Talking Mobile Social Media with Chris Voss

Chris Voss, Social Media Expert

When Chris Voss speaks about social media, mobile technology and its relationship to both the corporate and consumer worlds, many people take note. Chris Voss is ranked #18 in Fortune magazine’s list of the most influential social media experts in the United States. The Chris Voss Blog and The Chris Voss Show (http://thechrisvossshow.com) are considered indispensable resources in the corporate world, and his insights are looked upon by product and service developers the world over.

Legacy Series Magazine spoke with Chris on October 29 about a number of social networking, social media and mobile technology issues. Here is a portion of that conversation. The rest will follow when Legacy Series Magazine’s print and online editions are released in December.

Q: First of all, Chris, we’ve seen wholesale changes in technology, publishing, communications and other industries thanks to he relationship between consumers and social media/networking. Why do you feel social media/networking not only took off the way it has, but also changed the playing field in customer relations so quickly and dramatically?
A: Part of it is driven by mobile and smartphones.  Part of it may have been the recession and people seeking more ways to network and integrate for business.

The large part of it is now this “demand society.”  Call it gen x, gen y  or whatever, people want stuff now and don’t want to wait for it.  They are more vocal and speak their minds.  Social Media is an incredible way to amplify your voice.

Q: How is the prevalence of smart phones and tablets further expanding the reach and influence of social media?
A: Incredibly huge and growing fast.  In 2010, it was predicted mobile would grow by 400% by 2015.  The mobile revolution of smartphones and tablets make it so more people can use social media more often.

Q: What major changes have businesses made to their budgets, hiring procedures and marketing strategies to accommodate social media requirements?
A: Some companies have massively adopted social media and now expend huge budgets for it in the Fortune 500 arena.  Many employers are still trying to understand it and how it translates to the bottom line.  The medium is still new and slowly being adopted.  But they are all slowly changing and adapting.

Q: What (if anything) surprised you about how quickly customers and businesses became so interconnected?
A: I think it’s been wanting to happen for a long time.  As a business owner, I’ve always dreamed of something like this.  There just wasn’t a vehicle created for it yet. Consumers want more input to what they buy, and business wants the input to better target their business to consumers.

Q: Where do you see the business — and personal — relationship with social media going in the next 3 to 5 years? Do you feel it will be more and more device-driven and less focused on desktop or laptop computers?
A: Mobile will be everything.  Demand will be everything.  All media, cable, news, music, TV, everything will be forced to submit to mobile demand.  People will want everything accessible by their mobile devices.  There will be HUGE disruption in these industries and serious revolutions of economy.  It will also happen in other sectors as they become more technologically driven.  As mobile devices get smarter, the apps and phones will know everything about us and help anticipate our wants and needs.

Exclusive Conversation with Mark Cuban

mark_cuban

Mark Cuban, Successful Innovator and Entrepreneur

Most people in America know of Mark Cuban as the owner and face of the 2010-11 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, as well as one of the entrepreneurial stars of the smash TV show “Shark Tank.” In the business world, Mark is known in a different way: as the highly successful pioneer of HDTV (through HD Net, now AXS TV), and most recently, as one of the principals of Magnolia Pictures. Magnolia is the first studio to deploy truly 21st century technology, from the way it produces films to the way it advertises and distributes them.

Mark is one of the most successful entrepreneurs America has ever seen, with an irrepressible combination of insight, vision, energy and business savvy. We had the rare opportunity to catch up with Mark for The Legacy Series Magazine. This is an excerpt from the interview that will appear in our premiere issue in mid-November.

Q: First of all, Mark, you live an entrepreneur’s dream. How did your entrepreneurial instincts sharpen during the journey to create what you oversee today?

A: I was able to see a lot of repeatable patterns that occur from business to business which allows me to move faster than most. I also make a point to always ask myself to always re evaluate my businesses so that, if I were to start from scratch, what would I change? Then I try and change it.

Q: Magnolia Pictures seems to be a 21st century version of the vertical integration found in the Hollywood studios in the 1930s through 1950s: a production company, distribution arm, the Landmark theaters and cable rolled into one chain. What did you see in the movie world that created an opening to develop this business model and run with it?

A: We realized that because we are vertically integrated, with AXS TV, Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures and 2929 Films, not only could we make, distribute, show and sell movies, but we didn’t have to play by all the old Hollywood rules. I decided to look at the technology opportunities that would allow us to change how the game was played that others may not be aware of.

