January 2009 From Kevin Knebl


Hello again to my friends, family, colleagues, and clients. Many of you know me personally through work, networking or through one of my speaking engagements related to sales skills, effective online and offline networking, LinkedIn and Social Media training and personal development; and some of you may know me only by email and telephone. Welcome to everyone that’s new to this distribution list.

There are a lot of very smart and interesting people that I am fortunate to network with. We share books, movies, music and ideas that stimulate us. I’m always interested to learn what other people that I respect are reading, watching and listening to. This is my monthly email newsletter with books I’ve recently read, movies seen, music devoured, ideas and other things that may be of interest to you. If you find this interesting and would like to pass it on, please feel free to do so. If you’d like to be removed from this list just let me know. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you would like to be added to this distribution list or if you’d like to view previous newsletters, please email me and let me know.

Thank you for all the great feedback on this newsletter. I respond to all comments and am pleased to say that this newsletter goes out to thousands of readers all over the US, Canada, China, Singapore, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, England, Spain, Iran and even New Jersey (Joizy….what exit?) and a few other remote places.

I use LinkedIn.com (www.linkedin.com/in/kevinknebl) for business networking, Facebook.com (http://profile.to/kevinknebl/) for social networking, Plaxo.com for keeping track of contact information and Twitter.com for global instant messaging (http://twitter.com/kevinknebl). Through LinkedIn, I have been able to refer a lot of business and connect many people for business and social purposes. If we are not already connected on LinkedIn, please contact me to connect and if I’m able to refer business your way, I’ll be happy to do so. Please also consider connecting to me through Facebook as it is a fantastic way to keep up to date with your friends all over the globe (and a lot of fun).

A number of people have asked that I insert an announcement indicating whether I have any upcoming speaking engagements that are open to the public. I do have a few public speaking engagements this month. If you have an interest in dates, times and speaking topics, please let me know.

Quick FYI: Due to the growing readership of this newsletter and the multiple businesses that I operate in, starting 2/1/09 I will be moving the newsletter to an email newsletter platform such as Constant Contact or iContact. This will allow me to move off of ADP’s servers, add graphics and to add many other enhancements. Please realize that starting 2/1/09, the newsletter will not be arriving in your inbox from my ADP email address. There are some exciting changes coming!

Holy cow…is it 2009 already?! Didn’t we just do the whole Y2K thing? Jeez, that was almost a decade ago. Getting older is like gaining weight and losing hair; you just don’t notice it because no matter where you go, there you are. One day you look in the mirror and scream, “Dad!!”
I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year is off to a fun start. This is going to be the best year ever!

Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business- Jeff Howe
This great 2008 book is mandatory reading for business people that are looking to understand the effect of online collaboration, social networking and some of the powerful business applications that are available to forward thinking innovators. Howe is a black belt in technology as a writer for Wired magazine. I’ve read his work for years and he’s about as in touch as you can be. He even coined the term “crowdsourcing” in 2006.

Crowdsourcing is the term for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task (also known as community-based design and distributed participatory design), refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm, or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data. The term has become popular with business authors and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals.
In some cases, the labor is well compensated. In other cases, the only rewards may be kudos or intellectual satisfaction. Crowdsourcing may produce solutions from amateurs or volunteers working in their spare time, or from small businesses which were unknown to the initiating organization.
Perceived benefits of crowdsourcing include: problems can be explored at comparatively little cost, payment is by results, and the organization can tap a wider range of talent than might be present in its own organization.
The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to the public rather than another body. The difference between crowdsourcing and open source is that open source production is a cooperative activity initiated and voluntarily undertaken by members of the public. In crowdsourcing the activity is initiated by a client and the work may be undertaken on an individual, as well as a group, basis.

