Category Archives: Life in General

Thank you for a great career

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States. It seems all the most appropriate that I acknowledge those that kick-started my career in Instructional Design (in corporate America).

Soon after moving to the US (2006 – after a month working at Chick-Fil-A, which was my pleasure), I met Steve Brandau and Larry Howick who were marketing a revolutionary Technology-Assisted Language Learning program (appropriately named TALL) especially in the APAC market. My initial task was to write up a report (after a lot of research) on how their recently released program compared to others in the market (such as that one named after the famous tablet). It didn’t take long for them to recognize (some sort of) potential in me and I was hired as a trainer and instructional designer for their company. I got to design. develop, deliver training around the world. An amazing experience. Coming from a poor family in Brazil, I never thought I’d see Hawaii or climb the Great Wall of China, which I only saw on my 14-inch screen TV growing up.

Then came the ASTD conference in Atlanta in the summer of 2007. Karla Brandau, Steve’s wife, couldn’t attend the last day. I borrowed her badge then (not sure it was against the rules). In any case, I only had time to attend one last session that day: Charles Beckham, Karie Willyerd, and Kelly Palmer from Sun Microsystems (which I had heard of because of Java but didn’t know how big it was, coming from Brazil). Their session was titled “The Power of The People: Learning Revolution 2.0“, and in it, they described the paradigm shift social media and collective intelligence brought to the Web in the mid-2000s.

If you don’t believe in God, you have to at least admit that something special, a miracle, happened that day as the four of us met. I think God had a purpose for that day. I’m thankful for having met these human beings.

I came to the event with no intentions (sorry guys: not knowing who you were then – having come late, as a typical Brazilian, to the session, I missed the intro), enjoyed seeing them talk about my passion (social media – Charles was demoing Ning then)… I’ll never forget coming up to them and telling them about a lot of other websites I came to use throughout the years and how useful they could be for learning…

Then, a couple of weeks later, I came across a blog post by Charles… I was flattered by the title and its contents: “A Brazilian’s Take on Web 2.0“. I didn’t consider that Charles would remember me, let alone the list I gave him at the end of the session.

Then, months later, a call from Brandon Carson… he wanted me to fly into Denver, CO for an interview. That was around January of 2008 or so. MONTHS later, Charles, Karie, and Kelly had remembered me and told Brandon, the hiring manager (who then became my mentor) to interview me.

The story goes on. But to summarize it, in a few words: I feel so blessed to have met you all, worked with you over these years, having been giving a chance to further my career. You inspire me to give back to the Learning community and to the world in ways that I’ve been embraced by you.

… you gave me a chance to have the BEST JOB I’ve ever had…


Karie Willyerd Charles Beckham Kelly Palmer Brandon Carson


Happy Thanksgiving!


Edutaining Airline Safety Videos

Dying on a plane crash is one of my nightmares. I am afraid of flying on commercial aircrafts, it’s tense. So, why not catch my attention in that sweaty-palm moment with a fun little video about air travel safety? I’m already tense enough to be bored by the traditional video segments.

Here’s to the airlines that like to break tradition and provide more engaging educational videos to their passengers:





An Unofficial Look into Steve Jobs’ Life and Career

The All About Steve Jobs website is an unofficial yet comprehensive source of information about Steve’s lifestyle, career, key people in his life, genius on stage, and genius at work.

The neatly-curated and well-presented information on this website includes interviews with colleagues, family, employees, and the man himself. Here you can have a glimpse at the way he worked with people on a daily basis, how he led Apple to mainstream success with his vision and “gut feeling” for good design, how he alone (and hist good taste for what simply works) was the consumer-testing department for every new product  at Apple.

A timeline shows Steve’s accomplishments at a glance.

An interesting fact about this website is that it has been built by a true fan over the years, not as a homage after Steve’s passing.

Image source: All About Steve

Steve Jobs Has Passed Away

A visionary, as many say. May sound clichè, but he (and the team he led) have truly revolutionized the world of technology. Under Steve’s command Apple brought UNIX-based laptop and desktop machines to a wider audience with the Mac with a longer life cycle than any more popular Windows-based systems then. Steve made  listening to music while wearing earbuds cool with the iPod line, and changed the world of mobile telephony with the simply yet powerful iPhone. He  (literally)  pushed the envelope for power in a small package with the MacBook Air, and (despite the initial controversy in the media) created a new standard in tablet computers with the iPad laying out the path for others to follow.
A few things I will remember about Jobs for:

  • The precursor of the Personal Computer era,
  • User-centered design and engineering working together into one product. Products that needed no manuals: play with them as soon as you get them out of the box. Remember the first iMacs? Seeing my daughter play with an iPhone since she was less than 2 years old is a testimony to Steve’s genius in proving complex experiences packaged in simplicity.
  • Technology not for technology’s sake, but having solutions and people in their center,
  • Awe-inspiring presentations that were just as simple as the products he envisioned. Using metaphors, clean imagery, and a soft-spoken tone.

