Mostly Everything

Closing Remarks

Thank you all for coming! This is a copy of the closing remarks which Juned allowed me to give as we closed the second Philippine Blog Awards. I enjoy channeling people I admire (paragraph 16 if I’m not mistaken).

Thank you again for being part of this evening’s festivities and a huge thanks as well to the volunteers and our generous sponsors!

The 3 Head Fakes of Blogging

This speech needs an introduction. There is a popular series of talks that has become recently popular on the Internet titled “The Last Lecture.” The series, which was a titular privilege given by professors and industry luminaries had the simple premise “If you were to give one last lecture to end your career, this would be it.”

On September 18 2007, Randy Pausch gave his Last Lecture titled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” at Carnegie Mellon University, the place where he taught. It was, to some extent, macabre as he introduced himself by showing the tumors in the X rays which was diagnosed as pancreatic cancer. I like talking about the people I idolize, communicating a similar message that they do, and Pausch was one of them. Pausch was a key player in the IT and Education field, having collaborated with EA’s Steve Seabolt (The Sims), Walt Disney’s Imagineering on 3D environments (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End theme park ride) and consulted with Google for user interface design.

But Pausch’s biggest achievement is his work with Alice. The Alice Project is a free and open source IDE (integrated development environment) that was developed over Java. It’s purpose was to create “head fakes” and teach children how to program in Java in order to create virtual environments, without them knowing it. In addition to this, another “head fake” was to teach young programmers how to be creative because it required them to build a story in a virtual environment as they program. As an aside, Alice 3.0 is being released in 2009 in collaboration with EA and will be using The Sims as its virtual environment.

It was in his Last Lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” that Professor Randy Pausch talked about the real importance of achieving our dreams: that all the things we go through in life, whether it be setting goals for career or family all have a series of “head fakes” or convictions or habits that we learn to develop without us knowing they’re there. Head fakes are things that we learn without our knowing it. It’s like learning teamwork in a basketball game or hand eye coordination while playing first person shooters.

Pausch’s Last Lecture came to mind, as I wanted to talk to you tonight about the 3 head fakes of blogging. With the maturation of today’s blogging community in just short of four years (I base this on the total number of iBlog seminars ever done, by the way), it is hard to find an entry title that’s worded as such: “Things I Learned from Blogging.” And if ever we do find them, it is always almost about learning how to be consistent, to write better, and to deal with our critics.

Tonight, I’d like to share three head fakes that I have personally learned from blogging in celebration of our notion of freedoms which this country enjoys to an awesome extent.

The first head fake:

Blogging teaches us to distinguish our temperament from character. There are many metaphysical truths to the human being, and the concept of temperament and character are perhaps the most interesting. Temperament is the number of sides physically displayed on the dice. Character is the number of chances we get to roll for a snake eyes. Temperament, simply defined, is who we are while character is defined as who we want to become. Temperament is losing it, and flaming others in comments. Character is sincerely apologizing afterwards. In public.

The second head fake. Blogging teaches us to deal. Yes, to deal. Not really to deal with critics. Not really to deal with PR contacts. Not really to deal with making money online; but to deal.

Let me explain. If there is one thing I admire with seasoned bloggers, it is their ability to deal with the impediments that come their way. You will agree with me when I say that the local blogosphere is very colorful, as we are involved in real conversations with fellow bloggers, PR contacts and ad agencies, restaurants, government, NGO’s, multinationals — the list goes on. I admire bloggers who have the ability to deal with the politics of human design and more importantly, how they resolve it. That they can survive criticism, the pointing of hands, the flame bait, the mob, and come back to post the next day, with a more firm resolve.

This brings me to my last point, because “dealing with something” is never complete without conviction.

The third and last head fake: Blogging helps us reaffirm our personal convictions. It is with reaffirming our personal convictions that we form insight on our concept of truth.

“But what is truth?”, asked Pontius Pilate.

What is the truth behind pay per post, behind controversies of SEO and the “nofollow” variable, about link selling or blog advertising, or attending blog events?

The truth? The Truth is Conviction. If there was a right answer, we wouldn’t be blogging. Rather, what is important is that when we are asked what our personal convictions are about these things, we tell the unbiased truth, and unlike Pilate, we should not wash our hands. As bloggers, we value our convictions and integrity the most.

Character, Dealing, and Conviction. I forgot to mention – if you translate “dealing” into a habit, it is called Prudence. These are three things that sum the totality of my message: It is not about how well we blog – it is about how well we live our life.

On to a lighter note. 🙂

I’d like to thank all our sponsors for being industry pioneers to support the Philippine Blog Awards. Truly, you are part of something big. Channeling Pausch, if “being part of a social revolution” forms part of your list of childhood dreams you want to achieve, then tonight is probably the night you will have your epiphany.

I would also like to thank the volunteers for lending their valuable time in pursuit of this wonderful event, and to the bloggers – everyone – who helped the committee make this night possible. The wisdom of the crowd is always better than the few, says James Surowiecki and this awards night is our night. it belongs to all of us.

There is actually one last head fake to this speech – and to end on a dramatic note, this speech is not for you. It is for everyone else who will read or listen to this who do not understand blogging.

The blogosphere is beautiful. Thank you and goodnight.