Manoush Zomorodi: Bored and Brilliant at TED2017

Just in time for #NationalRelaxationDay, our very own Manoush Zomorodi’s Ted Talk has been posted online. Filmed in Vancouver this past April at TED2017, Manoush talks about the art of being Bored and Brilliant, and gives a preview of what is to come when her book is released in September.

Here are some highlights from Manoush’s talk:

I started talking to neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists, and what they told me was fascinating. It turns out that when you get bored, you ignite a network in your brain called the "default mode." So our body, it goes on autopilot while we're folding the laundry or we're walking to work, but actually that is when our brain gets really busy.

But could this cycle be broken? What would happen if we broke this vicious cycle? Maybe my listeners could help me find out. What if we reclaimed those cracks in our day? Could it help us jump-start our creativity? We called the project "Bored and Brilliant." And I expected, you know, a couple hundred people to play along, but thousands of people started signing up. And they told me the reason they were doing it was because they were worried that their relationship with their phone had grown kind of ... "codependent," shall we say.

I mean, you know the feeling: that amazing episode of "Transparent" ends, and then the next one starts playing so you're like, eh, OK fine, I'll just stay up and watch it. Or the LinkedIn progress bar says you are this close to having the perfect profile, so you add a little more personal information. As one UX designer told me, the only people who refer to their customers as "users" are drug dealers and technologists.

In the end, 20,000 people did "Bored and Brilliant" that week. Ninety percent cut down on their minutes. Seventy percent got more time to think. People told me that they slept better. They felt happier. My favorite note was from a guy who said he felt like he was waking up from a mental hibernation.

So the next time you go to check your phone, remember that if you don't decide how you're going to use the technology, the platforms will decide for you. And ask yourself: What am I really looking for? Because if it's to check email, that's fine -- do it and be done. But if it's to distract yourself from doing the hard work that comes with deeper thinking, take a break, stare out the window and know that by doing nothing you are actually being your most productive and creative self. It might feel weird and uncomfortable at first, but boredom truly can lead to brilliance.

 

If you are interested in booking Manoush as a speaker, drop us a note!

If you are interested in booking Manoush as a speaker, drop us a note!

On the Future of Travel: an interview with Hotel Tonight's Amanda Richardson

The latest Fast Forward conversation: an interview with Hotel Tonight's Chief Data and Strategy Officer, the fabulous Amanda Richardson. Dan and Amanda discuss "real-time pricing, the incredible power of user data in crafting products, and the existential threat of Google swallowing up all service industries."

July Updates: Independence and Innovation

July is halfway over, and while the summer months might make us nostalgic for the days of summer camp, road trips, and one hit wonders, the Studio Kairos crew has been working too hard to think about anything other than the next project. (and we have some exciting new work on the horizon!) In the meantime, here's what some of our speakers have been up to... 

Josh Robin reported from Queens on the 40th anniversary of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, the first Hindu temple in North America.  Opened on the site of a former Russian Orthodox Church, the temple was first opened on July 4, 1977. Congregants weren’t welcomed into the neighborhood right away, so they welcomed the neighborhood into the congregation. Located on Bowne Street, the temple was smack dab in the same location where John Bowne had fought for religious freedom in the colonies.

Dan Costa was recently asked to define what PCMag fights against. Not used to thinking in these terms, Dan finally realized, “Some enemies are worth having, and some battles reveal who you really are...I'm talking about PCMag picking the right fights. So let's get ready to rumble!”  Dan and PCMag are fighting against Brand Spin, Payola, Fanboys, and Hack Journalism.  You can read more about it here.

Sophia Stuart spent time at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles learning about IVEY, “a small, —just 13.5 inches tall—robot named for the IV procedures it helps young patients endure.” IVEY is just one of the new technologies being used at CHLA - there is also a family Fitbit challenge, and an entire program dedicated to innovation.  

Since we can’t take IVEY home with us, how about adopting a puppy named Cramp, Satty, or Booncy? John Keefe spent one Saturday creating a program that generated an algorithm mimicking dog names. Unfortunately, the names aren’t real, but if you adopt a dog, we’re sure John would be happy to let you use one.

Last month’s blog post mentioned Dan’s trip to D.C. to interview Peter Cherukuri, President & Chief Innovation Officer for DC startup incubator 1776, and Aneesh Chopra, who was the first U.S. CTO under Obama. The podcasts are up on PCMag.com - keep an eye out for new Fast Forward podcasts in the upcoming weeks.

To get in touch with Josh, Dan, Sophia, John, and the rest of the Studio Kairos team for an event or project, say hello and tell us about it! We'd love to hear from you.

June Updates: Books, Cyborgs, and Apple

Time is flying - it's hard to believe that it's almost summer, even though it's been in the 90's in New York City this week. Summer certainly doesn't mean down time for the Studio Kairos crew, and here are some of the things we're working on this month.

Manoush is working on the audio recording of her book, Bored and Brilliant, which will be out this fall, on September 5. Place your pre-order here. While she's doing that, we're working on an October book tour as well as other appearances that go well into 2018. 

Sophia continues to write for a number of publications, including PCMagWWD and Singularity Hub, as well as some lucky private clients. When I last sat down with Sophia in Los Angeles, we got into deep conversation about how Hollywood plays a role in technology development and why Los Angeles is the city of the future. Two thought provoking topics worthy of further exploration and discussion, for sure.

Photo by Melpomenem/iStock / Getty Images

Dan's latest Fast Forward podcasts have had him in San Francisco at the recent Apple event and at the Hotel Tonight HQ talking with Chief Data & Strategy Officer Amanda Richardson, as well as in Washington DC where he chatted with Peter Cherukuri, President & Chief Innovation Officer for DC startup incubator 1776, and Aneesh Chopra, who was the first U.S. CTO under Obama. Stay tuned for those podcasts, which will be posted on PCMag.com very soon. 

Meanwhile, you can listen to Dan's conversation with Go Kart Labs' Adam Dole, recorded last week at Go Kart's launch event (which we produced) to celebrate their new DC location. Adam interviewed Dan about the Apple news, AI, and what to expect in the digital home market.

As always, to have Manoush, Sophia, Dan, or any of our other smart speakers swing by to talk about what's coming in the ever-changing world of technology, or just spark some inspiration with a future-forward talk, please get in touch.

The Future lives at Moogfest

The future of music festivals and tech conferences is embodied in Moogfest. It's taken awhile for people to catch up, but each year the festival goes on, another round of people head to Durham to celebrate their interest in music along with a fascination - and concern - about our collective future. It's a wonderfully diverse, edgy, and true to it's mission, future forward experience. 

"At Moogfest, the technology, in turn, pointed toward ideas about what happens at the human-machine interface: scientific, spiritual, pleasurable, dystopian. It celebrated not only the gizmos that humans invent to play music, but also the ways that music plays the brain." - NY Times