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The Healthy Side of Video Games

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Video Games controller

Like every stereotype, video games come with their own sets of preconceptions.  We’ve all heard parents rant about how games teach children violence.  Statements like, you’ll rot your brain, go outside, and get a life are common parental reactions when their children spend too much time in front of the screen.

Yet what happens when you look at this new genre of entertainment’s possible benefits?  Many changes and evolutions in tech have caused a great divide between the generation of boomers and their millennial counterparts.  Video games are one of the subjects that causes much controversy.  To balance out the popular opinion that videogames are unhealthy, here are a few unique points to consider:

Cyber Social Structures are Still Social when Cyber

The most commonly held caricature of a gamer is a young person, introverted, nerdy, and possibly socially inept.  Perhaps this is the picture painted to those who don’t play games themselves.  Ironically, many games do in fact have complex social networks.  Not only does a game allow someone to play with their friends, it provides opportunities to meet and play with new people, and keep in touch with people all over the world.  In fact, the majority of these game offers people access to social networks larger than most that exist in real life.

Gamification

Gamification has made its way from games into numerous areas of life.  It’s not uncommon to see incentive systems at work changed from policy to point system in efforts to add a game-like spin in hope to raise employee enthusiasm.

Game based learning makes light of the learning process by incorporating within it the essence of ‘play’.  Being able to play through complex scenarios offers the brain a healthy way to run through various simulations.  The real world is much less forgiving than a video game, which offers user a first, second, third, or infinite amount of chances to complete a goal.

The Power of Strategy

One of the greatest benefits of gaming is the ability to strategize and strengthen problem solving skills. Games as simple as Tetris and as complex as Starcraft provide users with a creative ways to solve problems.  In order to solve a problem, it is often required to think both quickly and deeply about strategy.

Being able to practice complex scenarios through games not only improves teamwork and group dynamic within teams, but also benefits each individual player mentally.  Studies have shown that games sharpen decisiveness, acuity, and many other mental attributes.

A Game for Everything

One of the most fascinating aspects of video games is that as a genre, it has a ridiculous amount of diversity.  When you look at popular games they could be as different as Angry Birds on your mobile phone, or Brain Age on Nintendo Gameboy, or the Club Penguin social community, or as immense as the immersive World of Warcraft.

Unlike TV shows, sports or any other form of entertainment, video games contain subject matter that is virtually limitless in its diversity.  Name any possible type of skill you may want to learn, and there is a game out there for it.

Maybe the most popular examples of video game hits contain violence.  Maybe some people tend to spend unreasonable amounts of time in their basement playing.  Although these two facts do still stand true, video games remain an untapped source of creativity and endless utility.  What incredible  places and scenarios can these virtual portals take us?  How can they help to smear the line between imagination and reality?  And from all this, what can we learn?  Maybe now is the time to pay the vast world of gaming some due respect and admiration.

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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Beers You Need To Try This Fall

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fall beer

If you’re anything like us, you like to drink. There is nothing better than after a hard day of work, but to open up a can, or bottle, or draft of your favorite beer! And now that fall is upon us, we wanted to give you a list of the beers you need to try this fall. As reviewers and beer enthusiasts, it’s our goal to give you beers that aren’t just the boring old pumpkin beers that you can find in your local pub. Instead, we have personally tried, tasted, and explored every beer mentioned in this blog. If you feel like we missed a beer, let us know and we can add it to our list:

 

Neshaminy Creek Brewing: Dunks Ferry Dunkelweizen

STYLE: Dunkelweizen

ABV: 5.2%

Why You Need It:

Think of yourself sitting on a bed of hay, while strolling through a field of pumpkins. That’s this beer, delivered in a can. The crew at Neshaminy killed it this year with their dunkleweizen. Their German style wheat beer has a unique after taste, with it’s blend of banana and clove, works perfect for a great casual beer this fall season. Neshaminy seems to always crush it with countless great beers, but to summarize fall in a can. This is your go to.

 

Philadelphia Brewing Company: Kenz O’ Lantern

STYLE: Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Why You Need It:

One of the best pumpkin beers on the planet, and the only pumpkin beer on this list. It has a great pumpkin taste that has a ton of spice and is overall a quality drink. Philadelphia Brewing continues to be one of the best breweries in the Philadelphia region with it’s simple approach to brewing. No further explanation needed, if you’re looking for a pumpkin beer, this is it.

 

Crime and Punishment Brewery: Mischief Night Porter

STYLE: Yam Beer

ABV: 7.2%

Why You Need It:

Ok. Maybe we lied a little, but we couldn’t pass up not putting this pumpkin ish style beer on the The Crime and Punishment team brew their Behemoth Oatmeal Stout and then condition it with Madagascar vanilla beans. All while blending the beautiful beer with additional cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. It’s like if a chocolate cake and pumpkin pie had a baby. It’s not your traditional pumpkin flavor, but has all of the qualities of a pumpkin beer. It’s a limited release, but a must have this fall.

