My New App Idea

In the movie Jurassic Park, there is a scene where a cup of water starts to tremble. By noticing the wobbly water cup, the characters are able to figure out that something big is coming their way. They know they better get out of there.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a disaster predicting water cup that could tell us when something big and bad is coming?

In today’s tech world, I am surprised something like this hasn’t been turned into an app. It would be your own little technological Spidey-sense that is always right there with you on your phone (right next to Candy Crush).

I picture it working like this…Say you are about to make a very bad decision, like buying your wife a vacuum cleaner for the 2nd straight year for her birthday. This app would kick in, start vibrating and signal for you to stop what you are doing and run away from the floor care appliance aisle in Sears.

Same thing could work for other things like a bad financial investment or going back for a second helping of an all you can eat buffet. This little gem would start in motion and let you know that another plate full of five day old apple pie might not be your best move.

I don’t think that is too much to ask for. I am not looking for a fortune teller or anything crazy like that. Just a little something that nudges us in the right direction when we are about to make a wrong choice.

I am not sure how the technology would work, but if someone can create the magic or whatever goes into an app like Shazam, this one should be a breeze.

Change is Coming to Blog By Bake

As I have written before, change is difficult but many times it is for the best. What can seem like a major adjustment will often lead to something bigger and better.

With that in mind, I would like to make you all aware that there is an upcoming change to Blog By Bake.

It has been a blast to write on this blog over the past year and I hope that I have piqued your interest with some of my posts. In order to provide more attention grabbing content, I am proud to announce that I have joined forces with an awesome site called Attention.Land!

In a world full of options the appropriately named Attention Land has one simple goal…to land your attention. The domain name is simply Attention.Land (not .com or .org, it’s really .land). Check out the brief explanation of the site here and you’ll find a place devoted to creating content that you can’t ignore and wouldn’t want to miss.

So take a few minutes and check it out. Browse around and you’ll see some familiar stories mixed in with brand new topics. If you like to have the posts delivered right to your inbox, all you have to do is enter your email address is the box on the right of the page (beneath the Twitter feed).

To ease everyone into this change I will be posting the same information on both Attention Land & Blog By Bake for a few weeks. But eventually, my daily posts will only occur on Attention Land.

For those of you who enjoy my writing style, don’t worry, not much will change. I will be the same writer, only with a great team around me that will keep your attention far longer than I ever could by myself.

To get you familiar with the transition, I have posted today’s story, titled Burn The Ship, to Attention Land and you can find it by clicking here.

I hope you all enjoy the site! Let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Adam

Powerful Words From Tom Izzo

Lacey Holsworth, the eight-year-old girl who became an inspiration to the Michigan State men’s basketball team, passed away on Wednesday after her bout with cancer.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Lacey’s story, I strongly recommend reading the stories here & here.

The following video is of Michigan St. head coach Tom Izzo at a vigil service held on the school’s campus. Izzo gave a very heartfelt speech that contains many important lessons to learn from such an emotional situation, and I definitely recommend you take a few minutes to watch it.

 

This Wonder Why Wednesday is Ok

OK.

What looks like just two simple letters is actually one very versatile word.

It can be an adjective, a noun, a verb, and even a hand gesture. I bet that not a day goes by where I don’t use the word ok.

But where did this powerful word come from? For the answer to today’s Wonder Why Wednesday we turn to the following CBS News video.

If You Are A Gambler, You Might Want To Read This

Picture this…

You are walking through your favorite Las Vegas casino when you spot a roulette wheel.

You look up at the digital board above the wheel and notice that the roulette ball has landed on a black number 9 times in a row. One color, 9 times in a row! That is crazy! It can’t happen again can it?

Would you stop at the table and put a few chips down that the next spin would land on red? I think I probably would.

Why is that?

I guess it has something to do with our understanding of the law of averages. The ball can’t stop on a black number every single time. It eventually has to stop on a red one.

But what makes me think that after 9 consecutive stops on black it is a sure thing to land on red?

Do I actually think the roulette ball has some kind of memory and recalls that the last 9 were black so it should probably give red some love? Do I really think the roulette wheel has a conscience that says it needs to even out the black and red spins so the next spin must be red?

I can’t really think that, can I??

Turns out I am not the only one who thinks this way.

In 1913 at the Monte Carlo Casino, a big commotion was made when one roulette table hit 16 black numbers in a row. Word got out about what was happening and people started rushing over to the table to put a big bet down on red.

