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ICE Conference Lecture


Mitch Thrower, serial entrepreneur, author, triathlete, lectures at the Industry Career Educators summit about the real secrets of entrepreneurship involving the technology and information of today, and how the teachers can apply these principles
to the classroom.


Mitch Thrower: I had a chance to cover—as a reporter—this crew, this fire crew when they were fighting the fires. It was an unbelievably challenging experience to watch houses in front of you burn down. I can only imagine being a student in high school or younger going through that. So, good luck, you guys.

Now, I’d like to ask everyone to close his or her eyes for a moment. I wrote this yesterday and I’m going to read it because as an educator—and I do teach at the University of San Diego—as an educator, I can shackle or free the imaginations and inspiration. I can inspire and educate or I can bore and frustrate students of any age.

I have chosen to be a teacher and I know that every day, my words and actions or silence and inaction can change lives. I truly am responsible for the future.

I love this guy. This little guy was in his first triathlon. During the dive into the pool, his goggles fell off. And yet, he completed the next 10 laps propping the goggles between his nose and his mouth for security to hold those goggles tightly. He finished the swim, the bike and the run.

Where will the experiences of the students in your classrooms lead them?

Actually, to the far left of this photo, my head’s down in water. You can kind of see it. This is 2,000 people starting an Iron Man Triathlon in Canada. It’s quite an experience.

You get punched. You get kicked. Your goggles fall off like our fellow up in the previous slide.

I’ll talk a bit more about that in a little while and tell you why I’m involved in this sport.

Have you ever made a wish upon a star? Have you ever looked up and said, what’s that, what’s that bright light in the sky? Is it a planet? Oh, it’s moving. Maybe it’s a plane, satellite. And then, maybe you say, let’s take a closer look.

Well, there are people in this world, there are people who said let’s go land something there and send back pictures. You may remember this picture - one of the most inspirational photos that came back from the moon where we look back at this planet that we’re on.

Well, more recently, a picture was sent back of an eclipse from Saturn. The Cassini Spacecraft took this photo. One of the interesting things about it is you can see the earth in the rings just to the left of the eclipse.

What this is—it’s perspective. It’s a perspective that I think is lacking.

I coined a term getting ready for this presentation because you are educators and you are entrepreneurs. So, I want to talk to you about the entrepreneurial process. That’s a mouthful.

Everything around you in this room was once a neuron. Everything you see, everything that’s touching your body, everything that that you can actually feel and have experience right now is a neuron in someone’s brain. That means you have a lot of responsibility, because the neurons that create the world of tomorrow are in your students’ minds today.

So, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, being in the business world, I was a philosophy major in college, and then, became a business person, then entrepreneur to avoid law school, which is the real reason I started the business. I think that you are a super computer programmer. If I had to give you a job role definition as an entrepreneur, I would say that you are all super computer programmers. The human mind has infinitely more connections than the super computer.

These are the super computers interacting with each other because three of six billion of the people that you are teaching will be connected by their mobile phones by the end of 2008.

I teach my students at the university level that they should study their cell phone as a leading indicator for their lives. Think about your cell phone. Think about those long drives that you’re on and when you scroll down to talk to the people you want to talk to.

I always like it when someone calls me from a drive and they say, hey, how are you? Hey, great. I’m driving to Los Angeles. I’ll say, well, exactly how far or close to Los Angeles are you because you can kind of know how high on the priority scale you are if they’re almost there.

One of the questions that I think is in your minds is what can you do to prepare your students for the future and for the business environment that people are experiencing today. And the environment is changing.

So, by the time--and one of the things I like today is by the time I finish this sentence, what I could tell you we are looking for will change. The most important thing you can prepare your students for is change.

That’s a really difficult thing because remember, when your students were born. Today’s high school students, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors were born in what year? Anyone? ’93, 1993.

The Beloit College keeps something called a mindset list, which is a world view of today’s teenagers. Has anyone seen this? Okay - the Beloit College Mindset List.

What Berlin Wall? They’ve never rolled down the car window. Nelson Mandela has always been free in a forest in South Africa. Al Gore has always been running for President. Thanks to My Space and Face Book, autobiography is happening in real time.

MTV has never featured a music video. They’re always texting one another with a new sub-language in students’ culture.

Another one is the World Wide Web has always been an online tool. They are wireless, yet always connected. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing. That gets back to my earlier statement.

If I was to tell you exactly what I was looking for in today’s college students graduating, coming into business and what you could start to prepare them with, it would change instantly.

Google has always been a verb. Reality shows have always been on television. They have rarely mailed anything involving a stamp. They don’t remember when cut and paste involved scissors. And this wonderful word, whatever, is not part of a question, but an expression rebuke--like so.

We need to understand what’s important now. You as educators need to understand what is important now.

Something that I ask the people that work in the organizations I’m involved with is to stay in the know, stay with it.