Here are some great quotes from the book:
· Labor can often be organized more efficiently in the context of community than it can in the context of a corporation.
· “No matter who you are,” Joy once said, “most of the smartest people work for someone else.” That, in a nutshell, is what this whole book is about. Given the right set of conditions, the crowd will almost always outperform any number of employees-a fact that companies are becoming aware of and are increasingly attempting to exploit.
· Crowdsourcing has the capacity to form a sort of perfect meritocracy. Gone are pedigree, race, gender, age, and qualification. What remains is the quality of the work itself.
· But more than simply identifying diamonds in the rough, crowdsourcing also cultivates and nurtures that talent. In this way, crowdsourcing adds to our culture’s general store of intellectual capital.
· It capitalizes on the fact that our interests are more diverse than our business cards would have one believe.
· Crowdsourcing is like an immense talent-finding mechanism.
· In spring 2007, YouTube announced it would begin giving its most popular contributors-those whose videos regularly get viewed more than a million times-a cut of ad revenues, which is a strong indicator that those parallel universes are starting to collide. The future of entertainment will, at least in part, be outsourced to the crowd.
· By one measure at least, You Tube is a very small company. Before being acquired by Google, its sixty-seven employees fit into three floors of an unremarkable office building in San Bruno, California. That’s exactly one fewer employee than work at the average American nursing home. But by another measure, YouTube is a far larger company. At the time of its acquisition by Google, YouTube was valued at $1.65 billion. That number could seem unreasonable by conventional measures, but YouTube is hardly a conventional company.
Google didn’t pay for the expertise housed within that San Bruno office. It paid for the millions of users who create and submit videos to YouTube, and for the traffic they drive to the site. It paid, in short, for the community-the people who use it to engage in a conversation in a language of moving images. YouTube is far from the only company whose primary asset is its community. Facebook employs roughly seven hundred- a skeleton crew for a company that was valued, at the time of Microsoft’s investment in the social networking site, in the region of $15 billion. As of early 2007, Wikipedia employed only five people. By contrast, the Encyclopedia Britannica was written by over four thousand paid contributors and one hundred full-time editors. In these cases, the community is taking the place of the corporation.
The conventional corporation isn’t going away anytime soon, but its hegemony is certainly under assault. Despite its unchallenged reign throughout the twentieth century, the traditional corporate structure is an artifact of the Industrial Revolution.

Howe’s book has many case studies that are easily read and free of techno-jargon. Whatever line of work you’re in, you’ll find this well written book a fascinating look into the future of business. I personally know people that are experimenting in the eminent domain that is the internet. Buckle up…it’s a great ride!
Here are Jeff Howe’s blog:
http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/ and his brief video book trailer http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/cs/2008/07/crowdsourcing-t.html

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom- don Miguel Ruiz
This book was recommended to me some time ago by my friend, Sandy Duvall (another Witness Relocation Program participant from New Jersey- there are a number of us out here in the West) and I’ve read it a few times over the last year or so. don Miguel has written a wonderful book that at first may sound simplistic, but as most truths are, the concepts prove to be profound in their simplicity. Ruiz comes from a long tradition of spiritual teachers from Southern Mexico. He comes from the Toltec tradition that is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love.

The Four Agreements are:
· Be impeccable with your word
· Don’t take anything personally
· Don’t make assumptions
· Always do your best

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

Here are some great quotes from the book:
· You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word. When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace.
· It is very interesting how the human mind works. We have the need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything, in order to feel safe. We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.
· Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything. But it is the action that is going to make you feel intensely happy. When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: they only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.
· Very young children are not afraid to express what they feel. They are so loving that if they perceive love, they melt into love. They are not afraid to love at all. That is the description of a normal human being. As children we are not afraid of the future or ashamed of the past. Our normal human tendency is to enjoy life, to play, to explore, to be happy, and to love. You don’t need to blame your parents for teaching you to be like them. They had no control over the programming they received, so they couldn’t have behaved any differently. The real you is still a little child who never grew up.
· The freedom we are looking for is the freedom to be ourselves. For every thousand people, nine hundred and ninety-nine are completely domesticated. The first step toward personal freedom is awareness.

