Categories
Blog

Would You Watch a Dream?

Nightmares and other lucid dreams have always fascinated me. I have written over 250 of them in my journal. Many of them I remember in vivid detail. I’ve always wanted to share them with others. Like in a movie. A dream that you could watch.
I’ve pitched this idea for a few years now. As creative as the movie industry might be, enthusiasts are decidedly not ready for what I’d like to bring to the theater. The conversation usually goes like this…

I want to make a movie with no plot, no setting, and no title.

There’s a pause. A bewildered look forms on whomever I’m telling this to and I continue.

I’ve never seen a good dream film. Inception was a good start with the train randomly coming through the street and the buildings folding in kaleidoscope fashion, but it wasn’t random enough! Dreams are random.


Intrigued, the person listens. I can tell they’re totally against the idea, but for some reason, the idea is irresistibly intriguing — they listen anyway.

‘Breaking the mold’ is a cliché everyone uses, but imagine a true dream film! I want this movie to have no beginning, just like how dreams are, and an abrupt end.

By this time more ears are tuning in. I’ve got their attention.

Think about your dreams. The story usually begins right in the middle of something. There are no opening titles, no credits, you’re just thrown smack into the action with no explanation. Kind of like life!

Sometimes I ask one of them what their dreams are like, everyone one of them says they don’t remember their dreams. So I tell them one of my own.

The Shadow Man

I’m in a mall. It’s night. I’m likely a security guard. I’m on the second floor. I’m running from something.
I come to an escalator. You know that silver metal panel that you step on before you get on? Well, it’s open.
It appears like the escalator is out-of-order and was opened up for repairs. The metal panel has been lifted up and left open.
Underneath the panel, there is a manhole, with a ladder. It is surrounded by work lights.
I’m being pursued by something, so I run into it. Climb down the ladder into the hole.
Once I’m all the way down — I’m in a house. It’s daylight. Sunshine is coming through the windows. It’s a really nice house. American Colonial. Every light is on in that house.
I run to the front door. I open it and step into another house. As if two houses had been combined together. Where the front door of one is the back door of the other. Like Monster’s Inc. with the closet doors.
I close the door behind me and I’m in another house. This time there are fewer lights on. It’s a different house.
I run to the front door of this house. I open it and step inside yet another house! Each house is different and there are fewer and fewer lights on. I do this many times.
The sunlight coming in through the windows of each succeeding house becomes dimmer and dimmer.
I run through many houses. Their interiors vary greatly. But in each succeeding house, it’s darker and messier. The ground seems to slant downwards as I run forward.
I look over my shoulder occasionally and there’s the shadow man! I have a distance on him, but he’s closing in.
27903232956_58ebb4afe6_o (Priime Fir)The shadow man is a void. He walks upright like a person would walk — even in daylight. He’s unlike any shadow I’ve ever seen before. This shadow doesn’t appear on the walls or on the floor. No, he walks like a person, independent of lighting.
Looking into the shadow man there’s a void. It’s a hole that appears to be a mile deep.
I quickly gather that this shadow represents death. He’s coming for me. He’s in the shape of me. As if I were a toy being put back into a package. If the shadow man catches up with me, both of us will merge and I will disappear from existence!
I finally come to the last house. There are no lights on in this house. It is nighttime. The only light in the house comes from a vintage tube television with static on it in the den. Across from the TV, there’s an empty recliner. The house has a 70s vibe.
There’s nowhere to run!
I can see the shadow man coming down the stairs in the hall. I look to my left and I see a door. It’s to an office.
I run into it and shut the door, leaving it open just a crack like I found it. The door has a frosted window on it. Like an old-time detective movie.
It’s a small office with wood paneling. There’s only a desk, a chair, and a lamp that’s been left on. There are no windows in this office.
I hide behind the desk. I see the shadow man pass by the door.
He hasn’t seen me. I wait for a few minutes; debating whether I should bolt out the door and make a run for it. I’m cornered here!
It’s deadly silent. I can hear ringing in my ears.
I decide to make a run for it. I run back the way I came. Through all of the houses and back up the manhole.
Once out, I slam the metal panel shut.
The dream ends.

What a True Dream Film Looks Like

My audience is dazed. They are silent at first. I see that look on their face, the same feeling I get after waking up from a dream. Not sure what to think. Just processing everything.
I tell them…

That feeling you have is the feeling I want my audience to have after the movie ends. I want them to sit in silence, processing what they just saw, as if they had just woken up from a real dream.

