Life Lessons and Leadership Principles

The video below is of Lt. General Hal Moore discussing Leadership, recorded at the 2007 American Veterans Conference in Washington D.C. He highlights a number of principles that has guided his life and also guided him on the battlefield.

1 In baseball, three strikes and you’re out. In the game of life three strikes and you are not out, there is always one more thing you can do, to influence any situation in your favour. All you have to do is think, what else can I do, and after that there’s one more thing you can do. The more things you do the more opportunities that open up.

2 On the battlefield always try to be where the action is going on. A battlefield leader has to lead on the battlefield.

3 In any situation you’ve got to think what am I doing that I should not be doing and what am I not doing that I should be doing, to influence the situation in my favour. There’s always one more thing.

4 Trust your instincts. Your instincts are the product of your experience, your reading, your personality. Your instincts are your best resource. Your gut tells you one thing and your heart tells you another. Go with your gut.

5  Life is not a bed of roses. You are going to be hit with adversity, now and again. When hit by adversity, you’ve got to believe that you will prevail in the end.

The trailer below is of the 2002 film We Were Solders depicting the Vietnam War  battle of la Drang in 1965. The film stars Mel Gibson as the then Lt Colonel (imdb).

Another interesting example of a speech revolving life lessons was by Navy Admiral William H. McRaven during the University of Texas 2014 commencement. It can be summed in the following principles below.

1 If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

2 f you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

3  If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

4 If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

5 If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

6 If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

7  If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

8 If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

9  If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

10 If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

Many of these principles can be summed up as “Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up”.

Another key idea discussed is that by changing the lives of just a few people within a few generations this can impact the lives of everybody on the planet.

One can read the entire transcript of the speech (online) at the University of Texas website.

The video below is again of Admiral McRaven highlighting eight key leadership lessons.
1 Know your troops.
2 Communicate constantly.
3 Set the example.
4 Accountability matters.
5 Allow room to maneuver.
6 Own the problems.
7 Learn from failure and move on.
8 Be a servant leader.

Some other blog posts that may be worth reading:
Prof Randy Pausch Time Management & The Last Lecture (online)
Schwarzenegger Interview: Vision, Goals, Confidence and Time Management (online)

Do you know of any other interesting videos / articles discussing interesting life lessons or leadership principles?



University incoming Class Photos – (Examples in Video), an engaging Start?

It seems that quite a number of Universities start off the academic year by organising a class photo for all the new incoming students. A number of such examples can be seen in the videos below.

As can be seen in the video directly below, such group photographs aren’t just limited to the University arena but also spans across the Universe, in particular with this example of the 10 year anniversary group photo of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Universe 10 year Class Photo

1. Is this a good method of building a sense of community, pride and belonging right from the very start of the University experience?

2. Do many other Universities create incoming class photos?

3. Is it nice to receive a hardcopy print of the photo, or is it better & more environmentally friendly for it to be available online through the likes of Facebook so participants can be tagged, given we are nearing the end of the second decade of the 21st century?

4. Have you seen any institutions outside of the US taking on this form of welcome activity?

5. Have you seen any other interesting forms of welcome activity that generates a sense of community and excitement?

6. What is the smallest & largest gathering you have seen for a University class group photo, 3000, 5000, more?

7. Are such incoming class photos generally taken at the University level for all incoming students, or have you seen any that are at College/Faculty or School/Department level?

8. What was the most fun / interesting incoming class group photo you’ve seen?

Butler University – Class of 2021

Butler University – Class of 2020

Butler University – Class of 2019

Butler University – Class of 2018

Butler University – Class of 2017

University of Chicago – Class of 2019

University of Chicago – Class of 2018

University of Chicago – Class of 2016

University of Connecticut– Class of 2016

Cornell – Class of 2016

Duke University – Class of 2020

Duke University – Class of 2019

Duke University – Class of 2018

Duke University – Class of 2016 (Over 40 minutes duration)

Duke University – Class of 2013

Emory University – Class of 2021

Emory University – Class of 2016

Emory University – Class of 2014 (First ever class photo)

