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Al Gore on SNL: I'm out to "out crazy the crazy"

Geoff Wood

Other than that ridiculous Sarah Palin rap(1) during last year's election season, former Vice President Al Gore provides the best sketches of any politician I've ever seen on Saturday Night Live. He had some good ones during his presidential campaign and actually hosted back in 2002 but last night's was the best, yet.

Now that he's left elected office in order to lobby for the environment, he was brought in by the SNL staff to fulfill their "Green Week" network requirements. He joined Seth Meyers at the Weekend Update desk to discuss his plans to "out crazy the crazy" in order to get more traction for his cause. The entire sketch is good but my favorite part is the beginning dialog where Gore and Meyers discuss President Obama:

Al Gore: “…[Obama] was elected with an overwhelming mandate. I mean, he won the popular vote, Seth, and we all know that’s the one that counts.”

Seth Meyers: “He won the other vote, too”

Al Gore; “If you say so, I don’t really pay attention to that. I’m a popular vote guy.”

Good stuff.

(1)If the decision to participate in this is discussed in Palin's new book, it may actually be worth reading.

63rd Annual Indiana University Business Conference

Geoff Wood

Cross posted with the Kelley School of Business "BizBlog"


I had the pleasure of attending the 63rd Annual Indiana University Business Conference put on by our very own Kelley School. This was my second time attending the conference and I was a little concerned that this year's event wouldn't live up to my expectations after last year's great event that featured presentations by the CEO's of FedEx Corporation, Simon Property Management, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Langham Logistics as well as Indiana University President Michael McRobbie and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels - but it did.

At first blush, this year's speakers didn't jump out at me as the same level of "household names" as before. However, that doesn't mean that they (and their companies) weren't impressive or didn't provide equal or greater value to those of us in attendance - they certainly did.

These year's lineup included Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, Bill McKibben, Environmentalist, Amory Lovins, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Michael Evans, Founder and President of AIT Laboratories, Douglas Lattner, Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting and Michael Rippey, President of ArcelorMittal USA.

The moderator and keynote speaker was New York Times Columnist David Brooks (who is a household name, despite what I mentioned earlier) was amusing, informative and insightful in his discussion of political leadership in the midst of this economic crisis. He offered behind-the-scenes stories and personal impressions of both President Obama and the second President Bush that put into perspective how I view those in power.

As good as Mr. Brooks keynote was, my favorite presentation was actually by Mr. Lovins, whose physical appearance matches his title of "Chief Scientist" but his communication skills do not. His presentation was quite understandable for the non-technical 50,000 foot decision makers in the room as well as compelling in its arguments (such as the value in automotive and aviation companies switching from steel to carbon fiber for construction materials).

In a first for me, I attempted to keep a running Twitter account of the goings on throughout the day and was joined in by others hailing from the Bloomington and IU East campuses (click here for the archive at #kelleyconf).

I would strongly recommend that any Kelley student, especially those of us evening MBA candidates who have lost our continuing education budgets in our full time jobs, take full advantage of the no-cost or low-cost opportunities provided for learning of this kind. The next one is coming up quickly - register now for the IU Entrepreneurial Connection event in Bloomington on March 27th.

Click below for posts on Social Media Fanatic about the event:

Friends O' Mine - Part 1

Geoff Wood

Indianapolis, while certainly a nice place, is a Big Ten town. I, however, am not a Big Ten guy. I’m a proud alumnus of Iowa State University, of the Big 12 Conference. Many of my college buddies are also Big 12 guys and live in Big 12 towns, such as Kansas City, Denver or Omaha. Many others live in cities that I consider shared by the two conferences, such as Chicago, Minneapolis, or Des Moines. Very few live in Indianapolis.

Since my alma mater is 7-8 hours away and my college buddies live in places that are decidedly not Indianapolis, it’s no surprise that I don’t get to see them very often.

However, the past two weeks have been different. It started on a Tuesday night when my good buddy Ryan Pieper was in town for work. Ryan’s a pledge brother who lives in Denver. Luckily, Tuesday is the one night each week that I don’t have class so we were able to grab a few drinks in a couple of my favorite Downtown Indy establishments. 