That stunned/processing feeling isn’t something that movies generally leave you with. It’s rare. My dreams leave me feeling like this all of the time. But, I hate that I can’t share it with anyone. No one will see what I saw. But if this were a movie, the entire audience would have experienced the same dream together for the first time ever!
Essentially what I want this movie to be is an experience. Not a linear story. I want you to feel emotions you don’t feel too often. Confusion is a great emotion! It’s the sign of a new experience.
To keep this dream film authentic, I don’t want it to have a title. When you go up to the box office, I want that tile to be blank, only displaying the showtimes.
black-in-deep-redI want the movie poster to be a solid color or blend of colors like a Rothko painting. I want it to make you feel something, without saying anything.
This movie is unapologetically anti-pop. It’s not for you to like, it’s for you to experience. Just like a dream.
I remember 10 years ago telling my cousin that I wanted a movie theater with a 360-degree screen. I wanted a more immersive cinematic experience. One where you could look in all directions and be right in the center of the action. My cousin humored my idea but suggested I settle for a 180-degree screen instead. I can’t tell you how enthusiastic I was when I discovered that some computer games used three monitors blended into one — similar to my idea.
Today, there is a better option. Virtual Reality headsets would be perfect for a true dream film. For the first time, you could experience true first-person perspective. Look in all directions, just like a video game.
I want the experience to be as dream-like as possible. Settings should subtly change. Some characters don’t need faces. There is no beginning. The end jarringly leaves you wanting more. There’s so much detail in the dream-film that you’d have to watch it several times to see everything. There wouldn’t be a trailer, you’d have no idea what you were about to see. Just like a real dream.
If I could, I would give this kind of experience to the world. A true breaking of the mold, not for the sake of breaking the mold, but for the sake of being true to an original dream.

The Objections

I get pretty enthusiastic about this idea. Not from a commercial sense, but from a creative one. If I wanted a return on investment (ROI) — I’d make a film that fit a mold and ticked all the checkboxes that make a movie popular.
This is not intended to be a popular film. It’s intended to be original. Not by breaking with tradition just because, but because this concept naturally has no mold. Our dreams naturally don’t make sense and we accept them. All I want to do is bring this experience to the awake world.
Unfortunately, this is a tough pill to swallow for many. There’s a strong desire to have a story. A story that is linear and makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, some don’t believe it’s an enjoyable movie.
But I argue, people love dreams! They love sharing them if they can remember them, and they love trying to interpret them. I believe that art can be abstract. Just like a painting. It took awhile for some to accept abstract art. Not every painting has to stem from a refined realist style.
For some reason, movies haven’t gotten there yet. We accept abstract art, but not abstract movies. Why not? Why does everything have to make sense in a neat story form? Our own lives don’t make sense.
When we are born our first memories begin randomly. We stare at the floor, we study it. We do not ask why we are here until later. That’s how I want a dream film to begin. I don’t want my audience to know why they are there. I want them to be intrigued. I want them to see something new. Something authentic. I want the dreams to be real.
That’s all I can really say about that.

How I Remember My Dreams

As aforementioned, I have documented at least 250 dreams in vivid detail. Before I started writing them down, I only remembered dreams that woke me up and left a big impression on me. Usually nightmares or occasionally heavenly dreams (dreams like winning the lottery or finding the love of my life). But eventually, I figured out a trick to remember more of them.
The secret to remembering your dreams is to try to remember where you were last when you wake up. So when I wake up, I sit there and try to remember where I was last. Suddenly it comes to me. It will be a fragment of something. I’ll remember a location or an object from the dream.
I write that down. I begin working backward. Eventually, I unravel the dream in reverse order. Sometimes this hurts my head and I have to give up. Other times I push through and unlock the entire dream.
I write whatever comes to mind in reverse order and then I reconstruct the dream in chronological order. The key is to outline the dream backward and then return to fill in all of the details. Once that’s done you can rewrite the dream in story form.
That’s it. Once you’ve captured it, you’ll never lose it again. Your journal will remember the dream for you. And now that I have some, I think they might make great movies.
So I ask you…

Would you watch a dream?

