The Quantified Self 2011 conference was quite an incredible experience. After the first day of the conference I could barely sleep thinking and researching all the links and references brought to my attention from people I had met. As I walked into the Computer History Museum, site of the QS2011 conference on the second day I received an email from a friend who was supposed to attend but could not make it. The email said:
From what I can see observing QS2011 from afar via photos, tweets, and blogs, what you're experiencing today is almost undoubtedly the same as it was like at Apple back then. Packed in rooms with hundreds of smart, passionate, driven, free thinkers who are defining and redefining the cutting edge -- sometimes moment by moment -- for days at a time: is that what it feels like for you at QS2011? Alternately humbled, dwarfed, and, yes, scared; then exhilarated as I "got it" better or faster than two-thirds of the people into the room.
Yes, that is exactly what I was experiencing. I was witnessing the birth of a new industry, a new movement. This conference had all the feeling of a grassroots tech movement, not encumbered by any multinational corporate brands. This conference was more about individuals and small businesses talking about their research in self-experimentation or programming the next best social tracker. It exhibited all the passion and drive of people on a mission to change the world and in this case starting with themselves.
There is a lot to absorb. Standout sessions for me were many. Seth Roberts talked on How to self-experiment and stimulated discussion on the role of the personal (as opposed to the professional) scientist. I was intrigued by Frank Chen's presentation on Mindful Technologies and how it applies to our interactions with systems we come into contact with on an everyday basis. He also turned me on to research at Stanford being done in Calming Technologies. Gary Wolf, contributing editor of Wired Magazine and one of the organizers for the conference lead a discussion about the Quantified Self in a Quantified World. If we are better able to keep track of our personal health activities with sensors, what about the world around us? There are sensors on cars, buildings, infrastructure, animals, plants, the air, water and earth. This opens up an area rich in opportunity to better understand our environment, natural and man made.
There was so much more and I hope to talk about them in future posts but I do want to mention Kevin Kelly's closing talk beautifully summarized in Ethan Zuckerman's blog post. Over the last 10 years information is increasing at a rate of 66% per year, equal to Moore's Law, where every 18 months computing hardware doubles in capacity. In this case information is doubling at the same rate. The new metaphor is lifestreams, where we are all creating streams of information and the wake from these streams are influencing many around us. This raises the question of how this influence is taken and how we act on it. Can behaviors be changed? Will be take better care of ourselves? Will this lead to a better world? What is privacy in the paradigm of lifestreams?
Yes, there are more questions than I have answers. But at least we are asking the questions and not oblivious to the groundswell that is happening around us. If you are interested in this topic of the Quantified Self there is a Meetup group in Hawaii and we plan to get together in June for at debrief on QS2011. Bring your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Hope to see you there.
Back in 2009 while I was on a mission to bring HMSA into the social media world, I had a chance to organize a panel for the Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Summit 2009. I thought to myself, who is in healthcare, active in social media and willing to share a panel with me. Without a doubt, Ryan Suenaga was top of mind. He worked at Kaiser Permanente, had his own blog, was active on Twitter but would he want to share the stage with an HMSA wonk. Conscientious as he is, Ryan got approval from his boss before giving me the green light. As it turned out Ryan was a terrific choice.
Our presentation was called Social Media Outlets: What Works Well and What Could Work Better. He proceeded to tell a life story I had not heard before. He talked about how his father passed away due to diabetes which became an epiphany for Ryan. He shared about being 200+ pounds with pictures to prove it. He talked about improving his health and how the social media community provided the support and encouragement to help him succeed. It was truly a story of one man's struggle to come to grips with is own health and how the community around him helped.
In his concluding slide, the one shown above, his final bullet says:
Network to teach, give and get support.
The community in which Ryan surrounded himself was one that he cultivated. It did not spring forth randomly. He nurtured it with not only the near 92,000 tweets but also by interacting directly with people, through runs, tweetups, pickup basketball and twikes. He'd come out to our Bytemarks Lunches whenever his work load permitted. He came to our March lunch and gave me some good job seeking advice.
He even had a way of supporting events without going to them. I organized the Unconferenz and Ryan would be the first to order a t-shirt in support of the event. He intimated to me that he wanted to avoid seeing someone there so would be an unlikely attendee. But he still wanted to give his support.
If you read his blogs you might say that he sometimes wore his heart on his sleeve. He gave so much of himself and his simple expectation was that people show some reciprocal kindness. He did not find that in all people but that did not lessen his capacity for compassion and his continued ability to nurture his community.
As we mourn Ryan's passing, we all feel an emptiness in our heart. Yet I think Ryan lives on in all of us. We all felt his compassion, kindness and generosity. We all learned a lesson or two from him. He was basically paying us forward so that we can share it with others. If you really want to remember Ryan, it's simple. Just show a little kindness. Pay it forward. Ryan is right there.