University of Iowa – Class of 2019

University of Iowa – Class of 2015

University of Massachusetts – Class of 2020

Michigan Technological University – Class of 2013

Michigan Technological University – Class of 2012

University of Minnesota – Class of 2020

MSOE – Class of 2018

University of North Texas – Class of 2019

Northwestern University – Class of 2021

Northwestern University – Class of 2020

Northwestern University – Class of 2018

University of Pennsylvania – Class of 2016

University of Pittsburgh – Class of 2021

University of Pittsburgh – Class of 2020

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) – Class of 2018

University of Southern Indiana – Class of 2018

SMU – Class of 2021

SMU – Class of 2020

SMU – Class of 2016

SMU – Class of 2015

University of Texas at Austin – Class of 2021

University of Texas at Austin – Class of 2020

University of Texas at Austin – Class of 2019

University of Texas at Austin – Class of 2018

University of Texas at Austin – Class of 2017

Wesleyan University – Class of 2018

West Point – Class of 2012

BCU Global Game Jam 2018 – Tweet Summary

The 2018 Global Game Jam event took place over the weekend of Friday 26th Jan to Sun 28th Jan. In the case of BCU registrations commenced around 17:00 on the 25th, with the opening ceremony starting at 18:00. The theme for the 2018 event was “Transmission” the previous year was “Waves”.

The event started to finish up around 13:00 on Sunday 28th Jan with the teams uploading their games (online). At 14:00 presentations kicked off, with a number of companies and organisers present to judge and give prizes. The Vice Chancellor also attended for most of this final presentation session along with half a dozen academics from the School of Computing and Digital Technology. After the handing out of a number of prizes, one being to visit Fish in a Bottle (online), the two day event wrapped up around 15:30.

In all over 70 people took part, from universities across the country along with a number of graduates out in industry as well.

The following tweets below, may give you some idea of what the event was like. One can also see a collection of tweets from last years event (online).

I also made a further post during the weekend of the Game Jam – highlighting a good few tweets that depict the use of Tents at these events and Hackathons in general (online). Some large hackathon events have been in tents that would have taken days to construct. Some teams bring tents with them and have in-tent coding going on during the event, while others take more a campfire approach. In the case of one hackathon held in a sports hall, a large portion of same was taken over with tents.

Bring your Tent: Global Game Jam & Hackathon Examples

Over the past couple of years one can see that Tents have been deployed during Game Jam and Hackathon events. You can see in the tweet directly below that a whole section of a sports hall was taken over with tents during the 2017 Global Game Jam.

Another tweet from Global Game Jam 2017 shows a tent and “campfire” in operation. The theme for the 2017 event was “Waves”.

Looks like one group are undertaking “Tent Projection Mapping” for the 2018 Global Game Jam, therein incorporating the camping experience into their game idea. The theme for the 2018 event was “Transmission”.

Looks like a “Fort” was constructed for the events below.

Here we have an entire team doing some in-tent game development.

This event from Sydney suggests brining your own tent to the Hackathon

These Hackathon events from 2017 takes the idea of a Tent to a whole other scale.

Here’s one from 2016 with a major Hackathon Tent under construction.

Here is the “Peach Pod” Tent from a 2016 Hackathon event.

In Tent coding from 2016.

Looks like this 2015 Hackathon is at quite some scale, with quite a significant entrance way in place.

A Microsoft Hackathon from 2015.

A tent in place for a 2014 Hackathon Event

A slightly different style of “Tent” than many of the examples above.

Here’s just a few other examples of Hackathon Tents.

The following tweets below, highlight some nice examples of Post-it note art on the walls adding a good splash of colour and fun to the environment. Post-its can be useful for many things and not just for planning out your Game / Hackathon idea. Here’s a previous post (online) highlighting some post-it note art on campus.

Having some mascots at Game Jams and Hackathons are always fun too.

Post-it Note Art on Campus

Following on from my previous Blog Post (online) highlighting a number of YouTube videos depicting Post-it note art, this post gives some idea of the Post-it Note murals that have materialised around the School of Computer Science and Digital Technology, Birmingham City University. As previously mentioned on a visit to the Google London offices over the summer, myself and a dozen other academics really enjoyed seeing the Post-it note art they had adorned their offices with.

