Real Versus Fake Books: Paper Books Are Far From Being Dead

Real Versus Fake Books: Paper Books Are Far From Being Dead

Our brain is a wonderful thing. It is adaptable in so many ways, take for instance the difference between reading a “real” book, magazine or newspaper versus a “fake” book. “Fake” books are considered any online material. The brain actually interprets print versus online reading differently. Online reading isn’t absorbed as easily. The brain has a tendency to skim over words focusing on just the important parts of the text. While reading a “real” book, our brains absorb the information, whether fact or fiction, quite easily. This absorption is tested by being able to recall or regurgitate what was just read. As for that skimming skill, when reading a print book our brains have the capacity to weave the tapestry of text into a visual movie inside our heads.

It is known that not everyone has the capacity to visualize what they read; however, I’m going to create a small text tapestry for you to ponder…

As the winter wind blew snowflakes dancing down the street, a little boy wanders clutching a small device to his chest. It’s imperative that he make it to his grandmother’s house. In fact, he can see the warm inviting light beckoning to him only a few houses away. She knows he’s coming. She knows his panic over this small device. And she has the answer. Plus, a surprise.

In his hurry through the snow clogged sidewalk, people bustling around him, he slips. The small device slides across the sidewalk as though it has magically sprouted a miniature snowboard on its underside. The boy watches in mortification, sucking in a cold bitter breath, as the small device, ramps the curb in Olympic fashion, into the street. He gets to his feet and runs, his feet like lead. Before he makes it to the street, a strong hand grabs his arm, almost lifting him off his feet. A car rushes by smashing the small device with an audible crunch.

The boy pulls free of the strong hand, looking both ways, steps out into the street to cradle the small device, now broken, clearly beyond repair. He rushes onward oblivious to shouts and honks towards his grandmother’s house. No longer just inviting but needed so desperately in this emergency.

Sitting at his grandmother’s table, crying over the device, he explains, “Gram. It’s not fair! Now, I’ll never know the ending!”

His grandmother smiles and says soothing, “I know you loved your e-reader. It took you places your parents and I can never afford. But I know what you were reading, and I have a solution.”

Wide eyed, he asks in amazement, “Do you have a new e-reader? It’s so expensive.” The boy knows they don’t have much money. His parents matched the money he was able to save doing odd jobs for the neighbors. It took a long time.

His grandmother lovingly laughs, “No, I don’t. However, in my day, we had libraries with free books anyone could borrow. When our library closed. I went and collected some of the classics. So, I have for you this.”

As she handed him that well worn copy, his breath stopped in his chest. His eyes widened, the tears came just glistening in his eyes to match the snow delicately falling outside. He could finish the story but it was more than that. This story he could feel pages, real pages, between his fingers, smell the faint musty odor. The story literally had weight in his hands. He couldn’t fathom how people could let the gift of a library slip between their fingers but he looked at his book and realized his life’s purpose.

This short story illustrates why we need libraries. It’s not a place for useless books. We shouldn’t let it become a computer lab either. As with much of the new technologies used from smartphones to computers to e-readers, there’s a time and place for everything. But magic happens, new worlds emerge, veils are lifted when books are opened and pages are flipped. Even our brains think print is different and treat it better than online texts.

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A Bigger Better Indiana: Don’t Buy On-Line All The Time…

A Bigger Better Indiana: Don’t Buy On-Line All The Time…

In our community, we can buy top-quality shoes, eat at a number of great restaurants, speak with local insurance agents, and even get a massage downtown. That’s wonderful and should be celebrated! What we seem to lack is the ability to effectively develop an internet presence for what businesses have to offer. In reality, this deficiency could lead to disastrous consequences including negatively affecting our local economic growth especially in the areas of sales and economic expansion.

What if I told you that our town’s collective diminutive internet presence could significantly reduce part of the wonderful goods and services we have to offer in Indiana. Possibly, even driving some businesses into closure. In the age of the world wide web, there seems to be a smaller margin for error when it comes to engaging your clientele with your business enterprise.  

In my quest to have a better understanding of the impacts of technology in Indiana county, I decided to have a chat with one of our community’s economic development employees. During an extended discussion, I was pleased to hear that his overall view of technological business use was positive. Within the last two years our community has embraced the idea of businesses having an internet presence (just check out the Indiana Gazette’s online business directory). Some technological backlashes for business owners have occurred and will probably keep occurring into the near future.  Dana puts it eloquently, “Although we have become more technologically oriented as a community, the overall rate of technological change has left some of our community members with unintended nuances… The rapid pace of technological change has left some of our members behind,” states Dana. For a business to develop an internet presence, time is the biggest factor, aside from knowledge of the technology itself, which can really impact the bottom line for many small and local businesses.

We as community members have a call to action! That call is simple. The businesses you frequent, you enjoy, you wish to see triumph in such a precarious economic time, engage with them online. Those businesses are trying to make the community a better place. As the community grows so to will the economy which means a bigger better Indiana for us all to enjoy.

I’m Afraid That The American System Of Higher Education Is Becoming More “Brazilian” By The Day

I’m Afraid That The American System Of Higher Education Is Becoming More “Brazilian” By The Day

I’m afraid that the American system of higher education is becoming more “Brazilian” by the day, with the exception that education in this country costs an arm and a leg. I’m witnessing the demise of a once wonderful educational system that rescued me from a life of much suffering and ignorance due to my lack of intellectual interest and much immaturity back in the day.

Despite our society having all these technologies…

This semester, only 5% of all students in my classes read the course’s book, if that. Some are behaving in such a disrespecting way that makes me wonder why they would choose to spend 80K in a college education and behave like a little kid in kinder garden.  Brazilian kids pursuing a college education don’t read a thing, either. From what I hear, their attitudes in the classroom are as poor as some of our kids in this country.

Colleges and universities often defend them instead of doing what is right and reprimand poor behavior.

I can attest to you that many wealthy Brazilians send their kids to this country in an attempt to make their kids more mature and because colleges and universities made their kids read books as a requirement for completing a college degree. The former did the Brazilian upper class much good, as students in Brazilian universities rarely read anything. The former doesn’t happen much today in the social sciences, I don’t think. What a tragedy.

Let me continue…

A large number of Brazilian students believe that a college education is a requisite for getting a job, nothing else. I’m afraid that a large segment of college students in the United States have similar beliefs, if not exactly the same attitude towards college, as Brazilian students do. Both Brazilian and American students are constantly partying and doing little to get the “A” grade they expect by the end of the semester.

Truth.

The contemporary “business” model adopted by many colleges and universities in this country has destroyed a great educational system, making immature clown type kids have way too much say in how a university is to be run. The biggest error to me is even more disturbing and is perhaps the root cause of this whole mess we call American higher education. Students, to many college administrators, are synonymous with being a customer… and in their minds, the customer is always right because they pay the bill.

The result? They (the immature youth) is somehow dictating how colleges and universities should operate and who the institution should keep or release, based on how well they (professors) adapt to them (students) instead of the obvious opposite.

It’s sad…

Professors these days must strategically communicate with students without making them “mad.” I’ve learned to deal with them and handle these kinds of situations with much caution and care, always getting input from my colleagues on the issue before making a final decision. Many students today are living college as an “adult.” I bet that most if not all of them will live their adult life as a “student,” like in Brazil.

US students are now so similar to Brazilian students in so many respects. This concerns me quite a lot. Take a look at where Brazil ranks in education worldwide. Is this where we are heading next? Towards the bottom?

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I’m afraid that the American system of higher education is becoming more “Brazilian” by the day. I’m not sure if the current model of higher education in this country is sustainable, ladies and gentleman. There is so many good things about Brazil but not its educational system. I’m concerned about the future of this country… very actually.

The Mighty Smartphone…

The Mighty Smartphone…

There was a time in our society where we embraced the floppy disc, 64 gigabytes of hard-drive space, digital cameras, and the laptop.  Be prepared to say goodbye [if you haven’t already done so] to the former along with your regular keyboard, mouse, dvd players, and other dinosaur technology that is or will be soon, extinct.   

The mighty iPhone and the Android have hundreds of high quality media development applications available for free or at a low cost. Smartphone technology users now have access to highly sophisticated digital camera and camcorder apps, a wide variety of film filters, special effects, logo design and audio production tools. You can even create video games with your smartphone these days!

Let’s took at two game changers — smartphone detach lenses and the square. There was a time when our only option to taking top quality photographs was to spend a minimum of $400-500 on a DSLR body camera along with additional macro, telephoto, and wide-angle lenses. It wasn’t unusual for photographers to spend between $200 to $2000 dollars (if not more) in photo lenses alone in addition to the initial investment of nearly $500 bucks, and we haven’t even talked about tripods and external flashes!

What if I told you that today, you could buy four detach lenses for your smartphone for less than $200 and also buy quality smartphone tripods for a fraction of the price of top regular tripods? What if I told you that you can now buy a great camera app that simulates a DSLR for $2.99? I suspect that within two to three years, the DSLR will be extinct with amateur photographers. Some professionals may even question the benefits of their DSLR over the assets of the new smartphone technologies. Traditional digital photography technology is just too expensive when compared to the mighty smartphone. My opinion? Traditional digital photography technology will decline and eventually die. It is like a dinosaur straining to breathe in a flood.

The square is a wonderful tool that has changed the game of credit payments. Not so long ago, credit services included equipment rental, in-house internet service, bank charges and credit fees. Small businesses were suffering with the lack of payment options for their clients but not anymore. The square has revolutionized the credit payment world, a smartphone, free app and a square reader is all you need. Technology is changing the face of the world.

Even though, technologies are advancing at a rapid pace, don’t forget that we are always human. As I always say, “The overuse of technology has the capacity to distract you from important daily routines including exercising, family time, and church attendance. Use them in moderation!”   

The “Dark Side” of Social Media

The “Dark Side” of Social Media

There is little doubt that we live in the age of social media. It isn’t uncommon for us to exchange photos via Facebook, share updates on twitter, look at videos on YouTube, or start a conversation on Google Plus. On the surface, social media sites seem harmless and wonderful. What if I told you that social media sites have a dark side to it? There have been studies showing a direct correlation between social media use and decreases in work productivity, invasion of privacy, and even anxiety.

Social media technology, like aspirin, isn’t free of side effects. The American and British economies have lost billions of dollars due to employee’s participating in social media sites while at work. Rather than working on job related tasks to advance the enterprise, office workers seem to be spending a sizable amount of their working hours in social media sites updating profiles, sharing photos, and what I like to call, “goofing off… or simply wasting time.” Yet, we keep advancing the idea that social media is wonderful ignoring the multitude of repercussions the medium has. Perhaps, we should be a bit more conservative with our assumptions.  We live in an open society where our traditional privacy values are being questioned. Thank goodness we seem to be annoyed and uncomfortable with this phenomenon here in Indiana county. We don’t need to compromise our rights to privacy because of technology. We should be educating our kids to realize that displaying everything about one’s life on Facebook (or any other social media site) isn’t necessarily a good idea. As a parent, I am disturbed when I hear that 13 year old kids are living a “second life” through social media. The great advancements of modern technology seem to have a dark side, doesn’t it? I like technology but don’t love it. Do you?

Anxiety is a problem. Anxiety due to overuse of computerized devices through social media is emerging as an epidemic. The decreased sense of self perception is a serious side effect of social media. Just because we can create a profile for the world to see doesn’t mean it is real or beneficial.  The need to constantly update a profile also generates higher levels of anxiety among teens which could be toxic to their health. Our brains were not made to be working on constant information overload mode despite the belief of some that we should be always connected, especially to social media.  This is what I propose. Techno Moderation! Use social media with care. Please realize that the medium isn’t free of side effects. Be aware of the positives and negatives effects of this innovation for your own sake. Before taking a medicine, we read about its side effects, right? Why should social media use be any different?

Are Health Care Providers Being Ethical And Humane With Their Customers?

Are Health Care Providers Being Ethical And Humane With Their Customers?

It is not possible to properly contribute to society if a worker lacks good health. It is in the interest of the American economy, from a particular point of view, to have a system of health care that allows workers to get healthcare assistance when they get sick without bankrupting them in the process. Yet… Not every worker can afford to have a reasonable insurance plan.

If you get really sick in the United States, and your insurance is mediocre, chances are that you are going to have to pay your astronomical bill in thirty days (to be off the hook against likely inhumane and perhaps unethical practices of having a hospital sending your remaining debt to collections, affecting your credit at their will) or ask to finance the huge debt of yours with the hospital with the hope you get a payment plan and pay the balance before the statue of limitations in your state expires.

No matter which political party you are affiliated with, the health care system of this country can and probably will bankrupt you if you get really sick in your lifetime. Is it ethical or humane for Tennova Healthcare or any other hospital, to send a patient’s bill to collections, even if the patient is paying large sums of money before the statute of limitations in that state has expired? How about the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)? To me, no, period.

If the patient is attempting to pay the bill, the humane and ethical thing to do for a hospital is to NOT send the remaining balance of this patient to collections just because you want to get yours in your time, especially if the client has a very good credit score.

Tennova Healthcare did this to me. I had to go to the emergency room two times because of a potential heart issue and a head impact and guess what? We inherited a $1800 bill, which for any middle class family is a sizable taxing debt. I don’t like to call my daddy for bailing me out of my own obligations, especially not at 45. We payed $200 in June, about $1,000 in July, and about close to $200 in August.

What did Tennova Healthcare do in September? They sent our remaining balance of $514.01 to collections which is likely to have an impact on my good credit score. If the former is legal or illegal, we are investigating. I suspect that the former is legal…  But, is it ethical? Is it a humane practice to send you to collections without even attempting to call you when over 70% of the balance had been paid off in a few months? Isn’t health care supposed to be a humane activity? Not really, it seems. It is all about money and profit at all costs.

I hope that this practice didn’t happen to me because of my ethnicity. We are looking into it… We shall see.

Adam Smith once wrote, “A merchant, it has been said very properly, is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country. All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” This is the age that we are living in, ladies and gents. Our capitalist society is out of control, as Richard Wolff states.

Health care seems to be one of the mechanisms by which the “Masters of Mankind” use to get “all for ourselves, and nothing for other people.” Tennova HealthCare seems to operate under this wild capitalist principle of the 1800’s in 2019. I’m sure they aren’t the only one…

Let me say this publicly. Shame on you Tennova HealthCare! I question your humane practices and your ethics. I hope I’m wrong. Are health care providers being ethical and humane with their customers?

You tell me.

 

Alpha Zero: Our Next Opponent

Alpha Zero: Our Next Opponent

Artificial Intelligence is moving faster than I’ve predicted. Go figure! Listen very carefully Cleveland, Tennessee. AlphaZero, or shall we say a game playing AI created by Google’s DeepMind, is learning how to master complex games such as chess within hours now! In Fact, AlphaZero decided to teach itself the complexities of the game of chess and was able to defeat the current world-champion chess program in only four hours. I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, I had to study the intricacies of chess strategy and learn the many openings, middle game, and endgame tactics of chess due to necessity. Learning concepts such as dominating the center of the board, sacrificing pieces to gain position, the four houses defense or the imaginative attacking style of Alexander Alekhine, my favorite chess master by the way, took a lot of brain work.

 

Let me tell you, people. I have no idea how this machine mastered chess so quickly. It isn’t humanly possible! Well, AlphaZero is superhuman, without a doubt.

Let me put some drama in this column, if you don’t mind. It is December 9, 2017, and a piece of intelligent machinery just figured out a way to self learn the quite complex domain of chess without you or me, quickly. See? Back in 2015 when AlphaZero was using the innovative approach of mixing deep neutral-network machine learning and what is referred to as tree search techniques, many people thought that moving beyond that would take a lot of years. It is now two years later, after AlphaZero learned how to observe humans and engage in a process called reinforcement learning, DeepMind is reaching ridiculous levels of advancement in intelligence.

Look, Moore’s law teaches us that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years on average. Can we now say that the machine is learning, or shall we say getting more intelligent every two years? I don’t know, maybe. Which world are we living in these days anyways? AlphaZero should be named by Time Magazine as the “person” of the year in my opinion. Who, in history, can learn a complex field in four hours? I don’t know anybody, do you?

Let me report on the specifics of AlphaZero’s developments in chess learning, as I understand. This bot is pretty savvy as “he” starts by first playing against a version of himself to eventually discover which move results in the best outcome. Sophisticated play is, with time, tied to the knowledge gained by the machine against the best chess players. Overtime, through continuous success, the machine learns how to make the best move by associating its move behaviors with its rate of success. AlphaZero’s secret to quick mastery is to always play against an opponent who is technically “better” than him. Overtime, this intelligent machine learns to play better chess by self study.

AlphaZero is now learning how to play video games better by trying to beat itself in an attempt to achieve excellence, engaging in critical thinking ties to life outcomes, and competing against the best aren’t just activities that a bot can learn to play better chess. Sooner or later, Google will leverage such developments to sell this technology to the corporate sector.

I wonder what will be AlphaZero’s real challenge! Google’s CEO, in an interview given about a month and a half ago, stated that the future of AI is already here. Some people are even stating that computers are adapting to us rather than us adapting to them! Listen carefully: The future of Google is in Artificial Intelligence, I bet. AlphaZero will only get better not worse. Remember what I once told you: Tomorrow will be nothing like today. We might as well get used to it and start adapting to this crazy reality, we call artificial intelligence. Yesterday we used to talk about IBM’s Watson. Today we speak about DeepMind and AlphaZero. I wonder what we are going to talk about tomorrow.

The world has changed drastically folks. The machine is now learning at jet speeds. How are we going to compete against these data warriors? AlphaZero has mastered chess today. I wonder what he will master tomorrow. This is getting pretty scary.

What I see in the mirror is often not how others see me.

What I see in the mirror is often not how others see me.

It’s a sad state of affairs. The way I see myself and how society sees me… many times, it isn’t in alignment. I’m an educated white guy with intellectual tendencies, citizenship? American. I wish others see me in the south the way I do.

But they don’t, for the most part. The kind ones call me olive, that guy with a cool accent who often get confused when I say that I’m from the United States. They don’t believe and always ask, “But where are you really from?” You have an accent.

The mean ones introduce other men to my wife as an attempt to rescue her from the “gang member” type or assume that I’m a “poor Mexican” living in the US to steal their jobs. Many are often afraid to speak with me in public due to the fear of having others judging them because they are talking with me which is a form of racism, by the way.

Some have even paid (or are still paying) close attention to what I write here in my blog and feed this information to others as a spy in order to gain acceptance and defend their interests, yet putting me down to make themselves look good.

You know, it’s the foreigner… we can do this to him. Or shall we say, “He isn’t white.”

I wonder if they would do the same things to others, non-foreign nationals. I doubt… the irony: They think that I don’t know. They are wrong. I’m always paying attention and getting notes…

When you are a foreign national, you develop an extra ordinary ability to look at others objectively which definitely helps us to literally find out who is a friend and who pretends to be one. You should be ashamed by what you are doing…

Maybe I should clarify on small detail in here. In the United States, I’m a Latino who happens to have white skin. So, to many… I’m considered to be a minority in this country. Why? Because there is a majority who don’t look “Olive” like me.

What I perceive about my persona and how other perceive me is a total disconnect for the most part. It’s sad but true.

Many label me as a poor Mexican or a gang member from MS-13. I’m de facto a college professor holding a PHD from a public Ivy League — Penn State, member of the American middle class.

Speak Your Mind Within Reason

Speak Your Mind Within Reason

Let me tell you this straight: Your end is near if you decide to stop sharing what you know and learning new things due to fear of retaliation or simply because of arrogance. I am not aware of any quality professional who lacks generosity and/or avoids engaging in timely professional development. Life, my friends, isn’t about you or me. Life is de facto about others and how we share and learn overtime. Don’t get me started — if you think that you know everything under the sun, you are heading towards imminent disaster and a huge awakening in the near future. Nobody knows everything… not even you or me. We need to be prepared, thats for sure. We need to keep learning and sharing. We need lifelong learning! We need lifelong sharing! Be ready to speak your mind with reason once is a while as the former is certainly critical to your success in life.

All that I ask you is: Be reasonable. We already live in a world that is so unreasonable out there. We most definitely need to be vocal about the former because acting without reason is dangerous and always backfire overtime. At least. this has been my experience.

In fact, being unreasonable is both dangerous and oppressive as it can silence the voices of people who might otherwise change the world for the better. Our goal is to make things better not worse in this world. It is to carry and advance honorable agendas in a timely fashion. Be patient, be kind, be loving and strive to be great in the eyes of others. Speak your mind with reason and defend what is right and honorable once in a while.

Remember: Being impartial or overly judgmental of others, especially if your life depends on the same people you criticize, isn’t wise. One thing is for sure — Your goals are not that different than mine. I bet your goal is to move forward in life by being and acting as a reasonable person. Is it that complicated? I don’t think so.

There are many ways people can speak their minds reasonably in this life. I will share with you three ways I speak my mind with reason in this blog. Here we go.

  1. I write. Well, the former shouldn’t come a surprise to anybody, right? I write my blog often on a daily basis in order to communicate my thoughts to the masses with a tough of reason. Writing allows me to speak my mind in symbolically through language. What is my overall goal you may be asking. My goal is simply to speak my mind to others so that engagement takes place as I believe that sharing what I know and hearing what others have to say is a critical to my own professional development and with succeeding in life. This is my advice to you — You should do the same and write daily. Writing is a wonderful tool to tell others about how you feel, as long as it is done with reason. It is a way to keep yourself sane in this insane world that we live in.
  2. I photograph. Drawing with lights allow us to speak our minds visually. Differently from writing, a well taken photograph is art in itself with no symbolism. We all need art to be reasonable. Life is art and without question… life without art isn’t life as we know it. At least, this is how I see it. The whole idea of being critical is tied to the field of photography. Have you ever met a professional photographer who wasn’t critical of his/her photography work? Are you critical of your photography? Are you critical of your work? Tom Petty once said, “Sell your computer and buy a guitar.” I say, “Sell your computer (or guitar) and buy a DSLR!”
  3. I speak. Speaking in public allows me to speak my mind orally. When was the last time that you delivered a public speech? If you haven’t done one in a while, I would strongly suggest that you make plans to deliver one this year. In order to speak your mind with reason, you need to be versed in public speaking. I bet Dale Carnegie would agree with me on this one! Get yourself a good public speaking training program and start developing your repertoire of speeches so that you also have the ability to change the world for the better by speaking and being reasonable! We need more people like you, that’s for sure.

Your end is near if you decide to stop sharing what you know and learning new things due to fear of retaliation or simply because of arrogance. I am not aware of any quality professional who lacks generosity and/or avoids engaging in conversations in a timely fashion in this world. If you think that you know everything under the sun, you are heading towards imminent disaster and a huge awakening in the future. Nobody knows everything… not even you or me. Be patient, be kind, be loving… take time to write, photograph, and speak so that you also have a chance to speak your mind with reason. Are you ready for the challenge? I hope so.

Your turn. Just do it.

Fast, Quick, Now… “I want the information now” mentality isn’t a healthy practice as time is a variable for success.

Fast, Quick, Now… “I want the information now” mentality isn’t a healthy practice as time is a variable for success.

If you type the phrase, “Get Rich Fast” on google.com, hundreds of millions of results will appear in 0.27 seconds. Sample topics include “9 ways to get richer quicker,” “How I became rich before 30,” or “Getting rich quickly.” Although the getting rich scheme isn’t a new concept, the internet seems to be the medium of choice to spread the get rich quick agenda. However, it distorts important work ethic values long ingrained in American culture – Hard work, time and effort.

Millenniums (and non-millenniums), perhaps because of heavy exposure and frequency of computer use, seem to be forgetting that technology doesn’t bring success… Hard work, time and sweat do. We even romanticized this notion in our culture with the idiom, “No pain, no gain!” Success isn’t achieved overnight despite what popular culture might believe. The internet is a great tool of discovery and should be used these days. The technological instant gratification propaganda, however, can do more damage than good.

The “I want the information now” mentality isn’t a healthy practice as time is a variable for success. Just because you might hear that a process can be attained quickly on-line doesn’t mean it would or is best. The dynamics of book and on-line reading is a great example to illustrate the former. When a person is reading a book, the brain works antagonistically to its nature requiring humans to make sense of unfamiliar stimuli through practice. The understanding process is unnatural, harder and takes longer. When we read on-line content, we scan material in a more natural way, as our brains seem to process scanning content more naturally. It is easier, quicker and faster.

We need to move beyond the instant gratification mode found in the age of technology. The “Fast, Quick, and Now” mentality might be financially costly in the long run. Why? Because we live in a society driven by expertise. Quality and success takes time and effort. In a competitive world driven by results, we can’t compromise the former for the sake of technology.

Rome wasn’t made in a day either despite the support you might find on-line somewhere. No wonder why a large number of students want to graduate college Summa Cum Laude, in two years, doing minimal work. “No pain, no gain!” Just because problems can be solved quicker on-line doesn’t mean they are real, safe, of any quality, or a good investment of your time and resources. Let’s go back to basics and reevaluate our values against technology. Technology is a good and a required commodity when used wisely and in moderation. It isn’t anything else other than that. Hard work, time and effort first… technology second.

I’m Back In The Game Again

I’m Back In The Game Again

I’m back… I’m back to doing empirical research again, against all the odds. I came to Tennessee to be an activist in TechnoModeration and I’m turning into an empiricist of visual literacy again.  It wasn’t my plan to move to a teaching university to do the former. Now, I’m thinking… I guess that thinking critically is a good thing, if you know what I mean.

I have presented and published a number of academic articles in my career, along with teaching a large number of college courses. Some of my research has been featured in the British Journal of Education Technology, Tech Trends, DiGRA Japan, and many competitive conferences across the United States.

It’s my time again to make the next chess move, it seems… I’m thinking. Only God will tell what the future will be, I guess. I trust God to tell me what will happen next. Right now, this is how I’m feeling, though. Tomorrow, things may be different.

Right now, I’m working on multimedia based research projects in communication education and feedback with an aim at publishing articles at major academic publications and presenting its results in international academic conferences. I’m also contemplating getting an external grant again and scale the results of this much needed research agenda to a wider audience. The scope of my work is back to what we call, “R1 research university’s stuff” or required academic efforts often requited in academic institutions whose mission is to produce a large amount of academic scholarship.

What I’m finding out in my career is that every university, no matter the size or scope,  wants to become bigger in population and in academic reputation. College professors should perhaps be do the same… I never thought this way before but in reality, the former makes some sense to me now. Only God knows the future, I repeat.

I’m back… I’m back to doing empirical research again, against all the odds. It’s ironic how I got back in doing much empirical research again but I guess it was what God wanted.  God works in mysterious ways.

Technology Is Stealing Jobs

Technology Is Stealing Jobs

In our society, we are conditioned to celebrate technological advancements almost blindly. A large number of Americans have celebrated technologies that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agriculture, automobile production and maintenance, household goods and medicine. From the standpoint of “making things function quicker and more accurately,” technology has revolutionized and will keep revolutionizing the way of how we live and do business in this country. How can anybody deny that we drive safer, more efficient and more comfortable cars today than back in the 1940’s? Don’t we enjoy the many technological advancements that we have seen in the field of medicine? Thank God for antibiotics! Having the ability to share photos with relatives through social media 24/7 is pretty sweet, isn’t it?

But what if I told you that most (if not all) technological advancements have a life changing flip side to them. When we talk aspirin, we can bleed internally. Modern farm equipment has contributed to increases in environmental pollution leading to more allergens. The automobile has created “traffic” and is a major contributor of accidents — America’s 4th leading cause of death. The television, smartphone and video games can be quite addictive, can’t they? Addictions can be lethal. 

We are now celebrating automation and robots, or shall we say robotics, as if we should absolutely support everything they have to offer. We talk a lot about drones these days, don’t we? Look, I can see the immediate financial benefits of automation especially in the fast food industry — replacing waiters and cashiers with touch screen kiosks will save any fast food restaurant a large sum in operational costs. Perhaps, fast food restaurant owners will eventually use robots in order to help with hygiene as investing in machines will require less employees, consequently leading to lower levels of food contaminants. It is likely that we are going to see a mass adoption of robots automating production of fast food restaurants and warehouses in the near future due to the reasons presented above. In fact, robotic automation is already happening to a degree. What are the consequences of the former, though?

I wish that we could look at automation and adoption of robotics in isolation from society. The problem is that we just cannot. If we decide to celebrate technology to a point of mass adopting warehouse automation systems, at the expense of its labor force for example, the side effects we are going to feel in our society may be too drastic and irreversible. If you are what I like to call a “TechnoGroupie,” your foundations will be shaken simply because the side effects of such implementations are too much for any humane society to absorb. Let me elaborate.

Automating retail warehouses with robots and fast food ordering systems can have devastating impacts to our local economy. Replacing fast food restaurant employees with automated ordering kiosks might eventually cut fast food operation by 50%. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the use of robots will eventually cut fulfillment costs by 40%. How many of these retail jobs do we have in Cleveland? Technology is stealing our jobs.

What would that do to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s estimation of 700,000 new jobs by 2020 in the general retail sector? Isn’t the uncontrolled adoption of technology a threat to our national security? I might be going a bit too far with my assumptions but nobody can deny that the flip side of automation and robots is scary maybe irresponsible.

Blockbuster used to have 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees. Netflix destroyed them. Redbox introduces the kiosk movie rental concept using automated restocking machines. Redbox employs a fraction of the employees. No wonder why receiving a pay increase is becoming a utopia for many these days. When the supply of jobs decrease, its demand increase leading to jobs paying less many times not readjusting pay at all. You can partly thank the flip side of technology for your family members’ and friends’ frozen wages. It is economics 101.

Be careful with believing that technology is always good. Sometimes, technology has dire consequences. Maintaining local economic sustainability should be our goal not blind adoption of technology.

 

My Thoughts On Declining Enrollment, Adjunct Faculty And The Need To Have A Terminal Degree In Order To Work Full Time in Higher Education

My Thoughts On Declining Enrollment, Adjunct Faculty And The Need To Have A Terminal Degree In Order To Work Full Time in Higher Education

The following responses were written by me on facebook in response to the current trends we are experiencing in higher education — Declining enrollment and increase in adjunct faculty in colleges and universities. 

This article is a collection of questions and answers about the former… Here we go.

1. On the argument that students should pursue technical training instead of a college degree…

Almeida’s response, “…College professors who are paying attention to the upcoming trend (declining enrollment) are aware of the threats. Although there are other ways to win, I’m still a firm believer in a college degree even for kids who aren’t made for college, as many say. They can learn to be with good guidance, for the most part. Kids who are good with their hands, for example, tend to fit well in careers in studio production in our field of communication. I’m afraid that the jobs of the future will require a BS as a requisite, handicapping those who don’t fit the criteria.

2.Why is education so expensive?

Almeida’s response, “…States must grant more appropriations to public schools and the private universities should have stronger offices of institutional advancement along with a charismatic president who is able to fundraise in order to operate to capacity and offer a more affordable price of education to students. In my book, no university employee should make more that 150 thousand dollars a year. We work in higher education for the love of serving others not to maximize profit. At least, this is how so see it.”

3. Who is making that?

Almeida’s response, “…Presidents of colleges, with rare exceptions, often make 250K or higher sometimes reaching a salary in the 500K. VP’s often bring home 200K home as well, followed by Deans in the upper 160K range. In some institutions, professors are bringing home 150-170K a year for a yearly salary. Adjunct salaries vary from institution to institution. In my book, we need to be careful to not have such high administrative overhead and faculty salaries in order to keep tuition prices to a reasonable price for students. By the way, football coaches in colleges and universities make a fortune.”

4. Should schools hire full-time faculty? If it isn’t possible, what can we do to complement a body of faculty? 

Almeida’s response, “…Well, I agree with you that hiring full time faculty is more beneficial than operating an academic unit using a set number of adjunct faculty members. I’m in favor of bringing artists in residence or a few adjuncts to complement academic work and pay them accordingly. I’m not an administrator here so I’m not aware of what is being done exactly.”

5. Shouldn’t full-time and adjunct faculty make the same because they teach essentially the same thing many times?  What is your recommendation for adjunct faculty wanting to be a full-time faculty member? 

Almeida’s response, “…The question of load is an easier one to answer. A college professor full-time isn’t just teaching a class. This person is to advise students, conduct scholarship and serve the university… some of these faculty members represent the university in the media, produce films, assist with recruitment, in some cases bring an external grant, manage a media center, sit in the board of a non-profit, or lead a program and assist with accreditation efforts… and so on. I know… Adjunct faculty is treated differently in different institutions. I’ve always treated part-time faculty with much respect not as a second class citizen like many do. My recommendation for anyone wanting to have a career in higher education is to pursue a doctorate degree with good academic training. It is taxing but it pays off in the long run.”

6. Why is a PHD a requirement in higher education? 

Almeida’s response, “…A doctorate degree is a requirement. I’m old school when it comes to this. A PhD is a weapon in higher education. If completed correctly under a well trained advisor, a person with a PhD will learn how to do research well which is part of the job. I’m not aware of any reputable university that will hire a full-time professor with rank without having some expectation for conducting scholarship. In fact, those who choose not to do it end up stuck in that university, at the will of a promotion and tenure committee or the president him or herself, in the hands of the university for future employment. As my advisor once taught me, “You have to do the right thing not their right thing.” It was because of my doctorate in Instructional Systems that I’m able to analyze and create operating systems of instruction in multiple areas combined which has helped me to acquire multiple areas of expertise overtime, always with an eye in the practical, leading to conceptualizing and selling a business for a profit. There is an element of intellectualism that should remain in colleges and universities, for the benefit of the student.”

7. Students Don’t learn much from a professor when it comes to what is required in the workforce, right? 

Almeida’s response, “…Yep, we disagree when it comes to the importance of having a doctorate (a terminal degree) in order to operate to capacity in higher education and  professors do teach content that is applicable to the workforce.

Let me just clarify that a person holding a final academic degree is also able to perform to capacity in our industry, as long as that person pursues terminal academic training. A person who completed a MFA, for example, is able to function well in higher education and assist students to be successful in their careers. We need to be careful when assuming that college professors don’t teach anything practical to students or that what they teach doesn’t help students in the current economy. When an English professor teaches students to write better, students gain the skillset of writing which is a much needed skillset to have in the workforce. When a professor of philosophy challenges a student to think critically about the world and to make better decisions with logic… students gain by acquiring a very important skillset (critical thinking) that we need much in today’s economy. Or a professor of communication who teaches a student how to deliver a speech or how to strategize a social media campaign for a client… they gain public speaking and strategic thinking which are definitely important skillsets to have in today’s marketplace.”