Back then, everyone at the internet as the big opportunity for movies and distribution. Many still do. I have a rule: if everyone is looking in one area/platform for solutions, that probably is not where the new opportunities are. In this case, everyone was ignoring the fact that cable and satellite had already gone digital. From a tech perspective, everything that Youtube and other online video sites could do, cable in particular could do as well. Knowing that cable TV providers would leverage new digital technology, we made a big push to understand how we could leverage their VOD platform to sell movies.

We changed the game and now we are starting to see Lions Gate and others starting to try to copy us, and consumers are pushing hard to see windows for films collapsed to the Magnolia/AXS TV model.

Q: A great feature of Magnolia Pictures is the types of films you produce – adventures, tight thrillers, smart character and ensemble pieces, and truly innovative documentaries. We’re curious as to what you saw in the documentary market’s potential to choose this route, since most other studios tend to shy away from docs?

A: It’s tough to get people to leave their houses to go to a theater to see a movie. It has to be very timely and topical to a great number of people for docs to work theatrically. Because we make our docs so easy to buy, via VOD, we can reach a far greater audience than other distributors can.

Q: What prompted you to climb aboard Shark Tank? What is the biggest takeaway message you try to give contestants — whether or not you invest in their businesses?

A: I loved the idea of making the business decision-making process public. Most people feel that they aren’t in a position to start or run a business, because they don’t have connections or are missing something else. Shark Tank allows people to see that anyone can start and run a successful business. I wanted to be part of that. The biggest takeaway I try to create is that, although a shark may not invest in their business, hard work and smarts are always more important than money.  If the entrepreneur keeps on working hard, anything is possible.

Q: When discussions on innovation ensue, it seems everyone can speak the language, but not so many move forward with innovative ideas. How does one focus their instinct and vision to create something truly innovative in such an apparently crowded marketplace?

A: By doing your homework and being honest with yourself.  You have to know more about your industry than anyone else in the world. If you don’t, someone else out there is in better position to win your customers than you are. It comes down to effort. It’s surprising, but most people think they work hard and smart enough, but they don’t. They get outworked.

INTERVIEW: A Few Words from the “i” Behind Apple Branding, Ken Segall

Ken Segall

Here are a few excerpts from our exclusive interview with Ken Segall, author of the bestselling book Insanely Simple and formerly part of Apple’s famous advertising and branding juggernaut. Before setting off for his successful writing and blogging career, Ken was the man who originated the “i” branding in Apple’s product names, beginning with the iMac computers in 1999. Today, the lower-case “i” is as ubiquitous to daily life as cereal.

Ken’s comments on Apple’s success, the late Steve Jobs and branding are fresh and insightful, as is his blog, “Ken Segall’s Observatory,” which many in the industry follow. You can read the full interview in Legacy Series Magazine, which will be on newsstands in November.

Q: First of all, Ken, why do you feel that Apple’s streamlined, simplified approach to product development made such a big splash at a time when the rest of the marketplace seemed more specialized and complex than ever?

A: You’ve actually answered part of the question already. The world is a very complicated place, so it’s only natural that simplicity stands out as it does. Apple puts major effort into distilling its products to the essence, so in most cases they have an intuitive nature — even though they are performing some very sophisticated functions. This same drive to achieve simplicity is present throughout all of Apple’s behaviors, including its advertising and retail operations. It’s in human nature to prefer a simpler approach, and Apple is mindful of this in everything it does.

Q: Could you review the 10 elements of simplicity that Steve Jobs espoused — and how what might seem obvious now was anything but when he first integrated them into Apple’s operations?

A: One of the interesting things about simplicity is that it seems so natural that you don’t always notice it. The point of my book, Insanely Simple, is that Steve had a way of looking at a wide range of things through this lens of simplicity. He’d make product design decisions this way, as well as advertising decisions, financial decisions, manufacturing decisions, and so on. There came a point when I realized that I was witnessing a pattern of sorts, that Steve was relentless about adhering to this notion of simplicity, and it guided his judgment in so many different ways. I felt it even more when I found myself working with companies that did not have a champion of simplicity like Steve. In those places, processes were far more complicated, projects took longer and cost significantly more — while achieving inferior results.

Q: You started the “i” naming series for Apple products. What did you have in mind when coming up with this naming concept? Did you ever imagine the branding goliath it would become?