I remember when I went to swim practice and I realized that the lexicon was changing perhaps faster than I could keep up with it. I walked in and I said, hey, can you guys put this magazine in the bathroom so that people who are here at the swimming pool can read it? And it was a copy of Travel Magazine.

The woman behind, who was obviously in high school, said, oh, this is Travel Magazine, tight.

I don’t just mean linguistically. I mean technologically.

Something lasts a second now and new technology changes everything.

I have a couple of things just to amplify that effect for some new technology. One of the things I want to show you today is actually kind of interesting. It’s called We Feel Fine.

A computer programmer and a graphic specialist created this. These are all of the emotions going on the World Wide Web right now. The little bubbles represent emotions.

They are tracking when someone says I feel, we feel, and then, how they feel. So, these bubbles are what--how people are feeling in today’s society and in this world that we’re in.

You can run your mouse over a bubble, touch one and it’ll say--it’ll give you the emotion. Let’s see if this--I am--because they were all--and I feel bad for not talking to them, two hours ago. Some of this stuff can get a little racy.

I still cannot put into words the way she makes me feel when I look at her. If you want to find out how the world is feeling right now, you can actually isolate--you can say, I’m going to look for people who are feeling abandoned in a country at a certain age during certain weather.

The effect that I want to share with you is that technology is changing so fast in terms of how you can look into the minds of the people that you are in front of every day that you need to make an effort every day to stay up with it, to learn the new things.

Now, I want to share with you something called Photo Send, another area of technology. What they did was they took a photograph, and then, they took all the photographs from around the world that people are putting up on the sites - Shutterfly, Kodak Photos.

Then, they said, let’s create a global image which will identify everything that’s happening. So, they--these are all user photos that were taken that represent a certain plaza. They put them all together. Automatically, the computer programming recognizes where you are and will identify where you are and what you’re doing. This is the plaza. All these photos were submitted by users.

So, the good news is that new technology is a lot more than My Space. New technology will change the way we interact with each other, not just from posting a comment on someone’s page, from some very dangerous things about the social networking sites that I’d like you all to be aware of and we’ll talk about in a little while.

So, being able to listen? I’m very appreciative of the silence in this room. But, how do we get the people that you are lecturing to listen?

This is a bold statement. It’s a challenging statement. It’s probably not the one you were looking for. But, to get people to listen, you actually have to say something.

You have to be passionate about what you’re communicating. You have to say something that’s meaningful in their lives and something that’s meaningful to you. That’s not always possible.

The power of education--I joined the debating team in college because I fractured both of my knees. Unfortunately, I went in as an athlete and I turned into a complete nerd overnight because I fractured both of my knees, spent most of my time in the library, got to know the library’s vacuum cleaner very well, the schedule when the vacuum cleaner came in.

I joined the debating team. I actually debated once and won in a tournament in Boston that teachers should be the highest paid individuals in the world. Do you agree?

The reason is you are a brain surgeon. You are in control of the lives of the future and perhaps in a more meaningful way than holding a scalpel.

Why do you get concerned? Because you get involved.

I actually sat down with a high school educator last night to do some of the presentation and she said that one of the things that she was frustrated with was when she saw something that she couldn’t change, when she saw something that she couldn’t fix, when she saw a situation that she was not able to stop. It’s like looking at a train wreck and it’s going to happen and you can’t stop it.

Well, imagine that you’re a brain surgeon and remember we can’t save everyone. There was a line a movie called The Day After Tomorrow, I believe it was called, or what was the one where the environment was changing and New York was getting frozen - save every--save as many as you can.

Statistically, it’s a fact that at least one of your students will dramatically change the world. If so facto, you have a role in that change. Sometimes, all you can do is nudge. But, a nudge is sometimes all it takes.

Make sure they know about the comma and the dash. So, something for me to pass along to you to pass along to them is something about the comma and the dash.

Every day, you are developing you comma. You are enhancing it. You are destroying it. What’s your comma? My comma was a little bit long today, my intro was a little long. I apologize for that.

Your comma is what you are. You are John Stevens, high school freshman, Ramona High School. You are a football player, a person who is working on whatever you’re working on in life. Your comma is everything that follows you around for the rest of your life.

But, guess what? You and your students are in control of that comma, who they become, how other people see them. So, understand that a person has to define who they become.

Now, let’s talk about the dash. And this is scary. The dash is that wonderful little thing--if you were born in 1993, as high school students were and let’s say you live for 100 years. That means they’re going to die in the year 2093.

The important thing to realize is that you are in the dash. You are in between your birth and your death. That’s the only time when you can change your comma and who you are and what you become in life.

If you want students to understand that, have them write down on a piece of paper, assuming they’ll live to 100 because most high school students assume they’ll live forever, but then have them write a percentage sign after their age. Then, write the word finished after the percentage sign.

You are 17 years old. You are 17 percent of the way finished with your life. It’s a very interesting perspective. And it’s a hard one to communicate to students.