Categories
Photography Videos

Canyon Lake

[wpvideo w4NzKwXB]
Last year, I started a YouTube series called the Camera Roll Vlog where I take photos and video clips from my camera roll and turn them into a montage. I started the series as a way to stay creatively active and put my massive 100,000 photo library to good use.
I’m always taking pictures. I take photos of everything, but my photos from Canyon Lake I particularly love. It was a gorgeous day; blue skies, placid water, stillness in the air, and perfect weather.
My friend Charles had a day off from work and we decided to take a day trip. We hopped into his Jeep and took off to an unknown destination. After driving for awhile I asked Charles where we were going, he said that he had intended Enchanted Rock, but forgot they were closed. We came to Canyon Lake and made the impromptu decision to spend the day there.
It was a great decision. I took lots of photos and video clips of the waves breaking along the shoreline. When I look at these pictures, I feel happy. There’s something about nature that relieves stress. I probably shouldn’t spend so much time on the computer.

I should post these photos on a stock photo site someday and earn a few cents toward more camera gear. Speaking of which, I have posted some stock video clips and photos in case you’re interested in supporting my work.

Categories
Food

Chisme Review

When it comes to food, I’m not the adventurous one — my girlfriend is. Kara pushes me to have new experiences, visit new places, and try new foods. Which I end up loving, but I’m initially reluctant to go. Thank God for adventurous girlfriends!
On this particular adventure, we ate at a local eatery called Chisme. In case you’re wondering, it was delicious, definitely go! But, I’m sure you want to know all the details.
Chisme means gossip in Spanish and judging from chatter on social media, the gossip is about the great dish they had!
We went for brunch, so I chose the Mexican Hamburger Torta with papas. The sandwich consisted of beef, ham, Cheddar Mayo, avocado, jalapeños, lettuce, and tomato. A delicious dish for $13.50.
IMG_0507
I devoured the whole thing. My only regret — there wasn’t more food! But, I know it’s all about portion control. I really, really, liked this dish! Had there been more, I would have eaten it.
Kara opted for Huevos Rancheros: eggs anyway, Salsa Brava, bacon, beans, and papas for $12.
IMG_0508
She loved her plate too. And would gladly come again.
There is indoor and outdoor seating. We tried them both. Initially, we sat outside because the Mariachis were playing inside. The hard floors produced a lot of echoes. It was a little noisy for us, but then it was a little chilly outside. So, we moved back inside. The Mariachis had relocated outside and the noise level soon subsided.

Both seating areas offered a spectacular atmosphere. It’s quieter outside and echoes a lot inside. Your seating choice will come down to preference. Service does appear to be zippier inside though. Some reviewers have noted being forgotten about outside and I could see how that could happen, based on our brief patio experience. But not to worry, inside they can’t miss you!
All in all, I recommend eating here at least once. We will certainly return! Chisme is located at 2403 North Saint Mary’s Street. Click here to view their menu.

Categories
Web

Why WordPress.com is Better

For years I was a big proponent of self-hosted WordPress.org blogs, but recently I made the switch to WordPress.com. For those who are unfamiliar with the difference, one version of WordPress can be hosted on your own server, there are no limitations and the other is proprietary, managed by Automattic.

In the early days of WordPress.com, there were a lot of restrictions that made the open-sourced version of WordPress.org more desirable. Being able to install plugins for free on self-hosted, open-sourced WordPress installs added more functionality, not cost. Where the proprietary version charged for basic features like changing a theme’s colors.

At the time, the choice was clear — go with the open-sourced version. Today, however, I have a different opinion. While the open-sourced version offered greater flexibility, it also came with more problems.

For example, the free plugins poorly written code could make your website vulnerable to malware. After losing your site a few times to hackers, you’ll recognize the need for backups. Backups cost. It’s an extra step. Before long, you’ll realize that the maintenance tasks are taking energy away from producing content. Instead of time and money on firewalls and backups to just keep your website up, WordPress.com frees you to focus on your content.

Now that I am no longer concerned about my website being hacked, I can focus on my content — which I believe is why most people have one in the first place. Sure, I loved tinkering with Cpanel and iPage’s beta of Vdeck back in the day, but now I’m about publishing content, not maintenance.

Web administration doesn’t have to be hard. I used to be one of those PC geeks who loved defragmenting my hard drive. It was part of my identity. Those tasks will eventually be automated. Continuing to choose the hard road while an easier path is available is foolish. I understand the economic incentives for choosing a particular product for clients – you can’t sell them Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. Or can you?

There will be customers who don’t want to fiddle with their website. Just like there are people who don’t want to mow their lawn. It’s not a mystery. All it takes is a lawn mower and some time to push it all over the yard. But, some people don’t want to bother with it. Web administration is becoming less of a mystery. Yes, there are some challenging aspects, but now there are apps that make launching a web page easy.