Hawaii students were well represented in top honors at this year's Intel International Science & Engineering Fair held last week in San Jose, CA.
Nolan Kamitaki from Waiakea High School and his project, Gene Dosage and Expression in Human Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines took the Best of Category and First Place in the category of Cellular and Molecular Biology.
Second Place Grand Team Award went to Megan Kurohara and Hannah Rojeski of Hilo High School for their project "A New Spin on Green Energy: Increasing Hydrogen in Spirulina Derived Photobiological System."
A Fourth Place Grand Award went to Mali’o Kodis, Waiakea HS, Senior for his project: Diversity of Foliar Fungal Endophytes in Wild and Cultured Metrosideros polymorpha Inferred from Environmental PCR and ITS Sequence Data.
A Fourth Place Team Award went to Michael Flynn & Taylor Nakamura, Maui HS, Juniors for their project: Muon Detection at Elevation. In addition Michael Flynn won an all expense paid trip by the European Union to CERN and perhaps lucky enough to visit the Hadron Collider.
The photos here were taken at the Hawaii Science and Engineering Fair back in April 2010 at the Hawaii Convention Center. It's quite a spectacle to see all the students immersed in their projects and a testament to the skill level of Hawaii's students. As reported last week the Hawaii Academy of Science received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the tune of $425K. Enough to keep things running for another year and then some.
Hats off to Jay Fidell, Bill Spencer and Mary Fastenau for pulling off a very engaging and thought provoking half-day panel discussion about the future of news. Not only was it timely, coming at the heels of a major television news consolidation in Hawaii and the recently announced sale of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for the Honolulu Advertiser but it was also headlined with people like Sarah Lacy (TechCrunch) and John Temple (Peer News). For those who were not able to make it down to the newly renovated Plaza Club in downtown Honolulu, the webcast of the day's panels are all available on the NewsMorphosis channel on Ustream.
My main take away from the first panel called "Transformation of the News", with Will Moss from Beijing, Mark Platte from the Honolulu Advertiser and Chris Archer from HawaiiNewsNow was that Mark Platte was lamenting the eventual demise of one of the dailies and the possible consolidation of staffs to form the one paper: Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Chris Archer on the other hand, already well into merged operations of the KGMB, KFVE and KHNL newsrooms has resigned himself to accept reality and fully embraced the new HawaiiNewsNow. Archer said it was inevitable that one or two stations were going to shut down. This way at least all three are still delivering the news, albeit the same.
What perked me up during the second panel was Sarah Lacy. As much as I love listening to Olin Lagon (Kanu Hawaii), Dan Leuck (TechHui) and Kyle Tanouye (Talisman), it was Sarah that turned the crowd on its head. (Her part starts about 1:45 hr into the webcast.) She came right out and said she saw the death of newspapers 10 years ago, which got some cheers of acknowledgment from the crowd. She also said it wasn't the fault of the journalist, but the papers themselves for not seeing it coming. She obviously had no sympathy for the papers. She also make the astute observation that if this conference was held in Silicon Valley everyone would have their laptop open. Out of the 200 or so people in attendance, I think I only saw 2 and one of them was Sarah's. The point of her observation did not become evident until a little later in the session, right after John Temple concluded his presentation on Peer News. No sooner than when he started taking questions from the audience did Sara post her blog entry about Peer News to Techcrunch. Sarah singlehandedly scooped all the Hawaii journalist in the room and got her story out first. By the time the sessions were over her post had well over 300 retweets on Twitter. That's the power of new media, the power of a strong brand (Techcrunch) and the power of someone who gets it. More later on Peer News...
TechHui, the social network of Hawaii's tech community is hosting a conference this Saturday, July 25, 2009 at the Univ. of Hawaii, Art Auditorium. I spoke to Dan Leuck, organizer of the event, earlier today and asked him what makes this conference different from other tech conferences in Honolulu. For starters, it features speakers from local tech companies who are pioneers in their fields. This includes people like Kaz Hashimoto, Avatar-Reality; Jeff Mikulina, Blue Planet Foundation and Moriba Jah, Advanced Science & Technology Research Institute for Astrodynamics. This diversity of topics extends into the sessions that cover everything from alternative energy, social media, 3D CG & Animation, User Experience Design to Star Trek Tech. Another unique feature of this conference is that it is aimed at the tech geek and intends to delve deeper into the subjects than your typical conference. In a session I am moderating called Star Trek Tech we'll have companies including Think Rapid who has system that is able to replicate 3D objects over the network. Imagine having a 3D widget on O`ahu, digitizing it and sending over the network to be replicated in Guam. This can be done with plastics and metals. In the same session Dr. Stefan Moisyadi will talk about projects involving transgenic modifications, think glowing mice. There's a lot to choose from and all representative of work being done in Hawaii. It's quite an impressive assortment. For more information check out the TechHui Conference event page. This is well worth the $15 admission.
