Category Archives: General Thoughts

Elon Musk Plans to Colonize Mars at 500K per Pioneer | How Big is Your Vision?

Amazing article about Elon Musk’s plans for colonizing Mars! This guys think HUGE! Are you viewing the world like Musk? I hope so. From Rob Coppinger of Space.com via Yahoo News:

“At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big,” Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday (Nov. 16). Musk was there to talk about his business plans, and to receive the Society’s gold medal for his contribution to the commercialization of space.

Mars pioneers

Accompanying the founders of the new Mars colony would be large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen from Mars’ atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide and the planet’s subsurface water ice.

The Red Planet pioneers would also take construction materials to build transparent domes, which when pressurized with Mars’ atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil. As the Mars colony became more self sufficient, the big rocket would start to transport more people and fewer supplies and equipment. [Future Visions of Human Spaceflight]

Musk’s architecture for this human Mars exploration effort does not employ cyclers, reusable spacecraft that would travel back and forth constantly between the Red Planet and Earth — at least not at first

“Probably not a Mars cycler; the thing with the cyclers is, you need a lot of them,” Musk told SPACE.com. “You have to have propellant to keep things aligned as [Mars and Earth’s] orbits aren’t [always] in the same plane. In the beginning you won’t have cyclers.”

Musk also ruled out SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which the company is developing to ferry astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit, as the spacecraft that would land colonists on the Red Planet. When asked by SPACE.com what vehicle would be used, he said, “I think you just land the entire thing.”

Asked if the “entire thing” is the huge new reusable rocket — which is rumored to bear the acronymic name MCT, short for Mass Cargo Transport or Mars Colony Transport — Musk said, “Maybe.”

Musk has been thinking about what his colonist-carrying spacecraft would need, whatever it ends up being. He reckons the oxygen concentration inside should be 30 to 40 percent, and he envisions using the spacecraft’s liquid water store as a barrier between the Mars pioneers and the sun.

A $500,000 ticket

Musk’s $500,000 ticket price for a Mars trip was derived from what he thinks is affordable.

“The ticket price needs to be low enough that most people in advanced countries, in their mid-forties or something like that, could put together enough money to make the trip,” he said, comparing the purchase to buying a house in California. [Photos: The First Space Tourists]

He also estimated that of the eight billion humans that will be living on Earth by the time the colony is possible, perhaps one in 100,000 would be prepared to go. That equates to potentially 80,000 migrants.

WOW!! Please start thinking big….

10 Greatest Steve Jobs Magazine Covers | SPD.ORG | Grids

Looking for some cool Steve Jobs images for the upcoming semester of Startup Mason when I came across a post with the 10 best Steve Jobs magazine covers of all time.

 

The 10 Greatest Steve Jobs Magazine Covers of All Time – Grids – SPD.ORG – Grids.

Is Jobless Generation Putting Brakes on US Economy | FT.com

Could the US end up with a stuck, perpetually jobless generation slowing the economy? Those that came to adulthood since 2008 and are either unemployed or underemployed and saddled with student debt. Of course entrepreneurs need to and are emerging from this group as well and its one of the reasons we see more interest in entrepreneurship. FT.com has some interesting article looking at this jobless generation in America:

The share of American 18- to 24-year-olds who were employed fell to 54 per cent last year, the lowest since the labour department began tracking data in 1948, according to the Pew Research Center. The share who are in college has risen, but the researchers say this only partly explains the drop. The jobless rate for Americans age 16 to 24 is above 16 per cent, more than twice the national rate.

Youth unemployment has reached crisis levels around the world, with almost 13 per cent of the global youth labour force out of work this year, according to the International Labour Organisation.

But the problem has a unique flavour in the US, where the weak job market has collided with record levels of educational debt – about $25,000 for the average graduate. Together, they pose a threat to the future earning power of young Americans such as Mr Grzywacz – and could have long-lasting effects on US growth.

This no/low income + high debt lifestyle has slowed household formation as students live with their parents and also delayed other major spending (cars, rent, etc.).

via Jobless generation puts brakes on US – FT.com.

Zero Pedagogy: Curation and Creation Over Education in MOOC Era | #moocmooc)

Regular readers know my research brings me to the fun, innovative edges of higher education — where technology, innovation, human talent, money, policy and competition merge. The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is one of those edges where I have and continue to explore. Part of my work has brought me to the MOOC MOOC (a MOOC on MOOCs) this week. The experiment is being led by the folks at Hybrid Pedagogy and is inhabited many thoughtful, fun and inquisitive folks trying to bring meaning and value out of the new learning platforms and models collectively known as MOOCs. Many pushing deep into MOOC pedagogy believe MOOCs are innovative because in many MOOCs participants, not ‘teachers’,  bring content and value to other participants in ways (theoretically) a single instructor or traditional lecture never could. Today (day #3) the topic is Participant Pedagogy. Thanks Dominik Lukes for this interesting blog post on learning, participants and pedagogy:

Despite its etymology, pedagogy [leading of boys], cannot be given. It must be sought. The learner is her own pedagogue. There may be more or less clearly given explanations, more or less productive sequences of learning, more or less accessible learning materials. But none have made, will make or can make a difference to the resistant learner.