As a videographer, I’m embracing that my hard earned skills as a video editor are diminishing in status. Facebook’s live stream capabilities eliminate the need for Digital Media Coordinators to shoot edit videos with expensive software. There was a time before mine that video was edited on rolls of film with scissors and paste. I’m watching as my championed skills from 2012 are being diluted by anyone with an iPhone.

Now I understand why a web developer in 2009 was envious of me when I made a website with iWeb. He had spent a long time learning how to code from scratch and I used a simple program to throw up a website in less than an hour. Now it’s even easier than that. He was my mentor, he mentored me while I was in college. Toward the end of the semester, he confessed how it made him feel that these new technologies had enabled me to create better websites with ease. Now I’m getting a taste of a similar medicine.

Technology is rapidly evolving, obsoleting the past. It’s best to embrace it. Embrace a future of Chromebooks. Computers that don’t need anti-virus software and websites launched with Content Management Systems (CMS) that are essentially what automatic transmissions were the automobile. There will always be those who love driving stick, tinkering with code and shooting photos with manual settings. Hats off to them, they have a more in-depth understanding, but for the average person — automatic is the future.

Categories
Thoughts

Why is a Powerful Word

In the Spring of 2012, I was taking a college class called Law and the Media. My professor was a prominent lawyer who taught evening classes in his spare time. I really enjoyed his class.
Why?
Because he taught me a valuable lesson. He said if he had to pick a favorite word from the dictionary, it would be the word: why.
I thought about that for a moment. At first, I didn’t recognize what was so special about the word why. After writing several case studies on Supreme Court decisions, I understood.
The word why can stand alone in a sentence. Just three little letters can incite profound reflection. Ask yourself why and your mind will venture down a rabbit hole, deep into your subconscious thoughts. Motives not previously known will appear.
If you voted for a political candidate, ask yourself why. When you have an answer, repeat the question. Repeat the question until you find the ultimate answer. This process may take awhile. When you have finished, you may have an epiphany.
You’re welcome.
I believe this can be a life-changing experience. Start asking why about everything and you’ll begin to unravel what makes you, you.
For me, I have spent the years following that class asking myself why. I’m still discovering things. Like last night, I asked myself why I majored in Communication Arts. I thought I knew the answer, but the question leads me to some interesting insights into life and how career choices are made.
I’ve witnessed many of my peers realize the naive reasons why they chose their major. It was a surprise to them. I know it was a surprise to me when I realized why I chose Communication Arts.
Sometimes we are too sure of ourselves. “I know why I chose my major! I have a plan. Those other people clearly didn’t think it through.” Really? Ask yourself why. I did and I was surprised.

Why I Chose My Major

I chose my major as the result of a series of life events. The final verdict: I never had a plan. I just thought I did.
After some reflection, my story begins in the fall of 2001. I was 10-years old, my dad was in the hospital with appendicitis, and my mom had me stay the night at my aunt’s house.
I was thrilled to spend the night with my cousin. He had received the 1349 Lego Studios set for his birthday.

“Lego Studios was a popular brand of Lego toys released in the early-2000s and mainly focused on movie-making and the steps thereof. Lego Studios was first distributed in November 2000, and was later discontinued in 2003. The last series in the franchise was the Lego Spider-Man set. The appeal of Lego Studios was that it featured stop-motion animation to make real movies with Lego bricks. In response, many websites have grown that are dedicated to the product and feature many uploaded videos, such as Brickfilms.com.” — Wikipedia

My cousin showed me a video he had created with the included stop-motion camera and that was all it took to get me hooked. I originally was set to spend a couple of nights at my cousin’s house, but after getting hooked on filmmaking I asked my mom if I could stay the week!
1349-1We made several videos that had nothing to do with Legos and very quickly outgrew the stop-motion camera. The camera that was included with Lego Studios resembles a modern webcam. It had to remain wired to a computer, with a cord that was about 15 feet long.
After we had run out of material to film in my cousin’s computer room, I wanted a laptop so we could move the camera outside. My aunt had a better idea, the following year she got him a Hi-8 camcorder.
My cousin, at the time, wanted to become a Hollywood Director. This was an upgrade from wanting to be a hotel manager. Previously, I had wanted to be the President of the United States, which was an upgrade from a train engineer.
As children, we are inspired to pursue careers that coincide with the toys we play with and the shows we watch. The Lionel train set I had as a young boy probably had something to do with my initial career aspirations. Bill Nye likely inspired me to want to run for President so I could stop world pollution.
It is really something to go back and trace how I got to now. My pursuit of video production finds its roots in a childhood experience.
I didn’t calculate the ROI (Return on Investment) of my college degree. That wasn’t something I was told to do. I chose my major because it was the closest degree to filmmaking that the University of the Incarnate Word offered.
By the time I was applying for universities, I had become a skilled video editor. This was all thanks to a church photographer who introduced me to the church video guy who in turn introduced me to Sony Vegas 6.
A lot happened, but they were all coincidences. Life events that carried me to where I am now. There was no plan. Or at least I didn’t make the plan.
The past 16 years of my life were shaped by a moment. I identify myself as a creative. My identity and my career path can trace their roots to a moment.

