An Online Course is Not Just a Taped Lecture

I’ve taken quite a few online courses from sites like Lynda, Udemy, and Treehouse. Nothing frustrates me more than when a course is just a videotaped lecture. That is so much potential being squandered away.

Right now, I’m enrolled in a Udemy course that my friend Steve produced, on creating amazing talks. Something that really stuck out to me about how his course is designed is that he gives you two options. You can either watch the course, take in the information, and move on; or, by the end of the course, you can have created your talk.

The first few videos in each section walk you through the new concepts and teach you how to do the attached exercises. Then you can either move on to the next section (if you just want to keep being exposed to the new ideas) or you can stick around for the last video where he walks you through the exercise, giving you prompts and hints along the way.

It sounds simple but it makes a HUGE difference. Online courses, when done with thoughtful intention, can be incredibly engaging and effective. They should feel more like a 1-on-1 session than a lecture.


I now listen to podcasts more than I listen to music when I’m walking or driving. If you haven’t listened to any before, I strongly recommend it. If you do listen to them, please let me know what your favorite shows are, I’m always excited for new ones.

Here are a few that I really enjoy (in no particular order), I’ve included a link to an episode from each show in case you haven’t listened to it before.

Modern Love

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The Truth



The first episode of season one.

My First Video Project

Getting the O.K. to ship a project, with a big ol’ smile from the client, is one of the best feelings. It’s nerve wracking to present a project to them when they give you full autonomy and no storyboard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Reid, William and I drove to Austin, TX from State College for SXSW and documented the entire thing. That was our first video gig - making a promotional video for a local car rental agency, Eagle Automotive. It is the first video any of us have made for anyone but ourselves. I did most of the shooting and editing, and Reid and William were the wunderbar talents that drove and wrote the story.

As I sat editing this video, I kept coming back to this TED talk by Amy Cuddy, in which the major takeaway is “fake it until you become it”. I want to get better at making films and at some point add filmmaker to my resume - until then I just keep acting like I am one. That’s how I get rid of the excuses. When I just say to myself, “I am a filmmaker”, then I avoid the whole internal “I want to make this video, but alas, woe is me, I am not a filmmaker” hangup.

Think about something you want to get better at doing. Now tell yourself you are the type of person who can do that, “I am a runner”, “I am a talk-show radio host”, “I am a filmmaker”.

Why the FBI vs Apple Makes Me Nervous

Recent news has made it evident that the FBI was successfully able to crack Syed Farook’s iPhone without the help of Apple. As a result, they have dropped their legal case against them. This is alarming news and only the beginning of a very long, hard, and incredibly terrifying battle.

I need to point out that the FBI did not crack Farook’s iPhone with a now classified method that they developed internally. They received help from an unnamed third party - and are not disclosing to Apple exactly how they did it. They have the power to patch a security vulnerability but instead, choose to leave us all open to attack.

The debate over encryption and backdoor access has only just begun. As more of our daily lives come online, from our self-driving cars to smart refrigerators, there is only going to be more harm that can be done by hackers. Right now, malicious hacks are limited to the digital world. They can still wreak immense havoc, but imagine what could be done if self-driving cars aren’t secure enough? Block roadways, crash vehicles, shut down cities… Hackers get legs - they move into the physical world.

When the FBI demands backdoors to be put into tech products it is not like they will be the only ones who can access them. Backdoors make it easier for everyone to get into a device. They are a very nearsighted solution to a larger problem. It’s like demanding that a King put in a small bridge for you to use to cross his moat when you believe you have the right to do so. Anyone can use the bridge, it doesn’t matter if you’re supposed to or not. Even if you put some guards on the bridge, now you only have to defeat those guards in order to render the rest of the moat useless and put the castle at risk.

The Drone Effect

Our original plan was to go spray paint a mural, and maybe take a time lapse of the process. But then Christian mentioned that he had his drone, to which Chad responded by pulling out his bag of costumes. As ideas began to flourish, the excitement was growing - fueled by the urgency of the setting sun. We didn’t know what we were going to do, but we had two hours to make it happen. We packed into the car and headed to Loew’s.

What makes this video so beautiful is how nothing was shot more than twice (usually only once) and most scenes were conceived while in costume and on camera - often being talked through as they were happening.