Fred Sarkari – The Emotional Connector

Who are you?

That question can be answered with so many different facets it scares me.  The best way to relay that question – Fred is an over sized child that has finally embraced the fact that we do not have a choice in ageing chronologically but we definitely have a choice in staying immature for the rest of our lives. So in short you can say I am an over grown child that hopes never to lose the wisdom that a live worth living is one that embraces the moments right in front of us.

I am a keynote speaker.   I inspire, captivate, educate people to believe in them selves. I give them all he tools they need in order to succeed in their professional and personal lives. I believe that people are the company’s greatest asset. I talk on the topic of leadership. My interest of focus is on human behavior.   More so what is the consistency with the Top 5% of people in every facet of life. Only once we can understand the why, can we have any control in changing the behaviors and in turn the results of our self and others around us.

What do you do for fun?

I love the outdoors, anything from triathlons, kayaking, scuba diving to anything that keeps the body active and in motion.  That being said, life is all about balance so I also enjoy reading a great book by a live fire with a body of water in the background and I am in heaven.  My all time favorite past time is playing with my niece and nephew.  They always remind me of how to have fun.

What is your favourite community? Why?

This has always been a hard one for me to answer.  To me, my community is the place I have chosen to be at at that moment in time.  We have created such a faced paced lifestyle that we forget about our surroundings and our responsibility for them.  Love the community you are in.

What is your superpower?

To be able to connect with peoples’ emotions.  Cannot imagine a better state to be in than for a group of people to know and understand each-other for their authentic self.

How do you use it to build community?

Great question.  Always take the time to understand your community when it pertains to their needs, wants, desires.  What we need to be aware of is that a community is nothing more than a collection of individual people.  When we take the time to connect to the individuals in a community we in turn connect to the community.

My Three Favourite Things About Fred Are…

1. Powerful Public Speaking. As an enthusiastic public speaker, I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for what Fred does and how he does it. The guy travels the world engaging people with ideas and words and – wow – is he ever good at it. I love the professionalism and passion that he brings to every presentation and workshop that he delivers. Also, his new book Courage to be Naked is fantastically titled and a must read for any  And I highly recommend him as a speaker…and as a human being, too!

2. He’s Iron Man. Well, maybe not exactly. But he does compete in Ironman races, which reflects his physical as well as mental wellness and, I dare say, toughness.

3. World-changing Kindness. This is how Fred spent his Christmas: check it out. He’s also giving his book away for free – instead of paying for Courage to be Naked you can donate to a charity. Find out more by visiting his blog, Mental Sidewalk.

As told by John Horn

The Real Pete – Mystery Man

Who are you?

My name is Pete and I am a Social Media Expert and Event Management Consultant in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). I monitor and contribute to over 100 blogs and provide feedback and suggestions to them all and sometimes it isn’t what they want to hear even if it’s the right thing! My event management work is mostly with an urban adventure company that specializes in bringing extreme sports into the cities (like rock climbing buildings, base jumping, bungee jumping, and zip trekking (like in Vancouver for the Olympics).

What do you do for fun?

For fun I work by getting a sense of the best blogs out there, teach others about what I know with social media, volunteer in politics and garden.

What is your favorite community?

My favourite community is New Orleans I do so much business there and love to party with clients and take them out for real gumbo and jazz!!! Sun, fun and sin baby! Going down to the Big Easy to help with the oil spill in a few weeks.

What is your superpower?

Speed is my superpower. How can I do 40 hours of work in a 24 hour day? Organizing, multi-tasking and speed. I have good eye for detail and never have to read anything over once. Think. Write. Send. Its how I do so much business. And it builds community by my ideas and suggestions getting into businesses and people’s minds all over the world all at the same time. I get to every community at once.

Our three favorite things about the Real Pete are…

John: Spellinh. Honestly, I spend 15% of my work day correcting grammar and spelling mistakes for graduate business students – and there are many, many mistakes. Pete just doesn’t have time to spell things write or even to care about whether or not people should care about what they spell or how they spell it. And it gets me thinking, what if I didn’t care about spelling? And what if I told my students – and maybe the staff of the Gumboot – that they shouldn’t care about spelling, sense and all the rest of it. What if we just thought about it, wrote it, and sent it? Yeah. Then we’d have efficiency we could only dream of. Oh, and irony…so, so, so much irony.

Fake Pete: His Manichean view of the world. With John being at the fulcrum, because he is the only one of the Gumboot-staff who is allowed to be both the ying and the yang in Pete’s world – the best and the worst of our contributors that is. Pete is a black and white-man and when he’s made up his mind you can be sure that he won’t waver. Knowing what I do now, Pete is really the role model of the “well informed gentleman of the 21st century”. It’s just not a miracle that he manages to spot things that others don’t perceive. Like the fact that we’re all secret commies at the Gumboot. Okay. Before this ends in dire satire and a bloody feud: Pete is dead-honest. I gotta hand it to him: He won’t give you no bullshit or politically correct phrasing if he thinks otherwise. And even though I sometimes hate his guts because his comments often are on the verge of rudeness I gotta say “kudos!” for that.