8. Adjuncts are required because a lot of professors don’t know how to teach and many only worked in higher education… 

Almeida’s response,“…I do agree with you that not every PHD (or MFA) knows how to teach, true statement. In my doctorate degree, we got training on how to teach a course. What can be challenging is discovering how a particular population of students behave in order to get good student evaluation scores consistency. I can tell you from experience that students in private schools behave much differently than students in the public sector, in many respects.

Some professors only know higher education, true. However, let’s keep in mind that higher education is also an industry, full of politics, where professors must report to the chain of command and perform to capacity in order to maintain their jobs… all that cool stuff that we know about. College professors also have to apply for a job, like college graduates do and get the required qualifications. I also disagree with you (kindly, of course) when it comes to one’s expertise and not being related to teaching. It depends on what they study. Folks who got training in the field of education maybe trained in how to plan and deliver an educational intervention. The former are used daily by great college instructors in our region and beyond.”

9. Why do adjuncts need to get a doctorate degree to learn how to do research and gain skillsets if people can learn skills on their own?  

Almeida’s response, “…I agree with you on the fact that we can get much of the skills we need on our own, including the skills that we teach in a college classes not just research. In my opinion, it is wise for an adjunct to complete a doctorate degree in order to be prepared to answer research questions that may have an impact in the members of our society. Doing top quality research isn’t as easy as it seems. We all acquire new skillsets on our own, absolutely. We are trained in a doctoral degree to keep this mindset, at least I was. The value added from Penn State (where I got my doctorate degree) is that they train you to seek where to find the resources you need to grow professionally. It’s an interesting debate. I do feel that obtaining a skillset under the guidance of a supervisor is important if one is to do the same for someone else. I’m old school when it comes to academic stuff but that’s just me.”

10. Why do students in the USA pay all this tuition when they could pay a fraction of the price overseas? 

Almeida’s response, “… Tuition overseas is often cheaper than tuition in the USA for American students. I’m not sure how employers would feel about recruiting kids who attended a foreign college unless the university is among the very best universities in the world. The reason I say this is because many Brazilians who come to the US trying to find employment with a bachelors degree rarely get an opportunity to work. They often have to study again in here in order to be able to find employment in the US.”

 

We Need More Male Latino Communication Scholars In Higher Education

We Need More Male Latino Communication Scholars In Higher Education

Despite all these modern technology gadgets we have in society these days, it seems that access to computers haven’t helped university’s search committees much with finding male latino communication professors to diversify their body of faculty all across the United States. Minority recruitment in higher education is still quite low everywhere especially if we take into account the number of male Latino faculty members we have employed in the whole educational system.

After a quick on-line investigation, where I went on-line and took a frequency count of how many professors of Latino descent there are in six colleges across the state of Tennessee, I came to two conclusions. 

  1. We have only one Latino male working in departments of communications among six institutions in Tennessee — UTK, UTC, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt, Belmont and Lee. It is me, Dr. A! Let me not disappoint you. I am usually the only Latino male communication professor wherever I go. I am used to it… I must add that there is one Latina professor in Tennessee who works in a Communication department but she is a lecturer. The former means that she has a low academic rank.
  2. I’m aware of one latino working in a position of leadership in the field of communication in the whole state.  

In reality, I don’t know exactly the number of Latino males who are communication professors in the state because I haven’t look at all faculty members in every school across the state of Tennessee. Having little to no male professors of Latino descent in colleges and universities in the east coast has been the trend, though.  

The former isn’t an isolated Tennessee problem, I must add. This problem isn’t a new one, either. I have been witnessing this reality for over a decade, now. Easy access to the internet has allowed me to investigate, count and report this problem to the public in informal ways. I’m currently working on a paper to document this issue for the academic world which will be released soon.  

I wonder why we aren’t using more technology to bring attention to this pressing topic  since the next big growth in American higher education is centered around Latino/minority enrollment and retention. 

By the way… Retention of minority students is directly related to the number of faculty role models institutions have. If you got latino students, you must have latino faculty members on staff… males and females. Who will serve as a role model for the Latino students majoring in Communication at California State University in Los Angeles? There are a lot of latino students down there! 

What I know is that Cal State struggles to get male Latino Communication faculty members. How do I know this? One of their Deans took me to the side in a recent academic conference and whispered in my ear, “Luis, I have a big problem. Most of my students are Latinos but the irony is that I cannot recruit male Latino faculty that easily. Let’s chat.” 

Many people think that technology will solve all of our problems yet this elementary issue is far from being solved. Does it take a minority faculty member to bring attention to this important societal issue? Apparently yes. Why aren’t we investing more time and technology to fix these pressing issues in academia, I ask? Perhaps, we should look at the composition of these colleges and universities, along with predictions of upcoming enrollment and expected retention rates, and hire faculty members who are more representative of their student body.

Why are we celebrating VR technologies if we can’t even fix the elementary diversity problems in our society? This I do know… The future belongs to the Lord and only He knows our future and that’s a blessing. Not having minority faculty representation in higher education is both an epidemic and a disservice to our minority students enrolled in the system.

There is Latino male scholar population struggling to have an opportunity to make a difference in higher education. Recruit them! They are out there, remember that. In every field, actually. Seek and you will find them. 

Immigrants Contribute To The Development Of The USA

Immigrants Contribute To The Development Of The USA

I’m an immigrant — A legal immigrant now a citizen of the United States of America. I  help young minds to develop and mature in order to find employment in this country and think for themselves. America pay less in welfare costs because an immigrant, me in this case, helps the American youth to be more responsible and productive members of society.

I say the following..

Stop blaming immigrants for the tragic events that happen in this country! Stop thinking that just because illegal immigrants are “subsidies” to the American business community, as economist Wolff would say, that all immigrants are made the same.

Some immigrants are in fact American citizens, you know? Not everybody is a criminal. Some, in fact, contribute to the development of the United States in a wide variety of ways. How so, some of you may be asking? This is how.

Immigrants start businesses. Immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business in the United States than non-immigrants, and 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States are own by immigrants. Stop and think about the former for a minute… Eventually immigrant businesses… next line.

Create jobs for American workers. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigrant enterprises employed almost five million Americans generating around 776 billion each year. Did you know that?

Immigrants create their own jobs. According the U.S. Department of Labor, 7.5 percent of immigrants work for themselves compared to 6.6 percent among born Americans. Interesting…

Immigrants develop top organizations and invent life changing modern technologies. According to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started a fourth of all major corporate enterprises given by a venture capital funding source including intel, google and eBay. Stunning.

Let’s not forget that immigrants help America with rejuvenating its population and procreating resulting in a much needed increase in the country’s demographics which in turn assist the nation to actually exist. Do you know that many countries in Western Europe, along with Russia… have declining populations? Russia has an immigration issue. They lack immigrants… how can Russia exist in 3017 without people?

Immigrants contribute to the development of the United States. They start businesses, create jobs for Americans and themselves and sometimes start big organizations in this country.

The former is an undeniable fact. Do the following, if you are not doing it already, if you please.

Treat an immigrant with respect today. They deserve to be treated as well as you do. No excuses…

Remember: Who knows? Tomorrow, you may be working for one of them.

My advice.

46 Other Quotes I’ve Said Throughout The Years

46 Other Quotes I’ve Said Throughout The Years

We are all creatures of habit who enjoy reading tidbits of information to make us a bit smarter by the day. As technology permeates our lives in this new world we live in, not too many people have the time and resources to truly learn useful quotations these days.

I am shocked by the number of college students who are clueless about the basic tenets of life. They have been my inspiration to write these quotes, almost daily, on social media for about a year and a half.

Are you ready for this? Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

— Quotes —

“You can’t keep having fun forever without control, judge and think that life will run like a disorganized mess forever. Eventually the fun will stop and reality will be made transparent.”

“In silence, there is rearming.”

“I tell you this to you: God doesn’t tolerate evil doers. He does justice in His own time, don’t worry or get angry. Those who are unjust will pay for their transgressions. Don’t be envious of their evil deeds. God will put them in their places. All you have to do is pray.”

“Seek love and avoid contention.”

“Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. Yesterday? Who cares. I will keep moving forward and thanking all the people who believe in my life mission of goodwill.”

“People trust specialists not generalists. The Jack of all trades was born dead! Wait a minute, have you seen a general practitioner lately?”

“Behaviors speak much louder than any words in this world. All we need to do is to take notes.“

“New affiliation doesn’t erase experience. New lessons are learned. Old protocols are still applicable and relevant.”

“Life is a journey, God is the pilot, and we are the passenger. Enjoy the ride and trust.”

“Positioning is key, ladies and gentleman. By overworking you subordinate. Confident people aren’t intimidated by frowny faces.”

“We are no longer 9-5. We are 9 to forever.”

“This world is too complex for us to live life complicating the obvious.”

“Flee from the perverse and always look in between the lines.”

“Everything you do, do in humility. Honor everyone and love your neighbor. Those who claim to be great, mediocre at best they are.”

“Whenever you make Christ the center of your life, you find true happiness and tremendous freedom.”

“Your people are a direct reflection of your attitude.”

“Those in power will protect themselves at the expense of the oppressed.”

“In the age of influence, technology became a commodity.”

“Don’t live in your past. Living there won’t help the “now” that you are in today.”

“Young professionals must realize two things: First, enemies are more loyal than your buddies.” “Second, nothing in life can be accomplished without influence.”

“If life doesn’t give you the opportunity… Create the opportunity.”

“Be firm and fair. Any questions?”

“The moment we try to guide our lives and “command our destiny…” is when we get into trouble.”

“They (enemies) will come hard at you, I guarantee — especially if you are competent at what you do.”

“Life is like a game of chess. Are you playing with white or black pieces? Strategize accordingly.”

“Look at life objectively. Be quiet and simply observe… An evil plan can be found in its details.”

“Never, under any circumstances, criticize anyone. The moment you do… you lose them.”

“It’s impossible to cheat excellence.”

“The answer to professional success isn’t extravagance. People’s decisions to live an extravagant life, in the end… tend to handicap them.”

“Be careful to not associate yourself with those who think that they themselves are the center of the universe.”

“We can’t change the yesterday but we certainly can influence the tomorrow.”

“Opportunities are a privilege for the common man but is a right for the wealthy.”

“If you can’t control yourself, you will never control others.”

“When you go or work places, you gain perspective. You know how crazy people are everywhere you go.”

“True excellence is only achieved when people have experienced tremendous adversity.”

“It isn’t hard work that differentiates you from others necessarily. It is your ability to think differently… Hard work, of course, is a part of it.”

“One of the best decisions a professional can make is to better understand people.”

“God didn’t make Adam and smartphone. God made Adam and Eve.”

“Just because someone (or something) is old doesn’t mean that they have no use. You will be amazed by how much you can learn from a 80 year old man.”

“A body in motion keeps it in motion. Inertia take you places… the moment you stop making progress in your life problems will occur.”

“Good employees are born. Great employees are made.”

“You can gain the world with a happy smile.”

“If you competitor dresses in red, be blue. If he goes left move right. This is a way to position yourself.”

“The method of intuition is a method of knowing.”

“When undecided, pray… When in question, ask… When in trouble, resolve… When you know, share.”

“You are not better than me. We, however, are better than most. I say, “synergy.” A united people can never be divided.”

After An Error, Regroup, Be Patient, Seek And You Will Find

After An Error, Regroup, Be Patient, Seek And You Will Find

I’m currently walking to the monthly Cleveland Media Association meeting where I serve as President Elect in this beautiful Tennessee Friday in September.

What I didn’t share with you was that I drove to today’s event by car first but couldn’t find a parking spot. It was clearly an error on my part. I should have known that Friday’s, especially between the hours of 10:00am and noon, parking is scarce here on campus.

The result? I couldn’t find a parking spot and had to drive back to my building and find another parking spot because mine was then taken immediately after I left. I had to regroup and realized that I’ve made a mistake. The only option I could take was to be patient in order to find a spot again on campus, without being late for my meeting.

So I did… I went one more time around the block and was able to find not one but two spots to park my car. What a blessing! The former isn’t typically the case in this hour of the day here in Cleveland, TN.

I looked for it and found it. I had a seek and you will find kind of moment. It made me remember of how things really are in the workforce. Sometimes, we make mistakes. They are inevitable.

The best thing to do in order to fix them is to accept the fact that we have made an error, regroup, be patient, seek and eventually you will find what you are looking for. Don’t be upset or get disappointed.

The recovery or the long term solution to your error may not be immediate but if you go through the motions of fixing the issue, like identifying the error, regrouping, being patient, seeking and finding an alternative… eventually you kick back and win in whatever endeavor you are pursuing.

Do your part and live, ladies and gents. I don’t think that you will get gravel if you follow this model. That’s what a I think, at least.

Be blessed and enjoy your Friday.

14 Ways To Build Trust And Credibility In Social Media

14 Ways To Build Trust And Credibility In Social Media

In this article, I will be sharing with you 14 ways that you can build trust and credibility in social media, based on the content included in the books, “Social Media Engagement For Dummies,” “Linchpin,” “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “Permission Marketing” and my own thoughts acquired throughout the years.

Are you ready for this. I hope so.

“Trust is a social good to be protected just as much as the air we breathe or the water that we drink.” “Smile, It increases your face value” (Dale Carnegie). 

Trust can be developed in two ways.

  1. Your audience engages with you already believing that you’re worthy of their trust.
  2. Your audience demands that you earn their faith. 

I which ways do we get our audience to engage with us whether they believe we are already trustworthy or not? Here we go.

14 Ways To Build Trust And Credibility In Social Media

Way #1. Have a unified social media voice and keep consistency… of postings, theme, copy, and so on. 

Way #2. Do your homework: Find out who your audience is and don’t forget to find out where they spend their time, and what they are talking about. Tailor your messages directly to them based on their interests. 

Way #3. Interact authentically with your audience: Be real and genuine. Show your personality but be consistent with your communication. Are you fun? Fearless? Serious? Savvy? Whatever you are, make sure they see this part of you in your social media postings. It will help you build credibility with them. Consistency of correct information output builds credibility.

Way #4: Be honest: Honesty goes hand in hand with trust. It is difficult for anyone to be trustworthy on instagram (or facebook, pinterest, etc) claiming to be a life coach at 17. Be truthful. People pay close attention to these things on-line. If you don’t know the answer, say I don’t know.

Way #5 Be transparent: When people can connect with the real you… your brand/persona becomes more personalized resulting in higher levels of trust and credibility. 

Way #6: Ownership: Take responsibility for your mistakes. They will happen… Your greatest critic can become your most outspoken “fan”. Be careful when criticizing others… It is a small world, after all. Remember: Never say, “you’re wrong” (Dale Carnegie). If you make a mistake, take the ownership for the error. 

Way #7: Word choices: Use the word ‘you’ when engaging with your audience in social media networks rather that referring to them as generic people. Your audience prefers that you speak with them, not about them or at them. Make it personal.

Way #8: Build your social media presence: In 2019, failing to be in social media makes you invisible in our society (Gary Vaynerchuck). Engage in emotional labor in social media and become indispensable for your tribe (Seth Godin).

Way #9: Continue asking questions: Tribes love this. Prove to your audience that their thoughts and opinions matter to you. Listen to what they have to say and implement them accordingly. 

Way #10: Create an incentive for your audience to engage with your content and come back: Share quality content in multiple outlets that fit their interests. Be their only option if you can…

Way #11: Respond promptly for a greater impact: Manage your conversations in an organized fashion. The timeless of your responses is an important part of trust-building on-line. Leaving questions answered for days/weeks can dissolve that person’s trust in you.

Way #12: Get training in-front of the camera: Performing poorly on an youtube video clip can damage your reputation and will have an effect your credibility impacting trust.

Way #13: Release press releases and use your blog to distribute these pieces of writing once in a while: Then, share the press releases to social networking sites for greater impact. make sure to include links to your social media networks, multimedia elements, and content that leads your audience to tweet a quote about you to their friends. In another word, make your content great pieces of independent micro content for your audience to share on your behalf with their audience.  

Let them be your sneezers to spread your idea viruses (Seth Godin). 

Way #14: Work on getting third party endorsements: One of the best methods to accomplish this is simply to ask. Don’t be afraid to request on-line reviews about you or your business from people in your network. Make it worth the effort for people to praise you publicly. It will help with your brand’s credibility and trust, that’s for sure. Public praises go a long way. 

Your credibility and trust will result in eminent permission granted from your audience to share your content to them, as Seth would say. Be careful, however, to not burn your brand’s trust by attempting to gain short-term profits on the back of your tribe.

Remember: Permission is a process not a moment.

Tell me if these 14 ways to build trust and credibility in social media worked for you. I want to hear. Be blessed. 

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God

The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. One day we find ourselves in a big city near the suburbs of Hong Kong. Another day we find ourselves living in a small town near the outskirts of Duluth Minnesota. How unpredictable our lives are, I say.

I often wonder how anybody can live life without believing that there is a God. Life is full of inexplicable surprises for anyone to deny the existence of a superior being. How can we explain the blessings that we receive and give? How can someone be born wealthy and chose modesty over principles? I don’t have the answer to these questions but maybe one day I will understand. 

I realized in a very short period of time that it is only by the grace of God that we can live a good life, regardless of what some might say. I live a great life full of blessings given by Jesus Christ. Every semester, I speak with a number of college students seeking new knowledge and life coaching tips. I help them to find themselves and to use the gifts that God has given them and me in a creative way. What a privilege is to be able to encourage the youth into serving God with their lives. I love it… I was born to do this. In the bible, we read in Acts 15:32, “And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.” We must do so with enthusiasm.

Some of us have the duty to encourage others to achieve greatness, be compassionate, and care for the poor. Someone needs to be a cheerleader for students and give them unconditional generosity. The bible talks about exhortation, an important gift given by God to some. In Romans 12:8 we learn, “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness…” 

How great is His word and the plans He has for one’s future. The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. I surrender it all. I want to be more christlike. It is well, it is well with my soul… As long as you lead me into your ways and future plans… We shall be just fine. My life without you is in vain, God. God always be glorified, forever and ever. 

Life is a journey — You might as well enjoy the ride with God all the days of your lives. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The other side isn’t that far away. 

21 Things That I’ve Said Over The Years…

21 Things That I’ve Said Over The Years…

“Technology is handicapping millennials.”

“Everybody wants to be a “Bentley” but only a few are willing to do what is required to be one.”

“The principle behind treating others well is quite simple. We need to understand people first and judge them second.”

“Seek alternatives when you are in a deficit.”

“In life, you can’t compromise quality and/or bargain your way into what makes you exceptional.”

“Even your worst enemy will teach you important lessons about who you are.”

“Technology is the corrupt’s worst enemy.”

“Students, you need the following to win in life: 1) God; 2) Courage; 3) Skillsets.”

“Take Time Off — Technology Can Wait.”

“Colleges and universities should have courses in social capital because many times… it isn’t how much you know but who you know or who knows you.”

“In 2017, your ability to engage in job blitzkrieg is a necessity for survival, especially if you haven’t found your dream job yet. Be very careful when buying real estate.”

“Sometimes life isn’t about work but network.”

“We need to display smartphone side effects in a label.”

“The workforce is war not peace.”

“Asking people to use more technology to fix technological problems is like asking alcoholics to use more alcohol to fix their alcohol addiction.”

“Let’s be realistic — Anybody who claims to be great, isn’t.”

“Your students are your legacy.”

“You can gain the world with a happy smile.”

“Great minds look beyond what they can see.”

“The secret to success is following God’s commands and working in your talent. It is that simple.”

“Many people believe that being a minority is a disadvantage. They don’t get it. It is an advantage! We bring a much needed view of the world that many can indeed appreciate. Be yourself — Be different.”

“Don’t let technology become the addiction that prevents you from living your life.”

Twenty Pieces Of Advice From A Professor Who Cares

Twenty Pieces Of Advice From A Professor Who Cares

Hope you enjoy these “pieces of advice'” as much as I do. Here we go.

“Secret of success? Make yourself useful to other people. Are you being useful to someone right now? You better!”

“Flee from egoism and embrace a humble and godly life of service and humility. Whenever possible, help kids to laugh so that they have fun, even if you have to sacrifice your weekend for their benefit. God blesses those who help others and put others ahead of themselves.”

“Never underestimate what you don’t know or what you can’t see. Behind every star there is much unseen sweat.”

“Arrogance, vanity, envy and many other vices backfire. Be true to your real self and celebrate!”

“Many enjoy revenge and returning a punch to someone who have hurt them before. Don’t be like them. Pray for them! Be slow to anger and if you do lose your temper, be quick to being yourself again.”

“As Allen once said, “Self control is strength, right thought is mastery, calmness is power.”

“Listen, test, and be a leader who fears the lessons and teachings of God.”

“Life is always about others not yourself or me. Life is about loving God and doing what is best for your family.”

“Students, you need the following to win in life: 1) God; 2) Courage; 3) Skillsets.”

“Before making any major life decisions, you need to pray and fast. You are to never let anyone chose your life path for you. Understood?”

“The path to success is clear: We must read voraciously.”

“Life is about God not us. I must become less so God is more and so should you.”

“Smile. Being grumpy won’t take you anywhere.”

“In life, you can’t compromise quality and/or bargain your way into what makes you exceptional.”

“We are called to love God and not use our mouths for evil or our tongues for deceit. We are to edify our parents and do what is right in God’s eyes. We need to be gracious to God and for everything that He has given us. God will last but not man. Whatever you do, do it for God.

“Seek love and avoid contention.”

“True talent is like a speedy Audi. Trying to stop them is futile!”

“If something appears to be, it usually is.” “Between zero and fifty thousand, money matters for a person. between fifty-five thousand and 100 million, money doesn’t matter as much as you may think.”

“Stay quiet and observe.” “Anger, slander, malice, arrogance…everything that is evil along with hate comes from the enemy. We need to be the salt of the world and act like it. Flee from hateful behaviors and welcome love in your life.”

“We are all good at something. Some of us are fine engineers, others are good with numbers, some are excellent speakers or nurses and a few are indeed awesome photographers or graphic designers. One of our main goals in life is to find out what is that “something” that we are great at so that we can glorify God all the days of our lives with it.”

Quotes taken from Tidbits By Dr. A.

Strangers Into Friends, Friends Into Fans, And Fans Into Costumers

Strangers Into Friends, Friends Into Fans, And Fans Into Costumers

One of the goals of a good social media strategy is to transform strangers into friends, friends into fans, and fans into costumers not simply scrolling a news feed for entertainment sake. The idea behind using social media networks is to accomplish something worth pursuing, like building a solid network, in my opinion. The moment that we stop accomplishing a strategic goal on facebook, for example, our actions become what I like to call “Merely Scrolling Behavior Pattern” (MSBP) behaviors without any chance of long-term network building.

Social media networks are about building networks and exchanging information. Networks of friends, family, fans, customers and so on. Let’s not forget that one of the definitions of network is, “To interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.” When a subject is ‘merely scrolling’ on facebook without any goal in mind, these behavior patters don’t often accomplish much, other than perhaps giving a subject something to do while bored. These repetitive behaviors do little to help a social media network user a chance to exchange information with others and strengthen their network nodes. Information exchange is key if you want to build a solid network in any social media platform today and in the future.    

Some users simply engage in “MSBP” behaviors because it’s easy to do or because they may be bored, have you noticed that? We often see the former when a subject is waiting in line for a doctor’s appointment, when waiting in line in a grocery store, or at night before going to sleep.  By the way, it is okay to be bored sometimes, at least this is what a research article published in the journal of experimental social psychology has claimed. It seems right to me. Pay attention to “MSRP” behaviors and don’t forget to engage with your audience.  

So, next time that you go to facebook, take some time to exchange a line or two with your followers in there. You will be amazed by how a few nice and sincere words can go a long way in the process of transforming strangers into friends, friends into fans, and fans into costumers. Jeremy Owyang once said, “Social networks represent the digital reflection of what humans do; we connect and share.”

Let’s do the former, indeed! Let’s keep connecting and sharing, not simply engaging in “Merely Scrolling Behavior Patterns” (MSBP) without any chance of network building. We use technologies for a very specific reason. What is your reason for using social media networks? Mine is to connect and share. Your turn.

We Are Either A Member Of ‘The Few’ Or ‘The Masses’

We Are Either A Member Of ‘The Few’ Or ‘The Masses’

Some like to label themselves as either a republican or a democrat, right or left wing, conservative or liberal… the labels are many. How fascinating… I’m not sure if the former is the best way to categorize who we are in American society, though. I like to categorize Americans as either being a member of ‘The Few’ or ‘The Masses’. Let me explain.

If you find yourself lobbying for lower taxes, for the country to have policies that defend big businesses in a global context, and/or defend bank bailouts for self gain, you are probably “The Few” who belong to the top 5% of America or shall we say… the people who have the money to spend and the money to give. You have the capacity to lend capital for the state to operate. You know that the country can’t function without you. Politicians look for your support to help the country to operate and you gladly give them the funds (along with interest) in exchange for paying little to no taxes for your enterprises. The “Few” have the capacity to pass legislation protecting their interests… Reality.

If you don’t like to pay taxes (or if you are okay to paying some), but have have little to no wealth relative to the few (with rare exceptions), if you are a working class men or women or make a living with a small business… And want the state to give you free health care or public education or grants for your small business to function better or to send your kids to college for a discount price, you are likely to be a member of “The masses.” When the state is seeking funds to advance the country forward, “The masses” just don’t have it. “The Masses” need the state more than the 5% do in order to operate to capacity. Since the 1970’s, “The Masses” haven’t receive a proper wage increase. Tragic.

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I can understand our positions (who we are in society) a little better this way. How about you? By the way, I’m shocked by how much difference exists between “The Masses” and “The Few” today. It reminds me of Brazil of the 1980’s — The decade that wasn’t, where wild capitalism took precedence. Sad.

The following I find fascinating…

Michelle Obama and George W. Bush are friends, it seems. George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton are friends, I seems… At one point, even Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were friends. Why am I saying this? Well, because all of these families have one thing in common which isn’t their affiliation with a political party. They are all part of “The Few” or shall we say… the 5%, regardless of which political party they belong to.

In the United States, I belong to “The Masses.” I bet that most of you belong to this class, as well. At least I know where I stand. Do you know where you stand? Things sometimes aren’t what they seem, ladies and gentlemen. I’m a fan of living in reality, with much dignity, always glorifying God above anything.

Maybe we shouldn’t pretend as much and look at the facts to better understand our situations/positions in life. I wish we discussed these topics a bit more in higher education all across the country… we simply don’t. It’s my hope that we shall in the future. Hopefully.

 

 

 

 

Differences Between The North And The South: An Outsider’s View On Tradition

Differences Between The North And The South: An Outsider’s View On Tradition

In the north of the United States, more often than not, we deal with people without caring for their traditions and solve problems along with them. In the south, I’ve come to learn that the former is most often not the case, at least this is what I’ve seen. Both in Mississippi and Tennessee, I had to work with a local or/and influential person in the community in order to solve simple practical problems because I was not a local or shall I say, an American but not a Mississippian.” What I’m saying is that tradition reigns around here, ladies and gents. It’s just how the system operates.

Is it a bad thing? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, no. It’s cultural. It can, however, make some people’s lives… mine for example… much more complicated simply because I’m not a member of General Robert Lee’s family tree or another southern influencer from Alabama or good ole Georgia. I’m used to it now but the fact that my efforts alone sometimes aren’t enough to solve an urgent problem or get things done quickly irritates me a bit. Why, you may ask. This is why. Let me explain.

  1. When I need to call my “Southern mommy or daddy” to help me to solve some of my problems, I’m not as efficient or productive. I’m 45 not 15. In Mississippi, the former happened quite a lot. Thank Goodness that I had a supporting angel on my side to help me to navigate the southern system. Her name was Dr. Anthony, a kind and very nice lady in which I truly respect and appreciate. What she told me, I heard and did. I still remember the number of times that she helped me to fix my office phone, helped me with printing documents/computer problems, assisted me with political things, you name it. Of course I love Dr. Anthony… But Dr. Anthony is also a very busy person. I respected her time then and would respect her time now. Should I really have to stop one’s work in order to get my things done? I don’t think so.
  2. I believe in independent thinking. I mean… thinking for yourself and being able to share what you know and don’t know should be an accepted practice anywhere we go, regardless of the accepted cultural norms in the region, in my opinion. I know that in practice, the former isn’t realistic but as a romantic… I dream of a world where everyone can be the owners of their own destiny through Christ Jesus our Lord freely. I’ve seen that the former is easier to accomplish only if you are from the south around here.
  3. Even though I value hierarchy in my life, I’m not a big fan of controlling behavior or systems that operate under a controlled set of variables where the user is rarely involved in the design of their own systems of problem solving. As an expert in instructional systems, I look at ‘systems’ perhaps from a different perspective, more from a critical point of view than not. In New York, I was able to participate in events and influence a system for the better by literally getting involved in the community and building local trust. In the south, these same methods don’t apply as much as I thought they would be, regardless of attempt and tenure. I’ve waited almost three years to contribute to a number of systems who aren’t really interested in hearing from me, despite my sincere interest in them. I might need to change my last name to Sanders and perhaps become a colonel in order to not be controlled by others or be given a chance especially in small towns in central Tennessee.

I knew that the north and the south were different. What I didn’t predict was the amount of tradition that exists in the southern states. The former is then transferred to how business operate and how people communicate in their jobs, churches and at home. Holy cow! What a huge wake up call!

At least I know where I stand and how things operate around me now. Thank Goodness that my wife is a southerner. At least, they listen to her a little more than they listen to me. I’ve learn to leverage that overtime. Reality.

Wisdom Once Shared By Author CS Lewis…

Wisdom Once Shared By Author CS Lewis…

When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” The more I live in this world, the more God shows me that the former statement is in fact true.

God has been very gracious to me. Even though I don’t deserve the air that I breathe for falling short of the glory of God, The God of hosts has granted me all that I need in abundance under the sun.

When I left Brazil, I mean… the country, my circle of friends, family… I lost the blessings of the known, friends and family support. They were a blessing in themselves, I now realize. However, coming to the United States, to an unknown territory, without friends and family was also another blessing I wasn’t expecting. It’s amazing how God make things right overtime. Amazing.

I’m now bilingual, have as many friends as I once had in Brazil, my family is now near, and I got more education under my belt than I’ve ever thought possible. God provides, ladies and gents.

CS Lewis was right.

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”

Food for thought.

Treat Everyone The Same, Greet All Not Just Some

Treat Everyone The Same, Greet All Not Just Some

“My brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So treat everyone the same. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes. And suppose a poor man in dirty old clothes also comes in. Would you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes? Would you say, “Here’s a good seat for you”? Would you say to the poor man, “You stand there”? Or “Sit on the floor by my feet”? If you would, aren’t you treating some people better than others? Aren’t you like judges who have evil thoughts? My dear brothers and sisters, listen to me. Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor in the world’s eyes to be rich in faith? Hasn’t he chosen them to receive the kingdom? Hasn’t he promised it to those who love him? But you have disrespected poor people. Aren’t rich people taking advantage of you? Aren’t they dragging you into court? Aren’t they speaking evil things against the worthy name of Jesus? Remember, you belong to him.” (James 2 1:8). 

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18). You sin if you don’t treat everyone the same. 

And the bible goes on and on… “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). 

Treat everyone the same and always greet everybody in your vicinity not just some. This is what a mature Christian is supposed to do. Don’t be like the immature in Christ who is selective to whom he or she speaks with, especially in front of others. Purposefully ignoring some is a sin, ladies and gentleman, at least from a Christian worldview. In Titus 2:7 we learn, “In everything set an example by doing what is good.” So be it, brethren.

We do good when we do what God asks us to do. Remember: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Christians, this is our duty, not just mine or yours! “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).  

The word of God is clear. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be very careful with how you treat others. The Lord is watching all of us under the sun.

 

Challenges Will Head Your Way: Don’t Be Afraid

Challenges Will Head Your Way: Don’t Be Afraid

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.  Our goal in life is to follow God’s instruction and live in Him who grants us all the power, love and a mind to glorify Him and live the good life. Don’t be afraid! Rejoice, instead because the Lord is good.

Challenges will head your way in your adult life. Don’t be afraid. It just happens, you know? It happens to the best of us. It is normal and expected. It’s a part of live as many people would say.

In fact, it is statistically improbable that the alternative will prove to be right. We all face challenges in this world, in one way or another.

Perhaps, there are adults out there who don’t experience challenges in life for some reason. I just don’t know who they are…

This is what I’ve seen in my life.

If a person is wealthy, he can face challenges for being wealthy. Examples of stresses that a wealthy person face include losing money during a business downturn, the possibility of being kidnapped, or assassinated because of their positive financial position. Wealthy friends, don’t fear. God is with you, too. Just remember that.

If a person belongs to the middle class, she faces many challenges, as well. The poor can be jealous of those who aren’t poor which in itself can be challenging to anyone, especially for a middle class employee depending on her job to eat each month. This group of people face many additional challenges as an adult including the inability to pay lower taxes, affordable housing in some places, access to good dental services and health care at an affordable price, among many other ones. With God, there is no need to be afraid, ladies and gents.

If someone is poor, the struggle is for real and is constant. The poor struggles so much in this life. The poor is often stuck in their situation and are the ones who often suffer the most in their adult life. The challenges that they experience are so many! I would say that we have the duty to help them in any capacity we can as members of the body of Christ. Poor people are God’s favorite if they belong to the body of Christ, which many do. Brothers and sisters in the lower cast, God loves you, as well. Stay firm in the faith and don’t fear…

God is good… all the time. From east to west, north to south, black and white or in colors… the Lord is with us forever.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalms 46 1:3).

Never forget that.

Not Doing Anything Makes Good People Guilty

Not Doing Anything Makes Good People Guilty

There is no reason or excuse for anybody to allow racism to occur in any corporation, whether or not, a person claims to be For it or against it. In my book, when a person who claims to be against racism doesn’t do anything about it when an opportunity arises, he or she is guilty of being complacent, perhaps a racist him or herself.

I know a couple of people who fit this description precisely. They are all very nice, pleasant, and quite polite and on the surface, they are against racism. They are vocal about their views on racism and good people overall. However, when the time arises for them to really step up and do something about the issue, they just don’t. The bail out always finding an excuse for doing so. Many times, ironically, they align themselves with the same people who are racists themselves in order to gain more respect among them.

It’s a tragic reality that I’ve seen under the sun… in multiple states, under different circumstances, regardless of gender. Ladies and gentleman, racism in this country may be better than it was in the 60’s but it is still alive and well. It’s just displayed in a different form… it’s more subtle. To quote a former colleague of mine, “The KKK now wears a suit and a tie”

Not doing anything (about racism, for example) makes good people guilty of inaction. It’s a tragedy that perhaps will never cease to exist. I must say that I would rather talk with a racist heads on than speak with someone who pretends to be against racism but are de facto a racist in disguise him or herself.