This week is chock full of events. In my previous post I mention the Wayfinder Lectures coming up on Thursday, July 23th at Hawaii Public Radio. On Friday, July 24th at the Academy of Arts, Linekona the fifth installment of Pecha Kucha Night will take place. The Pecha Kucha presentation format started in Japan with designers, graphic artists and architects getting together and adopting this short 20 slides, 20 seconds each format. That limited the preso to 6 minutes and 40 seconds. So, if anything bored you, not to worry, it would be over in no time. Pecha Kucha Night (PKN) 4.0 took place in Honolulu last March. I was planning to present but decided instead to capitalize on a trip to SXSW 2009. Now that PKN 5.0 is here, I got no excuses. My presentation is entitled: Top 20 Social Media Geeks. You can guess who might be on the list but for me the hardest part was deciding who to trim from the list. No hints, the big reveal is this Friday. Hope to see you there.
The vibrance and excitement of SXSW was intoxicating. When I got back last week Wed (3/18). I hit the road running going into the office, sharing cool finds from SXSW, doing the Bytemarks Cafe radio show that evening. Then on Thursday it was the Andy Bumatai show and on Friday it was working on getting Sunni Brown over to Hawaii for a management team presentation. By Friday afternoon, I was feeling the wheels starting to wobble. It started as a headache and a fever. I thought maybe a weekend of rest would do it. But no sooner did the weekend start, it ended. Monday (3/23) was staring me in the face. Sunni Brown was sick (like I was) and made a good decision to fly from Austin to Hawaii on Monday. We talked about it over the weekend and I totally understood. If it was me I would have done the same thing. Suffice it to say it added to my stress level. We found a substitute graphic recorder and had her flown in from the Big Island. Tuesday was back to back meetings going over the executive presentations with our team and the new graphic recorder Suzanne London. Lots of prep work went into capturing the 2-thirty minute presentations. On Wed morning I (with the help of my fellow teammates) schlep over two cameras and tripods. The presentations go without a hitch although the graphic recording wasn't up to the standard set by Sunni. But that's life. Wed afternoon is another Bytemarks Cafe with Alex Ho and Briana Acosta in the studio talking about FRIST Robotics. Thursday (3/26 ) is an all day Health2.0 Conference held at the Kahala Hotel. Very interesting day of presentations, panels and break out sessions on the topic of telemedicine, present and future. Thursday night culminated in the quasi-monthly Manoa Geeks which had 70+ people converge on the Honolulu Advertiser building to geek out on tech talk and pizza.
That brings me to today, Friday 3/27, my day to make a presentation to coworkers entitled: Digital You: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. By this time my throat is killing me and I am drinking cough medicine every 12 hours. I am told that I will have at least 70 people in attendance and a bunch of last minute show ups. My voice has lost all its projection but the subject matter is my passion and I am hoping that comes through. @Lavagal is in the audience giving me support. I wanted to spend most of my time talking about Twitter but when I looked at the clock it was already 12:45 when I ended the section on FB. I should have timed it better. I start going over the basics of Twitter, microblogging and the 140 character limitation. I then talk about personal branding and about some of the popular Twitter celebrities that have changed their handle to better suit their "brand". As I talk about Neenz, who went from @infinitypro to @neenz, low and behold I get a tweet from Neenz. I am totally humbled and tell everybody that is the power of Twitter. It even facilitates psychic connections!
Cold or no cold, that made my day and week. Life is like that. It deals out a set of cards and it is up to you to make something out of it. If you look back and feel you have lived every moment to its fullest, with no regrets, you then turn around and go forward with the same conviction. Ichi-go ichi-e, each moment is "one chance in a lifetime." Makes life such a fun path to be on.
