As the world knows, Obama won! I hope he can continue the trend around change and find a way to bring a divided nation together for all of our sakes. Check out Fred Wilson’s (A venture capitalist in New York) post on the topic How Do You Take The Vote?. I like the way he outlined the results.
I recently saw a movie called Cloud Atlas that was well done and though provoking. I want to see it again to catch all the references I’m certain I missed. It’s based on a book of the same name that was written in 2004 by David Mitchell. It interweaves six stories about people who show up in different life times that move from the South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic future. Tom Hanks’ character gets better (i.e. fights his demons and trusts his instincts about love). He and Halle Barry make an interesting couple throughout. I know it is a science fiction, but I sometimes feel as if people I meet I’ve known before or have more close connections with.
Most people think the opposite of love is hate, but really it isn’t, and I think most people know this if they take the time to think about it. If people love your products, you do great. If you have a group of people who hate your products, you are still likely to do OK. Take for example the iPhone. People love it because Apple somehow convinced many of us of its greatness. Then there are those who hate it (see iPhone4 vs. HTC Evo YouTube video) and it still does great and its main competitor the Android phone is doing well because people love it. They just spread the word in a less visible/audible way. Another example is twitter or facebook. Some people love them and others think they are a complete waste of freaking time, but they are both doing well from an adoption if not a profitability standpoint.
The same is true of people. Some people love Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) and some hate him for his megalomaniac ways. More often than not people apparently hate Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle) but they still keep buying Oracle products. Some people love president Barack Obama but some hate him for the change he represents and for his sometimes questionable political decisions. The same goes for Rush Limbaugh and former president Bill Clinton for his promiscuous way. Everyone seemed to love Lady Diana and despise Prince Charles because he loved another woman not nearly as beautiful and sweet as Lady Di. The vast majority of people adored Mother Theresa and Gandhi. Some people love hard rock or country music and some can’t stand either. So the products, people, and genre’s that people don’t care about are the one’s that no one gets emotionally charged about either way, and they disappear or have a very small niche.
So the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. What kind of company, product, person are you or do you represent? One that people love or hate? Do they not care enough to pay attention? Do they care if you throw your products into the sea or a landfill? Do they care if you throw yourself into the sea or a landfill? Will they notice if you walk out the door? If they don’t care and you are feeling like furniture (song lyric alert), then maybe it’s time to build another product, start/join another company, transform yourself so people notice you/your products, change your life situation, and/or buy new furniture! All of these things are much easier said than done except, of course, for ‘buying new furniture.’
Tomorrow is the inauguration of the next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama. The post I did called A Vote for Brown, Brains, and Change after he was elected was one of the most commented-on posts I’ve written on this little’ ole blog. It’s a historic event for America because as pretty much everyone in the world knows, it is the first time we will ever have a brown person, who also happens to be extremely smart and qualified, at the head of what is still the most powerful nation in the world.
There is much hope pinned on him to keep the US a strong world power and save us from the descent we are now experiencing. I believe that if he continues to openly communicate with the American people that he will set the realistic expectations that it could take as long to get out of the world wide economic quagmire we find ourselves in as it took us to get into it. He has a lot of challenges ahead of him and it comes down to each and every one of us contributing by continuing to work hard and helping others, as good Samaritans do, to help them get back on their emotional or financial feet one family at a time.
I was watching Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech (August 28, 1963) earlier today on CNN and was moved, as I usually am, at his words. Just over 45 years ago, colored people could not drink from the same water fountain as White people. They could not stay in the same hotels or hotel rooms as White people. They could not sit in the same place on the bus. They could not get access to the same education. They could not play on the same football teams.
MLK and all of the people (White, Black, Brown, and blonde, red, hair-dyed, and dark haired people) who believed in his dream, knew that one day the children of the slaves and the slave owners would be able to sit down together for dinner as equals. They would be able to go to the same restaurants and stay at the same hotels. His dream took time to achieve but now almost half a century later most of his dream has become real. If he had not been killed for voicing his dream out loud, he would be 80 years old today enjoying his 4 children and granchildren. If he had not taken a stand, the world might have been a different place.
Not only colored people but also women have been able to achieve amazing things because of the barriers broken down by men and women who came before us. I am so grateful for the strong women I have met along my path who have helped me and instead of pushing me down, they offered their hands and their hearts to pull me up! These people fought hard to make our lives easier, and as I start to cross mid-life, I not only look ahead of me but also behind me to offer my hand in help to others.