Do you know people like these? I most definitely do. They are everywhere, I must add.

Do My Students Know Ben Hogan?

Do My Students Know Ben Hogan?

I will be teaching two golf classes this semester — Beginning and intermediate golf. Have my students heard of the great Ben Hogan, I wonder? Considering that Ben would have been 107 this year, I have my doubts despite of Mr. Hogan’s extraordinary accomplishments in the sport. One thing is for sure. Students in one of the classes will be reading the book, “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.” The reason why they are going read Hogan’s classic is due to the value that this book brings to novice golfers. And of course… they will read the book to get to know who Ben Hogan was, if they have never heard of him.

Let me start with this. I was trained in “Ben Hogan Golf” since the age of 11. My dad was a Ben Hogan fan as well as my golf teacher. Although his teachings are now “old school” to some and “modern” to others… I argue that his teachings are timeless. The Grip, stance and posture, and the parts of the swing (1 and 2) are simply brilliant. If my daughter was interested in competitive golf, she would receive training in “Ben Hogan Golf,” I must tell you. You can’t go wrong by listening to Ben Hogan, I say.

Kids these days think that golf is Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka or Justin Rose. Well, it is, of course… but let’s not forget that most (if not all) of competitive golfers today were trained in “Ben Hogan Golf,” or his principles. I must admit that it will be a good feeling to talk about Hogan to a kid who asks the question, “Why are we using this book for our golf class?”

I’m a big traditional kind of guy… Old school golfer. After hitting more than 2 million golf balls in the driving range alone and a number of open tournaments won under my belt, I think I’ve earned the right to talk Ben Hogan the way I want [Laughs].

Kids, be ready. You will learn golf this semester. The old way… Or shall we say, modern golf.

 

 

Work More, Eat More… Work Less, Eat Less

Work More, Eat More… Work Less, Eat Less

Work more, eat more… work less, eat less. I heard this former quote from a Chinese American speaker in an opening semester ceremony keynote this month. I must admit that I loved his speech as much as I liked the quote itself because of what the quote represented to me. Every time that I hear about the need to be hard working in the work force, I get excited.

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NIV).

God teaches us to work to eat!

The moment that we stop working more, at least in theory, we start getting less. In addition to the former, there are a number of other benefits for working hard, other than eating more, though. Working hard provides opportunities for employees to learn, reason and engage in social events. A healthy person should eat well, keep on learning new skillsets and aptitudes, think critically about life events and attend social gatherings.

Throughout my career, I’ve worked a lot. I’ve ate a lot too! Thanks be to God. In a period of ten years, I strived to gain new skillsets, art skills for example, which has given me the opportunity to critically think about how art is related to the social sciences and vice-versa. Learning the intersect between the arts and the sciences has been instrumental in my professional life.

I’ve ate great formal meals relating to the former! In fact, it has helped me to gain access to exclusive meetings in three states. All because I decided to work more not less.

My advice: Be ready to work and strive to be better in everything you do. Working hard is a must, I say. In addition to eating more, working hard will make you think about life in a total new way, as a bonus.

You will live life to the fullest.

What I’ve Learned From The Jewish Community That School Didn’t Teach Me

What I’ve Learned From The Jewish Community That School Didn’t Teach Me

As some of you may know, I’m Luis Camillo Almeida, AKA Dr. A, a college professor who completed three college degrees from American universities, including a PhD from Penn State. My bachelors and masters degrees were achieved at two small state schools in Western Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock and Clarion University. I was taught how to write better, speak a bit better, the basic concepts of management and how to conduct research, among other topics relating to the practicalities of academic life in graduate school.

Although I’ve learned a number of important communication and education concepts in school, what I’ve been learning from the Jewish community since the completion of my PhD has been stunning. Deep lessons from the bible, the rules of marketing and strategies to find a niche, along with lessons on power, war and seduction with a touch of intellectualism… I attribute the former to the Hebrew bible, Seth Godin, Robert Greene, Richard Wolff, Noam Chomsky, and Gary VaynerChuck.

Nowhere, during my ten years of academic training, I’ve learned what I am going to write for you in this blog post. As a matter of fact, I would strongly recommend that you read this one and share it with your friends because chances are you probably never heard all of these concepts either. Sooner or later, you will need them.

Do me a favor: Stop using your social media accounts for a bit. Don’t let your smartphone rob you from the knowledge that you should have. You deserve better.

I warn you that most of the content that you are going to read in here comes from Jewish influencers and literature which in itself can make this article quite interesting and unorthodox. Last remark: I will share with you a number of lessons (knowledge, too) that I’ve not learned while in school, from Jewish leaders, but not everything. There is way too much to share, actually!

Here we go.

  1. The bible book of Ecclesiastes is a book that helps people to find their purpose in life, wisdom for everyday living, and how to deal with the bottom of the bottom of life circumstances.  It also presents the argument that money for money sake is an empty human pursuit, its vanity.  It also discusses the consequences of knowing too much and the sorrow that follows it. This bible book talks about the inevitability of death, the oppression and evil of men, business failures and more. It also talks about the chance for somebody to be wealthy and that wealth doesn’t always goes to those who have the brains. We learn in this book that we often receive bad for generosity and that above all, we should live a life that we want because our days are short on earth. Jewish wisdom from jewish literature.
  2. “Quitting is not the same as failing; The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing; Marketing doesn’t have to be selfish; People like us do things like this; Attention is a precious resource because our brains are cluttered with noise; Culture beats strategy; If you want to make change, begin by making culture; The smallest viable market concept; I’m not rational and neither are you; Seek the purple cow; Start with empathy to see the real need; Everyone is lonely, insecure, and a bit of a fraud; Early adopters aren’t adapters; You have to be the only option on the market; Don’t make average stuff to average people; Be a linchpin!  Emotional labor is worth the pursuit; Nobody needs your product, they may want it; If you want to be independent, you probably need your own assets, or a reputation.”  Jewish lessons from Seth Godin.
  3. Never put too much trust in friends; Never outshine the master; Court attention at all costs; Avoid the unhappy and unlucky; Use absence to increase respect and honor; Re-create yourself; Master the art of timing; Never appear too perfect; Assume formlessness; Turn the tables when required; Know your enemy; Negotiate while advancing; Take the line of least expectation sometimes; A man is often secretly oppressed by the role he has to play; Charm is seduction without sex; Anti-seducers are insecure, self-absorbed, and unable to absorb the psychology of another person; Send mixed signals sometimes; Doing something that people don’t expect creates a sense of suspense about your next move; Lofty words of love and grand gestures can be suspicious; An isolated person is weak; The greatest mistake in seduction is being too nice. Lessons from Robert Greene, a Jewish writer. 
  4. Inequality can be defined as when the powerful can buy their way in into the elite positions and/or organizations; Workers’ wages have been flat for nearly 40 years because the system of capitalism is faulty; A small number of corporate board members dictate the fate of millions of workers in American corporations not their production output; The national bureau of economic research is where we find out whether an economy is performing to standards not the media; It is never wise to only look at unemployment rate as a measure of economic development and advancement. When calculating U-6 numbers, the real “unemployment” of the USA in 2019 is 21%. Capitalism isn’t as different as the feudal system of the middle ages; There has been at least 11 recessions since the great depression making the capitalist system very unstable historically. Knowledge learned from Richard Wolff, a Jewish born marxist economist.     
  5. Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state; Education is a system of imposed ignorance; The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion; If you quietly accept and go along no matter what your feelings are, ultimately you internalize what you’re saying, because it’s too hard to believe one thing and say another; You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption; History shows that, more often than not, loss of sovereignty leads to liberalization imposed in the interests of the powerful; Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media; We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas; How it is we have so much information, but know so little; Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.  Jewish lessons from Noam Chomsky. 
  6. Distribution has been commoditized; We must create social media content at scale because it is free; Kids struggle in life because they lack perspective; Work hard and long hours. Don’t expect to build any business quickly. Give yourself 10 years; Attention is a currency today; Effort is grossly underrated; It’s easy to dream about it, but much harder to execute it; Brand storytelling is not about pushing advertising, it’s about bringing value; The best marketing strategy ever: care; If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist in our society today; Content is king but context is god; Recognize that you have a much bigger chance and a better opportunity than your parents did to build a business around your passion and don’t take that for granted. Give value. Give value, Give value. And then ask for business. Being born wealthy is a handicap.  Lessons learned from Jewish entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck.

Did you learn something that you didn’t know? Man, I must admit that I know so little in this world, despite the fact that society labels me as an expert in my field of practice.  Although I’ve learned a number of important communication and education concepts in school, what I’ve been learning from the Jewish community since the completion of my PhD has been stunning.

Deep lessons from the bible, the rules of marketing and strategies to find a niche, along with lessons on power, war and seduction with a touch of intellectualism… I attribute the former to the Hebrew bible, Seth Godin, Robert Greene, Richard Wolff, Noam Chomsky, and Gary VaynerChuck.

We can learn much from minorities in America. What the Jewish community shares is clearly an example of that. Jews only represent 1.4% of the population in the United States. Stunning.

Hope you enjoyed the content of this post as much as I do. Cheers.

There Will Be A “Wall” And Mexican Workers Will Pay For It

There Will Be A “Wall” And Mexican Workers Will Pay For It

There will be a “wall” to protect the US/Mexico border against illegal immigration and Mexican workers will pay for it. Mexican workers? Yep. Let me explain…

Mexican workers, working for American corporations in Mexico, will help generate enough profit for American companies to invest in corporate research and development which in turn will help those corporations to create the very best automated systems our capitalist system has ever seen! Systems that will literally automate a large number of mundane jobs which will eventually decrease the demand for cheap labor in America.

Illegal immigrants, or any type of immigrant for that matter, immigrate to the United States because of opportunity. If opportunity is very scarce due to high levels of automation, why would anyone come here? There wouldn’t be a need, right?

It’s a profit game! By doing the former, American corporations would solve the problem of illegal immigration by creating a “virtual wall” between the countries through technology yet increasing profit gains. It’s a win-win situation for big companies, if you think about it. It’s bad business for workers including illegals.

Automation, I suspect, will be the “wall” between Mexico and  the United States. For many years, illegal immigration policies have served as a subsidy for big corporations in this country. No wonder why our borders are more open than they should. Advances in technology, automation specifically, will change that, I bet.

Through a capitalist system operating logic, we can deduce that if a company can replace an employee (illegal ones, for example) with a machine and still increase profit margins, cheap labor then becomes irrelevant to the corporation’s operation. We can also deduce that a slow rate of government deregulation and a shy corporate automation adoption cycle will likely result in an operation to be moved overseas (not necessarily to China) in order for big businesses to save in labor costs enhancing their chances to make a big profit before automation is fully implemented.

Either way, the American worker… immigrant or not, loses job security in the end. Illegal workers will quickly realize that there is de facto a “wall” between Mexico and the US, and will stop migrating to our country. Think about it.

Here is the irony, though.  Illegal immigrants may be a big problem for many. They don’t pay federal income taxes but they surely pay sales and help landlords to pay their own share of property taxes. Let’s not forget that companies paying employees under the table don’t have to pay for social security, either.

What makes America a country with a future is partly due to its rate of demographic growth which immigration helps with it quite a lot. Countries with an immigration problem, like Russia for example, will find themselves in trouble over time. How can a country sustain itself without people of working age? Aging populations are expensive and unproductive.

This generation of Mexicans will pay for the “wall” that will exist between Mexico and us, I think. Trump is a businessman, remember that… It’s a profit game! For many years, immigration has served as a subsidy for big corporations in this country in order to keep their prices low and therefore be able to compete globally with other countries.

The “wall” is coming soon, ladies and gents. I think I see it coming already.

 

Don’t Just Say It, Show it

Don’t Just Say It, Show it

It is better to show what you can do than to say you have a skill. Alexander the Great didn’t became the greatest military leader of all time by saying that he had leadership skills. He had the largest empire in history because he showed what we could do which happened to be great leadership.

I’m stunned by the number of people who claim to have a skill but when we investigate a bit further, much substance is missing in the skills that they claim they have.  Those who have skills just show them, I came to learn in my life.

The following people, as long as I can remember, have always shown what they can do rather than just say what they are. It is not surprising that they are (or have been) President of companies, the most well respected and accomplished golfer in the history of Brazil, creativity expert extraordinaire, respected pastor, the longest chair in the history of IUP, and so on. They are in order: My dad Alfredo, Mario Gonzalez, Michael Michalko, Jeff Smead, and Kurt Dudt.

Mario Gonzalez, who happened to have passed yesterday, have always shown what he could do with a golf club. I’ve never witnessed he saying that he had golf skills. If you knew Mario, you knew he had them. It was pretty obvious. He was a man of few words, like my dad. Kurt was the same way. He never claimed to know how to lead people in academic settings but he knew he had leadership skills. I’m not aware of anyone as creative as Michael Michalko. In all my email interactions with him, he has always been a gentleman, clever and willing to share what he knew.

Nowhere in our conversations did Michael stated that he was a creativity guru. We of course knew he was by the way he communicated. The world is full of examples of outstanding people. The vast majority of these outstanding men didn’t say they were excellent in what they did. They simply showed us.

It is better to show what you can do than to say you have a skill. Alexander the Great didn’t became the greatest military leader of all time by saying that he had leadership skills. Sun Tzu didn’t become who he was by saying he knew the art of war. He demonstrated or shall we say — Showed it to us.

Don’t Just Say It, Show it, I say.

 

You Need To Live Where You Want To Retire

You Need To Live Where You Want To Retire

A close friend of mine, now deceased, used to say, “You need to live where you want to retire” because life is short and the cost of transferring what you have built in a career is too costly, especially your business social capital and close friendships.

As I’m embarking on my 12th year as a full-time college professor, I’m starting to think critically about what Kurt once told me in the beginning of my career as an academic.

Where am I going to be in 2020? I’m not sure, to be honest.

I’ve worked long hours to make my classes better and serve the university and the community to the best capacity I could. There were many challenges I must say but nothing much different from other places I’ve worked at.

My social capital building has increased but not to the degree I’ve planned. In fact, I’m surprised by how difficult infiltrating my local community is which seems to be an unfair career challenge, as far as I’m concerned. I do most of the labor and get very little in return. I wonder why.

I’ve been known for being a charismatic leader who builds many allegiances and close relationships quickly but not here. I still feel like an outsider right now which is a feeling that I often don’t experience.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of “I like you but it seems that you don’t like me as much kind of feeling in return?” That’s how I feel, sometimes. I want to live in a place where respect and appreciation is reciprocal. Lack thereof is a major violation of two of my life principles — Fairness and respect.

I’m hopeful for a change. In order for us to live here forever, this town must be a place where we see ourselves retiring in. I hope things change, we shall see. I will try my best, of course. Our future is in God’s hands anyways. We shall see.

The Maverick With No Chips Was Born Dead

The Maverick With No Chips Was Born Dead

Mavericks, the kind of people we admire for being unorthodox, who think independently and often challenge society’s status quo… need to have enough “chips” in order to live their maverick lifestyle. It’s not possible to deviate from societal or workforce norms without having something of value to trade, I say.

Mavericks like Mel Gibson, Donald Trump, and Elon Musk can be eccentric and celebrated because they had something to trade when they were young. Mel Gibson probably got notoriety at a very early age because of Huttton Gibson, Jeopardy’s grand champion who happened to be his dad. Mel is also the grandson of Eva Mylott, a well known Australian contralto opera singer. I bet that Mr. Gibson was able to trade these “chips” in order to display his maverick personality early on in his life. Today, he is very wealthy making his fortune his “chips” in order to maintain his maverick personality.

Donald Trump is definitely a maverick in addition to being the president of the United States. Mr. Trump had “chips” to trade from a very early age, as well. Donald is the son of Frederick Trump, a well known real estate developer in New York and socialite Mary Trump. Our president comes from money… a lot of it. Today, he seems to have as much which allows him to behave the way he does, like a maverick.

Elon Musk had “chips” to play from a very early age too. He is the son of Maye Musk, a well known South African model and dietician who has been featured in the cover of Elle, and appeared nude for New York and Time magazines. On Maye’s own words, “I was famous until Elon became famous.  Today, Elon can smoke pot publicly and be seen by many as a unique genius. Go figure, Elon is worth 20.6 billion dollars. 

There are countless examples of people who follow these same recognizable patterns. Perhaps, “maverickness” isn’t for everybody, even if you have the personality for it. We already found out that being an entrepreneur has more to do with “chips” than risk taking, thank God. It’s a bit easier to be a nonconformist when basic needs are met, along with public notoriety at an early age.

The opposite is also true, ladies and gents. The maverick with no chips was born dead. I doubt that a “chipless” maverick will ever go anywhere with her beliefs and aspirations. In fact, I bet that “chipless” people wanting to be unconventional eventually loses the little that they have. Be careful “Chipless” mavericks out there.

Rebels, be aware. Your free spirit may be a handicap after all. If you want to play this game, work on getting “chips” first but never forget that the house always wins. Think about it.

 

 

 

Ten Years Is An Important Career Mark For You

Ten Years Is An Important Career Mark For You

Ten years is an important career mark for you that is likely to put your brand on demand. Of course that the former assumes that you have evolved as a professional and kept current with your field’s trends during this period.

Eleven years ago, I knew very little about the field of communication or the art of teaching. I thought I knew though… I was wrong, inexperienced, and to a degree quite delusional. Thinking back, I think I simply didn’t know the difference between good and great as it came to workforce expectations and how much people value those who “know their stuff.”

Eleven years later, I believe that things have changed drastically for the better for me. Reasonable people respect me and the invitations to join exclusive clubs have increased exponentially lately. I’m still shocked that the board of the Cleveland Media Association voted me to serve as its President next year. It’s unreal, I must admit especially for a person with little history in our town.

I’m also shocked by how many people approaches me for professional advice, especially grown up men in their 40’s and 50’s. There are some who even think I could work or partner with them in a job or a venture in Chattanooga! I’m flattered by the former, of course. Is this for real?

It is, apparently.

I attribute these events to the simple fact that we do get better overtime in whatever we do, especially when we cross the ten years of experience mark. Ten years is an important career mark for you and for me. I wonder what will happen in twenty years or twenty one. You near retired people, share with us.

My conclusion: Perhaps, if you do your work hard enough and long enough in anything that God wants you to work in, eventually you are going to win the war in your field of expertise, even if you lose some battles in the process.  After eleven years of hard work in higher education, i.e., studying hundreds of thousands of hours in professional development and applying what I’ve learned, things are finally heading my way in ways that I can’t even understand.

Fact.

 

 

Be Patient. Much Good Comes Out Of The Virtue Of Patience

Be Patient. Much Good Comes Out Of The Virtue Of Patience

Be patient. Much good comes out of the virtue of patience… and much “not so good” comes out of the lack of thereof. Reflecting back in my own life, I can count numerous occasions where being patient paid off big. Some of these occasions include: Becoming a scratch golfer, graduating from high school, college, graduate school… getting tenure for the first time, finding the right wife, the list goes on and on. Patience was key in obtaining all of these milestones. Hope in God was also key.

I was able to surrender to God’s timing and control, through prayer, in order to achieve the former blessings. In my mind I thought, “If it is God’s will… I surrender my wishes to you.” Guess what? Through my hope in God and by surrendering my wishes to His, things worked out in His own time like graduating high school at age 20 and college at 28 but having a PhD by 34.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope” (Palm 130:5). 

On the other hand, being impatient has contributed to many of my life’s pitfalls including losing a number of golf tournaments that I should have won, losing my university tenure, and almost giving up my career in higher education at one time. As I reflect on this topic, I admit that my inability to wait on God’s timing in some circunstances has caused much strife to my family, in a number of areas, over the years. How tragic!

I sometimes forget that God doesn’t operate under my wishes but His wishes. It’s worthwhile waiting and seeking God’s favor in His own time, always. Remember, “No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4). 

It’s weird. I’m patient with others much more than I’m patient with me. However, this is changing rapidly as I’m seeing that when we put our hopes in the promises of God, we do right according to God’s will, our faith increases and much strength is gained. No wonder…

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like the eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). 

I need to cultivate my patience as much as you. It is a fruit of the spirit that must be practiced by all of us all the time. Be patient. Much good comes out of the virtue of patience. Remember: Patience produces character.

It’s Impossible For Parents To Not Be Proud of Their Kid’s Accomplishments

It’s Impossible For Parents To Not Be Proud of Their Kid’s Accomplishments

There are exceptions to this rule but it’s rare. If you love your kid (or kids), you will be proud of their accomplishments and be emotional about them especially when others give them recognition. It’s impossible for my dad and mom to not be proud of this clip below or this report right here. I bet that them both have told others that I got a PhD from public Ivy, Penn State. They are human. It’s normal.

Why do I know that? Because we were all tiny once and dependent on them. They raised us to be big things in life. It’s the dream and joy of any parent. When kids accomplish great things in life, they can brag about it when they are old to others. They dream of having their kids accomplishing big things and live better than they did.

I like to call the former, “Children Exceptionalism.” The idea that your kids should always live better that you. I’m in total agreement with this philosophy.

The clip below is extraordinary. It is better than Bon Jovi’s, “Bed of Roses,” in many ways.  I don’t say this very often about cover of well known artists, especially Bon Jovi. Nobody should be a mile better than Bon Jovi in music!

Witnessing accomplished artists literally displaying the feeling of, “I’m blown away by your talent,” will make any parent emotional. This kid’s parent and family members were obviously emotional. Question: How you would feel if you were this kid’s dad? Emotional, I bet.

So, I’m now emotional every time anyone says something great about Sophia. She is only 6 years old. I hear, “Sophia is so cute,” “Sophia is so photogenic,” “Sophia is adorable,” “Sophia is intelligent,” Sophia this, Sophia that. For obvious reasons, I’m emotional about it. I operate under the children exceptionalism rule. I dream big for Sophia so that she can dream bigger for herself.

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It’s impossible for parents to not be proud of their kid’s accomplishments. We might as well embrace this fact and wish the best for our kids no matter the size of that accomplishment. You will be emotional when someone tells you that your kid has an amazing talent for sports, is cute, or both. It’s normal! Remember, you are human. Do you believe in “Children Exceptionalism?”

Elitism Exists In The USA More Than People Want To Admit

Elitism Exists In The USA More Than People Want To Admit

I’m realizing that the United States is as elitist as Brazil, with the exception that in here, many seem to deny that class favoritism exists based on the pretext that we live in a democracy fueled by meritocracy.

Class favoritism exists in America. I’m convinced. I can identify a number of variables that can be argued to be required elements of a “healthy elitism” including higher education and club affiliation ease of access, local clicks and selective gatherings, as well as media preference to some people based on how much power and family name they have.

A recent sad event but very relevant event relating to the thesis of this article has strengthened my belief that elitism is alive and well in America. A few months back, I’ve witnessed what I call “blatant elitism” in my community. The daughter of a regional influential leader was diagnosed with leukemia which by itself is a tragedy.

To my surprise, many people in town went ballistic about this event as if the pope has died unexpectedly in a car accident. People were obsessed when they herd about this sad event and started saying, “What a tragedy that happened to her daughter… we need to pray for her.” Dedicated prayers in local organizations were conducted, the news got into the bandwagon and started a fundraising for her child.  

I was confused for a good while, I admit. How can this person get so much attention so quickly from everybody with such intense rate and frequency? I thought to myself. This person’s family must be a part of the elite. I was right. Maybe elitism exists in the USA more than people want to admit.

Facts: Cancer patients are twice more likely to declare bankruptcy, Cancer can ruin a person’s finances, Donations are key in assisting families to pay for cancer treatment. 

I wonder if the son of a truck driver making 29K a year would have the same opportunity for awareness and fundraising as his wealthier counterpart? I doubt, even though he would need much more help with fundraising than elite families. Our society seems to ignore the needs of the poor and the expense of protecting the pockets of the wealthy, it seems. By the way, it costs an average of $59,899 dollars to treat leukemia in children in this country, along with $3,452 in maintenance costs. Which can low income families afford such medial bill expenses?

My conclusion: Elitism happens in America. It’s all that I’m saying. I think that our societal obsession with equality has made many blind to the obvious class favoritism  that we have in this country. To me, elitism is alive and well, even though many deny that it exists in our nation.

Do you agree or disagree with this provocative thesis?

Qualities Of A Great Leader

Qualities Of A Great Leader

Leadership is action not position, as Maxwell once said. You can be a great “leader” simply by acting like one. Great leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders do best — to lead and solve problems. A great leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when the topic is influence. They also understand that compensation is a consequence of great and consistent work done overtime. When given administrative support, great leaders never delegate tasks that they can’t complete themselves. Before I go any further, let me summarize what I just told you so that you never forget…

Just because an individual is placed in a position of leadership doesn’t automatically turn him Or her into a “great leader”. Authority is part of leadership but leadership that works isn’t always authoritative.

A great leader doesn’t need to scream at others in order to have his or her voice heard. The following are three traits that leaders should have in order to have influence over others.  

1. Be a man (or woman) of integrity: If a leader says that he/she is going to do something, do it. It is plain and simple. DO NOT gossip about anyone. If a work relationship isn’t working, don’t pretend that it is. Always tell the truth. Just because a person is given the title of a Manager, Director, VP, or Trustee doesn’t mean that they are a leader per se. Popularity isn’t synonymous with leadership. Although a great leader knows how to communicate with constituents, and can be charismatic, he knows that popularity by itself won’t make anyone into a great leader. In fact, pretending that popularity and charisma equals great leadership can be quite destructive overtime. Jim Collins, in his best selling book, “From Good to Great” talks about the former in great detail. I recommend you to start reading his book today, if you can. It is a great resource to have without a doubt if your goal is to be a great leader.

2. Be loyal to your company’s brand: As long as your company is writing you a paycheck every month, be loyal to them. Here are my ways to show loyalty to the universities I’ve worked for: First, I share posts on social media about their events, accomplishments, recruiting efforts… for thousands of people to see. It shows them that I care about them — which I do. Second, I immediately buy a school’s t-shirt, take photos with it, and make sure that my colleagues, family and friends see me wearing the t-shirt in public and in social media. Lastly, be yourself and be creative. You only live once so you might as well have fun in the process and do what you like.

3. Do the work yourself with the assistance of others: The moment that you need others to do your work, its time for you to retire or look for another career. Great leaders work very hard and often work alone with the input of others in order to complete challenging tasks. If your plan is to be a great leader, do the former. Caution: It is impossible to do everything as a leader no matter where you work at. Listen to your team, put your ego aside and make well thought out decisions taking into account the opinion of others. The former builds trust and leadership clout. You are going to need both in order to be a great leader.

Leadership is action not position. You can be a quite influential “leader” simply by acting like one. Leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders should do best — to lead and solve problems. A true leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when dealing with influence. In this article, we spoke a bit about great leadership. Hope that the content written in this article was useful to you. What is great leadership to you?

A Chat About The Nikon P900 Camera

The Nikon P900 is a cool camera that I don’t plan to return to Best Buy anytime soon. The camera’s versatility and weight, it’s monster zoom range, and it’s capacity to produce pretty cool street photography shots makes me a fan of this piece of technology. I’m not saying, however, that this camera is a perfect fit for everybody or that you can get tack sharp photographs with this point and shoot camera. The camera is good for what it’s wort, I must add. .

It’s nice to go for a trip with only one camera bag, camera body and lens (with a 24-2000mm range), battery, and charger. The camera is light and allows photographers to hold the camera body steady even at 600 focal length without being tired in the process. What a treat!

This camera has a monster 2000mm range and it’s awesome. You can take a photo of the moon, It’s a fact. I recommend using a tripod for best results. The camera was introduced in 2015 but for the price, you can still do a lot with it even today in 2019. It’s street photography photo output is stellar.

Taking photos of moving objects can be pretty challenging with the P900. Since the camera is a point and shoot possessing a small digital sensor, image quality isn’t as sharp as a regular DSLR but advanced photo post-production can make P900 photographs look awesome to many.

The camera buffer is slow as well as the optical zoom. There is no raw photo option and the viewfinder is C grade. The auto functions of this camera are pretty good in the majority of settings. I’ve found the 1080 HD video to look really sharp and colorful.

Overall, the Nikon P900’s is a camera you may want to play with. I won’t return this one, as most of the shoots I do are for clothing photography making, digital art. You can do a lot with this camera, including getting photos that you otherwise won’t be able to get under normal conditions. It’s a cool tool to own it but just realize that image quality (tack sharp) isn’t always attainable with this camera. Nevertheess, Its worth buying, in my opinion.

I’m On My Way To Running a Half Marathon

I’m On My Way To Running a Half Marathon

Instead of spending countless hours on a smartphone or my laptop, I made the decision to train my body to endure a half marathon race next year. I must admit that setting this goal came as a surprise to me but at 45… I’m starting to realize that our health is much more important than many people may think it is.

Right now, I can walk and run a 5K without a problem but I’m far from running a 21K without passing out in the process. As the proverb says… “If there is a will, there is a way.” By allocating time to exercising instead of looking at Facebook at hours on end, I think that any healthy individual should have the capacity to running a half marathon.

I will try, that’s for sure. I’m on my way to running a half marathon. Wish me luck!

Play Live Nation On It’s Way To Greatness

Play Live Nation On It’s Way To Greatness

Traditional malls are dying especially if they are located in small towns. Foot traffic has decreased exponentially in shopping centers, anchor stores have gone bankrupt, Black Friday is now being replaced by Cyber Morning.

The world of retail has changed, ladies and gentleman. In the glorious days of “the malls,” managers focused on bringing fashion to the malls in order to attract a large number of housewives with spending dollars eager to acquire the latest and most luxurious piece of clothing (or shoe, bag…) they could afford.

Women today work as much as man and aren’t going to the mall to buy the latest fashion either. Some still do but places like amazon.com has made the “shopping scene” less attractive for many, I’ve observed.

So, if this is true… what is the future of the malls? It’s in entertainment offerings I think. The malls of the future will be repurposed to incorporate adult and kids activities with a variety of food court options. Places like “Play Live Nation” will be a hit all over the country.

They are a competitive video game store where kids can play video games and eat snacks for hours on end in the mall. What a great idea, I must add.

We are going to see much more of that.

Traditional malls are maybe dying but they will not die completely. They will evolve like anything else. We may shop for clothes on Cyber Monday but Black Friday will be filled with kids engaging in activities in the mall, especially if the event falls on the weekend.

Having fashion malls is a thing if the past. The malls of the present will be places where people will be engaging in activities, like eating, playing video games, or riding a red dragon scooter in the mall with your kids. The world has changed. We better get used to it.

Play Live Nation is in its way to greatness.

6 People Management Tactics to Lead a Diverse Team to Success

6 People Management Tactics to Lead a Diverse Team to Success

There is a wide body of evidence indicating that diverse teams perform better than homogeneous ones. Diverse teams in your organization will too.

Leading a diverse team is an art that can be learned. It does take some time to bring everybody on board for a vision but having good people management skills can accelerate the process considerably.

It’s in the leader’s best interest to have its team working to capacity and moving in the same direction in order to get things done effectively and efficiently.

In this article, I will share with you why working with diverse teams can be challenging and how to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal.

Why Is It Hard to Lead a Diverse Team?

Unfamiliarity with shared governance principles

It is very difficult for a leader to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal without taking a shared governance approach. The principles of equity, partnership, accountability and ownership must be applied and embraced in order for the diverse team to operate to capacity and have “buy in.”

Equity, or the understructure and mensuration of value states that no role is in essence more important than any other. Partnership is paramount in relationship building and serves as the justification for involving diverse team members in decision making.

Allowing for evaluation of role performance between and among the members of the team is key in the process along with ownership structures that allow for the acceptance, contribution and recognition by all parties involved. Diverse teams are diverse in nature and expect the former in order to operate to capacity.

“The whole is more important than the sum of the parts.” Leaders must understand that no living system, like a corporate unit or any other unit, can function to capacity — or “go for the same goal” if its parts aren’t operating in harmony. Lack of systemic thinking will eventually result in entropy.

Leading diverse teams to be “on the same page” is challenging because leaders working with a “homogeneous” mindset are rarely equipped with the former concepts presented in this section. Stakeholder participation is key.

Little diversity understanding

Diversity means variety and/or a range of different things. Leading a diverse team to reach the same organizational goal can be challenging because leaders may not know what this “variety” and “range of different things” actually are.

Let’s start with the obvious. If a team is composed of ten white males, one female and no Latino males/ females, ethnic variety is lacking in the unit. A leader’s failing to understand that the former is a problem, as well as the fact that the ratio of employees within his or her unit is unbalanced — there are too many while males in proportion to everybody else — can and probably will have long-term consequences relating to “goal buy in,” especially if the unit’s leader isn’t sensitive to group diversity.

To make things more complicated, diversity of gender and thinking are real challenges that the leader may face for lacking adequate understanding of diversity. In the popular book, “Men are from Mars and Women Are from Venus ”, some of us have learned that we (men and women) motivate, speak, argue, and communicate feelings differently. In the book, it is written that men like to process info by thinking before communicating whereas women like to process info by communicating their thought process.

Ethnic minorities can behave differently and possess a range of different things. Italians tend to be impulsive, Hispanic Americans tend to be emotional, the Japanese are collectivist, the British individualist, Vietnamese are reactive, Malaysians tend to compromise… Being the leader of a diverse team is more labor intensive!

In addition, most people like to associate themselves with people who are like them and who are familiar with what they believe in. No wonder why leaders have so little understanding of diversity in the workforce today. This makes leaders’ jobs more challenging when driving teams to be on the same page about projects.

Unfortunately, lack of diversity understanding doesn’t help organizations to be more productive. There is overwhelming scientific evidence indicating that diverse teams make fewer errors than homogeneous ones and when errors do occur, diverse teams are more likely to solve them.

Resistance to change

Most people like the familiar. No wonder why 1 out of 2 freshmen attend a college within 100 miles from home. The irony of resistance and change is that implementing change is in the leader’s job description!

Leaders should embrace change rather than resisting it yet resistance to change is real and occurs in every continent across the globe. That’s why leading diverse teams to move in the same direction as the leader when the leader is afraid to change can be so challenging. Tolerance for change varies among leaders.

As I said already in this article, we are creatures of habit. Loss of control, breaking the routine, fear of the unknown and elements of surprise are all reasons why leaders fear change. There is however, a direct correlation between one’s ability to lead and their easiness with these former reasons why leaders resist change.[1]

Change isn’t always technical and can be social. Social change is important but is difficult for many leaders, making things more complicated for the leader to have his or her people on board on a project. I wish that people management was like chopsticks. Always useful and unchangeable.

Unfortunately, people management is an evolving science and requires leaders to adapt to new societal trends with much more frequency.

