Dear Mr. Musk…

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Congratulations on the successful launch of the Dragon capsule.

Like many, I watched the launch with great excitement. The technology is amazing, and I can see that we have entered a new era where commercial providers like Space X are the dominant players in space exploration.

The launch was a welcome distraction from everything that is happening “down here” on Mother Earth. For a few moments, at least, you gave us a glimpse of the future.

I understand that you cannot solve all of our problems. But there is one other thing, you might consider doing for us.

We are all longing for the end of 2020. …


“Do you play video games?”

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Ready Applicant One.

“Do you play video games?”

It is my “go-to” question for job interviews.

A moment’s silence as the candidate considers whether honesty is the best strategy.

“No. They are for kids, right? And I don’t like to generalize, but the gamers at college were kind of losers — the nerdy kids that had no friends.”

OK. Game over. Next. Applicant Two.

“Do you play video games?”

Again, a moment’s silence as the candidate considers how to shift the conversation back to more comfortable terrain.

“No, but as you can see from my résumé my preference was always for outdoor activities, travel and learning new languages.” …


Don’t wait for the system to change. Take control of your own education.

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The coursework. The money worries. Finding time for extracurricular activities to build a unique résumé. I understand the pressures.

But the world is changing and your attitude towards education must change to squeeze the maximum value from the experience.

The job market is different now, and a degree from a good school doesn’t guarantee your dream job. It may not guarantee any job anymore.

And, in this new world, formal requirements — the school’s name, the courses you studied, and the grades on your transcript — are much less critical. Believe me. …


The world has changed: are you ready to play?

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They listen.

They care.

They communicate clearly.

They don’t hide behind process and procedure.

They are building a community.

My student was talking about his recent experience with a start-up.

He had written to them with some concerns about their latest product. A few days later, he received a new and improved item, as well as a personalized reply. The company thanked him for his message, addressed his concerns, and promised to integrate his feedback into their development process.

The story reminded me of one of my favorite gaming gear companies, Razer, and their “for gamers, by gamers” attitude.

The best companies understand the value of such personalized engagement. Consumers increasingly demand such an approach from “their” companies — it isn’t (only) about how well a product works anymore. …


When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?

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“Things used to be so very different.”

It was the start of a fascinating conversation I had with a corporate lawyer a few weeks ago.

He described how, until earlier this year, his morning routine involved putting on a pinstripe suit and mentally preparing for a hectic day of traveling, meetings, and contract drafting and reviewing. His job was to navigate his corporate clients through the complex legal challenges of a global economy.

He had little time to catch his breath — let alone reflect on what he was doing or why.

He measured success by the number of billable hours, the long hours he worked, the size and reputation of his corporate clients, and, of course, his salary and bonuses. …


We shouldn’t waste the opportunity of online classes. It’s time for a new model of “teaching” and “learning.”

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“Online or In-Class? What do you prefer?”

This question continues to dominate the world of higher education right now.

And the answer? Well, what do you think?

The surveys I have seen over the last couple of weeks appear to send a clear message. In-class teaching is the obvious winner. The vast majority of the students have issues with online classes. And most teachers take a similarly skeptical view.

Student respondents mentioned that they get distracted more easily. And I recognize this. …


Some business lessons from the London Marathon 2020

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The London marathon caused a lot of excitement in the running community last week. Approximately 45,000 non-elite runners were participating remotely, logging their performance on an app. The elite runners ran a multi-lap race around a special course in St. James’s Park. Despite the pandemic, the race was viewed as a real marathon showdown. The world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya, would run against the second-fastest marathon runner, the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. …


In a digital age, you must build a “character.” Being true to yourself is no longer enough.

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My biggest mistake as a writer?

I concealed parts of my life and focused on the things I thought the crowd wanted to hear.

We are often tempted to write about topics and issues that we imagine our audience will want to read. We come to believe that our own lives are not interesting enough to appeal to a broad audience.

I am a lawyer for a large technology firm and a professor teaching business law and technology. But I used to worry that this was not enough.

So, I hid the parts of “me” that I was sure my audience would not be interested in. Who wants to hear the thoughts of a middle-aged lawyer and law professor? …


Technology inspired me to become more active and helped me get in better shape. But it also led to a severe injury.

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July 12, 2015

I couldn’t resist any longer. I needed to have an Apple Watch. It looked so cool and futuristic.

I could use it for workouts. It would help me to track my exercise, focus my performance, and improve my fitness.

August 2015

I didn’t use my old watch anymore. I had a new personal coach.

The “three rings” were the main reason for the retirement of my “not-so-smart” watch.

The rings allowed me to track my estimated calories burned, daily exercise, and the number of times I stood up during the day.

It was fantastic to have a better idea of my activity levels. …


Cómo pensar sobre el “abogado del futuro” ayuda a todos a prepararse para el mañana

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Foto cortesía del autor.

En mi otro trabajo, me desempeño como abogado para una compañía grande.

Dado mi interés en la tecnología, muchas veces me piden que hable sobre el “abogado del futuro”. Es un encargo divertido. El público — otros abogados y profesionales legales — está intrigado, incluso cuando discrepa conmigo.

Así que siempre estoy buscando representaciones ficticias de abogados del futuro en libros, programas de televisión o películas para referirme a ellas en mis charlas.

Podrías pensar que hay muchas. Después de todo, los abogados pueden ser encontrados en todas partes en la cultura popular. …

About

Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Digital Professor • Video Gaming Lawyer • Middle-Aged Ultra Runner • Restaurant Owner —Live ambitious, level up your game & inspire others.

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