The Obama experiment is a new one not only for the US but also the modern world. For any experiment to work, we as a nation need to be fully on board. Be skeptical, but push ahead with gusto. Put cynicism aside for a while and have faith that with our words and actions we can make a difference for the world!
A friend of mine, who I know is wrestling with his dreams although he won’t admit it out loud, recently told me that some philosopher said something like “we can change the world by changing the songs (narratives) we pass on to our kids.” The stories we tell our children about someone’s beliefs, someone’s skin color, someone’s gender are the stories they carry with them the rest of their lives. The stories have changed in the US with regards to brown people even from when I was a child, yet I still struggle to change those internal narratives even now. The stories have changed also with regards to women/girls. We still need to continue to change them for the positive. My grandfather once told me that one day the people of this world will all be a nice tan color so in some small way it became OK for me to marry a White man and have tan colored kids. He told me a bunch of other stories that were hilarious but not appropriate to blog about! 🙂
But the world still seems to have trouble changing the stories about people’s religious beliefs as we continue to see in Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The children are taught to hate and mistrust others based on their religion because that is what they see and hear on a daily basis. I wonder how we can help change the stories and dreams for those children?
In my mind, getting an education is the single most important way to continue to enhance the lives of each and every one of us, our children, and the world’s children. Tolerance and understanding come from open minds, open hearts, and trying new things.
As you think about how we can help change those children’s stories, I leave you with a YouTube video of Martin Luther King’s speech given in 1963 (see below). Isn’t technology amazing sometimes?!
I haven’t written about politics on my blog for a variety of reasons but mostly because I think everyone has a right to their own opinion and my blog is primarily about business and parenting…not politics.
However, given that a historic, unprecedented event has just happened in our lifetime, I felt compelled to write this post. I am SO excited that Barack Obama was elected to be the next president of the United States! Not just because I agree with much of his political philosophy, but also because he’s brown, has brains, and has the potential to heal wounds created throughout the world.
If you are someone who has not grown up with brown skin, this might not make sense to you but in my opinion this is a huge affirmation of the American dream. My uncle, a geography professor, was turned away from a restaurant while visiting Virginia New Mexico because of the color of his skin. When I was 8 or 9 years old, a blonde little boy turned to me in the walkways outside my elementary school and yelled at me calling me the ‘n’ word. I had never heard that word before, yet I felt the hate emanating from this young boy, and I still remember the fear I felt standing there all alone wondering why this boy hated me so much.
I’m not even Black (I’m South Asian), but I (and other members of my family) were lumped into the non-White category. When I lived in West Texas, the difference was even more pronounced. I grew up self conscious of my skin color and even now I have moments where I wonder if I truly fit in…despite being married to a White man! Women and Black men have had to consistently work twice as hard and be twice as good to be recognized at the same level as White men in this country.
Time will tell if Obama was the right pick, but the fact that he was picked in this country in 2008 means to me that we’ve reached a turning point in our history. People who are not White and not even men (thanks to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin) now have a living breathing example of how it can be done.
Obama, to me, epitomizes working hard (no riding daddy’s coattails), focusing on education, prioritizing family values, and taking a thoughtful analytic (that man is smart!) approach before acting. As an added bonus, he appears to know how to speak proper English! 🙂
Not only has he broken color barriers, he has broken social media barriers. He has run the biggest, first, and most effective political campaign that has ever been run (oh what money can buy)! By his campaign’s avid use of twitter, YouTube, blogs, MySpace, email campaigns, etc., he has single handedly affirmed an entire new industry and demonstrated how using the Internet and social media can have a huge impact on the success of campaigns, businesses, and causes. If there was any doubt by individuals and big companies as to the efficacy of social media, it has now been shattered!
I was 3 when I came to the United States with my parents, and we landed in Pennsylvania. I was 21 when I became a naturalized citizen in New Mexico. I am now many years older, live in Texas, and tonight I saw the window of opportunity open wider for my light brown kids…
In case you missed it, here is the hilarious video about Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft that was shown at his final keynote address at the Computer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday. I think it’s so great to see his fun side! As an entrepreneur, I am in awe at what he has accomplished in his lifetime and even did a post about a prior appearance of his with Steve Jobs a while back.
The video stars Brian Williams, Steve Ballmer, Matthew McConaughey, Robbie Bach, Jay-Z, Bono, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Kevin Turner, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, and others. Thanks to Long Zheng for posting his own video and helping me find a link. Here’s the link to the YouTube video that will hopefully show properly below (its been off & on again).