Replicants

A friendly futurist within our web3dsm community shared this Ray Kurzweil interview that triggered my continued curiosity toward our neon future.

Extra Shot

How can days feel long, when years fly by?

One tangent they take in this extended conversation revolves around interacting with replicants. Long after it passed the turing test, I imagine my replicant to be an artificially intelligent, bioengineered entity that has consciousness rooted in the human (or machine) it originated from. This humanoid would use an index of everything I ever shared externally, a complex map of my network, and added context from storytelling to form a foundational identity. The operating system would have core essentials and permission levels to guide growth.

With exponential advances in technology, interactions with different versions of our past and future self seem inevitable. We’re already speaking to holocaust surviving holograms, watching monkeys play video games with their brain, growing synthetic realities, and experimenting with nanorobotics. As the bandwidth of our content creation reaches escape velocity, what’s stopping us from pressing the record button to store every angle from every moment?

As this limitless library grows and we start to think about futuristic interactions, how might we reconsider the way we spend our time? Would you live your life differently knowing future generations may interact with a version of your own replicant? I have to think our thoughts and actions would be less careless with such a forward-focused mindset. It would also seem that staying in the moment would be more natural when every moment counts.

With a future that gives humans an opportunity to merge with machines, today can be when we consider ways to transcend time with purpose and thoughtful appreciation.

Extra Shot

“…if tomorrow I wake up and I’m sixty years old,I hope when I look in the mirror and ask have you lived,I look right back and say, “shiiit, you tell me!” -Machine Gun Kelly

Minting

I’ve been hinting about minting.

TL:DRI’ve minted a new NFT collection!

As a community builder and hybridized translator of technology, I’m proud to be surrounded by remarkable artists and nerds you need to know. As trailblazers continue to push boundaries, the decentralized, community-driven aspects of blockchain technologies has me in a curious state of pure wonder.

To test a blockchain technology, Nathan T. Wright and I teamed up to learn through action. We decided to explore non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) by creating a new NFT collection called Roasted Reflections!

This caffeinated collaboration commemorates one year of YDNTB and is dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and community builders. Only 100 NFTs will be minted on OpenSea throughout the month of April. We’ve established two small, more exclusive categories of tokens that include bonus materials, VIP access, and tradable value. A third category has more NFTs minted as free airdrops for those who pickup the new YDNTB NFT Bundle to share.

This special NFT collection is now live, as the first NFT was minted on April 1st, 2022. This rare collectible comes with all sorts of perks and was appropriately titled, Hello World – #1, with a .412021 ETH price that pays homage to the 4/1/2021 publishing date for YDNTB. Two more tokens will be released into the RR collection each Wednesday until all 100 tokens have been minted!

Extra Shot

Did you catch the subtle hint for this emerging NFT project in Launch? This learning expedition was also the inspiration behind Perpetual.

What’s next? Watch your inbox for more details on this interactive NFT project, including a special invitation to a new Discord channel built for all of us to continue building together. My hope is that along with a fun way to collectively enjoy this digital treasure hunt, the Roasted Reflections NFT collection will be remembered as how my family and friends secured their very first NFT! In the meantime, here are a few of the lessons learned along the way.

– Humans enjoy collecting things together.
– Value is often based on supply, demand, and a sense of belonging.
– NFT minting creates a unique item connected to a smart contract.
– A smart contract for each NFT is then data stored on a blockchain.
– The first NFT was minted in 2014.
– Think less about how NFTs look or sound.
– NFTs represent ownership verified by data.
– These digital assets can also be used for various types of access.
– Categories in a collection provides scalability and diversifies value propositions.
– You need a digital wallet to receive, buy, or sell NFTs. (I use Coinbase)
OpenSea is the largest marketplace to learn, create, buy, and sell NFTs, but Coinbase NFT is coming soon.
– Floor price is the lowest priced NFT in a collection.
– Weekend minting is often less expensive.
– Computing power for the verification process creates a harmful environment impact that needs improvement.
– Successful NFT collections are community-driven.
– The most expensive NFT sold for $91.8M.
– Airdrop is a fancy term for giveaway.

Extra Shot

I can’t help but to think, perhaps the NES generation who grew up wasting all our allowance on sports cards as kids, was destined to bring this technology to life.

I thought NFTs were silly at first. Talking with others and thinking about smart contracts can transparently certify proof of ownership has made me think again.

