As I write this, NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis is sitting on the runway at Kennedy Space Center, still venting steam after landing the final shuttle mission ever. The space shuttle program has concluded. The budget and personnel in the aerospace industry is now directed towards new endeavors and projects. Currently America does not have any other manned space vehicles that can take us out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space.
I’m a bit of a ‘space geekâ€ and with my professional career in web marketing (aka ‘web geekâ€), I have participated in a number of NASA tweetups and my friends consider me the person who knows the latest news in space exploration and technology. With the conclusion of the space shuttle program while we still have Americans in space, living on the space station – people are asking me: ‘What’s Next? What’s next for NASA and for space exploration? What’s next for the astronauts on the station? What’s next in commercial aerospace with the new government mandates and funding?â€
Interestingly, I’m asked the same question from clients and prospects around web marketing, mobile and cloud applications and social media: ‘What’s Next? What’s the next social networking site our business should be using? What’s the next big smartphone or mobile platform to get? What’s the next big online tool that I should be learning to use?â€
Although I’m asked ‘What’s Next?â€ almost daily – I rarely answer the question directly. Predicting what’s next in web is a bit like fortune telling. Who would have guessed twitter would even exist a few years ago? 5 years later’ twitter celebrated its 5 year birthday with an estimated value of about $7.8 billion and an estimated 175 million registered accounts. I didn’t predict this 5 years ago.
I did manage to avoid having a Myspace account, I’m a strong promoter of LinkedIn, and I’ve used Match.com (probably the oldest social networking site around after Listservs) off and on for years. So I guessed a few correctly too.
This morning while I am feeling optimistic and a bit awe-struck watching the ‘final fourâ€ astronauts walking away from the landing strip – I’m going to “peer into my crystal ball” and try to answer “What’s Next?” for you.
For space exploration, my top 3 predictions are:
1. U.S. commercial contractors in partnership with NASA will have a manned space vehicle ready within the next year.
2. Americans will realize that we need to establish a better off-planet ‘baseâ€ (moon maybe, or larger space station) before we are truly able to accomplish deeper space missions like trips to Mars.
3. There will be some amazing new technologies and products that result from American’s resurgence in space exploration and I predict biosciences and medical will be the recipient of a large majority of these.
My predictions for web technology:
1. Augmented reality integration with our social networking sites will become mainstream in the next 1-2 years. The things I’m seeing and hearing about with augmented reality is scary’ cool.
2. Mobile will be how we access everything. Anyone who doesn’t have mobile web access will pretty much have no friends. Businesses that don’t have mobile will lose to their web-friendly competition.
3. Local search will integrate social search and people will search based on what’s nearby AND where their friends are going.
I am probably wrong about most of these, and that’s ok with me. I have always been more interested in how people are able to find surprising and innovative ways to use technology and to accomplish things that we initially say is impossible. Like going into space’ initially we said that was never going to happen. And now we have American men and women living in space on the International Space Station. Instead of asking simply “What’s Next” – I find myself asking the question: “What will We accomplish next?”
With recent Congressional hearings and proposed legislation for more stringent online privacy laws, there is a lot of eye-opening going around consumers. If asked to estimate/guess, I would suggest that probably 85% or more of the people who are using the internet daily are unaware of all the different ways they are being tracked and what data is being collected about them online.
Facebook is the most notable violator – constantly changing privacy settings with little to no notice to its members. Recently, Google and Apple started making headlines for their geolocation tracking software in iPhones and Android smartphones. These devices were sharing the owners’ locations without the owner being made aware in many situations.
If these privacy issues have you feeling a bit icky – you aren’t alone. Ernie Manouse’s recent PBS episode invited his guests to explain just how concerned you should be and what to watch out for to better manage the information that both goes out on the internet about you as well as the information that you and your children are receiving online.
There were some really great debates and thought-provoking questions asked during the social media security and technology discussion. You can watch the recorded episode and hear Ed, Tom, and Christopher debate three major topics Ernie asks around online privacy in today’s digital world.
Ernie poses 3 questions to his guests:
1) What information is being tracked online without your knowledge and why is that information being tracked?
2) How does the younger generation view these privacy issues – do they even consider them invasions of their privacy?
3) Are we spending too much time trying to find ways to limit the information being shared and collected online and should we instead be focusing on education and teaching people, and more importantly children, how to handle the different situations they may encounter?
Tell us how you would answer the questions in the comments below, and watch the episode to hear how Ed, Tom and Christopher suggest you can better manage your online privacy to protect yourself and your kids. And you can check out photos from the taping inside the studio at Houston PBS on our Schipul Photo Gallery.
Houston NetSquared invited Mandy Graessle, the ‘Duchess of Loveâ€ and Director of Social Media Marketing for Lemonade Day to tell us what she has learned as she developed and implemented the nonprofit’s online web marketing strategy.
Lemonade Day is an awesome nonprofit organization that’s helping kids and their parents learn the skills to become successful entrepreneurs that our education system doesn’t teach. Last month, I had the opportunity to hear Lemonade Day’s co-founder Michael Holthouse talk at TEDx Houston on Entitlement in America. At TEDx Houston, Michael said: ‘If you know we should teach a man to fish instead of give a man fish’ why aren’t we doing that in America?â€ Last night, Mandy had the opportunity to share some of the reasons why this was such a momentous task with the NetSquared group.