Many students realize it when they experience loss for the first time. That’s when I realized it was when, unfortunately, my sister passed away at 16 when I was 14 and changed my life forever. It catapulted me into the sudden realization that it is a very short--life is a shooting star. We should burn bright.

So, what are some specific recommendations I can pontificate--I think about as a philosophy major, as I mentioned before, but what can you do?

Well, when your computer has too many programs running and it crashes, what do you do? You reboot it, right? For the people who have Macintosh’s, they’re like, ah, I don’t have to do that.

The people who have Windows computers are like, ah, reboot, power reboot. If you could have a Mac, it could be Works, right?

So, looking at your students, how many programs do they have running when they come into your classrooms and how can you reboot them? I’m going to recommend something a little dramatic and maybe you don’t employ this one, but try and look for something else that can let your students reboot.

Do you want to take a five minute break and tell all the students to turn their cell phones on to send and receive texts? Do you want to take a break three times or four times during your lecture?

Something I experienced of work in the entrepreneurial process is that people have an individual variance, really the bandwidth at which they can process ideas and they can produce results. You experience that in classrooms, I’m sure.

You have to understand some of the bandwidth and adjust to it and adjust to it on the fly and adjust to it in front of many people. It’s a challenging role that you guys have.

I like to think that the real ATM in life is your attention time machine and that’s what you’re paying attention to. Why you get bored is because my motor skills to communicate to you, even if I’m talking incredibly fast, is far too slow for your mental capacity.

The human brain can process so much information. So, what happens in the classroom is they think, they’re reading, they’re looking at your lecture. But, they’re going to say, you know what? This is boring because I can do more than this. So, I’m just to going on back and take care of a few things, the back of my mind.

If someone walked in that door right now and had a clipboard and they walked in and they walked down here and they asked you, sir, to stand up. You don’t have to. And they said, I need to take that chair. There’s something wrong with it.

Then they walked out. They took the chair. They put the chair in their truck and drive away, had a clipboard, maybe the little wireless thing, no one would stop them because of implied authority.

I had a crazy uncle who actually taught me this the hard way. We used to go out to a restaurant and he’d say, watch this. And he’d get up and walk out with a chair. It was so embarrassing. It was really an embarrassing moment.

But, it’s a good point. The point is that an implied authority, the fact that you are in front of people, you are the implied authority in the classroom, then in the lives of the students that you’re teaching.

This is an important thing for you as a teacher. To teach, you must marshal a lot of energy. You must have a lot of energy.

So, I’m going to challenge you--if you have someone in your life that drains you or someone that you know that drains you, raise your hand.

They’re probably in your cell phone. You want to delete them from the cell phone. But, you can’t because then, when they call, you won’t know that they’re calling, right?

Protect your energy. I’ll tell you four stories from a book I wrote called the Attention Deficit Workplace. The theory--it’s not really about attention deficit disorder. It’s more about how our world is coming at us so fast, things are happening so quickly that we lose our focus.

The workplace has and I believe the educational system has the symptoms of attention deficit disorder. What are the things you could do?

I would recommend to have a very short chapter, series, they call them parallels, and then, there’s a lesson. The first one is the attention law of 100. I think that you should only know 100 people. When you know 101, you should delete somebody.

It sounds harsh. But, think about it. If you have 100 people, it will take you 100 days to call them and find out how they are.

Whack the right moles - you know that amusement park game where you have the whack the moles and you’re like whack, whack, whack, whack and they’re coming up? Well, what we don’t learn in life is that we should whack the right moles.

Think about your email in the morning - respond, respond, respond, respond. We need to teach folks that they don’t just need to do everything. They need to do what’s important.

I think it’s important that all of your students will experience a mistake in this area that’s best represented in a sentence that you should tag to every email on the front page of the Wall Street Journal because it will get forwarded to someone, it will get forwarded, it will ultimately end up back with the person that somebody else is dating. Just the way the world works.

And Thank God it’s Friday - in my entrepreneurial career, I’ve used the power of the day. The power of the day is Friday. That day has been very important for me.

Every venture capitalist that I’ve requested investment into our business, I’ve asked for that investment on Friday. The people I interact with that are incredibly important that I’m actually trying to achieve something with, it’s been on a Friday.

The last thing that I will do is call someone on a Monday. People won’t hear from me on Monday. It was really sad when I put this in my book. Every time I’d call someone on a Friday, they’re like, I read your book, I know why you’re calling me on Friday.

But, what can you do with the energy that goes up and down during the week while you’re educating people.

Really important question - who is your number 28? Who is the number 28 in each of your students’ lives? There was a game called Chutes and Ladders. Do you remember this game, Chutes and Ladders?

If you landed on number 28, you got a ladder and you got to go all the way up to number 84. So, who is the person in your life that is your number 28?

On the flipside of that, who is the person in your life--?

Professor: --Eighty-seven--.

Mitch Thrower: --Eighty-seven? Is 87 the person you raised your hand about that drained your energy or is it just someone you interact with that will bring you down?

