Update: This article was originally published for the Houston Chronicle on June 10, 2015.
Be like Mike. The original and greatest mimetic. You can also be like Michael Jordan. Nobody ever said Be like Magic or Be like Malone. It was always about Jordan. Here’s the problem with mimetic techniques. Beneath the feel-good aspirational comparison is a whole lot of hollowness, an empty void where actual value and quality should be, masked by a marketing-friendly image.
Be like Silicon Valley. In the past few days, I’ve witnessed this debate pick up again, about Houston’s constant struggle to compare itself to Silicon Valley. There’s constant desire to frame our challenges and problems in terms of “why aren’t we more like SV?” And, after some thought, all I can ask is “Why?” Why do we settle for mimetics when there’s plenty of quality and talent to stand on its own? You can’t want to be unique AND want to be like Silicon Valley. There’s no having the cake and eating it too.
The Bayou Startup Showcase, held Thursday at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, peered into the present and future of entrepreneurship in the nation’s fourth largest city.
The showcase is a collaboration between OwlSpark and Red Labs, the accelerator programs at Rice and the University of Houston, respectively. Teams from each school — made up of undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, even faculty members — pitched startup ideas to the Houston community after three months of rigorous business development.
Summer of 1992 in Barcelona, a collection of US basketball players touched down and set off an international firestorm. The Dream Team, perhaps the greatest collection of basketball talent ever assembled, rolled over their opponents as though they were playing against middle school students. But their victory wasn’t the important part so much as what followed.
Forbes recently published an article ranking America’s top 20 most creative cities. As with any rankings, context and criteria have to be taken into account. Usual suspects like Boston, San Francisco, and New Orleans were present in the top 20, but one city was amiss. The city that I reside in now, Houston, was nowhere to be found.
There were/are some big developments over the weekend and taking place currently in the sports and business worlds, so I wanted to focus this post on a discussion of various links and items. You know, just over two weeks ago, I was wondering how I was going to stay productive at work with the World Cup on. Suffice it to say, as I rehab from surgery (more on that at a later date), my questions were answered. I now have time to watch all the soccer games I want. Which brings me to the first item…
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” –George Bernard Shaw
Many tools exist today to enhance our communication. A lot of tools exist under the pretense that they enhance our communication. Not many in the latter category get $1.2 million in seed funding. Welcome to the world of Or Abel. Meet Yo.
Hey guys, a friend and fellow Rice Alum, Matthew Harrigan, has started a crowdfunding campaign (LINK HERE) for a cool, new product which is a spin on the traditional wrist watch. It’s called BareBands, and it’d be awesome if you took 5 minutes to just check it out. If you think it’s pretty cool (and I do think so), then go ahead and contribute to the campaign!