To add a greater splash of colour around the School we purchased 15,300 3M Super Sticky Post-it Notes, this is sufficient to cover an area of around 88 square meters. The images below give some sense of the murals that have already been created, with many more likely to follow. These murals have been created by a number of placement students we have working here at the School. As can be expected they have all had a very distinctive Computing/Gaming theme to them.

What other Post-it Note murals do you think would be interesting to see?

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art in Video

During the summer I spent some time at Google London along with around a dozen other academics from half a dozen universities. One thing in particular that caught everybody’s attention was the displays of Post-it Note Pixel Art adorning the interior windows. As you would expect, many of the mosaics were game characters. It seemed like a really good, fun and collaborative way of brightening up the offices spaces and bringing them to life.

It would seem that this use of Post-it note art has spread from Google London’s office to its Dublin Office as can be seen in the time-lapse videos directly below (posted less than two weeks ago – 15/09/2017), whereby Wonder Woman now adorns some of the windows of Google’s Dublin Office.

Some other offices have also made use of Post-it Notes to make the otherwise plain walls sparkle with excitement and colour. The videos below depict the creation of a murial of several characters such as Iron-man, Wonder Woman and Batman requiring a total of 8024 Post-it notes (online). The work of art was of a temporary nature as they were moving to another office within a few months. The manner in which they removed the artwork was quite unique employing a leaf-blower to prise the post-it’s from the walls.

The video below shows yet another office taking a Star Wars theme to the creation of their Post-it Note murials.

It would seem that this imaginative use of Post-it notes commenced with a simple “Hi” being posted on the window of an advertising agency, with another agency right across the street replying to same (around 2 years ago). This quickly escalated into an all out Post-it note battle (online) as can be seen from the news segments and videos below. The hashtags #postitwars and #canalnotes also began to be bounded around on twitter. If you do some further searching around you will find several other examples of Post-its being used for artistic purposes going back several years previous to this post-it war.

Quite a few other videos may also be found online with companies and individuals adorning their windows and walls with post-it notes.

From the time-lapse video below captured in a sports hall it would seem that post-it note art has been taken to a whole different level in terms of sheer scale.

The following website (online) has some useful tips for creation Post-it note art. From suggesting to use 3M Super Sticky Notes, to measuring your wall space and planning out a grid. On another Note – pun intended – you can find out more about the accidental invention of the glue and inception of the post-it back in the late 1970’s (online).

Overall this form of art seems like a really fun and simple way to liven up an office space or blank wall / window. It could be a really fun and collaborative way of turning whitewashed walls of university computer labs into something exciting, immersive and inspirational for instance.

Hackathon Examples Around Birmingham in Video

Hackathons are a great way to learn new skills and provides opportunities to work with other students in small groups / teams. Many Hackathons take place around Birmingham with the essence of some of these having been captured in video format. The selection of videos below from past Hackathons should help to give you some idea of what they are like and perhaps help to encourage you to attend such an event in the future if you haven’t been to one before.

Even if you have little to no programming experience you should still go along to a Hackathon. Sometimes you will find participants who have graduated several years before and others who may still be in secondary school depending on the format of the event. Some Hackathons are closed events – focused on a particular University institution, many are more open to all who are interested. Many of the larger more open Hackathons are helped by Major League Hacking (MLH) an organisation that can help you setup and run a Hackathon event.

Bull Hack 2017, Curzon Building

Hack The Midlands 2016, Millennium Point

Local Hack Day Birmingham 2016

Aston Hack 2015

Brum Hack 5.0

BrumHack 4 Final Presentation (2 Hour Video)

BrumHack 2014, Live Demos (~80 Minute Video)

BrumHack 3 (30 Hour Timelapse <5 Minute Video)

Game Jam 2014

Typically Hackathon events take place over a period of 24 Hours, though some can be shorter day long events, or longer 48 Hour events. Often these events have a theme or some suggested areas within which you should try to develop some form of novel / interesting software solution. At the terminus of the coding period, each team will then have the opportunity to give a short presentation / demo of the product. These presentations / demos are often judged by a panel whom award prizes at the end, before the final wrap up. Above all the most important part about a Hackathon is participation, as you never know what potential employers may be in attendance. They also serve as a very useful addition to ones CV and can help to make it stand out.