A: Naming iMac was just another job on the table at the time. I thought it was a neat opportunity, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would turn into what it did. Steve just wanted a cool name for the computer he was betting the company on. We did note that the “i” was a foundational element and could be used in future products. After iMac came iBook, iPhoto, iMovie, etc. Keep in mind that in those days, Apple didn’t make any consumer devices, it just made computers. So it was way outside the scope of our thinking to believe that the “i” would become such a critical part of Apple’s product naming framework.

Q: What were some of your most enjoyable experiences while putting together and writing Insanely Simple? What do you hear most from readers when you make appearances or give talks about the book?

A: To get all the material for the book together, I poured through tons of documents. though it wasn’t all that long ago, you know the way it works — you come upon things that you had completely forgotten about, and they bring back some terrific memories. (Maybe a few painful ones as well.) Those memories spurred me to get in touch with various people to help fill in the gaps. So what I thought would be a relatively straightforward exercise in solitary writing became a journey of rediscovery.

When I talk to various groups, I’m always struck by the degree to which people are interested in the story of Apple and Steve Jobs. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Apple is fascinating to people in virtually every industry — because so many people own Apple products, and have followed Steve’s story over the years. So even though I may be speaking to organizations in industries that have absolutely nothing to do with technology, people are always eager to find out more about how Apple works, and how they might be able to adopt some of Apple’s principles in their own organizations. And of course there are always people in the audience who just want to know: “What was it like to work with Steve?” It reminds me of how fortunate I am to actually know the answer to that question. Steve truly is a historic figure.

INNOVATORS: David Warthen

Ask.com founder David Warthen (L) with Legacy Series Magazine editor Robert Yehling

Serendipitous moments always create great opportunities for conversation, ideas, and new revelations. They also create great stories.

On September 28, I took a one-day break from my editor’s duties at The Legacy Series: Celebrating Technology and Innovation to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of my alma mater, Carlsbad (CA) High School, for my work in publishing, journalism, writing, teaching and sports coaching. While waiting with a crowd of 3,000 for the ceremony to begin, I turned around — and right behind me, also awaiting induction, was one of the great pioneers in information technology, David Warthen.

Among technology engineers, David is a living legend. In 1996, he created the world’s first common-language search engine, AskJeeves.com (now Ask.com), which flung open the doors through which Yahoo! and Google later stormed. After he sold Ask.com, in 2004, he joined the video technology company GlobalStreams, where he served as Chief Technology Officer — the same year he founded Eye Games, a webcam-based children’s video game company. These days, he is CTO of InfoSearchMedia, and sits on the board of directors of the technology site Kozoru.

AskJeeves.com was as visionary and revolutionary as any online service — ever. Consider that in 1996, business people were just getting used to the idea of email and browsing websites. AOL was king of the fledgling hill. The dot-com boom hadn’t happened yet, and search engines were the province of academia and the technology world. Warthen changed that by creating a service, named for one of his favorite literary characters, British author/humorist P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves,” that allowed users to ask questions and receive answers. It connected the Internet in a way that had never been seen before, and made the Internet a valuable resource and reference tool for millions. In many ways, it paved the way for the everyday online experience.

David and I graduated from Carlsbad High one year apart; he in 1976, myself in 1977. Even in high school, one could see the potential that his keen intelligence and out-of-the-box viewpoints might engender. When I first heard he was the man behind AskJeeves.com, I marveled at his career from afar. This summer, while preparing our editorial presentation for The Legacy Series Magazine, I decided that we needed this technology visionary in our publication — not only for his accomplishments, but for his laser-sharp vision on the future of IT’s relationship with our lives and our economy.

So it was a wonderful treat to share the stage with him at a truly honoring event. We also had a couple of catch-up conversations, during which I realized just how much of an innovator and visionary this man is. Whatever he touches not only succeeds, but also changes the playing field in its sector, whether search engines (AskJeeves.com), video technology (GlobalStreams), or children’s video games (Eye Games). At 54, he has plenty of creative years ahead, and his finger is firmly on the pulse of tomorrow.

In November, we will be featuring David in The Legacy Series Magazine, which will be distributed internationally as a print magazine, tablet publication, online publication and Mobile App. I have the great pleasure of conducting the interview and writing the story of not only a treasure in our recent technological history, but a man who truly cares about your computer user experience — and mine.

