Sunday musing: The power of introverts

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At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
One of the books I’m most excited about reading this year is Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking“. Maybe because I think of myself as an introvert or maybe just because it essentially questions the common belief that being outgoing, outspoken and social is the only path to success. It takes all kind of people to make the world, and as much as we need extroverts, introverts “bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated”. In a passionate TED talk, Susan makes the case that introversion is dramatically undervalued, and that the world will be a much better place if our culture stopped solely celebrating extroversion and accepted the power of Quiet as well.

 

 

I think I’ll go back to my books’ suitcase now. Until we talk again, have a great Sunday!

Sunday musing: The power of sharing

Can you actually mess with somebody's sense of reality, as a force for good? 

What makes an unusual, bizarre, absurd situation an awesome experience? Sharing. A point thoroughly made by Charlie Todd and his friends at Improv everywhere, who proudly define themselves as a prank collective that causes scenes.

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I recently stumbled upon Charlie Todd's talk at Ted: The shared experience of absurdity (thanks Salah!). And it just made my day!

Have a great Sunday!

Sunday musing: Life, a second at a time

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Photo courtesy of Toni Blay

On this beautiful morning I came across this video that embodies one of the most powerful lessons of life and I thought: "I Gotta Share :-)"! Cesar Kuriyama who was selected as one of the 17 finalists for the TED full spectrum auditions, has launched a very interesting project called the "One Second Everyday":  

The concept is simple: every day I record and capture a single second of video—just something interesting about that day. I will compile these tiny slices of my life into a single, continuous video.
But what started out as a fun way to chronicle my year off grew quickly into a catalyst that forced me to reevaluate how I approach my day-to-day life. Soon after I started the project, I realized that I couldn’t even spend a couple of days on the couch without detracting from the whole video. Footage of my typical routine was, frankly, boring. The One Second Everyday project has helped me to maintain my creative drive, as I am constantly attempting to capture something noteworthy. It has become a perpetual reminder to wake up and seize the day.

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours." 
— Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Lamia Ben.

Sunday musing: Weird, or just different?

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Image courtesy: TED.com

Another great quick talk from Derek Sivers at TED brings out a lot of what's been nagging on my mind lately. Niels Bohr once said "The opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth." but we often regard any opposition of the truths we hold dear as wrong or weird or… It is easy to disregard the "different", what's remarkable is to understand it, accept it and draw a new vision of life from it. 
Enjoy the video and have a great Sunday!

Lamia Ben.

Sunday Fun: The next-Gen desktops

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Anand Agarawala, the creator of BumpTop.

As I was browsing through some files of mine this morning, I stumbled upon this really cool (3 years old but still cool) video about a software called: Bump Top. The software came to challenge our traditional desktops and added up more interactive 3D and red-pill aspect to the whole desktop user experience. I remember watching this video over and over again and thinking that this is gotta be what I want for my birthday. Here is a demo on TED.com from Bump Top creator himself: 

Funny I totally forgot about this up until today. I went looking for updates on the software and guess what?

Bump

Can't say no one saw that one coming huh! (hint: Chrome OS). Here is to Google then, the innovations collector.
Have a great Sunday everyone!

Lamia Ben

Sunday fun: How to make a splash in social media

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"Alexis Ohanian co-founded Reddit, a social-voting news website with geek allegiances, a small-town feel and a penchant for lighting up the memes your friends IM you about next week."

Here is a video I always liked from Reddit's Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social Media. A quick 3 minutes video that encapsulate what makes social media as powerful as it is today: Power given to the crowds. Enjoy and have a great Sunday! 

Lamia Ben.

Musing: Think Networks

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Image courtesy: gapingvoid.com

Imagine you’ve always seen the world in 2D and then one day, BAM! You can see in 3 dimensions. Wouldn’t that be life changing? Now imagine if there was one more “dimension” to add (rest assured, no quantum theory ahead). Wouldn’t you want to consider it as well?

