Articles

Dear John,

In art, Books, Community, culture, design, faith, Friends, Fun, home, movies, Parenting, quote on May 19, 2017 by mstevensrev

John,

Mr. Waters there is a god and it sure might be you and I am positive it is not the first time you have been told this (though probably in different circumstances:)

I was born in 1976 at St. Agnus Hospital in Baltimore and by 5 years old I was wandering the city blocks of West Baltimore in Edmondson, a wild thing for a white boy in the 80’s. As life moved on I became a devoted follower of you even attending movies at the Senator. As a young adult, I found the director’s cut of A Dirty Shame and your glossary of sex terms extremely helpful and still recommend it to my children and strangers when they find struggles with such naming conventions. “Full of Grace” is a regular quote in my family attributed to Pecker…and thank you for indulging my fanboy-ness but this note is about divinity, not celebrity.

This morning I realized that tonight at 40 years old I have reached the pinnacle of my life. My oldest daughter is 15 years old and deeply in love with theater and last spring at the drama auction for Ingraham High School in North Seattle I bought a “walk-on role” in the musical this spring. I was delighted to learn in fall that the musical would be Hairspray.

As a sophomore, the production has been a dream come true for my daughter, in addition to landing a role she was also given the responsibly of dance captain. Due to circumstances, she choreographed and co-choreographed several the songs including Good Morning Baltimore. As horrible people say, “the apple does not far fall from the tree” as her mother is a choreographer and movement artist.

Back to me, this week I learned and this morning it dawned on me how significant it is that my walk on role for Hairspray is during Good Morning Baltimore. Not only that but I get to be “The flasher who lives next door”. Following in the footsteps of your cameo role in the recent film.

For a kid that grew up the son of window cleaner in Baltimore my life could not be better, for that I am so grateful. I may live to see the marriage of my children, grandchildren born or even become a billionaire but nothing will compare to the moment when I walk out on stage tonight. No better script exists than my own life and this moment certainly makes me consider that all of it has been choreographed for me already. Happy belated birthday, missed you when you were in Seattle a month ago, and I do hope someday our paths will cross in person as they already have in spirit.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Michael Stevens

1004 NW 130th Street Seattle WA 98177

M: 206.390.8142 michaelstevensrev@gmail.com #mstevensrev

 

*This message was originally written on the fan page @JohnWatersFanPage where I realized that you are not on Facebook. Tempted to hand write the letter to you, but I wanted you to read every expression of my heart clearly. Many blessing enlighten one!

Advertisements

Articles

The Ability to Not FORG UP

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2017 by mstevensrev

1024px-THERE_IS_NO_GIVE_UP._Not_today_(2776553371)

A few weeks ago a few friends and I were talking about a project, that due to a vacation over spring break and a busy work schedule after returning, I had not talked about in almost two weeks. Before the conversation, the thought had crossed my mind that it wasn’t even worth meeting with them because perhaps the project was not all that I thought it was cracked up to be. In the first five minutes of the meeting, the fire back and I was energized.

So I mentioned this shift from doubt creeping into excitement and my entrepreneurial friend, Chris, said to me, “Oh did you¬†forg¬†up.” and I responded with, “What did you just say.” He apologized and said that he had just blended two things from his head when he spoke, he went on, “Did you forget which led you to give up?” I said exactly, “I could have¬†forg’d up¬†if we had not met today.”

There are times that we don’t intentionally quit, rather we subtly walk away from something that is bringing us life. The tragedy can be if it is something we are passionate about and because we don’t have someone to share it with at the time, we forget and give up…forg up.

Thanks to all the people in my life that have been there to listen, perhaps today I will be able to be present for someone else allowing them to not forg up.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

Abraham Lincoln

Articles

Special versus Valuable

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2017 by mstevensrev

 

diamond-807979_960_720Participation trophies, snowflakes, and the cult of the special has come under criticism. I’m in agreement that the criticism is well deserved. Life does not work this way. In our jobs in our personal lives we stack rank everything from most creative to best looking to richest.

Logically everyone knows: If EVERYONE is special, then NO ONE is special. The meaning of special is set apart, different, or unique. There is no way to have shades or varying degrees of special, it is analog.

Today for the first time I was able to hear something behind the movement (or cult) of special. My hope is that what people are trying to say is people are valuable. EVERYONE is valuable. We don’t wander into fallacies with that statement, and it gets to the heart of the matter.

Zappos is a company that I respect in many areas, and in their book “Delivering Happiness” they mentioned a practice to weed out fakers during the interview process. Headquartered in Las Vegas, the office is a pretty long trip from the airport therefore Zappos provides candidates that are interviewing a ride on their shuttle. When the person has completed their interviews and returned to the airport on the shuttle, a manager will call the shuttle driver to get the drivers perspective.¬†As Hsieh said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “It doesn’t matter how well the day of interviews went, if our shuttle driver wasn’t treated well, then we won’t hire that person.”

Make the change in your language, it is simple…those around you perhaps are not special but most surely valuable. And so are you.

The little things, I can obey. But the big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.

Morrie Schwartz

Articles

Machine Translation making waves and how to make sure you know how to talk about it at the cocktail party

In Books, commercials, Community, computers, culture, facebook, Technology, work on October 5, 2016 by mstevensrev

bn-cz300_google_g_20140528135745In the past month(s) some of the news coming out from major technology companies have caught the media’s attention. At the same time my co-host for the Globally Speaking Podcast, Renato Beninatto¬†, was really pushing us to make our most complex podcast to date on the topic as part of a series on the machines taking over:) Since then I have started doing my research in preparation for our conversations with leaders in the field. At this point I’m likely to help others talk intelligently at a cocktail party.

