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20 Media Links that Changed my Life

20 Media Links that Changed my Life

1 – Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

steve jobs

    For teaching me to stop attributing value to unimportant things, and start trusting my instincts. Before reading Jobs’ speech, I was working a job I hated because it was really the only thing I ever tried. It was what I knew. Jobs says “You’ve got to find what you love.” His speech helped me realize that I was wasting my life living someone else’s dream. If I settled for someone else’s dream, I’d grow old and die without ever seeking my own.

    2 – Hunter S Thompson “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” June 3, 1976, Rolling Stone

    The real world is exciting, but the news is boring. Hunter S Thompson changed all that. During his stint with Rolling Stone, Thompson wrote some of the most brilliant journalism featured in a news publication. He invented Gonzo journalism, and proved what a man can accomplish with the right perspective. Hunter S Thompson didn’t just report the news; he redefined the media. Gonzo journalism laid the ground work for the modern citizen’s journalism movement.

    3 – Tabitha Soren “Tupac interview” 1995, MTV

    Tupac (2Pac) Shakur is often quoted by members of the hip-hop community, but most of them seem more committed to achieving his fame than his dream. Tupac inspired me since I was a kid. I was taught musical theory and performance at an early age so I understood his music, but I was too young to understand the media. This interview forever preserves the mannerisms of one of the most iconic musicians of multiple generations. Pac knew he couldn’t change the world, but we believed he would inspire the mind that does.

    4 – Gabriella Coleman  “Who is Anonymous?” June 27, 2012, TEDGlobal 2012

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    who is anonymous

      The hivemind of Anonymous is a byproduct of modern life in a surveillance state. The instant you leave your home, you’re in public and lose certain rights of privacy (although never all). Every human being deserves complete control over the privacy in their own home though. Your smartphone or tablet connects your home to the rest of the world, and Anonymous is the internet’s natural defense against it. In this TED Speech, Anthropologist and academic Gabriella Coleman breaks down what she learned from Anonymous.

      5 – Brian Penny “I’m a Bank Whistleblower and You Can Be Too” October 29, 2012, The Huffington Post

      I learned to utilize the media for defense. Social media had proven effective, and I was connected to the right people at the right time. HuffPo invited me to contribute a series of blogs to a political column. I wasn’t really following politics, so I only got 1 boring article cranked out before I realized I was the journalist I needed to tell my story. I spent so much time training regulators, lawyers, journalists, and activists that I forgot to leave a breadcrumb trail. This article launched a successful writing career for me and taught me the power of the media.

      6 – The Beatles – The Beatles Anthology (1995)

      The Beatles Anthology

        By the age of 25, I completely ran out of both new and old music to listen to. I decided to buy the Beatles Anthology and watched it straight through…twice. Whether you like The Beatles or not, this collection of media about them is an amazing story about fame, fortune, and art. This is your brain on drugs. It taught me everything I need to know about the world and the media, and the music is amazing. Paul McCartney is easily one of my Top 10 Concerts of all time, and thanks to the media, the legacy of The Beatles will forever be preserved.

        7 – James Duane & George Bruch “Don’t Talk To The Police “ June 21, 2008

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        do not talk to police

          Watching this could be the best 45 minutes of your life. I’ve spent a lot of time with police officers as a witness, person of interest, friend, and family. I also grew up on Army bases to a mother and father who worked military intelligence. I blew the whistle on the largest bank in the United States. If you trust one thing you see on the internet, trust this speech. It’s your right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

          8 – Julian Assange “Why the World Needs Wikileaks” July 2010, TEDGlobal 2010

          why the world need wikileaks

            Wikileaks is a legend. Last month on Mother’s Day weekend, Julian’s mother Christine RT’ed a tweet of mine with a link to a blog about some of the retaliation I experienced as a whistleblower. Assange redefined the media and changed the world. Seeing him speaking on TED opened my eyes to the new world we live in. He explains many yogic ideas being applied to society as opposed to individuals. Assange’s vision of the world is even more chilling now that Bradley Manning is on trial and Edward Snowden leaked a glimpse of big brother.

            9 – Every News Outlet in the World “The World Trade Center South Tower Attack” September 11, 2001

            I was in Ft Benning, GA standing in lines getting my gear assigned for Army basic training. What started as a shot for college money and escape from Ft Huachuca suddenly became a brutal reality. The military restrained information from soldiers, especially those in training. We were cut off, and rumors were rampant as snipers, MP’s, and Special Forces shipped out in dessert combat gear. It wasn’t until a year later after seeing a contractor beheaded online that I finally sat down, read what got reported, and watch the media footage of the WTC attack… Where were you?

            10 – TMZ Staff “Michael Jackson DIES” June 25, 2009, TMZ

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            michael jackson died

              I’m an 80’s baby. I grew up on Michael Jackson. There’s no hard time in your life that can’t be soothed with a little MJ in it. Michael was a genius, an artist, a businessman, an icon, a star. When he died, it was almost unbelievable. We’ll never have another like the King of Pop, and it was the internet that reported it first. We’ll always be faster online. Michael Jackson will forever be preserved on the internet.