Processing Reflections

The revelation I had about why I chose my major doesn’t end there. Instead, it leads me to an even more profound discovery.
There are those who pursue dreams and those who pursue opportunities. Sometimes the opportunity is snookering a dreamer out of some cash while they are in pursuit of a pipe dream.
Entering college I was in pursuit of inviable dreams. Many students, particularly creative students, pursue dreams that will never materialize. Somewhere toward the end, we recognize our error.
Others see our folly as an opportunity.
JumpCut Academy comes to mind. I saw an advertisement on Instagram for JumpCut Academy promising to teach me the secrets of becoming a YouTube star. Of course, I want to become a YouTube star! So I sign up for more information.
I begin receiving a series of emails that attempted to play weird tricks on my mind. I think that’s called marketing (an aggressive form of it). The emails try to convince me that I’m one of the few who will gain access to secrets, but I must act quickly because he won’t share them with slackers! When that doesn’t work he tries other methods.
In case your wondering, the content is recycled, the urgency is fictitious, and you’ll likely never become a YouTube star—but a sucker is born every minute. Here’s a sample from one of his emails:

Hey – Jesse here,
Ok, so this makes a lot of people uncomfortable…
But it’s something we NEED to talk about.
Here’s the deal:
The past few days, I’ve been seeing a LOT of this:
Commentsplf
(These guys – and many others – loved the free video trainings…)
Those are comments on the free hour of video lessons we released last week teaching you about the opportunity of starting a profitable YouTube channel.
Clearly, this is something that most people were unaware of. They didn’t realize it’s possible to make a full-time living on YouTube even with a small audience. And I think that’s why people LOVED our video training so much.
But here’s where it gets really weird…
When I asked people if they received a ton of value from our training (and if they’re going to start their own channels), the response was overwhelming “YES.”
And to be fair, a lot of them took action and enrolled in Jumpcut Academy 2.0.
But…
There was also a 2nd group that responded in a disturbing way:
They said they wanted to launch their own channels… and they said they wanted to be a part of Jumpcut Academy 2.0… but they became very, very nervous at the thought of enrolling.
Can you guess what they were nervous about?
The price.
These people were so afraid that they made up excuses for why they couldn’t join.
Things like:

  • “It probably won’t work for me…”
  • “I’m not sure if now is the right time…”
  • “I just don’t have enough experience to do this…”

This list goes on, and on, and on.
Even though they said they wanted to improve their lives…
…when faced with an actual opportunity to do so – they let it pass them by.
I have to be honest: This is heartbreaking for me.
Why is it that when someone is faced with an opportunity like Jumpcut Academy 2.0, they’re so afraid to take the plunge?
Why won’t they invest in themselves and their future? (Especially considering we offer a 365 money back guarantee with the only requirement being that you actually do the work.)
I’ll tell you why:
Because society trains us to shy away from self-investment:
We’re conditioned to buy a new $700 iPhone… every single year.
We’re told it’s normal to pay $1,000+ for a new TV even though the old one works just fine.
We’re taught that you need to buy the new Call of Duty for $60 (plus $60 worth of DLC), every year even though it’s exactly the same as the last one.
But you know what we’re NOT told to do?
Invest in our futures (and ourselves).
How many people do you know who spend more money on acquiring skills, knowledge, and real-world experience than “stuff” – crap that they don’t need?
Probably very few… if any at all.
For once, can we just face the facts: Society wants you to be lazy and unsuccessful.
They want you to spend money on things – not thoughts.
I’m sure that seems like a crazy concept to you right now. And I bet you think I’m just saying that because I want you to enroll in Jumpcut Academy.
But would you be willing to consider the wild possibility that BOTH of those things are true?
Listen – I’m not going to lie to you: I am trying to convince you to enroll.
I am NOT ashamed of asking for an investment in a step-by-step program that I spent years – and $100,000’s – pouring my real-world knowledge, experience, and advice into.
(This is a topic for a different day, but: Why are people so afraid of getting paid for the value they add to the world?)
Anyway – my point is this:
Do you think the elites who run colleges want you to realize you can succeed in life without spending $50,000 or more on college?
Do you think the guys who run big companies would rather you buy a bunch of their mindless products (and work for them for minimum wage)… or learn how to make money on your own and maybe even COMPETE against them in business?
If you can see through the fog, then click here and enroll in Jumpcut Academy 2.0 while it’s available for the next 6 days.
I’m sick and tired of people who have so much potential getting sucked into the “traditional path” in life.
Let’s change the way things work.
– Jesse
P.S. Do you think this guy regrets investing in himself? He landed a $3,500 brand deal after going through Jumpcut Academy.
Dcheatest
(“THANK YOU JUMPCUT!!!!!!”)
And all he had to do was accept free tickets to a basketball game and film himself for his channel. (Sounds tough, eh?)

