October 31, 2012

Why Bill Gates Matters

Guest post by Zach Buckley
Leaving Einstein Behind
Albert Einstein has some things going for him, such as the theory of relativity. When people mention a genius, he's usually the first to come up.
In today’s world Bill Gates brought personal computing to the mainstream. He paved the way for new industries, professions and mindsets that would revolutionize how careers are defined. His influence is most evident among young, tech-savvy professionals seeking career paths greatly different from how their predecessors earned a living.
Technology has created new and different ways of doing business. It’s changed how professionals are fulfilling their job responsibilities. Young Professionals are flocking to the tech industry because of the unique set of opportunities offered. Thanks, Bill Gates.
Here are just some of the draws to tech positions:
Flexible Working Conditions
More often professionals are working remotely and outside of the standard 9 to 5 work schedule. These workers have more opportunities to build their own schedules to accommodate their lifestyle while doing it from home and cutting out the daily commute.
Increased Entrepreneurial Opportunities
Technology has greatly expanded the market for do-it-yourself types to create their own start-up companies. It's helpful to have a Degree in Information Technology to have a strong understanding of the tech industry. Plenty of professionals are finding ways to focus their own areas of specialty to create new tech solutions.
The low overhead of developing tech-based revenue streams, whether by creating mobile apps, becoming a social media expert or finding other ways to improve upon existing information technology - makes it easier to take risks with new business ventures and even do so without giving up a day job.
Tech Fluency as a Job Market Advantage
The younger generations never experienced a world where technology wasn't a part of everyday life. As these young professionals enter the workforce, they have an inherent advantage over older generations and will have an easier time acclimating to the continual changes that pervade the tech industry.
Technology has allowed younger professionals to reconsider their main motivations in the workplace, and as a result many are putting quality of life in front of money. Jobs that offer a healthy work-life balance are prefered. Bill Gates may not have had that in mind when he developed the first Microsoft computer, but it's definitely a by-product of his innovation.
About the author: Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley

October 24, 2012

The Startup Baby

There are a lot of myths out there about raising a child, as well as starting your own company. As a new dad, let me tell you that with a plethora of information available, there's no better teacher than experience.

Here are some parallels between being a parent and owning a Startup:

Time. Sleep is determined by the baby, so when the baby actually sleeps, you better sleep also. Your schedule for the time being revolves around your newborn because they can't help themselves. As a Startup company, unexpected events will arise and your schedule can be quite unpredictable. Some days you will have enough time to work, while other nights you will go sleepless working on a project. Time is finite, so spend time on what matters. 

Development. Some days you'll feel confident as a parent and other times you'll feel clueless. It's not about being perfect but putting forth your best effort to help guide and develop your child. In a startup, there will be peaks and valleys. The learning curve is steep. Overall, focus on making progress and look for visible growth.

Adapting to Change. Adults may be older, but try and control a kid and your life will be ruined. Kids evolve at a rapid pace and adjust quickly to new experiences. The Startup World is never calm and flooded with risk. If you're not ready to "pivot" (business term for switching to a new direction), you may overlook a great opportunity. Being flexible in a fast paced world is crucial to any amount of success.

You can't learn about parenting or starting your own company without actually doing it. Do your research and talk to others with more experience, but be ready to learn through trial and error. Nothing can fully prepare you for the "birth" of a new child/business, but don't forget the most important part: starting!

October 17, 2012

TV Teaches Me About Risk

Guest post by Jeff Okita
In most dramatic stories, the level of intensity rarely stays high for the entire show. If it did, the viewer would become fatigued and there would never be a climax to look forward to. Stories need dips so the audience can better appreciate the peaks. Put it all together and the contrast creates the overall excitement and anticipation for what's next.
Replace the X axis (horizontal) with "time" and the Y axis with "challenges." The up and down movement currently represents my life. I live a high-risk, high-reward lifestyle. The juggling of various responsibilities is a burden I welcome. I've learned a ton over the past 3 years, pushed myself a lot, but wonder if stability would have been a better choice for me.

Entrepreneurs have to embrace risk, like it's a good friend. Maybe risk should be coupled with periods of stability, yet the troughs give you time to heal and mentally prepare yourself for the risk-taking peaks. Only then can we truly appreciate the risks.

October 10, 2012

Go With The Wind

In golf, the absolute worst condition to play in is when it's windy. Rain, heat or cold can be uncomfortable, but wind absolutely challenges your skill level.

