Education Is Not Gospel

I took a class in college on motion picture distribution. I learned a lot and revered my teacher. Over the last 6 months, developments in the industry continue to undermine almost everything I learned.

Times change. Popular opinion changes. Our understanding of the world and universe changes. New replaces the old. Technology can flip everything upside down. The game changes all the time.

While education is instrumental in shaping your understanding of the world around you, be wary of taking everything taught as fact. By all means – take to heart advice from teachers who have lived through their industries and subjects. But I encourage you to heed their teachings as advice, not gospel. Fact can become fiction overnight. With the future so uncertain, it’s fair to take everything with a grain of salt.

To make a difference and truly change things, you must be prepared to do things differently than those before you – not listen to your teachers all the time. Let your education provide you with the tools and creative constraints to propel your vision forward. Follow your passion and embrace your rebellious instincts to break the rules and undo what has already been done.

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Disruption Needs No Permission

Want to change things? Do not ask for permission; no one will give it to you. Few people like change. So all you can do is start without permission. Napster built traction and changed the music industry forever by ignoring the elephant in the room. Today’s positively connoted industry term “disrupt” came largely from the progressive impact Napster had on the entertainment business. If you truly want to change things, you need to break them first. Cause trouble. Challenge the odds. Take your chances. Stand up to the big guys. At the end of the day, it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission (perhaps riddled with expensive lawsuits, but worthwhile and noble nonetheless).

Webocracy (The Path to Fixing Our Government)

We can no longer blame it on Gen-Y pessimism alone: the American public has fallen out of favor with the United States Government. With the public approval rating of Congress down to 9%, there is an impending need for overhaul. Legislation is wrought with wasted time, private interests, and partisanship. More critically, the legislative process no longer moves as fast as the systems it governs. The business and technology landscapes are changing so fast that no bill can keep up. And they are changing due in a very large part to the same platform we need to embrace to optimize our nation: the Internet.

Albert Wenger inspires me with his thoughts on Wikipedia, Occupy Wall Street, and the Possibility of an Open Congress (I’ve been enjoying Albert’s blog – for tech lovers out there, I encourage you to keep up with it). I think the idea of an “open-sourced government” is very romantic and worth exploring. The thought of communities online authoring bills together through an iterative platform like Wikipedia or Google Docs sends shivers up my spine. Nothing could be more true to democracy than millions of people collaborating together on the laws that govern them. Online, everyone can have a voice. Money, class, race, and stature play negligible roles. Everyone can work together and focus on the job at hand. Everyone can work together for the common good. I want to see a community online like that. I want to be a part of it. I want to have input. A multiple choice ballet is not enough anymore. It’s time to migrate the future of our nation forward. It’s time to build a Webocracy.

Outside Congress and legislation, does anyone else have other ideas for open-sourcing different aspects of our government?

Goodbye, Los Angeles

Dear friends, I am taking a long break from Los Angeles. By the end of this week, I will no longer live in this city. My drive to help shape the web has inspired me to relocate to a city with greater density in the technology sector. With my passion for the Internet and ambition to smooth it into the future of the entertainment industry, It finally makes professional sense for me to move on. Moreover, I have resolved on a personal level to pursue a complete change of pace. I am young, have little to lose, and eager to explore the world outside Hollywood. I need to mix life up a little to challenge myself and grow.

After leaving Alloy Entertainment, my time filled with personal projects, rest, interviews, the exploration of Los Angeles, and time with friends. Last night, we threw a little going away party and had a blast. I have made so many great friends here over the last five years and desperately love you all. Please embrace the marvels of modern technology to stay in touch!

Conquering the Augmented World

Have you ever wanted to tag public monuments with graffiti? Cockfight pet velociraptors? Bomb your neighbor’s house? Debate philosophy with a British rabbit? Experience hallucinations without psychotropic drugs? Or perhaps adventure with the Mario Brothers in your own backyard? Well, my friend, I bring great news: that future is near.

Recently, there have been exciting developments in the augmented reality space. Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the real world with a simulated one, augmented reality enhances your real-world environment by embellishing it with computer-generated graphics and sound through the lens of a mobile device (tablet computer, smartphone, etc.). As the processing and sensory input hardware of these devices improve, engineers and designers are able to render more and more compelling images to your live feed. Perhaps the most sophisticated demonstration I have seen to date was engineered by Sony:

The future of augmented reality knows no bounds.

There is room for AR in marketing and commerce – imagine discovering a Groupon discount or checking Yelp ratings while walking down the street with your camera.

There is room for AR in health – imagine researching the nutritional value of your meal by scanning it with your phone or charting physical therapy improvement automatically through mobile video recordings.

There is room for AR in games – imagine interacting with characters or battling friends in real space.

There is room for AR in education – imagine pulling encyclopedia articles on an object by scanning it or embarking on digital scavenger hunts in real environments.

There is room for AR in art – imagine tagging your surroundings with artwork or navigating a collage of photos captured in your present space.

And there is room for AR in social – imagine leaving messages for friends on physical walls or seeing through walls altogether to locate your friend on the other side.

Imagine several worlds layered on top of the real world, brand new reality spectra to explore and conquer. The opportunities to create and discover await. I encourage you to watch this sector carefully.