I’m not trying to be overly cynical here, but if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Salespeople tend to bombard you with sensational emails like this one. This should be a clear sign that something is wrong.
But I digress. My post isn’t about JumpCut Academy, it’s about asking why. The word why lead me to this discussion about psychological marketing. About how dreamers are exploited by opportunists.

What Will You Discover by Asking Why?

Had I never asked myself why I chose my major, I would have never unraveled my thoughts far enough to uncover this.
The word why prevents us from thinking we are immune to manipulation. It picks apart flawed reasoning. It helps us develop and discover new things.
I encourage you to ask why, not just to other people, but to yourself. Ask yourself why you chose, did, or believe something. You may find out that those thoughts were not originally yours or that they were based on something unexpected.
Isn’t why a powerful word?

Categories
Web

How to Make a Website

Your website is an important component of your lead generation strategy. It will be the metaphorical flagship of your online fleet. All of your social media profiles and newsletters will link to your website which should be the centerpiece of your online presence.
Building a website is a lot easier than it was at the turn of the 21st century. You do not need to know how to code or be incredibly tech savvy to launch your own website. But, you might need some guidance on where to go to get what you need. This post will show you one method to achieve this goal.
Once you are familiar with web administration, you’ll eventually feel more comfortable trying different services or configuring your website differently to rank better in Google or load faster on mobile devices. It can get complicated fast, but don’t worry we’re keeping it simple in this article. Baby steps!

Choose a Domain Name

Depending on your personality, choosing a domain name can be easy or hard; it’s a lot like naming your first pet or child. Some thought needs to go into it, but not too much. Remember you can always buy another domain. Many are nominally priced.
Most people are familiar with .com domains. Ideally, you’ll want to go with that.
For example, I launched a website called llamaleads.com I could have chosen llamaleads.net or something more trendy like llamaleads.marketing. But, I chose llamaleads.com because it was memorable and more importantly available.
If the domain that you want is not available you may attempt to buy it from its current owner using a domain name negotiation platform like Domain Agents.
To purchase available domains, I recommend Hover. Try a few names, keep them short, easy to spell, and consider getting a .com if possible. After you have purchased your domain, return here to continue your journey.
Choosing a Domain Name

Choose a Web Host

Congratulations on purchasing your first domain! Now it’s time to put that domain to work for you. I recommended a domain registrar that makes this next process a little easier than most.
You may choose any domain registrar that you wish, there are many out there, but I thought that you would appreciate the one I selected because it offers a lot of one-click choices. You can achieve similar results with other registrars, but I would have to delve into what DNS Records are and I promised to keep this simple, right?
Assuming that you have already purchased your domain from Hover and are already logged in, the following steps will help you connect your domain to a web host (the easy way).

Using Hover Connect to Pair Domain to a Web Service

In your Hover Control Panel click on edit > use hover connect.
Hover Control Panel Connect Domain
You’ll then be greeted by another panel. At the time of writing, there are 23 services to choose from. I recommend taking a look at them all to determine what suits your needs best, but since you’re new to this, I’ll make a recommendation—Squarespace. It’s toward the bottom of the list.
Hover Connect
Once you’ve made your determination, be sure to read the instructions carefully when they appear. By this stage, you’ve already purchased your domain, so if any of these services say it is unavailable, it is because you already own it.
Connect to Squarespace Prompt

Build Your Website

By this point, you should have purchased a domain and connected it with a website development platform. Explore the menus of the web builder you chose and start experimenting. Web development is something you learn by doing. It gets easier with time and you will learn that there are many ways to achieve a similar result.
You may choose at a later date to move to a different web builder because the current one doesn’t fit your needs or hire a professional to develop your website for you. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. Keep working at it and you’ll soon discover that it was easy all along! You can do this!

