Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Yes, I know, this is usually a pharma news post. But you know what? It’s the Friday before a holiday weekend, and a gorgeous morning yielded some lovely pictures of a backyard stroll today. So, forget drug news. Here’s a visual jump-start for your pending weekend:

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet – we launched a new portal yesterday, for people with diabetes: DiabetesOne. Check it out!


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Guest post by Dennis Urbaniak, VP U.S. Diabetes, Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals

Today if you work in corporate America, massive organizational change is the norm.  There are multiple causes in multiple industries but one common theme across all is a glimpse of recognition that companies need to change how they work in order to survive and drive sustainable growth.

For the majority of the working staff at companies undergoing these changes the transition can be confusing and frightening.  For some, however, these changes can be the most exciting trends to hit the corporate scene in decades.

For leaders within companies charged with forging this new path, one key assessment criteria to help understand who has a forward-looking mindset is to see how individuals respond to changes in Titles, Budgets, and Staff.

A lot of people in companies place a high value on these three things.  It’s no surprise; for years the concept of the climbing the corporate ladder was created as the ambition people should have if they want to be “successful”.  Promotions lead to bigger titles, bigger budgets, bigger staff, bigger offices, bigger compensation, and bigger control.

And all this control and all this “bigger” has led to today’s environment where many corporations need to change how they work in order to survive.  Hmmm, something doesn’t quite fit.

Now it’s time to value something different.  I think we need to replace titles, budgets, and staff with three things that actually matter.  Ideas, Initiative, and Inspiration.

Too soft for you? These softer-sounding traits may have been de-emphasized in the past, but if you just breathed a sigh of relief, then you “get” what the future is about.

Survey after survey of company leaders show they are looking for new ideas and people who can get these new ideas executed in the market to drive performance.  The top three sources of the best ideas in a recent IBM CEO survey were identified as employees, customers, and external business partners.

Winners value contribution, not control. “Bigger” is out. “Smarter” is in.

The best ideas, driven by the best initiative, led by the greatest inspiration will define those companies that successfully survive today and thrive tomorrow. Employees that see this recognize it as the most important opportunity in our business world in decades.  This liberates every employee in the company to contribute an idea that can impact the entire company regardless of where they sit or what it says on their business card.

So if you find yourself presented with a massive organizational change that rocks you to your core, the first thing you may want to ask is: what did I value before and what should I value now?

And for those of you who choose to spend time mourning the loss of an org chart that took up two power point slides, please don’t be offended if the emerging leaders in your company aren’t spending a lot of time with you.  Most likely they are working desperately to find those others who “get it.”

If that describes you, you won’t be hard to find because you will be moving faster, pushing harder, and creating groundswells within the company. Forward-thinking colleagues can’t believe how lucky they are to be in a time where they can completely redefine their careers and their companies.

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After Hours 040309

Here’s a nice new way to get your Starbucks!

Like the idea of mini-projectors? Then you’ll like this!

Yes, it’s 5 1/2 minutes (video). Yes, you’ll be touched. Great story.

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I’ve written often on this blog about my commitment to social networking. And much of what I’ve emphasized is the business side.

But my investment in blogging, Twittering, and building a web of relationships has a very human side as well.

Read this and understand why (having met David Armano in person, I had no hesitation contributing). Here’s the backstory and an update. All this in way less than 24 hours. Awesome.

This is what it’s all about. Helping people.

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A tale of teen courage. Wow – don’t miss this.

Spider webs and dew drops (pix)…awesome!

Top pictures from the Beijing Olympics – some real beautiful stuff here. And, since London is next up in 2012, some fabulous “overhead” shots of London at night.

Tired of 5,000% markups on eyeglasses? Interesting article on how you can purchase on the Internet nowadays…for WAY less.

A brilliant outdoor advertising campaign. Dang, I wish I’d thought of this!

Do you pass the T-shirt test?

And…hopefully about 60 of you enjoyed barbecuing with Ragin’ Raven BBQ sauce this past weekend! I sure did!

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Want a free and full resource for finding quotes? Here it is: QuotesDaddy.

Former Google engineers try to come up with a new search engine called Cuil (pron: Cool). First reviews – needs a lot of work. Results are less than robust and accurate, esp. associated pictures. But give it a spin.

One way to deal with “Big Brother” security cameras.

Sad note: Randy Pausch has passed away. If you’ve never seen his “Last Lecture” video (featured on this blog previously), you really need to. Extremely inspiring.