But the wheel stopped on black a 17th time. Then an 18th. And a 19th.

Up it went to 26 black numbers in a row, earning the casino millions of dollars in just a few spins of the wheel.

People were convinced that after so many black spins, the wheel was more likely to stop on a red number.

This line of thinking has a name and it is appropriately known as the gambler’s fallacy.

See, if you flip a coin 1,000 times, close to 500 flips will result in heads and 500 will land on tails. We assume the same thing also will happen for 10, or 20 flips. But that is not the case.

In the short run, the results are actually quite imbalanced. You’ll likely have runs of five or six in a row landing on the same side of the coin. People misinterpret what happens in the long run for what ought to be happening in the short run.

That is why people playing slot machines will guard the machine with their lives if it hasn’t paid off for a few hours. They don’t want anyone else to use it because they just know it is due.

This explains why I would really want to bet on red after 9 roulette spins in a row have landed on black. When in all actuality, each spin is independent of the last and we start with a clean slate. Black is just as likely to come up next as is red, no matter what my gambling brain might be telling me.

 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does Knowledge Lessen Your Imagination?

When I was a kid, my brothers and I created a theme park. Actually is wasn’t quite a theme park, it was sort of a sandbox, but I’ll explain…

I think it started as an un-manicured part of our backyard that was covered in rocks and dirt. One of those areas that you’re not quite sure what to do with. Too small for a plot of grass, but too big for a garden (especially for a family who wouldn’t know how to make a garden in the first place).

My brothers and I loved playing in the dirt, and when my parents saw this they came up with a great idea to turn it into our very own jungle gym.

They bought a slide, built a swing set, and dumped tons of sand to cover the rocky ground. What had been the messy part of the yard had become an awesome playground.

Thanks to a lively childhood imagination, my brothers and I would bring out the hose, spray down the sand, and create a muddy wonderland.

Long before mud runs were all the rage we had the dream of creating our own sandy/mud theme park. We talked about opening the park to kids from all across the world to enjoy rides such as the “chocolate milk mountain” (a sand mound that when covered in water, flowed muddy liquid that resembled chocolate milk).

In our minds the mud land had potential to become the next Disneyland. Oh to be a child…

These days I think differently when it comes to building my own muddy theme park. I get too focused on the facts and figures needed to make something like that happen. My mind gets too jumbled by something like the cost of the water needed operate chocolate milk mountain.

When I was 8 and dreamt of starting a theme park I had no clue about admission prices, profit margins or marketing plan. I didn’t know a pie chart from a pumpkin pie.

Now that I know that information, it seems like I have less imagination. Why is that?

After giving it some thought, I think I have come with an explanation.

Although my example makes it seem like knowledge lessens your imagination, that isn’t true.

Knowledge simply gives you more ways to find excuses.

As an 8 year old, my thinking would go something along the lines of, “we should totally make a theme park covered in mud! Kids like mud and they like theme parks, it would be the best of both worlds!”

Now my thinking is something like, “sure kids like mud, but do you know what kind of overhead a theme park must have?”

I used to not know a thing about business, so those details didn’t get in the way of creating a mud theme park.

The business knowledge I’ve learned throughout the years should have nothing to do with my imagination. I can still dream about a mud land just as well as when I was young.

The only problem is there used to be a time when I didn’t let details get in the way of my imagination, but now I use them as an excuse.

Have you experienced something similar? Have you envisioned a business idea, book series or cool new product only to shoot it down with excuses disguised as details?

Knowledge is great, but don’t use it to find excuses.

Keep your imagination big and your excuses small.

 

 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get Organized, Get Productive

Did you know that 80% of household clutter is due to disorganization, not space issues (stat from ready-set-organize.com).

I guess that explains how I have a room in my house I devoted entirely to storage, yet somehow my roommate’s bedroom is always covered in clothes, shoes and books.

The reason for the mess is not a matter of lack of span, it is a matter of lack of plan.

I think productivity is very similar.

I am at my most productive when I have a clearly stated plan and know exactly what I have to do and when I have to do it. It has very little to do with the amount of time at on my hands. I could have hours of free time, but if I just wing it I will not get much done.

Take this blog for instance.

It is not always easy to write frequently. Things come up, life gets in the way, and writing gets pushed to the back burner. When I first started writing I would easily forget about creating content when I had no idea what I was going to write about next.