Education is a goldmine. But, sorry, guys, you’re not the--oh, excuse me--diamond mine. Education is a diamond mine or a goldmine or a titanium, whatever you want to say - a rare metal something that you find.

Guess what? If it’s a diamond mine, you’re not the diamonds. What you’re saying is not likely the diamonds that will forever impact someone’s life, although it may. But, the diamond is the other people that they’re interacting with throughout their educational career.

You may have them for a year. You may have them for two. They’re going through this experience with folks that they may spend four, five, six years with, maybe longer.

You need to teach them that the people they’re surrounding themselves with are incredibly important and will mean the success or failure of their lives, who you surround yourself with.

Never has there been a time in history with more opportunity to impact others and to change the world. I’d like to ask everyone to stand up for a second.

Now, grab whatever you have in your hand and whatever’s on your seats, not underneath your seat. I would like you to close your eyes and, without opening your eyes, change seats with someone next to you, without opening your eyes, without saying a word. Please, no speaking.

Once you have found another seat, you can sit down. I’m sure that a lot of students that you’re teaching are sitting in the exact same chair every day maybe for learning their name, maybe for other reasons, but they also see the exact same perspective throughout the school year. It’s important that you teach people how to change their perspective.

There’s something called hyperlink attention management. I would like you to think about the chair you were just sitting in. Now, think about the first thing you saw this morning. Remember the first person you kissed. Remember the fires.

Now, I’d like you to think about what you’re going to do tomorrow, what you’re going to do tonight, what you had for breakfast, when did you first decide that you wanted to be in the career you’re in.

What I’m doing now is I’m using my mouth as a mouse to clink links in your mind. One of the reasons the Internet is so successful is it inherently works like our minds where certain things link to a whole bunch of other things.

Your students work like the Internet. You are leading them through the hyperlinks that you are sharing with them every day. So, find and follow your links when you go through the day and don’t end up on a random page you don’t want to be on because you are contagious.

It’s a tough concept. But, you as a professor, teacher, educator are contagious.

I remember a high school teacher that meant a lot to me shared with me one concept that has changed my life. It was a new concept to me then. I’ve heard it a few times since then. But, they said be careful of you want because chances are, you’ll get it. That changed my life because I really thought about it. It came from someone that I respected and admired quite a bit. And it’s true.

Are you a trusted educator because you’re a broadcast medium? That’s a question you should ask yourself every day. Do people in your classrooms trust you?

Now, I’ll give you a brief very quick timeline for the companies that I’ve started and some of the lessons that I learned and some of the things that you can perhaps translate into the students that you’re working with.

The College Connection I started at St. Lawrence University in my dorm room. It was a postering company that very quickly failed, postering network where we wanted to put posters up on college campuses to help students get access to Dominoes Pizza, to the restaurant, etc.

In a very short period of time, six months, we had one client. It was a ticket merchant, which was a scalper. And his check bounced. Not a good concept.

Also, a new entrepreneur, so what we did is we changed the approach very quickly. That’s something you’ve heard before--that is to change your approach. We created a book called The Passport to give to students that are studying and traveling abroad.

We then sold advertising to AT&T, American Express and distributed it to educational institutions to help students understand what they needed to know when they went abroad - little things like how the yogurt dates are reversed.

When they distributed the book, we started selling euro passes. A very short time after that, we had $1.5 million in sales in our second six months of being in business.

Changing the approach from what was failing to what wouldn’t fail is something that they need to do. You can try something, you can fail, and then, move on.

I also got involved in a magazine called Tri-Athlete Magazine. This is something that taught me about my nightmare test. So, you need to teach your students about their own personal nightmare test.

My nightmare test was I was approached by the group that owned the magazine and they said, hey, we’d really, really like you to come and run this business for us - not the magazine, but the business of the little chips that go on the shoes, the transponders so when you’re running in a marathon, you put this little chip on everybody’s shoe, and then, you take it off. But, they didn’t pass my nightmare test.

The idea of driving around to races and bending down and taking chips off of people’s feet with these very dirty mats and then putting them in trucks and driving them back across country didn’t pass my nightmare test, nor does running and owning a restaurant. What is your nightmare test?

So, I asked them instead, you also own a magazine called Tri-Athlete. I’d like to get involved. It looks like it’s having some problems. It was a turnaround situation.

So, I did a leveraged buyout, which means I didn’t have the capital to start it. In fact, when I started my first company, didn’t have the capital to start it. Asked my dad if I could borrow $10,000 to start this company. He said get a job.

So, I went out and I got 16 credit cards, $60,000 in debt and started the company. I don’t recommend that. But, we were very lucky.

So, then, when we sold that company in 1997, I did a leveraged buyout of Tri-Athlete Magazine, which was where we didn’t have enough money to buy it, but I convinced them to let us as a group turn it around, and then, use the profits that we were making to buy equity.

