One of the most successful fitness programs around is UFit. What makes it work is that it is all about community first. People of all abilities feel at home and you leave not only feeling physically better but you feel also more part of a community. It's all about the welcome and the people.
Well I think the beginnings of the same has happened for me this morning. Living a deprived childhood, I did not get a bike until I was 14 and have been a wobbler ever since. If I was to get biking seriously I would need to be broken in easily.
Cynthia is running biking 101 every Saturday from the Market at 9am. There were 4 of us. 3 very experienced bikers and me the novice. We biked along the trail for an hour. Tim helped me set up my bike properly - my seat was too low. I also chatted the whole time with each of the other 3. Before I knew it, I had been on the trail for an hour and though my bum felt a bit sore, I hardly noticed the effort.
We then settled in for a serious breakfast and coffee at the market. A Fritata extravaganza and more gossip.
Like UFIT, the appeal for me was the welcome - though I was with experts I did not feel like a total kltutz. Like UFIT, the experience, though physical, was largely social and also experiential. The trail is beautiful and provides you with an entirely new perspective of the Island. It is also easy. Being a train track, there are no gradients too steep and no traffic to wobble into.
A wonderful way to start the day and a great confidence builder for me.
While our politicians fool around the crisis of our age is upon us> Snip
The Long Emergency By JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER (Rolling Stone Magazine) A few weeks ago, the price of oil ratcheted above fifty-five dollars a barrel, which is about twenty dollars a barrel more than a year ago. The next day, the oil story was buried on page six of the New York Times business section. Apparently, the price of oil is not considered significant news, even when it goes up five bucks a barrel in the span of ten days. That same day, the stock market shot up more than a hundred points because, CNN said, government data showed no signs of inflation. Note to clueless nation: Call planet Earth.
Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that "people cannot stand too much reality." What you're about to read may challenge your assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us. We are in for a rough ride through uncharted territory.
It has been very hard for Americans -- lost in dark raptures of nonstop infotainment, recreational shopping and compulsive motoring -- to make sense of the gathering forces that will fundamentally alter the terms of everyday life in our technological society. Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America is still sleepwalking into the future. I call this coming time the Long Emergency.
Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it........
Now we are faced with the global oil-production peak. The best estimates of when this will actually happen have been somewhere between now and 2010. In 2004, however, after demand from burgeoning China and India shot up, and revelations that Shell Oil wildly misstated its reserves, and Saudi Arabia proved incapable of goosing up its production despite promises to do so, the most knowledgeable experts revised their predictions and now concur that 2005 is apt to be the year of all-time global peak production.
Here is the recent article in the Economist discussing Rupert Murdoch's speech heralding the end of traditional media
“I BELIEVE too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers,” Rupert Murdoch, the boss of News Corporation, one of the world's largest media companies, told the American Society of Newspaper Editors last week. No wonder that people, and in particular the young, are ditching their newspapers. Today's teens, twenty- and thirty-somethings “don't want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what's important,” Mr Murdoch said, “and they certainly don't want news presented as gospel.” And yet, he went on, “as an industry, many of us have been remarkably, unaccountably, complacent.”
The speech—astonishing not so much for what it said as for who said it—may go down in history as the day that the stodgy newspaper business officially woke up to the new realities of the internet age. Talking at times more like a pony-tailed, new-age technophile than a septuagenarian old-media god-like figure, Mr Murdoch said that news “providers” such as his own organisation had better get web-savvy, stop lecturing their audiences, “become places for conversation” and “destinations” where “bloggers” and “podcasters” congregate to “engage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions.” He also criticised editors and reporters who often “think their readers are stupid”.
Mr Murdoch's argument begins with the fact that newspapers worldwide have been—and seem destined to keep on—losing readers, and with them advertising revenue. In 1995-2003, says the World Association of Newspapers, circulation fell by 5% in America, 3% in Europe and 2% in Japan. In the 1960s, four out of five Americans read a paper every day; today only half do so. Philip Meyer, author of “The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age” (University of Missouri Press), says that if the trend continues, the last newspaper reader will recycle his final paper copy in April 2040.