The first day of SXSW Interactive was like jumping into the water at Ala Moana Beach and swimming to the reef. Subsequent days were like going to Waimea Bay during a North Shore winter swell. Just to give you an idea of what I am trying to absorb here is a lineup of the session I either attended or wanted to attend:
Friday, March 13th
02:00 PM My Boss Doesn't Get It: Championing Social Media to the Man at B
03:30 PM The Ecosystem of News at 12AB
05:00 PM Buzz Out Loud Podcast Taping at Mezzanine 5
Saturday, March 14th
10:00 AM Civic Technologies and the Future of the Internet at 9
10:00 AM Tips For Making Ideas Happen at 18BCD
11:30 AM Curating the Crowd-Sourced World at C
11:30 AM Emerging Trends of Mobile Technology at B
02:00 PM Opening Remarks at A
03:30 PM The Future Of Social Networks at A
04:00 PM Mobile Social SXSW BBQ at Brush Square Park
05:00 PM Building Your Brand with Web 2.0 Tools at C
05:00 PM Charlene Li at South by Bookstore - Austin Convention Center
05:00 PM How LA Has Built A Sucessful Tech Community at Hilton E
05:00 PM Politics, Technology, and Pop Culture at 9
06:00 PM Dorkbot at Brush Square Park East Tent
06:00 PM PBS' Interactive Social Media & Online Video Studio at PBS Studio
Sunday, March 15th
10:00 AM Ditch the Valley, Run for the Hills at C
10:00 AM Edupunk: Open Source Education at B
11:30 AM Social Networking in Health: e-Patients, Data & Privacy at 5B
01:00 PM Jonathan Coulton at Studio SX - Austin Convention Center
02:00 PM Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) unConference at Mezzanine 7
02:00 PM Sunday Keynote Interview at A
03:30 PM From Flickr and Beyond: Lessons in Community Management at A
03:30 PM Social Media: If You Liked it, Then You Should Have Put a Digg on It... at 10
04:00 PM Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business
05:00 PM Video Blogging: Turning Wine into Gold at A
Monday, March 16th
10:00 AM Presenting Straight to the Brain at A
10:00 AM The Invisible Web and Ubiquitous Computing at 9
11:30 AM Puzzle Hunts and the Creative Process at 5C
11:30 AM Social Media For Social Good at Stubb's BBQ
03:30 PM Building a Web Business After Hours at 18BCD
03:30 PM Using the New Digital Social Media to Accelerate Sustainability at 8
03:30 PM What Does Awesome Sound Like? at Hilton A
04:00 PM The Rackspace Cloud SXSW Lounge Party at Brush Square Park East Tent
06:30 PM SXSW Year Round: Organize Groups, Maintain Your Buzz at Hilton D
07:00 PM 20 x 2 at The Parish
Like any great conference it's not only the sessions you take in but it is also the tidbits of information you find out along the way. By talking to people along the way you hear about so much new stuff. Here are a few of the sites I heard about through conversations: MyAlltop, Elements, PlayFourSquare, Trusera, myBeegle, WorldHum, LazyFeed, Ribbit, eZdia, Zappos, UpTake, ZoomProspector, BlueSkyFactory, SunniBrown and these are just the ones I heard about. It is going to be weeks before I sort through all of this. But it's absolutely fun and inspiring to be a part of such a vibrant industry. No complaints coming from me.
The first day of SXSW included finding my way to the Austin Convention Center in the rain at 9am in the morning. I was about to walk over the bridge but realized the rain was a bit much in the 40 degree weather. Got wise and took a taxi. While at the Convention Center I hooked up with @chunlum and @kyeung808. It's always great to see familiar faces. We got our registration/swag bags and headed out to find a place to eat breakfast. The session didn't start until the afternoon and this is what I lined up:
2:00 PM My Boss Doesn't Get It: Championing Social Media to the Man
Miles Sims - Small World Labs
Peter Kim - Dachis Corporation
Michael Wilson - Small World Labs
Rebecca Caroe - CreativeAgencySecrets.com
Christian Caldwell - Small World Labs/American Heart Association
This session focused on getting a social media initiative established with in the corporation and what it takes to gain traction. It all boils down to ROI and how does it contribute to growing revenue and reducing expenses according to @peterkim. I liked what Christian Caldwell had to say about being open to not only the successes but also the failures of social media projects. He seems to have made quite a bit of headway in the Heart Association.
3:30 PM The Ecosystem of News with Steven Johnson
There have been an untold number of articles and conversations about the demise of the newspaper business. This session thankfully was not one of those. Steven Johnson did a very thoughtful presentation about how the news delivery environment was changing. He contrasted it with the old grove forest and how species in the forest grew to coexist. The same is happening to the news ecosystem. There are natural forces that cause one specie to contract and others to grow. He pointed out that the old school journalist will not disappear but they will go through a difficult period as the newspaper industry contracts. His prepared presentation will be online shortly as his website. I would highly suggest reading it as it was very insightful.
5:00 PM Buzz Out Loud Podcast Taping at Mezzanine 5
Sitting in on the BOL taping of today's episode was a great way to close out an afternoon of SXSW Day 1. Tom Merritt, Natali Del Conte and Producer Jason Howell make it look so easy. They scan at their notes and interact live with smooth stream of consciousness delivery. It all looked so natural. Perhaps I found it a fitting afternoon session since I could appreciate the BOL team working it and at the same time relax and get some good tech tips. Just a closing remark about Mezzanine 5. You will hear them talk about how hard it was to find the BOL room. The Austin Convention Center seems to be based on some Escher architecture. It is the most bizzarre layout for a convention center I have ever been to.