Being in the field of Education myself, I have to say that Apple has long had a foot in Education providing excellent resources, professional development on how to use their products in and outside the classroom, and even offering products exclusively targeting the Education market. But it’s due to Jobs’ vision that creative professionals, educators, students are able to access, create, and share knowledge in ways we could only imagine a few years ago, being it on iOS devices’ innovative gesture-oriented interface, or sleek MacBook on the go.

Steve played a big role in Apple’s ascension. The world of technology in general owes a lot to his vision and leadership.

Even though he has passed away, his legacy is here to stay. He will be missed.


Here is what the Apple website looked like on  this sad day.


Some countries translated the message above.
Here are some examples.






Museum of Me – a Visualization of Your (online) Social Life

Intel’s Museum of Me is a must-see exhibition of a famous online personality: you.
It pull videos, photos, “likes”, friends, and other information about you on Facebook (with tour permission) and organizes a (fake, you didn’t think they’d really open a museum with photos of you, right?) exhibit featuring your data. Pretty interesting visualization… Will they also include Twitter and others soon?




Sharing a Goal

My wife is approaching 30 (tomorrow). I’m almost there too.
I wonder about accomplishments. Things a 30-year-old should achieve, should have achieved by this age. I can think of many examples of famous “accomplishers” who did great things by this age. Einstein, anyone?
I feel the quarter-life (well, a bit over 1/4) crisis hitting me.

I like sharing knowledge with people, enabling them to share knowledge, build knowledge. I want to achieve something around this goal.
What? I’ll need thirty more years to think about it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said ” “Our best thoughts come from others.”
Knowledge not shared are ideas not born. So, I want to help by sharing and enabling others to do so.

Or I could start with this blog itself. Sharing more, organizing my posts in neater categories with better visualization? As soon as I have time…

Ideas welcome. ;)

The Web as a Channel for Bad Attitude

Bad attitude is an euphemism compared to the hatred we’ve seen trending on the Web. Has anyone conducted a comprehensive study on this yet?

To mention a couple of examples below, I’ll use news/comments from two tech blogs I follow on Facebook.

Mashable posted this article calling people to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Japan using social media. On their Facebook page you could already see that, no matter what the intentions, the cynical ones will always show up with offensive or unfounded comments.:

A user comments: “Looks like Mashable is “leveraging” the tornados to help its blog.” And he adds later in reply to another user: “I hate to be cynical but you do understand that the reason they do that is to show up on google searches and to gain traffic, right?”

The Mashable writer replies: “(…) I posted this hoping to get some help for these people. Sorry if the more cynical people think otherwise.”

My short response to this (not get on a rant) is something like this: “Cynicism is a problem in social media. People seem to hide behind anonymity or a sense of disconnect the Web affords them to be down right rude and limitless in what they say to offend others… The sad part is that in ‘real life’ (face to face) they might the ones preaching tolerance…”

A similar example happened in the week of the Royal Wedding in Britain. TechCrunch posted a question on their Facebook page: “Did you watch the Royal Wedding online? Yes/No/Didn’t care.

A user responds: “No, why would I? Didn’t we fight a war once so we wouldn’t have to put up with people like that…?”

Here’s another response: “I can’t believe you asked that. I was so impressed that you were among the few who hadn’t brought the s* up.”

Someone with some common sense in them replies: “I LOVE how enough people didn’t care, cared enough to post “didn’t care” … Hypocrites!!!!”

Again, my simple response: “Not that I care much about the royal wedding, but it is an event that millions have probably watched online. TechCrunch cover Web technology, right? So, I don’t understand the rude comments to ‘why TechCrunch is wasting your time with such question.’ The sense of disconnect thanks people see on the Web (anonymity being part of it) turns them easily into rude “haters” that will say things to people they workday otherwise say if face-to-face with them. The Web can be a place for sad behavior sometimes… :(”

These are just a few “light” examples of the types of discussions and bad attitude we see everyday on the Web. But I’d really like to understand why people behave like this online.

Have you experienced/seen this type of behavior online? What’s the anthropological explanation for this?


Funny Amazon Product Reviews – Learn From Them

It is true, with the World Wide Web invading everyone’s homes and pockets with handheld devices everyone has a chance to be a comedian these days. Posts like this listing funny Amazon product reviews are popular these days. This post from Geekosystem collects even more creative reviews; 50 of them, to be more exact!

There’s always something we can learn from these funny, sarcastic, witty product reviews. Perhaps the most important one is that fun(ny) is something people enjoy. Oftentimes we tend to view learners as beings that need instruction in the most formal ways to ensure they learn what we want them to learn /period/. And I’m talking about formalities here, not a formal v.s informal learning discussion, please).  But we are all learners who enjoy a good laugh… and why thake that away from the learning process?

Now, we can also learn a lot about creative writing when reading product reviews on Amazon. One of my favorites is the sarcasm-filled The Lost Symbol review by  a user Valannin “Pantheon Outcast” which might be more creatively written than the reviewed book itself. Yes, he or she did leave a hidden message in the review à la Dan Brown.

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