Mandy shared some of the key challenges she faces trying to help market and promote Lemonade Day like how to get kids to register and participate, learn from each other online, and improve their program’s educational content that teaches kids how to be entrepreneurs. One of the tools Lemonade Day has created is a workbook with 14 lessons on entrepreneurship and business management. The workbook and resources are all free for kids who want to participate in the program.
After telling us about Lemonade Day’s web marketing campaign, Mandy went on to tell us stories of some of the kids who have built lemonade stands and the reasons why these kids were motivated to start their Lemonade Stand Businesses. She explained that Lemonade Day isn’t just about entrepreneurship’ the organization also helps kids raise money for things like a memorial in the community for a child lost to a tragic car accident and transportation for a young friend to his cancer treatment center. Lemonade Day enables kids to make a difference in their world around them.
Mandy concludes the NetSquared evening by telling us what we can do to help. Lemonade Day has a goal of registering 1 million kids in over 100 cities in the next 2 years. Most of the kids that can best be helped by Lemonade Day don’t have access to the internet as easily and don’t have email accounts and mobile phones. Lemonade Day relies heavily on volunteers who will go out to schools to teach and help register kids. If you can’ volunteer to go to a local school and spend 20 or 30minutes teaching one of the lessons from the workbook.
On Lemonade Day’s website you will also find resources and details about upcoming competitions, recipes for Lemonade, instructions for building a lemonade stand and more.
This Friday July 8th marks a historic moment in both U.S. History and the story of Humanity when the Space Shuttle Atlantis launches to carry supplies to the ISS-Station in orbit around Earth. NASA’s space shuttle program will conclude with mission STS-135.
I am super excited to have the opportunity to view the launch from Kennedy Space Center Friday morning. For those of you who cannot make the trip – there are a number of awesome online outlets including twitter, NASA TV, Facebook and more to hear updates, watch the countdown and launch, and hear directly from the astronauts as they prepare to launch into space.
Next, here are just a few of the official NASA twitter accounts to follow: @NASA – official NASA twitter account @NASAtweetup – official “tweetup” account for NASA @NASA_Astronauts – NASA twitter account that retweets all of the astronauts tweets
The four Astronauts that will be flying Atlantis for STS-135 each have twitter accounts as well and have been tweeting actively about their mission preparations and thoughts. You can follow them in the “Twitter-verse” here: Christopher Ferguson: @Astro_Ferg Douglas Hurley: @Astro_Doug Sandy Magnus: @Astro_Sandy Rex J Walheim: @Astro_Rex
Hashtags to follow on twitter: #NASATweetup and #STS135
Then, on Friday morning watch the shuttle launch live online on NASA TV. The launch is currently scheduled for 11:28 AM EST. That’s 10:28 AM CST for those of you in Houston and 8:28 AM PST for all of you in California.
Finally, I want to include a couple of great non-NASA organizations that will be tweeting and uploading photos and video from the launch site in Florida too. Both of these organizations are focused on sharing the excitement of space exploration and all things space with others and are extremely active on the web.
The Space Tweep Society is an organization whose mission is to connect those inside the space industry with those on the outside looking in and generate enthusiasm for all things space. You can find the Space Tweep’s on twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
SpaceUp is a new organization that hosts “un-conferences” focused on space-related topics all over the country including Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC and Minneapolis. You will find a number of organizers and volunteers from the different SpaceUp cities in Florida this week for STS-135.
Want a play-by-play? You can follow me on twitter: @SarahMWorthy as I tweet throughout the events leading up to the launch with all the other Space Geeks.
Before the launch, I urge you to go check out TEDxNASA in Silicon Valley and register for FREE if you can attend. This official TEDx event will be August 17th, 2011 in San Francisco, California. I was honored to attend the recent TEDx Houston event last month and definitely want to see all of you at TEDxNASA if you can make the trip to San Francisco next month!
This past Saturday, members of the Schipul team (Alex, Jonti and Ed) and I (Sarah) had the privilege of attending TEDx Houston 2011 at the University of Houston Wortham Theatre. This was my first TEDx conference to attend in person’ having been a longtime TED video watcher and fan.
The conference asked all of us the question ‘Where do we go from here?â€
First, all of us at Schipul want to give huge props to the Culture Pilot team and the amazing volunteers and sponsors that enabled TEDxHouston to run smoothly Saturday. Running a conference for a bunch of smart out-of-the-box thinkers is a challenge, and they were incredibly successful.
All of the speakers were amazing, and their speeches sparked new ideas that I scrawled alongside my notes from their presentations, including:
Dr. Robert Ness’s speech on Innovative Thinking in education’ I wondered to myself if evolution and creationism had to be two distinct concepts or if perhaps, life does have a plan to it and the diversity and struggles within ‘survival of the fittestâ€ is part of the intent?