That’s another important concept that students should know. I don’t know that all the employers out there want your students to know this. The most powerful word in the educational process is equity. The most powerful concept in terms of building worth from a career standpoint specifically as it relates to money is equity. It’s owning something.

Then, of course, there’s a company called Active.com. How many folks have ever seen Active.com, register for it? Active is the ticket master of participatory sports.

I had this great big vision. I was one of the cofounders of the company to create the ticket master of participatory sports and do registrations on the Internet versus by paper.

I can remember a letter I received in the mail saying, please, come back and participate in the Coronado Rough Water Swim, Mitch Rabithen, which is a really bad rendition of Mitch Thrower. But, the data entry that they were doing in these systems was not working.

So, my concept was not original because other people had actually done this. In 1994, the Chicago Marathon processed online registrations. Unfortunately, they only processed one registration. However, the concept had been around. It just hadn’t been adopted.

What I learned here was—nowhere else does “just do it” work better than in entrepreneurship. The reason is because if you know that you can, you probably won’t do it.

There are so many things that can and will go wrong in starting a company. So, prepare your students that even if they know something can go wrong, sometimes, they have to do it, anyway.

These are our customers on the top left. We actually are looking in Paris of the marathon runners of the --- and a non-bike race.

Here’s a concept for you - education is an endurance sport. I participate in this crazy thing called the Iron Man where you’re swimming 2.4 miles, you’re biking 112 miles, and then, running a marathon.

I’ve actually completed it and you learn a lot about yourself. You also learn that sometimes, you just have to keep going.

I think education is like that because after three or four lectures during the day at the University of San Diego and I’m trying to figure out, now, did I tell that story to this class or was that last semester? I’m tired and someone’s nodding off, you have to just keep going.

Ideas can change the world - paper based registration to registering by mouse click. So, if ideas can change the world, then how do you inspire your students to change the world for the better? It took me a little while to start a foundation.

I like to think that I’m an entrepreneur by necessity with the goal of nudging the world in the direction of world peace. Big goal, right?

My foundation, the La Jolla Foundation, actually has a project called Project Active where we send soccer balls, shoes, athletic equipment, build basketball courts in areas of world tension. More specifically, there are 27 areas on this planet that recognize armed conflict - 27 wars going on right now.

What I’ll do is I’ll send in shoes and soccer balls and in, you know, Haiti, if the neighborhood’s been cleaned out by a war experience, we’ll build a basketball court right next to it. The cost to build a basketball court, cement, hoop, everything, $260.

Why? One of the questions people ask me--and maybe start to think because we’ll have a short question and answer session--if you have a question for me, I’d love to answer it or try and answer it. Some people will ask me why.

I mentioned earlier that I lost my sister when she was 16. I think that was a catapult for me because in life, the human mind has a couple of things.

We don’t really know what we have until we’ve lost it and we always think that when we have something, we don’t really want it any more. For me, losing my sister, and then, later on, my father, who passed away at age 89, was something that really made me want to do and be and create and motivate and inspire as many people as I could.

It takes a lifetime to make an overnight success. Something you also need to teach your students is—it’s not instant and now.

I’d like to ask you guys a question. I would like you to name a few super powers. Let’s start with flying.

If you have a super power, raise your hand. Yeah?

Professor: Silver Surfer.

Mitch Thrower: Silver Surfing--as loud as you can.

Professor: Silver Surfer.

Mitch Thrower: Silver Surfer. Super power, I believe, like an actual power. What can he do?

Professor: He surfs on a surfboard across the universe.

Mitch Thrower: Surfs on a surfboard across the universe. Okay. In the back.

Professor: X-ray vision.

Mitch Thrower: X-ray vision. A couple more?

Professor: Invisible.

Mitch Thrower: Invisible. We want to know what you’re up to. What else?

Professor: Mind reading.

Mitch Thrower: Mind reading, telepathy. Two more.

Professor: Faster than a speeding bullet.

Mitch Thrower: Faster than a speeding bullet, fast speed.

Professor: Unlimited reach.

Mitch Thrower: Unlimited reach like in The Incredibles, the woman who could stretch her arm out.

Professor: Sure.

Mitch Thrower: One more.

Professor: Instant transportation.

Mitch Thrower: Instant transportation.

Professor: Know the future.

Mitch Thrower: Know the future.

Up here, I talked to you about the fact that it takes a lifetime to create an overnight success. There’s another conflict in here that is very important and that is students, people. We all—as a part of our human culture perhaps want some gratification.

If you would like x-ray vision, guess what? We wanted x-ray vision as a human culture, and we built it. We wanted to fly, so we created an airplane. We wanted to read minds, so we studied psychology.

It’s an incredible world because all the super powers exist today, just in a smaller form.

So, teach your students that. They want to fly, they can get on an airplane or they can create something. Okay.

What are you using to help you as a teacher, what software, what were your mentors, etc., because you may teach other people to make their lives easier, but you need to think about how you can make your life easier.

You know the high school donkey? That donkey had a really bad day.

