As a great movie once taught us, “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.” A valuable piece of information that Steve Jobs knew long before Batman Begins was ever released in 2005. The Co-founder of Apple did not let his life struggles define who he was he branded his name with his actions. Not only did he let these hard times bring him down but his career was made of rising out of his personal trials and tribulations to present the world with groundbreaking greatness.

With college being too expensive for him and his lower-middle-class family Jobs dropped out and returned to Silicon Valley where he partnered with his long time friend Stephen Wozniak and developed the Apple Computer company.

In the confines of Apple he turned his troubles into success. After being kicked off the Lisa project he took over a small project in the company called Macintosh. Two years later he changed the world with the Macintosh computer and its revolutionary interface technology.

In 1985 Steve was kicked out of Apple, the company that was his life, by its board of directors, a blow that would destroy most people. Yet he didn’t hesitate to turn around and start the NeXT Company, which aimed to develop a computer for higher education and research. This project ended up being the stepping stool that brought him back to Apple. In 1996 Apple bought out NeXT and Steve became the CEO of the company that threw him out.  (Oh yeah, in this period he also invested in a company called Pixar and made it what it is today)

Without looking back at the personal pain he experienced from Apple, he turned it around and over the next 15 years turned it into one of the most successful companies in the world. Things were going well for a long time but life would come back to test Jobs again in 2003 when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer.

A poor upbringing couldn’t stop him, constant betrayal from the company he founded and the people he trusted couldn’t stop him and amazingly neither could cancer. In 2003, whle fighting through his cancer, Jobs and Apple released the iTunes Music Store and iTunes for Windows. He followed that up in 2004 with the release of the iPod mini.

His cancer and a liver transplant in 2009 could not slow him down as he released the revolutionary iPad.

Steve Jobs never quit, he never let any struggles stop or even slow him down. His life is a monument to letting our actions define us and not our personal struggles.

In the darkness of his sad passing, we should look forward to what actions we can take to make our surrounding better….it’s what Steve would do.

Advertisements

The next time you come across an Infolinks contest that seems too good to be true… remember, that’s probably because it is.

A few months ago, I heard that Infolinks, an ad network that I had tried a while back, was holding this awesome contest where they were giving away a five day trip to Kenya, Africa including an African Safari, a hot air balloon ride, and accommodations in a 5 star hotel. All you had to do to enter was ‘Like’ their Facebook page, have had at least 1 payout with Infolinks, and e-mail them about it.

Why wouldn’t I enter?

Anyway, I didn’t think about it for a while but yesterday I got curious to see who ended up winning so I went to the Infolinks blog and couldn’t believe what I found. Not only was there never an announcement of who the winner was, but the original blog post announcing the contest had been removed.  I took a look at the Infolinks Facebook page and it was the same deal, no winner was ever named, in fact every previous mention of the contest had been completely erased from their Facebook wall. WTF?

Then, I found in an old press release the Terms and Conditions of the contest, which explained the scam. Here’s what they were hiding in the small print:

So basically, they’re saying they’re giving away a two person trip to Africa, unless they decide for an arbitrary reason that they’re not. LOL. Are these guys for real?

Just for fun, I decided to see how successful their contest actually was. This is publically available information; you can track the Facebook ‘Like’ history of any company using the website Wildfire.

So on the day contest started, March 23rd; the Infolinks Facbook page had 19,705 Likes. By the time the contest was scheduled to end on June 25th they had 23,855. That’s 4,150 additional Likes, but I guess for the promotion to be deemed successful they needed to receive at least 4,151.

This was not a low key contest. For two months, Infolinks incorporated a hot air balloon into all of their artwork. They got respected bloggers such as John Chow and Zac Johnson to write about it. They even hired an African dance troupe to perform at the BlogWorld Expo in New York; you can still see the video from it here.

But the second they have nothing more to gain from the contest, they canceled it without publically telling anyone.

Here’s the thing Infolinks: If you want to be taken seriously, when you say you’re sending two people on an African Safari, you have to actually send two people on an African Safari. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Recently an event occurred that could change the faces of both the real world and cyber world. Google Inc. revealed that its company, and at least 20 others, was victim to a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” focusing on email and intellectual property. They believe these hackings originated in China and occurred around mid-December of 2009. In response, Google decided to no longer allow censorship of its Chinese search engine google.cn; a move that may very well lead to Google leaving China all together.

I repeat: China hacked Google; Google disallowed censorship. HUH? I am not quite sure how Chinese hackers and censorship are connected here. Google attempts to tackle this question, saying that “These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China.” As you see they clearly fail to explain how the two are connected.

In wake of this controversy Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said, “We hope that will change and we can apply some pressure to make things better for the Chinese people.”

Forgive me but when did Google become the caretaker of the Chinese people? Google opened in China in 2006, 3+ years they have been relatively silent about accepting China’s censorship laws. So I don’t think the Chinese people are the top concern. So what is?