              11 – Kurt Loder “Kurt Cobain 1967-1994” April 5, 1994, MTV News

              Kurt Loder was the most reputable new source I knew of in the 80’s and 90’s. Kurt Cobain was the artist who created some of the most hauntingly beautiful albums I ever heard. Nirvana’s Unplugged set sits in a league of its own alongside Eric Clapton and Jay-Z’s performance with The Roots. Cobain’s death was a tragic one. His fame heralded the peak of the grunge era and the end of the 80’s. His music and subsequent suicide still resonate with generations of music fans.

              12 – Mohandas Gandhi “Non-violence and World Crisis” November 26, 1938, Harijan

              At a time when Adolph Hitler was taking over the world, Gandhi promoted peace. He took a stance and defended nonviolence in every situation. Reading his articles inspires me to think through difficult hurdles. There is always a way. If one man can do it, anyone can. Reading the words of Mohandas Gandhi reminds me that anything is possible if you sit still long enough.

              13 – Alyona Minkovski and Ceynk Uygur  “Anonymous vs Bank of America” March 16, 2011

              I wasn’t just standing at the center of the mortgage crisis. This time I was the story. I had a first-person view of the news. I got to see how skewed the media was just by reading what they wrote about me. I hid behind Anonymous and watched. Alyona and Ceynk were among only 4 journalists who put in the proper research. I beat the banks. I hit them where it hurt, and ignited a revolution. Learn how to be Anonymous here: anyone can do it.

              14 – Brian Knappenberger – We Are Legion (2012)

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              The Story of the Hacktivists

                While living in Clearwater, FL surrounded by Scientology, I downloaded We Are Legion from The Pirate Bay. I was being stopped and searched for my Guy Fawkes mask on a regular basis. Florida is a depressing place. Everyone is drugged out, and not in the good ways. This movie provided me comfort that I was backing the right flag. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect Us…

                15 – Parmy Olson interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show June 18, 2012, Comedy Central

                Parmy breaks down Anonymous for the masses on the most trusted news source on cable. She did a fantastic job of explaining the movement. Once again I felt relief knowing there’s a culture built around transparency. It was a whistleblower’s dream. The more of us that exist as real people in the media, the harder it is to attack Anonymous. We are the internet’s first defense, and we’re 100% nonviolent.

                16 – Wikipedia “Protests against SOPA and PIPA

                Don’t use Wikipedia for a source. Do use Wikipedia for a story and cite their sources. Everyone will tell you not to use Wikipedia. Everyone has an opinion as to why it’s inaccurate. Yet it’s one of the largest websites on the internet. Why? When Wikipedia and other websites shut down to stop CISPA’s predecessors, SOPA and PIPA, the world fell to its knees and pulled the controversial bills. Clearly everyone is lying about not using the top search result for nearly every search online.

                17 – Brian Penny “30 Best Movies  of All Time” Lifehack.org

                I can’t help but laugh knowing I’ve appeared in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and countless other news outlets fighting the banks, and the most controversy I ignited is over a list of the best movies of all time. People don’t like having their opinions questioned. I can’t help but continue trolling by adding myself twice to this accomplished list.

                18 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “Letter from a Birgmingham Jail” April 16, 1963

                Dr. King sat in Birmingham jail for breaking an unjust law. From there, he wrote some brilliant ideas. One of them was this letter to address the local Clergymen who accused him of being a hypocrite for breaking a law. He brilliantly differentiates a just law from an unjust law and questions their own allegiance to justice by sitting around doing nothing. When I couldn’t find the answers I needed in life, I turned to the Doc.

                19 – Richard Sears “Scientology is a criminal organization…” November 18, 2009, UK Daily Mail

                Scientology is fascinating. To their merit, they are excellent with nonviolent defense. They expertly troll governments and small businesses using attorneys and PR—this I enjoy and agree with. Their financial and technical sense could use a lot of advancement, though. I personally believe transparency is necessary to control corruption, and too many things smelled fishy in Clearwater, FL.

                20 – Matt Taibbi “As Bradley Manning Trial Begins, Press Predictably Misses the Point” June 6, 2013, Rolling Stone

                I’ve followed Taibbi’s pieces on the mortgage industry for a few years now. He doesn’t pull any punches. Seeing him involved in the Bradley Manning trial is brilliant. Manning is a hero, and he deserves our respect and attention. I love that Rolling Stone is covering his trial, and Taibbi especially. Pay close attention to this trial, as a lot of our human freedoms are on the line.

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                Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                How it helps you:

                If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                How it helps you:

                Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                How it helps you:

                This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                How it helps you:

                One word: hierarchy.

                All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                How it helps you:

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                Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                6. What do you like about working here?

                This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                How it helps you:

                You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                How it helps you:

                What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                Making Your Interview Work for You

                Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                More Resources About Job Interviews

                Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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