Whatever your faith, there are valuable lessons to be learned in this book. We are all far more similar than dissimilar, and people are people wherever you go. As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Keep an open mind like an open net when you read this book and you may be surprised what falls into it. Someone once told me to remember that the mind is like a parachute and only works when it is open.

Songs For Silverman- Ben Folds
This is one of my favorite CD’s that I wore out in 2008. Ben Folds is brilliant. I have followed his music for years and never get tired of his fantastic music. He is a great singer/songwriter in the tradition of Elton John and Billy Joel. He can sometimes venture into risqué material, but this CD is pretty safe (for those people that may be surprised by that last statement, Mozart often delved into risqué material).
Folds has sparse orchestrations for his songs. He has great hooks and wonderful melodies that you’ll be humming long after you take the CD out of your car. My kids love his songs and often ask me to play his CD’s when we get in my SUV (I just have to be careful which CD’s I put in).

Ben is a great musician with a wonderful sense of humor. Humor is a very hard thing to pull off in music without sounding like a clown and he does it brilliantly. I played piano professionally for years and I have deep respect for his beautiful yet simple melodies and arrangements. The great ones always make it look so simple. I hope that you enjoy this CD as much as I do.
….and as a bonus, one of my favorite, beautiful and poignant Ben Folds songs from a previous CD: ttp://www.youtube.com/watc

My good friend, Neal, from Sugar Land, Texas sent me this fantastic clip. When it comes to movie soundtracks, there is only one John Williams. I think that he is Steven Spielberg’s twin based on the number of movies that they’ve collaborated on together.
The gentleman who created this clip is amazing. Not only did he synchronize himself in four-part harmony, he created a pretty funny piece of music by weaving together melodies from some of the most famous Williams soundtracks of all time. If you are a Star Wars or Indiana Jones fan, you will love this clip.
Once again, YouTube and Social Media allow all of us to see and appreciate the intelligence, humor, art and passion of folks that would otherwise go unnoticed.

This is a very creative and hilarious musical clip. Make sure that you watch it all the way until the end. Their musicality is top notch!

My friend Gary Friedman in Denver recently loaned some CD’s from past TED conferences. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). The topics that are discussed are as varied as you can imagine. Lucky for all of us, these talks are videotaped and can be seen at www.ted.com for free.

Ken Robinson is an internationally-renowned expert in the field of creativity and innovation in business and education, and his visionary consultancy skills are employed by governments, major corporations and cultural organizations worldwide. Sir Ken challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. Great talk!

Nothing deep or profound with this one-I just like it. If you watch this and think, “humbug, what a waste of time”….you didn’t get it and you might want to watch it again. Just saying.
Also, it looks like it was shot in Victoria, BC. Karin and I took a vacation there a few years back without the kids. What a beautiful place.

“If you judge people, you have not time to love them.” Mother Teresa

“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.” Bertrand Russell

“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” Frank Tibolt

“Invention is the mother of necessity.” Thorstein Veblen

”Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.” Laurence J. Peter

“Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision.” Anonymous

“Supply and demand: if you knew there was an infinite supply you would have no need to demand.” Alan Cohen

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” George Bernard Shaw

“We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence and its only end.” Benjamin Disraeli

“Speak the truth, but leave immediately thereafter.” Slovenian proverb

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” Emerson

“I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.” Tom Stoppard

“One half of life is luck; the other half is discipline-and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with the luck.” Carl Zuckmayer

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” John Kenneth Galbraith

If you think that this newsletter will be of interest to someone that you know, please feel free to forward it on. If you have any thoughts or opinions on any of these recommendations or have recommendations of your own, please let me know-you never know where the conversation may go from there. As always, if you’d like to reach me, the easiest and fastest way is either by email at kjknebl@gmail.com or mobile phone at               719-650-7659         719-650-7659.

To your success,

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