What it boils down to is reputation and money. Google Inc. can not come out of this without losing face. Some reports say that Google feels the Chinese government is secretly behind this hacking. Google is not only trying to look positive but hurt China in the process.

Google needs to take action in order to:

 A) Leave the Chinese market with their heads held high.

B) Regain the public’s trust after they were just hacked.

How do they do this? Today Google is the second largest search engine on the Chinese market, following only Baidu, a Chinese run company. This may sound profitable but it must be understood that Baidu controls around 60% of this market. Many speculate that Google has no hope to overcome its Chinese counterparts because Baidu is backed by local officials; a Chinese tendency to heavily support the home team in regards to business. Pulling out of China would allow Google to allocate that money elsewhere under the veil of censorship and turn it into a bigger profit without admitting defeat.

This issue pales in comparison to the consequences such a monumental hack brings to the table…….trust. Google provides a broad range of services: email, advertising, information storage, web and blog hosting and more. In most of their applications, passwords protecting private details are stored. Advertising on Google AdWords requires information that is connected to money (bank, credit card, paypal etc). People will now question how much they can trust Google; so what better way to regain the public’s trust than becoming a virtual Batman: preserving democracy and ensuring freedom for all.

Pulling the censorship goes one of two ways for Google. It can force China to lax its censorship laws, thus exposing the Chinese market in ways unimaginable. As successful as China’s economy is, it has always been incredibly censored and relatively closed off to the rest of the world. This penetration of the Chinese economy would be a win for Google financially and egotistically.

The second possibility is for China to stand ground, forcing Google to leave the Chinese market. Google Inc., for all intent and purpose, is the internet. The combination of its search engine and its many functions (and now exploring the mobile market), have made it a household name with an incredible reputation. They are hoping that pulling out would put a red flag on China (no pun intended) and hurt its reputation as being business-friendly. These actions would put China on the defense, which till now has partially worked. This news report shows the beginning of issues China is having, internally.

There is a downside: As previously noted, Google is not all that important in the Chinese market so this could blow up in their face. Only time will tell the impact this has on the intertwining worlds of reality and internet, for now I am just going to do a Google search and get the latest.

Might as well face it… 

Have we become too addicted to technology?

Companies are constantly finding ways to connect us to more and quicker.  Their supply of technology is met with insatiable demand. The future of business, actually the present already, is on the internet. Offline marketing is being taken over byInternet Marketing, we have online financial consulting, online doctors and MUCH more. These are profitable services that help and will continue to help people. 

Children have worlds of information, updated to the second, at their fingertips. I remember, as a child, having to use whatever version of the encyclopedia we had at home or at school. I remember, in the mid-90’s looking in a textbook (that’s right readers, those ANCIENT things called books) and seeing USSRon the map. That was a good 7 years after it had already switched to Russia. Today wikipedia lets you know when someone dies with-in minutes of it breaking on the news. 

So I ask; have we become too addicted to technology?

As someone who works online all day, uses Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype (I could go on forever), I have to say, most definitely and obviously YES.

Sometimes, I ask myself what we are thinking!? 

People today are losing out on so many critical experiences, thanks to technology.  How many kids will know what its like to open a record or CD (or whichever musical recording device you prefer) and listen to it while lying on the bed reading the album cover, trying to memorize the words? No thanks, today they have I-tunes and other downloading sites. How many will enjoy the smell of a fresh book and realizing by the end of the 5th time reading it they have killed the binding? Not too many, today we download them to our computers or even phones. 

Today I see children walking around with cell phones (as you can see the numbers are sky-rocketing) or at home on the latest gaming system. Toddlers playing on computers (granted the computers are special for toddlers). What happened to playing outside with your friends or building block for babies? 

The most recognizable wars going on today are between Google andChina, Google and Twitter, Google and Yahoo (if you notice, Google is the big player here, that post is coming soon), Twitter and Facebook. Who cares aboutIran,Afghanistan, Darfur or theMideastanymore? The real question is who is going to put out the best smart phone, search engine, or status update (God forbid we don’t know about Oprah’s latest thought or Ashton’s latest move).

Let’s not forget the dangers of overexposure to technology (both medically and socially). As we have seen in the Chinavs. Google battle, our privacy can be violated if the right people hack their way into “secure” sites. Check out these scary statistics on behavior and testing among common video game users.   

Medically speaking studies have shown higher possibilities for tumors, cancers etc. for this new generation so heavily relying on technology.   

I read a great article about managing our attention. The author quotes studies that technology use pushes us to multi –task so much and that lowers the quality of our work and causes us to move slower. The more we attempt to multi-task the worse we get (not better).        

Please don’t misunderstand; I totally support technology and its growth. However, I fear that we are depriving ourselves of reality. Some of these things have been bothering me for a long time but one pathetic event forced me to express it in words.

Read and literally weep; if that is not enough you can watch the youtube video.       

If, after seeing that, you don’t understand what I mean when I say depriving ourselves from reality, than you are already too deeply connected.

Thanks for reading!