A Celebration of Technology, Innovation & Visionary Leadership

Many of the most dynamic and innovative business leaders in America are sharing their thoughts about the late Steve Jobs, as well as their insights on technology, innovation and visionary leadership in The Legacy Series: Celebrating Innovations and Technology. We will be available on newsstands nationwide November 10, combined with online, tablet and mobile versions.

More than 25 business leaders are being interviewed, among them CEO Space International founder Berny Dohrmann, who has created the largest member-based business exchange and entrepreneurial training network in the world, with a focus on training, education, innovation and development of stronger business tools. Dohrmann’s emphasis on cooperative capitalism and its role in future business exemplifies the editorial approach of The Legacy Series: Celebrating Innovations and Technology.

“I believe the next 25 years will be defined by two criteria,” Dohrmann said. First, we’re in an Age of Association. If you change your associations and upgrade them, you will become more affluent and more connected with the larger potential of your business and industry. This is where cooperative capitalism, collaboration and networking come in.

“Second, we’re in an Age of Superchange and Supercrisis. Both are coming faster than at any other time in history. Your business has to be flexible and adaptable. You need to constantly be in solution mode when these crises come up. If you use the old model, you’ll be the one whose ostrich feathers are being blown off your butt while your head is in the sand,” Dohrmann concluded.

The interviews cover all sectors of technology, communications, open innovation and other pressing issues in redefining the marketplace. They weave in and out of a full slate of more than 15 feature stories ranging from America’s top women in technology to new approaches in education and product design. Several interviewees also openly salute the vision and approach of Steve Jobs, whose emphasis on streamlined design and customer satisfaction made Apple the world’s most cash-rich company

“Steve was unrelentingly pursuing beauty, elegance and the wow factor, while constantly rejecting mediocrity, too fast acceptance of limitations and adapting to other’s second-rate technologies,” said Dr. Gustavo Rabin, CEO of The Skyline Group and author of Becoming A Great Leader. Rabin, also featured in The Legacy Series: Celebrating Innovations and Technology, served as an executive consultant to Apple during Jobs’ reign as CEO.

The Legacy Series: Celebrating Innovations and Technology marketing partners, advertisers and readers also hear from those creating new possibilities with the latest technology. Among them are Craig Perkins of the Genshi Media Group, who won the 2012 iPhone Film Fest with his short subject, The Haunting at Danford Cabin — filmed entirely with the iPhone 4S. In his interview, Perkins uses filmmaking to discuss the change in the way people can view creative and business possibilities with new technology.

“Many people, myself included initially, would have said that the iPhone can’t be used for serious filmmaking; it’s just for shooting family parties for YouTube,” Perkins said. “Yet, here I am with my third iPhone film screening at several film festivals (including traditional “film” festivals!). So it really does put filmmaking into the hands of anyone that wants to film digitally.

“So the fact that I can even make these movies and then immediately have people viewing and commenting on them and being able to know what I did wrong or what I could do differently is leaps and bounds ahead of the technology that previous generations of indie filmmakers had,” he added.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: iPhone Film Fest Grand Prize Winner Craig Anthony Perkins

Interview by Robert Yehling, Editor
Legacy Series Magazine

What do you do when you ply your trade in music and film for 20+ years, then suddenly, you’re an “overnight” sensation? That’s what Craig Perkins, founder/director of the Genshi Media Group ponders daily. Within the space of four months, Craig became the talk of the digital filmmaking community – for his films shot entirely on the iPhone 4S.

In January, Craig was a featured presenter at the 2012 MacWorld/iWorld Convention for his short film, Isobel and the Witch Queen. In May, he won the iPhone Film Festival Grand Prize for The Haunting at Danford Cabin. Both films featured tight shooting, good direction, excellent scripting and acting, and the winning combination that directors from Samuel Goldwyn to George Lucas used to make themselves: stretching the most out of available new technology with very limited resources.

Legacy Series Magazine contacted Craig to discuss both the creative and technical aspects of his winning films, as well as other aspects of the craft. In an aspect of independent filmmaking as revolutionary as The Blair Witch Project in the late 1990s, one that is quickly gaining technical and financial footing, his candid responses offer compelling insight into the future.

We present a portion of our interview here. We will present the full interview In Legacy Series Magazine, which will be available on newsstands nationwide in November.