I realized that if I was going to be productive, I needed to get organized. I created a calendar to map out all of my future posts. I keep notes of everything that pops into my head that I might want to blog about. I even send myself text messages and email reminders of potential attention grabbing content.

I am not ultra-creative or able to think of brilliant things that others cannot. But I am organized. And that is what helps me write daily.

I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I bet somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% people give up on writing a blog due to disorganization, not lack of content or time.

I would venture to guess that something similar can be said for your industry. Being organized can tip the scales in favor or becoming successful instead of giving up.

Think back to the household cutter example from above. Is your closet a mess because you don’t have enough hangers or is it because you haven’t taken the time to organize your shirts.

You have the space to be great in your field. It just may take a little organization before you are able to realize it.

(Photo credit: Flickr)

Thankful For What I Don’t Have

Most of the time on Thankful Thursday’s I write about the things I have. Things like time, a great family, or even a microwave.

Those things are great and I’ll continue to be thankful for them, but today I would like to take a different approach.

Too often I worry about the things I don’t have. Things like a million dollars, a fancy car, or a million dollars (did I mention that one already?).

But when I stopped to think about it, I realized I am actually very lucky for the many things I don’t have. I may not have it all, but it turns out that isn’t such a bad thing.

Here is a list of things I am thankful I don’t have.

I am thankful I don’t have…

  • to worry about where my next meal will come from
  • a serious illness
  • to live paycheck to paycheck
  • excessive debt
  • a dangerous neighborhood
  • to get up at 3am
  • to take a cold shower when I do get up
  • braces
  • dial up internet

Those are just a few of the things that I am grateful I don’t have. I bet if you think about it long enough you can make a pretty good list of your own.

Origin of April Fools’ Day

Yesterday was April Fools’ Day, otherwise known as the day that many people play pranks or practical jokes on one another.

Sometimes the jokes are creative, like in 1957 when the BBC reported Swiss farmers were harvesting spaghetti from trees.

Other times they are just plain silly like when Burger King announced they would be selling the left handed Whopper.

Did you fall for any April Fools’ Day pranks?

I did not, although, I had to take my car in for a repair yesterday and when I saw the bill I thought maybe my mechanics were playing a joke on me. Turns out they were not.

Isn’t a little odd that a holiday is built around making people look silly? Where did this tradition come from?

That is the question we will answer on today’s Wonder Why Wednesday…

What is the Origin of April Fools’ Day?

Much like the question of why someone would believe that there is actually a spaghetti tree, the question of where April Fool’s Day comes from is a little fuzzy.

The most common explanation dates it back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII created a new standard calendar for Christian Europe.

According to Discovery News, prior to Pope Gregory’s decree, Europe’s nations and city states operated using the Julian calendar. This new calendar moved the date of the new year from April 1 to January 1.

Some people were slow to come around to the change in new year date. Many Europeans continued to celebrate the new year between March 25 and April 1.

People who still celebrated the holiday in the spring were called April fools and were the subject of pranks and ridicule by those who observed the new year months ago.

I don’t know about you, but I expected the explanation of April Fools’ Day to involve something like a clown and pie in the face, not a pope and a new calendar.

In defense of the original April fools, the calendar system in 1582 couldn’t have been that easy to figure out. It’s not like they had Windows 8 or Apple iOS 7 to help them figure out the time and date. They barely even had glass windows and edible apples.

I think that we can cut them some slack that they were slow to figure out the new calendar.

Facing Many Troubles

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

~ Psalm 34:19

When bad things happen, I often wonder, “Why me? What did I do wrong?”

Sometimes I think “I didn’t do one bad thing today, why am I stuck in traffic. Doesn’t God know that traffic is only for sinners??”

The above line from Psalm 34 helps answer that question.

It doesn’t say if you are good then nothing bad will happen. It says that even the good (or righteous) will face traffic (aka many troubles).

That’s no fun. And it would be a major bummer if it stopped there. But the best part of Psalm 34:19 is the 2nd half of the sentence.

The Lord comes to the rescue each time.

“Comes to the rescue” is a fun visual. I like picture a superhero swooping in and saving someone from a burning building.

In real life, the Lord’s rescue style very rarely involves swooping. But he is still there for the rescue. Even though it might not always feel as obvious as a swoop.