We talked about which of our buddies were where at this point in their lives and who each of us had seen in the last year or so. Ryan wondered why I was so in the loop and I told him the answer was simple: Facebook. He told me his wife was on Facebook but he had been resisting. I exalted the benefits and he promised to go for it. I dropped him at his hotel and headed home. I logged into Facebook the next morning and was happy to see a connection request from Ryan, which I gladly accepted – only to find out that he’d already connected with 40-some others in just a few short hours.

That weekend I met up with a few other college buddies in Chicago. The point of the trip was to reminisce with the old CampusAuthority.com buddies: T-rav, Yezek, and Nick Walters. Reminisce we did, along with sharing a few drinks and subsequent cab rides. I had the opportunity to see some other Chicago-area college friends, like Kurt Johnson.

There was a downside to the weekend as, unfortunately, somebody stole the Obama magnet off my car (while in the garage of T-rav’s building). That’s something I figured might happen in the ramp up the election but not just before inauguration (and in Chicago to boot!).  Oh well, Brad Becker tells me that it’s time to ditch the campaign propaganda, anyway.

I’m not sure why I haven’t visited Chicago more often in 4+ years in Indy – it’s only a few hours away. 

Inauguration Satellite Images

Geoff Wood

Here are a couple images from President Obama's Inauguration today:

The estimated 2 million people witnessing the event live are pictured from space as big masses of black on the otherwise green/brown grass.


A closer view of the "ticketed" crowd that had seats in front of the Capitol Building's steps.

Images courtesy of GeoEye.com

Election 2.0

Geoff Wood

Campaign 2008 was historic for several reasons and not to be forgotten is the way that current technology allows everyday citizens to participate and follow along through television, radio, and online.

Television

I wasn’t content to watch the election coverage on any one network, instead I flipped between several. I started with NBC, moved on to BBC America, then back to NBC, then to CNN, then to Comedy Central, then back to NBC. It’s really interesting to see the different perspectives from each organization. NBC is trusted and familiar(1), BBC America provided the international perspective, CNN was trying to impress with visual wizardry, and Comedy Central, was obviously hilarious. BBC America may have been my favorite; it was a bit disorganized and a bit lacking in knowledge about our political system (which is to be expected, being Brits and all) and actually fairly funny. Their live remotes weren’t smooth and they added lots of random anecdotes for their international audience like, “Iowa has just been called for Obama; Iowa is a state with 6 pigs for every resident”.(2)

Another television difference on this election night is the advent of HDtv. We’re only several weeks into our HDtv experience but I was impressed with NBC’s use of the technology, not only showing an improved and spectacularly clear picture but also using the extra screen real estate to show results and graphs to keep you up to speed throughout the evening.  

Radio

In the age of iPod I don’t listen to the radio all that much but I did quite a bit throughout the campaign. XM radio, and the ability to have national coverage, is a blessing on the long road trips to and from Iowa and along with its POTUS ’08 station. I listened to replays of several Obama speeches(3) and even the entire Vice Presidential debate on the way to and from losing Iowa State football contests.

Online

The big technology change is social media. While watching the television results, I bounded back and forth between the election coverage on Twitter and my own profile on Facebook. Twitter, a website that allows you to post a mere 140 character or less statement (known as a “tweet”), is surprisingly fun and informative. Their election coverage was to pool the tweets of millions of users on various election topics in real time. So, when the critical State of Ohio was announced for Obama, I could click on the word “Ohio” and the see a scrolling window (again, in real time) of everyone’s (millions of people that I don’t know) thoughts on Ohio. What a great tool. It was also fun to follow along during the debates to view people’s reactions to the candidates’ responses, as well.

I have it set up so that my tweets become my status in Facebook. Inside Facebook, people can comment on items such as each other’s status and never have I seen that used more than during election night.

Election Night is somewhat of anomaly as far as nights go, since all around the country (world) people were at home watching the same event at the same time and following it online. I’m excited to see how the Obama Administration uses technology to bolster their abilities to lead our government over the next four(4) years and also excited to see how we the people use technology to participate in it.

(1)I love The Today Show (2)I have no idea if that ratio is true. (3)Both Barack and Michele’s speeches (4) Eight!?!