Legacy Series Magazine (LSM): First of all, Craig, congratulations on winning the iPhone Film Festival award. While certainly, you go into competitions hoping to win, what do you think it was about your work that appealed to the judges?


The Haunting at Danford Cabin from Craig Anthony Perkins on Vimeo.
Winner of Best Animation and Grand Prize Winner for Best Overall Film at the 2012 iPhone Film Festival.
© 2012 Genshi Media Group

Craig Perkins (CP): Thank you! Well, I think the judges may have recognized the work that went into this film; from the sets that we did, the puppet and costume creations, to the fact that this was all done in stop-motion (on the iPhone no less!) and the original score and sound design… it was truly an indie production!

LSM: You screened two different movies at the iPhone events in 2012 – one in January for the panel discussion at MacWorld/iWorld, and again for the final judging in May. In both cases, you scripted and presented a full movie, with good production and direction value, as well as good storylines. What differences do you find in writing and blocking shots in the iPhone format from ordinary filmmaking?

CP:  Well, I start off trying to think of it as a regular film, at least when it comes to the story, then the casting, costumes and location. But when it comes to lighting everything, then I have to say “Oh yeah, I’m shooting this on the iPhone” and then I have to re-structure how I’m going to shoot certain things (due to the iPhone not liking low light situations.) At the same time, it also inspires new ideas because I can get the iPhone into situations you normally can’t with a regular camera. This was especially true with “The Haunting” as the small size of the iPhone allowed me to get into the miniature cabin set, and down low at ground level in the exterior scenes, making the viewer feel like it was a real life- size setting.

LSM: What are some of the aspects of shooting and producing in the iPhone medium that intrigue you most as a filmmaker?

CP: The immediacy of the format. If I get an idea, I can [usually] shoot it right away without a crew. It’s just a great way to try out ideas. Also, you can dream up new shots, such as, “can I get a camera in-between the walls here?” Well you can with the iPhone! Also, the ability to upload and have people view what I’ve done instantly is a huge plus.

LSM: Without divulging specific trade secrets, could you list out the combination of hardware, software and iPhone-specific devices and attachments you used to build each movie?

CP: For Isobel and the Witch Queen, I got an iPhone 4S and I had won a Steadicam Smoothee from the iPhone Film Festival for my first film (Remembrance). Also, my partner and producer, Debora Jo Myers, and I built our own dolly tracks for use with the Pico Dolly. In both cases of these two films, I used the Filmic Pro app.

For The Haunting at Danford Cabin, it was mostly the olloclip wide- angel lens attachment for the iPhone 4S, with the iPhone mounted on the Slik tripod, with a couple of scenes using the Pico Dolly (but shooting one frame at a time.) The app we used for that movie was the iMotion HD app, occasionally triggered by the iPad 2 using the iMotion Remote app. We had to shoot 24 still shots for every one second of footage you see onscreen, so overall about 4,000 still shots were used for the movie.

LSM: Where are we at in terms of technology development for filmmakers who see a viable future with iPhone formats? How do you foresee this development progressing in the next two to three years?

CP: That’s a tough question. Many people, myself included initially, would have said that the iPhone can’t be used for serious filmmaking; it’s just for shooting family parties for YouTube, and yet, here I am with my third iPhone film screening at several film festivals (including traditional “film” festivals)! So it really does put filmmaking into the hands of anyone that wants to tell a story but can’t afford traditional movie cameras. Particularly the iPhone 4S with it’s ability to now shoot 1080p was a nice upgrade because you can really get a nice look from your footage with the right post processing. In the next two to three years, Apple will need to work on the camera chip to give us higher bit rates, smoother frame rates and hopefully the ability to shoot 60fps. Still, as much as the iPhone has allowed me to make these films with no budget, I still wish I can have professional removable lenses with rack focusing (though you can do this with the Owle Bubo and a 35mm attachment, the quality/results are not the same.)

LSM; How did you celebrate your iPhone Film Festival Grand Prize win?

CP: Unfortunately, I didn’t. I’ve been too busy working on the next three projects!

See Isobel & The Witch Queen:


Isobel & The Witch Queen from Craig Anthony Perkins on Vimeo.
World premiered exclusively at the event as part of the iPhone Film Festival discussion panel.
© 2012 Genshi Media Group

Writing A New History of Innovation

By Charles Warner
Publisher

Inventions. Innovations. Ideas. Is there anything more inspiring and uplifting than seeing someone pour their heart and soul into their idea? The passion is almost contagious. The determination, even though others say it can’t be done. It won’t work. It’s not possible. Better luck next time.

