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Welcome to Campando Maryknoll

Original art: Tucker Nichols Hack: Tena Watts (Think Wrong Master Class grad)

Original art: Tucker Nichols
Hack: Tena Watts (Think Wrong Master Class grad)


A report from Eugene Shirley, a recently certified Wrong Thinker from last week’s Think Wrong Master Class.


I had a great meeting today with our favorite nuns and we’re confirmed for Campando, Jan. 20, 21 and 22 at the Maryknoll Sisters compound in Monrovia, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. (bears included). They will provide food and lodging, targeting LA County millennial leaders from social justice and environmental communities who feel in need of rejuvenation (a small group at first, to experiment). We will Make Stuff and Bet Small—prototyping a program they hope to replicate multiple times throughout the year.

I took the Make Stuff: Name It Poster (see photo with three of the sisters pictured), used it to catch them up on our ideas from last week, and then they took it from there. I took along two extra blank posters and they wanted me to leave them so they could think wrong on their own.  

Eugene lead the sisters in the Make Stuff: Name It Drill

Eugene lead the sisters in the Make Stuff: Name It Drill

They loved the name of Campando, only suggesting we call this specific event “Campando Maryknoll” in order to make it their own. One sister in particular loved “Pandonista.” She had just returned from El Paso helping to settle a recent influx of emigres from Mexico who have aimed to get back across the border and with their families before the presidency changes (these nuns are fierce). “Just live it” seemed to them exactly right as a tagline. Of course, everyone LOVED the hack of Tucker Nichol's wonderful image of the Pando trees.  

The sisters started working on the program. They were very focused on reflection and rejuvenation. They thought the idea of this being an oasis of reflection—an idea inspired by the Get Out: That's Odd Drill (Virgin Tub) seemed exactly right. The sisters suggested we start on Friday night with a wine and beer Happy Hour, and end the weekend with a hike in the mountains and brunch at a waterfall with a ritual focused on giving Pandonistas strength for their social justice and environmental missions. The sisters have served in the most dangerous places all over the world and will share their stories on Saturday. We’ll use the Think Wrong Lab to design the program.

They brilliantly suggested this be declared a cellphone-free zone (I remember seeing photos of Tucker’s images around FB on that) and that Pandonistas place their cellphones in a box on a common table during orientation on Friday night. They can give their significant others the convent’s switchboard number in case of emergency. I absolutely fell in love with this idea. 


Eugene B. Shirley, Jr. is founding president and CEO of Pando Populus and a long-time entrepreneur. For twenty-five years, he produced prime-time programming for PBS and some 30 countries under Pacem Productions. He was founding CEO of a text analytics firm.  He is a former Jennings Randolph Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.


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Cricket+Facebook=Security

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Cricket+Facebook=Security

Have you ever wondered “How long would it take for security to show up if you were to pull into Facebook’s corporate headquarters in Menlo Park with a Cricket Trailer, unhitch it, push it into a parking spot, start popping the roof, and wind down the steadies?”

Well, we have an answer.

It’s a little less than two minutes.

But to give the security guy credit he was on a bike, someone had to see us on CCTV, wonder what the bloody hell we were up to, communicate it to him, and then he had to find us. Two minutes in that context is a pretty rapid response. Kudos to Facebook security!

Once we explained to him that we were there to see Tim Campos the CIO, and yes we were planning on meeting him in the parking lot—in the Cricket, that had transformed into a mobile-blitzing-lab-come-conference-center he was mightily impressed, and as the Cricket is now a giant dry erase board Greg wrote “Approved by FB security” on the front and we were good to go (that apparently is all it takes!).

We then had to convince Tim’s executive assistant that we were not going to kidnap one of the most influential CIO’s in the world, we're pretty sure he was only 22% joking about that.  Upon inspection, he agreed that our conference room was far superior to any on their campus* and he went inside to return with Tim.

*He may not have said that, but it was pretty obvious what he was thinking!

Greg had used his illustrative talents to draw, amongst many things, a picture of Tim on the side of the Cricket along with his quote: 

“Technology matters, but talent matters more”. 

Some people, like John Bielenberg for instance ;), might have thought such a thing creepy, weird and slightly stalker-esq… conversely we thought it mildly sidesplitting and with John being in Maine at the time, what was he going to do about it?

Mercifully, Tim’s team saw the hilarity, and he himself was impressed that he’d said such wise words.

