I’ve been here for a few weeks now and the rhythm is now pretty self-evident. Guest lectures have included entrepreneurs and founders from companies such as Apple, Wired Magazine, SecondLife, SunPower Solar, Kiva, Mulago Foundation, AngelSoft, and Genworth Financial Group. Experts have included NASA astronauts and a whole plethora of PhDs from fields such as bioinformatics, neuroscience, genetics, computer science, robotics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
One of the founders (Peter Diamandis) has joined in our discussions remotely as a 7-foot-tall telepresence robot. So far it’s been an intense process of absorbing information — I have at least 75 pages worth of notes from the various lectures and haven’t even really had a chance to review any of them yet because there’s always another event coming down the pipe and the content keeps on coming.
On a personal level, it’s been really great — my life is now catered for the first (and hopefully not last) time, I have mandatory Tai Chi guided meditation breaks and I’ve met 80 new friends from all over the world. It does indeed feel like Summer camp and we’ve had our fair share of cookouts, excursions, volleyball matches, and late night dance parties — but its unique in that everyone here is incredibly smart and inspired by creating positive change in the world by using technology.
I can’t tell you how many casual conversations I’ve had where the group is composed of people from 4 different continents and topics cover areas such as earthquake prediction using electromagnetic resonance measurement combined with ionospheric measurement and other sensors, the threat of EMP attacks, the ethical considerations of epigenetic manipulation, the rape of avatars in virtual worlds, the interaction of human consciousness and artificial intelligence, nanomanufacturing, and how to pull Africa out of poverty with solar cells and water desalination modules. There’s 37 countries represented here at SU and at least as many perspectives of the world, but everyone is driven to make a difference, and everyone is prone to entrepreneurship. Ventures are being formed, and I’m sure that trend will continue especially when we get into the “team project” phase — in fact, those ventures are a requirement of the program.
We’ve learned that the vast majority of our group are considered to be Hypomaniacs. Needless to say, a lot of us here get pretty excited about the future and love to tell other people about it, and that means we’ve had to figure out how to work efficiently in teams that are composed 100% of leaders….We’ve gotten a crash course in building and operating in cross-disciplinary/cross-cultural impromptu teams…..yeah…. easier said than done but efficiency seems to be growing exponentially.
The scene — at least at this point — is comprised of positivity, warmth, and optimism. One of the students has suggested that we are in the process of building a Scenius — or, collective genius. Hopefully this trend will continue to grow exponentially also.
Astro Teller, who heads up Google-X Labs, spoke to us about driving innovation. He says that every organization that wants to be innovative should have someone who is exclusively in charge of innovation. It should not be the CTO, the head of research, or the digital media marketing guy. It must be someone who is systematically creating innovation. It has to be experimental, weird, upsetting, counterintuitive…..if it’s not upsetting then it’s incremental and it’s not innovation. He also suggests that instead of taking big bets, you should take lots of little bets.
“If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted.”
— Sir Francis Bacon
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax”
- Abraham Lincoln
That’s all for now….I promise photos but they’re still scattered…..I’ll try to keep up with posts more frequently….that is if I can keep up with this emerging scenius of greatness…neurons firing….tissues realigning….circuits rewiring…frequencies blasting….experience blasting…go bot robot who am I to know not:
So proud to represent UGA for innovation and entrepreneurship. Here’s the press release.
In some ways it’s hard for me to imagine right now how the summer will go and what changes I’ll undergo or find while in Mountain View…it’s like fishing. If you dream of a fish that you really want and wake up in the morning to hit the water, the risk is that you’ll come home empty handed, and so the actual experience of fishing — of bobbing on the boat and getting your hands slimy – won’t have lived up to your dream of the fish that you really want. Ideally you find the happy-medium between going after the perfect fish while at the same time not having a specific fish in mind — leaving yourself open to evolving and maybe one day, perhaps when you’re really old or maybe tomorrow, you’ll land one — the one — and you’ll know it when you see it.
I came across this documentation of last year’s graduate studies program at Singularity if you want to SEE what the program is like. I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated with documentation from this year. I want to use this blog as a way to share my experience and major lessons learned in hopes to bring home some bacon for people at UGA who believe in innovation and entrepreneurship. I’m very grateful to UGA for this opportunity, and would like to specifically thank my UGA mentors Dr. Paul Brooks and Dr. Nate Kohn for paving the way for me to attend SU, as well as Dr. David Lee at OVPR, Dr. Maureen Grasso at the UGA Graduate School, and Dr. Libby Morris at the UGA Institute of Higher Education. A culture of innovation and entrepreneurship must start at the top, and I’m so glad that UGA has been proactive in regards to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within the student body — this is certainly a strategy that will pay off in numerous ways and serve to elevate UGA and Athens, GA as a hotbed of the future, and this has been a dream of mine since I came to Athens in the year 2000.
I come from a background in media and I can remember thinking how great Athens was and how it wouldn’t take much for it to be another Austin, or at the very least a smaller more independently minded sibling. After all, Georgia’s gold dome resides 90 miles south in Atlanta, or what I will henceforth refer to as ‘tha ATL.’ Using Austin as a model for how to be a creative city, I saw that in Austin, the trajectory went something like this….first there’s a big powerful university, then the city becomes a haven of educated and creative types drawn to the university setting, then there’s a music scene that develops and creative organizations with it such as independent record labels, then from the music scene sprouts the film scene, and Linklater wins some awards and Austin is on the film map, after indie film the tech scene emerges and Dell laptops are getting pushed out of dorm rooms to the World. I love the idea of emergence, and I have no doubt that Athens, GA is sitting on a whole lot of potential. The war chest is there, waiting for a chain reaction. I wanted Athens to have a stronger independent film scene, and so I did what any self-respecting artist would do, I jumped headfirst into the music business….or as I’ve learned, “lack of” music business. Alas, I’ve evolved towards the tech side of things mainly because I am drawn to big impact and I feel like new technology and new products are the vehicles that cause the most impact — but ultimately, I will self-produce telematic productions anyways.
One of the pre-reading books for this Summer is Three Moves Ahead. It has a great lesson about remaining flexible during a chess match or when starting a new venture. You have to put your pieces in a good position to allow good things to develop. You can’t simply aim for a specific goal all the time, but should instead have a big idea in mind, and never lose site of it. My big idea is to produce positive impact with creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Thanks for stopping by!