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PERSONAL BLOG :: Jon Baas

Saturday, April 05, 2014

"How We're Feeling (on Twitter)"

Now this is a fascinating website:

How We're Feeling grabs tweets in real time looking for one of 32 hashtags related to how the tweeter is feeling. On the website, the hashtag circles light up as new tweets come in, and the "total tweets" are the number of tweets that been received today. The "positivity rating" is a percentage of how many tweets express a positive emotion.

Right now, as of this post, Twitter is 84% positive.

Take a look at the website, and see how Twitter is feeling right now -- in real time.

-Jon

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

"The Expert (Short Comedy Sketch)"

I've worked with clients like this. They have a great idea, something that looks amazing in their own minds, but in reality, it isn't nearly as easy to achieve. Sometimes, when an idea like this is placed on the table, the best answer really is, "I'm sorry, I can't do that".

Sit back, and enjoy. This comedy sketch will confuse you, elicit sympathy, and entertain you all at the same time. And, for some, it may even remind us of moments in which we were in this exact same situation. Creativity can achieve the impossible -- but it does still have limits.



-Jon

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Quote of the Day: Dogs"

"He is your friend, partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown

I grew up with cats, I've never been much of dog person. However, my in-laws have dogs (four dogs in related families), and I'm slowly growing to appreciate canines as the years pass. Will I own a dog of my own? I'm not at that point yet, but I most definitely appreciate them for the unconditional love and devotion they offer.

That being said, I came across this quote today, and thought I'd share.

-Jon

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Disney's Frozen: "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel"

I'll admit: I'm a fan of the Disney movie, "Frozen". It is, without a doubt, my favorite Disney animated film, followed closely by "Tangled". The "Frozen" music, story, digital animation, it's all well done. I've never really considered myself a big fan of Disney films, but, in recent years, they're changing that perspective a bit. I'm willing to come back around.

That being said, I'm also a big fan of the film's signature song, "Let It Go", performed by Idina Menzel. It captures me with the power, the musical range.... and the emotional story of Queen Elsa. I've included that song here for your viewing pleasure. Sit back, turn up your speakers, and enjoy the Academy Award-winning Best Original Song of 2013.



-Jon

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Quote of the Day: Victor Hugo"

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."
- Victor Hugo

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. It seemed appropriate to share again today.

-Jon

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Your Relationship With the Future"

I admire Seth Godin and his insight into the world of marketing. Always have. His advice, his tips, his perspective have helped me better develop my own unique brand(s) in this wonderfully creative world we live in. Here's another bit of helpful insight, this time as I look to the future.
"Some people believe that tomorrow is likely to be better. Better opportunities, better technology, a brave new day to make a new kind of difference.

Others think that yesterday was a lot better than today. Tomorrow represents diminished resources, fewer opportunities, one step closer to the end.
We call tech geeks, "early adopters," and it's worth highlighting that they are not, "early adapters." Adaptation implies that people aren't eagerly going forward, they're merely tolerating what gets thrown at them.
As a marketer, then, there's a real choice here--to market your wares (new to this market) to people who are eager for change, or to get very good at marketing to people who would prefer not to change.

As a human, the question is even more profound: What relationship with the future will you choose?
The thing is, the future happens. Every single day, like it or not. Sure, tomorrow is risky, frightening and in some way represents one step closer to the end. But it also brings with it the possibility of better and the chance to do something that matters."
-Jon

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"'Star Trek Continues', A Fan-Produced Web Series"

I'm a huge fan of Star Trek. For most of you, this is no secret. I've seen all 725 episodes of Star Trek (including the animated series from the 1970s), as well as all 12 feature films. I direct two popular highly-detailed, Star Trek web-based fan series' (as well as act/write in both); I've met a number of Star Trek cast members; I design, create and sell licensed Star Trek merchandise; and a large part of my office bookshelves contain Star Trek books, technical manuals, encyclopedias, role-playing materials, etc. I've read many of the Star Trek novels; and I own props and memorabilia -- including two Starfleet uniforms.