One dimension is more than game-changing. It will rock your perception of the world. It may demystify complex concepts, uncover hidden causes and give you access to information you’ve never knew existed…What kind of dimension I’m talking about? Make it more a “layer” to add up to one’s conception of the world: Networks.

We are very familiar with the power of social networks, of the www or Facebook’s open Graph. But what most of us don’t know is, researchers found these networks not to be that much unique. The same rules organizing today’s WWW (Believe it or not, there are rules! It’s not as chaotic as it may seem) have been observed in other networks ranging from genetic, neural*, electronic, to social organizations.

In his highly interesting book “ Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means”, Barabasi walks us through the time-line of the network science while using a very non-mathematical smooth style. From the Euler Era, father of the Graph theory, to today’s complex economic models, the ultimate take out from the book is to never rule out the Network thinking

“No matter what organizational level we look at, the same robust and universal laws that govern nature’s webs seem to greet us. The challenge is for economic and network research alike to put these laws into practice”

So, what if everything could be seen as a network? What if adding a new “Network layer” to our thinking process would bring clarity to everything around us and help us uncover the most complex mysteries (the map of life for example)? Let’s think Networks, shall we? What is there to loose anyway? 

*Neural networks are being the subject of a multitude of studies. You may want to check this very intriguing TED Talk by Sebastian Seung: I am my connectom.

Lamia Ben

TEDxCasablanca: An event in review

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Image courtesy: TED.com  
 

Disclaimer: Ok, I gotta be honest, it’s a half review since I couldn’t stay till the end although I wished I could!

 

TEDxCasablanca is the first TEDx event to take place in Morocco. I secretly envied the organizers because the idea was lurking in my head since last May but I just didn’t get the time to think about it seriously. In the end, I’m just glad someone did it! The event, which obviously took place in Casablanca last Saturday, was greatly orchestrated within the calm atmosphere of the Mohammed Sekkat Library. Between the great books and the enlightening insights, we couldn’t but marvel at the beauty of sharing, of openness and of the amazing gift that is the human mind.

What I liked about the event:

  •        It’s a TEDx! It’s inspiring by construct
  •        Well organized, not much of delays
  •        Speakers from all walks of life: Public sector, business, art…
  •        I finally got to meet @Hisham_G (more about this later!)
  •        I loved the fact that not all presentation were in French!
  •        I got to catch up with friends as well

What I disliked:

  •        The Food: Just kidding, I’m not that lame!
  •        Internet Access: Would’ve loved to live-tweet and interact with the audience. I really hope the upcoming event will take this vital geeky need into account

The event started by a brief presentation from the man behind the event. Mr El Ourouba talked about how knowledge has metamorphosed from point to point to multipoint to multipoint thanks to web 2.0 and TED-like communities. He also brought to attention that there are 3 golden rules to grasping knowledge:

  •        Open mind
  •        Tolerance to difference
  •        Embracing new ideas

1st  talk: The power of non domination

Speaker: Mr Driss Alaoui Mdaghri

Main ideas: When we talk about leadership, we are often speaking out of a domination logic. While it could certainly drive success, leadership doesn’t not necessarily lead to happiness nor the happiness of people around us. Success is rather achieving our objectives together, no domination involved.

  •        Every decision we ever make has a negative aspect to it.
  •        Every decision triggers legitimate opposition. Don’t fight it; embrace it.
  •        Everything is important and nothing is important. Accept that tiny actions can often have tremendous effect
  •        We’re social animals, our professional lives are a continuum of our personal lives.
  •        Always put yourself in people’s shoes to understand their motives and difficulties
  •        It’s important to dominate your real or symbolic violence, your anger for instance.
  •        Art saves humanity. Permanent creativity is an absolute need for people and societies
  •        Art teaches us Freedom: Do it your own way!