Squarespace Now You See Me Foundation
This is the Squarespace configuration panel for nowyoucme.org (Now You See Me Foundation), a non-profit that supports disabled athletes rebuild their lives after a tragic accident. If you love a good cause, I encourage you to check them out!

 

Categories
Geekdom

Why Innovation is Dying in San Antonio

Last night, I had the privilege of attending Startup Grind San Antonio for the first time at Geekdom. Events like Startup Grind are the main reason I joined Geekdom. While the event was open to the public, I recognize how special the Geekdom community really is and I want to continue the conversations started at the event with members in the future.
Guest speaker Debra Innocenti-Placette of Innocenti-Jones PLLC said a lot of incredible things last night, but the words that resonated the most with me came during the Q&A session at the end.
A great conversation usually has to warm up or be sparked spontaneously. So co-speaker Drew Placette was bent on asking Debra a tough question. He asked why our tech ecosystem in San Antonio seems to be dying.
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Our tech ecosystem, especially scalable startup ecosystem seems to be dying. We don’t see a lot of things coming out of here, like we used to. I know we have a lot of good things, but there is also a lot of smoke and mirrors in San Antonio around stuff. Why don’t we see actual viable startups coming out of San Antonio? Besides capital. What do you think we can do to actually change that?

This is the pink elephant in the room. I think most San Antonians can acknowledge that true innovation is more likely to be found in other places (insert your own city here, like Silicon Valley), not San Antonio.
Personally, I don’t think of San Antonio when I think of innovation. When I think of San Antonio, I think of flintlock rifles and cannons going off at the Alamo or Fiesta. Not bad things to be known for, but I would like to see San Antonio also known for other things too! Creativity, innovation, and the city of the future… I don’t believe I’m alone in this characterization of San Antonio or my desire to see it grow in new ways.
Debra’s answer struck a chord in my heart. Things I had been saying all along but thought I was the only one thinking these things. I thought that these ideas were at best revolutionary or at worst the Twilight Zone (a delusion).
Her answer was so good, I’ve loosely transcribed it for you. Quote it, tweet it, share it with your friends. Let’s do something about this!

In full homage to Startup Grind, which is bare knuckles honesty… I think there’s a number of things that we are failing on and we need to work on. I think we can do it! One of the things is, we need to go back to the beginning values. Geekdom has a touchstone value that is critical. It’s the initial mantra of ‘where startups are born’, the embracing of the creatives, the messy people, the disorganized people, the people who are disruptive and don’t follow rules well, the engineers who have cabling and circuit boards falling behind them as they walk… we have to make sure that we continue to embrace and nurture creatives.
And creatives are not comfortable with rules and structure. That’s not to say you can’t have rules and structure, because there’s always a balance. I love rules and structure! But, I also love creatives and I think that balance is critical. I think that pendulum has swung too much, citywide, [to the other side].
We really need to have a conversation about what innovation is… innovation literacy. When we use the word innovation, this is what we mean. If a company is striving to be innovative and disruptive, we need to understand what that means.
Innovation means a number things: it means that you must have a commitment to hiring people who ask questions. Why are we doing it this way? Is this the best way to do it? Can we do it another way? Why is this person in charge? People who challenge things, loosen up structure and allow for disruption.
Creatives and innovators don’t like rigidity. In terms of, if you have dress codes where everyone has to wear suits and ties—that’s not going to promote innovation. If you’re hiring people who are followers and not challengers and leaders that’s not being innovative.
If you are requiring people to have degrees… a bachelor’s degree, if that’s like a requirement in your job description… you’re going to be shutting the door to a lot of creatives.
When you go into portals for jobs and one of their requisites is 5 years of experience in X or the system kicks you out… we have a broken hiring system! That needs to be fixed.
The work is heavy in terms of shifting that whole culture. But, we also have a culture in San Antonio where people want to stay in the same job for the rest of their life and be comfortable. And they don’t want to hire people under them that are smarter than them or that will challenge them. Because they don’t want things to change. In other more viable, more vibrant ecosystems we have people eying a position above them and they want to hire someone under them that can take their place. They want to cultivate that. They want a dynamic system that’s going to change, that’s not static. We’re not there yet in San Antonio. That’s not the culture here. There’s work to do there.
There’s a lack of diversity in most of the leadership organizations here, including in the tech community. How can we say that we are an ecosystem or an industry of innovation and disruption, if we cannot even be innovative in representation in leadership? That’s not innovative.
That’s saying innovation because it’s a nice shiny word and it sounds good, it’s got good PR ring, but we’re not serious about it. We’ve got to re-dip into the well of our core values. We’ve set them right, we just need to understand the words that we are saying. We’ve got to be serious about them and not drift away from those values.
You can drift away from your core values unless you revisit them and think about them. That’s why organizations have mission statements. It’s not because some lawyer said you need to have a mission statement that’s one sentence in this part of the document. It’s because you must have an understanding of mission.
Until we learn what innovation means and really commit to it… until we invite creatives in, encourage them and make them want to stay… until we embrace diversity… we’re not doing what we’re saying we want to do.

