To witness excellence

This past weekend Skate Canada International was held in my small city of Kelowna, BC. It brings together some of the top figure skaters in the world. I am not really a figure skating fan, but thought this would be a great opportunity to see some amazing athletes at the top of their game (and in the flesh!). I went in with an open mind, and was certainly amazed at the level of precision these athletes brought to the ice — and at such young ages! Even to these untrained eyes, I could tell that they were special. All the skaters were amazing, but two stood above the rest: Hanyu Yuzuru and Alexandra Trusova.

Hanyu is a legend in Japan. Maybe more like a god. He won two Olympic gold medals back-to-back, and is the recipient of the 国民栄誉賞 (People’s Honour Award) in Japan. Once we found out that he was coming to Kelowna, we bought tickets right away back in early July. And we weren’t disappointed.

Tons of the local Japanese community turned out to see Hanyu, as well as lots of diehard fans from Japan and around the world (a Japanese fan sitting beside my wife came to watch Hanyu from London England!). It is probably easier to see Hanyu here in Canada than getting tickets to see him in Japan.

Rows of fans seated holding Japanese flags
The Japanese fans sure turned out!

And when Hanyu finished his last, first-place-winning routine which put him 60 points ahead of second place, the crowd reaction was amazing to behold.

The FULL aftermath
The aftermath

There are lots of YouTube videos, live television broadcasts and DVD sets that allow you to see excellence, but it is a whole other thing to witness it — to experience it collectively with a group of other admiring human beings.

Like I said, I know nothing about skating, so I had never heard of Alexandra Trusova, the “Jumping Queen.” Trusova is the first female figure skater to land a quadruple lutz (one of those spinny-jumpy things) in a competition. During this event, she scored over 100 “technical” points, the first for a female in history. Oh, and she is 15 years old.

She was amazing to watch. At the very end of the event, when only the diehards were left in the arena to catch one final glimpse of their heroes, Hanyu and Trusova came out and had a “quad-off” (I caught it on video). Seeing them fail repeatedly; to not give up; to strive and not be satisfied until they have done it… is very inspiring. Combine all the hard work and the drive with the natural talent that the two of these have, and it is a privilege to see them in person. They are very rare beings on this earth.

It made me think of all the other human endeavours (besides figure skating or even sports) that I know nothing about and could experience. Even if I am not of their world, I can still go and appreciate their skill at a human level, and take away a feeling of awe and inspiration. You might be thinking sarcastically: “Boy, Chad just discovered the joy of sport…” Well, yes, I don’t think I am saying anything particularly insightful. I just feel a great sense of appreciation and freshness(?) after my Skate Canada experience. I am otherwise content by myself in my little office, reading and writing; or to walk places I have never been and take photos to share with friends and family. But now, I think I shall endeavour to get out more and witness excellence.

Profile of a hustler: Instantbight.com

David Silverman is the blogger behind instantbight.com, popularized recently for his simple 5 Question Interviews of technorati. Looking at the list you might recognize some people that I mention from time to time: Horace Dediu, Craig Mod, Ethan Marcotte and Dan Adams for example. David has been publishing these short interviews about one a day since mid-April. It is a pretty ambitious project by a guy with some inspirational initiative.

Did I mention he is in Grade 8?

I reached out to David and we decided to interview one another (here’s mine). Below are my 5 Questions to him. If you want to learn more about David , I recommend you check out his interview with Apple pundit Philip Elmer-DeWitt (one of his first interviewees) for CNN. There you can learn more about why he started the site and the story behind the name of his blog.


Instantbight.com logo

Q. After 3 months, how much feedback are you getting from your interviews nowadays?

Nowadays I get an average of 350 views daily. When I have a very high-profile person doing an interview with me I get upwards of 500. On the day that the CNN Money Article came out, I got around 4,000 views which was insane. All of the comments, and feedback have been positive and very helpful! I love all of my readers, and would love to talk to anyone who wants to talk to me.

Q. What interests you most about the tech world right now?

I find the tech world fascinating for a bunch of reasons. For one I am really an Apple fanboy so all of their product announces and presentations captivate me from the first signs on the rumor mills. Another reason I like the tech world is for it’s attitude. Everyone I have interviewed is so passionate and enthusiastic about their work. I really am excited about the world I am coming into and can’t wait to really get involved.

Q. Which is better and why: work for a big company like Apple or Google someday or have your own startup?

That is an amazing question. I think that if I was every offered a real, “high-up” position in Apple I would take it in a mili-second. I would not want to work for Google, at all, but I won’t get into that now. I would also really like to start my on business. I really like starting things, and leading a team.I feel that I am pretty creative so I would like to make a company that would really wow the tech world. Who knows maybe in a few years, there will be an instantbight inc.

Q. Do you have a business or product idea in mind?

For a long time before instantbight.com, I was thinking of investing time in starting a social network solely for kids ages 10-18. The network would be very entrepreneurially minded, and the focus would be on collaborating with other kids on possible business ideas. I think that kids have an edge that adults don’t on making great ideas and businesses. I would still love to do it now, so if anybody reading this is interested…let me know!

Q. What are your favourite podcasts?

I love The Critical Path with Horace Dediu. He is maybe the smartest guy I know and is so articulate. Every single one of his shows keeps my focus(which is tough with my teenage attention span.). I love how he gives real, cold, hard facts for all of his statements. I also really liked The Talk Show with John Gruber before, he broke up with Dan Benjamin. I am still not sure what that’s all about but I loved the show when they were together. Very funny.

There’s birth there’s maturity there’s independence there’s success there’s empire and then after that there’s decline and then there’s death. You want to jump off that bus at the point of empire.

Andy Ihnatko on IA23