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Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Entrepreneurship = Impact"

Ah, yes, Seth Godin hit the nail on the head when he wrote about the impact of being an entrepreneur. This is my passion. This is what I live for. THIS is why I am who I am:
"Innovation is something else entirely. Many entrepreneurs use an innovation to make an impact, but the hard part, the part that we're rewarded for, is engaging with the user, the audience, the market. Bringing something to people who didn't think they wanted it, know about it or initially welcome it, and make a difference.

One reason it's so difficult to teach entrepreneurship is that we're not teaching tactics or skills. We're not teaching spreadsheets or finance or even marketing. No, when we encourage entrepreneurship, we're actually trying to get people to the place where they care enough and where they are confident enough to stand up and try to make things change.

Don't tell me what you invented. Tell me about who you changed."

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"I Love LEGO!"

I may be in my 30s, but I still love LEGO. I even have a large box filled with a few thousand pieces in my closet. It's THE ultimate creative toy -- little brightly colored plastic pieces that can be put together in hundreds of different ways -- to create whatever your imagination can dream up.

That being said, one of my favorite daily blog reads is The Brothers Brick. It's a popular blog that highlights photos and images of all of the best original LEGO creations (of every type!) from adult builders all around the world. Just looking through the creativity featured on the site makes me happy. And tempts me to want to pull out that box of LEGO pieces, set aside my more important work.... and spend the rest of the day building!

Take a look at the creativity featured on The Brothers Brick blog. Enjoy the wonderfulness of the one toy you're never to old to play with!


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"The Republic of Tessen & The American Union"

One of my more interesting projects lately, has been a political one. There's a popular free online nation-building game called NationStates. In this game, you create a fictional nation, you answer daily issues meant to shape the political ideals and legislative laws of your country, and you roleplay with other people doing the same thing in like-minded groups known as regions.

I joined NationStates ten years ago, and have been working to develop the fictional story of my nation, The Republic of Tessen, ever since. It's been a side project for me, toying with the politics and economy every once in a while. Recently, though, I decided to increase my involvement in the game. I developed a geography-based region; I created the ground work for a regional history; I established the powerhouse Republic of Tessen as the founding nation; and I endeavored to begin a project of recruiting other like-minded, Democracy-driven nations to help me build a regional presence known as.... the American Union.

As of this blog post, there are 116 game nations (aka, players) who have joined the American Union (all of which are fictionally located in North, Central and South America). We're developing a regional trade network, a Union government, national identities, and a collective story that rivals most projects of its kind on the internet.

According to game statistics, the American Union is currently the 88th largest region in the entire game (out of 16,979 regions). We've established a very strong presence and we're still growing. The experiment continues, and I'd like to invite you to join us and become part of the fun!

NationStates is a simple game. Beyond the basic workings of your country, most of the social environment is built through creative roleplay. It doesn't take much time or effort to play the game itself, and any additional roleplay you choose to pursue is entirely at your discretion. Come take a look at the American Union. Explore the Republic of Tessen. Check out the Tessen Factbook I put together. See what we're all about. Then, sign up at, and relocate to the American Union region.

We'd love to have you in our story. And I'd love to see what kind of nation YOU come up with!


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Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Cups / When I'm Gone / Tap Dance"

I really enjoy watching Anna Kendrick performing the music video, "Cups", (the song, "When I'm Gone" from the movie, Pitch Perfect). The rhythm, the beat... the fun. What's not to love!

Give it a watch below, and then read on for another visual treat....

Now, let's step it up a notch.

This next video features some Broadway actors performing the same song.... as a tap dance routine. Anna did a great job in Pitch Perfect, but to take multiple dancers -- all tapping in synch with the rest of the chorus line -- that takes a whole different kind of talent! Give this one a watch as well. I think you'll enjoy it just as much as Anna Kendrick's performance in the first video!


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Saturday, October 19, 2013

"The Value Of Over-Investing"

I agree with Seth Godin: - Don't underestimate the value of over-investing.
"A great ambassador doesn't show up in a foreign land and start complaining about how everything here is so different. She doesn't insist that people start acting the way they act back home. And most of all, she welcomes the idea that people might have different goals and desires than the people she grew up with--in fact, different than she has.

And every great treaty causes both signatories to change something substantial, something important, in exchange for accomplishing a bigger goal via cooperation.

Your customers need an ambassador. Someone who is open to hearing what they have, need and want, not merely a marketer intent on selling them a particular point of view. Once you understand someone, it's much easier to bring them something that benefits everyone.

And your partners need you to honor the spirit and intent of the deals you do with them. The goal of a long-term relationship isn't to find the loophole that lets you do what you want. Instead, figure out what you're giving up and what you're getting in return.

Companies (and countries) often under-invest in ambassadors and under-value the promises they make in treaties. In the connection economy, it now makes sense to over-invest instead."

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Mesmerizing Translucent Waves From 19th Century Paintings"

The late 19th century Armenian-Russian painter, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900), created some spectacular paintings of seascapes that capture the shimmering, almost magical, beauty of the surging sea.

What's fascinating about his paintings, though, is his ability to recreate the intensity and motion of the waves, as well as the translucent color and foamy texture. He mixes these violent waves, and calm ripples, with the effects of the sunlight filtering through the water, to create some truly mesmerizing scenes.

Here's a collection of a few of these awe-inspiring seascapes. Take a peek, and enjoy!


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"Help People"

Some wisdom, courtesy of Time of Grace. The Lord loves a cheerful giver:
"As you get older, you will probably notice more and more how God sends help to you through other people -- their words of encouragement, their critiques, their gifts. Did it ever occur to you that you might be the answer to someone else’s prayers? 
God loves it when you share your toys. He loves it because you are helping someone he loves, and he loves it because it shows that you are willing to invest in his big agenda instead of exclusively in your little agenda.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). Did you notice the promise that God attached here? God never just takes from us. He never allows himself to be outgiven. When we do his will with our money, he not only gives us a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction and a long-term joy without a hangover of guilt and depression. He also is perfectly capable of giving more money right back to us so that we can do it again.

We will be refreshed. That will happen. He promised, and he never lies."

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Jon Baas

Blogging Since 2002!
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