If pedagogy could really make a difference to mass learning, it would have already done so. Advances in mass literacy, numeracy and other skill increases seem to always happen prior to putative advances in pedagogy but following the expansion of access. (my bold)

A self-directed, self-motivated learner, will take any resources (no matter how pedagogically naive or badly instructionally designed – Khan Academy, iTunesU lectures, iPad ebooks, labs, conventional classes or TED videos) and use them to learn. As the learner becomes more aware of their own learning (gaining metacognitive skills), they will look for resources that suit their learning better. And, in many cases, will create such resources. That’s why we need to encourage a culture of the remix. Or in starker terms: Curation and creation over education.

There is no doubt from my experience teaching entrepreneurship, working with students and alumni that want to launch firms, and being a student for decades, learner motivation is the center factor in success. Moreover, as I work with colleagues at GMU in creating MOOCs, we will have to focus on creation and curation of materials and tools that support the self-directed searching for support in achieving their goals.

via Zero pedagogy: A hyperbolic case for curation and creation over education in the age of the MOOC (#moocmooc).

Rise Revisited | Martin Prosperity Institute | @Richard_Florida

Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class has been reissued for its 10th anniversary. I have been lucky enough to get to know Richard (@Richard_Florida) and work with him a bit over the past 7 years on variety of projects. He is a truly brilliant social scientist and great thinker. Richard is currently at the University of Toronto as the Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute. From Insight:

The Rise of the Creative Class introduced Creative Class theory. Florida’s occupational typology examines the labor force through a four-part system: the Creative Class, Service Class, Working Class and Farming, Fishing and Forestry class. Rather than measuring education, an occupational measure is more closely related to productivity than education is. Creative Class workers “produce new forms or designs that are readily transferable and widely useful – such as designing a consumer product that can be manufactured and sold; or composing music that can be performed again and again” (The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, pg. 38). Briefly, Creative Class workers are paid for their thinking and problem solving skills, while Service Class workers are paid to perform routine work directly for, or on behalf of, clients. Working Class workers are paid to maneuver heavy machinery and perform skilled trades, while Farming Fishing and Forestry workers are paid to extract natural resources from the ground or seas.

In the United States, while 72.2% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or above are members of the Creative Class, only 59.3% of the entire Creative Class holds a college degree. This is because higher education is not a prerequisite for one to be creative, and many Creative Class workers do not hold higher academic credentials. While having a bachelor’s degree or above means you are more likely to be in the Creative Class compared to the other three classes, when looking at the entire Creative Class as a whole, only just over half of the labor force holds the credential. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are examples of creative workers, who while not holding an advanced degree, still possessed skills that are essential to economic growth and innovation within a city.

via Insight: Rise Revisited — Knowing and Doing | Martin Prosperity Institute.

Does “Creative Destruction” Destroy More Than Create? | Chris Zook | Harvard Business Review

Really interesting piece on the high rate of churn in our economy and how great companies survive long term. Most don’t however.

We have been studying companies that seem to be able to endure and adapt for longer periods of time, and have come to the conclusion that the extinction of once-great innovators is less often caused by technological or market evolution, and more often by self-inflicted wounds and slow cycles of decision and adaptation.

Unlike dinosaurs, which had no conscious way to adapt to rapid changes around them, companies and CEOs have a choice. They can focus and simplify their organizations. Or, as happens all too often, they can pursue complex strategies that beget complex organizations and complex processes until they grind to a halt like a Rube Goldberg machine.

It is this complexity, my colleague James Allen and I report in our new book Repeatability, that is the “silent killer of profitable growth,” and the greatest inhibitor of adaptability.

Repeatability was based on a three-year Bain & Company study of enduring profit and relative competitive ability to adapt in a world of increasing velocity and uncertainty.

via When “Creative Destruction” Destroys More than It Creates – Chris Zook – Harvard Business Review.

Startup Weekend Leaders Join our Lean MOOC Experiment | AshokaU | GMU | #socent

Over the past 6 weeks I have been fortunate to work on developing and teaching a  MOOC (massive open online course) titled Entrepreneurship and Globalization: Making the Most of 21st Century Opportunity. This effort did not take years of planning or a $60 million dollar partnership or the removal of a university president.

Led by GMU’s Phil Auerswald, Erin Krampetz of Ashoka U, Michael Youngblood (Innovations Journal) and me, we have quickly stood up this course as a joint effort of Ashoka U and GMU’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Tonight our experiment rolls on and Mark Nager and Franck Nouyrigat of Startup Weekend join us via our live audio feed. Our session this week is on Lean Startup ideas and methods. You can listen to the class live here.

In standing up class this class we have adapted the syllabus from the class of the same title being taught by Prof Auerswald to graduate students in GMU’s School of Public Policy this summer.

We are using low cost and free resources such as Bookneto, Google +, BlogTalkRadio, and Twitter. Our hashtag, btw, is #AshokUOnline. We are going to award certificates and are talking to various third parties around badges related to skills and tools covered in the course and the assignments.

We have made some mistakes along the way and will make a few more, but in the true spirit of lean methods and customer development we have continually engaged our customers.

Moreover, we have tried to embrace the spirit of MOOCS, watching and learning as participants take the lead (for example a number of students have met in NYC and other locations to discuss readings and projects for the class).

Feel free to join us live tonight and get in on the conversation on twitter during and after the live stream with Mark and Franck of Startup Weekend. Listen here.