Kurt: Nostalgia. Every time the Real Pete comments, I’m reminded he’s one of our first and longest running fans/detractors. Some people might not know this, but the Real Pete provided one of our first commenters. I mark it as a watershed moment in our blog – one of the first times someone who wasn’t a friend posted on our site. And what a blistering first comment it was (all I remember is he pretty much called me out about my views on Toronto). Now, after many countless months, he continues to engage us in a blunt, offensive, humorous, and (I must say) weirdly supportive way.

The Gumboot Turns One (almost)!

Gumboots never looked so good

Gumboots never looked so good

Good day, good readers of The Daily Gumboot. It’s my pleasure to inform you that this modest publication – agreed upon and endorsed by Gregor Robertson, Alex Tsakumis, Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Barack Obama, Batman, and the Vancouver Canucks   as “Vancouver’s coolest community-based blog” – is almost one year old. Our official birthday will be December 1, 2009; however, we have a plan to build some momentum leading up to the big day.

Over the year we’ve been lucky to have a collection of amazing stories written by a team of amazing contributors who, I kid you not, span at least three continents and the entire political spectrum; from militant communist to compassionate conservative, we truly collect ideas from everywhere. But don’t take my word for it, check out our content from the past year. Our stories have discussed everything from pirates to the suburbs to politics to education to nudity in the women’s locker room (it earned the most hits on Google for sure) to Kenyan sex boycotts to public squares to building relationships that build community. And, at the end of the day in one way or another, all of our articles have been creative expressions of community and, in some cases, have even provided some tips on how you can better build your community. So, here’s a question for you: which article from the past year has best captured the essence of community-building as defined by The Daily Gumboot’s mission?

Over the next few weeks, the DG’s editorial staff will be collecting each contributor’s favourite article from the past year. We will then post the articles for you, our faithful readers, to review and discuss. By December 1, 2009 we’ll have a great idea regarding some specific pieces of community building brilliance that our fans believe best reflects this blog’s mission and purpose. Here’s the mission for your review:

The Daily Gumboot is a collaborative online experience designed for people who want to learn more about building community. Or who really, really like pirates. This blog is about fresh perspectives on people, community, nature, pirates, gumboots, and gumboot-clad pirate communities in nature. We’ve got cool ideas from everywhere. And we use them to build community.

We strive to be topical, interesting, snappy, grammatically-correct, edutaining, and, most importantly, positive. The team here at The Gumboot also isn’t shy of controversy or run-on sentences; we have embraced the semi-colon and use its power for good. Learn more about our contributors below and by linking to our profiles.

We might not post daily, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check us out, well, daily. Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to The Daily Gumboot. Thanks for visiting. We hope you have fun with it.

So there it is. Collaborators, contributors and authors, if you are interested in having your best piece from this blog reviewed and discussed, please be ready to post it by Monday, November 16. And be sure you tell us why you think the article you chose best represents the essence of The Daily Gumboot. This promises to be as informative as it is fun. Now. Let’s get out there and make some memories!

Have fun with it!

- JCH

Demotivational Blogging

Copyright Despair, Inc. - the people who help you balance the positive in your life!

©Copyright Despair, Inc. - balance the positive in your life!

My boss sent me this poster. First, I should tell you that my boss and I have a great relationship. She is fair, honest, direct, visionary, knows how to motivate her people, has a keen sense of how to realize talent, and, clearly, has a pretty wicked sense of humour. Second, she is a brilliant businesswoman who recognizes trends and who is also is rather skeptical of bloggers, blogs and their place as mediums of communication and sources of information – especially for entitled Millennials like myself. Third, she is a Master of Library Science, a leader of a renowned book club and a lover of the written word.

So, is she right? Should I take her demotivation seriously? And, more importantly, what are we – producers and consumers of the blogosphere – to do about the apt and serious issue of blogs, possibly, being vehicles for narcissistic intellectual masturbation?

I’ll tell you what we should do. We should have a meaningful and collaborative discussion about it. Here. On this blog.

Allow me to kick it off. Here are three reasons to embrace and develop the culture of blogging:

1. Citizen Journalism. Whether telling an interesting or important or touching story with words, photos or statistics, well, blogs can fill the giant, gaping holes left open by corporately held global media conglomerates by employing grassroots, community-based strategies. And, through microblogging and search engines, citizen journalists can connect and share ideas, resources and their passion for truth and social justice. Well, let’s face it, some citizen journalists probably like greed and slavery, too.