As a side note: Henry Petrosky, Duke University professor and the author of the book The Evolution of Useful Things predicts chopsticks to stay as they are for another millennia. Thank goodness that leaders aren’t chopsticks.

6 Powerful People Management Tactics

When thinking about revising your company’s training and development program or simply offering good informal training to employees at your organization, consider adopting the following tactics on how to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal.

1. Understand first… judge second

Before making any judgement, strive to understand the members of your team. What are their likes and dislikes? What makes them feel comfortable or uncomfortable? What makes them feel good or bad?

Listening to what they have to say as well as being empathic to what they may be feeling could be the difference between you getting them on board or not.

Remember: Leaders must be patient in order to first understand then judge. Patience is a virtue.

2. Ability to relate

If a leader can’t relate with his or her team somehow, they won’t be able to influence them. He or she must be a good people manager.

Failing to influence the members of the group will exponentially decreases the leader’s chances of having diverse team members on his or her side.

If a leader has a group of African Americans on staff, it may be a good idea to find out who Margaret Walker, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington and other influential African-American figures are.

Leaders who can’t relate don’t stay leaders for too long. Never forget that.

3. Take an interest in others

True leadership is about developing the team, not developing the leader. It is about taking interest in the welfare of others.

There are a number of activities that a leader can do to display interest in the life of his or her team members. A wise unit leader goes to lunch with his team and periodically has walk/talks with them to get to know who his or her team members really are.

Another good idea is to stop by your team’s station or offices once in a while to chat about topics unrelated to work. People from diverse backgrounds will appreciate this gesture.

One of the fastest ways to lose a diverse team and have them boycott a goal is to show disinterest in them. Leaders can’t afford to show disinterest if his goal is to have the diverse members of the team moving towards a common goal.

4. Be flexible

Being flexible is a great practice that will help a leader gain trust from his team. Flexible leaders treat their team members with respect and strive to accommodate diverse styles and needs.

Providing guidance when required and praising diverse team members when accomplishment is attained, will increase the chances that the team will be on board.

One of the fastest ways to “lose” a diverse team member is to single him out or find fault in his work when there wasn’t anything to report. The former isn’t good leadership and will most definitely create distrust and resentment which will then significantly decrease team member buy-in.

5. Develop soft skills

Acting as a team player rather than an autocratic dictator, having effective interpersonal and non-verbal communication skills, along with the ability to receive critical feedback and engaging in storytelling can be excellent ways to bring diverse teams on board.

Good leadership calls for the need to connect with colleagues and other members of the organization. The act of giving constant criticism or isolating team members won’t help any leader to bring them on board a vision.

Maintaining an air of professionalism and building positive morale are critical components that persuade diverse teams members to buy into a vision. The act of delegating is a good one as well.

6. Have good judgement

Having good judgement starts by having an open mind. Diverse teams are likely to express differences in opinion. In order to keep them on board, the leader should take their ideas into account even if the majority rule believes otherwise. Sometimes, the best solutions are the ones that the people on the team thought were the least favorable. If a diverse team member isn’t participating in a meeting, ask him or her to share an opinion. Never, under any circumstances, disrespect them in public even if they have done something wrong. Dale Carnegie has taught us this lesson in his classic book, “How to Win Friends And Influence People.” In the end, the leader will lose influence and an ally resulting in less buy in from diverse team members.

Conclusion

Organizations who have diverse teams have an edge against other institutions with more homogeneous ones. There is an art to bringing team members from diverse backgrounds on board to share the same goal and people management skills are at the center of that.

One’s ability to listen and learn can go a long way. Being flexible, taking interest in others, developing soft skills and the ability to relate are also important skillsets that leaders should learn if their goals are to lead diverse teams and have them on their side.

Unfamiliarity with shared government principles, little diversity understanding and resistance to change are major threats that can impede a modern leader with bringing his team together on a goal.

Having people management skills are at the center of what makes diverse teams function as presented in this article. Fortunate will be leaders who strive to understand their diverse team first and judge them second. They will have buy in. They are the true modern leaders.

Article previously published at: Lifehack.org –> https://www.lifehack.org/785437/people-management

What I’ve Learned From my second TBI

What I’ve Learned From my second TBI

Back in 2014, I hit my head pretty hard at 35MPH in a Pennsylvania highway. I was involved in a debilitating motorcycle accident. It was a difficult time for me and my family. It took me three years to fully recover from that accident.

To my misfortune, I got a second TBI this past May 2019. I hit my head in a car accident at speed and after a week or so, I knew that I had a concussion again.

These were the symptoms I felt:

1) Light sensitivity

2) Headaches

3) Noise bothered me

4) balance problems

5) Blurred vision

6) Temporary anxiety

7) Amnesia

8) Fuzzy brain

Although my first TBI was more serious, my latest TBI has been a quite debilitating one. I haven’t been me for almost two months. The good news is that I’m getting out of it, thank God. I can feel it.

Before classes begin in the Fall, I should be okay. That’s a blessing, I must add. So, what have a learned this time from this debilitating neurological condition. Tons.

1) Accidents happen. No matter how cautious we are with our bodies, things happen beyond our control sometimes. I wasn’t negligent hitting my head this time, that’s for sure.

2) Life is short — Do what you love. Man, I got even closer to my wife and kids because of this incident. I went for a photo trip with them and decided to use the trip to rethink our future. Priceless.

3) We are all terminal. Live life to the fullest because time is gift. One day you have time to play with your kids. The next, you hit your head and don’t have time to think about playing with them. It’s life.

Be strong, take care of yourself and be cautious in life. Accidents happen. A TBI is a debilitating condition and can give your lots of headaches for a prolonged period of time. How do I know this? Well, I hit my head pretty hard twice in vehicle accidents.

Accidents happen. Do what you love. Life is short, you know? We are all terminal, if you think about it. Life is a gift, don’t ever lose track to what is important. Get away if you have too. Apologize later if you need it.

it’s that simple.

Be Hopeful And Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Be Hopeful And Never Give Up On Your Dreams

As I stated in my last blog post, this semester has been a rough one for me — in every aspect. Just because things were very rough for me doesn’t mean that I will let off my principles. Much on the contrary, I must add. Honesty, hard word, respect for others and caring for students is still what I believe and always going to believe.

A regular person without hope would have simply given up and folded if they would have experienced what I’ve passed though but I never give up or fold. In my opinion, everybody should live their lives exactly the same way. Never giving up.

Misfortunes come and go and so do ocean waves. I guess what differentiates me from many other education professionals is my degree of hope and focus on the positive things in life. I’m still hopeful that something wonderful will happen this Summer for our family. A lot of things happen in a period of a month or so. It ain’t over yet.

I’m from the position that a dream is worth pursuing, all the way. Never will I ever give up on what is right and fair. For me, my family matters quite a lot and staying close to them is important to me. I’m hopeful for as great tomorrow and a prosperous future.

Why? Because I believe in a just God. What God gives, He can take it away. I understand that. But what God gives to those who ask for the right reasons can’t be quantified by anybody that you or I know.

I just know that everything will be all right. I’m hopeful. Giving up on my dreams? Never.

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade

I had a pretty crappy semester, even though I’ve worked my butt off. In a period of six months, I got infections multiple times, had opportunities come and go, my dog died, my grandma is near death and to complement everything… I now have a TBI along with high blood pressure and a big health bill to pay.

Life sucks but I’m on the way up. After hitting golf balls and spending four days with my parents in Georgia, I’ve come to realize that when bad things come your way, even if they are irrational, you must embrace them and turn them around. You know, “You need to make lemonade from the lemons you have” and move on.

Perhaps, the problem I’ve faced this semester were my problems after all. I’ve been too kind with people which in higher education doesn’t seem to be a good thing. I think that empowering students to think by themselves make them think that you are weak and disorganized… maybe even a bad professor. I will definitely be firmer with what I want them to know from now on.

Maybe I expect too much from people. That’s a bad thing. I need to change that and be less involved in the well being of others. In fact, I must pay way more attention to my own well being, I’ve learned this term.

It’s so atypical of me to put myself first by maybe it’s what is need it. Things will turn around, I have faith.

It was shocking what people have promised me this term and canceling on me without fully sealing the deal in the very last minute. I was pretty close to getting a $5000 consulting contract and out of nowhere things just blew up and I got $125. It felt that I was on high demand for a number of opportunities but in the last minute, these gigs vanished away from me. Weird.

I’m refocusing and turning all these horrible events into something productive. I’m now going to hit golf balls weekly, work on my blog and redesign my classes completely using behavioral models of education. I’m going to take care of me first and rejoin my old church.

I’m seeing the good in life despite of what has happened to me this term. I recommend that you do the same. Take charge and turn these lemons into lemonade if you have to. You may even like it in the end. I’m starting to enjoy mine.

Allegiance On-Line: Look For Social Proof

Allegiance On-Line: Look For Social Proof

Social proof is the idea that any given individual is observing the behaviors of others to come to a conclusion about choices. Let me explain: Because Johny’s facebook page has 1000 likes, 345 shares and 12800 comments, it is more likely that Johny’s page will get more likes from somebody or shall we say… have more social proof than a page that isn’t as “well liked” because of the volume of people attesting (social proof) that it is so.

It doesn’t take much time for us to realize that fabricated “social proof” can inflate one’s importance in any media outlet, including social media networks.

When somebody rarely engages with a friend’s content in any social media platform, he is in essence reducing the chances that his friend’s content is spread and “liked” by more people. Therefore, constantly failing to endorse a person’s post in a social media platform can reveal a pattern often seen in enemies or people who doesn’t have a person’s best interest in mind — Disdain in social media networks means exactly what is defined, “The feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect; contempt.”

To me, interactions aren’t always to be seen as transactions but when I see a discrepancy between what a person says and how he acts in social media opposed to that behavior, I see an uncomfortable inconsistency that is worth paying attention to.

Understanding how social proof is used in social media network growth is worth your time and effort. It’s amazing what you can discover when analyzing this simple concept alone.

 

 

You Must Deal With Discomfort In Order To Win Big

You Must Deal With Discomfort In Order To Win Big

You must deal with discomfort in order to win big in life. Being able to leverage that unease feeling we feel in our stomachs is critical if your goal is to achieve something of significance in this life. You must experience discomfort. I mean, literally.

These are some examples of discomfort that often leads to big victory.

  1. Pumping iron religiously in order to gain muscle mass
  2. Studying long hours in order to ace the test
  3. Programming overnight in order to finish a game prototype
  4. Initiating anything worthwhile in life and not giving up
  5. Taking a stance on a position and sticking to it

These are some examples of comfort that often leads to loss.

  1. Pumping iron in order to gain muscle mass today but quitting tomorrow because of body pains.
  2. Studying long hours in order to ace the test but compromising on focus.
  3.  Programming overnight in order to finish a game prototype but giving up at 4:42am.
  4. Initiating anything worthwhile in life and giving up when challenges arise
  5. Taking a stance on a position and failing to stick to it

There is no way out. Either you go through the motions of experiencing discomfort or you will never experience a big win. Tiger Woods hits golf balls for hours on end in order to win the Masters; Edison failed over one thousand times before inventing the light bulb. Arnold schwarzenegger didn’t become Mr. Olympia seven times by avoiding the uncomfortable.

My advise is this — Put your smartphone away and start working hard unless the discomfort your need to experience to win big involves using your smartphone. You have the chance to be like anybody else and don’t win anything big in life or experience the uncomfortable and win big.

What is your choice? Choose wisely.

Choosing To Be Succesful Is A Habit

Choosing To Be Succesful Is A Habit

Success is a habit. Like any other life habits, it is a process that involves hard work, perseverance, and will power. Success is what we should shoot for but before I elaborate on it, let’s define what success is.

Success isn’t money, status, or anything that superficial. Success is a habit! It is a way of being and thinking about the world. To me, success is being able to live a life that you want to live without having to compromise your values and beliefs for the selfish desires of others.

In this life, you will meet people who will put you down and degrade your accomplishments because of insecurities. It part of life. It comes with being successful. It’s the result of making success a habit and being able to live your dreams without compromising who you are.

I find no other way to live my life than to strive to be successful. We live in the empire of the world. In the United States, we pay a big price if we choose to be unsuccessful.

These are some of the side effects people feel by choosing to ignore success.

  1. They die earlier
  1. They live a more stressful life
  1. They grow cynical about the workforce

Just don’t. Choose success! Make the pursuit of success a life goal worth pursuing. Success is a habit! Success isn’t anything superficial like money or status. Success is a way of being worth pursuing. It is living your life without having to compromise your values and beliefs.

Technology Has Sent Mass Media Advertising Into Retirement

Technology Has Sent Mass Media Advertising Into Retirement

This is what I think.

Technology has sent Mass Media advertising into retirement. I know that the former is a strong statement but evidence seems to support this provocative thesis. How many of you watch TV ads? Or Radio/newspaper advertising? I don’t know about the former but I do know that you rarely look at page 49 of the Sports Illustrated Magazine looking for an ad. Am I wrong?

By the way, when was the last time that you bought a product from a new company that advertised on television? I ask this question because some people may say, “Well Luis, what you are saying is true but I still enjoy watching a Coca Cola commercial during the Super Bowl and buy Coca Cola products.” You may be a rare case. It is possible but it’s just not likely.

Please realize that if you do watch Coca Cola TV ads and buy Coca Cola products thinking that you bought them because of a recent ad, you may be fooling yourself. Coca Cola is an established brand that grew during the industrial age where Mass Media advertising was the norm for growing a brand and selling products.

Coca Cola is now benefiting from investments in advertising they made 70 years ago. That’s why some of you still buy Coca Cola products. Have you ever heard about ALO? Even better… When was the last time you bought an ALO drink? It’s a new product. They have advertised (not like other major drink companies but they did) and I bet that most of your never bought one of their products.

Reality:  Modern technology has changed the advertisement industry. DVR enables people to pass through the ads in both cable television and on streaming TV services like Netflix and Hulu. In this abundant world we live in, who wants to add more interruption to our lives? I don’t. How about you?

Do you watch the youtube ads before watching your favorite youtube video? Or do you stop them after 5 seconds of mandatory “watch” time? Mass Media advertising is an old concept that is expensive and time consuming. I’m not sure if the ROI is there anymore.  

Do we still need advertisement? Yep.

However, the kind of advertising I believe in is done through meaningful conversations  by conversing one-on-one with a prospect and individualizing the message. It is inefficient and time consuming but if done with enough frequency can help a prospect to move from a person who doesn’t trust you (or your brand) to one who might give you a try if you prove to them that you are for real.

Trust is key in this new individualized advertising process.

Forget Mass Media advertising. The former is a dated concept that is de facto very expensive and brings little return on investment, especially for a new company wanting to gather market share. Invest your time in personalizing your advertising message and positioning yourself to attract a small segment of the population who loves what you produce. Do what you can earn their trust, overtime. Repeat.

If you have a big budget, consider sponsoring a movie on Hulu instead of spending millions on Mass Media advertisements that people just won’t watch. You may be better off this way.

 

People Who Are Legitimately Interested Will Make The First Move

People Who Are Legitimately Interested Will Make The First Move

Whenever a student is interested in learning, he/she takes the initiative to come to class early and raise his/her hand first. When colleges and universities are interested in an applicant for a job, they initiate the communication process and follow up first with a finalist. When an organization wants to hire a potential employee, the organization also makes the first move and keep the candidate aware of their intentions to hire him/her. Initiative means interest. Lack of initiative doesn’t.

I’m always a bit weary when people say they are interested in something but they don’t make an attempt to make the first move. In the back of my mind, I wonder — Are they really interested if they hesitate? Let me go even further. It worries me when I see, for example, students lacking initiative because lack thereof may mean something much more than just initiative.

When I’m interested in something, I take the initiative to make things happen. I make the first move to make an impact and show interest. we You should do the same.

Why?

Because by showing interest and stepping up first to make a stance is rare. In an abundant economy that is so cluttered with supply and output, taking the initiative is int itself a rare behavior. We cannot afford to be average anymore.

Taking the initiative and being first in something makes you an outlier by default. It ain’t a bad place to be, I must add. My recommendation: When in doubt, take the lead and initiate.

 

 

You Need A Mentor Even If You Have To Buy Him

You Need A Mentor Even If You Have To Buy Him

No matter where you were born or which language you speak, you need a mentor even if you need to buy him. A mentor, whether he is paid or not, help you in these unique ways.

  1. He tells you things you need to know, the way they are. We all must live In the moment and have others helping us to see our behaviors.
  2. He listen to what you have to say. Sometimes, you just have to speak your frustrations out.
  3. He is patient with you. In this life, you will make mistakes. Having a person who knows you is key to continuing growing. A mentor can help you with that.

Don’t underestimate the power of mentors. We need them in order to grow. Who is your mentor? Do you need to buy one? You just be prepared to be a extraordinary.

There Is A Surplus Of College Professors Out There But Only A Handful Of Dr. A’s

There Is A Surplus Of College Professors Out There But Only A Handful Of Dr. A’s

There is an abundance of commodities in our economy in 2019. Do you want to get a college education? You are welcome to choose between and among 5,300 different options. These options are private, public, christian, HBCU, women’s college, you name it. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are $486,000 plumbers in America. There is one billion websites on google and somewhere between 600,000 and one million books published every year for your to choose and buy. On Spotify alone, we have 40 million songs to choose from and 3 billion user playlists to listen to. And to complement this madness, we can choose between 59 different kinds of salad dressings at Publix.

bernard-hermant-663480-unsplash.jpg

It is no accident that the value of these commodities are decreasing in price and need fast. Our economy isn’t scarce anymore which means that we must do something different in order to attract people’s attention to whatever we do or sell.  Advertising a lot isn’t the answer, obviously. We don’t need to be cluttered with more messages these days. The over reliance on advertising isn’t the answer, I say.

What do we need to do then in order to make our offerings more scarce, then? In my opinion, this can only be accomplished by helping the client to save time.

In my industry of higher education, I do what I can to help my students to save time. I produce tutorials, podcasts, design video games, work in class with them on projects, go to the cafeteria and guide them on life pursuits, you name it. I make the lives of my students easier which in effect makes them save time. I’m willing to trade my time for their attention. They appreciate it. I innovate, earn the permission to speak with them and they choose me over the other thousands of daily stimuli they ignore every day.

It seems to be working. In the past semester alone, I carried out a conversation with 569 students, advised them in my office, at the mall, in the cafeteria, playing ping pong on campus, at the library, on the street, in their dorm lobby, at the park, during spring break, fall break, thanksgiving, at the swimming pool, via facebook, instagram, snapchat, linkedIn…

Wake up! Our economy has changed. Our standard operating procedures are being flipped upside down to accommodate for this explosion of intellectual property that is available for us all. Higher education is tanking because of lack of change and understanding about where the economy is headed. Information is now free. If we are to charge fore information, we may need to somehow incorporate the time variable in our offerings.

We don’t like (or want) to be bothered or interrupted anymore. There is so much noise in our lives because of over production. No wonder why students hate to waste time and effort. Things are available for them right now and often someplace else. They don’t need to come to a college class to learn. They may want to come, however, if they save time.

Here is my advise to you: If you want to advance your industry, be different. I’m different by saving students time. What are you doing to be different?

There is a surplus of college professors out there but only a handful of Dr. A’s. Are you the “Dr. A” of your industry? What is your competitive advantage? What are you doing different for others to choose you over the million other options they can choose from?

For now, this is what I’m doing. Tomorrow? Who knows! I will invent something else.

 

 

 

 

Video Games Are Cool I say

Video Games Are Cool I say

I like video games. I like video games more if they are used for education purposes. I’m suspect, though…

Why? This is why.

I’ve researched the impact of video games as it relates to instruction and found out the following.

  1. Video games help to maintain order in the classroom
  2. Video games motivate students to learn content
  3. Video games diversify from course lectures
  4. Video games help students to achieve higher scores in examinations

Why aren’t we then developing more video games for education? Some say that we don’t develop them because building video games are too expensive. Others argue that video games increase violence and therefore can’t be used in education environments. Video games this, video games that.

Non-sense!

Video games aren’t always expensive to design and develop. Have you try developing games with game maker or RPG maker? Designing and developing games is a reasonable endeavor. Let’s me share something with you. Back in the day, I co-developed 20 video games with kids ranging from age 8-12. It’s possible.

Video games don’t increase violence. Have you heard about the concept of catharsis? Let me define catharsis to you…

“Catharsis is the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.”

Could it be that video games help subjects to release emotion so they don’t engage in violent behaviors? Yes!

Theoretically speaking, It is quite possible indeed. Video games are cool, I say. But hey… I’m suspect.

 

You Must Make Yourself Scarce And Therefore Rare

You Must Make Yourself Scarce And Therefore Rare

In the age when the abnormal is the new norm, you have to be rare in whatever you do. You must be the only option, the only alternative, the only one, the only thing, really.

Quite simply you must be:

– The guy who chooses to create.

– The guy who skateboards when nobody does

– The guy who take risks when everybody is afraid

– The guy who is genuine generous with others

– The guy who disconnects when others don’t.

– The guy who wants to make change.

If you have to create your own category of “other,” to be able to accomplish the former, do it. It’s okay to position yourself three standard deviations from the mean. Be different.

We celebrate the new. Go out there and create! We are hungry for it…

College Professors Don’t Make Good Chess Pieces

College Professors Don’t Make Good Chess Pieces

My old and dear friend Gary Dean once said, “College professors don’t make good chess pieces,” He used to tell me… We are in the business of thinking not marching. I must say that old Gary, this iconic figure who looked more like Yoda than the barber next door, was probably right.

College professors like to think. Thinking is what professors do. Therefore, it is futile to think that professors won’t think or that they will obey an order without critically thinking about its motives and consequences.

In the age of the internet, where everything is about a click away, forcing intellectuals to blindly follow a cause, a mission, a movement, anything… will only result in more student anxiety in higher education due to high faculty turnover overtime.

By thew way, students hate when faculty members come and go because they need to learn how the new professor operates.

Anyways.

It is true that the more a peon works, the closer he gets to the king. As a consequence, the king stays longer in power the more the peon works. The challenge when the former logic is applied to higher education is that professors aren’t peons and/or chess pieces.

You can define king whatever way you like…

The best way to lead a group of highly educated people (college professors, for example) is to give them space to think and create. Involving them in decision making is “king.”

College professors don’t make good chess pieces. College professors like to think. Thinking is what professors do.

 

The proletariat’s paradox

The proletariat’s paradox

Proletariat can be defined as the working class or the segment of society that chooses to work for someone else in order to survive. There are different kinds of proletariat. In fact, they come from different types, shapes and forms. For simplicity sake, I will define them as high, middle and low.

High proletariat are higher level employees in a particular organization. They hold the fate of many middle and lower level proletariats in their organization. Lower proletariat are employees who belong to the low levels of the organization hierarchy and are often seen as a commodity by proletariat at the top. Proletariat in the middle are simply defined as middle level proletariat. Their DNA contains elements of both high and low level proletariat.

Every organization has them. For better or for worse. This is interesting.

Seth Godin once said that kings profit and stay in power by making peons work harder, limiting their growth for self gain and for maintaining the status who. Peons, on the other hand, hold the belief that hard work is their ticket to one day have the chance to becoming the king.

If Seth is right, then we have a proletariat paradox, assuming that the king represents high proletariat and peons lower proletariat. I tend to agree with him.

Where do you fall in the proletariat paradox? Can you escape the inevitable? Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

New Technology Is helping To Reform The Bell Curve

New Technology Is helping To Reform The Bell Curve

The bell curve, perhaps one of the most discussed concepts in statistics, may need to be redefined. Or shall I say reformed? Perhaps for the first time in human history, an external force, we call technology, may change the shape of the normal curve. How so you may be asking.

This is how. These are the characteristics of the bell curve.

  • The mean is always at the center
  • It has only one peak
  • It’s by definition unimodal
  • It may be bimodal in some instances
  • But normality is expected

68% of the population falls in the mean. 68% of the population is then normal.

Technology reforms the bell curve by giving people choices. By being able to choose, outliers are then able to gather their own groupies and start their own bell curves. As choices increase, smaller bell curves are then created reducing the normal, increasing the edges and reshaping the curve into a series of other sub curves perhaps forever.

How is the new bell cure going to look like?

This is how, I think. These may be the characteristics of the new bell curve.

  • The mean is perhaps to be located at the edges in the long tail
  • Multiple peaks may be the new norm
  • Unlikely unimodal form
  • Bimodal form expected if not multimodal
  • Normality is under attack

As the rate of technology innovation increases, normality decreases. If normality then decreases, the new norm falls in the long tail. Outliers are then the new normal. If the former is true, then the concept of the bell cure must be redefined. Technology advances is then the fuel of these reform.

Oh my… It’s 2019. What is next?

The Difference Between Leadership And Management

The Difference Between Leadership And Management

They are different.

Leadership has the following characteristics:

  • Leadership questions the status quo
  • Leadership is about creating the system
  • Leadership is about making change
  • Leadership is influence, as Maxwell would say
  • Leadership has followers
  • Leadership is adventurous and rebellious
  • Leadership is bottom up

Management has the following characteristics:

  • Management is about maintaining the status quo
  • Management is about enforcing the system
  • Management is about making the existing more efficient
  • Management is about making widgets, as Seth Godin says
  • Management hires employees
  • Management is anti-defiant
  • Management is top down

An entry level employee may be a leader. A manager is never entry-level. Leaders don’t care much for organization structure. Managers do.  Leadership inspires people how to think. Managers tell people what to do.

Leaders create movements. Managers don’t. Leaders use technology to create. Managers use technology to enforce. Leadership doesn’t end. Management ends at 5:00pm.

 

The TechnoModeration Manifesto

The TechnoModeration Manifesto

Use technology but in moderation…

If you like technology too much learn to unlike it a bit. Get away from computerized devices to move more, help people, help yourself, celebrate others, exercise, go to church, go on a date, and read a book. Play, laugh, smile, enjoy, make it happen, and don’t forget to disconnect in the process. Do it now not tomorrow. Give yourself permission to be in control of your computerized devices use. Don’t be a slave to your smartphone. Converse and build relationships that last off-line and make friends not on-line followers. I dare you to control your life not technology. Focus, be alert, think, reflect and act. Be the change you want to see in others. Be in control of you and never, under any circumstances, let technology dictate how you live. After all, you are a son or daughter of God not an object to be plugged in a wall somewhere.

Live.

The Elephants Have Arrived At The Party And Most Aren’t Prepared For Them

The Elephants Have Arrived At The Party And Most Aren’t Prepared For Them

It’s true and it’s here. The elephants now own the house and have little to no competition, ladies and gentleman. The old factory is approaching irrelevance and is likely to be shipped overseas because of complacency and fear of change in the very near future. Get ready! The birth pains are just starting. For the first time in the history of the higher education factory, you are going to be asked to think differently for your own sake. It’s survival mode. The irony? Oligarchs will listen, agree, but will resist the same ideas that could transform the system into a new paradigm.

The irony is… we, for the most part, have dinosaurs in positions of authority, teach our classes the same way, isolate linchpins, promote complacency, persecute the weird, and insist fear and penalties in anybody who questions the status quo. Go figure the elephants are now here. There are so many elephants at the party right now! I see old school administrators implementing analog tactics in a digital world, teenagers who think for themselves, a system of higher education trying to survive with no funding, and technology who can literally replace human labor if implemented appropriately.

It’s tragic but its true.

We could have avoided this crisis by attacking these elephants with lions and crocodiles back in the day when elephant juveniles were in the wild but the oligarchs of higher education insisted in doing business as usual, protecting themselves with protectionist cabinets and using processes, procedures, and arguments used in the Fordist era to maintain the status quo.

It worked back then… Take a guess. The world has changed much, you know? In the shared economy era, on demand products and services are weird (innovative), new and fluid. Uh oh, it ain’t the higher education environment of today.

Lack of innovative thinking guided at reshaping existing systems, lack of curiosity for the sake of maintaining the “known procedures” and benefiting from it, lack of common sense along with saying “We do things like this here” with a lack of courage has contributed to what colleges and universities are experiencing right now.

An industry that reminds me of the old steel mill industry factories back in the 1980’s.  Dated, slow to change, logistically in misalignment with the demands of the market, expensive, and managed to kill new ideas for the sake of regulation.

I don’t hear the voice of curiosity too much in colleges and universities, anymore. I see, however, fear everywhere.

  1. Fear of not getting tenure.
  2. Fear of not having enough students.
  3. Fear of losing students.
  4. Fear of not getting accredited.
  5. Fear of doing something different.
  6. Fear of change.
  7. and now…

Fear of elephants.

I’m seeing the end of higher education as we understand. Today, I advised two high school students. They were both bringing in 60 credits of dual enrollment straight from high school!  In higher education, an incoming freshman must complete 120 credits to graduate with a bachelors degree. This process used to take four years to complete. 17 year olds, if planned correctly, can now graduate college in 2 years with a bachelor’s. Wait, what?

Yep. I’m glad that I’m not a music or English professor or a professor of philosophy… even though I hold a doctorate of philosophy! They will be the ones who will go first. The liberal arts curriculum is not becoming an elective commodity. The only problem (for colleges and universities) is that we are a very expensive commodity in an era of free community college education. Sebastian Bach would cry after reading this paragraph. Hey, the market doesn’t care what Bach (or me and you) have to say. The market is the market.

To a large degree, the system has done this to itself, fueled by management practices that wanted to automate and break down its tasks into smaller less sophisticated tasks in order to replace expensive labor with ease and increase profit instead of redefining complexity into something as complex and on demand. Isn’t it how factories operate, by the way? Can you see what I see?

Let me tell you a true story. Today, a clever high school student who thinks for himself told me in my office, “I hate education. The teacher kills my ideas and gives me a C because I missed a comma. He also said, “Why do I need to go to school to learn photoshop when I can get free tutorials on youtube? That’s why I’m not majoring in digital media.” What can I say back to this kid? Tell me. 

The elephants are next door. The elephants are up and down. The elephants are left and right. The elephants are everywhere and there is no where to go but to create.

What is as scary is that I see the industry choosing to destroy itself before going somewhere. Let me be real with you. Sometimes I feel like a witch in the middle ages. Because I do something different and choose to lead a tribe, I’m seen as a blasphemer who does things “not like us” like standing on tables, having party event classrooms and critical thinking sessions through chess playing in my office, and because I skateboard on campus. Should I be labeled a heretic because I innovate?

I see managers maintaining the status quo to protect themselves and those above them. I see a call to management instead of a call for leadership. This is a bad idea in an age where we idolize Tesla and disdain GM.

Here is what I know.

When you do something worth making a remark about, people remember your actions AND they often come back for more because it’s remarkable. What is higher education doing to be remarkable? Let me ask you to think critically about this one for a moment.

So, what do we need to do Dr. A to get out of this mess? We can still do something about it to save our jobs in the age of automation. Being aware that we are terminal is the beginning of wisdom.

Let me do my best to tell you what perhaps can help us to survive longer in this important business we call higher education.

  1. We need the baby boomers to retire en masse
  2. We need less managers and more leaders
  3. We need managers to be a minority in higher education
  4. We need to empower leaders to redefine what higher education means
  5. We need to empower leaders to create a total new system of higher education where creativity and innovation precedes grades and attendance
  6. We need to redefine failure in higher education
  7. We need to be much more human

That’s it. It’s out! The elephants have arrived at the party and most aren’t prepared for them but at least you are aware that the elephants are here. What are you going to do about it? Tell me.

Let’s Unfollow Like a boss, shall we?

Let’s Unfollow Like a boss, shall we?

I’m tired of following people on Facebook that I have no relationship with. I’m not sure if these people are all that beneficial to me, to be frank with you. I know that I’m not the only person who holds this thought, I must add, and that’s good.

Back in the day, it was customary to accept friend requests from people we rarely knew and strangers and say, “Oh ok, I will accept you. I will have more followers, more than you… and that’s awesome.

Really? Who cares? I don’t. Do you?

Wait. What if having tons of unengaged followers isn’t awesome? What if having people you aren’t connected with makes your instagram feed clog for often? Welcoming “friends” to whom you have no relationship with in social media is literally a ticket to irreversible damage. You don’t want this, trust me.

Do this. Today, go to your instagram or Facebook and unfollow anyone you don’t know. Do it like a boss. Don’t be shy. Do the right thing. If your ambition it to grow a social media account, forget about pods and bots and focus on speaking with people. Pods and bots are artificial means to generating buzz. It ain’t worth it.

Practicing humanity is precisely what we need today in the world. We don’t need more fake followers or anything fake. IGaudit.co exposes social media importers in servings.

We need to be indispensable. Be a leader, be a source of please. Build your online network based on your actions and interactions offline. Unfollow others if necessary.

In the end of the day, the truth always wins. My advice: Unfollow people who aren’t your friend. It’s that simple.

Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line

Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line

This is what I’m seeing. Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line. It pays off to build your personal brand off-line first. People believe in what they can see. A picture may be worth a thousand words but three dimensional conversations are worth about a billion.  Your on-line popularity is secondary to your ability to communicate well off-line.

By engaging with people face-to-face and off-line, over time and with much persistence, eventually you will earn the privilege to be categorized as an influencer on-line. Personal brands are built after remarkable performances, memorable experiences and the like. Why do you think Beyonce has millions upon millions of social media followers and fans? That’s elementary — She was awesome off-line first.

It amazes me how many people still believe that they can build their reputations solely on-line without caring much about their off-line campaign. What a big mistake.

Audiences are earned not bought. It takes time and is labor intensive. It’s part of the game. There are no shortcuts. Off-line work is as important if not more important than  on-line work but the real work starts off-line. 

Faking until you make it is a dead concept. You need to be authentic, truthful, and careful about how your persona is seen by others, off-line. That’s the world we live in these days. I’m going to say it again, “Your life on-line is a reflection of your life off-line.”

Culture is our frame of reference, ladies and gentleman. We might as well be a part of ours, don’t you think? We celebrate people who we like and trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to have meaningful conversations with people in a coffee shop, library, or church.

If your ambition is to build an on-line audience worth engaging with, you may want to start your quest by being the very best off-line communicator you can be. Your on-line popularity is secondary to your ability to communicate well off-line.  

 

Technology isn’t what makes a person indispensable for an organization anymore

Technology isn’t what makes a person indispensable for an organization anymore

It isn’t a technology skill that makes a person indispensable for an organization. It is their ability to bridge internal and external constituents that makes them unique and irreplaceable. The worker who is out there speaking with the customers, defending the brand in key events, and building connections is often the one you should strive to keep long-term in your firm. Trust, generosity, and one’s ability to relate with others is rare in  the workforce today, hands down.