 

Yards Brewery: Rival IPA

STYLE: American IPA

ABV: 6.2%

Why You Need It: Silky smooth. This is a great beer that you can essentially drink all day. It’s not your typical overpowering IPA, it’s light, it’s agile, and you can never get sick of it. Paying respect to Stallone, this beer isn’t a punch to the gut. The branding on the bottle speaks for itself, it’s a beer that brings people together, and leaves those who don’t have it envious. Rival IPA is a limited release by the prestigious brewery. Get it now while you can.

 

Tonewood Brewing: Dreadnought Dunkel

STYLE: Dunkel Munich

ABV: 4.4%

Why You Need It:

Pours an amber brown color. With notes of dough, fruity, sweet malt, grains and other dunkel stuff! It’s a straight forward and drinkable beer. It’s great for non craft beer drinkers because it’s not an over powering beer. The mildly crisp finish is great way to start your day drinking extravaganza.

 

Jughandle Brewing Co.: Wet Hop Harvest Ale

STYLE: American Amber / Red

ABV: 4.8%

Why You Need It:

With the weather being a tad dry than it normally has been, the Wet Hop Harvest Ale provides a freshness that allows the hops to truly shine. Brewed with about 60 lbs of Chinook and Cascade hops, this is a great beer to drink on a dry fall afternoon with friends.

 

Spellbound Brewing: Bourbon Pumpkin

STYLE: Barrel Aged

ABV: 8.1%

Why You Need It:

ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS BEER!? This beer, is everything. Bourbon and Pumpkin. The beer goes down smooth and leaves you wanting more. At a whopping 8.1%, it’s more of a sipping beer, but a few of these bad boys, and that person at the office you’ve wanted to talk to for over three years, looks more appealing. The small local NJ brewery has been known for their IPA’s but their ability to continue to craft and experiment is inspiring.

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A Day In The Life Of A New York City Super-Connector

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Jared Kleinert

Ever wondered what it is like to meet your favorite social media superstars or interview your favorite startup founders? What if you could meet almost anyone you wanted and spend hours learning about their ideas, business-building strategies, and life stories? We caught up with entrepreneur, TED speaker, and award-winning author Jared Kleinert last year as he was interviewing contributors for his new book 3 Billion Under 30 and asked him to document “a day in the life” in order to learn firsthand how he’s been able to become USA Today’s “Most Connected Millennial” and “The Most Connected ‘Kid’ You Don’t Know (But Probably Should)” according to Inc. We see our favorite personalities on YouTube or Instagram, or obsess over new startups and try to meet them for coffee, but to no avail. Sure, it would be cool to get a selfie with these people or include them in your snap story, but what if you could make friends and do business with them? Jared has, and by following him, we can learn to do the same ourselves.

 

[Enter Jared Kleinert]

 

At 10 a.m., I walk up to the Hyatt on 45th street and meet Jason Liebman, of the producers of my new web series, Stories From The 3 Billion Under 30 (whose co-producer is Roberto Blake, a well-known creative entrepreneur and social media influencer). We are here to interview Furious Pete, a YouTuber who has over 5 million subscribers as well as an entrepreneur, sponsored bodybuilder, competitive eater, world record holder in multiple categories, author, TV show host, and cancer survivor. We go up to the 20th floor and enter Pete’s hotel room, chatting with his fiance Melissa who is about to (bravely) take on Times Square in search of coffee while we record two interviews – one to include Pete in my next book and one to include him in the web show.

The day hasn’t even started yet and I’m already humbled. After this, we have interviews with a VC-backed startup founder, co-founder of a non-profit impacting over 50,000 high school students across seven cities, one of the most connected individuals in the business world who runs an event series that is harder to get into than Harvard, the head of a media company with millions of social media followers and tens of millions of monthly unique views on their website each year, and dinner with a good friend and well-known Instagram influencer making over $50,000 monthly from her “side hustle”.

Back to Furious Pete, we spend the next ninety minutes reflecting on his story – from overcoming anorexia when he was younger to his work, lifestyle, and even the German TV show he hosts despite only speaking English and coming from Polish descent. We laugh over my eggs-and-pancakes-themed socks and exchange a furious fist bump in between interviews. All it took to get access to this social media influencer was an introduction from a mutual friend and a ten minute phone call beforehand. Now, we were becoming friends in the moment and finding new ways to help one another. He even pulled out his camera as we walked out and caught footage for his vlogs, which as a stand-alone YouTube channel has over 500,000+ subscribers. I’m just happy I shaved this morning.

