Sunday Spotlight: @marruciic and @qualityhunters #SunSpot

Sunday Spotlight is my way of saying thanks to those members my online communities who have made an impact in the past week. It is also a nod to Ana Isabel Canhoto, and the way she interprets the popular #FollowFriday meme on Twitter. I even had the honor of featuring in this week’s FollowFriday post on her blog. How awesome is that?
In every Sunday Spotlight post I will introduce you to 1-3 very special people. These people have stood out in the past week, and on top of that, are worth following. They might impact your life as well.

Some people can get very evangelical about their favorite things. But only a few know how to do that without getting obnoxious. Mareks Matisons is one of those fews. Two of his passions are Foursquare and his city: Riga. Now that the guys at Foursquare are rolling out city badges, Mareks has launched a campaign to get Riga a Foursquare city badge. He’s curating a list, engaging his followers and I am pretty sure he’s going to get this done. So, follow the Unveil Riga list on Foursquare to help him with this, and his tweets on @marruciic.

The second one in the spotlight this week, is the guy (yes, it is a guy) some refer to as Alex. Others know him as @qualityhunters. I’m not sure he wants his name revealed here, so I’m not going to do that. (Alex, if you’re reading, let me know, I can always update the post). During the Quality Hunters 2 project last year, Alex was running the Twitter account of the campaign. And he did so with verve. Every single day he engaged an ever growing audience with the project. Asking questions, launching discussions and generating lots of attention for the project. All that, he did with charm. Even after the project finished, and still now, he keeps the account lively, the debate going and even supports initiatives of community members. Alex is quite young still, and a talent to keep an eye on.

Huge steps closer to my dream of a book

Be part of my dream to publish a poetry book

This week was a good start to my new project. I decided that this year will be the year I make a childhood dream come true and publish a book. Because I want to share that dream with many people, I decided that I’m going to self-publish the book and ask the crowd to help me fund it. The crowd funding campaign is hosted at IndieGoGo.com, because they seem the best used international website for crowd funding.

In the first week of my campaign, I’ve had hundreds of visitors to the campaign site, and already three funders. That might not seem that much, but according to the data of IndieGogo, it takes on average 7 contact before someone contributes. These three friends and poetry lovers, who have also unlocked the Early Bird Funding perk, are clearly bringing down that average! I’m very thankful for that.

Next to that, several friends cared to share the campaign with their friends and follower on different social platforms. Amazing. And as icing on the cake, the project got mentioned by Ana Isabel Canhoto in her wonderful Follow Friday posts. (Her blog is absolutely worth following if your interested in anything social and marketing, she has a great way of exploring interesting topics).

In short: a good start to the crowd funding campaign to realize my dream of a book. Head over to IndieGoGo to learn more, and get a bonus video.

Sunday Spotlight: @mrsoaroundworld, @NatalieGorohova and @rickmans #SunSpot

Sunday Spotlight is my way of saying thanks to those members my online communities who have made an impact in the past week. It is also a nod to Ana Isabel Canhoto, and the way she interprets the popular #FollowFriday meme on Twitter.
In every Sunday Spotlight post I will introduce you to 1-3 very special people. These people have stood out in the past week, and on top of that, are worth following. They might impact your life as well.

The first person I’d like to put in the spotlight is Ana Silva-O’Reilly. She was the first to fund my Book Dream crowd fund project. I cannot thank her enough for that. Next to that, she has a super cool travel blog, that you should check out. Just one warning: it will make you want to travel to many wonderful places.

Natalie Gorohova certainly also deserves a special mention this week. She arranged for the TED2012 Full Spectrum conference to come to Riga, by organizing #TEDxRigaLive. And she has more up her sleeve, with already other TEDxRiga events planned. This is a lady to take note of.

The last one this week is my friend Rick Mans. Somehow he always knows to point out exactly the things you need to know. I asked him for advice on my Book Dream crowd fund project, and he came back with some things that made me think, and I will certainly take into account. Thanks Rick!

Impressions of #TEDxRigaLive

TEDxRigaLive - this way please

TEDxRigaLive - this way please

Attending a TED conference might be a dream for many, but technology, the organizers and some wonderful people around the world, made it possible to watch the TED2012 conference around the world. Also in Riga. On 1 March, in one of the auditoriums of SSE Riga, several sessions were shown in their entirety at TEDxRigaLive. I popped in to watch some during the day, and 2 of the talks particularly impressed me.

Donald Sadoway discussed an innovative way to store energy: a battery made of materials that are abundantly available on our planet. What amazed me about his talk were three things: first, for the world to really switch to renewable energy, we need better solutions for distribution of energy. The grids are a bottle neck now, and these batteries can really help us to get forward. The second thing was that he started his design with the idea of not using rare materials and wasteful production. It might seem idealistic, or small, but it is a huge example of how it should be done. The third thing that struck me, was that he used young talent rather than ‘experts’ with a proven track record. If you want to disrupt an industry, that is the way to go. In all respects, this talk should be watched by everyone.

The talk I found most funny, of the ones I’ve seen, was the one by Lior Zoref. He made a dream come true, used the crowd to help him and had maybe the best prop ever: Teddi the Ox. Brilliant, funny, and very, very inspiring.

Watching the TED talks, especially so close to the real event, and not months or years later, is a wonderful experience. It inspires to think in solutions, rather than in problems. We could use more of that spirit. In the world, in Europe, and maybe specifically in Latvia. If we want to have good lives, we need to think in terms of solutions.

We all owe a huge thank you to Natalie Gorohova for making this happen.