I watched the Oscars last night. I normally don’t and normally really don’t care about them, but somehow ended up watching them and was really surprised by the whole affair. It didn’t seem like a whole lot of glitz with no substance this time. It actually seemed like real people getting honored for real achievement.

I really am wondering how this came about. Who is the mastermind behind turning the Oscars into an event that is somewhat worth caring about? Who was smart enough to turn it into a bit of an intimate affair about real people? Where did all the ridiculous dresses with plunging necklines and rising hemlines go? Did someone send out a memo to everyone and tell them to come looking like real people to this event?

Here are some brief points:

  • Steve and Alec were awesome and so funny in such a simple, understated way.
  • The show took the time at each step to answer the question “why should I care?”
    • why should I care about the award for short films? – answered!
    • why should I care about the award for sound engineering? – answered!
    • why should I care which star wins an award? – answered!
  • Sandra Bullock was so gracious! Actually, I used to be really “meh” about her, but since “The Blind Side” and associated behind the scenes stuff on that movie, I see that she’s a real person with real gratitude. It seems so rare and so marvelous in Hollywood.

What can you learn from this?

You need to answer the question – “why should I care” for the people around you. Then you will be interesting. You will be able to lead. You will be able to close deals. You will be able to make new contacts.

Now for business people, go look at your website and marketing materials. How well have you answered the question “why should I care?” Make sure it’s a human answer because people really only truly care for and about people in the end.

MiniStory: The Leap of Faith

August 31st, 2006

“Take and eat.”, said the Voice.

I looked out athe apple, hanging over the abyss. “What!?”

“Take and eat.”

Could I grab the apple without falling in? I reached. Too high. I stretched. Too high. The only way was to leap. I had come so far. What the hell! I leaped and grabbed the apple, thinking to swing back to solid ground. My heart leaped along with me. I held fast to the branch but it didn’t bear my weight at all. I fell into the abyss, apple in hand.

Down, down, down. It was getting dark.

I cursed, I thrashed, I screamed. “You betrayed me! You lied!” The voice was silent. I fell deeper into blackness, my anger smoldered. Then I thought about how the voice had led me true this far. It had brought such joy, though mixed with sorrow. But here the sorrow seemed even sweeter somehow. Could I die for the voice? Yes. I might as well accept this death with courage.

“Take and eat.” the voice said again.

Oh! I couldn’t see the apple in the darkness, but I took a bite. Life entered me as I had never known. Light bloomed around me. I was flying with the wings of a great eagle in the abyss which suddently seemed to be full of life. There were birds of every species dancing joyfully in the air. I took to the sky, laughing.

“I am such a fool!”, I cried out as tears of joy floated off into the cool breeze.

I’m going to blast of a flurry of blogging starting with Ruby on Rails news in Vancouver. Last week I attended a mini workshop on getting started on Rails.

I was amazed to see a room full of people in Vancouver listening to a presentation about Ruby on Rails. It makes sense, since Vacouver was the host of the first ever Rails Conference. There’s just a huge difference in going from being a Rails fanboy gazing through your LCD looking glass at this marvelous world and being actually in and among people who are into Rails.

I didn’t manage to meet any of the people there except for Nathaniel Brown , the presenter, because I had to navigate the maze that was UBC and get back home to my family. Still I hope to meet more of the Vancouver Ruby community and get out there and spread the excitement about Rails.