Separating the extraordinary from the excuses

It is amazing what can happen when you give someone an opportunity to make something extraordinary, or give them the idea of something extraordinary. Xerox simply showed Steve Jobs the mouse, menus and more as they decided it wasn’t worth it. Jobs took the idea and the knowledge and he ran with it. One of the biggest lessons in this story is that there will be things that seem like a huge mountain that you’ll never be able to climb; however, if you just start taking the steps, in the end the journey could put you in a far greater place leaving that mountain looking like a mole hill.

To read the story, click here.

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Schools are killing creativity

“Everyone has an interest in education,” said Sir Ken Robinson. Education is meant to take us into the future. We don’t know what to expect in the future but we are expecting children to be educated and ready for the future. In doing so, we squander their talent, stifle creativity and set up such extreme, regimented schooling . “Creativity is as important as literacy,” said Robinson. I have to agree. When children are young that is when they are the most uninhibited and they are not yet influenced by all of the things in the world. There needs to be a greater freedom for children to experience things that really interest them. I think Montessori’s are better than public schools in this aspect but there is always room for improvement. If we were to fan the flame so to speak and encourage the completely unaffected creativity and minds of children, imagine what great strides could be made or how many of them would continue on and maintain that into their adulthood. Then, those adults could end up being innovative leaders and help create a brighter future for us all. (Click here to view the video.)

Start with an idea

It seems that Wieden and Kennedy understand the key principle of the business. They start with an idea and they get the momentum from there. They find something special, set the guidelines and launch from there. With products such as Old Spice’s “smell like a man,” they went off like never before and got results like never before. They focused on an idea but met it with a strategy which had them full circle and at an advantage their competitors were shocked and awed by. (Click here to see the whole story.)

Simpler is better

“Software rage,” as David Pogue calls it, is something we all feel. There is an abundance of technology out there but it is not easy for everyone to use. Tech wizards can maneuver through it all quickly and some people that have a little bit of tech experience, or even some common sense in many cases, are able to get through it without a huge amount of struggle.

Software upgrade paradox – if you upgrade it too many times, you ruin it. People like to have options because they like the idea of being able to use the tools, but if they didn’t have the option of using those tools they’d never know the difference.
Microsoft’s approach to simplicity is breaking everything down, step by step. Drop down boxes and wizards for everything. More often than not, it becomes more confusing and less user friendly. Apple seems to approach simplicity in an opposite approach. Palm is another company who has grabbed onto the idea of simplicity. I love that Palm has “tap counters.” Any great, user-friendly website, app, etc needs to have a tap counter. You should be able to get to your destination within that media by only using a few taps.

Pogue throws out some great points. Some of my favorites are:
– having to shut down a windows device with a button labeled “start”
-scrolling on and on to get to “United States,” rather than putting it in the top
– the amount of taps to get a new document on Microsoft

In a time of media bombardment, crazy schedules and instant gratification, we all want simple, user-friendly, efficient technology. Sometimes the best part of simplicity is not adding more, it is about knowing what to leave out. (Click here to see the video)

A google index on your life

“What’s cool is impacting a billion people. Whatever I ended up doing, I wanted people to get excited about it. I wanted long lines forming for it,” said Phil Libin of Evernote. That is the first quote that hit home for me in this article. That sort of motivation is what seperates the mediocre from the successful. People see that kind of passion and dedication and they want to get involved and share in some of that energy. While obviously, Libin had many set backs and struggles along the way, Evernote was company of the year in 2011 and doing phenomenally well, now. Those set backs, hurdles and dead stops that he came to along the way have strengthened him for an even more successful future. Rather than letting those experiences break him, he put all of that energy, criticism and failure into something moving forward.
“In an age in which information in all forms comes flying at us at ever-faster rates and you’re not sure which of it will prove useful,” said Libin. If you work in any sort of professional arena, you know this sentiment all too well. There is constantly something going wrong, a more pressing issue at hand, etc. You are forced to put whatever you working on, onto the back burner and come back to it. How often do you remember to? How often do you remember all of the details that were in your head at the time? Thanks to Evernote, that problem is becoming nonexistent.
I think Libin is a genius. He has come up with a solution to a problem that EVERYONE has. He doesn’t have to worry about target marketing or trying to get a particular audience… everyone is his audience. How many times have you heard someone say, “I would lose my head if it wasn’t tied on?” or constantly complaining about lack of memory or inability to remember where they left something. This can not only help business tycoons and wall-street gurus but also stay at home moms, juggling a number of things, to teachers and even journalists running from one story to another.
This technology is already a productivity game changer and I can’t wait to see the future of Evernote and productivity for everyone around the world. Imagine what we can do with our unlimited brain power at the tip of our fingers. (Click here to read the original article.)