Technocrats think otherwise, I know. They are wrong. Your humanity is in great need, I say. Your ability to be human will pay off. Why? Well…

We don’t live in the industrial age anymore. The industries aren’t coming back, sorry. Sears is gone and so is K-Mart. Kodak is history too. Here is my advise for you. Don’t bet your family’s fortune on believing that US Steel will make a major come back in 2023. It won’t happen. We literally live in a supply rich post-industrial world where automation is destroying most of our known operating systems. There is nothing we can do about it. It is what it is.

We live in a shared economy where abundance is the norm. In today’s economic landscape, win the game those who are able to connect better with others in a more humane and specific matter. We literally need to give and position ourselves to be the only option out there in our niche, as Seth Goldin would say.

I’m not saying that a technology skill, such as one’s ability to use photoshop to edit images, isn’t worth learning or using in a professional setting. Of course it is important especially for a graphic designer. What I’m saying is that we need people who are good with people. Desperately.

People like to talk with people. One’s ability to relate with others is rare in the workforce today. It isn’t a technology skill that makes a person indispensable for an organization. It is your ability to be you and influence others that is.

What I think when I don’t look at a smartphone screen

What I think when I don’t look at a smartphone screen

The process of creativity is fascinating. In the connect economy, the creative act is more important and relevant than ever. Michael Michalko in tbinkertoys shares with us the importance of knowing the mental processes behind a new idea. He also advances the idea that we should know the source of creativity and the methods by which we create.

When we get away from doing superfluous tasks on the machine, we discover that we have the time to explore the many possibilities we have to create. Have you critically thought about how words are constructed and how breaking or adding word “pieces” assist you with creating something entirely new? Have you tried to read a word backwards and see if there is meaning to you? I have.

Many times, actually.

Reading the word desserts from left to right means a collection of desserts for a fluent English speaker. By looking (or shall we say reading) that same word from right to left, deserts, mean stressed! We can conclude that the frame by which you look at a word may have a completely different meaning to us.

Using the same line of thinking… what is evil to some is live to others. LIVE. The word guns can be interpreted as snug by some depending on how they read the word. GUNS. What is raw to you may mean war to me. WAR.

Live guns war makes me think about live war with guns and the possibility to create a feature story on television about the use of illegal guns used in the Brazilian slums, shot live… RAW. Showing the elements of WAR that exists down there! A lot of Evil will be seen in that report.

Bingo! See? The process of playing with words can help us to generate a total new idea maybe never broadcasted on air just by looking at word construction from a different perspective — Left and right.

The process of creativity is fascinating, isn’t it? I think it is, at least. Hey, do yourself a favor and create something new today. Look at things differently and from a different angle. You will enjoy this process more than you think, I bet.

Conversations First, Social Media Second

Conversations First, Social Media Second

Sherry Turtle once said, “I’m not anti-technology. I’m pro conversation.” I agree with her very often. We are creatures of habit who make sense of the world by living in community. The act of speaking and engaging with a fellow human being, AKA having conversations, is something that cannot be taken for granted even though too many people are ignoring the act. We were born to live in community, experience the human heat and speak with others for survival for thousands of years.

I see hundreds today choosing to start conversations with people in social media networks first with the hope that these interactions will lead to more friendships and therefore conversations. I don’t like this approach.  Let me say this differently. I don’t think it will work.

Why complicate if you can simplify? Start your conversations off-line.

I like meaningful conversations, off-line and on-line. What I’ve come to observe is that having conversations off-line first helps us to engage with our friends and acquaintances off-line better. Go figure! Human beings tend to speak with others when they establish boundaries and rapport first. We may live in a modern world where social media communication is a reality. I beg to differ that on-line communication, by itself, will generate great conversations off-line in mass by many.

Despite the many avenues we have these days to communicate with friends and strangers on facebook, instagram, peach… the secret to having great conversations off-line and on-line, is is to start the conversation off-line. So I say, “Conversations First, Social Media Second.”

If your goal is to build relationships and have meaningful conversations…

Instagram — This Is What I’m Seeing

Instagram — This Is What I’m Seeing

This is what I’m seeing. Instagram users are like younger siblings of twitter and facebook users. A lot of Inspagramers (people who use instagram to spam other people) are coming from the stance that having a big instagram handle alone means influence and power on-line and off-line, regardless of what the substance of their content is. They are wrong. It’s not. I see thousands of Inspagramers going for a gold rush on instagram that is just not there in the way they think it is.

Nobody who’s sharing spam messages, in addition to spamming others with a bot service, will succeed in influencing them to “support them” on instagram or any other social media platform. I see so much junk being shared on social media, especially instagram. What is surprising is that these former tactics aren’t new.  In fact, they are 11 years old.  In technology years, they are a dinosaur.

In the early twitter days, users used to follow and DM newly acquired followers and treated them as a cheap commodity with dozens of broadly composed spam messages. They were quick to sell you either themselves or their products with the pretense of “helping you”. I’ve seen hundreds of tweets that read, “Thank you for following my account. I’m Looking forward to helping you with life. To buy my products…” I’m seeing the same behavior patterns used by low quality accounts on instagram today. A lot, actually.

They remind me of older facebook users.  Do you remember when we used to be “friends” with everybody on facebook? I do.

Who doesn’t , right? I admit. There was a time when I accepted hundreds of strangers into my facebook network just to have a higher number of followers. I eventually unfollowed thousands with no regrets. 

A lot of instagram users today are using the same tactics used by early facebook adopters. Follow me and I follow you. Like me and I like you. Now that we liked and followed each other, let me sell you stuff. Hmmmmm, no. 

I see tons of instagram users following and unfollowing accounts to grow their accounts or simply exchange follow for follow to make themselves “appear more relevant” to others. I see spam everywhere on instagram, ladies and gentleman. I see a lot of fake profiles, as well. Instagram is a mess.  

In the very near future, I suspect that serious instagram users will eventually do a mass unfollow to push out irrelevant people from their networks. Being “friends” with ironpoothebear_16 and alike won’t translate into building any meaningful relationship worth sharing. It will, however, have a negative impact on the user’s reputation among his true following base. I see people realizing that soon. 

History repeats itself. Today’s instagram users are yesterday’s twitter and facebook users and tomorrow’s peach users. The only thing that changes is the platform. I see spam and fake everywhere today on instagram. I don’t see the social media users of the future escaping from the cheap tactics used by their predecessors, unfortunately.

I’m seeing a lot of people wasting their lives on instagram with the hope of getting rich quickly on the shoulders of others. I also see millions perhaps hundreds of millions ignoring these people’s efforts to get rich with a simple click. What a tragedy and a waste of effort. Instagram’s “Gold Rush” seems to be leading nowhere. This is what I’m seeing.

 

No Social Media Engagement On Sunday Feels So Good

No Social Media Engagement On Sunday Feels So Good

I didn’t engaged even once in all of my social media pages on Sunday. I feels good, I must say! Because I wasn’t spending too much time engaging with others on-line yesterday, I spent the day building meaningful conversations with people that I like rather than responding to comments from people that I barely know. I wonder: How can people not see that all this social media crazy is de facto not all that important?

Gary Vaynerchuck defends the thesis that people must always be producing content on-line because there is where conversation occur these days.  I do agree with him that the youth tend to use these tools to communicate and for them, there is some value in spending time in platforms such as instagram, snapchat and many others. I do question this, however. Are these conversations transactional and meaningful or simply transactional?

I’m not sure if spending hours on end in social media is all that beneficial, especially if your audience isn’t there. I would rather take a break and engage with people on-on-one. If nothing else, It feels good, ladies and gents.

Spending too much time on instagram will help me very little in my quest to making a difference in the life of others, I think. By the way, I’m not saying that using social media is a bad thing or that you shouldn’t use it. Perhaps, we should just be critical about its function use. My advice is for people to get away from it once in a while. One of the ways to do that is to have a no Sunday engagement day.

That’s the right thing to do.

 

 

My e-Book’s Profits Are Secondary To My Willingness To Give Them Away Sometimes

My e-Book’s Profits Are Secondary To My Willingness To Give Them Away Sometimes

I don’t write for money. I write to make a difference. I write to make things better and to challenge the status quo. I write to be human. No technology will ever change the way I think about my writing. My e-book’s profits are secondary to my willingness to give them away sometimes because there is no money that can buy my optimism to seeing a better world.

Why should anyone give up an opportunity to impact others? Our humanity allows us to do precisely that! Our labor is a gift and it shouldn’t be seen or operationalized as a cheap act to be exchanged as goods and services without purpose or purely to serve as a means to an end to make money for someone. Our tangible and intangible human expressions are the outputs of our imagination. The artifacts that we produce are to be used for changing other people’s lives, first.

Rob Siltanen once said that, “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Notice that Rob didn’t write, “People who are crazy enough to think they can make all the money in the world because they have technology, are the ones who do.”

I’m passionate about seeing millennials disconnecting from computerized devices. I don’t expect anything in return for writing for them because in the end, the privilege is what gives me the fuel to keep moving and producing even more art for them anyways. Millennials aren’t my customers. They are an indirect result of my outputs.  Even if blogging technology didn’t exist, I would have found another way to write for the millennial generation.

Some people don’t like my art. I already figured this one out. Good! They are unlikely to be my audience, anyways. And that’s okay. Others, however, do like my work. Good! They are worth my sweat and service. Generosity brings attention. Attention brings artists an audience. An audience is a form of a tribe. We all need a tribe to inspire, to contribute, grow, and keep creating.

At our core, we are all artists in an abundant world of possibilities. If we decide to isolate our tribe, even if the tribe is small, we can certainly impact others by giving what we have produced with a purpose.  Seth Godin once said, “Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.” Sometimes, we need to give our art away to make a difference.

Let’s be that personal gift that changes others. Don’t let profit alone or technology blind you and stop doing what you were made to do. Sometimes the act of giving is necessary for the message to be heard, anyways.

Think about it.

 

 

The Need To Learn Intercultural Competencies In The Age Of The iPhone

The Need To Learn Intercultural Competencies In The Age Of The iPhone

I’m convinced. In our contemporary economic landscape, being able to relate with others is a currency. Being able to emotionally engage with people of different cultures give people a different perspective and an opportunity to experience and look at a problem from a different angle which in itself is worth spending time doing.

We must be self-aware in life. Knowing people from other cultures helps us to better understand who we really are, regardless of which smartphone we own. There is value in understanding proxemics — or the branch of knowledge that studies how much space people should have between themselves and others. Studying paralanguage, or the gestures and facial expressions people make cross culturally, is an invaluable skillset to obtain in today’s workforce. Why? Because the over abundance of supply in our economy has forced us to think differently about how we are going to be identifying our tribes among the many tribes of people available.  At least, we are being encouraged to do so.

When we better understand what people from different cultures really care about, in a language and context they know and understand, we transcend from being obsessed with communicating with them for self gain and start collaborating with them. In America, we value collaboration but we almost always engage in compromising. At least this is what Bradford Hall claims in his great book, Among Cultures: The Challenge of Communication. Moral of the story: The more we understand other people, the higher the chances we have to engage in true collaboration.

In 2019, being able to collaborate is also a currency!  Developing intercultural competencies are key. Using technology to complement developing these competences seems more urgent than the alternative making technology second to our ability to better understand people.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spend time on a smartphone or engage with others on-line. There is a time and a place for that. I don’t deny it. So, don’t stop using your smartphone with the pretense that interacting with people from different cultures are more important than using them. What I am saying is that understanding people, especially people from other cultures) should be a priority for you and me today.

 

What I know About Millennials That Computers Won’t Ever Know

What I know About Millennials That Computers Won’t Ever Know

The youth is relational, as my buddy Mark used to tell me. What they really value are the many actions and connections that you build with them. Engaging with young people can be exhausting but like any type of human labor, it is worthwhile for those who see themselves as agents for change. I believe and value change, when done right.

There is little doubt that emotionally investing in young adults can be a daunting task but the flip side of it is that it can be quite gratifying and pay big dividends in the long-run. Let me say this: 18-25 year-olds value the few meaningful interactions they have with others before their desire to acquire technological artifacts. They are hungry for relating with people, not technology. I’m convinced about that. How do I know? They tell me half of everything because I choose to invest my emotional time on them.

By smiling, being present and showing your face at events they care about, by surprising them and creating with them, you can earn the privilege to be inside their inner circle and prove to them that you do the things you do because of them. There is no technology out there they can buy that will do this for them. They love that but more importantly, they admire that. You are what they need and want. People.

So, what are you going to do today to be more relational with the youth? Are you going to be more emotionally involved with them? Are you going to engage in more off-line meaningful conversations with them? Maybe what you really need, as Seth Godin would say, is to engage in emotional labor for them.

What I know I’m not going to do is to ask google for an answer. I’m going to follow what my heart is saying that I must do. I’m not looking for any reward — My goal is simply to connect and make a difference. But that’s just me. How about you?

 

 

 

No TXT for 48h: Are you an Arabian, Clydesdale, or Draft horse employee?

No TXT for 48h: Are you an Arabian, Clydesdale, or Draft horse employee?

When we aren’t always on a smartphone texting and playing on facebook or instagram, we give ourselves the opportunity to engage in some deep critical thinking and have meaningful conversations about our thoughts with others. I have thought critically about the content presented in this blog post for 48 hours. Ladies and gents, this one will make you think about horses and people with a touch of originality.

Let me make something very clear first, though. I know very little about horses, how they behave and why they are so different. I do know, however, enough about the workforce and people to have an opinion for what I’m going to write for you. This blog post isn’t an attempt to describe horses in minute detail. I will delegate this to horse experts. I’m interested, though, in using horse and horse types as an analogy to the arguments that I will be presenting with people.

I’m fascinated with the possibility that there may be an intersect between the different kinds of horses and people in the workforce. By the way: Not all horses are equal. Not all people are equal. Not all organizations are equal but similarities between different kinds of horses and people do exist. This is my frame.

So let’s get started. Let’s talk briefly about horses — three types of horses in particular. The Arabian, Clydesdale and Quarter horse.

Arabian horses are a kind of horse characterized for being a striking horse. They are known for energy, intelligence, courage and nobility. This kind of horse announces to the world that he is proud. Think “Floating trot,” spirited, and gentle when thinking about the Arabian kind.

Clydesdale horses are a kind of horse characterized for being gentle giants. They are willing to do the work they are being asked to do without arguing too much. They are easily trained and smart and can do a bit more if necessary.

Draft horses are horses that move kind of slow. They are heavy boned and can push things with ease. They are the best horse suitable for farm labor and are often used in fields, farm fields.

Let’s now briefly talk about people — three types of horses in particular — and how they relate to horse type and behaviors, somehow.

arabian.jpeg

Arabian employees are a showy and spirited employee. This kind of people are temperamental, hard to break in, quick footed, impulsive, like to race and show off. They figure things out creatively and if left to their own devices, they can put themselves in danger. They are in the public’s eye doing things that aren’t the best for the organization, sometimes. Forcing them to be mundane is bad for them. They want to do different things. They can get too excited (too fast) about the environment they live in. They like to do their stuff their way. People can’t control the Arabian kind 100%. If you have an Arabian employee on staff, you can’t treat them the same as everyone else.  This kind of employee is motivated by opportunities and the ability to be expressive (creative), like the Arabian horse.  They are often motivated by loyalty and the possibility to innovate.

Advantages: They can be creative, sometimes. They have an innovative brain able to create new products and services and systems with ease.  

Disadvantages: They lack patience and are unable  to wait for things to happen which tend to cause others to be impatient with them, leading to isolation.  

clyde.jpeg

Clydesdale employees are a fancy plow horse type of people. They make good workers and only do a splash when asked by someone else. These individuals play the part well, are kind and outgoing when needed. They look good physiologically but their nature is of a draft horse. They don’t need as much direction to do things but creativity isn’t their forte. When asked the question, “We need to develop this product and these are the parts that we have, can you do it?” They answer yes and often choose the most convenient alternative that best suits their strengths. Don’t expect much creativity from them. They can’t deliver it. This employee is better fit for most organizations. A great Clydesdale empowers the Arabian kind. They are often motivated by money not opportunity or security.

Advantages: If you put a strong Clydesdale in a position of authority, they will deliver good results.

Disadvantages: If they hit a wall or face a tricky situation, they will struggle to fix the issue creatively. 

photo-1534098063989-156b97abe66b.jpeg

Draft horse employees are everyday workers. They perform well by coming in and doing what the company says they should do and go home. Places that require these horses to think critically without direction are a bad environment for them. They need clear direction in whatever they do. They want someone to say this to them: I want this done this way by tomorrow at noon. I want you to do XYZ for me, can you do it? They should be rewarded for their good behavior. They are motivated by stability rather than money or the ability to innovate.

Advantages: Get menial things done. They make great assistants.

Disadvantages: They aren’t creative and aren’t good at working in groups or being in-charge of anything.

I must say this before we go any further. The Arabian horse employee is the most flexible of all. They can act as a Draft or Clydesdale horse but only on a temporary basis. They are more adaptable than other “horses.” This may be a major distinction between horses and human beings. Humans may adapt to their environments about things that aren’t fit for them physiologically making them somehow perform in unfit places for necessity.

When people are young, people may think that they are an Arabian but in trueness they are a draft horse employee. It is only when people enter the workforce that they discover which horse type they really are. A draft horse employee can’t be a Clydesdale or a Clydesdale an Arabian. An Arabian employee can’t be a Draft horse or a Clydesdale, either. A Clydesdale employee can’t be either a Draft horse or an Arabian. Just remember that there are variations within each kind of horse employee. Arabians, Clydesdale and Draft horse employees aren’t created equally and have variations. Lastly: The rate of innovation that an Arabian horse employee brings is proportional to the risks he takes.

In general, people don’t know what to expect or which employee horse type they are at age 19. An organization with strong leadership needs to be able to see when they have “these horses” and put them when they best fit in order to operate to capacity. They need to give more space to an Arabian employee to look for opportunities without being isolated or criticized for it. Empowering the Clydesdale horse employee to lead your organization is a good idea that is likely to pay off. Somebody needs to do the menial labor of your organization. This is why Draft horse employees exist. Unless leadership wants to push out an Arabian or Clydesdale employee, never put these kind of employees to do the work of a Draft horse employee. Why? This is why: Human Draft horses tend to associate themselves with other Draft horse friends outside the office. Clydesdales have other Clydesdales as friends. Arabians have Arabian friends outside the workforce as friends. The system is classicist. No Arabian employee will be happy hanging out with Draft horses long-term. They think too differently from each other.

Another thing:  Eloquent speeches aren’t a condition to be any of these employee horse types. If you have an Arabian horse employee on your team, teach and develop them. Be patient with them! The better they are and perform, the better you will be even if you are also an Arabian. Don’t waste them, try to understand them and you will profit in the end. Just keep in mind that some work places aren’t meant for every Arabian. Arabians are different and will seek to find where they fit more than any other employee horse. After all, this kind has a lot of energy, intelligence, and courage. Arabians aren’t the status quo. Eventually, the Arabian horse employees do what the Arabian wants. This kind will move to find his perfect fit. Always.

All three employee horses have value. No horse, by itself, is better or worse than any other individual horse… Organizations need all of these horses. Clydesdale and Draft horse employees are very important in every organization but not everybody is a Clydesdale or a Draft horse types. Innovative organizations do what they can to keep the Arabian horse employee around with the hope that they are a fit because this kind helps the organization to solve problems creatively.

So that is it. 48 hours of critical thinking expressed here in my blog. When we get away from all this technology, we do produce something worth talking about. So, which employee horse are you? Can you identify a Clydesdale? Or a Draft horse in your organization? Share your thoughts below. Let’s chat.      

 

Choose Off-Line Communication

Choose Off-Line Communication

I would rather converse with people off-line rather than online. Why? Because when we make the decision to speak with others face-to-face, we tell relational stories and engage in meaningful conversations together both verbally and non-verbally.

This is John, a student in my social media class. He understands the value of a great chat which I find it awesome. Good for him! I suspect that he will live a long life with this mentality. We all must communicate with others in order to live in community.

Engaging in interpersonal communication is a necessity. It is good for the soul to speak and listen to what others have to say. I most definitely do and you should, as well.

I Earned The Right To Converse With Garrett By Disconnecting

I Earned The Right To Converse With Garrett By Disconnecting

The moment that you choose to engage in a meaningful conversation with a person, you earn the right to speak with that person and get to know that person better.  Today, I met a very nice young man. His name is Garrett. He is the youngest son of one of my peers at the university. He is clever, critical and seem to understand what’s like to live a life of technological balance. I’m glad we had the opportunity to speak.

We both had cell phones, but during our conversation, our devices were secondary to our act of conversing. We felt that exchanging ideas and thoughts was more important than texting or going to social media networks and liking random posts.

I must say that it is refreshing to know that there are young people out there who chooses to liver a lifestyle of technology moderation which I find it to be awesome.

In a period of 30 minutes, we engaged in a critical thinking conversation about lifestyle choices and as importantly — I earned the right to converse with somebody that I didn’t previously know. We even talked about possibility of connecting again another time. It is going to happen…

What a great day.

Great Conversations Start Off-line

Great Conversations Start Off-line

Great conversations start off-line. That’s why I don’t use my smartphone much in the cafeteria. Why risk being alone and connected when you can be meeting new people and conversing? Sherry Turkle once said, “I’m not anti-technology. I’m pro-conversation.”  So am I. A great conversation is meaningful to me especially when the company is top notch.

Today, I had the honor to speak with Michael (kaki pants) and two other students, Andrew and Liam. We spoke about the need to converse and make technology secondary to our relationship building. We had a tremendous hour long conversation. Some of the topics we discussed were: Relationship building and health. We left the cafeteria with a smile on our face and our smartphones in our pockets.

Our meaningful and insightful gathering was worthwhile and worth repeating. That’s for sure.

When we choose to disconnect, we connect!

When we choose to disconnect, we connect!

When we chose to disconnect, we connect! We start sharing our stories and meeting each other again with a smile on our faces in the most unexpected places. This is Will Clark, one of my advisees and a student here at the university. We had a great conversation today about how our break went which led to us to speak about academic advising and course selection… life.

It happened organically, off-line and during the day. I was waiting for a colada smoothie and he was sitting down studying in the lobby. It just happened. We weren’t on our phones. I had an abundance of happiness outside cyberspace and I loved it.

I’m convinced of this — In the new economy, having trust, connection and proximity to others is a currency. We don’t build the former very well by only chatting with others on social media networks. It is so much easier to tell our stories face-to-face!

Live your life to the fullest and connect with people. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

What Builds Trust Is Genuine Generosity

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In the connection economy, trust is the fuel that helps us to build our modern networks. Just because a cake may appear to be smaller when we share it with others doesn’t mean that we should stop being generous and stop sharing. We still live in an age where a person who is generous builds trust, despite the fact that the internet is taking over. The genuine act of sharing and sacrificing for other people’s sake usually goes a long way and helps others to reconstruct their own narratives about themselves.

Building trust is a commodity that is worth pursuing, especially in social media.  In today’s economic landscape, it’s not who you know but how trustworthy you are and who you have access to. Being genuine and generous pays off.

The network effect is real — A product or service will gain additional value as more people use it. If the former is true, it only makes sense for social media personalities to be generous and invest in community building without putting emphasis on the self as people are less likely to adopt innovations that are essentially self-centered in nature. 

I’m convinced that engaging in the selfish act of producing lots of social media output, with the pretense of “giving content for free,” is immature and dangerous. Trust is rarely built this way. Most people can spot fake generosity.

By being genuinely generous with others, people build the trust that is required to build long lasting networks. The act of giving with the expectation of getting something in return isn’t what I call genuinely generous and is likely to decrease long term trust. Giving to others with “strings attached” is an element of hustling. People hate to be hustled. Genuine generosity is when we give without expecting to gain anything in return. It is generosity for generosity’s sake.

Listen carefully: In 2019, genuine generosity is a currency. Much attention will be gained by genuinely giving to others. Fortunate will be the ones who understand that.

Go See A Doctor — They Know What They Are Doing

Go See A Doctor — They Know What They Are Doing

 

Early this morning, I woke up with gunk all over my eyes, a headache and a coarse voice. It is Sunday. It is church attendance day for our family and choir performance for me. I thought about staying home and recovering from the numerous times I woke up during the night to sneeze and itch my eyes for a moment. Yeah… I forgot to take my Allegra D the night before and paid the price at 5:31am this morning. Lack of technology had an impact on me but it wasn’t enough to keep me home and not listening to the Sunday sermon. We were going, I told my wife.

As soon as we got there, I decided to stop at the food/drink desk, get a donut, and fill up my  water bottle for choir practice. I thought to myself… Crap, we left home without me taking the allergy medicine. This can be disastrous and I knew it. My voice gets scratchy every time I don’t take the appropriate allergy medicine.  Drinking water was my only option I had to attempt to control the allergy symptoms I was experiencing. Before the choir practice began, I decided to drink as much water as I could but my throat was still itchy. Oops, “this isn’t good news” and I knew it as singing with a scratchy voice can make me cough non-stop. Oh well, it was too late to go home and take my allergy pills.  Rather, I decided to go straight to singing.

As I begun singing church hymns in the Bass choir session, all I wanted to do was to cough. It took literally two songs for my body to say enough and feel the side effects of having no allergy technology in my body! I went ballistic on coughing right after. I had to excuse myself to get a bottle of water. What a terrible morning I had today. I paid the price for not using technology properly!   I am glad to be a TechnoModerator not a TechnoPhobic, that’s for sure.

As I was walking towards my Sunday bible class after choir practice, I passed through a number of good folks along the way. We exchanged both verbal and non-verbal communication clues until I reached my destination. The Study had started at 9:00m. It was 9:20am when I finally arrived in the meeting room. Sunday school lasted exactly twenty-five more minutes until the Sunday school teacher made a motion to adjourn the meeting followed by a prayer. Even though I was quiet during the entire class, my throat was still very itchy. All I wanted to do was to couch profusely and go home. In my way out of the door, our bible study teacher who happens to be a physician quickly stated, “Luis, I can see that your eyes are inflamed. You have allergies…”

At that point I thought to myself, “TechnoHitlers sometimes don’t understand that a trained physician don’t need technology in order to identify and prescribe a treatment to a patient… I left the room smiling and celebrating TechnoModeration. Although I had a rough morning due to spring allergies, today ended up being a great one as all the allergies I felt during choir practice didn’t affect me in the actual church performance.

Allergies exist are the are real.  Not sure about you but when it comes to allergies… I want to see an allergist in order to get medicine to alleviate symptoms. I trust a media doctor and their ability to diagnose an illness just by looking at a patient. I am not sure if I would be comfortable listening to health advice from a robot. It doesn’t seem right to me. Allergies Anyone? Go see a human doctor. They know what they are doing.

Banning classroom laptop is a major mistake!

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I am a different kind of college professor.

I am one of those Ph.Ds who take pride in leaving their office door open in order to invite students in for a great chat, work with students on real-world projects as a means to expose them to potential recruiters, and publish newspaper columns with the goal of having public conversations, like the one I am writing for you.

I am a trained scholar who has no room for nonsense, and will take action if required to advance the just cause. I am a caring guy who is vocal about what I believe. Didn’t you realize that already? I hope so.

Let me introduce you to one of the most heated discussions that is bringing much division into our complex field of education.

Two scholars — one from Princeton University and the other from the University of California in Los Angeles — are calling for a ban of laptops in the classroom because their latest research findings indicate that note-taking by pen works better for students than laptop note-taking. I find this recommendation disturbing because anyone who has spent a short time with a laptop knows that laptop note-taking is one of the many uses that a laptop offers to students.

I’m a bit skeptical about this idea of banning laptops altogether from the classroom, and for a number of other reasons.

Taking laptops out of the classroom will definitely handicap our students for careers this century. Can you imagine graduating college students who aren’t proficient and efficient with laptops for problem-solving? Give me a break! Banning laptops is a mistake.

Second, we need to maximize the use of adaptive technologies in our classrooms in order to provide instruction for students with disabilities. Many of the applications involving adaptive technologies are laptop-based. The modern-day student needs tools to remediate instruction and empower them to be outstanding. Laptops can do wonders about that.

I am not against technology as I have told you numerous times. All we have to do is to use technology in moderation.

Students have much to gain by using laptops in the classroom beyond typing. I cannot imagine my students without having a laptop in order to participate in the many scavenger-hunt activities I do in class.

By having a laptop in the classroom, students can fix photographs, create logos and websites, do balance sheets, you name it.  All that a professor needs to do is to incorporate the computer in whatever lesson plan he designs. It is that simple.

Controlling what I call “computer-based distraction” can be done. It isn’t that complicated, and it’s worth so much more than keystrokes. Let me tell you a secret. Please don’t tell anybody: One of the best ways to educate college students today is by creating solid relationships. Laptops can be used as a tool, as long as it is used in moderation, to build these relationships.

By the way, why are people so extreme in ideology these days? Don’t we, at least in spirit,  strive to elect officials in our great republic to find the reasonable middle group so that we all can enjoy the liberties of being an American?

Don’t ban laptops in the classroom. If you need help justifying the responsible use of computer technology in the classroom, give me a buzz. I would be more than glad to attend your board meeting and give the board the reasons why one-to-one computing is a good move overall for kids when implemented with discretion and moderation.

Laptops, along with great instructional design and lesson plans, can really help your kid to succeed in life.

The over-reliance on anything, especially laptops, is an issue that must be addressed immediately. My solution to this controversial contemporary discussion is technology moderation.

Teachers out there, listen to Dr. A! Don’t ban laptops in your classrooms. Students may take better notes with pens, but they have better chances to succeed in life by solving real-world problems with the machine when used reasonably.

The Importance of Being Original

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In this life you need to be original, regardless of how much technology we use. Originality or the ability to think independently and creatively or the quality of being novel or unusual is an important human condition that should be cultivated throughout life. I am not aware of any important thinker who was unoriginal. The master of suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, through his originality and genius introduced to the world the “MacGuffin” a plot device that was essential to the characters on his films but without any relevance to the audience making history. The great Miles Davis re-invented jazz by his stylistic innovations. Walt Disney challenged the world when he tried to do the impossible — he achieved what was possible. By serving as a passive aggressive Pacifist,  Gandhi  changed the world of diplomacy and power forever. Life is full of examples of notorious individuals who have changed history by being original. It is a good thing to be original and creative. As a matter of fact, I argue that one’s ability to think independently and creatively is a true gift from God to others as the benefits it can reap are countless. I could share with you probably thousands of ways you can be more original in your life. In this article, I will share with you three ways to be more original.

1. Be yourself. In this life, nobody wanting to be original can be a carbon copy of somebody else. The qualities that made Napoleon great were not the same qualities that made Patton extraordinary. The great Patch Adams cared for his patients more than any other physician ever dreamed of. Yet, we have obtuse doctors who just get things done making them as great. Women are from Venus and men are from Mars and that’s okay. Whatever unique traits the good God has given you, He gave you your uniqueness for a reason. There are a number of things in this life that are possible — by studying one gets better grades; By practicing, one gets better scores; By forgiving one becomes a better man. What isn’t possible is to strive to be unique by emulating others. It simply doesn’t work regardless of what others may tell you. The great Jim Furyk would have never made it into the PGA Tour by swinging his clubs more like Ben Hogan. The earlier you realize that you need to be original, the greater your impact in this life will be and the most glory to God you will be able to give.

2. Challenge yourself. History is full of cases of individuals who put themselves in a bubble and accept mediocrity in exchange for complacency and security. Just because you can play football in a AA division doesn’t mean that you are ready to compete against the Quad A state champions. You need to be original or should I say — be different. What you really need is to ditch the idea that you should work for money and rather… work in the talent that the Lord has given you by doing the former, you will be able to be great in your area of strength which if you keep course, success will go your way when you least expect. Give yourself a chance to be challenged and embrace the opportunity to achieve high grounds by challenging yourself.

3. Create something worth sharing. Whenever you create something out of nothing, you are obligated to think with no box yet generate a working prototype of your imagination.  With the former comes conceptualization, production, revision, re-engineering, more and more revisions leading to a final product or outcome.  Even if your creation is a failure financially, there are great lessons to be learned by going through the motions of raw creation. The uniqueness of your efforts in many ways speak louder than your inability to take a chance.  If you want to be unique, you will need to take risks and give yourself a chance to achieve the unimaginable. Creating something worth sharing isn’t the test but a task and duty. Next time you think about being unique, create something worth sharing.

In this life you need to be original. You need to be unique and challenge yourself and create something worth sharing. By being unique you gain both respect and admiration. Be yourself and be genuine. Be like Walt Disney – try to do the impossible. Create your own style and keep course. One day, after many hours of sweat and perseverance, the waves of success might come your way. Always be with God, regardless of the circumstances. Keep your faith and pray. In the end, what really matters is… if you want to be original.

Pandora’s Box Of Automation

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I am afraid that automation is going to put too many churches out of business.  Historically, technology has always created entirely new occupations and opportunities while destroying old industries and jobs. There is little doubt that the auto industry is a good example to exemplify the former cases, as horse carriages phased out when the technology became widely available to produce the automobile. There is enough economic precedence to support these former statements which may explain why so many people today naively think that millions of jobs will still be created in the near future due to the advent of information technology. The reality is that we don’t know what will happen in the future. Only the Lord knows for sure, not you or I. I feel, however, that our society has chosen to ignore an important piece of biblical scripture — Proverbs 16:1-4, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” We are not in control of anything. Who are we to dictate what will happen in the future with certainty anyways? We are not God! In the Bible, the Lord is pretty clear about this “business of tomorrow.” He teaches us in Matthew 6:34 that anxiety about the future is meaningless and that “Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Which position are we in to make certain claims about the economical future of our great country? I say we aren’t in any position to predict anything with certainty. We don’t have that luxury. All that we can do is to speculate! This is my speculation — I do think that the new age of information technology will fall short of creating enough jobs to replace the ones it will destroy in our society.  I can see many of you thinking, “Yeah right.”

Let me ask you a question: How many people do you think were employed at YouTube when the company was sold to Google back in 2005? The number, brothers and sisters in Christ, was 65! General Motors at its peak hired 840,000 employees. Today, GM hires 36,000 hard working employees. That is a drastic loss of employment between the years of 1979 and 2016. Have you heard about the newly developed app “Instagram?” Who hasn’t, right? How many people do you think worked at Instagram when the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012? The answers ladies and gentleman was 13! The irony of the former is that Instagram was sold for a billion dollars. The per-employee evaluation at Instagram at the time of its purchase was 77 million!

