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A Curator Of What’s Next.
A Cynicism Evaporator.
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Dear PopTech Friends and Family,
We are excited to launch our new guest blog, REALLY? Our first post, by Moran Cerf, captures his experience as a contestant in the World Rubik’s Cube Championship in Lake Placid, New York. We invite YOU to submit posts that capture the astonishing, surprising, engaging, and entertaining. It’s easy! Just completing the REALLY? submission form. Posts will be published monthly on PopTech.org and via our social media channels.
Adventure Seekers Wanted
PopTech 2024: Uncharted Territory begins where maps end and discovery begins. Join us live, October 8-10, 2024, at The REACH at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. While we’re busy planning, take advantage of the midpoint registration discount of $1250 between now and the end of March. We can’t wait to unveil the talents of the PopTech curatorial committee and the creative genius of our partners at GhostNote and Collins. Nothing is being left to chance!
Shout Out to Our Partners
In 2023, we were proud to showcase the humanitarian efforts of UPS by featuring Nikki Clifton, President, Social Impact, UPS Foundation. Their work sheds light on the global crisis of human trafficking, and the impactful commitment UPS is making to drive awareness and prevention through employee engagement and support of organizations such as Wellspring Living.
Our 2023 partnership with Tractor Supply Company (TSC) enabled us to feature the lifechanging experiences of birding expert Dorian Anderson while showcasing how TSC, through its diverse product lines, is creating bridges between rural and urban living, and promoting well-being through immersion in outdoor activities like birding and gardening.
You probably don’t think of UPS as a humanitarian advocacy group or Tractor Supply Company as a wellness entity, but they are. That’s why partnering with PopTech is so valuable. We work together to create new ways of thinking about brands and impactful experiences for our community. Interested in working with us? Contact [email protected].
Science Comedy Workshop
PopTech 2023 speaker Sarah Rose Siskind’s company, Hello SciCom, is partnering with Caveat to host a Science Comedy Workshop where they will teach professionals how to communicate big ideas entertainingly. They’re condensing 20+ years of experience into a 3-hour workshop. You’ll leave with personalized talking points, official certification, snacks, and new pals. Sunday, April 7th, 1-4 pm at Caveat Theater in NYC. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.
Register now to score a discount for PopTech 2024: Uncharted Territory, and reserve lodging and airfare while prices are low!
Stay in touch, stay in tune,
The PopTech Team
PopTech 2024: Midpoint Registration Rate
One in 43 Quintillion by Moran Cerf
Let’s start with a summary of what I hope everyone reading this will remember: There was an international world championship, and I scored first.
Now… I can add a little color to the story (and potentially change your impression of me). The competition was… the World Rubik’s Cube championship. And the ranking, well, I was #1… in my age group. There was only one more person in that group…
The Rubik’s cube was invented by Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian professor of architecture, 46 years ago. With over 450 million cubes sold worldwide, it is ranked the world’s best-selling puzzle game and toy. It is still quite a nerdy toy despite its popularity.
To amplify the nerdiness, here are some more facts about the cube. There are 43 quintillion (18 zeros) combinations that can be arranged of the cube (if you stack them in a tower, it will be 261 light-years high), or 519 quintillion if you consider all possible arrangements, including breaking them. I tried most of them during the competition, unfortunately.
Most kids (average age: ~10) who participated in the world championship solved it in 5-30 seconds, and they did not place as finalists! I did it in 2 minutes. The referee had to be woken up since he fell asleep waiting for me to be done.
The full day of competition had a lot of tournaments. Solving the classic 3x3x3 cube, a 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 ones. Solving the cube with only one hand, blindfolded, and various other (weirder) things.
Nonetheless, the room was exhilarated throughout. I went there with my 8-year-old nephew, who ranked 29 in the overall score. In the end, three people took most of the prizes. They apparently are the Rubik’s world’s undefeated champions for the last several years.
The world record (3.13 seconds) is held by Max Park, who nailed it just six months ago in the previous competition. Let’s see how Max does when he is in his 40s…
There’s a famous joke about a 100m race championship conducted between an American athlete and a Soviet one. The American won. The day after, the Soviet news headlines stated: “Yesterday there was a 100m race. The Soviet athlete came second, and the American came one before last”.
While the tournament got more heated during the final rounds, the day’s winner was definitely… Fortnight. Epic Games dropped their new Fortnight upgrade that day, and at some point, all the participants (read, all kids) congregated around a big screen and counted down, ecstatic, to the moment the new release emerged. Priorities.
I still bet I will beat all of them in a 1:1 basketball match. So there!
Worth a Watch
Nikki Clifton’s PopTech 2023 talk sheds light on the global crisis of human trafficking, and the impactful commitment the UPS Foundation is making to drive awareness and prevention through employee engagement and support of organizations such as Wellspring Living.
Dorian Anderson’s inspiring talk shares his transformative journey from a young birding enthusiast to overcoming substance abuse and rekindling his passion through a groundbreaking Bicycle Big Year, a story of personal growth and the power of reconnecting with nature.
Like these talks? Visit the PopTech YouTube Channel – home to a treasure trove of timeless content.
Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet by Chris Dixon offers an engaging narrative of the Internet’s history while highlighting its bright future when built with blockchain technology. Addressing how web3 will impact everything from social networks and marketplaces to artificial intelligence products and immersive virtual worlds, Read Write Own provides a vision for a better Internet and a playbook to navigate and build the future.
Hidden WOMBAT: How Executives Innovate Without the Waste of Money, Brains, and Time by PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Rush Bartlett, and Topher Kinsella, turns the typical innovation process on its head. Instead of failing with product-market fit, Needs-Driven Innovation, inspired by Stanford University’s Biodesign program, reverses the accepted dogma and eliminates hidden WOMBATs so that every great market finds its great idea.