questions. Make it a game.
4. Allowing Others to Talk
In addition to asking questions, it?s important to allow the other person to talk. This means, stop talking. Stop talking about yourself, stop inserting your opinions, refrain from interrupting.
Next time you?re engaged in a conversation, practice not saying anything after asking a question. This might mean not speaking for several minutes *gasp*. Even when the other person appears to be finished, practice not speaking for 30 seconds. Often times, the person is still thinking, is actually pausing, and will start speaking again. By doing so, you will get a lot more depth from that person.
Many girlfriends I know have the interruption problem, myself included. Pay particular attention to this skill, you?ll be amazed at the wealth of thoughtful goodness coming from your partner. Being a patient listener is a great way to connect with and get to know people.
Try it: ask a question and then zip up. Listen and learn.
Send out the intention that you would like to get to know this person better, to really listen to them and to be there for them. I?m always amazed at the power of intention, which I believe is the seed for starting anything, whether it is a goal or a friendship.
Make a wish for the other person. Send out a positive intention for your interaction.
6. Offer Help
We are mostly self seeking and are driven by motivations that benefit us, with the exception of some extreme cases and parent-child relationships. But let?s face-it, we are self-seeking most of the time because it is a natural part of our survival instincts. Even if we are working on a good cause, we almost always have a reason for helping that is personally beneficial.
When others genuinely offer their help, we feel particularly fond of them. Why? Offering help is a kind gesture that implies a respect and admiration for you. And when we put ourselves in their shoes, wouldn?t it be advantageous to offer help to others?
I?m a big believer in giving more than I take in return. And my personal motto: ?To get what you want, help others get what they want, first.?
Find a need that others have that you can provide. Offer help. Even just a casual email offering help will make the world of difference towards how this person feels about you.
?Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love,
a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.?
~ Mother Teresa
Do you remember how you felt when you saw a genuine smile? Or awkwardly standing in an elevator full of strangers and suddenly someone smiles at you? It really is contagious and shifts your state to a positive one.
Smile genuinely. Start by smiling at friends. Try lifting the spirits of passing strangers.
Any of the above techniques will work by themselves, but become highly effective only when combined with authenticity.
Always be genuine and be your complete self, no more and no less. When you are completely honest and speaking from your heart, you will exuberate a kind of energy that people cannot help but to connect with. In that moment, you are pure, expressive, and radiating your true self. When others see and recognize that side of you, they are really seeing a reflection of that part of themselves.
Just be yourself.
2. Remember Names
3. Be Interested
4. Allow Others to Talk
6. Offer Help
Which technique do you think is the most effective for being liked? Share your tips and insights in the comments.
12 Things I Learned By 42 That I Wish I Knew At 22
Written by The Wisdom Journal
My, how time flies. Seems just like yesterday that I was a 12 year old kid, going for long bike rides in Sherwood Forrest, the subdivision just around the corner from where I lived. Playing with William, Edward, and my little brother, climbing in the tree house, looking forward to Brent coming over to visit. Those were all good times and my only dread was finding out that we were having liver for supper.
By the time I was 22, I knew who I wanted to marry, was in the process of quitting college, going into debt, and thought that I would be a millionaire by the time I was 30 because I was so smart. Hey, it might take me until 35, but that was the top end. In reality, I was quite ignorant.
If I could go back in time, here are a few items I would tell my 22 year old self.
1. Stay in school. Don’t quit. Sure you’re bored now, but wait until you’re in a dead end job that you can’t stand but you’re afraid to lose. Getting finished with your degree will open up many more opportunities than you realize. I always wanted to go to law school, but without that sheepskin, I didn’t have a chance of even being considered. The lesson learned here is finish what you start by throwing yourself into it fully. Treat your college experience as if it were a job. Arrive on time, do your homework, study, and treat your learning process as if you were at a real job.
2. Money doesn’t spoil, it keeps. Start investing early. How much stuff do you have to show for the money you made in high school and college? If I had invested half of what I made during those years in a plain old, broad based mutual fund, I would have well over $192,000 with no other investments made since then. I’m still kicking myself. Invest early.
3. Don’t buy the first house you look at. Buy the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood. No, I didn’t actually do this, but it was close. We were so excited to be approved for a loan, having just come out of Consumer Credit Counseling Services that we jumped at the first house we found that met our minimum requirements. I still love that house today, but I wish we had gotten a better inspection, had looked into building, or had found a way to buy a house that was closer to work and school. The lesson learned, don’t be desperate with a large purchase.
4. Establish the habit of living within a budget. Could anything be more important to insure you are living below your means? I tried on several occasions but I was never as faithful to this ideal as I should have been. Today, I make a salary high enough that a budget is a “yeah, we really ought to do that” kind of thing. My goal is to get that done. If I could do it over I would get myself in this habit at the earliest possible age. The lesson learned: budgeting is a freeing process, not a limiting one. If I had lived on a budget, I could have circumvented many painful events.