Tim Campos and the Cricket Trailer

To the meeting itself, is there a better environment in which to describe a Blitz than a hacked Cricket, that was born from a Blitz, out in a parking lot, sipping delightfully chilled REBBL tonic (born from another Blitz), from the onboard refrigerator? Let’s examine:

  • Be Bold: We think showing up in a Cricket adorned with the CIO’s face on the side is pretty bold.
  • Get Out: Well yeah—not only did we get out, but we gave the Facebook team the opportunity to get out of their environment too, to be receptive and invite serendipity.
  • Let Go: This was most definitely not the same old same old meeting!
  • Make Stuff: We were sitting in a space that was living testament to making, and the Facebook team engaged having fun with the physical space, playing with the writable surfaces and the Cricket itself.
  • Bet Small: The worse thing that could have happened is thinking it was a little weird and having the meeting in a conference room instead.
  • Move Fast: The Cricket was still a Cricket until a week before, and we had no way of moving it. Plus, it is a conference room that can go about 70mph—that’s a pretty fast conference room.

There was serendipity of doing all this at Facebook whose culture fosters the traits of blitzing and the Think Wrong Practices themselves, and we're thankful the team was more than willing to return serve with us, how’d the meeting turn out? 

You’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. If we did it again, we would put beer in the cooler!

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Cricket+Hack=Facebook

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Cricket+Hack=Facebook

What happens when a Cricket Trailer finds itself within sight of a blitz? 

Uh-oh…

Solve Next friend, founder of Taxa, and inventor of the distinctly awesome Cricket Trailer Garrett Finney lent Project M one of his early Crickets to use in their adventures. Via the M-ers inHALE effort said Cricket ended up at The Think Wrong Lab, where it collided with the Future Mavericks and their Blitz.

One of the moonshots conceived in their Blitzing the Blitz Blitz was Milk—a mobile rapid ingenuity lab.

Huh, what existing resource do we have that’s mobile and already ingenious to make a small bet?

Oooo – a Cricket Trailer!

We had 5 Mavs for 5 days, and Mav Anthony hanging around for a little longer. Sweet. Let’s do it! Let’s hack the Cricket. We had no collective experience in doing this sort of thing—how hard could it be?

Here’s where we started… we gutted the Cricket.

We took out all the seats, rewired it, moved the batteries to provide room to accommodate 10 people, all while not losing utility so that John could use it on “expeditions” (his words, John clearly is  unfamiliar with a hitched Jetta’s ground clearance).

Speaking of hitches, here’s one—you’ll note I wrote Garret lent us the Cricket, but here’s what John had said “Garrett GAVE us the Cricket”— what he meant to say was “Garrett gave us the Cricket TO USE”, five letters, big difference in meaning!

Thankfully, Garrett was beyond agreeable telling us to “go mad” —good, after the fact, given what we’d already done!

 We primed, sanded and finished the exterior turning it into one giant dry erase board using IdeaPaint.

By the time we were done, we’d converted the interior walls and hanging table-come bed into white boards, added a projector screen, storage for our blitzing accouterments, and seating for 10—and John could still be expeditionary. 

So what does this have to do with Facebook?

It’s Tuesday and Anthony added a potted plant as a finishing touch before heading home to Kansas City. We’ve never towed it, the Jetta still doesn’t have a hitch, we don’t know what it takes to get one (it’s more than you think!), and the Cricket looks insane. Greg and I have, what we consider to be, a brilliant idea for an incredibly important meeting with Tim Campos, the CIO of Facebook and his team on Friday.

John’s response to our brilliant idea, “Is that a good idea?”. When John—the conceiver of Think Wrong—verbalizes concern regarding the potential wrongness of our thinking you’d think we’d pause.

We didn’t.

What could possibly go wrong?

Find out what happened next in our next blog post!

*** For a different perspective check out Anthony's blog here — it's where we stole a bunch of pictures from ***

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MakeLab and HERObike seeing green

Think Wrong about Bamboo

Bamboo grows like crazy all over the south. Some call it invasive. It makes some people see red. But it has the ingenious teams at MakeLab* and HERObike seeing green. Green as in fresh new jobs. As in a renewable resource. As in dollars flowing back into the local economy of a rural Alabama town.

We define ingenuity as the clever, original, and practical use of existing resources. That’s why we were so inspired when Lance Rake, professor of Industrial Design at the University of Kansas, transformed the much-maligned weed into HexTube technology—a breakthrough in material design that allows bamboo bike frames to be lighter, stronger, standardized, and easily assembled for the first time.

Thanks to their successful Kickstarter campaign, the HexTube will make its commercial debut in February 2014 with release of The Semester Commuter and Semester CityBike.

It’s all part of HERObike’s ingenious plan to build more than a cool bike. They’re building new jobs and brighter futures for—and with—the people of Greensboro, Alabama. And we’re not the only ones who are high on HERO's bamboo bikes:

If this story makes you feel good, pass it on—and don’t Bogart.                                            

*full disclosure, Future is a proud member of MakeLab.

"smokin" © 2013 CC BY-NC-SA Blair Stapp

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The Toxic MBA

Think wrong about toxic MBAs

The problem-solving orthodoxies they teach you in business school kill ingenuity. Greg Galle explains why at TEDxGrandRapids.