Zemanta Pixie

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A high-end narrated 3-D animation of the “inner life of a cell.” Very cool.

Where can you find some good (low-cost or no-cost) images? Here’s a helpful list.

If you use Facebook at all, you’ll get a kick out of this spoof glimpse into Facebook 30 years in the future.

And finally, an inspirational year-end treat. Patrick Hughes – born without eyes, crippled from birth, gifted musician – and a member of the University of Louisville marching band. Amazing.

(And, here’s another wonderful story featured on the Impactiviti blog last December)



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Last week, I wrote about a moving speech by Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon professor dying of pacreatic cancer, who delivered “the lecture of a lifetime.”

This story, which was featured by the Wall Street Journal and grew viral on the Internet, led to an explosion of attention and has deeply impacted many.

Today, the WSJ does a follow up story (below; site link is here, subscription may be required) about the aftermath. Also, at the bottom of this post, a link to the full video of his speech.

The Professor’s Manifesto; What it Meant to Readers

As a boy, Randy Pausch painted an elevator door, a submarine and mathematical formulas on his bedroom walls. His parents let him do it, encouraging his creativity.

Last week, Dr. Pausch, a computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, told this story in a lecture to 400 students and colleagues.

“If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let ’em do it,” he said. “Don’t worry about resale values.”

As I wrote last week, his talk was a riveting and rollicking journey through the lessons of his life. It was also his last lecture, since he has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months.

After he spoke, his only plans were to quietly spend whatever time he has left with his wife and three young children. He never imagined the whirlwind that would envelop him. As video clips of his speech spread across the Internet, thousands of people contacted him to say he had made a profound impact on their lives. Many were moved to tears by his words — and moved to action. Parents everywhere vowed to let their kids do what they’d like on their bedroom walls.

“I am going to go right home and let my daughter paint her wall the bright pink she has been desiring instead of the “resalable” vanilla I wanted,” Carol Castle of Spring Creek, Nev., wrote to me to forward to Dr. Pausch.

People wanted Dr. Pausch to know that his talk had inspired them to quit pitying themselves, or to move on from divorces, or to pay more attention to their families. One woman wrote that his words had given her the strength to leave an abusive relationship. And terminally ill people wrote that they would try to live their lives as the 46-year-old Dr. Pausch is living his. “I’m dying and I’m having fun,” he said in the lecture. “And I’m going to keep having fun every day, because there’s no other way to play it.”

For Don Frankenfeld of Rapid City, S.D., watching the full lecture was “the best hour I have spent in years.” Many echoed that sentiment.

ABC News, which featured Dr. Pausch on “Good Morning America,” named him its “Person of the Week.” Other media descended on him. And hundreds of bloggers world-wide wrote essays celebrating him as their new hero. Their headlines were effusive: “Best Lecture Ever,” “The Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Seen,” “Randy Pausch, Worth Every Second.”

In his lecture, Dr. Pausch had said, “Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.” Scores of Web sites now feature those words. Some include photos of brick walls for emphasis. Meanwhile, rabbis and ministers shared his brick-wall metaphor in sermons this past weekend.

Some compared the lecture to Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man Alive” speech. Celina Levin, 15, of Marlton, N.J., told Dr. Pausch that her AP English class had been analyzing the Gehrig speech, and “I have a feeling that we’ll be analyzing your speech for years to come.” Already, the Naperville, Ill., Central High School speech team plans to have a student deliver the Pausch speech word for word in competition.

As Dr. Pausch’s fans emailed links of his speech to friends, some were sheepish about it. “I am a deeply cynical person who reminds people frequently not to send me those sappy feel-good emails,” wrote Mark Pfeifer, a technology project manager at a New York investment bank. “Randy Pausch’s lecture moved me deeply, and I intend to forward it on.”

In Miami, retiree Ronald Trazenfeld emailed the lecture to friends with a note to “stop complaining about bad service and shoddy merchandise.” He suggested they instead hug someone they love.

Near the end of his lecture, Dr. Pausch had talked about earning his Ph.D., and how his mother would kiddingly introduce him: “This is my son. He’s a doctor, but not the kind who helps people.”

It was a laugh line, but it led dozens of people to reassure Dr. Pausch: “You ARE the kind of doctor who helps people,” wrote Cheryl Davis of Oakland, Calif.

