Thursday, March 12, 2009

PoST final presentations – a great highlight in our Stanford experience

And the day came. High expectations were set the first class when Jennifer told us about this event. And there we were, remembering once again Sameer and Vinay, who’s memory will live strongly through this course.

Family, friends, students, staff, VC’s, entrepreneurs, public school teachers, you name it. They were all there waiting to see what had gone on in PoST for the past 10 weeks and understand, to some extend, how social technology was changing the world in eight five minutes presentations.

• The College Reform Team came first and was able to explain what was the BCS team was and how they came up with their results to determine who wins and loses. It seemed ridiculous and felt that this guys just had to “pull the trigger”. If they aim right, great change could come along? Who are they going to use to champion it, NFL, “underdog universities”?

• The Dance Project gave us a great insight: make sure you give ownership to the right people – in an unofficial way -, only then, social technology will do its part. Determining who “the right people” are is done 1 on 1.

• Team Jenny brought emotions to another peak. I thought the “white board” idea was brilliant. Although we didn’t really know who Jenny was and how could we help, it made us feel that she was talking directly to us.

What was also great was to realize how corporations get connected to social causes: by the individuals within and below, not necessarily from above. A Google executive was in the room and explain how she had got $15,000 from the company to help Jenny find the comparables she needs to cure her illness.

• Hunger affects all of us. There are 36 million people out there, with different stories from which we can’t just “tune out”. Families, children, seniors. Wendell is one of them. Cancer took everything away from him but he can’t complain because there are others “so much worse than him (me)”. What can we do? Simple: Click, call or care (,

• Public education is failing big time. In East Palo Alto, 50% of the students are not graduating from high school. Just across 101, 15,000 students are getting the best college education in the world. How can this be? It matters less than what we can do about it: support the “front line heroes” throw, a social network that is supporting oung guys like Mike Berman who are doing whatever it takes to make sure that at least some of this kids of East Palo Alto will make it through college.

• Did you think that organ donors could be considered sexy? I didn’t, as well as 25,000 others who took the time to watch a simple video, with simple guys and a simple message. Amazing traction. Much higher that many more sophisticated ones that usually don’t go beyond 700 visits. Results? 88 of them are sexier now than before our class started.

• You may not realize how exposed you are in the web until someone shows you a picture of someone that could have perfectly been you within the last month! Remember that there are millions of (video)cameras out there capturing too many images… This is just an advice from “”. After feeling that exposed, everyone should want, more sooner than later, to control his or her information and profiles, more even its advertising free - Orlando, it seems that you’re on to something big.

• Did you know that the word sex bring up the most beautiful thoughts for some and the most disgusting to others? Yes. Among the latter, the 70-90% of female delinquents that have been sexually abused in their life. Where do we start from there? Connecting them with themselves and their dignity. How? Through Yoga. Can Yoga help on tough people? Definitively. If you don’t think so, ask the 49ers! The Art of Yoga Project have got it right and its founders want to spread the word to meet similar needs around the world.

10 weeks, 32 students, 1 teacher (and good friend), 8 breathtaking initiatives that change the world. Are you still skeptic about the Power of Social Technology? Get on board and feel the impact. Now.

(When I was young my goal was to change the world; I grew up and realized that this would be impossible and aspired to change those around me; time passed and I then only hoped to change myself; I changed, and the world begun to change around me – Mother Theresa.)

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