In the future, perhaps NFTs (or similar blockchain technologies) will be applied to verify event tickets, legal documents, and personal property? What if a birth certificate came with it’s own NFT that had a smart contract secured to the same person’s death certificate? Weird stuff, eh! Tokenomics is still the wild west and NFTs are considered a speculative asset, but it’s fun exploring uncharted territory and it’ll be interesting to see if a community-driven NFT collection like Roasted Reflections allows more explorers to own a small piece of this new frontier.

Online Event Management

Live event management is a handful. Virtual events should also be well thought out. How can we create a memorable experience when everyone is participating online? Let’s teleport into this topic together.

First, consider what must be accomplished. What cannot be achieved without this time together? Determine how long the virtual experience should last. It’s usually less than you think. Next, line up the right technologies to ensure it fits the needs of your virtual experience. As tech is selected, use security tactics to avoid unwanted distractions. With objectives and logistics in place, it’s time to flesh out the experience.

While our connected era has unlocked the next level of efficiency with these virtual interactions, a drawback to online gatherings is the lack of time before and after a meeting. This means there’s less serendipitous interplay. Stay efficient, but it may be wise to weave in random value through manufactured moments that still feel natural for participants.

As attendees arrive, use your opening remarks to set the tone. Generate cohesion with jolts of genuine energy as any rules of engagement are quickly confirmed. If there’s a meeting agenda, run through that and connect it with meeting goals so attendees know what to expect.

After a welcoming attendees with a concise, energizing, and clarifying introduction, have fun unpacking the primary discussion. Stay on task and try to avoid distractions, but leave time for interactive dialogue. With less open dialogue due to the limitations of a virtual experience, this is one way to create space for those manufactured moments of serendipity. These conversational buffers help to avoid having the loudest voice be the only one that’s heard and invites an inclusive environment with deliberate space for everyone to participate.

Extra Shot

The term “hybrid” is hard to define. There’s value in weaving tech into in-person events so that others are able to virtually feel the experience. There’s also value in keeping things simple so the focus remains on your attendee’s engagement. Experiment with what works for you, but one interesting combination is to go all-in with live events, and then add strategic online events into the mix. This avoids fragmented coordination, eliminates the hollowness of virtual content within an in-person experience, and creates ease for organizers who benefit from both types of environments.

As you bring your online events together, you want interactivity so it’s not talking heads with attendees pretending to listen. Do this by including icebreakers, musical moments, pop-up polls, breakout discussions, scavenger hunts, doodling exercises, physical activities, and scheduled breaks. Encourage note taking and grab screenshots as artifacts to share later. Leave time for questions before wrapping things up.

As you bring things to a close, it’s important everyone feels a sense of accomplishment. If ramblings drag on before the meeting abruptly cuts off, people will leave feeling empty. Keep the virtual energy juicy, review key takeaways, and encourage action to tie a bow on the efficiency of all your online events.

Neon Future

I’ve always been fascinated by technology and how humanity interacts with what’s next.

Whether it’s artificial intelligence (AI), space travel, computer vision, machine learning, biotech, transformative energy, quantum computing, cerebral transcendence, or synthetic materials, math, or physics we have yet to discover, the deep future is one of my favorite day dreams. I don’t often get to talk with others about these questions we can not answer, but TV shows, movies, books, and music provide fun ways to personalize each paradox.

Extra Shot
Year Million, Cosmos, Altered Carbon, Foundation, and NOVA are a few TV shows that lean into what our neon future may look like. The Matrix, Ghost In the Shell, Finch, Transcendence, Dune, Ready Player Two, Interstellar, The Martian, Lucy, and Ex Machina are a few of my favorite sci-fi movies in this realm. I can’t say I’ve read many books that connect on this front, but when it comes to music, a lot of EDM feels futuristic. In fact, the inspiration for my title comes from Steve Aoki’s latest odyssey and I’ll close with lyrics to maintain this state of trance.

As I think about the future and what technology may allow humanity to achieve, my mind drifts through an eternal field of abundance. Our destiny will naturally change the future of work. My hope is that instead of stealing jobs, the heightened infrastructure will advance our kind and provide more humans the chance to scrutinize their own creativity. Instead of worrying about turning a knob all day, society can focus more on what the turning knob accomplishes.

It’s hard to reflect on such vast unknowns. It’s even harder to find closure. This doesn’t do the trick, but one interesting question that I’ve asked many people, is “does everyone have an entrepreneurial spirit?” I’ve been surprised with how many people say no, but one of my favorite responses included a thoughtful caveat. Perhaps everyone has a creative spirit, but those who are able/willing to tolerate risk, unlock the opportunity to decipher their entrepreneurial spirit.