The question is he’s not going to empower adjustment, but what he is doing, he’s feeling a little overwhelmed, I would think. You may feel like that during the day. Trust me, even though your students don’t have anywhere near what you think or what they think is on their cart, that’s how they feel.

So, you need to understand and be able to acknowledge and treat people who are feeling overwhelmed.

Okay, let’s do a quick time check, and then, I have some bonus material and some questions and answers. How much time do we have?

Professor: You have plenty. You have 15 minutes.

Mitch Thrower: Fifteen minutes. Okay.

So, let’s hit the bonus material.

There’s a new world out there. There’s a new world that your students are interacting in and it’s a world where fiction and fact blur. So, what’s happening?

From the cutting of the entrepreneurial process--you all may know Snoops.com. Snoops.com is somewhere where you can track if something is true or not. It’s an urban legend reference page.

There’s another site called Donotdatehimgirl.com, which is where people or women are actually tracking men that have cheated on them and writing stories about it. Men, you can write a response on that page, as well, I believe.

There was an article in the New York Times about it. It was unbelievable.

There’s My Space, which is a new world. There’s something called the new form of cross-triangulation. Let’s back up a little bit and look at the fact that My Space, Face Book, any of the other 93 social networking companies of note from Orkut to Yahoo--all the social networking pages have something called cross triangulation and that is in search of truth, people are creating fake people.

I don’t mean in the world of Second Life because Second Life is a computer program. It’s a computer game where you can actually go and become someone else on the computer. You can actually buy the real estate in Second Life.

I remember receiving a phone call from a friend and she said, “Hey, I just joined this great game and I went into this computer and I bought some shoes and some land.” I’m like, “Okay, well, you paid for them?” She’s said, yes.

I’m not talking about Second Life. I’m talking about second people.

Twenty percent of many social networking sites are fake. What happens is you will create a profile. You will interact with this person. Then, you will create a second profile, who is actually you and you will also interact with this person.

You will create a three dimensional view of the people you are interacting with. That’s happening a lot.

This is actually true. This is a true rumor, that there’s steel being used to create a boat, the steel from the World Trade Center. This is from Snoops.com where they dispel or affirm accusations that people are making when you get the forwards.

We all need to teach our parents not to forward things. I’ll actually tell you a really quick story about that.

I have a friend whose Grandmother, he actually taught her how to send an email, she got all excited, got the computer, sent the email.

She sat down on the computer and called her grandson and said, “I’m getting ready to send you an email now, right.” Called back and said, “Okay, I’m sending it now.” And 15 minutes later, she goes, “I just sent it, did you get it?”

The point was connection. The grandmother was trying to connect with the grandson in the way she knew how.

The Nigerian Scam - by virtue of our position as civil servants, the money in our names, I have declared or designated a matter of trust my colleagues overseas partner whose accountant will transfer the sum of $21 million and I agree to share this money with all who receive this.

The scary thing is Internet scams work. People don’t know.

Here’s one on My Space circulating now called the Macy’s Card. It’s a joke spammer. It’s a fake person that says there’s a $500 gift card from Macy’s. Respond. Just send us your email.

Here’s an interesting one. Does everyone know--does anyone know what pfishing is with a P, pfishing? Okay, great.

It’s scary that not everyone raised their hand. Pfishing is when you are sent an email like this one from Bank of America, which actually came to my email address, which is not from Bank of America.

It says, please click this verification link because we’ve had a security breech. They click the security link. They go to a fake Bank of America in Nigeria. They enter in their user name and password. It’s captured by the Nigerian group.

They then log into the real Bank of America account. Within 20 minutes, your account is cleared out. That’s called pfishing.

So, beware of fake profiles, forwards, hoax, fake instant messages. If you get an instant message from your students if you engage electronically with them, how do you know that it’s actually that student? Do you have a confirmation mechanism in place? How do you know that it’s not another student pretending to be another student?

Inserted people - this is a very, very scary concept. It’s a new concept in security. But, let’s just say again that you guys meet somewhere out. You guys are out and you meet, right, and you talk to each other.

Then, you guys meet Susanna. You get Susanna’s information and you get Roger’s information. You then become, both of them, by creating a fake email for each and receiving their emails and then sending back their emails.

In business, people are inserting themselves between relationships. It’s a very scary scam.

Also remember that digital is forever. If your hard drive crashes--I’ll give a quick commercial pitch for Advanced Data Solutions. These are the folks in San Diego that repair hard drives that have been blown up.

So, if your hard drive crashes, they can get the data back from it. I know of a divorce attorney in Austin, Texas whose client was a male who was cheating on his wife. She caught him on the computer.

He then took the hard drive out of the computer and threw it in the river in Austin, Texas. So, when the judge asked him, what did you do, he said, “I threw the hard drive in the river.”

The judge sent divers, got the hard drive, and he lost the case. That’s a true story.

We talked about We Feel Fine. This is You Tube. Does anyone know what the most popular video is on You Tube right now?