Aren’t these new companies supposed to generate millions of jobs because of technological advancements in order to replace the ones that they destroy? Many pentecostals are making life plans and setting business strategies based on this logic. I personally like the position taken by the author, Martin Ford of the book Rise of the Robots. In his book he talks about how information technology is now a utility that comes with machine intelligence. I think he is absolutely correct about his assertions, as information technology today is as necessary as electricity, as he puts it. Can you imagine banking without technology? How about education? Are cars free of technology? Which industry is free of this new utility? Won’t you agree that all new technological businesses created will take advantage of this powerful new utility? Of course they will! It is where we are headed. Let’s assume for a moment that we are going to take advantage of information technology in the creation of new industries. Then, millions of jobs are likely to be lost and be replaced by a few, if any jobs from these emerging tech enterprises as contemporary technology systems already exist. We have seen evidence of that already in the cases of the creation of YouTube, Instagram, and even the app, “What’sUp.” Why would these technology based industries create many more jobs in the future when they already possess so many cases of automation in society? I don’t think they will. In fact, I am concerned about the position of the church and the long term sustainability of our denomination. As unemployment increases due to automation, less support in Sunday and Wednesday donations we receive. Due to severe societal automation, we grow weaker as a body due to advances in technology.    

Uncontrolled information technology adoption will lead to tiny workforces where only a few will benefit from its advancements which could in effect drastically change the way our economy operates and how we live in the United States and abroad. Automation is here to stay. Sooner or later, simply based on the concept of Moore’s law, these new information technology systems will get better increasing their capacities of self learning leading to more automation in the near future. We are going to need the Lord more than ever.

I hope I am being disturbingly persuasive. As technologies continue to accelerate, I find no reason to believe that new jobs will be created to replace the ones they destroy. In fact, I think that the millions of white-collar jobs we enjoy having today will turn into maybe thousands causing a severe shift in the quality of living experienced by tens of millions of Americans. The former has a direct impact in many of our congregations.

I hope my speculations are wrong and unfounded but from what I see, I don’t think so. I guess that only time will tell. So you maybe asking, “What should Christians do to prepare for the rise of automation?” There are a few things you must do in order to protect yourself against this inevitable trend. First and foremost, be closer to the Lord and believe that He is in control of your life. Learn how to recite Philippians 4:13 to yourself, “I can do all things through Christ which strengths me.” Second, prepare yourself to careers that involve a large degree of creativity and unpredictability. The machine is predictable and logic. Be equipped to be unpredictable and illogical sometimes! Lastly, learn how to manage chaos and talk effectively with a human being rather than primarily positioning yourself as a machine button pusher.

Pentecostals, open your eyes to what is right in front of you! I am concerned about the position of the church and the long term sustainability of our denomination. The dangers of automation will affect us in the years to come. It is inevitable. I honestly don’t think that advances in information technology will help us with sustaining ourselves in the future as many believe. Only the Lord knows to what degree will automation affect us, that’s for sure. Our hope is that God is with us. We are going to need Him more than ever.

Say NO to self aggrandizement on-line

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Great adversity is a pre-requisite to greatness. Enduring strong opposition, being able to recover from a direct knockout, and believing the most and the longest even if the odds are against you are all elements of what make great leaders truly great. I am not impressed by anyone who is constantly bragging about his latest accomplishments especially when these statements are shared on social media. Anybody who is great in what they do understand that being successful isn’t a solo sport! Greatness doesn’t need to be a contact sport necessarily but it most definitely has elements of team work. I am afraid that social media is enforcing a dangerous ideology — The idea that “I” can make my world perfect and that “I” don’t need you. 

One of the most important leadership lessons I’ve ever learned in my career came from a former Director of Analysis and Planning at Ohio State University and former Associate Provost. He once told me, “Always look at the law of opposites: The moment that somebody says that they are great in something, be aware.” “Nobody who is great at anything need to tell others that they are all that great,” my mentor once said. The former is a wise statement, indeed. Why are we allowing our kids to behave the way they do on social media?

My fellow Americans, I am afraid that all these social media walls and mediated spaces are allowing children to practice bad communication habits especially among kids between the ages of 14 and 18. It is shocking the content that we can see and hear in apps like YouNow or Yik Yak. Compatriots, your sons and daughters and quite possibly your dear grandchildren aren’t really using Facebook or twitter that much if at all. Facebook and all these “old school” social media tools are for old people like you and me. If you decide to log into the YouNow app, the bragging that occurs on Facebook sounds like kinder garden. The “I” culture of these new contemporary social media tools are reaching very high levels of ridicule to a point of no return.   After momentarily visiting a “celebrity” on a popular social media tool back in July, I felt obligated to create a lesson for college students about the danger of these new and upcoming social media apps and how they impact the lives of our loved ones.

How uncomfortable would you be to see your teenager daughter speaking with an Iraqi Soldier on YouNow? I’ve seen a person in her 50’s giving what I consider to be very poor advice about life for teenage girls on an app system. Maybe I am being overly defensive and skeptical about having fifty year old mature adult speaking with teenagers about the importance of doing “what you like” as a youngster. I don’t think I am, though. I can see many of you being uncomfortable with such scenarios, as well.  I had to say a prayer about the whole situation and de facto I did.

Why are we so shy about condemning this culture of “I” in our society these days? It is time for us to take the lead and break this idea that bragging on-line is acceptable and that anything goes in social media. My daughter’s life matter to me and I know that yours matter to you. Say no to self aggrandizement on-line. Say yes to God and the future of your children. It is our duty to guide them! It is the right thing do do.

Technology Can Be Fun, No Matter The Era

Technology Can Be Fun, No Matter The Era

Some of you may not know this but I love those epic films from the 1950’s. As a matter of fact, I love everything about the movie Ben Hur — its soundtrack, cinematography, script and the way the movie was shot back in the day. How can some of us not like the technology used in the film, as well? I most definitely do. Today, however, many movies fall under what I like to call the fantastical category where humans and cars fly, and computer generated creatures interact with the rest of us, humans. Has the film industry always been this way?

To help me answer these questions, I decided to contact Matt Fisher, Associate Professor of Digital Media Studies here at Lee. Matt is both a nice guy and quite a competent scriptwriter and movie director who I knew would have the answers to my elementary film questions. Let me start by saying this: I had no idea that movies, regardless of era, couldn’t have been done without technology. How interesting! Even the silent movies of the past were made using some form of technology, according to Matt. Some of the technologies of the past include film stock. Film technology of today can be as simple as a dolly that helps directors to create camera movement. 

“Some things are gained… some things are lost with technology,” Matt shared this quote with me in my office when were were speaking about the movie “The Artist,” a silent multi Oscar winner movie in 2012, in regards to how technology is used in movies. How can I disagree with that statement! You know that my position on technology is of moderation. It is just not possible to defend the idea that technology is always good or always bad for that matter. Matt is right. When you gain things here, often we lose things there with technology, which I find to be a wise statement that transcends film studies and criticism. 

I don’t know if you feel this way but to some degree, I like the old technologies (Panavision 70 Photography) we find in the film Lawrence of Arabia. It feels nostalgic! Do you feel that way? I must admit that I do. Cleveland seniors, do you still have goose bumps when you watch “Its A Wonderful Life,” from Pennsylvania born Jimmy Stewart? I bet that some of you feel something different when you watch this film during Christmas time. You gain a feeling of nostalgia even thought you may be losing on the dated technology. In the great scheme of things, does it really matter that “its a wonderful life is a black and white movie?” I don’t think so. How about you?

It is true that in the past, films directors spent more time on something we call pre-production in communication where communication professionals would spend longer periods of time thinking about how the scene would look like and due to the fact that redoing a particular scene would cost studios lots of money. Today, we have more technology that allows folks to “cut” film without having to literally cut the film which in itself is revolutionary! No wonder why we have had so many great independent movies released to the market in recent years. Modern digital editing suite technology has allowed the small guy to produce big productions on a budget. “What we lost in pre-production planning we gain in post-production capabilities,” said Matt Fisher. The overuse of technology in film also has complications, he adds. Sound complicates things, camera movement is a challenge.

There is not way out, people. Technology has positives and negatives no matter how much TechnoLovers may argue otherwise. It seems clear cut to me that in the film industry, technomoderation seems to be the ideal. Next time you go to a movie, take some time to think about how much technology was used in the production of the motion picture and in which ways humans participated in the production of such an endeavor. Did they used too much special effects? How was the dialogue? In the end, I bet that you will realize that the golden ideal lies somewhere in between a microchip and a man’s brain but hey… I am suspect. 

Great Content Isn’t Enough

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After dedicating 300 hours studying the essence of what makes social media catch on, I came to the conclusion that great content is only a part of what makes messages go viral on-line. Let me explain: Great content without being strategically grounded in a particular niche (for example my niche of motivation) is likely to be lost in this gigantic world we call the internet. In reality, creating great messages (content) and positioning them in a particular niche makes a lot of sense if you think about it. In the “real world,” grocery stores don’t organize their operation around selling steel to you. They are in business to make you happy through food. Creating great content into a niche are steps 1 & 2.

After positioning great content into a niche, people must have an audience. Now, this is where most non-influencers struggle to have their messages heard. Why? Because their level of influence is so insignificant (globally speaking) that even if their content is of great quality and belongs to an on-demand niche but it lacks a solid audience… it won’t scale beyond the the original network they already have. Forget about going viral at that point. It won’t move beyond your immediate circle of influence. My advice is for you to work on building your audience over time until setting any quantifiable goal of having to make any content go viral. This process should take between 2-5 years if you have a talent for what you are trying to convey, I suspect.

When you have great content grounded in a niche along with an audience to receive it, then the next step is to distribute the content. It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use. If you have built a solid audience (on or offline), your content will be shared and spread, I bet. When that happens, all you need to do next is to repeat the process and you should be on your way to go viral.

Don’t get very excited now that you may know how this social media thing works a bit as of yet. Building that audience won’t be that easy. It seems to be the differentiator between those who scale their messages globally from those who rarely scale what they know locally. My recommendation: Work on building your audience as much as creating great content into a niche. This is my 2 cents.

Intrapersonal Communication Trumps Technology

Intrapersonal Communication Trumps Technology

When I was young, I chose to engage in intrapersonal communication activities like playing competitive golf and chess because I’ve always felt better doing “my thing” alone. Like a typical introverted person, I didn’t need the attention of others to gain my daily energy then and I don’t need the attention of anybody today to be energized either. I wish that hundreds perhaps thousands of teenagers in Bradley County could experience what I have experienced early on in my life because working on your own forces people to get things done without having to abide by the approval of others. I bet that many of them would realize that what other people do or don’t do in social media is actually irrelevant to their lives. The same is also true for the opinions people form online based on what people share in social media networks.

This is what I’m saying: If people focus on activities involving them only, they will build a stronger capacity to do things on their own and ignore the mad ideas people sometimes form about them. There are way too many people these days caring too much about what other people say about them in social media. Who cares what people think of you if you are secure in yourself? I feel that your grandkids are growing up without that much needed resilience to face adversity which in itself may be causing them to be depressed sometimes suicidal. Listen carefully: Instead of using technology as a pacifier, teach them how to play chess young. If you don’t know anything about chess, find them a tutor. If you cannot find anybody to teach chess theory to your child, give me a call. We can negotiate a reasonable fee so your grandkids can engage in deep thinking early on in their lives rather than growing weak with moods that are dependent on what others think of them online.

If your grandkid doesn’t like chess, try golf. You won’t regret it. Let me reveal a secret to you that is related to what we are talking about. I used to play chess alone and loved it. Playing chess taught me that I didn’t need the approval of anybody to be happy. I know, I know… this is the pinnacle of individualism but hey, life is interesting. Your grandchild can benefit from doing things by him or herself and not depending on the goodwill of others to be happy in life.

We see so many kids today anxious and depressed about life because their “friends” didn’t like their posts on facebook. Others are partially depressed because not too many people like their posts in general. Some are suicidal because nobody liked their posts. Is this the kind of life that a kid should have? In fact, is this the kind of life that people should have? No.

This is precisely why I advance the idea of engaging in social media communication in moderation. Why should anybody allow others to make them sick for the sake of technology use? Give me a break. Nobody needs that crap. I most definitely don’t allow people’s opinions about me to taint my internal happiness.

I’m stunned by the number of people who admit to having a problem with anxiety and depression in social media networks today yet are doing little to nothing to solve their problem. Public admitting of a problem isn’t a viable solution to any problem. A systematic solution is. Go learn chess or golf! Spend time with yourself and God. You won’t regret it, trust me.

There is hope. Your grandkids don’t need to grow up thinking that what others think of them defines them. What they really need is to have a couple of intrapersonal communication activities that force them to engage in deep introspection. They need to “converse” with their inner selves and realize that social media communication and interaction aren’t to be seen as the all in all in their lives. Everybody has an opinion. Fortunate are the kids who form an opinion by engaging in an activity that forces them to think critically about difficult situations and scenarios. Ladies and gents, chess and golf do just that.

Build Long Lasting Relationships: What To Look For

Build Long Lasting Relationships: What To Look For

As it is played in Disneyland, “It is a small world after all.” The relationships we build, the friendships we make, the conversations we cultivate and the sacrifices we endure aren’t be be taken with a grain a salt by a true friend. A person who is truly genuine, is on your side and wants to maintain a great relationship with you don’t treat you like a subordinate, will never do anything to jeopardize your trust, will do what he/she can to honor your reasonable requests and are likely to ask you to go to lunch once in a while. Avoidance, extra protocols and procedures, ultra selective and divisive associations, left hand complements and gossip are true signs of someone who is egoistic and probably afraid or intimidated by you. It is even possible that folks displaying such behaviors are simply in the state of denial and are finding ways to justify their incompetence and appear adequate. Behaviors and actions will always speak louder than words, regardless of what folks may think or believe. We all have relationships in church, with family, at work, and also with our children and spouse. In all of the former, we need to cultivate great relationships and avoid destroying them but is better to have no close times with someone than associate yourself with the wrong crowd. As colleague of mine once said, “Many judge others by the people they associate themselves with.” There is truth to this former statement. My grandfather used to say the same thing. The bible states in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” It seems that God wants us to flee from bad company, right? It seems clear cut to me. There are a number of ways we can guide folks to build better relationships in many areas of our lives. In this article, I will share with you three ways in which you can build more solid and long lasting relationships with a spin of Christianity.

1. Choose good company because the alternative corrupts character. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” In order to build relationships that last, you need to choose good company first. It is a pre-requisite that must be followed. There is no reversal to this rule. The tricky part of deciphering who is good or bad company. Individuals who provide good council are great ones to associate yourself with. Typically these folks are unselfish and have an encouraging heart. They tend to be reasonable and understanding of a wide variety of circumstances. You will know when someone is a great advisor and had the gift of exhortation because hate isn’t part of their nature. These folks tend to be great company and worth of your time.

2. If they don’t spend time with you, flee from them. Relationships are all about commitment. You need to choose carefully and pay attention to details. A dedicated ally won’t let you hanging in there and are likely to seek rather than be seek for a conversation. If someone wants to have a great relationship with you, sooner or later… they will extend an invitation for you and your family to go to lunch with them or to join their church or civic groups. They will introduce you to people they know publicly and eventually will ask you to go to their house as guest for supper. If you request a meeting one-on-one with a person and this person chooses to have a group meeting instead you know that his/her priorities aren’t you but him or herself. Remember: If they don’t spend time with you, flee from them.

3. Be loyal and test for consistency. If you find inconsistencies in your relationships, e.g., “Hey Almeidas! Nice seeing you here today.” and then in a public event the same couple who told you the former ignores you… You might as well say goodbye to having a long lasting relationship with them. If a person is really on your side and desires to keep a great and open relationship with you, they will not betray you in any way. Make sure you spend some time “testing spirits” as the bible teaches us. Which disloyalty can you clearly see and observe? Are there any inconsistencies that include you specifically? Let me give you an example. I was a member of a prominent civic club one time. In a number of occasions, Jackie — one of our senior club members, was very kind and open to a great chat with me during our weekly meetings seeming excited that I was a college professor in a public university. However, in another yet more selective event we both attended, where being a public school professor wasn’t seen as prestigious, this same person who was so chatty and nice totally ignored me due to fear of retaliation, I bet. Being associated, in that event, with a public school professor wasn’t sophisticated enough for her to maintain her appearances. Only if she knew that I had a working and close relationship with the president of that organization she was trying to build connections with. Moral of the story: Be loyal and test for consistency, always.

As it is played in Disneyland, “It is a small world after all.” Sooner or later, people will discover who you truly are by the relationships you have and by your actions and reactions. Make sure to choose good company and that your company wants to have yourself in their company. Otherwise, you might need to develop relationships with other company. Test your relationships with a dose of loyalty and consistency. In order to build a long lasting relationship with someone, you must make sure that they are indeed on your side on a consistent basis. Otherwise: Be aware. Remember: Behaviors and actions will always speak louder than words, regardless of what folks may think or believe.

If you are a real man… you must be a gentleman

If you are a real man… you must be a gentleman

No matter how old you are, where you come from, which high school you have attended or the college that you have received your degree from, if you are a real man… you must be a gentleman. The reason why I am so firm on the former is because God calls us to be one. The bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Clearly, we must do what we can to emulate the teachings of Christ and be gentle to one another. In this blog posting, I will briefly introduce to you three important ways you can become more gentleman like. They are…

  1. A gentleman knows how to listen. There is no reverse to this one. In order for any man to be a gentleman, he must listen. Being a good listener means not interrupting others when others are speaking, actually listen to what others have to say, and consider alternatives if the alternatives received prove to be a better explanation for a particular phenomenon under investigation. A true gentleman listens to others and strive to make decisions that take into account the voices of others sometimes. A gentleman understands that listening is a skill that can be mastered. A gentleman waits until others finish what they were saying.
  2. A gentleman does not spread rumors. Under any circumstances does a gentleman engage in the act of spreading rumors because he knows that 10/10 times, these rumors cause hardships on others and eventually comes back to haunt them in the future. Only a boor engages in such behaviors. Schmucks love to talk about others behind their backs because they have nothing better to say or anything important to do. A true gentleman doesn’t put himself in the position of being a vermin. When asked to feed a rumor mill, a gentleman says no without remorse.
  3.  A gentleman asks, “what do you think.” Because a gentleman knows that he doesn’t know everything and that the opinions of others are to be respected, he asks for other people’s opinions. Of course he doesn’t take other people’s opinions as his own necessarily but he is open minded enough to hear what others have to say. A gentleman does need to act like an “I known it all” because they now than nobody really knows it all and because the former is a quite impolite practice. A gentleman would rather be quiet than confronting left-hand contributions.

No matter how old you are, where you come from, which high school you have attended or the college you have received your degree from, if you are a real man… you must be a gentleman. Gentlemen are trained on how to listen, not to spread rumors, and to ask the opinion of others in a number of matters. Being a gentleman should be a lifelong goal for any man. It is important to be a gentleman.

Change Is Coming: Technology Is The Fuel

Change Is Coming: Technology Is The Fuel

Let me break something to you. We are approaching the fourth industrial revolution. Energy, transportation, heath and communication will change drastically in the coming years. Get ready! The life of tomorrow won’t be anything like living how we live today in 2018. Our living systems are evolving at light speeds. Isn’t it true that we now have alternative methods for generating energy, new ways of transporting ourselves, receiving health care and communicating? Open your eyes. The future of humanity is already here.

We are going to witness a boom in smart power, or the technology that is able to self manage, in our life time. Don’t be surprised if you get a smart roof next time you change yours. Some of the ways we have traditionally moved tangible products in the past is already changing. We are seeing a peak in the adoption of labor robots in companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart and a plethora of self driven cars being introduced into the market. This trend won’t go away, by the way.

Telemedicine will explode within a decade, I bet. The technology is already here. Our systems are robust enough to accommodate this obvious trend. Medicine is expensive! We need an alternative to the high costs of health care. Can technology help us with making care more affordable? Probably, but at what cost to the local economy?

The way we are going to communicate with each other in the near future will make us laugh about how we used to communicate in the past. Did you remember the movie Superman back in the late 1970’s? Many of the things we saw in that movie, such as holographic images, will be mundane for most if not all of us.

Get ready for the idea of wearing third party mechanical parts in your body. People are going to need them in order to make a decent living in the future. Some are predicting that we are going to increase our economic growth in the years to come probably because of wearable technologies. I don’t know about that. Sure, technology in this instance is good because it may help us to make a better living. Would you be comfortable wearing an RFID chip in your arm? I’m not comfortable with that. How about you?

I am skeptical that human labor alone will be a big part of this boom in productivity. We may see an overall increase in our gross national product because of technology advancements but in an age where the natural and the artificial are merging, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that companies will look for the superhuman employee or the perfect robot. The employee of the future is going to perhaps be a merge of digital and biological. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the world economic forum, goes further to state that “the fourth revolution won’t change what we are doing, it changes us.” I concur.    

We are living in a period of transition where the unknown will meet innovation. Don’t be anxious about what is about to happen tomorrow in regards to technology and employment in our society. Focus on today’s problems and trust that God will take care of you regardless of how much you may think that technology is taking over. Don’t lose focus on what is important. Everything in life is changing including you. God is in control. You are not God.

Change is eminent. People of Cleveland, you will eventually be affected by the fourth industrial revolution and everything that is associated with it. Four of our most fundamental systems we have — energy, transportation, heath, and communication, will evolve. You will be transformed in one way or another. You may become a hybrid of man and machine for your own sake. The machine is expanding its lead. We are becoming an obsolete commodity in this old world of ours. I am not sure if the future will be necessarily promising for us. It will certainly be a technological one.

We live in a wild world. 

Production Over Consumption

Production Over Consumption

Ladies and gentleman, there is a big difference between documenting your life in social media and being addicted to smartphones. Just because one is broadcasting content live on facebook doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is constantly scrolling or wasting time for hours on end on facebook. In fact, quite the contrary is often true! If you broadcast your life on instagram, meaning, you put a camera in front of you and start talking to your audience, you will be engaging in what I like to call TechnoModeration! Why? Well, this is what this article is all about! Fasten your seat belts and stay with me. This ride will be awesome.

All right. Let’s start from the top. Social media presence isn’t the same thing as social media addiction or anything addiction. Being present on social media platforms is a strategy that many of us, me included, do. If you are a part of the American economy today, you better be on social media and everywhere. Why? Because if you don’t you become invisible. You, me, and the whole Tennessee Titans fan base are being bombarded everyday with thousands of messages in multiple channels throughout the day. How can anybody get any attention to what they do under such hard circumstances? Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of Vayner Media, has made a public statement — He said the following, “Attention is a currency” I agree with him.

Notice that I’m not saying that you should be engaging for hours on end everyday or spend hours scrolling your friends’ content on snapchat. Putting a camera in front of you and sharing what you think or do on a daily basis, multiple times a day, may be the right thing to do these days — if your goal is to be discovered by someone in your niche or if you are planning to build a loyal audience to consume your content.

In trueness, what I’m saying in here isn’t anything new. We have been engaging in personal brand development and using business development tactics and procedures for years in order to be visible before the age of social media networks. The difference is that today, it costs us a fraction of the price to do the work. I spend around an hour a day on social media engaging with my audience. However, I turn the camera on and talk to my audience for an additional half hour or so live. By live I mean live. I spend zero hours editing anything I share.

You don’t have to be on your smartphone all the time to be visible these days. You can TechnoModerate! I most definitely do, even though some people may think I’m always engaging. Well, I’m not! Question? If I was always engaging with with my audience for 7 hours each day, how in the world would I have time to be a full time college professor? Elementary, right? Yep.

Now, I maximize the use of AI in order to help me to be away from the computer so that I have more time to literally produce content at scale — Macro content as we refer to it in the field of communication. And from that, I can then repurpose more content in micro form in order to feed the content monster that is required for success in the media these days. Now, don’t take me wrong. It is still a lot of work but it isn’t that much computer work as you may think. There is a large degree of interpersonal and mediated communication work that I do but these activities aren’t social media heavy. They are communication heavy!

I will be documenting my life online indefinitely because my goal right now is to build a more loyal audience organically. By organically I mean for free naturally. If your grandkid wants to position him/herself in the world today they better consider doing what I wrote in this article rather than spending hours on end “consuming” social media. They need to be “producing” social media, instead.  A person broadcasting their life online may sound goofy for many of you to hear but its the correct protocol for anyone wanting to build an audience today.

Less Technology Use On The Horizon

Less Technology Use On The Horizon

I’m seeing a shift in how youngsters are using social media. Although they are still using computer technology for 8+ hours each day, many kids these days are telling me that they are on social media much less than in previous years. What an interesting shift in the way they use media these days, I must add! How did that happen, you may be asking? What in the world has happened? In this article, I’m going to write about the reasons why this may be happening. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Millennials are using social media less because the systems they use (instagram, facebook, twitter) are now robust and mature. It is not easy to get likes and comments on these platforms anymore unless you pay a fee. Kids, like you and me, are in search for attention. They aren’t getting the attention they think they deserve on these social media channels anymore. Therefore, we are seeing a decline of use among this population. I kind of predicted this a few years back when I talked about youngsters being hungry for attention before. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to see kids using these tools a bit less for a while but the irony is that they will eventually realize that failing to use them will make them handicapped in the workforce because we aren’t moving back to cable TV for communicating. We are moving towards voice activated technologies to communicate socially now.

Another reason why they aren’t so much on social media is because they are getting sick and depressed from using these tools. Some are even experiencing thoughts of suicide and getting opioids to cope with social media rejection. I have spoken with hundreds of students experiencing these thoughts and can attest to you that this crisis is real. What amazes me, however, is that we aren’t attributing part of how they feel to how parents are raising them. Sure, there seems to have a correlation between social media use and depression. I am wondering if there is also a correlation between helicopter parent behavior and depression, as well. Could it be that both social media and parents doing everything for their kids so they don’t “experience stress” in life is making them more stressed? Think about it.

Listen carefully: People like to blame things in order to not blame themselves. To me, social media and parenting are causing this crisis we are experiencing these days in America but that’s just me. All right, going back to the next reason why kids may be using social media less these days.

Millennials are probably using social media platforms less because of propaganda and recent literature claiming that these tools are bad for them. I wrote two of these books! It is true that most millennials don’t read so they are probably listening to a podcast online or hearing from a friend on snapchat or instagram that using social media too much will make them sick.

Look, I’m glad people are starting to TechnoModerate. If people TechnoModerate, Dr. A wins! Dr. A likes to win! All of these former topics, by the way, only advance what I’ve being saying for years — it is okay to use technology but in moderation.

I think we are going to see a temporary decline in social media use among the youth and that’s a good thing. As soon as people realize that there is a difference between media consumption and media production, we are going to see an increase in social media use among those who produce content. Like with any room of new technology, the beginning of that innovation process is messy. Things are changing may be for the better. I think that our society, for better or for worse, is realizing that all this technology isn’t worth the trouble, you know? I don’t think that computer use will necessarily stop. A big change in social media use is on the horizon! Thank God. 

We Need Stronger Leadership To Turn Mall Operations Around

We Need Stronger Leadership To Turn Mall Operations Around

The infusion of innovation changes the composition of any living system forever. For some reason, we are choosing to ignore the laws of innovation, diffusion and adoption for the sake of technology. The mighty smartphone may have given us some superpowers such as the ability to quickly respond to messages via social media and to share photographs with our kids but it also has helped to kill shopping malls all across America, especially in small towns and cities like ours.

Smartphones are not just killing us. They are killing our malls. When we were younger, people used to go to the mall to walk around, converse, exchange ideas, and buy stuff. Today, very few people go to the malls in small towns and cities and when they go, they go to walk, not to buy. Our ideas are now exchanged on social media. We buy our things on Amazon. By the way, do you know that Toys R Us went out of business? Go figure.

Black Friday is dying. Cyber Monday is expanding. Most mall managers are concerned about these new on-line trends. They have a reason to be concerned, I think. We need to do something about this, ladies and gents. The good news is: I have a solution to this whole mess. Are you willing to hear? Here we go. 

Here is my solution to this whole shopping mall mess in small towns all across America and small cities like ours. First of all, trash the idea that malls are places where people go to buy clothes. This model is approaching death. Why don’t we turn these dinosaur malls into activity malls? Seniors are already walking there anyways, right? Don’t you think that we should expand the offerings and capitalize in what people are asking for? Listen to me: How about if we turn the Bradley County Mall into a facility with a rollerblade hall and an indoor ice skate arena?

By the way, is there a place in town for kids to play especially during winter and early spring? Let me reveal something to you: Parents don’t want to buy clothing and toys for their kids every week. Parents want some sanity after working a long week at work. Turn these dated malls into a kid’s activity place. Maybe mall managers should consider not renewing some of these clothing store contracts which are struggling to be in business anyways with a bumper car arena, an old fashioned arcade, Chuck-E-Cheese, Air Bounce, trampoline, billiards, you name it! We live in a dry county, people. Shouldn’t we make the mall the place for teenagers to go and have date nights? I bet we can turn the finances of these shopping malls around quick. 

Let me say this again: People want an activity mall to take their kids to have fun and get some sanity folks. It is the number one complaint I hear people saying these days.

How do you monetize this idea of having an activity mall, anyways? It is simple. If people want to go to a store only, sell them a ticket for them to go to a store only. Another option? People can pay for an all day pass. People can even buy a yearly pass and enjoy all the activity mall’s activities for a cheaper price. In a couple of years, we may witness the biggest revival in shopping malls this country has ever seen.

We need stronger leadership to turn mall operations around. Let’s not allow our indoor malls to become a place for delinquent people to hang out. I tell you this: Turning the current shopping malls into activity malls will help to destroy the delinquency we now see in shopping malls. Technology may change the composition of a system forever but our ability to adapt and reinvent trumps the side effects that new technologies have on old living systems. Let me say this loud and clear: We can turn these malls around. All we need to do is to think differently, have people on board who believe in the vision, and survive the transition. Are you game to make our town awesome? I am.   

Are You Angry Of Sad? I Can’t Tell

Are You Angry Of Sad? I Can’t Tell

One of the most disturbing side effects of technology of our times is people’s inability to read non-verbal behaviors. Let me make this more sweet and personal. Your grandkids are losing their ability to “read” people because of overuse of that smartphone of theirs. Is it that big of a problem that kids are constantly on their cell phone? Yeah! In fact, I am afraid that our kids will be unable to navigate through life effectively because of their inability to decode facial expressions and gestures.

Listen carefully: Our kids are not able, in a number of instances, to read people in the land of Uncle Sam. This gross lack of face-to-face interaction is having a tremendous impact on how people live and make a living these days, especially children. Lack of rhetorical sensitivity, or people lacking the ability to encode or sometimes state spoken messages will backfire very soon in a city near you. I predict that this lack of basic communication skills is going to eventually turn into a crisis of identity which in itself has a S curve of its own. How ironic? The more technology we have, the lower the ability for people to develop great communication skills. Many people swear that the smartphone is so great for us. I beg to differ.

Look, I am very concerned that the next generation of Cleveland children will be unable to identify critical emotional cues of survival or have the ability to understand the emotions of other people. How can anybody deny that all this technology is causing more damage than good? Another irony of this is that societal and business sustainability is directly related to one’s ability to relate! Transactions, as my colleague Toni once said, isn’t the answer to solving problems in 2018! I agree and completely believe she is totally right about that.

Cleveland, Tennessee! Technology is just a tool nothing more than that! It isn’t the solution to all of our problems and overusing it will, sooner or later, backfire. Technology is destroying the social skills of your children. Let me say this differently: the smartphone has destroyed a generation of future communicators to a point of no return. We are going to read, in five years or so, the tragedy that social media has done to children. I can even see a headline on the banner reading, “As Dr. A Once Said: We Lost A Whole Generation To The Smartphone.”    

Can you imagine your children not being able to distinguish between an angry, sad, or a surprised face? Which implications do you think this can cause? I can think of at least five instances where not being able to distinguish between emotions can handicap your child for life. Think about trust or shall we say one’s lack of ability to judge whether a person is trustworthy or not. I cannot imagine a society where people are unable to differentiate who is suffering or who is celebrating yet we are so close to this reality.

I don’t want my daughter to grow up without knowing how to differentiate emotions. There is no way I will allow her to use the smartphone more than an hour a day. I refuse to do it. In my household we value reading and speaking not spending hours on end on social media. My wife and I are in agreement that our daughter Sophia must be able to develop the required skills to differentiate between emotions. She needs to know when daddy is happy or sad for her benefit.

Ladies and gentleman, we live in a weird world where we are allowing a microchip to destroy our society from within — all in the name of technology. I know that most of you agree with me because we have had so many conversations around town about technology which by the way, I thank you for it. We are in this boat together, Cleveland. Your children and grandchildren deserve better! They need mommy and grammy to play with them and teach them non-verbal behaviors so that they can develop great social skills. They don’t need more technology to make them more blind. Block technology once in a while! Your kid will thank you later in life.

Jealousy and Gratitude Don’t Mix

Jealousy and Gratitude Don’t Mix

I am grateful for being alive and having the privilege to write about technology for you. We are what we think and being thankful for the great things that God gives us in life is a requirement for the longtime sustainability of blessings. Sure, technology has made us more connected to each other but at the expense of gratitude. Let me explain.

Families and friends can now connect and network with each other quite easily on social media platforms like facebook and instagram, and that’s wonderful. When I connected with my friend Rodrigo Gracie (yeah, the Jiu-Jitsu MMA fighter) back in 2014, I experienced a true sense of nostalgia. It is not everyday that you find a childhood buddy from elementary school who is now a world renowned celebrity. Social media developers, kudos to you! From this standpoint, technology is awesome.

Unfortunately, connecting with old friends comes at the expense of losing gratitude. Most of what we read on-line is a collection of narcissistic self-centered statements that are rarely directed at the well being of others. That’s a problem. If people chose not to be grateful, chances are high that people won’t get living faith and without living faith, ladies and gentleman… people cannot get wealthy. At least, this is what Wallace Wattles states in his book, The Science of Getting Rich published in 1910. 

Technology empowered us to express ourselves at the expense of increasing confrontation. Do you really think that people care about what people share? I bet you that writing a post like this, “Today, I just got a promotion at work! Woo hoo!” will do more damage than good. Look, people get jealous about success. I don’t remember the last time I’ve heard anyone writing the following when visiting Cancun, “I want to thank my peers for covering for me while we take our vacation in Mexico! We couldn’t be here without your help.”

Most people don’t care about what people post on facebook unless the post relates to them. The main reason why this is the case is because gratitude is seldom seen in modern day facebook. When people share too many successful posts, be ready to get a combination of jealousy and competition, two very destructive things when not controlled.

The most heated conflicts I’ve witnessed in my life come from close relatives or friends who expressed themselves in too competitive a tone. Statements like, “Today, I got another promotion. Lucky to be me!” tend to generate silent wars among people regardless of culture. The closer a person is too you, the more issues these kind of statements tend to cause.