So... yeah, I know Star Trek.

That's why I'm excited to share with you the first two episodes of a popular Star Trek fan series known as Star Trek Continues. Produced and directed by Vic Mignogna (who also plays Captain Kirk), this web series is attempting to continue the original 5-year mission of the USS Enterprise.

They've been producing some fantastic visual work so far, that is undeniably reminiscent of the original William Shatner Star Trek series of the 1960s. And they have a cast of actors you'll recognize, including: Larry Nemecek, long-time Star Trek writer and consultant; Chris Doohan, the son of the original Scotty (James Doohan); and Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame. Even more recognizable actors like Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) have shared their talents with the series.

Star Trek Continues has produced two episodes so far. Just last week they released the second. However, for the sake of continuity, I present both episodes for you below -- in order of release. Sit back, relax, and enjoy two of the best fan-produced Star Trek episodes you will ever see:

Episode 1: "Pilgrim of Eternity"
Apollo returns to wreak havoc on Kirk and the Enterprise in the first episode of the new series. Michael Forest, original series actor who played Apollo, reprises his role.




Episode 2: "Lolani"
A survivor from a distressed Tellarite vessel pulls Captain Kirk and his crew into a moral quandary over her sovereignty.



-Jon

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"Jon Baas Rising"

You know, I've come to the conclusion that my Facebook is hurting my blog. I used to post here on a daily basis. I had thoughts, and ideas, and musings aplenty. Then I became VERY active on Facebook, and all of those blog contributions found their way there instead. I need to change that. I need to get back to what made this blog one of the top regional blogs a few years ago.

I need to challenge myself to share my musings with both Facebook AND this blog. And, while I'm at it, I suppose my Twitter should get a piece of the pie as well. Bear with me, folks.... my social media value will be rising in the coming weeks. How much, and how far is yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain, I've gotta get the ball rolling again.

I've gotta get back to the business of blogging.

-Jon

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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

"15 Fun Facts About The LEGO Minifigure"

LEGO is one of the creative toys that never gets old. The tiny, interlocking bricks have provided hours of entertainment for millions of people since 1949. But it's the iconic minifigures, first released in 1978, that continue to bring life to the enduring favorite.

Here are 15 fun facts about the little people of the LEGO world.

-Jon

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Entrepreneurship = Impact"

Ah, yes, Seth Godin hit the nail on the head when he wrote about the impact of being an entrepreneur. This is my passion. This is what I live for. THIS is why I am who I am:
"Innovation is something else entirely. Many entrepreneurs use an innovation to make an impact, but the hard part, the part that we're rewarded for, is engaging with the user, the audience, the market. Bringing something to people who didn't think they wanted it, know about it or initially welcome it, and make a difference.

One reason it's so difficult to teach entrepreneurship is that we're not teaching tactics or skills. We're not teaching spreadsheets or finance or even marketing. No, when we encourage entrepreneurship, we're actually trying to get people to the place where they care enough and where they are confident enough to stand up and try to make things change.

Don't tell me what you invented. Tell me about who you changed."
-Jon

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"I Love LEGO!"

I may be in my 30s, but I still love LEGO. I even have a large box filled with a few thousand pieces in my closet. It's THE ultimate creative toy -- little brightly colored plastic pieces that can be put together in hundreds of different ways -- to create whatever your imagination can dream up.

That being said, one of my favorite daily blog reads is The Brothers Brick. It's a popular blog that highlights photos and images of all of the best original LEGO creations (of every type!) from adult builders all around the world. Just looking through the creativity featured on the site makes me happy. And tempts me to want to pull out that box of LEGO pieces, set aside my more important work.... and spend the rest of the day building!

Take a look at the creativity featured on The Brothers Brick blog. Enjoy the wonderfulness of the one toy you're never to old to play with!