Since playing golf is frequently compared to life, what happens to you in "windy" conditions?
How many times have your plans been completely rerouted? Life is more about how you respond to your circumstances than how much control you have over them.

Take for example relationships. Sometimes you want so badly for a relationship to work out you do everything you can. Yet if it was meant to be, it shouldn't be that hard. That's not saying you won't have bumps along the way, but if your goal is to make things work regardless, most likely you're forcing it. Relationships are a lot of give and take, so when unforeseen circumstances blow your way, you should step back, look at the situation objectively and evaluate what's really going on. 

The same applies to your career. You might be applying for jobs and not getting what you want. It's frustrating, but maybe where you are is exactly where you're supposed to be. What can you learn from your current situation that you can take to your next destination? Your dream job could be eluding you because something better is out there. Keep networking, applying and looking. When the time is right, you'll know it. 

Sure, this is a bit optimistic in mindset, yet the alternative is fighting with the wind daily and losing. Going with the wind isn't sitting on your butt waiting for lighting to strike, instead it's taking everything into perspective while navigating ahead. You and I like to be in control. We prefer to plan our routine. Yet, how many times do things actually go according to plan? 

My challenge to you is make plans, but be willing to change them based on current circumstances. Life isn't about what happens to you, but how you respond to it. Historically the wind is undefeated, so see where it's blowing and ride it to your destiny. 

October 3, 2012

Battling OCD: Obsessive Comparison Disorder

Guest post by Paul Angone

Nothing is more vital to twentysomething success than comparing yourself in every way, at every step, to everyone, both near, and far.
Family, friends, acquaintances, enemies, Seth Godin, Justin Bieber, Jon Favreau, Jon Acuff — all are fair game, all are incredible motivational tools if you just allow yourself to study them at every angle and decipher how they have done their lives much better than yours.

Pour over your friends’ Facebook profiles. Find all those at the same age who have “Director” or “Vice-President” in their title. Go through every picture of her My Life is Awesome Album. Measure how big their smiles are. Study their well behaved kids. Figure out the square footage of their newly remodeled house. Look at how nice their husband’s suit is. Find the brand. Google it. See how much it must have cost. Go buy a more expensive suit for your husband. Lease a BMW. Take a picture. Put it in your My Life is Awesome-er Album.

We used to only be able to accomplish this feat of full out, look-you-up-and-down-comparison, at our ten year reunion. But now with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube we have the opportunity to compare ourselves to everyone, every, single, day. What a blessing.

“The key to success is comparing yourself to everyone, everyday. Then let that anxiety and fear propel you to work harder, faster, and with more motivation.” ~ Guy Who Had Nervous Breakdown at 33

Once you have studied, and obsessed, and found all the ways THEIR story is so much better than YOURS — like the jockey’s whip on the winning horse, you can use all this information as a measuring stick to smack your rear end into action. And pull down your pants first so that you can really feel the sting.


Or don’t.

Don’t compare yourself to THEM.

Don’t cram YOUR plotline into someone else’s story.

You’re not them. They’re not you.

Your story doesn’t fit in theirs. I’d be like watching When Harry Met Sally and then all of the sudden Shawshank Redemption cuts in. Billy Crystal wouldn’t have worked crawling through a sewer pipe to escape from prison. Billy Crystal worked with Meg Ryan. 

If we try to cram two separate stories together, then we’ll have a fragmented life that has no idea who or what it is — a story that will ultimately bomb at the box office.

As successful author/blogger Jon Acuff recently wrote in his article We Only Need 1 Tim Ferris (Jon Acuff – someone I like to compare myself too and then proceed to not write for a month because how could I write as well as Jon Acuff),

“We’ve already got everyone else, but you. We are short one you. We need you. We need your dream, in your unique way, with your unique thumbprint.” ~ Jon Acuff


So yes, be inspired by others stories but do not let their story dwarf yours. Do not become inflicted by Obsessive Comparison Disorder – a disease that runs ramped in American culture today. A disease that tells us to buy things we shouldn’t. A disease that devours Bubonic-Plague-Style creativity, energy, and peace — three vital characteristics you are going to need to write your story really well.
So the next time you find yourself wishing your life could be theirs, lingering a little too long on their Facebook Album as you fight the fight of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, remember:

“The the grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there, and realize it’s because of all the manure.” ~ Paul Angone Original (Imagine That!)