I was so enamored with the Startup journey of David, Davide & Nadeem @ BioBeats – I played this video of their story @ Health 2.0 India last month.  Twice!

They are on a mission to prove that your heart has the power to change everything.  And, I think they are #OnMission.

Their story proves that innovation is largely driven by people who have the confidence to believe in crazy ideas.



What a remarkable moment for Aung San Suu Kyi.   She finally gave her long overdue Noble Lecture in Oslo yesterday.  21 years after being awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

When the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her the prize in 1991, she said  “it did not seem quite real, because in a sense I did not feel myself to be quite real at that time.  The Nobel Peace Prize opened up a door in my heart.”

Suu Kyi’s lecture will probably be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Nobel Prize history.   It’s worth watching on the Nobel Prize website.   She weaves her talk with a great deal of humility.  Her words are from the heart and touching.

When I joined the democracy movement in Burma it never occurred to me that I might ever be the recipient of any prize or honor. 

The prize we were working for was a free, secure and just society where our people might be able to realize their full potential.  The honor lay in our endeavor.

History had given us the opportunity to give of our best for a cause in which we believed. 

When the Nobel Committee chose to honor me, the road I had chosen of my own free will became a less lonely path to follow.”

On this Father’s Day, as we men take a moment to think about our own significance and meaning, Suu Kyi is the perfect reminder of how we need to give our best with the opportunity we have now.

It also gives the world a moment to reflect on human rights and our own role in making sure every human has an opportunity to live with dignity and freedom.

For some reason, today, I thought about Conan O’Brien’s last few moments on the Tonight Show.

To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. 

All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. 

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.  But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

When Conan was facing the greatest crisis of his professional career, he chose not to be cynical.  A great example for the rest of us.

Marina Keegan graduated from Yale University last week.  5 days later, on Saturday, she died in a car accident.  Marina was 22 years old.   An incredible soul.  Gone too soon.

A gifted writer and a young woman of incredible intelligence, humor and hope – Marina was asked to write an essay that was included in the special edition of the Yale Daily News distributed at the 2012 graduation ceremonies last week.

Marina’s essay inspired the class of 2012 and their families.  Now, because of the news of her tragedy, it inspires the rest of us.

Some excerpts:

“This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in.  This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness.

This feeling I feel right now.

We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

I don’t know why I’m so deeply impacted by a stranger’s death.

I read about her, then stare at this picture and I see confidence, serenity, humility and authenticity.  A rare kind of grace that has a sense of purpose and drive.

Perhaps, because of my own journey the last few months, I’m a little more sensitive to stories that cause us to pause and reflect on our own mortality.

In those moments, what I wanted most was not healing from a disease, but to know that I would not be forgotten.

In this case, Marina has reminded me of how I want to live life with people that are relentless about defining ‘the opposite of loneliness’ in their own unique way.

It’s a pause, a reflection worth acting on.  To make a difference.  To be the difference.

Marina’s full essay is here.   Read it.  It will inspire you to live.  Now.  To know you will not be forgotten – which I think, quite possibly, is the opposite of loneliness.

(HT: @SI_PeterKing for the story on Marina)

This list from Austin Kleon’s new book is really speaking to me right now.

Steal Like An Artist is a breath of fresh air.  Austin says that all creative work builds on what came before us.  Boy, that sure takes some pressure off!

Austin encourages us to embrace the influence of our heroes and he makes a subtle, but strong point – you don’t want to look like your heroes; you want to see like them.

If we really pay close attention to our heroes and mentors, we’ll realize that becoming legendary means we shouldn’t make excuses along the journey.  We just work.  Hard.

I love Austin’s list of essentials for the journey:

1.  Curiosity

2.  Kindness

3.  Stamina

4.  A Willingness to Look Stupid

I know a little bit more than others about that last one (looking stupid).  It’s a natural gift I have and use quite often!

Sometimes sharing the good and bad of our experiences seems a bit foolish.

It’s okay though.

Because if your work is good, it makes being human less stressful and life more fun!   More Real.  To me, that sounds like a kind of  life worth living.

Be Wrong, Make History

July 24, 2011

The gap between what can be imagined and what can be accomplished has never been smaller.  The brilliant Seth Godin knows bridging this gap requires a different sort of hard work‘the guts to be wrong, a confrontation with the risk of being stupid‘.

Not easy to do.  But don’t tell that to my friends at the WHO who worked on the Meningitis Vaccine Project.   All they did was make history.

For over a century, Meningitis A has quietly been destroying the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.   The disease is one of the most feared and it’s epidemics have struck more frequently over the last three decades.  Not only does the disease kill one in ten people who are affected, it also leaves a quarter of the survivors with lives that are severely debilitated.  It’s a disease that lingers long after it’s gone.

On December 6, 2010 the disease met it’s match in the form of a vaccine, MenAfriVac™.   Over 19.5 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger started receiving the vaccine.  More than six months later, the Meningitis Vaccine Project reports the lowest number of confirmed Meningitis A cases ever recorded during an epidemic season.

The Meningitis Vaccine Project solved this problem through a unique partnership between PATH, the World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  One of the greatest hurdles the project needed to overcome was cost.   The Serum Institute of India stepped up to the challenge and developed the vaccine at less than one-tenth the cost of a typical new vaccine.

This is the first time in history that a vaccine has bee specifically designed for Africa.  The first vaccine ever introduced in Africa before reaching other continents.  And the first time mothers will not have to live in fear of meningitis epidemic taking away their children and destroying lives.

Sometimes you’ll be laughed at on your way to making history.

Sometimes you see something for the first time and instantly recognize it’s a game changer.

Craig Van Korlaar showed me the new ePub from Push Pop Press called Our Choice.

I was blown away.   It has me thinking.  A lot.

This doesn’t just change the game for publishing, but now, for the first time, I really want an iPad.  I hope content producers in healthcare and education will embrace this form of knowledge distribution.

Mike Matas and his team just raised the bar on how to tell a story.  Check out Mike’s presentation @ TED.