History is full of great innovations or ideas that were met with fierce resistance. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He also couldn’t get a loan to build a theme park on a huge swamp in Florida. Go figure?

Bill Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data

Henry Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, but he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

The first book by Steven King, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.

So with the spirit of innovation and invention in mind IPW traveled to Pittsburgh to attend INPEX, the largest inventors convention in the world, sponsored by InventHelp.

Hundred of inventors proudly displayed their ideas, hoping to make a connection with someone who could help them bring the idea to market. The convention was headlined by keynote speaker Kevin Harrington, from TVs “Shark Tank”. For those infatuated by improving on existing technology, it was a fascinating event with a lot of really creative people.

Speaking of creative people, that’s who we are assembling for the premier issue of The Legacy Series: Innovations & Technology featuring the contributions of Steve Jobs. As we are finalizing the story ideas and interviews we have assembled a “who’s who” of innovative companies and industry leaders. We are on target to celebrate the genius of Steve Jobs, who pushed over that first domino, while transitioning to other industries and innovators. If it is interesting, clever, or makes our lives easier, we will be talking about it. New phones, laptops and tablets? We will be covering those. Gadgets and gizmos, yep. Just in time for the holiday shopping season The Legacy Series will have the latest and greatest. Our goal is to not only inform but inspire the reader.

Have a story idea about innovation or technology, let us know. Is there a tireless entrepreneur trying to change the world with some great idea? We want to include them. This publication is going to be big. Big stories, big ideas, big distribution. If you want to be involved or just want to get a copy sent to you free of charge, visit our website and we will hook you up. Tell your friends, check out our FB and Twitter feeds and get ready for the next big thing, brought to you by IPW.

The Road to Robust Business Innovation

In the past five years, we’ve heard, seen, read and experienced plenty of difficult news concerning business and economy. However, as the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Out of the rubble of the Great Recession has come tremendous focus on innovation and invention. Both will be featured and discussed at the INPEX convention outside Pittsburgh, which we’re attending to showcase The Legacy Series: Innovations and Technology.

“When you look at it, the amount of innovation in business the past 10 to 15 years has been astonishing,” says  The Legacy Series publisher Charles Warner. “Take one of Steve Jobs’ creations for example — the app. Who would’ve thought when he came up with the idea of a mobile app that apps would fuel billion-dollar companies?”

Creative minds throughout the business world are running on overtime to create solutions and enticing products to energize the economy. Innovation has been the subject of recent books, including Gary Shapiro’s Comeback: How Innovation will Restore the American Dream. It also is finding its way into the public at large, through direct advertising campaigns like Fujifilm’s “expect INNOVATION,” and Dodge’s newest slogan, “Get Into Innovation.”

“Innovation is one of the things America can hang its hat on and feel good about,” Warner says. “Our eyes are squarely on the ball when it comes to innovation, and what you see happening are new markets and niches opening up from new ideas and products.”

Innovation will be a major theme of The Legacy Series: Innovations and Technology, which publishes in Fall 2012. Leading business, technology and feature writers, along with visionary business executives, will spotlight the latest innovations in manufacturing, software, education, green business, computer technology, and industries that have reinvented themselves in the past ten years; the automotive, Internet-based and book publishing industries are three examples. Accompanying the case studies and in-depth articles will be specific pieces on how these innovations and inventions are transforming the economy into the viable, sustainable and abundant marketplace of the future.

“That’s why we’re coming to INPEX,” Warner says. “Let’s go to this show, get to know many of the top inventors working in and for the marketplace, and see what types of innovations are taking place among industry leaders.”

National Inventor’s Month: A Time to Tap into Our Inner Innovator

Right now, we’re in the midst of one of the most significant but understated commemorations –National Inventors Month. Sponsored by Edison Nation, the free community of inventors, ideas and entrepreneurs, National Inventors Month honors one of the most crucial stages in business: creating new products and technologies and bringing future vision into present-day reality.

Invention is also central to our editorial focus with The Legacy Series. It is the pivotal link of a vital four-part equation that converts an idea into a finished product that succeeds in the marketplace. After all, without the vision and ability to invent, where would our featured inventor for this issue, Steve Jobs, have taken Apple? Where would our lives stand now without all of the innovations and new industries driven by his inventions — and the slew of allied and competitive products and businesses that resulted from their impact on our personal and business lives?