To date much of the conversation around Machine Translation, which has been around since the 1950s, mainly consisted of statistical and rule-based systems. Rule Based systems as the names signifies is based up linguistic rules that set how words will be translated, words from target language will replace the source language. Statistical machine translation focused on pattern recognition within translation and provided target based on huge amounts of parallel texts. Most of the effective machine engines for a time ended up being a Hybrid machine translation engine that incorporated the best of both methodologies..

Now neural networks are on the scene. To understand the effectiveness and basic outline of this technology check out a this great article, From not working to neural networking. As I understand the strength of the neural network is the depth of the data that is process. Rather then being limited to a number of rules or a corpus of strings to improve the quality. Neural machine translation operates beyond a string and by exposing it to a huge number of examples it will learn without telling it what to look for. There is a sight that even allows you to demo the Neural Machine Translation by LISA, which has been trained on a lot of data from the UN and European Parliament.

So since this has been going on for some time, why the news all of a sudden? For one Alan Packer from Facebook came out and said that the other forms (specifically statistical) of machine translation have reached their usefulness and Facebook is now focusing on the use of neural networks. Check out Rachel Metz’s article, Facebook Plans to Boost Its Translations Using Neural Networks This Year. Then this month Google has come out and said that Google Neural Machine Translation reduces errors by 60 percent, cool. NPR picking it up here, they interviewed a translator naysayer who felt the need to reinforce that professional translators will be needed.

Then during Google’s “Made by Google” Event, the implications of this break thru and artificial intelligence (AI) were discussed by Sudar Pichai during the early part of the event. The part about the implications for voice technology were interest, why do we only have one voice?

With all the excitement it is important to have other voices outside of Google and Facebook, so that we don’t all get caught up in the next wave of hype. For that check out the article, Hyperbolic? Experts Weigh In on Google Neural Translate¬†from Florian Faes at Slater. Overall the opinions are rather favorable, so check it out.

Now you are on the road of looking like a star with your friends and new acquaintances. Glad to hear about other resources you are finding key on getting you up to speed with this great technology, if it’s something we use I’ll be sure to mention it on the podcast!

Sometimes I wish that I could go into a time machine right now and just look at my self and say, ‘Calm down. Things are gonna be fine. Things are gonna be all great. Just relax.’

-Tristan Wilds

Articles

Simple sales strategy exercise

In advertising, business, Community, culture, design, principles, running, work on September 21, 2016 by mstevensrev

20160920_073222.jpgYesterday while running through the park yesterday I ran past this art and was reminded of a simple mental exercise regarding sales. Follow with me for a moment:

Which of these to chairs represents the salesperson and the client?

There is no correct answer but the way you answer may reveal a great deal about how you think of salespeople. If you are a salesperson it may reveal how you think about yourself. In an ideal world the chairs would be the same size and it would be two experts working together for their common good. There are also times to humble oneself, when providing hospitality or after a mistake that may lead to an discrepancy. ¬†There have been moments where I have remembered this image and thought to myself, which one do I feel like right now…and is that okay?

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.

‚Äď William Clement Stone

Articles

Success in localization

In advertising, Bible, Books, business, Community, computers, culture, facebook, faith, leadership, Localization, Uncategorized on September 15, 2016 by mstevensrev

Workshop_of_Pieter_Coecke_van_Aelst,_the_elder_-_Saint_Jerome_in_His_Study_-_Walters_37256.jpg

There are a number of models of success in the localization industry.

Each day billions of people use products they would otherwise not have access to because of the translator or editor and supporting services.

Global companies continue to drive higher revenues worldwide, often outside the country that the company was originally founded in.

An author gets his book out to an audience that doesn’t speak his native language.

Communities are being connected and the localization industry has a continued opportunity to onboard new groups of people to this exciting connected world we live in. Through this work we share in the beauty of the worlds growing diversity, and language is at the core of it.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. -Nelson Mandela

Articles

Favorite sales stories, and a new podcast

In advertising, banking, Books, business, commercials, computers, culture, design, generosity, humor, leadership, Localization, mission on September 14, 2016 by mstevensrev

sales-army.jpgToday we put our the latest episode of our podcast, Episode 010: What about Sales, from Globally Speaking. www.globallyspeakingradio.com or you can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play (USA or Canada), Stitcher, or via RSS. This inspired me to share a story that tells you how hard it is to do sales, which is something I am passionate about.

A few years ago before the localization industries primary trade show, LocWorld, I sent a note to a friend that I saw was going to be in attendance, offering to show him around town since the show was in Seattle. It had been a few years since I had connected with this friend and former client, so I thought it would be great to catch up. Surprisingly, to me, there was no response.

On the second night of the show we are at a bar and I see this friend I reached out to at the same bar with his colleagues enjoying a drink. The bar was closing, and I went up to see how he was doing. After some small talk he said, “You’re from here, where can we get another drink?” I had my car and offered to take them to another bar I knew would be open and fun. So we went out to my car, the four of us squeezing into a small two door car, once everyone was in I locked the door and asked, “No one is getting out of the car until I found out why you didn’t respond to my email.” There was laughter, but I did not move or start the car as everyone looked around.

Finally my friend went to explain that he had received no less then 400 emails or LinkedIn InMail before the conference. Some were offering him “10% less then his current prices, guaranteed.” He then apologized, under the threat of never getting out of my car, and went on to explain how it was impossible to separate the signal from the noise in such circumstances…so he just shut off.

Not only was it fun to reconnect with an old friend, but he insight was shocking to me. How do you distinguish yourself when people have shut off because there is too much noise? How do you respect a person’s desire to not be bother but also let them know that you are thinking about them? This is the work and the art of sales, each person and company are unique but the principles you have in place to tackle this obstacle are key in your success.

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.

-W. Clement Stone