Micki Fine asked the audience the question ‘Where are we now?â€ and talked about mindful living. As someone who falls asleep the moment I sit down on a yoga mat, (really’ ask me to sit still and 5 minutes later I’m dreaming), I loved that she didn’t just talk about how to meditate and slow down’ she gave me questions to ask myself like what matters to me most and how do I act from true intentions?
(Disclosure: Camp For All is a Schipul client)Kurtspoke brilliantly on ‘How do we promote service above self?â€ With an emotionally moving, or as Kurt would say ‘creates contact problemsâ€ presentation, heshared his viewpoint that the work he does is ‘selfish selflessnessâ€ and that those who volunteer their time and energy ‘do not promote service above self, rather it is service because of what we get back from it.â€
This discussion brought light to the notion that when we volunteer, we are helping those who make the real sacrifices’ the ones who take the real risks. For Kurt, he was helping those children who had to deal with their scars, diseases, disabilities and keep living life joyfully.
Michael Holthouse, Founder of Lemonade Day
Michael Holthouse, a tech entrepreneur and founder of Lemonade Day, presented on ‘Entitlement: now what?â€. Entitlement and generation Y seem to go together nowadays and in a lot of ways, I suffer this plight. Michael began by talking about economics and the great depression and welfare. He used the parable of giving a man a fish versus teaching a man to fish to transition to how our society in America has created this sense of entitlement in our culture by not teaching our children how to do the work needed to succeed.
Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs
After lunch, TEDx Houston presented a video of Aimee Mullins that was from TED 2009 entitled ‘Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs.â€ It is difficult to believe that I not only had never seen this presentation, I had never heard of Aimee Mullins until Saturday. Aimee Mullins had both legs amputated below the knee when she was an infant. She has had to learn from the beginning of life to walk on prosthetic legs and she told the stories of 12 pairs of prosthetic legs she owns, including a pair that look like glass and a pair that adds 6 inches to her height. Aimee ends her speech with a story about an evening out with friends. As Aimee walks into the restaurant wearing her extra-tall legs right after they were made, one of her girlfriends remarks “But you’re so tall!” and then “But Aimee, that’s not fair.” Hearing how the conversation has now gone in reverse where the disadvantage doesn’t necessarily go to the disabled person anymore really changed the way I will think.
Some of the Amazing Women @TEDxHouston from Alex
The day started with a talk by Dr. Roberta Ness about the hot topic innovative thinking. Steven Johnson’s recent book brought this issue to the front of a lot of people’s minds last year, right after a Newsweek cover story told us that we are in the middle of a ‘creativity crisisâ€ in America. As an issue that seems to pop up all over the place, this was a great way to start the day and get people thinking differently about how to answer the conference’s theme question: where do we go from here? Dr. Ness spoke about the desperate need for innovation and creation to solve the most pressing problems in our world (many of which we delved into deeper later into Saturday) and encouraged us all to break the frames that we use to see the world. It couldn’t have been a better way to set the tone for the day, as many of the subsequent speakers challenged us to ‘frame breakâ€ with them.
Angela Blanchard of the hugely successful Houston non-profit Neighborhood Centers challenged us to think differently about underprivileged areas in our city and throughout the world. Although we typically associate negative, broken images with these areas, Angela encouraged us to figure out what is working and build on these assets to make improvements. Like she said, nobody ever got into college by listing all their flaws on their application. The personal touch that Angela brought to her story is, I think, a hallmark of TED talks that makes these videos and conferences different and even more inspirational than those from many other events. The work that Angela and the Neighborhood Centers crew is doing in Houston, along with her story, had many of us close to tears’ sometimes also a hallmark of TED talks.
Super-smart businesswoman Nina Godiwalla spoke in the afternoon about the topic of her book Suits, being a minority woman on Wall Street. Nina has a very specific and unique story, but her experience’s are common to many fringe and minority groups who find themselves in unwelcoming environments. The current that ran throughout her talk was that the small picture of her story was not the important part. What is important to Nina is clearly that men, women, old, young, all ethnic groups, etc. were able to read her book and relate to her experiences. Nina’s call to action at the end of her talk was to stand up and speak up whenever groups become exclusive of people for the wrong reasons.
I so wish that I could write about each and every talk I heard on Saturday; they were amazing and inspirational. Be sure to follow @TEDxHouston and check them out yourselves as they get posted. I think the conference’s theme speaks to the takeaway I heard from most of the attendees: Come to TED to get inspired, and then go somewhere from here.
Some TEDxHouston tidbits from Jonti
I enjoyed a series of off the agenda surprises, like speakers such as Hear our Houston audio Walking Tours and Laura Spanjian from Mayor’s office for Green Houston. Laura outlined the success and future of Houston becoming one of the most green and sustainable cities in the United States. Previewing plug-in vehicle stations and Green Office challenges, she also has her sights set the goal of 100% curb recycling and increased renewable energy solutions for Houston.
Another surprise speaker and chef Justin Yu encouraged a stronger relationship between your food, humble exploration and culture to rediscover what is great about your own culture. Each surprise was part of a Hidden Gem theme building on the hidden gems of Houston.