Man cannot live on tech blog posts alone (at least not this man).
I just returned from Park City, Utah, and five days of watching a dozen independent films in both the U.S. Dramatic and Premiere categories.
Many have asked which movies I liked (and which they should see if/when they gain major distribution and come to a theater near you). So here’s my quick rundown of movies you should go see in the next year.
But first, yes, I had several star sightings – Ashton Kutcher, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lake Bell, Melonie Diaz and Ryan Coogler. Oh, I got to drink bourbon with the producer of a horror movie called “We Are What We Are,” which is a self-described artistic albeit niche film about a family of cannibals.
I. Must See
My top five, the “don’t miss” movies from the festival! All should have distribution deals coming to a theater near you in 2013 sometime.
1) In A World . . . Lake Bell wrote, stars and directs this film in which she plays a struggling voice coach, the daughter of a prominent voice-over artist. A quirky yet hilariously charming film, chalk full of dysfunction, sexism, pride, ego and ambition. Bell won the best screenplay award for this movie – well deserved. Very funny flick.
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” T.E. Lawrence
Recently I found myself daydreaming, not about the things I’d like to accomplish, but about some things I’d like to learn.
Here’s what I came up with.
- Anthropology. I’m curious about world cultures, in particular the historical, cultural and artistic traditions of the indigenous people of British Columbia, Canada (my birthplace and childhood home). Maybe it’s time to revisit the Museum of Anthropology!
As most of us have taken time to reflect on the events of a decade ago, I was taken back to my own small, personal connection to NYC shortly after 9/11. Below is a note I sent via email to my immediate family members (all of whom are Canadian, some of whom have lived in the United States – ‘though none as long as I have). I wonder have I done enough . . . .
Subject: Thoughts of NYC
Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 21:07:47 -0800
From: email@example.com (Brent Harrison)
I moved to the United States some nine years ago from Canada. Like many
Canadians who have emigrated to the US, I was very grateful to this
country for the opportunity afforded me — education, work, many
wonderful friends. Also like many Canadians, amidst my gratitude, there
was a guarded cynicism for the things I felt “wrong” with American
society — socio-economic stratification, public education, gun control,
urban violence, some degree of cultural and moral decay, and, perhaps
most insidious, of all a sort of blind patriotism. Mine was not a
mythical American immigrant story — I came from a country which
possesses many of the same wonderful rights, privileges, freedoms and
opportunities prevalent in America. Unlike many of the immigrants to
the United States, I did not come here overtly in the pursuit of life,
liberty or happiness. I did not necessarily look to the US as a beacon
of goodness and liberty. I was not escaping oppression or persecution.
In my consulting practice in working with software and Internet companies on strategy, product innovation and marketing issues, I often get approached by smaller, early-stage companies who, without a doubt, have needs for assistance. The rub for me professionally is that, because of where they are in their maturity (and funding) cycles, they often don’t have cash resources to hire “consultants” per se. In turn, I have made it SmokeJumper Strategy’s policy to not provide consulting services in exchange for equity. I have attempted this a couple of times in the past and it doesn’t work out. (I know the risk is I turn down equity in the next Google or Facebook, but I’m willing to live with the odds of that happening).
I do love working with early-stage companies and the entrepreneurs responsible for them – there is nothing more exciting, challenging and rewarding when you can see ideas come to fruition or changes in a product to better fit a market or insights about a market drive the direction and engineering efforts of a new product. This feeling is universal in all the spaces I’ve worked in: consumer, enterprise, education and developer tools. I’ve struggled with how to help entrepreneurs who I know and who have approached me to get involved at an earlier stage with regard to the fact I am a consultant and to a large extent am “coin operated” in delivering the services SmokeJumper Strategy provides and the fees that charged for their provision.
- Canada elected a minority Conservative government in October.
- The opposition parties, consisting of the Liberals (Moderates), New Democratic Party / NDP (Socialists) and Bloc Quebecois (Separatists) objected to the perceived lack of economic stimulus in a statement made by the Conservatives. (Apparently the Canadian economy is not immune to the toilet bowl swirl of the US market, although there are some differences: a viable banking sector, no real estate market collapse, record airline transportation rates, low government deficits . . . but I digress).
- Many claim the real reason, in addition to pure politics, is that the Conservatives are planning to eliminate public funding of political parties (which is something I’m against – despite what Obama was able to accomplish here without public financing).
- The unholy alliance of Liberals, Socialists and Separatists . . . oh my. . . (where’s a good Green Party Member of Parliament when you could use one?) have signed a pact to vote down the government and asked the Governor General (my friend Bucky claims “she’s hot” but he drank a lot of beer in his youth) to allow them to form the next government. Yes, in Canada they still have to ask a figurehead representative of the Queen (of England that is) permission to rule the land (and use the potty).
- In response the Conservatives have asked the Governor General to delay the opening of parliament until late January. As of today, it appears she has decided that not allowing anyone to legislate or debate in a legitimate forum is the right course of action for Canada.
- Why bother having elections?
- Why have a legislative body, if it doesn’t meet?
- When facing dire economic prospects, the best thing to do is to politic and get nothing accomplished.
- Thank goodness the Queen can still rule over the land – “God save her” and all that – without getting on an aeroplane or steamship.
- Why does a separatist party elect members to national institution that its prime purpose in life is to undo?
- When leading a revolution (or at least a rag tag coalition), rather than having a dynamic leader that captivates all, it is best to be lead by the equivalent of a meek and bumbling 3rd grade math teacher (see Stephane Dion who, by the way, is planning on stepping down from his leadership post in March, 2009).
- Canadians are getting no change they can’t believe in.