5. Learn how to negotiate a better deal on everything. Having read several books on negotiation just a little too late, I’ve recognized how I was duped by many people, mostly used car sales people. I wrote a review on Secrets of Power Negotiating that you can read here. Learning these skills would have saved me thousands. The lesson learned: prepare by educating yourself and always be willing to walk away.
6. Keep your medical insurance in force at all times. Several years ago, I quit one job and took another that didn’t offer medical insurance until you had been there for 90 days. You guessed it, my wife had to have emergency surgery at 89 days. True story. 89 days. Do you think the insurance company cared? I’ll let you guess. Thankfully, we were at St. Vincent’s Hospital and they had mercy on us. The business manager told me (after looking over my financial situation) that someone paid our bill. I still get choked up thinking about it all these years later. It took us years to pay off the doctor and anesthesia bills, though. If I had just kept my coverage in effect for a little while longer. The obvious lesson: keep that insurance in effect. It is cheaper than the medical bills.
7. It’s quality of time at work, but quantity of time at home that matters. Your boss really doesn’t care whether you have a family or not. Trust me. Unless you work for family members who DO understand that you need to pick the kids up early, or that you DO need to spend some time with your spouse, you are just a replaceable cog in the machine. When people are trying to grow a business, your need for personal time is secondary, so is the quality of your marital and family relationships. Just remember that when you’re old, sitting in a chair at the nursing home with a blanket on your lap and eating mush, you won’t regret that you didn’t get to spend more time at the office. The lesson learned: family will be there after the job is long gone. Value and treasure them.
8. Don’t listen to those who think there is a shortcut to wealth. NEW FLASH: there is no shortcut. Might as well get that out of your 22 year old head right now. Wealth is created when you provide something interesting, unique and valuable to people who demand it. Until then, you will be trading hours for dollars and you’ll always think you’re underpaid. “Find a need and fill it” is the old mantra and it is still quoted because it’s true. In today’s world it should read “Create a need that only you can fill.” Then you’ll be on your way to wealth. The lesson learned: figure out where there are unmet needs and figure out a way to fill those needs.
8a. Stay far, far away from any Multi Level Marketing “business” that requires you to sponsor new distributors. They are all scams. You are not “CEO of your own distribution network”-you are a commission-based salesperson relying on the liquidation of your social capital (i.e. alienating your friends and family) to make any money at all?and 99.5% of people in MLM’s lose money, as has been shown again and again in numerous studies. The only profit you can ever make is by turning what would be called “customers” into “distributors” and then taking the money from the 99.995% that lose money in the organization and giving it to the 0.005% at the top (the people who started the whole “business” in the first place). Stay away!
9. Make sure your spouse’s values line up with your own. This one step can single handedly determine your level of happiness more than just about any other. Scary isn’t it? If everything seems so right, yet he or she thinks credit should be used at will (and you don’t) or thinks that home schooled kids are strange (and you want your children to be home schooled), you are setting yourself up for heartbreak. Work these things out before you say “I do.” They say love is grand . . . and divorce is 50 grand. The lesson learned: talk to your spouse or potential spouse about what is important to you and the values you think should be taught to your children, even if you don’t plan on having children.
10. Learn how to network. Learn to stay in touch with old friends from high school and college. Learn the skill of asking for help without seeming to be asking for help. Watch how others network. Remember it’s not what you know, it’s not even who you know, it’s how you USE what you know and who you know. One step further, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows YOU. Get in the practice of networking without expecting anything in return. Make sure you don’t come across as a brown nosing leech who is always trying to get an angle, but stay in touch with people. You never know who you may be able to help. The lesson learned: stay in touch and make sure you come across as helpful rather than helpless.
11. Never accept a job just because the pay is higher. Life is more than money. There’s a reason they’re offering you more. Yes it may be that you’re the most qualified. It may be that you have the most experience and the most education. It may be that no one can stand to work for that particular department head and a high salary is the only way to fill the position. Always ask where the person who last held the position is working now. Ask to speak with them, but always do it away from the office. People will give you more information outside of the office than inside. Inside the office, they’re committing treason, outside, hey – they’re just chatting with a friend. The lesson learned: Get the full scoop before jumping out of a frying pan into the fire.
12. Trust, but verify. You can’t believe everything you hear, read, or were taught as a kid. You should always check references, ask probing questions, search out answers, and find ways to learn more about what you’re being told. This is a catch all but it is important. The world is full of schemers who are just waiting to take you for a ride. Don’t become cynical, but verify everything you can. The lesson learned: make sure you know who it is you’re dealing with and what their motives may be.
Learn who you are and what motivates you. Learn what motivates your spouse and children. Learn what motivates your friends. Learn what motivates your co-workers, your boss, and your boss’s boss. Never stop learning, never stop growing. By the time you reach 42, kid, you’ll be a millionaire! 🙂
What would you tell yourself if you could go back twenty years?