Dr. Pausch feels overwhelmed and moved that what started in a lecture hall with 400 people has now been experienced by millions. Still, he has retained his sense of humor. “There’s a limit to how many times you can read how great you are and what an inspiration you are,” he says, “but I’m not there yet.”

Carnegie Mellon has a plan to honor Dr. Pausch. As a techie with the heart of a performer, he was always a link between the arts and sciences on campus. A new computer-science building is being built, and a footbridge will connect it to the nearby arts building. The bridge will be named the Randy Pausch Memorial Footbridge.

“Based on your talk, we’re thinking of putting a brick wall on either end,” joked the university’s president, Jared Cohon, announcing the honor. He went on to say: “Randy, there will be generations of students and faculty who will not know you, but they will cross that bridge and see your name and they’ll ask those of us who did know you. And we will tell them.”

Dr. Pausch has asked Carnegie Mellon not to copyright his last lecture, and instead to leave it in the public domain. It will remain his legacy, and his footbridge, to the world.

(The complete 1.5 hour speech is here on Google Video)



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I read this very stirring story yesterday in the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required). Be sure to click the link to the video at the end of the story. Well worth the next 5 minutes of your time!

A Beloved Professor Delivers the Lecture of a Lifetime

Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues.

He motioned to them to sit down. “Make me earn it,” he said.

They had come to see him give what was billed as his “last lecture.” This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted “Last Lecture Series,” in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O’Connor recently titled her lecture “Get Over Yourself.” At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled “Desire,” spoke about sex and technology.

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch’s speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living. If anyone expected him to be morose, he said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you.” He then dropped to the floor and did one-handed pushups.

Clicking through photos of himself as a boy, he talked about his childhood dreams: to win giant stuffed animals at carnivals, to walk in zero gravity, to design Disney rides, to write a World Book entry. By adulthood, he had achieved each goal. As proof, he had students carry out all the huge stuffed animals he’d won in his life, which he gave to audience members. After all, he doesn’t need them anymore.

He paid tribute to his techie background. “I’ve experienced a deathbed conversion,” he said, smiling. “I just bought a Macintosh.” Flashing his rejection letters on the screen, he talked about setbacks in his career, repeating: “Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.” He encouraged us to be patient with others. “Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.” After showing photos of his childhood bedroom, decorated with mathematical notations he’d drawn on the walls, he said: “If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let ’em do it.”

While displaying photos of his bosses and students over the years, he said that helping others fulfill their dreams is even more fun than achieving your own. He talked of requiring his students to create videogames without sex and violence. “You’d be surprised how many 19-year-old boys run out of ideas when you take those possibilities away,” he said, but they all rose to the challenge.

He also saluted his parents, who let him make his childhood bedroom his domain, even if his wall etchings hurt the home’s resale value. He knew his mom was proud of him when he got his Ph.D, he said, despite how she’d introduce him: “This is my son. He’s a doctor, but not the kind who helps people.”

He then spoke about his legacy. Considered one of the nation’s foremost teachers of videogame and virtual-reality technology, he helped develop “Alice,” a Carnegie Mellon software project that allows people to easily create 3-D animations. It had one million downloads in the past year, and usage is expected to soar.

“Like Moses, I get to see the Promised Land, but I don’t get to step foot in it,” Dr. Pausch said. “That’s OK. I will live on in Alice.”

Many people have given last speeches without realizing it. The day before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke prophetically: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place.” He talked of how he had seen the Promised Land, even though “I may not get there with you.”

Dr. Pausch’s lecture, in the same way, became a call to his colleagues and students to go on without him and do great things. But he was also addressing those closer to his heart.

Near the end of his talk, he had a cake brought out for his wife, whose birthday was the day before. As she cried and they embraced on stage, the audience sang “Happy Birthday,” many wiping away their own tears.

Dr. Pausch’s speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they’re older. His last words in his last lecture were simple: “This was for my kids.” Then those of us in the audience rose for one last standing ovation.

Link to (brief) video of presentation.

UPDATE: here is a follow-up story, which includes a link to the FULL video of the speech

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You remember Paul Potts, the winner this spring of Britain’s Got Talent? His astounding performance of opera captured many hearts, certainly including my own.

His first CD is now out. We just got it in from Amazon. I am not, natively, an opera fan, but if you enjoyed Paul’s performances from BGT, you’ll like this disk – very good stuff on it!

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