About 18 months ago while working on a project at York University, I met by accident an extraordinary person, Karina Sumner Smith
When I say by accident - I was meant to meet someone else but Karina was filling in. We talked and I felt that I had bumped into a very special person. She is remarkably present, a keen blogger and a published Sci Fi Writer. I had such a strong reaction, I decided to check out whether I was dreaming and asked her College President about her. As far as the President was concerned Karina walked on water. Mature, literate, hard working, prescient and modest were words that I heard.
The idea of ePortfolios was just coming on the table then and I suggested to the powers that be that Karina, being a new grad and very blog literate might be a good candidate for exploring this. They all met and agreed and Karina started quite a journey. Within 6 months she had become a a major contributor to the global debate on ePortfolios. Her site at York became a must read destination for all of us thinking about the future of university education.
But a few months ago, I sensed a strain. I could tell that there were powerful forces that wished an ePortfolio to reflect the credential status quo, a kind of folder where you parked your papers and marks, versus the idea that an ePortfolio could be a reflection of the student's learning and personality. I was not therefore surprised to read a month ago that York had decided to end the project.
Since this public withdrawal an interesting process has begun. With the ePortfolio off the table, interest in it is now emerging. so long as it was a corporate project, it was blocked. Now the corporate support has been withdrawn, there is a bubbling up for maybe a more appropriate approach.
We face issues so serious that they threaten the viability of our society.
The end of cheap oil when our economy is based on it.
The bankruptcy of our food producers and the potential end to food security
A trend where more than 40% of our kids cannot cope and who act out
A demographic shift that will have 40% of our society over 65 in 15 years and looking for handouts
A neighbor who will throw its weight about to control our resources and our border
Powerful centrifugal forces that can tear us apart as a province and as a nation as the pie gets smaller and the burden gets larger.
And what does our opposition offer? A lust for power on any terms. Childish behavior that would be unacceptable and even illegal in any place but a legislature (See Follow On for details). A context that contains only attack anything all the time.
You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Grow up the lot of you and become worthy of our province and our country.
If you have always used a "Corporate Voice" it will take some time and effort to do this well. I was very much a product of that world having been a banker for 23 years. It took me years to find my own voice. Under stress, I often lose it and "Banker Rob" turns up. But if I can be real now and then so can the corporation. It is only a matter of finding the reason to be real.
I have no doubt however that there are men and women in the corporate world that have the insight and the confidence to take this essential step. They will take the step because not to do so condemns them to being failures. When a small critical mass is established, the corporation will start to speak with a real voice - the voice of a concerned human being.
You think I am naive? Imagine that you are a senior banker and a competitor has pulled this off and has established a human dialague with customers the same way that Robert Scoble has with the geek community. You look at your marketing budget and its results and then think of what is going on over there. Worse, as you talk to your EVP HR about morale, training and employee health, you think of how your competitor's version of Channel 9 is making a difference inside your competitor and how your typical HR answers continue to fail. Then you look at your bottom line - how long will it be before you too have to find your Robert and give him the freedom to speak?
When the essence of marketing becomes the quality of the customer/corporate dialogue then the entire corporate culture changes and so does the world.
Here is the best qualitative roundup of the scene so far
Bravo to Bob Lutz, to Randy at Boeing and to the Mustang guys at Ford. As awkward as they are, they are trying and not faking it. They are doing their best to become real and in time they will be.
The traditional media such as TV, Radio and Print, that are being replaced by web direct alternatives, and that use a shotgun approach to advertising are being replaced on the web by context sensitive ads and by sites that tell the truth.
I suspect that we are close to the Tipping Point. iTunes has irrevocably made web delivered music the norm. Sony will do the same for movies. Photography is decisively digital. The iPod has changed our use of music and photos. I am now using my iPod for books as I prepare for a long drive next month. I get my news online. The New York Times has a higher online readership than print. Soon local web sites will eat into the last gold mine of print media - the local newspaper.
I think back for a comparison to a point in the last century when the internal combustion engine found the Tipping Point versus the Horse. Before 1914 it must have seemed that the car, the truck and the tractor were complex and expensive playthings that depended too much on an incomplete infrastructure of the odd supply of gas, parts and repair. All the infrastructure was established around the horse. But surely at some time just after the war in 1918, the system tipped. By the mid 1920's the horse as the norm had gone and by the 1930's even those on the road in the great depression used a truck.
In a decade we will look back at network TV, mass radio, the newspaper, the music store with nostalgia the same way as I did in London in the 1950's when our milk and coal were delivered by horse drawn wagons.