When looking at the life course of a new product or technology, invention comes third — the pivotal position — in a four-part process. Everything initiates with the IDEA, derived from a perceived need in the marketplace and one’s plan for filling that need. Next up is INNOVATION, the R&D phase, where full creativity is unleashed to find ways to turn the idea into reality. Everything pivots with the INVENTION, the actual product that is the physical manifestation of the idea and the driving force of the innovation. Following that, gears switch into the nuts-and-bolts world of PRODUCTION-MARKETING-DISTRIBUTION, the new invention’s emergence in the marketplace.

We’ve always celebrated the great inventions, those that profoundly change our personal and professional lives: Cars. Airplanes. Televisions. Telephones. Personal computers. The Internet. iPods. Tablets. These inventions and others not only created huge sales and market share, but they also expanded entire industries by increasing the production and performance potential of vast numbers of people. The amazing thing? When the invention hits the market and becomes part and parcel of our lives, we ask ourselves: “How did we live without this?” Yet, before the invention reached the market, chances are, only the inventor could see this.

That’s why we are so enamored with inventors and their inventions. However, as we are chronicling in The Legacy Series through a series of provocative, enlightening stories and profiles, everyone has the potential to invent and innovate — and that goes for every company developing products, services and technologies for either business-to-business or consumer markets.

Celebrate National Inventor’s Month. Better yet, extend the celebration for two weeks. A great way for you to check out tomorrow’s technologies — and pick up a creative spark for ideas and innovations you might be percolating — is to come to the inventor’s trade convention, InventHelp’s INPEX. The event will be held June 13-15 at the Monroeville Convention Center just outside Pittsburgh, PA. We’ll be there with The Legacy Series, looking forward to hearing of your inventions or innovations, and joining hundreds of innovators and inventors who are setting the course for our business and personal futures.

The “Whole Widget”: Integral, Holistic Education

By Kamran Tristan Matlock

Students are in need of an educational “whole widget” more than ever. Steve Jobs revolutionized the way classrooms learn with technology. Towards the end of his life, however, he clarified that technology should support, not lead learning. He believed the national education system was broken: it rattled with outdated parts, inefficient cogs and had a clumsy design. Such teaching models, he argued, were made up of cumbersome, inharmonious parts that hampered its ability to see into the future and prepare children adequately for what was next.

The current model favored by most US schools, and the one you probably grew up in, is the Transmission Model. Knowledge is defined as an objective, authoritative realm of facts existing separately from life’s experience and personal opinions. Teachers are supposed to “transmit” information to students, along with academics attitudes about learning and growth.

What Jobs unsurprisingly favored in lieu of the contemporary “PC” version of education was a “whole widget” system: a single sleek and intuitive arrangement that could prepare students for the future in an integral and holistic way. The Holistic Model perceives human existence and the world as infinitely complex and dynamic, so much so that any one worldview cannot grasp its entirety. A holistic educator draws upon many levels of understanding, technique and discipline to respond uniquely to each learning situation as it arises.

Although Jobs was visionary in many respects, it only takes common sense to realize a lack of professional talent in the US stems from the country’s broken public school system. Jobs exclusively invited high-performance, original-thinking professionals to his design table, but lamented that such individuals were rare. He knew from experience that the best and brightest of the STEM industries (science, technology, engineering, math) weren’t coming from American school institutions.

This is where the “whole widget” comes in. In his search for a complete gadget—hardware and software seamlessly interfacing with the internet and our personal and professional lives—he realized that technology, however embedded in our lives, is not sustainable beyond a supportive role. Nothing replaces human interaction, especially where learning is concerned.

Many schools, in fact, that value experiential, individualized, holistic education are already in place. Maybe you’ve heard of Montessori and Waldorf, but most charter, alternative and private schools doing the next big thing in education are off the radar. That goes doubly for higher education institutes.

Ever hear of the Ananda College of Living Wisdom, Maharishi Institute, Gaia or Naropa University? A few relatively small schools are making waves in the world of higher education. If innovators like Jobs aren’t around to change things from the top down, students will inevitably make change from the bottom up. Steve Jobs had a gift for tuning into the future needs of young people. In the end, if education can learn anything from him, it might simply be an ability to listen.