Real enemies are born out of ungratefulness. Social media blows these problems up. 

I would much rather engage with gratitude off-line than by constantly posting content about me on-line. Most people just don’t relate to “I statements” because it’s not about them. It is just a reality.

The question then is: Which benefit would any person gain by using more technology at the expense of losing gratitude? Not too many. Technology has empowered people to chose egoism over grace which I personally think is a big mistake. Be cautious with writing about yourself on-line. Be grateful.   

Plato once said that “a grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts in itself great things.” If what Plato said is relevant in today’s society and if social media makes us less grateful, them by logic — we are going to receive lower things. I don’t know about you but I enjoy the great things in life. No technology will ever persuade me from changing my thoughts about that.

I value gratitude. Valuing gratitude is human, reasonable, and required. I am not aware of anybody who got anywhere in life without the assistance of gratitude. Listen carefully: People get jealous when you constantly share success stories about yourself on-line. In the end, self promotion on social media only causes you trouble. The more you do it, the more headaches you get. If I had to choose between technology and gratefulness, I would choose gratefulness 100% of the time. Why? Because it doesn’t backfire.

Smartphone Addiction Is Real

Smartphone Addiction Is Real

We really have a big problem. In these past three years, I have heard too many folks saying that they want to give-up using their smartphones excessively because deep in their hearts they believe that the machine is making them and their relatives sick, yet they simply can’t. I don’t blame them for wanting to live a life of technomoderation, though. As a matter of fact, who wants to be a slave to the smartphone anyways? I don’t. Yet, for some giving up their smartphone use for a few hours a day is impossible.

What a tragedy! It is definitely possible for people to give up their smartphone a few hours each day as long as people aren’t diagnosed with cell phone addition. The issue, ladies and gentleman, is that too many of our compatriots simply don’t know they have smartphone addiction.

Let me remind you of some important statistics. Do you know that people check their smartphones an average of 110 times each day? 40% of people use their smartphones while on the toilet, 12% use their smartphones in the shower (unreal, isn’t it?), and 1 in 5 adults use their computerized devices while having sexual relations. It is not over — 56% of parents check their smartphones while driving and 75% of people have admitted to texting at least once while driving. Let me say this loud and clear. Our society is in trouble largely because of the smartphone.

Citizens of Cleveland, Tennessee, we must wake up from this modern day nightmare because if we don’t, we are going to lose another generation of Americans. We already lost one and can’t afford to lose one more. We can start fixing this problem by identifying that we are in fact conditioned to use these tech gadgets to a point of no return. Here is my advice: If you see your kid, daughter, grandson or wife constantly connected, sit down with them, have a serious conversation with them about addiction, and make an effort to seek a psychologist and work out a plan to help them to get out of this situation.   

This is the reality of our times my fellow Americans. If people want something badly enough, typically people get what they want within reason but not when fighting an addiction. I am not tired of hearing people complaining and finding excuses for why they can’t fight this monster we call the smartphone. The reality today is that people don’t wan’t to take action about their chosen behavior, even though they recognize that the behavior they engage in isn’t good for them.

I wish that our situation was different today but isn’t. Here is what I think. Listen carefully: If you really believe that staying on a machine for 9 hours a day is bad for you, get away from it without regrets. If you can’t, seek help. You only live once! We might as well live a good life of moderation and reason. Doesn’t that make sense? Good! I heard you saying, “YES, Dr. A!”

I know this proposition is complicated. It is common sense but it will take effort in order to make it work. I don’t know about you but in my book, when I put my mind into something, usually I get what I want. People should be able to get what they want by better understanding their circumstances. You deserve better, trust me. We have no other option anymore other than fighting heads on this smartphone addiction epidemic.

I will leave this article with my motto, “Use technology but in moderation.” If you can’t, please realize that you aren’t alone. Millions of people are struggling with a wide variety of technological side effects and quite frankly, they are in the same boat as you. The good news is this. We can turn this whole technological addiction around by understanding the need to seek guidance from a psychology professional when required. That’s what I think.

No More Robocalls, Please

No More Robocalls, Please

Let me reveal something to you. I don’t get annoyed about things in life all that often. You know? I’m a Christian male who has a very high tolerance for stupidity and ignorance. I must admit, life is so much more than letting small things affect you in the long term. I’m not saying, however, that I never get annoyed by dumb things in life. I do get annoyed by stupid stuff sometimes. Let me share one thing that annoys me quite a lot. Robocalls!

You may be wondering. What in the world is a robocall? Ladies and gentleman, a robocall is a phone call that uses an automated auto dialer to leave people a pre-recorded message. Telemarketing companies are using robocalls like crazy, Cleveland, Tennessee. How do I know about it? It seems that half of the robocalls received in the south comes directly to my phone line! Man, I’m getting an average of 7-10 of these calls a day! Mr. Robocall “Annoying As Heck” Operator Machine is literally driving me crazy. What can I say? 

“Thank you for being a part of our family… we know you’re busy but if you could please take a few minutes and log in at…” Stop calling me! I don’t want to buy insurance from you! Jeez. Living in a technopoly has its perks but man — robocalls are so annoying. I’m still a member of the do not call list! Oh I see, I see. Companies using robocalls are violating the telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and I must tell you, it is driving me totally crazy. These automated phone calls aren’t annoying to me only, by the way.

There are 147 million of them a day. The federal trade commission receives 50,000 complaints against robocalls every day. Holy cow, this is insane! I don’t blame the 50,000K people who complain about it. Just because we have the technology to call people and invade their privacy doesn’t mean that we should use this technology. I wish I had better news for you but this issue is only getting worse. To my misery, this robocall technology is widely available now. Automated telephone dialing systems suck, I must add. I can’t wait for the FCC to fully regulate their use somehow so this madness stops. I think we need a full FCC intervention. Some companies that use robocall technology has been fined by other organizations. I think this number is only going to increase. People are constantly seeking a way to use more technology to solve their problems. Remember this — Technology may help you to live a better life but the impact it has on people can be quite damaging.

Listen to me: Use technology moderately and let people call people in opportune times. Telemarketing companies, let me ask you a question. Do you really think that people will stop their suppers to listen to an automated message? In my household, I can guarantee you that our family won’t interact with anything technological during dinner time. Give me a break, bro… seriously. Can I eat in peace please?

Almost 6 billion robocalls were placed back in October of 2018. It is 2000 of them per second. That’s crazy but is also very real. Some companies have the gift to push loyal clients away because of technology. Just because a particular technology is widely available doesn’t mean that we need that technology anyway. Tell me about it.

At any rate, say no to robocalls! Unless you are interested in letting an electronic device control you. Let me make a pubic statement. The machine will never control me and frankly, I don’t think it should control you either. Robocalls are here to stay. I do understand the former statement. Just because this technology exists,  we must then use it.   Since October of last year, there has been billions of automated phone calls a day. That’s crazy. Thank God we have people with common sense in this world and who are willing to speak his/her voice on behalf of the truth. As I always say, “Use technology in moderation.” In the end, you will thank me.    

Break To Make It Better

Break To Make It Better

Let me shock some of you today. Sometimes, pain and suffering is good for you. Wait! Don’t go crazy and damage your body before reading what I am going to write next. We need to be reasonable, ok? Let me explain: Many times, people get better by experiencing a traumatic event such as getting trigger point treatment in a massage session, by re-breaking a bone, or burning out from the computer after years of engaging in bad behavior. Pain and suffering is necessary for things to get better in life. Don’t believe me? Go ask an economist if reducing interest rates is always the best course of action in an economic recession.

Let’s not forget how pain and suffering can help students. Without reading books and spending countless hours memorizing and applying knowledge gained, students won’t complete their college degrees and guess what? They won’t build the necessary skill sets they must have in order to succeed in life. When students go to a college or university, they aren’t only learning course content. The better ones understand that by pain and suffering, they are building resilience to face adversity in life, which is, in my opinion, worth 15 thousand dollars a year.

Most PhD’s have to experience pain and suffering when pursuing their PhD’s in graduate school, when going through the process of tenure, and when writing a book or two in their careers. When we use technology excessively, we get both positive and negative feelings. Back in 2011, I got a severe burnout from using tech devices non-stop. Although I got clinically sick from it, I’ve come to learn that experiencing pain and suffering from overusing computerized devices was actually good for me, after all. It has helped me to wake up from this modern day nightmare and create a research agenda addressing the danger of these tools in society. Since then, I have spoken on the topic with over 22 million people including you! Experiencing pain and suffering as far as technology use is concerned maybe good for you.

Do you think that I don’t know? What I am writing right now isn’t popular but I know that some of you agree with me. Why? Because what I am writing in here is real. Listen carefully: Failing to keep things real backfires. Remember: Pain and suffering is part of life. Do me a favor: Get a copy of this article and give it to your grandkids. They need to read this.

Many people have to break an old wound in order to make it heal better and stronger than before. It is no different when it comes to technology. People aren’t facing the pain and suffering that is required for people to stop using their smartphones excessively. If we break a bone in our body and this bone doesn’t set correctly, many doctors would recommend re-breaking the bone in order to fix it. In the end, induced pain and suffering will be better for the person as his leg won’t hurt as bad anymore. Facing our addiction to technology head on is a must if we are to live a good life. It will hurt less in the long run.   

Very few people in our society want to face smartphone pain and suffering today. How can we

fix our TechnoCrazy problem, then? We won’t, I bet. From this standpoint, burning out from the computer doesn’t seem to be a bad idea. I know and you know, as well. Not too many people will be able to deal with this idea that experiencing the pain and suffering of a burn out will be good for them in the long run. I understand… yet, I bet that this former solution would be more beneficial to them than the alternative.

We all experience pain and suffering in life. In 2018, we need to realize this more than ever. It is okay to experience some pain, suffering, or both in order to gain control of your life against technology. A burn out is a small price to pay for regaining control of yourself. If we have to pay this price to regain our humanity, so be it.

Fake Is Everywhere

Fake Is Everywhere

Let me reveal something to you. I spent two years of my life infiltrating social media communities to literally find out what these kids were up to. This article is going to be about what I’ve found in this investigation. It will focus on the social media platform, instagram for simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Kids are faking, or shall we say cheating, their way into fame. There are systems out there that can give “immediate fame” to those who are willing to buy it. Let me give you an example. I’ve met at least 100 people in social media who is using the app ‘autolike’ and celebrating the fact that their accounts now receive thousands of likes per post. This app gives people the impression of being popular without having the popularity. How do I know it works or is real? Because I’ve tried it with my account a number of times to test this thing. It is real… it works. Be very careful with what you see out there. All this technology has made me distrust what I see on-line. People are faking everywhere.

Conglomerates are forming to collaborate on spamming techniques. You heard that right. People are getting together to engage in spamming to grow their accounts and make themselves more popular. DM groups, as it is referred, is now being used extensively by millions of accounts on instagram in order to trick the system’s algorithm into believing that these spam accounts are more populated than they are. These communities meet 6 times a day, under different names, possessing a wide variety of characteristics that you must met in order to join them. They operate on a kind of, “the more the better” mindset. Do you have a 100K fake follower account, we want you! Jeez, this is the reality out there fellas. Organized spamming happens on facebook, telegram, and many other public applications. How do I know it works? You know it, right? I joined them and played with their systems. Does it work? Oh yeah.

Secrecy is at an all time high on-line. The good stuff is only being shared by a few. Nobody wants these secrets to be revealed in great detail and most want you to be clueless about it. Why? Well, because they can say to you… I can make you go viral! Give me $150 a month and I will make this work for you. The more ignorant you are about this new stuff we call social media, the better for them. There are millions of people making a living with this garbage, I must add. Some are even making a living writing books about this stuff. How do I know this? I bought a “secrets” book for $19.95. It was all there. I mean… the main ideas.

Before I forget, let me give you an app that reveals the amount of fake followers an instagram account has and also provides the expected likes and comments an account should have. It is called IG audit. Inflated numbers of likes and comments against the expected value of engagement as we say indicate participation in these activities I’ve just mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3.

This is also what I’ve found out in my quest to better understand the social media community.  A degree of “fake” is expected and considered acceptable by these groups because the “like” factor tends to generates more likes. Let me say this differently… The more popular one appears to be tends to result in more people thinking that they are indeed popular.I know, it is weird. It actually reminds me of how life is in Brazil. It is all about rumors. If it appears to be, then it must be, type of thing.

There are too many communities forming out there to make them appear popular/likable to you. Question them first before accepting it at face value. Chances are very high that their accounts are being inflated. Like anything in life, it takes time to build anything of value. Social media is no different. Fake, group spam, and secrecy are running wild in cyberspace. Here is my advice to you: Doubt first before believing what you see in these social media communities.

Cyber Daycare 1.0

Cyber Daycare 1.0

Technology has caused way too many side effects in our lives. Some of these side effects include eye strain, anxiety, neck pain and, of course… self centeredness. It is very common for us to hear the following rhetoric these days on Facebook, “I must work on my social media presence,” “I am heading out again,” or “I am going to make my life better.” We hear the word “I” everywhere, much like when we were babies. Could it be that all these social media technologies are turning our society into a big cyber daycare? Absolutely! Think about it.

The beginning of wisdom is the recognition that God is in control of our lives. Glory, ladies and gentleman is to always be given to God. At least, this is what Christianity teaches us, right? The former is the beginning of wisdom and maturity. Not sure if this “I” business is doing us any good on Instagram, Vine, Twitter… It most definitely isn’t making people more mature, that’s for sure. Have you read what so many people write on these platforms nowadays? Do yourself a favor: Log into Facebook tonight, read and pay attention to how childish most of posts are. It’s an epidemic of immaturity forever recorded and often elevated on-line. It is kindergarten 2.0.

Social media enables us to prolong our childhood for the sake of technology! Meaningless. 

Are we going mad? No. Maybe, we’re going way too secular, or shall we say, non-Christian. What good are we doing by spending hours on end writing frivolous things about ourselves on-line? Let me break this to you: We are doing very little good.

Life is about glorifying God and showing love towards your neighbor. When was the last time that any of you read the following on Facebook, “Thank God for His mercy. We aren’t anything without Him,” or “To God goes all the glory.” This big international kindergarten we call social media is distracting us from what matters the most in our lives. God! Open your eyes to reality.

Listen carefully: It isn’t uncommon to read social media posts and witness people calling others’ names, being vain, and ignoring some to get approval or gain access to a special little group at others’ expenses, which is really infantile. Stop! Wake up! God is the center of your life not you or me or your dad. All these technologies are destroying us from within and impacting how we communicate with our soul. Life is so much more than a collection of tweets about you or me.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that “When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.” Why are so many  grown ups and organizations, many of them religious based, literally saying, “Look at me!” “I am wonderful.” “Come see me!”

It is getting old, people. It is cute to see a baby growing up and thinking that life is all about them when we know better. It isn’t cute witnessing people in their 50’s saying how great they are and the games the play with others for self gain without giving any glory to God when many claim to be believers. In the old days, we had a different method for fixing wrong attitudes. By telling people, “grow up.” We lost that.

You are not that important. If you die tomorrow, how many people will attend your funeral? Social media many times gives us the illusion that we are great when in reality, we aren’t. And in fact, those who claim that they are wonderful are often less paramount than you and me.

Look, it isn’t that complicated. We are to make God the center of your universe and subordinate technology to where it belongs. Our society is becoming a colossal kindergarten because of all these technologies. Let’s stop this madness and grow up, people. First grade is around the corner! It is time for us to realize that we aren’t the center of anything and that social media use isn’t all that great for us, either. Remember: You aren’t five. You are an adult. Act like it.

Digital Appearances Are Deceiving Too

Digital Appearances Are Deceiving Too

It’s virtually impossible to really know what people are up to based on what they post on twitter. In this article, I will explain to you why the former is true with a touch of Dr. A’s personality.

Ladies and gents, let’s get real. People use a mask in public and in cyberspace. If a person is sharing happy looking pictures on instagram all the time, chances are that they are de facto sad not happy most if not all the time. People often share the opposite of what they are really thinking. People may even compensate for being sad by posting happy content. Let me give you another example. If a person decides to engage in a rant conversation with a colleague or a friend online, chances are that this person is probably afraid to engage in a face-to-face conversation with somebody. As you, me and all the Tennessee Titans Fans know, most people put a mask when they behave in public. Do you think that facebook is any different? Please.

We all know that, don’t we? Why pretend then? Or assume one thing and ignore what we know about how we typically behave in public? Listen to Dr. A: Who cares what people think of you on facebook. You must live your life and make these social media networks be subordinated to you. You won’t gain anything by playing Nostradamus based on what people post on instagram. The only thing you will gain are the headaches of gossip which is an activity condemned by God.

Let’s get real here. How do you really know what people are feeling or thinking if intonations and variations in voice pitch, for example, aren’t being shared in social media posts anyways? See why it isn’t possible to guess who people really are online? Look, there are so many ways a person can misinterpret another person’s message on instagram that it isn’t even funny. Which body language is a person using when they “communicate” with you on linkedIn? Well, we don’t really know, do we? It is only by speaking face-to-face with somebody that you can be sure of what they are trying to communicate to you and others. I’m convinced of that.

There are so many people today investigating people’s facebook accounts these days and forming opinions about them based on what they post on a blog without having a clue about what their true intent for posting that piece of content was. It’s an epidemic. It is such a common practice that I have a micro system who checks who is actually looking at my profile on a daily basis. I’m watching you! 

It isn’t easy to “know” who people are simply by sneakily going to a person’s facebook page and analyze what they post. People may have an idea who the person is or may be but I’m doubtful that a person can really know who people truly are by doing a content analysis of what people share online.  People post content for different reasons.One of my buddies in Brazil shares jokes on a daily basis on his facebook. Does this behavior make him a social media clown? I don’t think so. Not to me. I know him better.

Remember: Not everything you see is what it seems. Social media isn’t any different. Just because a person posts too many times on facebook doesn’t mean that he or she is self centered. Maybe, they are sharing more content because their parents want to see more photos of their children on their wall. Perhaps, people don’t post as much because they hate technology. Maybe they made a vow to technomoderate that year. How can people really know, right?

Be careful with assumptions. They tend to backfire. I honestly don’t think that anybody can truly guess who people are online without knowing who they are offline. People can try but they will fall short. The complexities of communication and human behavior can’t be diminished to a level of perishable machinery.  We are humans! We are living systems! Knowing how people really are is dependent on other variables not found in cyberspace and that’s a fact.

The Expense of Social Media

The Expense of Social Media

How can I start writing this article, ladies and gentleman? All right, let me try answering this former question by saying this, “It is highly unlikely that social media will make people famous in any platform without people having a constant budget in the thousands and a group of talented media people to create awesome social media content. I am hearing little Johnie saying out loud on main street near Gardner’s Market, “Dr. A! How can that be? Didn’t Justin Bieber go viral because of youtube back in the day? Don’t people get famous all the time in social media? Well, let me clarify something for you little Johny. Let’s start with Justin Bieber — he became famous after a talent manager discovered him on youtube and then brought him out of the medium to mainstream society to scale his brand. The best way to answer the second question is to ask you the following, fellow compatriot. Who do you know who has gone viral on any social media platform without the assistance from either an influencer or a big budget these days? Probably zero.

Let me make a long story short for you guys. Knowing how to set a social media plan and policy, including the must needed social media tactics and techniques sections, is a must these days. However, just because we can design and develop social media campaigns incorporating tactics and techniques doesn’t mean that these campaigns are free of charge. It is much easier to scale operations for social media for an organization, when people are working with a group of eighteen. The reality, however, is that most people don’t have enough resources, both human and capital, in order to scale their social media accounts to the point of going viral. Can your neighbor go viral on youtube after recording his male cat doing something out of the ordinary in his kitchen? Everything is possible people but the chances of this happening organically is just very unlikely.     

Now, let me ask you this — Do you have a team of three to help you advance your brand in social media? How much money do you have to assist you with your brand on-line? It is no accident that a number of organizations in our region knock on my door asking for assistance with social media related work because, guess what, it is expensive! In fact, it is very expensive. How expensive you may be asking. Well it is $70 per month in order to manage your instagram account; Another 149 dollars a month in order to do analytics correctly… Oops, We are already at $220 a month! Shall we continue? I don’t think so! You got the idea. We haven’t even talked about content.

Dude, even when technology tools are given for free they aren’t really “free.” No wonder why millions of Americans are getting literally sick because of technology as many believe that they can actually do all this work without funding and human resources. Don’t be like them! Nobody can spend seventeen hours a day in front of a machine in order to build the social media presence we all are being asked to do. What the “public” is asking you to do on-line isn’t possible to accomplish without experiencing severe side effects. I am starting to believe that you may be better by not owning a smartphone. Question. Why do you need a smartphone at home if you pay for that internet access? I bet you have a computer at home in addition to your iPhone. Am I wrong about this? If I am right, Isn’t that double dipping?

Social media work is expensive despite the fact that most tools are free. Today, in order for youth to be visible in social media, you need to pay and engage. Engagement is both a lot of work and it demands long hours of work 24/7 meaning that at 3:30am, you may need to wake up to engage with an important follower. Is this how you want to live your life? I don’t. The social media of today is more sophisticated. Spend your time offline getting to know influencers instead. I bet that your chances of going viral will exponentially increase after you practice your human skills more. Just saying…

Giving Up Your DNA Ain’t Worth it

Giving Up Your DNA Ain’t Worth it

I grew up in an era where privacy was something that we guarded. It seems that these days are gone. Today, most people share everything about their lives, display their phone numbers and home addresses in social media platforms, and to make things weirder, Americans are now giving up their DNA privacy. But for what reason you may be asking. For the sake of technology, silly!

Wait, what? So Dr. A, are you telling me that people these days are freely giving their DNA information up which can then provide insurance companies the likely illnesses they will have in their lifetime in order to find out their ancestry? Thats exactly what I am saying.

People are paying companies to literally find out the composition of what makes their eyes blue or their lips thick or thin… Is finding out that you are 2% Japanese, 1% Scottish and 75% German worth of selling your DNA? Wake up Cleveland, TN.

In the 50s, people were concerned about Big Brother and now we are essentially giving Big Brother our genetic blueprints for the sake of technology. Go figure.

It isn’t over. DNA data also discloses your hair color, your gender… Listen carefully: People are giving up the blueprint of themselves nowadays. Scary, isn’t it? What in the world people! People are giving these DNA Kit companies everything about themselves and putting them at risk. Sorry — That’s dumb. When is Christ coming? Soon, I bet. 

Let me put this I’m perspective. By making your DNA public, I bet that insurance companies are going to use your info against you and avoid coverage based on a pre-existing condition that is backed by DNA data? Uh oh. Now, you see why this scares me a bit. These DNA kits, which is modern technology applied on steroids, will have a negative impact on your life long term. 

Let me tell you one more thing. If you already have given your DNA privacy away, game is over. Too bad. I say this: Giving up your DNA privacy is worse than getting a tattoo because differently than a getting a tattoo, DNA results can’t be erased. I get worse.

Companies will find a way to profit from your data. Pay attention to what I’m going to tell you next. In fact, do me a favor. Call your spouse right now so he or she can hear what I’m going to what I’m going to say. Do what you can to be more human. Value of privacy. Make technology subordinate to you. We aren’t living in the old Soviet Union where the private life was dead. We live in America, the land where people value privacy. Well, at least that’s what we believe in theory, right?

Now, seriously. I’m very concerned about what these DNA kits will do to people’s finances and health. In addition to the fiasco that this new technology can do to your insurance policy, I’m afraid that you may also experience the following side effects of this technology in your life — How about the anxiety that these DNA kits will generate for people when they discover that they have a pre-disposition to getting cancer? People will be able to find you because of your DNA, which is both a blessing and a curse. I don’t even want to go further with the possibilities.

It’s very scary but real.

You know, I have been writing for the Banner for over a year and I must admit in this column that this topic is making me very uncomfortable as I write it. I think it is too much for me to handle because I can see how people’s lives could be affected for the worst. Man, can you imagine being rejected for a brain tumor operation in 2035 on the basis of a DNA test done 18 years back? It will happen.

I want to keep my DNA private and you should do the same. Be very careful to not give your life away for the sake of technology. It isn’t worth the price, thats for sure. Remember this article next time you consider giving your DNA away. Your DNA privacy is to be kept intact, period.

A Handful Determines Your Fate

A Handful Determines Your Fate

One of the most disturbing facts about technology is that it can take away jobs from good people. There is little doubt that technology has been replacing people in the workforce for the past 50 years. In this article, I will present the argument that technology, in itself, is only as damaging as the people who make the decisions for its adoption. Listen carefully: One of the main reasons why technology is replacing jobs is because a small group of people is determining the fate of many.

At least this is what economist Richard Wolff has been claiming. What a tragic reality, ladies and gentleman! In order to save our capitalist system and make the workforce more democratic, the people working in the enterprise should have as much voice as the very few who make these decisions.

Do you know that in big organizations, decisions about replacing people with technology lies in the hands of a few? How do I know this is factual? I happen to be a minority stockholder at Brazilian Petroleum (PBR), a state oil subsidiary down in South America. Do I have a vote in what happens at PBR? In theory I do but in practice, only the majority stockholders and a small board of directors have a say in what the organization will do. So, if this tiny group of people decides that technology should replace 7 people, then people are fired and technology is adopted regardless of whether people are consulted about the decision or not. I know that this isn’t anything new to a lot of you but I bet that this information is new to some of you. Technology, when used in excess, is a problem. Power, when given in excess to a small group of people, is dangerous.     

I wonder how many people in Cleveland are affected by the nature of our current corporate system. I don’t know how many of you are impacted by the decisions of a few but what I do know is that the lack of democratic systems to protect workers against automation impact millions of Americans every day. What a tragedy, I must add. Let me say this. The route of our automation craze is deeply routed in neoclassical economics.

Neoclassical economics, or the idea that prices, outputs and income distributions are determined by supply and demand is at the core of why people have lost a lot to a machine. Let me explain this to you. Let’s take the example of the automobile industry— As global demand for the automobile increases due to changes in import tariff in third world countries, the higher the car supply. GM then needs to produce more cars. By replacing human labor with robots, GM can keep prices lower, increase output, and maximize profit. It’s how it works, lads. This is why people don’t make too much money working for GM or other auto manufacturers. If there are less jobs available for people to get, the lower the salary. No wonder why Detroit, once a gem of American modernity, is now the worse big city for people to live in.

If a small group of people decides that the enterprise should use more technology and less people, there is very little that we can do today to stop that. In the current system we live in today, the worker has no power to control his own destiny which in fact has a direct impact in a number of micro systems including real estate, banking, education, and many more. Who in their right mind would buy a house in any community without thinking about the risks associated with losing a job? I understand that people may not make decisions based on assessment of risks. There are a lot of people who make decisions based on emotion. No wonder why we have so many bankruptcy lawyers advertising their services here in Cleveland, have you noticed that?

It is in the best interest of our town to have democratic decision making. We should be able to make our own decisions about what will affect us. This idea that only a few people decide the fate of many is undemocratic. We are going to see more people being replaced by technology under this current system. Remember that.

E-Cigarettes Anyone?

E-Cigarettes Anyone?

Teens are vaping their brains out, ladies and gentleman.  What do I mean by that? Your grandchildren are smoking their brains out with e-cigarettes, citizens of Cleveland, TN. There is a vaping epidemic in our region and beyond and guess what? I think that we have this problem because of technology.

All these technologies, like e-cigarettes, can be quite destructive especially if they serve as an escape mechanism for these kids. Listen to me: Your grandkids are vaping their brains out because of all the technology they consume daily and because most of you have given your sons and daughters technologies to occupy their time. Do you know what I hear the most in my office at the university? This is what I hear, “Dr. A, I just want to relate to people.” Go figure!

What the kids really want is to talk to other people. The kids want to talk with others and when they fall short of achieving such an endeavor, they vape and vape a lot. Vaping is an industry understand that. I bet that the drug dealers are aware of this, as well. Are you still ignorant about it? 

Look, vaping, to me at least, is a consequence of kids using too much technology in society people. It is a consequence of living a life on the edge, full of stress without having anywhere to go. Technology when used without control, will have these side effects. According to my research, Americans are somewhere within the human robot syndrome phase of the human robot cycle. If my conclusions happen to be true, this means that we are almost to a point of total burn out in society which to me at least, has too many negative consequences.

I think that vaping is just one way in which teenagers and young adults express their “human robot behaviors” publicly in our town. Human beings were not made to be on the computer all the time! Consuming too much technology will backfire. As I always say, “Use technology but in moderation.” Don’t give your pearls to the pigs. If you see your kid vaping, evaluate your own technology use behaviors and try to correct them. I bet that your grandkids vape and use all these technologies because your children did it first.

Am I saying that the main problem are your kids and not your grandkids? That’s exactly what I’m saying. Let’s not forget that people learn through role modeling. Parents are role models! Your kids modeled you. Your grandkids modeled your kids. If your grandkids are vaping like a maniac, I bet that you had something to do with it. Behaviors are often acquired by association. Remember: Your actions do have an impact in the life of others.

Technology can be both sweet and sour. It can be so good to make our lives easier and more convenient but it can also turn our kids and grandkids into addicted beings desperate for the next high. It is such a tragedy what we are witnessing these days with this whole vaping thing. Just keep in mind that vaping isn’t the cause. It is the consequence of overuse of technology.

Now, let me ask you this, is it worth losing a generation to e-cigarettes for the sake of technology? I don’t think so. Human life is so much more precious than perishable machines like cigarettes and motherboards. You know what? Maybe I’m just a romantic living in this crazy world we call, “The modern world.”

As much as I hate writing this, I don’t think that vaping will cease anytime soon in our community and beyond. The kids are hooked on this modern day tobacco thing. The difference is that technology overuse is being the fuel behind this massive adoption of vapor in our society. I wonder what will be next. Well, I just don’t wanna know!

Teens are vaping their brains out, ladies and gentleman. In my view, vaping is somehow related to overuse of technology in or society. E-Cigarettes can cause a lot of grief for teenagers in Bradley county and we need to be aware of it. Just because something is technological doesn’t make it good or better. That’s for sure.

Loneliness For The Sake Of Technology

Loneliness For The Sake Of Technology

Even though we have all these technologies available in our fingertips, people are more lonely than ever. It isn’t uncommon for folks to spend hours on social media and be highly depressed off-line. The indices of loneliness in America are so high that many are now looking for a minister of loneliness in order to help them to cope with this very sad reality we live these days. 

Listen to me. All these technologies are making you living a worse life. Lately, I’ve heard people in Cleveland saying the following: Having a child is too much work. I don’t want to spend time outside social media because it is so much more convenient to chat with people on-line than to engage in conversations off-line. Why would anybody waste their time building a family. It is too expensive! I couldn’t believe my ears. Am living in a nightmare or is this the society we live in these days? I am afraid that we are living in the second option, ladies and gentleman.

The smartphone is destroying us from within, literally. The amount of people who have thousands of “friends” on facebook yet are paying for others to cuddle with them on Friday evenings is increasing by the day. How ironic, isn’t it? The more social media we use, the less human contact we get and therefore the more human contact people need. In trueness, what I am writing in this article isn’t that surprising as lack of human contact will eventually drive people bananas. We were not made to live in isolation as a species. Only a madman or woman would allow him or herself to live a life with technology this way. The relational side effects that we are witnessing in social media nowadays are real. I am afraid that our society will grow smaller and colder in personality because of these absurd levels of technological use.

Wouldn’t it make way more sense to use technology less, meet more people off-line and grow a family so that when people get old, they have someone to care for them? Come on people. It isn’t that complicated, you know? Yet, people are complicating their own lives for the sake of technology everywhere, including in our small city. Social media is quickly turning into a cancer in our society. Why are we allowing cyberspace to consume our lives and make us less social?

I don’t know about you but to me, this is all non-sense. Have we gone mad or something? Maybe I am a bit too old school and believe in God, family, and good manners. There is just no way that in my household we are going to fold to the dangers of social media including this latest trend of loneliness. I may say A and you might reply with B sometimes but in the end, I argue, we better get along well and live in community advancing our innate need to procreate and live in harmony. Isn’t that what God has asked us to do anyways? 

Say no to technological isolation and the idea that social media connections are de facto close connections. Here is what I think. Live your life as if there is no tomorrow. Go meet people and expand your social capital off-line. Have an on-line presence and chat with people in social media in moderation. Go to church, meet a mate, work hard and smart and start a family. Glorify God and help others. By doing these common sense activities, you will help yourself in the process and I can almost guarantee that you won’t be lonely. Remember: You only live once, buddy. You might as well be reasonable and don’t assume that your facebook connections are really your friends.

Listen carefully: It ain’t worth the trouble to believe that all these technologies will make you more popular or together. Sherry Turkle, MIT professor coined the term, alone together for a reason. Just because something is permissible doesn’t make it beneficial. Go meet people offline and live your live to the fullest. As I always say, “use social media but in moderation.” You don’t deserve to be lonely for the sake of technology. Got it?    

COLLEGE PROFESSOR RELEASES EP WITH EMMY AWARD WINNER ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND DIVERSITY

COLLEGE PROFESSOR RELEASES EP WITH EMMY AWARD WINNER ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND DIVERSITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/16/2018

COLLEGE PROFESSOR RELEASES EP WITH EMMY AWARD WINNER ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND DIVERSITY

Cleveland, TN: Dr. Luis Camillo Almeida has released an Extended Play (EP) album titled, “Let’s Do Better” with Emmy Award Winner and multiple times Grammy Nominee, Dr. Jose Valentino Ruiz, containing four tracks relating to modern technology and diversity of thinking.   

“It’s time for us to do something about this overuse of technology in our society and diversity in the workforce. We have so many people depressed these days which just can’t happen anymore. Creating this spoken word album is important to me because it is so practical,” says Almeida. 

“TechnoModeration, is an obligation, machine replaces man, it’s an abomination… we’re in desperation for human relations, don’t let machines replace homo sapiens…” quoted from the rap in the EP. “It is very difficult for a diverse team leader to get his diverse team members to go for the same goal without taking a shared governance approach…”quoted from a spoken word track in the EP dealing with diversity in the workforce. 

“I take my job very seriously. I decided to create this EP to have a good conversation with the public about issues of technology overuse and diversity in our society. I feel that there is a big void there,” says Almeida.  

A newspaper columnist known for his provocative stance he calls “TechnoModeration” – the philosophy proposing that people must moderate their use of technology to live a better life and contributor to Lifehack on issues of diversity and leadership, Almeida is more than just technology. He is proud to be a human being who is vocal about what he believes in.

Almeida is inviting Tennesseans to be more aware about the dangers of technology and to be more sensitive about the issues of diversity in leadership in our region and beyond. The EP is currently available for download at iTunes.

