Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fifteen Minutes of Fame - Looking back (Part 2)

Power of Printing

Philippe, who used work in the printing business, explained to us what it is that still makes him tick about this field. He told us about all the possibilities there are for printing documents and what process actually lies behind printing a book. It was truly amazing to see that there is so much we, as normal consumers, don't know about.

Everybody can dance salsa

Sarah is a salsa enthusiast. As she has basically taken courses at all salsa schools in Amsterdam, it wasn't surprising she shared her salsa knowledge with us. Her plea is that everyone can dance salsa as long as you feel the rhythm. I think we did pretty well!

'Lekker dansen'

Maike is a dancing queen and wanted to get everybody to let loose and just dance. As people hardly just dance spontaneously, Maike started organizing 'Lekker Dansen' (this time at Fifteen Minutes of Fame was actually a try-out). She gives suggestion on what to do with the music she's selected. She plays music ranging from classical, to rock and hiphop - anything basically and tells the group to either dance together or alone with your eyes closed, or 'big' or expressing something.


Nicolas (in the picture making his final preparations) was worried about his presentation and that worry is what he shared in his presentation. He explains how the process of coming up with a subject went. After mentioning all the hobbies and interests he could've discussed, he moved on to the things he really believes in. He shared some management knowledge (big rocks before small rocks) and then explained how he sees people as the strings on a guitar. Everyone has his or her own resonance and when people interact a new sound is born.

Unlimited imagination

Being a software engineer, Tommy explained to this mixed group (with regards to knowledge about software) what the world of software looks like. Basically, anything is possible. Unlike most fields, in software many things have not been done yet and need to be build from scratch. That gives space for imagination and creativity.

Personal Mission Statement

The big Stephen Covey fan I am (His book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is mentioned first on the list in the picture), I gave the group the basic 'rules' for writing a personal mission statement and asked them to make a start right then and there. Since I wanted people to be able to write down anything, we didn't share the outcomes. I am, however, very curious to see what everyone wrote and whether they actually live by their statements now...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fifteen Minutes of Fame - Looking back (Part 1)

It has been ten months since the first episode of Fifteen Minutes of Fame on the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog. However, the main core of what was said has stuck with me all this time. So now, finally, I will give my summary of the eleven presentations given. Naturally, all participants are invited to correct me or add anything I forgot to mention.

What is Fifteen Minutes of Fame?
It's basically an opportunity to talk for fifteen minutes about ANY subject you want to discuss. The stage is yours. So you can do a mini workshop, give a lecture, dance or ask input on any kind of idea.

Wall of Fame
The weekend started with three pictures pasted onto a sheet of paper stuck on the wall. Everyone had sent in photos that said something about their passions and their characters. After everyone explained why these particular pictures had been chosen, everyone was invited to write down their three main characteristics - according to themselves that is. Finally everyone was invited to write on everyone else's posters during the entire weekend giving feedback on their presentation, the photos or the things written on their poster. On Sunday we reviewed the posters and everyone had a great souvenir to bring home. You can see the wall of fame in the background on some of the pictures below.

Public Speaking

The first presentation by Fateh was about how to actually give a presentation. The tips were all very helpful. What stuck to mind with me was that it's important to invite the public for interaction by giving them a task (read something, answer a question), to speak slowly and mostly to be silent every now and then. Especially when you get nervous it's tempting to keep on talking and talking. Silence is good sometimes, as it gives some breathing space.

Little mouse?

Elske, who speaks fluent Thai, told us about how in Thai you hardly use the words 'you' and 'me'. She showed us how there are different ways to refer to yourself depending on the person you are talking to. If a woman should meet someone a lot higher in social status, she can call herself 'little mouse' to show respect. Sometimes this can cause confusion as it's not always clear where someone stands on the social ladder in relation to oneself. How is an older taxi driver to be addressed? As Elske pointed out it really shows how in Thailand (but I think in many parts of Asia), social structures play a bigger role than in Western culture. Your identity is mostly defined based on your surroundings.

Find the gold in everyone

Vincent gave a very personal presentation about how he 'works'. He told us about the fact that he is like a child in that he always seeks to play. The thing that I remember most is how he said he somethings provokes arguments with people, tries to get them to open up and show their true face. Even though his provocative ways are not always appreciated, he manages to 'find the gold in everyone', as he put it.

Urban acupuncture

Beatriz told us about a great source of inspiration for her as an architect, Jaime Lerner. She explained how he was able to transform a city by applying small changes in significant locations. Just as acupuncture can cure an illness when the needle is placed on the right spot, urban acupuncture can heal a city. What I particularly liked about the presentation is that she told us how she came to meet Mr Lerner and how much his work inspires her. Here you can watch him speak on TED.

Farm life

Benoit took the opportunity of us staying at a farm to give us a glimpse of farm life. He took us around the farm and explainded how the machines that feed the kettle work, how the cows are milked and told us about the relationship of the farmer with his animals. It was for me, being a city girl, an eye opener. We did conclude however that this particular farmer did not take such good care of his animals, which was a pity.

The summaries of the other presentations will follow soon!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2010: filled with ideas and inspiration

2010 started with so much inspiration that I don't know where to start! I've been reading many inspirational books (Such as Ignore Everybody), great blogs (like this one for lighthearted living), went on beautiful trips and spoke with good friends (such as Miriam) and colleagues.

Old and new ideas have (re)appeared, such as an interview series with the great people I meet in Indonesia, the 'big chronicle' of my Indonesian family (inspired by Jung Chang's Wild Swans) and the second edition of Fifteen Minutes of Fame. One of them is certainly not just an idea: Fifteen Minutes of Fame is scheduled for 23-25 April in The Netherlands. More information will follow shortly. If you get impatient however, check out facebook or email to fifteenminutesoffameworldwide AT

For now I leave you with this great video by Ki'une, a blogger that writes for those who 'who wish to face their fears, live more adventurously, and see the almost magical results from being courageous':

My favorite pieces of advice from the clip:
"Every choice is half chance"

"Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum"

"Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself."

"Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room."

"Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young."

See the full text and Ki'une's complete post here.