2. Personalization and Democracy. Today, people no longer need to buy a whole newspaper just to read the three things that interest them. With RSS feeds to your favourite blogs, you can easily begin and end your day with thousands of words and dozens of pictures that tell stories of the world the way you like ‘em told – and, to get some balance, you can throw in an RSS feed from the Fox News blog just to get an idea of where crazy is living on a daily basis.

3. Global social change. Just ask my good friend and DG Correspondent, Theo Lamb, about the blogosphere creating real change. A web of change, even. I mean, just check out how many blogs are actually about changing the world! Guy Kawasaki writes about changing the world all the time. And, if you check out this list, I’m sure you’ll be able peruse your personalized world-changing experience. And, here’s the kicker: through the interconnection of the series of pipes and tubes that is the interscape, all these twitbloggers can connect, create and collaborate to make the world a better place. And that’s a beautiful thing!

And here are some reasons that blogs are terrifying:

1. Narcissism. For all the striving for positive social change through ideas and collaboration to create a sense of urgency in order to tackle our most pressing global issues, well, there are Johnists. People who highjack spaces like The Gumboot – or create their own space – to share opinions that add little or no value to a discussion to pursue nonsensicle and/or meanspirited diatribes typically do so with only entitled self-interest in mind. These people are Tweeting too hard!

2. Noise and Crap. Pretty simple. The democratic nature of the interscape makes it so anyone twitblog through it and leave a trail of unreasonable comments behind them. Sometimes, online forums – where anonymity and safety bring out a little of the “crazy” in all of us – turn into something along the lines of the most poorly organized, attended and delivered townhall meeting. Ever. Do we really need this blog in our lives? And this kid still has a higher Google page rank than me!

3. Grammar. Blogs, in general, are vehicles that overrun the simple beauty that is the written word. Just read a discussion thread following any article on TSN.ca. And idioms like lol, lmao, ttyl, omg, btw, wtf, and the like are destroying the written word. Write in full sentences and take time to appreciate well-crafted prose, people. Do we really want to live in a culture of soundbites?

So there it is. A started conversation on the point of blogging. But, hey, since this amazing publication-meets-social-enterprise is about collecting ideas from everywhere we must know something: what do you think?

- JCH

...that is the question, and it's one for you to answer, dear readers!

...that is the question, and it's one for you to answer, dear readers!

A tip o’ the hat to our favourite Canadian Author, Margaret Atwood

The traditional role of a writer is pretty straight forward: write a book, get it published, go to a few signings, and move on to the next. However, in this new media, new technology savvy world, this traditional role is sure to be a-changing. Take for instance, the blog-turned-novel overnight success of Julie Powell, the self-proclaimed “government drone” who spent a year cooking and blogging about her adventures Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a la Julia Child. Not surprisingly, she’s received some backlash: some more “traditionalist” writers do not see any room in their art for a *gasp* blogger.  Going a step farther - a year’s worth of blog content has now been turned into a major motion picture, Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep. Talk about culture clash.

What is a writer to do? Jump in to these new-fangled worlds of blogs and tweets and risk being ostrasized by the ‘traditionalists’? Take the plunge and hope your fans and fellow writers will maintain their respect for you as an artist (and perhaps, just maybe, have it increase a little?).

margaret-atwood_584And herein comes my (very reverant) tip o’ the hat to our (my) favourite Canadian author, Margaret Atwood.

Ms. Atwood has bestowed upon the world a remarkable amount (over 25 volumes) of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction. She is not afraid to broach difficult or controversial subjects (just Google search ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ’Banned’ and see what comes up …), or advocate for the rights of underfunded or marginalized groups (check out Ms. Atwood’s scathing critique of Mr. Harper and his decision to cut funding for the arts). Oh, and given the timely release of her latest nonfiction Payback during the crux of the global economic meltdown,  she’s also been touted as a fortune teller of sorts.

Indeed, Ms. Atwood is one cool and talented (and potentially psychic) lady.  What makes her even cooler and talented (but perhaps not more psychic) is the fact that she is blogging and tweeting throughout the duration of  her current promotional tour for her latest novel, The Year of The Flood. Not only is Ms. Atwood embracing these new technologies that so many others have been too afraid or too snobby to embrace, but she is also building and expanding ethical, sustainable, and relevant community in other ways. For instance, she’s making her current tour as green as possible – eating local and vegetarian food, purchasing carbon offset for travel, and staying in hotels with stellar environmental policies. She’s also challenging traditional assumptions of ‘the novel’, incorporating music and plays performed by local musicians and artists into her readings.

Margaret Atwood – a tip o’ the hat to you for challenging traditional norms, embarking unafraid into strange, new, online worlds, living by exemplary sustainable means, and staying true to your delightful, eccentric self.