-Jon

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"The Republic of Tessen & The American Union"



One of my more interesting projects lately, has been a political one. There's a popular free online nation-building game called NationStates. In this game, you create a fictional nation, you answer daily issues meant to shape the political ideals and legislative laws of your country, and you roleplay with other people doing the same thing in like-minded groups known as regions.

I joined NationStates ten years ago, and have been working to develop the fictional story of my nation, The Republic of Tessen, ever since. It's been a side project for me, toying with the politics and economy every once in a while. Recently, though, I decided to increase my involvement in the game. I developed a geography-based region; I created the ground work for a regional history; I established the powerhouse Republic of Tessen as the founding nation; and I endeavored to begin a project of recruiting other like-minded, Democracy-driven nations to help me build a regional presence known as.... the American Union.

As of this blog post, there are 116 game nations (aka, players) who have joined the American Union (all of which are fictionally located in North, Central and South America). We're developing a regional trade network, a Union government, national identities, and a collective story that rivals most projects of its kind on the internet.

According to game statistics, the American Union is currently the 88th largest region in the entire game (out of 16,979 regions). We've established a very strong presence and we're still growing. The experiment continues, and I'd like to invite you to join us and become part of the fun!

NationStates is a simple game. Beyond the basic workings of your country, most of the social environment is built through creative roleplay. It doesn't take much time or effort to play the game itself, and any additional roleplay you choose to pursue is entirely at your discretion. Come take a look at the American Union. Explore the Republic of Tessen. Check out the Tessen Factbook I put together. See what we're all about. Then, sign up at NationStates.net, and relocate to the American Union region.

We'd love to have you in our story. And I'd love to see what kind of nation YOU come up with!

-Jon

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Cups / When I'm Gone / Tap Dance"

I really enjoy watching Anna Kendrick performing the music video, "Cups", (the song, "When I'm Gone" from the movie, Pitch Perfect). The rhythm, the beat... the fun. What's not to love!

Give it a watch below, and then read on for another visual treat....



Now, let's step it up a notch.

This next video features some Broadway actors performing the same song.... as a tap dance routine. Anna did a great job in Pitch Perfect, but to take multiple dancers -- all tapping in synch with the rest of the chorus line -- that takes a whole different kind of talent! Give this one a watch as well. I think you'll enjoy it just as much as Anna Kendrick's performance in the first video!



-Jon

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

"The Value Of Over-Investing"

I agree with Seth Godin: - Don't underestimate the value of over-investing.
"A great ambassador doesn't show up in a foreign land and start complaining about how everything here is so different. She doesn't insist that people start acting the way they act back home. And most of all, she welcomes the idea that people might have different goals and desires than the people she grew up with--in fact, different than she has.

And every great treaty causes both signatories to change something substantial, something important, in exchange for accomplishing a bigger goal via cooperation.

Your customers need an ambassador. Someone who is open to hearing what they have, need and want, not merely a marketer intent on selling them a particular point of view. Once you understand someone, it's much easier to bring them something that benefits everyone.

And your partners need you to honor the spirit and intent of the deals you do with them. The goal of a long-term relationship isn't to find the loophole that lets you do what you want. Instead, figure out what you're giving up and what you're getting in return.

Companies (and countries) often under-invest in ambassadors and under-value the promises they make in treaties. In the connection economy, it now makes sense to over-invest instead."
-Jon

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Mesmerizing Translucent Waves From 19th Century Paintings"

The late 19th century Armenian-Russian painter, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900), created some spectacular paintings of seascapes that capture the shimmering, almost magical, beauty of the surging sea.

What's fascinating about his paintings, though, is his ability to recreate the intensity and motion of the waves, as well as the translucent color and foamy texture. He mixes these violent waves, and calm ripples, with the effects of the sunlight filtering through the water, to create some truly mesmerizing scenes.

Here's a collection of a few of these awe-inspiring seascapes. Take a peek, and enjoy!

-Jon

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