Professor: Dance.

Mitch Thrower: Yes, dance, this guy dancing. Sixty-two million people have watched this. Are you aware of popular culture? Have you watched all the top videos on You Tube or Veoh? Do you know what your students are watching?

So, now, what I’d like to do is maybe open the floor for a few minutes of questions and answers, and then, give you a gift.

While you’re thinking about questions, the gift for your students is--the first gift is for your students and that’s a super power and that super power is not just to write and write well, but to become a writer. The reason is, if I pick up the phone and I call Bob Iger, the President and CEO of Disney and say, Bob, I’d like to come say hello to you, he’s going to say no.

However, if I say, Bob, I’d like to interview you, I am a writer, I am a journalist, it will open any door.

So, if you can not just inspire your students to write and if they’re bad writers, inspire them to get a good editor, which is, I think, how I became a writer--but, if you’re a writer, you can go anywhere. It is a way to walk through walls. Let your students know that.

So, are there any questions? Then, I have a gift for you guys. Thoughts or questions? Yes.

Professor: I have a question.

Mitch Thrower: Does everyone know Susie working on the conference? Have a big hand for her.

Professor: Mitch, whether you’re an industry person here today or a teacher or an administrator, I mean, can you suggest to us like what do you think are the like top few strategies that we could have to get through that slump, you know? I mean, talking about being a writer - you know, sometimes, you just have those down times where you force yourself to write because you know you have to.

I think we all kind of get there sometimes. I was just wondering if you had any pearls of wisdom for us.

Mitch Thrower: I do. There’s really three things that I would recommend. I’ll talk about the slump in terms of maybe career--there’s a couple of slumps.

There’s the slump in the afternoon after you’ve had a turkey sandwich. So, there’s a slump in your career where you want to get something done and you want to teach or you want to learn more, but you’ve got to much to do and the piles of work and the things you have to grade or there--one is go digital if you can.

I know people that--professors at the university have done, don’t receive one piece of paper to grade, but actually use Microsoft Word to grade, are doing that. If you can, go digital.

Another one from a strategic standpoint is to go away. Does anyone know where Dodge is? Get out of Dodge, the expression - it’s actually a place. Anyone know where it is? I heard that it’s a city. Dodge City, Kansas. You know, it’s got to be a pretty bad place if there’s a word expression about get out of Dodge, right?

Well, when you get to a bad place, when you get to that Dodge, my encouraging words to you are to go away. I don’t mean that you have to fly to Hawaii or you have to fly to New York, but get away from whatever situation you are currently in, including the people you are currently interacting with because a new perspective comes from a new environment.

One of the things that happens in life is you need to surround yourself with new things. One of the reasons that people get bored is because they have the same thing over and over and over again.

So, my second recommendation is to get out of Dodge.

The third recommendation is to eat small meals throughout the day. That’s changed my energy level quite a bit. Don’t eat three big meals. Eat small meals throughout the day.

More questions? Yes.

Professor Robert: You talked a lot about trends. And one thing I noticed…

Mitch Thrower: Let’s get you a microphone.

Professor Robert: Okay.

Mitch Thrower: What’s your name, sir?

Professor Robert: My name’s Robert.

Mitch Thrower: Robert, where are you from?

Professor Robert: I teach in Bella Center.

Mitch Thrower: Wow.

Professor Robert: The north end of the county, high school students. I work a lot with computer technology with these guys here on the Internet a lot. And I’m familiar with most of what you talked about regarding trends.

One thing that appalls me, and I’m kind of looking for advice or your comments or reflections, is one issue, for instance, that I have to deal with in my field is copyright. And this current generation of kids don’t--not only do they not know what it is, they don’t understand the concept because of the freedom they have on the Internet.

So, you talk about the anonymity that they have on the Internet. This is a frightening thing to me because they don’t understand the implications of anonymity.

And this is why the quiet and polite little girl who finds herself instant messaging suddenly turns into a foul mouthed whatever on the Internet because she feels shrouded by this anonymity. I can say things that I could never say anywhere else, as well as, if you will, steal things, borrow things, copy things, whatever words you want to use because no one’s going to know.

Thus, this anonymity issue to me is a bit frightening, the implications of it. I don’t know how to approach this with students when I try to explain, for instance, you know, the actual property rights using layman’s terms.

They don’t get it, they really don’t because they’re growing up in a world or have grown up in a world where if you can do it, it’s okay.

Mitch Thrower: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s also true in business quite a bit and that is, let’s think about just music for a moment.

Students are downloading music for free. It’s--you know, this music was actually paid for by someone, but there’s a place offshore somewhere which is allowing you to download music for free.

From a commercial economic standpoint, it has implications. Let’s talk maybe about one specific thing you can do for your students maybe to help them understand that the anonymity that they believe they’re shrouded in really is not the case. I’ll tell you a story.

I was involved in a very heated instant message debate. We may have to edit this from the tape. I was involved in a very heated instant message debate between some folks at work.