In the subway back to my office in the Financial District, I send a 30 second video message to happiness researcher and Snapchat influencer Virginia Salas Kastilio, who I’ve already interviewed for the web series and chronicled for 3 Billion Under 30. We met at SXSW while wearing banana costumes and leading the world-record-breaking attempt for most dancing fruit in one place (or something like that). It’s her birthday today, and I make it a point to call people or send a personal message of admiration as much as possible in a world where everyone else resorts to impersonal posts on Facebook. I record and send the video right as we enter the Q train heading downtown and before I lose wi-fi for the next twenty minutes.

Waiting on the 17th floor of Wework as we walk in is Layla Tabatabaie, lawyer-turned-startup founder who is working on three completely different projects right now. She has her investor-backed startup BarterSugar which helps companies trade professional services with one another, TaleMonster, which is still in beta and aims to assist content creators in sharing works of fiction with readers who can “choose their own adventure” and change what they read in real time based on different jump-off points in the story, and Drinking Press which is a podcast covering history and culture through different drinks of choice (so far, they’ve recorded episodes while drinking whiskey, picklebacks, and Soju, a Korean spirit which is currently one of the most popular drinks in the world).

kleinert jared

photo by Liebs Media

We need to be finished with our interview at 1 p.m. in order to travel back uptown to interview Kanya Balakrishna, the co-founder of The Future Project who was introduced to me by a professor and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He, like global bestselling author Tony Wagner, Sir Ken Robinson, Cleveland Cavs owner and billionaire Dan Gilbert, Alicia Keys, Deepak Chopra, and others support this nonprofit, which works with over 50,000 students in schools nationwide to help them identify projects they can work on to help them see a brighter future, and so I’m really excited to interview her both for the book and for the web series we’ve been shooting all day (we record episodes in batches, typically each Thursday).

We wrap up, share big hugs with Layla, and grab protein bars from the market downstairs. Considering my newest marketing consulting client is Ample, a 500 Startups company that raised $70,000 on Indiegogo in its first two day and went on to raise over $367,000 in one month for its “meal-in-a-bottle” solution to help people gain optimal nutrition in a rush, I’m already feeling guilty, but alas, the show must go on and we are otherwise going to be late for yet another subway ride.

About a half hour later, we walk into The Future Project offices. Apparently, yesterday was Kanya’s birthday, and so there are signs and pictures of her all over the office with words of admiration from her team and program alum. We’re a few minutes late, and squeezed in a 3:30 p.m. meeting after this, so we only have about forty-five minutes to do two interviews and learn how The Future Project has corralled so much support in such little time.

As we head down the elevator, I check my email to see that New York Times bestselling author Dave Kerpen has just published an article about me saying that I’m “The Most Connected Kid You Don’t Know Yet (But Probably Should)” and sharing my “5 Strategies For Quickly Building An Influential Network”, which are the reasons to why I’ve been running around the city meeting all these incredible people today.

I quickly post the article to Facebook, shout out all the mentors and friends I mentioned in the interview, and retweet some of the comments readers have already shared online. Apparently, my next interviewee Jayson Gaignard has already seen the post and commented on my Facebook status, so the pressure is on!

kleinert jared

photo by Liebs Media

We enter another hotel near where we had our first interview this morning (why is everyone staying near Times Square?) and see Jayson in the fourth floor lobby. Jayson Gaignard is the founder of Mastermind Talks, one of the most exclusive events each year that hosts thought leaders like Tim Ferriss, Dave Asprey, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Marie Forleo, and is harder to get into than Harvard with a less than 1% acceptance rate for the thousands of entrepreneurs attempting to get into Jayson’s events.

Much to my surprise, I learn that Jayson is still only 30 (turning 31 next week) and so I offer to include him in my next book, prompting us to dive into two interviews and spend the next hour-plus chatting about how to build super-powered networks. I’m geeking out and am again humbled – Jayson is where I want to be in a decade, running a seven-figure business with a network that influences millions in industries ranging from tech to internet marketing and publishing. This article may as well be a day in his life, but I digress.

We are running over our hour time allotment because we are having fun and sharing so much practical advice with our eventual audiences, and he has a meeting with none other than investor and author James Altucher right after we wrap up.

Ten minutes later, I’m meeting James for the first time (I’ve been a big fan of his work for over a year, and even gave his book Choose Yourself to my mom) and giving my goodbyes to Jayson, a new friend, book contributor, and web show interviewee all wrapped into one.

kleinert jared

photo by Liebs Media

5:30 pm is when I finally stumble into my office again. The crowd has cleared on this Thursday night and I’m left relatively alone to choose a conference room in which to set up for my next interview, which isn’t until 8:00 pm and is over Skype.

