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2014-02-12

Remix Generation

In a staff meeting this week, a few people described the now-annual SwitchPoint conference and some activities leading up the event in April. (Look it up. It's very interesting.) One person noted that they will be holding a pre-event event (sorry about the repetition) on "mixology". This is one of the semi-regular types of combinations that make IntraHealth an interesting place to work. Among others, they will have a beer brewer, vaccine developer, and perhaps a musician. The point is that these roles individually mix together components to produce their products. The idea behind the combination of these groups is to foster the remix of remixers across domains where people don’t usually expect them. 

That preamble got me thinking about the phenomenon of remixing. With the rise of digital media, the remix approach met the network effect. Many people have become successful in taking things from others within their domain, and outside them, to combine them for artistic effect, political purpose, or just self-expression. For example, its a natural phenomenon. At a family brunch this past weekend, we got talking about DNA and its changes over time. (Yes, we have a high proportion of nerds.) One family member contributed the thought that viruses may be one of the important factors in genetic evolution as they combine with the host DNA to change it in some way. In a very real sense the process is a remix from existing components that produces something new. We just haven’t had the ability to tease out the component factors easily before. Today, many, many people have the option to remix the products of others. 

The possibilities are endless. 


2014-02-03

"Falling Forward" Published

About six months ago, while I was running errands on a Friday afternoon, I was listening to the radio. A news story came on about teaching whooping cranes to migrate using ultralight aircraft. For some reason, I started to wonder what would happen if a novel bird appeared suddenly at one of those sanctuaries. The notion stuck in my mind in the evening and remained with me the next morning. I decided to start writing and had the first chapter in draft form by early afternoon. I printed it out and gave it to my wife, saying, “Read this.”


“What is it?”

“Something I’ve written. It’s just a first chapter. It’s nothing, just a story.

While she sat down to read, I did chores around the house trying not to hover over her. I couldn’t wait to hear her opinion. About an hour later, she joined me upstairs where I was being the househusband with laundry. When she entered the room, I asked her what she thought.

“Where have you been hiding this? You’ve never written fiction before.”

“You mean you like it?”

Uh, yeah!” She drew out the vowels. “It’s great!

Well, I had to finish it then. It took more than a dozen drafts, but this past weekend it went live as an Amazon Kindle e-book. (A print on demand version is forthcoming.)

It's a story that recalls the golden age of science fiction--whenever someone is 12 years old. But I hope adults will enjoy it as well. I certainly had fun writing it. 

If you're interested, you will find it at Amazon.com. 

While it's available as a Kindle e-book, you don't need a Kindle device to read it. You can download the Kindle app for your computer (Windows or OS X) or your tablet (Android or iOS). 

Take a look. I'm at #111,622 in sales. Only one direction to go: Up!