200 years of history, like you’ve never seen before

Hans Rosling on "The Joy of Stats"

Hans Rosling presents 200 years of world history in four minutes

I’m a big fan of Hans Rosling. Rosling is a Swedish physician, statistician, academic and director of Gapminder Foundation. I’ve written about him a couple of times, specifically the Gapminder tool, which enables you to envision complex statistics in ways that make them instantly understandable.

I recently saw a video where Rosling got together with BBC Four program called “The Joy of Stats” to perform some augmented reality tricks to make the data even more “real”. The entire episode isn’t available online, but you can see Hans go through 200 years of world history in four minutes. Pretty amazing stuff. Check it out:

Your life should be awesome…

Grace inspects a caterpillar

Tell your parents, tell your friends, tell your co-workers, tell your children: Your life should be awesome. It can be–it will be–and it’s all up to you. So says, Neil Pasricha, author of “The Book of Awesome” and the blog “1000 Awesome Things.” The key, he says, lies in three A’s: Attitude, Awareness, and Authenticity. (It’s like this guy climbed up inside my head and could see what I was thinking…)

This short video from his TED presentation provides the background on awesome, the three A’s, and leaves you with a parting thought for life. And it’s all right on the mark.

“Look,” says Pasricha, “we’re all gonna get lumps and we’re all going to get bumps. None of us can predict the future, but we do know one thing about it: and that’s that it ain’t going to go according to plan. There are times in your life when you will get tossed in the well, with twists in your stomach and holes in your heart. And when that bad news washes over you and that pain sponges and soaks in, I just really hope you feel like you’ve always got two choices.

“One, you can swirl and twirl and you can gloom and doom forever; or two, you can grieve and then face the future with newly sober eyes. Having a great attitude is about choosing option number two, and choosing, no matter how difficult it is, no matter what pain hits you, choosing to move forward and move on and take baby steps into the future.”

There are some great moments in this talk and it’s well worth the fifteen minutes you’ll spend watching. (His example of authenticity is simply too good to spoil; you’ll just have to watch for yourself.)

Share it with friends and co-workers, but more importantly, share it with your kids. Help fortify them and give them the skills and the tools they need to face their lives with optimism and deliberation. Help the create–and then live–an awesome life.

Starbucks rolls out new look for the future

I like Starbucks. Honestly, I know that likely puts me into one of two camps and may affect (adversely or otherwise) your opinion of me. But I dig the concept of the third place and I think they are one of the few places that seem to both get it and embrace it.

They have also made good strides in recent years to better understand their customers and improve both their communications and their offerings to meet the needs & wants of those customers. I believe this has much to do with the return of Howard Schultz and is a testament that having a marketer at the helm can be a boost to the overall organization.

So yesterday I got an email from Howard. In it, he thanked me for being a customer and told me that they were making some subtle changes to the Siren that has been a symbol of the company for the past 40 years. He says:

“Our new brand expression reflects our evolving freedom and flexibility to serve and connect with our customers in meaningful ways while continuing to represent the integrity, quality and consistency of the Starbucks Experience.”

Which, I think, is a testament that sometimes a marketer drinks way too much of their own Kool-aid. Or, in this case, coffee.

Still, I think the new look is fresh and certainly seems decidedly more modern than the previous version. It also drops the “Starbucks Coffee” designation, much like Apple dropped “Computer” from their name when it became apparent they were much more than a computer company. Take a look and let me know what you think:

New identity for Starbucks

This image shows the evolution of the Starbucks brand identity throughout the life of the company

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Our top iPad apps for 2011

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...
Image via Wikipedia

In my most recent Indianapolis Business Journal article, I took on the task of helping all of you with new iPads figure out which apps were worth having. The initial list is based on a great deal of painstaking research. (Actually, we just sat around the office discussing it, which we do at least once a week.) I compiled the list in a rough outline of “most-used” and “favorite,” and intentionally avoided some of the business applications (primarily due to space constraints.) In the end, the list contained more than 50 apps, so I feel pretty confident you’ll find something you like in the mix.

See our ~50 top iPad apps for 2011 »