In the meantime I reach out to potential contributors for 3 Billion Under 30, the follow-up to my first book 2 Billion Under 20 which was voted the #1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015. So far, everyone from entrepreneurs running 7, 8, and 9 figure businesses to pro athletes, Guinness World Record holders, venture capitalists, industry-leading designers, corporate intrapreneurs, and others have sent me their stories so I can share them with the world and encourage our generation to act on their passions in life and unite in solving the world’s most pressing problems. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh called my last book, “a challenge to young people across the globe,” and I’m increasingly getting more excited about 3 Billion Under 30 because it is shaping up to be the blueprint to accepting such a challenge.

Soon 8:00 p.m. rolls around and Joel Brown from Addicted2Success.com hops on the line. In a few short years, Joel has grown his media company to social media accounts that collectively have millions of followers and an annual unique visitor count of over 50 million. I used to write for his outlet, and now get to hear his most recent story to be shared in my book about struggling with TSA to re-enter the country after temporarily leaving the U.S. to head to Mexico for a friend’s bachelor party (he’s here on a six month visa from Australia). I’m glued to the screen as he shares the experience and how we was kept in a deportation chamber for twelve hours because the officers didn’t understand how he makes money online.

40 minutes we wrap up, wave goodbye via video chat, and I walk out to the shared area in our office to see Alex Wolf, a good friend, Instagram influencer, and entrepreneur who is here to grab dinner with me on Stone Street, the famous restaurant strip near Wall Street that fortunately happens to be right behind the building. Alex has grown various Instagram accounts totalling over 260,000 followers and has a business generating over $30,000 monthly that she doesn’t even run anymore (she has since hired a CEO to run the brand BossBabe she became famous for in order to grow a stronger personal brand). Earlier this week she was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” in business, and so just as I have been all day, I’m just happy to be here. We wrap up at around 10:30 pm and I head back to my office to send out my free daily “Millennial To Watch” newsletter (where I cover impressive peers of mine from all different backgrounds and industries) before heading back to Brooklyn and calling it a night.

Not every day of mine ends up like this, but I’ve set up projects like 2 Billion Under 20 and 3 Billion Under 30 that force me to meet interesting, exceptional talents given that all my work revolves around identifying, befriending, and connecting top-performing Millennials so I can help educate companies about how to best engage our generations and educate the public about why young people hold more power today than ever before.

I share this not to impress you, but to impress upon you that you too can create these connections and build a network that wants you to be successful and values your unique input. If I can build a 100% self-made network like this in less than five years, imagine what you can do if you take the time to develop a career around providing others with as much exposure, support, and rewards for their work as possible.

Help others by bringing awareness to their work and the stories they have to share, and they will certainly help you in return.

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5 Tips To Get Over Stage Fright

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fright stage

Do you experience speechlessness, nausea or vertigo when you’re about to speak publicly? The name of this condition is stage fright. Strangely enough, stage fright does not always involve a fright, in some instances, these feelings can be induced by any form of public speaking. For most people public speaking causes anxiety. If you experience anything more than mild symptoms, you need to deal with it instead of avoiding public speaking engagements. Here are some ways you can deal with stage fright.

Relax

Finding ways to relax can help fend off anxiety. Meditate, listen to music, eat your favorite food, take a walk or do anything that is relaxing will take your mind off what you’re about to do and help you enter a Zen state of mind. In other words, keep your mind entertained so it won’t dwell on your upcoming task.

Practice Makes Perfect

This saying is particularly true if you suffer from stage fright. One of the best ways to get over public speaking is to practice constantly. Once your speech is perfect, practice speaking in small audiences. For example, start with your family or a group of friends. You can gradually increase the number of people you’re practicing on as the big day arrives. Constant practice can help increase your self confidence and give you time to correct any flaws in your speech or presentation.

Eat and Live Healthy

Eat lots of fruits, practice yoga or meditation, take up a hobby or exercise and play sports. Living a healthy lifestyle will help improve your self esteem. When you do activities like exercise or yoga, you are surrounded with other people and are encouraged to socialize. Eating a healthy diet will help you keep in shape which boosts self confidence. Before a public speaking engagement, avoid caffeine and sweets which can up anxiety levels.

Accept Your Fears

One of the first steps to overcoming stage fright is to admit that you have stage fright. Once you have accepted it, you can begin to find ways to control this fear. This will help you find ways to deal with your problem instead of hiding from it. Confronting and accepting your fears will help you become confident, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

It’s Not About You

PowerPoint presentation coaches say that the presentation is not about you or the slides, so focus on the task at hand. Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander got over stage fright by making a story of the important things instead of thinking about his problems. He realized that he and his fellow actors were on stage to tell a story. They are there for the show and experience. Thinking about this helped him get over stage fright and perform better.

Finding ways to avoid performing or public speaking will only aggravate the situation. It is always better to confront stage fright than hide from it. If actors can get over stage fright, so can you.

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