Her 7 minute response summarized every conclusion I came to over the past year of unemployment and even before that. I thought about companies I had worked for and startups I had been a part of; each experience taught me a slow lesson about what’s needed to be innovative.
I had asked myself why San Antonio wasn’t at the pinnacle of human progress—now I know. I was slowly placing a finger on key reasons, but her answer neatly summarizes a significant time of reflection.
Granted this is a perception. There are lots of great things happening in the city that I don’t know about. And I’m likely not alone in this. So it makes sense after several interviews and rejection emails. Even at my own university. The place I credit for teaching me a large portion of what I know. That I can 100% relate to what Debra sees wrong with San Antonio. But the good news is we can do our part to fix it and we are not alone in this common vision.
Conversations like this one are special. They spark curiosity. They lead to more questions and eventually more conclusions. Like why stay in San Antonio when there are other places that have figured this out? Is there any reason to attend college anymore? These were also touched on in the full talk.
We are not alone in these thoughts. There are more people, even where you live, who think like us. People who question things. Who are curious. In San Antonio, Geekdom is one place where people like us gather. I’m glad I found this place. Maybe I’ll see you there sometime?

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Geekdom

Joined Geekdom

I just joined Geekdom this month. Geekdom is a collaborative space for entrepreneurs and tech-enthusiasts to network in hopes of joining or starting a business.
After attending the New Member Orientation I learned that members are encouraged to give back 2 hours to the community each month. I am excited about this opportunity to share my skills with my fellow members.
uiw-mac-lab-communication-art-aaron-garcia-geekdomWhen I was in college, my work-study position was a computer lab assistant. My job was to answer computer related questions if I knew the answer. I did this for four years. I enjoyed every moment. I built relationships with both students and faculty simply by sharing what I knew about the computer. Surprisingly I had never been stumped by a question during my time there. I still answer questions like these at work, at family gatherings, and online.
Aside from my part-time Mac Lab job in college, I have never offered my services officially. Geekdom will provide a platform to help others and fulfill a commitment to giving back.
So what will I offer? ‘Everything’ is too vague and 2 hours isn’t a lot of time.
I could host a workshop, but I seriously need to plan it out first. I’ve never taught a class before. I imagine there’s a lot of preparation that goes into that. I’ll revisit this idea at some point.
I could set up a camera and take photos and record videos of Geekdom members for 2 hours. Photography seems easier. Recording a video requires the subject to be prepared with what to say. That could take awhile. But, would be worth it for whoever scheduled a time.

Then there’s web development. I’m thinking more along the lines of a WordPress or Squarespace website. We’d begin the process by purchasing a domain. Then we would pick a web host, install WordPress, and pick a theme. Lastly, we’d create a few pages, populate them with content, and design a simple logo. Easy!
That sounds like a workshop. There are a few details involved with that. The most glaring one: the participants will need to be willing to purchase a domain and web hosting. Where photography costs near nothing for the participant and video only requires some preparation (unless spontaneity is your thing).
I’ll brainstorm on this some more, but feel free to give me your thoughts. If I could help you build a website, take your next profile photo or record a simple interview-style video for you in 2 hours… which would you choose?

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Videos

RCHQ San Antonio

Took my camera out to RCHQ San Antonio to record my friend’s Traxxas Revo 3.3  run some laps around a dirt track. Unfortunately, Paul’s Revo was experiencing some issues. So, I filmed other RC cars race around the track.
I really enjoyed filming RC cars race round and round, so much so that I filmed almost an hour of footage. I included 20 minutes of it in the final video. Enjoy!

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Camera Roll Vlog Videos

Camera Roll Vlog: Episode 17