Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

Steve Jobs in my opinion is an inspirational figure who not only gave the world new technologies and started up one of the top technology companies in the world, but also provided us a vision on what we should work toward in our daily lives.  In his Stanford Commencement Address, he gives advice on how to effectively communicate with others, no matter the audience.  I still remember this advice to this day and work to integrate it into my work activities.

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Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch passed away in 2008, but before he did he gave a lecture on Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.  Despite facing a terminal illness, he selflessly shared his views on how people can achieve their own career and personal goals.  After listening to this lecture, it gave me a new perspective on life and reset my expectations about the world as I view it.  After watching the lecture, I started to ask myself, what’s important in life and how do I get there?

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Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter…

Ning shared this talk with me a year ago.  Definitely an inspiring talk to show the power of self-expression.

“If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … ” began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of “B” and “Hiroshima.”


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Flight Cancelled?

Let’s say that you miss your connection or your flight has been cancelled.  Don’t panic.  There’s a couple things that you can do.

First of all you need to know your rights.  If the flight is delayed/cancelled due to weather or air traffic control (ATC), US airlines do not have to provide accommodations or meals.  However, if your flight is delayed/cancelled due to something within the airline’s control such as mechanical, operations, crew staffing the airline is responsible for your well being.  In those circumstances, they must put you up in a hotel and provide meals if you have to endure an extensive delay.

As for getting for your destination, my best tip is to be courteous to the customer service agent and DON’T BE A JERK.  They’re also doing their best.  If you have access to the airline lounges, proceed up there and use the customer service representatives there.  The line will be much shorter.  If you have access to flight information, start taking a look which flights still have space.  If you can tell the representative what routes you want to take and there’s space available, you’ll get out of there much quicker.  Don’t only check your the carrier that you’re flying, check other carriers out of the same airport.  Most airlines have agreements that allow you to fly on another carrier if the delay/cancellation is non-weather/ATC related.  While you’re standing in line, you may also want to call up the airline’s customer service hotline.  In some cases, you may be able to get help there quicker than if you wait in line.

In order to avoid getting into this situation, it is best to be proactive.  Some airlines like United have the ability to backtrack the plane which you will be taking.  By doing this, you can tell with a good probability whether there are any delays.  If you notice that you may not make the connection, contact the airline and see if they can back you up on an earlier flight or a later connection.  You may need to do this at the airport.

Finally, I’ll cover an edge case here.  If you’re traveling and due to non-weather/ATC related issues, you won’t make the event that you’re traveling there for.  This is what is refereed to as “trip in vain”.  In these circumstances, you need to very clearly explain to the customer service agent the purpose of the trip and that the trip is in vain if you continue travel there.  Most airlines I’ve seen will either offer to send you back home and refund the ticket.  However, policies vary from airline to airline.

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Mobile Alerts

If you travel a lot, make sure you sign up for some type of travel notification system which alerts you of gate changes, alternate flights, and connection times. If there’s an issue with your flight and its cancelled or delayed, time is of the essence. Systems such as TripIt Pro will alert you of alternate flights if your connection is at risk.

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