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Technology Is Bankrupting Us

Technology Is Bankrupting Us

Technology is nickel and dime-ing us. Modern American living requires families to have three flat screen televisions, multiple smartphones, a laptop, maybe a tablet, fast internet, cable, appliances, along with services and more. Have you calculated how much money all this technology is costing you? No wonder why so many people now live with their parents after graduating from colleges and universities.

Let me make it simple for you to see what I am seeing. Three smart flat screen televisions on sale at Best Buy cost our family $2500. They were the middle of the line model Insigna Brand. We own our smartphones now but it cost us $750. All right, I am a media professor so my computer isn’t cheap as I literally use my MacBook pro 7 days a week multiple hours a day. Let’s add an additional $1600 to the bill. Let’s keep counting, ladies and gentleman.

I own an iPad. Cost? $500. We pay a monthly fee for internet access along with a basic television package and it costs us $115 each month totaling $1380 each year. If we multiple our cost of internet and cable alone by 10, in a decade, our family spent $13800 on cable and internet access alone! It isn’t over: Our appliances are also expensive. We have spend $1200 on a washer and dryer. After all, I am a son of God and deserve to have some technology to help me with cleaning my clothes while I am at work. Let’s not forget that cell service bill, we pay an extra $100 a month.

Holy cow! based on this quick yet accurate display of family debt I disclosed to people the main reason why it is so difficult for youngsters to start a living or for a middle aged man like me to save more money for retirement. See? Technology is so expensive! Nobody can deny the fact that we are spending what we earn on mostly useless machinery. Maybe I should turn into a monk, sell my tech gadgets, and move to a remote place near the mountains of Tibet.

Listen carefully: Modern American living, mostly due to technology, is negatively affecting our finances because we now are conditioned to use all of these devices and services. In addition, corporate supervisors have turned the superhero technology user into the ideal employee. With very few exceptions, most places of employment want to see its employees maximizing the use of technology in their work and consequently be connected to technology even when on vacation.

What a tragedy! We are spending too much money on technology and for what? To be able to waste our time on facebook, reply emails on our tablets, or watch television on a curved ultra HD TV? I don’t think it is worth it people. I am all for technology when it helps us to advance our life’s mission. The moment that technology starts invading my space and my friends start promoting the latest technology gadgets, I know that it is time to get away and think critically about how technology is invading my area.   

I don’t know exactly what people think about all these technologies we have today.  Camera apps, photo scanners, banks, you name it. I am critical of them especially when propaganda starts promoting tech toys that we simply don’t need. By the way, if people own an iPhone 6 today, people won’t need an iPhone 8 for a while. Just remember that, okay?    

Technology is bankrupting us. We must fight back against the technology obsession, put tech limits in our lives, and disdain all these advancements in workforce technology until we have an idea about what the innovation has to offer in the first place. Technology won’t solve all of your problems but it will increase your cost of living. That I am sure.

A Touch Of Humanity Is Necessary

A Touch Of Humanity Is Necessary

Eight out of ten small businesses fail within the first eighteen months in America. Who can deny that the odds of building and running a successful small business are totally against us, entrepreneurs. How can anybody create real change with these kinds of odds? It is very tough, I must add. Well lads, let me offer you a potential answer for this former dilemma. It won’t be exactly what you are expecting to hear but I hope you are taking notes. Are you ready? Here we go: In order for contemporary entrepreneurs to make things happen, they have to use technology combined with humanity.

Yes, you heard that right. You need to reinvent your craft by using both technology and human skills in order to survive these days, long term. Depending on peoples’ circumstances, people may be better off running a store on a truck, promoting their business through social bookmarking or hiring talented freelancers working on commission, I don’t know. Only by trial and error, we shall find out the answer but one thing is certain, our solution must involve technomoderation!

What I do know is that you will need to be different. Technology will be a part of peoples’ operations whether people like it or not; as well as, their ability to act like a fine human being exercising good judgement with others, building influential connections through meaningful conversations, and many times by getting involved in local affairs with passion and enthusiasm as a means to build goodwill with your fellow citizens.   

You need to be a river of innovation flowing towards an ocean of opportunities in real life! You can’t afford to be a dinosaur of ideas in a world driven by artificial intelligence. Stop! Don’t even start it. I am not saying that people need to be using their smartphones all the time or that life should be about being on the tablet all of the time. What I am saying is that the future of business is to be created by us all combining elements of technology and humanity with a touch of moderation.

Wow, I am poetic today! Do you like it? It reminds me of when I was a teenager, when I used to write poems for a fee for friends. Hey, entrepreneurship is nothing new to me! Anyways… let’s get back to the article.    

Listen to this middle age, foreign born, Brazilian-American citizen who loves to shop local here in Cleveland, Tennessee. This idea that technology in itself will solve all of our problems is overrated. What we all need to do today is to use social media wisely along with strong elements of public relations. As I said before, people will need technology in order to design and develop products and services. In fact, responsible social media work will be a necessity to advance people’s most intricate dreams along with tangible artifacts. There is just no way that entrepreneurs today can scale anything these days without a strong integrated media based method for positioning their brand driven by a strong message delivered by a human being.

Real differentiation in the market and client gain is now dependent on technology with a touch of human ingenuity. Remember: Maximization of human resources should definitely be a part of your business strategy innovators of Southeastern Tennessee. Don’t give up on the human element if you want to build a successful business in 2018 and beyond.

Let me leave you today with this: What used to work in 1975 doesn’t work today, for the most part. Department stores are closing their doors everywhere. Car dealerships now give 10K in rebates! Where are the librarians? People need to understand their local market and what they need locally, not globally. Use technology to help you build your brand but don’t ignore the fact that people, not technology, tell a resonating story to you audience. Your remarkable ability to communicate will be the differentiator. What I am saying is: Your humanity, as well as technology are the ingredients for success in 2018. There is no alternative.

Talent Is The Differentiator

Talent Is The Differentiator

Let me start this column by saying this. I believe in the use of technology but in moderation. I don’t hate technology and I do think that we cannot live without it. All that I’m saying is that we need to be careful to not have technology tools and platforms take over our lives for the sake of technology use alone because it is sexy to be a youtuber. The internet and everything social we hear about it, is here to stay. We need to embrace them because this is where we are going. In this article, I will tell you what I think is okay to do, in regards to technology. 

Let me make a strong statement. It is unlikely that you will become a youtube superstar because being a superstar is statistically improbable. Now, let me elaborate on what I want to say. First, it is okay to use it. Please consider the following if you may. It is okay to use all this social media stuff as long as you spend enough time producing quality content and engaging with your audience. Creating good content, along with seeding your posts into a niche done continuously and overtime, can be beneficial for you or your organization. Going to facebook to share unfocused messages in an attempt to gain attention from others is time consuming and meaningless. 

Be smart. Use your time wisely when using these platforms. My suggestion is that you write a blog from Monday to Friday or write articles to be included in publications like LifeHack where your expertise of being human has much more value. I bet you will get much more attention this way than sharing photos of smiling cats at the north pole with your friends who probably don’t care about your shares.     

Second, be skeptical about uncontrolled social media use. Use doesn’t guarantee success! I believe that uncontrolled use of anything is bad. Making a person look bad because they don’t use social media for hours on end each day is irresponsible. Not everybody is able to produce quality content at speed seven days a week regardless of training. Let me elaborate on this. I’m currently doing an instagram campaign within the motivation niche. I post content on a daily basis which literally takes me approximately 5 minutes to produce and then share these posts with the masses. I engage with followers three times a day for 15 minutes a pop. I give myself an extra 30 minutes to advance my mission online. I spend less than two hours a day on this process. This past month, I received 5,429 post likes, 3,242 comments and hundreds of visits to my profile. However, I happen to have a talent for media.  

Let’s not forget that Dr. A is a professor at Lee University who teaches 4 classes a semester in a communication arts department. Using technology all the time because it might be the right thing to do may backfire. Listen carefully: talent is a variable in social media like it is in football Please realize that I’m not saying that I don’t like technology. I love it, as you know. But, we must be reasonable and realize that not everyone has the time, resources, or the talent to be a youtube superstar. 

Lastly, it is okay to reveal who you are. The internet exposes things. You can’t fake it. My recommendation is for you start embracing the internet, with reason. In the end, it will be better for you and me to say what we really think than to pretend to be something we aren’t. Back in the day, faking was easier and it wasn’t network bound. In 2018, being fake backfires. Everything is connected to everything else. Being two faced, in the age of social media, will damage your reputation. Don’t do it. 

In sum, we aren’t crabs who go through life moving backwards. Social media is here to stay. Thats where we are headed. By 2020, your grandsons won’t watch television anymore. Smartphones will totally replace the TV role in society. Just be aware that being a personality on-line requires a lot of work and talent. Having a web presence is all right, as long as it doesn’t control your life.  

Overuse of Technology Can Kill

Overuse of Technology Can Kill

We have an opioid crisis in America. How do I know that? Because irresponsible physicians are prescribing opioid drugs too loosely and due to the fact that some of my friends have been affected by this inhumane epidemic. It is de facto one of the biggest societal crises of our time. Listen to me: At the core, this is a crisis of overuse of technology. 

The reality is that many of our children are becoming orphans and tons of Americans are dyeing every year because of hydrocodone, methadose, and oxycodone. Technology, ladies and gentleman, has been one of the main avenues to both distribute and consume these opioid prescriptions. Teens and other adults can now go to regular and encrypted websites, also known as the dark web, in order to get a hold of these drugs. How sad and dangerous. 

By the way, I’m not against people using the internet or prescription drugs to live a better life. I have a problem when technology starts making us live a worse life. 

Listen carefully: Technology has side effects like any other thing. Opioids are no exception as well as the mighty internet. As I always say, “use technology but in moderation” and if technology doesn’t make your live a better life, don’t use it! 

The proliferation of prescription drugs online is a real problem that can’t be ignored. All these technologies are causing so much pain in the live of so many. We need to so something about this. Overuse of technology and pain are one and the same.   

A dose of morphine equals 222 ibuprofen, 360 aspirin and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is as strong as morphine. Oxycodone is 50% stronger than morphine. Methadone is 3 times stronger than morphine. Buprenorphine is 40 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine! And the last… Carfentanil is 10 thousand times stronger than morphine. That’s a lot. 

Although the Prescription Drug Monitoring System (PDMP’s) monitors the distribution of drugs in the market for people’s safety, technology is making it more complicated for them to enforce their safe policies which is putting in danger the lives of millions of Americans every year. Overuse of technology is at the center of this problem. Get real — technology can kill.

We have an opioid crisis in America. Many of our children are becoming orphans and tons of Americans are dyeing every year because of technology overdose. We need to so something about this. Overuse of technology and pain are one and the same. If technology doesn’t make your live a better life, don’t use it! Get real — technology can kill.

Almeida Joins Team of Lifehack Contributors

Almeida Joins Team of Lifehack Contributors

By Olivia Webb

Lee University’s Dr. Luis Almeida, associate professor of communication, recently had an article published on Lifehack, a website dedicated to publishing self-help and how-to articles.

Lifehack, founded by Leon Ho, is read in over 243 countries and has 400,000 subscribers. Since its launch in 2005, Lifehack has reached over 458 million people. Articles vary in subject, such as health, work, and relationships.

Almeida cited the difficulty of acceptance as contributor to the site as proof of its significance. “Even though LifeHack isn’t an academic journal,” he says, “having an article published there is a big honor.”

Almeida’s article, “6 People Management Tactics to Lead a Diverse Team to Success,” is broken into two parts. The first breaks down why leading and uniting a diverse team can be difficult based on social and cultural differences, as well as one’s own ignorance. “Despite the difficulties, if one leads a diverse team correctly it can be more effective than a less diverse team,” says Almeida.

The second part of the article lists and explains six people management tactics, such as the importance of flexibility and the ability to relate to one’s team.

To read Almeida’s article, visit https://www.lifehack.org/785437/people-management.

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Don’t Squish The Bread

Don’t Squish The Bread

Let me share something with you today. I am very concerned with how fast paced our society has been and how this fast paced lifestyle has been having an impact on our grocery shopping. Let me go straight to the point. Smartphones are having an impact on who we hire in food retail stores. 

Things are accelerating because of the technology. We now have machines replacing the youth in places like McDonalds because machines often perform quicker operations. In grocery stores, the youth is replacing the elderly precisely for the same reason, I think. These things are happening because the people are demanding efficiency. The problem is the people not the retail stores because of what I call technological conditioning. People are now conditioned to doing things quickly because the machine gives them feedback quickly… text messages, instagram messages and so fourth.

Let’s be real. People are more impatient today with slow paced operations which I would argue is a side effect of living in a technopoly. You may be asking. How do I know this? Here is my answer. If you go to any grocery story in Cleveland, most employees who bag groceries are young, sometimes very young. By the way, I would rather have an older person bagging my groceries than a college aged kid because they typically take a little longer to bag my groceries to ensure that everything is okay. Youngsters are not as careful with arranging your groceries. But hey what would the management of a grocery store do? Hire “slower” employees and risk losing its clientele or hiring the youth, gaining speed, but risk losing the client because of increased bagging errors? I would go with an older person but that’s just me.   

We live in the age of social media, ladies and gentleman where a “dissatisfied customer/employee” literally has the power to do a lot of damage to a brand at anytime. It is not fair, in my opinion at least, to push any fragile segment of our working class out of a job because of technology but hey, who said that life is fair? It isn’t ethical to me. Grocery stores are in a tough situation, I must add.

Just because advances in technology are making our pace of life quicker doesn’t mean that we should accept such demands face value. It isn’t right to replace a 69 year old woman who needs her job as a bagger in order to buy her prescription because the bagging per second of an eighteen year old is 2.754 seconds quicker than hers.

I actually care about the elderly, you know? The elderly don’t deserve to be treated like the scrap of society after 70, especially if they need to work in order to survive. Let me say this again. The problem isn’t the grocery stores. The problem is that people demand efficiency because of technology.

Listen carefully: Sooner or later, you and/or your children will be 70. Would you like to be treated as a nobody, someone that wouldn’t be good enough to bag groceries? I understand the position that grocery stores are in but thankfully I have a solution. The solution may lie in training. With careful training in customer service we can fix that.    

We can increase bagging efficiency by hiring kids but I guarantee you that if millennials perceive that the organization is lacking social responsibility, it will backfire. The millennials hate this kind of mindset. How do I know that? Because my wife is an older millennial. If they perceive that you treat people poorly, they go. You suffer.

Grocery store managers, be cautious with replacing the elderly in your grocery store. We need to find them jobs despite issues of bagging efficiency. Be very careful with how you treat them. They deserve a job and millennials are paying attention. Training is the answer.

Doing one for the team for the sake of humanity is the right thing to do. It is true that computer systems performs faster than human labor and that the youth perform faster than the elderly often but the former can have serious consequences to the well being and longevity of your business in 2018.

Don’t Let Technology Limit Yourself

Don’t Let Technology Limit Yourself

A lot of people live in a state of denial these days. What they think and believe is often a reflection of their own alter egos created by all of this technology. There are so many people today who think that they need to use technology to be known as a good speaker, teacher, and influencer. Let me reveal something to you. You don’t need to use powerpoint in order to deliver a great speech! Let me break this to you, if I may. A star teacher must be student centered not technology centered. Influencers don’t rely on presentation software in order to be influential!

This past Thursday, I went to the Sunrise Rotary Club to deliver a keynote about TechnoModeration with my good old and cool Lee Oskar harmonica, plain paper, a collection of stories and different voice pitches. Okay, I had a few slides projected onto a screen from my laptop in order to make a few points here and there about what I like to call “technology conditioning” to the audience. However, the vast majority of my speech was done in an entertaining fashion without the use of technology.

What was the results that endeavor? My dear compatriots, I think the audience really liked the conversation. They were paying attention, laughed at times, interacted with me and themselves, and more importantly — got the point that we have a technology problem in America. How did they do it? By not looking at their smartphones or following a collection of keynote slides but by focusing on the verbal and non-verbal behaviors of a speaker who wasn’t reading from a powerpoint slide.

Listen to me: The key to communicating with impact isn’t related to how much technology you use or how technological somebody believes you are. Forget this idea that you need to have facebook to persuade an audience or that instagram will made others to take action about the things you say face value because they have an on-line presence. What you really need is to have the ability to tell stories and make your audience think about the topic you want them to think about. This is done better without technology and off-line.

I am getting tired of seeing so many talented young man limit themselves because of technology. We are people and guess what? People are full of emotions! Do you really think that you will be able to persuade anyone on-line without having human contact with them long-term? Think again! Mediated communication has its perks and can be used at times but it will never replace the good old face-to-face conversation. This is precisely why conferences, events, schools, and many other public venues bring trained communicators, speakers… to speak to their audiences. Communication skills are still king in the age of Fedor, ladies and gentleman.

The power of a live speech carry on, I must add. A good keynote speaker, after delivering a killer speech to any audience, without relying on too much technology, is often re-booked by somebody who saw that speech. An influential teacher who puts students ahead of technology will built an army of followers. The consequence of the former is quite predictable. These same students will eventually start coming in masses to the professor’s office hours to learn more. Keep this in mind: People are relational, especially millennials. If you can’t relate, you won’t influence them. Relationship is built face-to-face not with technology! A good teacher understands that.

Influencers are a rare breed. If you got them on your team, don’t let them go. Do what you can to keep them. Treat them with the respect they deserve. This breed usually have choices… Although influencers are often technology literate, they don’t always rely on the latest technological advancements to be influential. Did Billy Graham used powerpoint to influence his crowd during his crusades? Open your eyes to what is important. Technology is second to humanity. 

Technology Won’t Help You To Navigate Communities

Technology Won’t Help You To Navigate Communities

One of the best skills I’ve developed in my life is the ability to be quiet and observe verbal and non-verbal behavior around me. It is amazing what people find out when they simply pay close attention to what others say through words or actions. Let me share this with you. Silence, ladies and gentleman, is a source of great strength as Lao Tzu once stated. Being constantly on a smartphone won’t help you to better understand your surroundings where you work and live. Here is my recommendation for you: Put that fancy smartphone to the side and pay close attention to the world around you, especially how people behave and speak with you.

Your ability to read people is so much more valuable than going to facebook to share wall updates. You can’t give up being able to read facial expression because if you do, chances are you won’t live long. Eventually, people will take advantage of you to a point of no return. Being able to make objective instead of emotional decisions is also a critical skillset that people must have these days in order to navigate society with a sense of authority and control. Yet, too many people today are choosing to spend their lives in front of the machine wasting their time doing frivolous actions and learning very little. I bet that most of your grandkids will choose an app instead of almost anything else. Making decisions emotionally could cost you losing that so sought after job promotion.

Listen carefully: Being constantly on your computer will reduce your chances of being a human polygraph because to achieve the former, people need to be quiet and study key concepts of nonverbal communication and persuasion. I am not aware of any city or town, regardless of size and state, that will allow strangers into their most intricate local protocols simply by them liking the city council’s facebook page. Outsiders must gain a great degree of trust before access to any community is granted, unless a member of that community introduces him to the group. Do you really think that your instagram campaign will help you to get elected to a local non-profit board? I don’t think that this technology will help you any. Your ability to communicate matters, remember that. 

I am fresh here in Cleveland but some of you have been very gracious to help me to navigate this nice but unfamiliar territory. It is because of your advice, not a smartphone, that now I attend a good church. Let me say this loud and clear: You are so much better than any app we find in the latest available smartphone. I wouldn’t be a part of this community without your help. Thank you! At least, I have the common sense to realize that in this life, everybody needs to be helped by someone which is in itself a consequence to choosing people over technology. 

Remember: Your smartphone is maybe a great tool for you to call your parents, receive and answer emails and participate in social media conversations throughout the day. I urge you to put your smartphone ahead of your life. The value for doing that is simply not worth it. You would be so much better off by building contacts face-to-face than to naively believe that a piece of perishable machinery could de facto help you with navigating though society. In reality, life doesn’t work that way.

What really concerns me about people choosing technology over people in this instance is their overall inability to see and “feel” the obvious. We live in a rough world where too many individuals take advantage of others. Take the example of scammers taking advantage of the elderly. Why should we sacrifice our own abilities to communicate and perceive behavior for the sake of technology? Well, I won’t.

Choose to be quiet and listen. Pay close attention to what people do and say around you. Being able to read people is a weapon, compatriots. Technology, I don’t need you for that. Understanding my surroundings is something that I value and you should, as well.

AlphaZero Our New Opponent

AlphaZero Our New Opponent

Artificial Intelligence is moving faster than I’ve predicted. Go figure! Listen very carefully Cleveland, Tennessee. AlphaZero, or shall we say a game playing AI created by Google’s DeepMind, is learning how to master complex games such as chess within hours now! In Fact, AlphaZero decided to teach itself the complexities of the game of chess and was able to defeat the current world-champion chess program in only four hours. I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, I had to study the intricacies of chess strategy and learn the many openings, middle game, and endgame tactics of chess due to necessity. Learning concepts such as dominating the center of the board, sacrificing pieces to gain position, the four houses defense or the imaginative attacking style of Alexander Alekhine, my favorite chess master by the way, took a lot of brain work.

Let me tell you, people. I have no idea how this machine mastered chess so quickly. It isn’t humanly possible! Well, AlphaZero is superhuman, without a doubt.

Let me put some drama in this column, if you don’t mind. It is December 9, 2017, and a piece of intelligent machinery just figured out a way to self learn the quite complex domain of chess without you or me, quickly. See? Back in 2015 when AlphaZero was using the innovative approach of mixing deep neutral-network machine learning and what is referred to as tree search techniques, many people thought that moving beyond that would take a lot of years. It is now two years later, after AlphaZero learned how to observe humans and engage in a process called reinforcement learning, DeepMind is reaching ridiculous levels of advancement in intelligence.

Look, Moore’s law teaches us that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years on average. Can we now say that the machine is learning, or shall we say getting more intelligent every two years? I don’t know, maybe. Which world are we living in these days anyways? AlphaZero should be named by Time Magazine as the “person” of the year in my opinion. Who, in history, can learn a complex field in four hours? I don’t know anybody, do you?

Let me report on the specifics of AlphaZero’s developments in chess learning, as I understand. This bot is pretty savvy as “he” starts by first playing against a version of himself to eventually discover which move results in the best outcome. Sophisticated play is, with time, tied to the knowledge gained by the machine against the best chess players.  Overtime, through continuous success, the machine learns how to make the best move by associating its move behaviors with its rate of success. AlphaZero’s secret to quick mastery is to always play against an opponent who is technically “better” than him. Overtime, this intelligent machine learns to play better chess by self study.

AlphaZero is now learning how to play video games better by trying to beat itself in an attempt to achieve excellence, engaging in critical thinking ties to life outcomes, and competing against the best aren’t just activities that a bot can learn to play better chess. Sooner or later, Google will leverage such developments to sell this technology to the corporate sector. 

I wonder what will be AlphaZero’s real challenge! Google’s CEO, in an interview given about a month and a half ago, stated that the future of AI is already here. Some people are even

stating that computers are adapting to us rather than us adapting to them! Listen carefully: The future of Google is in Artificial Intelligence, I bet. AlphaZero will only get better not worse. Remember what I once told you: Tomorrow will be nothing like today. We might as well get used to it and start adapting to this crazy reality, we call artificial intelligence. Yesterday we used to talk about IBM’s Watson. Today we speak about DeepMind and AlphaZero. I wonder what we are going to talk about tomorrow. 

The world has changed drastically folks. The machine is now learning at jet speeds. How are we going to compete against these data warriors? AlphaZero has mastered chess today. I wonder what he will master tomorrow. This is getting pretty scary.

Technology Is Destroying Golf

Technology Is Destroying Golf

I am an old school certified golf pro in addition to being a college professor. Ladies and gents, I grew up watching the brilliant golf moves of Ben Hogan, the golf art of Sam Snead and the mental strength of Jack Nicklaus. Golf was a part of most of my youth. Let me say something here in the Banner. Golf has changed much since my teens back in the 80’s. We now have more technology in a golf bag than at a Kiss concert. The evolution of the golf ball along with golf equipment is making golf lose its shine. Let me make a public statement in here — modern golf technology is destroying the beauty of the game of golf.

Back in the day, we used to play competitive golf with persimmon drivers and woods and hit balata golf balls in open tournaments. By the way, a balata ball is a type of golf ball that is made of rubber-like material that didn’t go as far as the 21st century golf ball. A persimmon driver and woods were made of persimmon trees not any kind of metal.

A skilled golfer would be hitting 285 yards if he was a monster hitter, which made some of America’s most notorious golf courses, e.g., Doral in Florida, Pebble Beach in California and Oakmont in Pittsburgh, PA very tough to play in. Golf was an art only mastered by a few. Hitting a long drive meant hitting a golf ball in the center of the club. Hitting away from the sweet spot, with any golf club, meant a significant loss in distance and direction in any golf attempt.

I still remember to this day walking on golf courses counting yards before starting the first round of any open tournament. Today, kids have a device that gives them the distance electronically. What a shame, in my opinion. I’m afraid that the necessary skillsets that a golfer needs in order to fully understand the game of golf is dying because of technology. Today, a player can adjust golf heads in a minute in order to “cure slice” or manipulate a golf club head in order to hit with a power fade. That’s bad. A golfer must conceptually understand why they are slicing the ball rather than simply turn a golf head to appear more hook face to cure that slice. Let me remind Cleveland again — This is all happening because of technology.

So, you may be asking, “Dr. A, Is technology making golfers dumber?” No. Golfers aren’t dumber because of the advances in golf equipment technology. They are, however, becoming more ignorant about what it takes to swing the golf club well because of advancements in equipment technology which to me is destroying golf from within. I’m very concerned about the future of golf actually. Equipment is getting so sophisticated that Cameron Champ can now hit a driver 330 yards on air which makes most of the traditional golf courses in America half obsolete. You can thank technology for that.

I’m from the idea that we should limit pro golfers from playing with titanium golf clubs and modern golf galls. In fact, having the PGA of America introduce a Persimmon only tour event would be a hot idea along with limiting Phil Michelson and others to play with a balata ball only, I must add. It would be a dream to me to witness the PGA of America limiting tour events to persimmon and balata balls by 2025. I don’t think it will happen but it would be awesome to see golfers playing with such equipment.

As I said before many times! Technology is good when used in moderation. This explosion of technology in the golf industry has been silently destroying the game of golf for over a decade. Nick Faldo has once said, “technology is making the game of golf too easy.” The great Gary Player has stated that technology is destroying golf. Dr. A agrees with Faldo and Player and proposes a Persimmon only PGA Tour starting in 2025. Golf clubs and balls have reached ridiculous levels of technology advancements which is silently destroying the game in my view and that’s sad.

Bionic Eyes Coming To A Face Near You

Bionic Eyes Coming To A Face Near You

I cannot imagine living life without having the ability to see the world. It is amazing how we all take for granted the many privileges we have including our ability to see. Unless you are blind or have a vision impairment, I bet that you don’t think too much about your eye sight capabilities. I have to admit that I don’t think too much about my eyes until I have to absolutely go to the eye doctor to change my prescription. Ladies and gentleman listen carefully to me because what I am going to tell you will make you think about your eyes and the future of your eyesight. We are very close to having access to what is called bionic contacts.

Can you imagine being 87 and having the eye sight of a 20 year old? I can’t, yet, but Dr. Webb, in a keynote delivered at the superhuman conference, stated that the bionic lens will be an actual lens that will replace your actual eye lens making wearing glasses or contacts a thing of the past, period. What if I told you that with the bionic lens, you will have the eye sight of a hawk or shall we say, you will have eye sight that is three times better than having 20/20 vision.   

We are going to have autofocus on steroids and be able to adjust our focus manually inside our eyes. Let me say this again — the bionic lens will allow you and me to adjust the resolution of our eyes as well as the sharpness of what they see! Why is the former so significant? Well, because future technology will now give you the capability to look at a world that was once only possible to see with an electronic microscope. Can you imagine being able to adjust your eyes and having the capacity to see the individual cells of your hand? I have to admit that I cannot imagine that.

According to Dr. Webb, whenever our eye lens gets old inside of our ocular structure, all of the other components of our eye go bad with it overtime making the case for the bionic eye a no-brainer. Citizens of Cleveland, Tennessee, we may be closer to science fiction than I thought. What does that mean you maybe asking! Let me try to explain Dr. Webb’s position on why the bionic lens will change the eye doctor industry forever. He explains that the biochemical assaults that our eyes experience because of the proteins and enzymes that are released by a defective lens end up compromising our ability to see well, along with the ultraviolet lights coming from the sun which causes eye degradation coming from the outside. He also states that the bionic lens will take virtual reality to its completion. There is some speculation that human studies have already started and that the product may be available as early as mid 2018.

Now, I like this, I must admit but I am skeptical about its potential long term side effects. My number one skepticism is grounded in the idea that no innovation is 100% perfect or 100% safe. I don’t know if I want to risk my ability to see in exchange for the possibility to be half robocop! Having the capability to fine-tune my vision is attractive to me but I really don’t feel comfortable having to do maintenance on my bionic eye! Let’s not forget that no technology is free of maintenance. I wonder how much this maintenance will cost and whether insurance companies will pay for them.

We live in a crazy world that is advancing faster than the blink of an eye. The bionic lens may revolutionize how many will experience life as we know it. I am skeptical about its long-term side effects but I have to admit that this one will help many along the way. One thing is certain, the future will be nothing like the past. The technological invasive phase has started, at least in beta mode. What the future holds is a mystery that will soon be revealed. We just have to wait and see.   

Change In Education Is Eminent

Change In Education Is Eminent

The only certainty about the future ahead is change. The education of tomorrow won’t resemble the one we have today. Because of the threat of machine take over, we now have to think about ways to trick perishable machinery in order to live a good life in the age of Siri. It is obvious that creativity will be at the core of this evolution of thought and educational practice simply because even an intelligent microchip will struggle with being creative overtime. There is much discussion on the importance of students learning the new literacies of humanics in an attempt to work alongside the machine and have a chance to succeed overtime.

The humanics curriculum is composed of courses in technological and human literacy along with data literacy topics where people are expected to apply these three areas to current problems. Twelve year olds today better get used to thinking about a world where the jobs will often lie in one’s ability to manage the flow of big data and how the machine works in unpredictable ways, as a literal means of survival. Learning from now on will be ongoing and technical which is both a blessing and a curse. The good news is that the exact sciences oriented people will profit from this transition. The humanities ones will struggle. How about the unfit you may be asking? I honestly don’t know what will happen to them in the long run which can be a scary thing.

People are going to be expected to learn how to be human. What do I mean by that? Well, they will need to write well, communicate interpersonally and have a strong sense of aesthetics in order to survive the artificial intelligence economic driven transition. I have to say that all these major shifts in paradigm make me feel a bit concerned by what is about to come. Tell me how a regular human being can compete against  an intelligent machine that can be upgraded each year? Sooner or later, our abilities to compete with the machine will end as human progress can only go so far. Good luck beating your nemesis counterpart head on in what the computer does best. We better have the mental capacity to invent and discover. The future won’t be anything like the past. We are going to laugh about the way we used to educate our kids and work! Universities will eventually offer this new major, humanics.

Have you ever thought about what would happen to your family if the computers take over? What do you think will happen to you and your family? Jobs are shrinking. Careers themselves are disappearing. There will be no economic incentive that will change the fact that computers cut jobs, period. When was the last time you spoke with a librarian? Here in Cleveland, not even the garbage man is safe against the threats of automation as a robot now collects our city trash. Which world are we living in today where we choose to support machinery over man?

We are all citizens of the world’s largest and oldest tecnopoly! Change is eminent. Education is no exception. For the first time in history, education will actually change because machines will start learning; human beings will keep texting and as a consequence, a substantial number of people will be unemployed. I wonder what Issac Assimov would have said today if he was alive. Our dependency on technology can be argued to have made us slaves to what is new and flashy. Unpredictability is now the norm, ladies and gentleman.

Listen: America is an empire of ideas where the best fit tends to succeed, and where the unfit is often left to their own devices in search for guidance and direction. In this upcoming new age of singularity, Siri won’t be able to help us to navigate society. I am seeing major unemployment eventually becoming the norm in small towns and millions in poverty due to their inability to create and predict. Humanics will prove to be the university’s biggest major which will fundamentally change the way universities operate. The Cartesian-Newtonean paradigm will prove false in the years to come leaving space for a new era of unpredictability.

Let Your Kids Speak

Let Your Kids Speak

This article is to give a shout out to all the employees, the world over who always have an ear and a smile. Those workers, in any job outlet, from retail workers, to wait staff, to professors, to teachers and more; the people who spend all day giving customer service to the fun customers and the not so fun customers. We are the people who might indirectly be saving the world.

So many times, I have watched parents with their tone of voice and body language shut down the interaction between themselves and an employee, with their children right in front of them! After you spend all day complaining to your child that they need more social interaction and need to shut off their cell phones, you are going to complain when they want to talk to someone in real life?

Part of the problem is, in my opinion that when we say, “Put that phone down!” what we really mean is, I want your childhood to be exactly like mine. We want to share those memories that we have of our youth with our children instead of making new memories. My wife can remember playing capture the flag at night with a whole neighborhood of kids. I can remember playing cops and robbers with my friends. But that isn’t the experience of today, unfortunately these seem like special occasion experiences now.

Children now connect via social media and while we don’t need to accept them being glued to their phones we do need to realize that this has an affect on superficial relationships, like the cashier at your grocery store or the retail worker in your shops. Us, older people have a problem with pleasant small talk because our parents taught us that “those people” are salesmen who want to swindle you. Millennials and younger people don’t understand this behavior. They are seeking to speak with “those people”. Remember: Your kids aren’t connecting with their friends like we used to.

These behaviors might be directly related to the amount of depression and suicides in young people today. If your child is on their phone constantly, they are almost certainly experiencing some form of negativity. This could be one or two nasty comments or a litany of nasty comments. It could even be not having enough engagement on their posts. Us, older generations, shrug this off as who cares? That’s not real life but it is for your child. When they turn away from the stresses of social media and what they feel is a rejection, they seek the real world experiences of superficial relationships.

The retail worker that smiles at your child and talks about makeup techniques with her for a half hour might just be saving her from the despair of suicide. The comic book clerk who debates your son over Marvel versus DC might just be saving him from plot he already thought out. This seems very extreme, doesn’t it? But social media produces extreme thoughts, behaviors and actions with very real life consequences.

All that I ask is that all us “really old people” make the effort to converse pleasantly with everyone you come in contact with. Don’t give your children those mixed signals. When you take them out, let they speak and interact with people, not alone because you’re there too, but with your supervision let them experience life outside of the phone. It may be their saving grace.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)