Someone walked by. Now, I’m a technology entrepreneur. This person said, “How are you?” And I said, “Great.” I was angry.

He said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute.” You, I know--because this woman who was working with one of our entities was a hacker previously and had actually gotten in some trouble as a hacker.

So, I knew she was a part of this community. And I asked her, I said, “Hey, are instant message conversations tracked and archived?” And she said, “You know, let me check.”

The next day, she came down to my office and she said, “Well, they’re very secure. AOL keeps theirs here, MSN’s are here, this is how they archive them, this is where they, you know, structure them, this is why they’re always around. But, you know, you can’t get to them.”

As she was leaving the room, she said, “I have a friend in Rhode Island, let’s say. If you give me a screen name, in 24 hours, I can get you someone’s entire instant message conversation history.”

And I’m Joe San Diego sports entrepreneur that can access someone’s entire instant message history. So, the anonymity that they believe is there really isn’t.

That’s perhaps the greatest perspective you can give. Anyone know what a keystroke tracker is?

I have friends who actually had a keystroke tracker installed on their computer without them knowing it and everything they were typing was anonymously or they didn’t know about it, sent up to the Internet and then sent down to the person who installed the keystroke tracker, which was tracking every stroke on their keyboard.

So, anonymity really isn’t the case because--it’s a veil of anonymity. So, what you are doing--and also with the new privacy laws after 9/11 where our phone calls are being tapped and tracked and our correspondence, all electronic correspondence--there’s a couple of programs to look into - The Echelon Program, the Cardboard Program for the US government. You can teach your students about those.

Let them know that everything they’re doing is recorded. I don’t know much about my great grandfather. But, my great grandkids will probably see an archived addition of my My Space page.

Take them to the Way Back Machine and show them that everything that’s ever been up on the Internet is always going to be up on the Internet on the Way Back Machine, which is an archive of the Internet.

Anyone--one more question or if you feel compelled to--yes sir. What’s your name?

Professor Trayon: Trayon.

Mitch Thrower: Trayon, nice to meet you.

Professor Trayon: Just to follow up on the--on our conversation about the Internet, the Internet seems to me to be an almost sociopathic process in that there’s really no ethics. Everything is hidden behind the right to do it.

We have the right to do it. We have the right for free speech. It’s very difficult to articulate to students that there is some--there needs to be some kind of ethical behavior when it comes to the Internet.

All this anonymity, all of this stuff is all part of a lack of ethics for the Internet. And I’m not sure that we’re ever going to get there. What is your view on that?

Mitch Thrower: Has anyone here used, key word used Wikipedia? Raise your hand really high if you’ve used Wikipedia.

Has anyone here had students that have cited Wikipedia? Wikipedia has a Web site--actually, it’s not directly related to Wikipedia--called Wikipedia Wars. And that is this attempted self-correcting behavior between two people that are arguing about what the truth is on a subject matter.

You have this blur that I talked about earlier between fact and fiction. You have this capacity. But, I believe and my view is that people are people and that the Internet allows them to be amplified.

So, you as educators have to look past the core of who those people are and what their core is and how they understand the word integrity and what it means and what they need to do and change in their lives.

Realistically, if you look at the Internet as a volume dial for someone’s interaction with the world versus, you know, some magic tool, it really is--it brings back to what you guys are doing and that is educating. But, there’s no easy answer for that question.

Another question? Yes. What’s your name?

Professor Thomas: On the morals and everything--.

Mitch Thrower: --And your name?

Professor Thomas: Thomas.

Mitch Thrower: Thomas, where you from?

Professor Thomas: I teach at Shevro in Steel County High School.

Mitch Thrower: Okay.

Professor Thomas: And actually, I really hate the Internet conflict.

Mitch Thrower: You hate the conflict.

Professor Thomas: But, actually, looking around at a bunch of professionals and adults in here and I’d almost say that 10 of us, 10 percent are stealing every day, downloading songs, software, getting a song from your friend, getting a videogame or a movie from your friend. We’re all professional here.

And I can say it’s a low number in here. Ten percent of us are thieves because of what we’re doing on the Internet.

And our kids in a classroom, it’s higher than 50 percent are being raised stealing is nothing.

Mitch Thrower: Good question. Well, maybe it’s a statement rather than a question.

Professor Thomas: It’s just a statement.

Mitch Thrower: It’s just a statement, but it’s shocking. One of the things is--I’ve participated in a conference called the Forum 21, which is a private think tank that happens outside of Paris. This was a topic that we talked about at this think tank.

They were trying to figure out how government could keep up with the pace of technology and change. The answer is they can’t because the time it takes for legislation and rules and laws and process to get through, not just through the government, but through the technology process and through the security process, as soon as you’ve solved the security problem, someone’s broken it.

Therefore, my comment to you is that I dare you to dare them. The photo that I took in Canada a while ago when I saw some kids playing at the end of the peer - I dare you to dare them.


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