That said, when it comes to this discourse, I’m interested less about business, and more about the enjoyment of deep thoughts, interesting conversation, and pure wonder.

There’s light years more to unpack here and this was never meant to be a scientific summary. Think of this flickering spark as more of an invitation to cut loose for the neon future is entirely unpredictable, expect for one thing: that before you know it, the neon future, will be the past. Stay wild my friends!

Life has limitless variety
But today, because of aging, it does not have limitless scope
In the neon future life will have opportunity to explore its limitless diversity
Life will have no boundaries

Slide Deck Design

Ready to inspire the audience at pitch competitions? Perhaps you’re presenting a business at an event? Maybe you’re simply looking to host a meaningful meeting this week? Let’s explore translating your transmission with sharp slide deck design.

Before we dive in, why are slides even needed? Building a slide deck supports your key points while also establishing the tone and cadence of your performance. One development approach is to plan what will be said, and then wrap slides around that narrative. An alternate approach is to build the slide deck, which helps synthesize your storytelling. I personally find that the process of building a slide deck helps me lock in the story.

No matter how you find your flow, allow clean visuals to support your verbal queues and learn how to share your story in a natural way. The goal is to deliver the most lasting impact in the least amount of time. Honest passion, transparent vulnerability, and concise simplicity are great ways to accomplish this.

Extra Shot

Pitches are built to impress. Presentations are mean to share.

No matter the environment, a clean slide deck is always a good place to start. This is the visualization of your story. Slide decks should create flow while supporting your verbal presentation. They must concisely highlight key aspects of your business. Slides also help address any specific criteria of the environment it’s being used at, such as pitch competitions or other business presentations. Slides should not include full sentences or bullet points for you to read aloud. If the audience is asked to read the slide, they’re unable to pay attention to what you’re actually saying. Titles or short phrases may help guide the audience, but great slide decks use very few words.

With a foundation of strong imagery, make your presentation stand out. This does not mean a bunch of distracting transitions. Keep transitions between each slide simple, but consider how content comes and goes on each slide. Subtle animations and thoughtful hints of movement on each slide will keep your audience captivated. With a striking slide deck in place, practice what you plan to say and sync the narrative to the timing of each slide.

Extra Shot

Think deeply about the specific environment, your audience, and various objectives to craft the most compelling experience. When a message resonates, attendees express interest through questions, introductions, and future engagement.

Being prepared is obviously important when all eyes are on you. Whether you use animated content or not, it’s best to have a single click to move between each slide. As you speak, your attention should be on connecting with the audience, not the slide deck or the handheld clicker. My suggestion is to memorize the flow and order of your slides, but not exactly what you plan to say. The sentiment of your pitch should remain consistent, but it won’t sound the same each time. Memorizing a talk word-for-word is safe for some, but a more genuine tone comes from the heart.

Are questions allowed? If so, include supportive back slides. Back slides live behind the final slide. They are used to highlight material not included in the main presentation. Handy back slides include detailed pricing, competitive analysis, marketing strategies, research data, and intricate financial information. The optional, but available coverage back slides provide make them well worth the time to prepare. People who understand what they’re talking about can use fewer words, and back slides allow you to deliver a strategically simplified presentation. For the audience, this reduces the numbing effect of information overload. With back slides in place, you can indulge in clarifying conciseness. This makes for a more impactful tone. It can even be good to purposefully leave out a curious topic from the main presentation. When the inevitable question pops, you can use the sneaky back slide to share a more focused response. Memorize the order of your back slides and you’ll soon be leading a smooth, more authoritative exchange. In short, back slides prove you’re a pro.

To complete a slide deck build, export all the slides into one PDF and include a JPG image for each slide. The richest presentation will always come from the software (Apple Keynote, Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides, etc.) a slide deck was built from, but the PDF and JPG formats can be used as marketing materials. More important, they are quick substitutes to counter any sort of last minute technical issues. Deliver the digital assets on time and drop everything on a flash drive, just in case.

As you tell your story, take feedback seriously. Feedback from people you don’t know will sharpen the business, your slide deck design, and your presentation overall.

Extra Shot
Happy Thanksgiving!  2021 has been remarkable and I’m grateful for so many things. Along with treasured time with family and work I’ll always remember, the ability to consistently deliver these Roasted Reflections every single week is definitely an achievement I’m thankful for. I hope you’ve enjoyed these weekly ruminations and I can’t wait to hear what you think of the YDNTB audiobook this holiday season!