Monthly Archives: September 2013

Soldier Field – Home of the Chicago Bears

Soldier Field is a prominent landmark in down town Chicago.  It is on the area known as the museum campus, next to the Field Museum, the aquarium and planetarium.  So ever since my first visit to Chicago last year I have been eager go watch the Bears play a game there.

The stadium was build 1922 and is named Soldier Field as memorial to soldiers who have died in wars.  Soldier Field is the oldest stadium in NFL and the second smallest with a capacity of only 61 500 – about the same as Ellis Park.  It was amazing to think that even with a capacity crowd it was only about half of what I was apart of the day before at ‘The Big House’.

Picture of the modern steel renovations inside the classic roman collumns

The Spaceship has landed inside Soldiers Field

It was remodeled extensively in the early 2000.  From the outside is look a little like a spaceship landed in side some Roman or Greek ruins.  How it got to be like that is a funny story, here is how some of the tour guides tell it.  When they wanted to build a new stadium they could not get approval to knock the old one down since it was a national monument or something like that.  So they build the new stadium inside the old one.  But once it was completed the monument status was revoked.  Which meant they could now actually build anything they want, but it was to late of course.

line of scrumache from my seat at Soldier Field

I had a great view of the action from my seat at Soldier Field.

NFL is predated by collage football by several decades, and is a big commercial machine, with advertising and sponsorships everywhere, a stark contrast to college football.  There were pre-game fireworks and a half time show by a local college marching band.

Panorama of empty Soldier Field

View of the empty Soldier Field from the behind to goal post

Over all it was a great experience at Soldier Field.  The Bears clearly have a very passionate following in Chicago; you see Bears flags everywhere. The game might be completely different then rugby but people here are every bit as passionate about their team as we are about the Bulls back home.

The Big House

Last weekend I had the chance to attend my first collage football game.  It was one of the most amazing sporting experiences I have ever had.  Another Starter League student suggested I go watch a game at The Big House.

Jet flying over The Big House!

Four fighter Jets did flyovers before the game!

The Big House is the nickname for Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Home to the football team of the University of Michigan.  It is the biggest sport stadium in the US, with an official capacity of 109 901.  At Saturdays game a few new records were set, highest ever attendance – 115 109 and most consecutive games with more than 100 000 attendance – 245.

The original stadium was build back in 1927 with a capacity of 82 000. Even today after much remodeling the seats are still just benches with no arm or back rests, which allows them to get more people in. Not that it matters much, as I must have only sat down for less than 10% of the time on Saturday.

Panorama of the all yellow Big House!

Panorama view from my seat at The Big House!

The energy in the stadium was electric, at a level equal to a Springboks vs. All Blacks or Lions test match, which is insane if you consider that this was only a collage football game.  The Wolverines, name of the football team, played their first game back in 1879.

It was also very apparent how ‘commercial’ free the day was compared to other sports.  There was no advertising on the field or inside the stadium and no ads were played on the two giant scoreboards.  It was actually very refreshing!

View of 'The Big House' just before the teams arrive

The Crowd eagerly awaiting the teams arrival on the field.

Before the game there were four fighter jets doing multiple flyovers, and there was a big blimp floating around.  Walking up to the stadium it looked like most people had been spending the day with something on the braai and a beer in hand waiting for the game to begin.

The game was tense, but the home team managed to pull through in the end.  The marching bands of both teams performed before, at half time and after the game.  If you ever find yourself in Michigan during football season make sure to go to game at The Big House. Here is a little preview:

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown

Best Leadership book ever!

I love reading, and mostly read business related books.  I have also read my fair share of leadership books over the past 10 years.  A month or so ago a friend that I studied with recommended Multipliers.  His book recommendation has always been good in the past and he was quit excited about Multipliers.  So immediately got a copy on my Kindle.

He turned out to be spot on. Multipliers is the best leadership book I have ever come across.  I found it so valuable that I read it a second time right after I’ve finished it the first time.

==> Click here to buy: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter <==

Multipliers describe a continuum of leadership with the two extremes being Multipliers and Diminishers.  The research Multipliers is based on, showed that Multipliers on average, got more than two times more out of their people than Diminishers.

Throughout the book they contrast the behaviour of Multipliers with Diminishers.  Multipliers are Talent Magnets while Diminishers are Empire Builders, Multipliers are Challengers while Diminishers are Know-it-Alls, you get the idea.

One of the most fascinating observations was that many people that worked for Multipliers reported that their boss managed to get more out of them than they thought they was capable of.  While many former Rock Stars revert the ‘quit and stay’ approach when working for a Diminisher.

Multipliers managed to reframe the whole way I look at leadership.  I just look at the world through completely different lenses now.  Where previously, I would get frustrated with some situations I now immediate ask my self how a Multiplier would look at it.  I try to figure out how I can learn from it and change my behaviour.

==> Click here to buy: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter <==

Multipliers work from the assumption: “People are smart, they will figure it out”, while Diminishers assume: “really intelligent people are rare, I am one of them”.  This leads to two complete diverging ways of operating and behaviours.

You have to read Multipliers, it will change the way you see the world!

Learning JavaScript using a Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian stone, inscribed with a decree.  It is unique in that it contained the decree in three languages, including ancient Greek.  Which allowed for the translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphs.  So this week Raghu used this analogy/method to ease us into learning JavaScript.

We translated things like conditional statements from Ruby to JavaScript.  JavaScript is a very important tool for any web developer, since it is the only language that Browsers understand.  It allows you to change the page a user is seeing without reloading the page.  JavaScript was born way back in 1995 at Netscape.

iLostandfound profile page as it would look on a tablet

Here is the iLostandFound new profile page, we had fun doing this after learning JavaScript

The next step was to learn jQuery, a JavaScript library that makes your life a little easier by defining a bunch of methods that you can use.  There is also jQuery UI, which can do even more and has very cool visual effects.

The last part of this weeks learning was Ajax (asynchronous JavaScript and XML).  This allows you to update records in your database without changing the display the user sees in the browser using JavaScript.

Learning Javascript made this possible

The Modal for one message on the iLostandFound profile page.

Armed with these new skills Anthony (another Starter League student) and I worked all Saturday on iLostandFound, and we had so much fun.  It was probably the best day of coding yet.  We just about completely redid the main profile page to include a bunch of JavaScript.

We have tried to work with mobile and tablets in mind and the results look pretty cool.  We broke the profile page in to four parts;  messages, QR code, profile and badges.  Font Awesome provided the perfect icons for each of these.  Then we’ve used a modal to show detail of the messages and to edit your profile.  A modal is when something shows over the page with black transparent background.

iLostandFound profile page on a mobile devise

View of the profile page on a mobile device… Looks awesome!

To be honest, we surprised ourselves with what we were able to achieve.  iLostandFound is starting to look really slick. Learning JavaScript, jQuery and Ajax made this the best week of Starter League yet!