On Big Gifts in Small Packages

I struggled a bit for a title for this post, and I’m still not sure I got it right (but I’m thinking there might not be a “right” title for this one).

Anyway . . . .  Despite my best efforts to “catch up” on Columbus Day, this week has still been so busy thus far that my notes for new blog posts sit neglected on a corner of my desk, where they will likely remain for the rest of this week.  Also, I’ve been thinking that it has been too long since I’ve written about a truly important, inspirational, non-law/risk management/business related, topic.  So, I figured if (a) I will only be writing once this week, and (b) I want to inspire you . . . well, it had better be good.

When it comes to inspiration, I suppose it may be in the eye of the beholder, but whatever does it for you, it would be darn near impossible not to find it here, at TED.  On TED, you will find an amazing array of free video presentations of talks about . . . well, you name it.  I’ve found many that were, for me, big gifts of inspiration in small packages of time.  I’ve also found that if I take a few extra minutes to review the comments posted about a talk they sometimes add an entirely different dimension to the topic (no matter how I feel about the video talk itself), and they (the comments) reveal the nuances of humanity in a sometimes uplifting, sometimes dismaying, usually fascinating, way. 

For today, I would like to encourage you to find the time, no matter how busy you are, to watch this three-minute video of Stacey Kramer’s talk, The Best Gift I Ever Survived.   Then join me in saying, simply, “Wow”.


Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment  



I had intended to begin a series of posts today about “green” entrepreneurial pursuits, risks and risk management.  Then I read yesterday’s American Express OPEN Forum article, How Resource Constraints Can Set You Free.  Wow.  I just had to share it.

I encourage you to read the entire article yourself, as it is inspiring, uplifting, and restores one’s hope for humanity. 

Here are the nuggets of wisdom I found in the article. 

1.  The article begins by describing how Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian United Nations worker, found a solution to the food storage problem in his local area by resurrecting an ancient “technology” (clay pots), modifying their design to increase their utility, and providing work to local potters to “mass” produce the resulting effective clay “coolers”.  Nothing fancy, but extraordinarily effective.  Mohammed Bah Abba came up with this solution by starting where he was, using what he had, and improving both.  

2.  The article also relates the story of advertising executive Trevor Field who, having observed a serious water delivery problem while on a fishing expedition to the east coast of South Africa, did something to solve it.  He had observed a group of women who had waited for two days at a windmill driven water pump for the wind to start blowing.  Later, at an agricultural fair in Johannesburg, he met Ronnie Stuiver, a South African borehole driller who had noticed children’s fascination with his rig and, realizing that they had no playgrounds, had created a small-scale model with a merry-go-round fitting operated by the “power” of children at play.  Mr. Field and Mr. Stuiver collaborated together to found PlayPumps International and donate such water deliver systems to communities and schools in rural Africa.  Such a simple thing, with such powerfully transformational potential, which may never have come to be had not both men (a) cared and (b) had the vision to do something about the real problems they had observed.

In a nutshell, not only do these stories illustrate the best aspects of successful entrepreneurship, they also show the power of a social conscience as well.  Which, come to think of it, is what so much of the new “green” economy is about.  So, I suppose I’ve started my intended series of posts after all.  

Again, I encourage you to read this article.  Once you have, please leave a comment and let us know the nuggets of wisdom you found there.

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Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 11:07 am  Comments (1)  
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