 

2nd talk: Identity is diversity

Speaker: Mr Ahmed Ghayet

Main ideas:

  •        Diversity, plurality, tolerance… have become Big words
  •        Growing up in Barbes – France makes one feel he’s a citizen of the world (multiple nationalities, rich cultures…)
  •        Everyone of us holds a plurality within himself that could be beneficial to the “us”
  •        We need to rethink our identity with a constructive spirit, with addition in mind (not subtraction, nor division)
  •        We needn’t be afraid of who we are, rather proud but not arrogant.
  •        The enemy of identity isn’t openness but withdrawal and confinement

3rd talk: Morocco 2.0

Speaker: Mr Taieb Debbagh

Main ideas:

  •        Prospective: approach that aims to prepare for the future by elaborating scenarios based on the available data
  •        Generations have changed from Digital retards – Digital immigrants to Digital Natives (Generation Y)
  •        As water and electricity, the flow of information via Internet is going to become a given
  •        Enterprise 2.0 is the future of enterprise
  •        Administration 2.0 is the future of public Sector (egov.ma)
  •        M-commerce (purchasing via mobile) is supplanting e-commerce
  •        Education 2.0 is becoming collaborative and collective.

 

4th talk: from culture in general, to the documentary in particular

Speaker: Mrs Nezha Drissi

Main ideas:

  •        There is nothing as powerful as sharing to help us face our solitude of creating
  •        He who wants to do something finds a way, he who doesn't finds an excuse
  •        Today’s utopia is tomorrow’s reality
  •        Documentaries are tools for popular education
  •        Documentaries share the vision of the producer, therefore are subjective
  •        A society that isn't open can’t be enriched, nor will it enrich others
  •        FIDADOC: International festival of documentary is taking place in Agadir, 9-13 November 

 

5th talk: I blog, therefore I am

Speaker: Mr Hisham Khribchi

Main ideas:

  •        Eugene deLacroix thought truth existed only among individuals, not among the masses
  •        Web 2.0 have given people the chance to create content of their own
  •        Web 2.0 gives voice to citizens and a stage for them so they can be heard
  •        Morocco = stereotypes: Camels that run in the streets of Casablanca as you may have all noticed
  •        There are few details about the density and passion of our lives
  •        It now takes less that 6 degrees of separation to reach people on the web (5 for Facebook, 4 for Twitter)
  •        TalkMorocco has been created to overtake the francophone sphere reigning Morocco

I’m a great fan of Mr Hisham’s work and dedication to a noble cause that is Freedom of speech and human rights. He even was kind enough to grant me an autograph that I’ll cherish along with my Seth Godin and Tariq Ramadan dedicated Books. You must be jealous, I know!

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6th talk: DabaTeatr: anchoring here and creating for the long drive (in dialect Arabic)

Speakers: Mr Hisham Khribchi

Main ideas:

  •        People don’t dream as they used to
  •        We need to educate our children to believe in their dreams.
  •        Dreams educate
  •        Theater offers the possibility to dream
  •        In the continuum of everyday life, theater brings pauses
  •        The state needs to realize how art is important to the education
  •        Dabateatr: bringing theater to the center of community


My adventure with TEDxCasablanca stops here. Kudos to the organizers who brought us an exquisite event that we hope will get only better and better in the upcoming editions.

More details about the speakers can be found on: http://www.tedxcasablanca.com/

 

Lamia Ben

Sunday fun: Playing for a better world!

You know that guilty feeling you sometimes have after spending hours playing video games? Guess what? It can become history. Because, time spent gaming can become a well spent time if we could design better games. We can use game dynamics for Good, we can create world-changing Games. It's all about the design!

If you don't believe what I'm talking about, or you are curious to know how it can be achieved, feast your eyes and minds with these two TED talks, they truly are worth the watch.

And Let the world changing games begin :). Happy Sunday!

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Seth Priebatsch: Building the game layer on top of the world

Lamia Ben