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New Tech Blog: Max On Media
Max On Media is a technology-based blog written by Burke Liburt. Burke Liburt is the co-founder and CMO of SynchroPET, a biomedical device company that has licensed patented nuclear imaging technologies from Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has developed marketing strategies at television groups (Dun & Bradstreet/ ABC Television) and at his own multi-media company. Read Max On Media Now!
Stony Brook Innovation Center Blog

Innovate Your Fate

Nov 05 2017

The most helpful topic for an Innovation Center blog would seem to be examining whether innovativeness can be instilled in people the way installing computer programs enables us to do different things, and if so, how is it downloaded, or learned?  Is there a single Skill Set underpinning all the other attributes that are identifiable in the majority of innovators, short of the few savants floating around, and even there?  Do innovations like the light bulb and Internet arise out of nowhere, or evolve as species do: putting similar things together again and again, and how is that done?  

            The question, strictly speaking, is not how to get cured,
   but how to live.

                                                            Lord Jim, ch. 20, by Joseph Conrad


 “A man’s character is his fate,” according to not only Heraclitus, but some would say even more grandly by Saul Bellow in the guise of Augie March, right on the famous first page of his adventures, and that he backed those Tall Words up more monumentally, at that.
How so? one is given to wonder, if they wonder about worthwhile things, which is part and parcel of the same dilemma.  There are as many levels of wondering as all the elevators in all the world and buildings with none, as there are of thought, in general, and they usually coincide.  When someone is strong in one area of either but deficient I others, it bespeaks an abnormality, a blockage somewhere, or lacking, keeping the rest of their mind from learning capabilities of other strengths the owner possesses.
Your fate isn’t how many years, months, and days you will live, how you die, your income and children, but whether you made the most of yourself and every opportunity, each and every day, or let your one life in all eternity go by haphazardly, focusing only or for the most part on what you can do to make your way in the world, not who you are, in and of yourself. 
I’ve written largely about the significance of language use in every facet of life and work, based on the way it is used in literature, meaning all books, but also indicating how it is used much, much more effectively in literary works of the first order, to reveal what I am getting at here: how to improve your very state of mind and entire existence, influencing how the people around you at home and work can improve theirs, as well.  If anything—I rrrepeat, ANYTHING—you ever do, is its reward for the effort it takes, it is taking the journeys that the masters lead you through, even beyond all the other arts because they alone directly impart the secrets of true wisdom, which music, visual art, and dance can only imply.  That said, it is equally true that the more someone experiences and engages with the other arts, one way or another, and the better they understand their properties and the processes used by those who create them, the better they will utilize the lessons of the literary masters, whose writing inherently partakes of qualities in the other arts, which is why the muses are spoken of as sisters since time immemorial.
Even on a pragmatic level, THINK: computers enable pretty much every company to offer pretty much anything that their competitors have.  People do business with people, from whom they learn new ways of looking at what they do and their life, from The Way they put the matter at hand in perspective with it.  People who do that are also more productive at every level, so while it SEEMS to take longer, it actually SAVES time because they UNDERSTAND you better, so you don't have to go over the same things again and again.  A movie about my high school coach ends with my Voice Over about that being the key to his success.  We could delve into details more intricately than other teams did because we weren’t going over the same things again and again.  If you’ve ever been in a business, that should sound familiar.  The question isn’t just how to get cured, but how to work, how to dance, how to cook, how to love, how to forgive; how you live encompasses all that you do and are, whether you notice it or not, and the degree to which you do or don’t notice—and those around you notice and are moved by it—is also how you live.   

Two Italian medical students stayed with me recently while doing a month internship at the medical center here.  I generously loaned them my bikes to go food shopping, and when they returned they thought they’d left a package of food at the store, so I foolishly, some might say, agreed to drive them back, which wasn’t part of our arrangement.  The elderly night manager knew I’d been shopping there for decades, but still was incredulous that anyone could leave so many items at the checkout stand.  From many years of experience in business dealings of all kinds, I replied that, from our side of the Customer Service counter, the incredible thing is that someone could leave so many items there without anyone putting them aside.  His assistant showed me a video of them leaving, holding several packages, but the video was incomplete, not showing how many were on the checkout ramp.  After extensive deliberation, he agreed to replace the items at no charge.
On the way home, I pointed out to them how I turned the manager’s question around, which can be equally effective in eliciting information from patients when they become doctors.
“Do you like philosophy?” one of them asked.
“I live philosophy!” I replied, adding, “We all do, whether we like it or not.”
Two days later, the distinct stench of rotting food arose in my kitchen, whereupon I found the bag of groceries, including meats, under my kitchen table.  Since they took the train right next to the store to the city and bought month passes, I suggested that they should repay the store for the second bag of groceries given to them at no charge, the next time they go to the city.  Their snap response?
“But the store doesn’t know that we found the first bag.”
“In the first place,” I began, “seeing how large the bag was now, how do you know the manager didn’t suspect that it sounded fishy, but gave way in consideration of my long-standing good reputation there, which is now tarnished irrevocably.  Furthermore, we know.  That should be enough.”
Needless to say, it was only upon threat of informing the doctor, who sponsored them, for whom they were working, that they finally paid the store three weeks later, despite numerous trips to the city in the interim.

THAT is your fate: how readily you have everything you learned and experienced at your fingertips, and put the right ones together with anything coming at you, the right way, all the time.

Stony Brook University Innovation Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3775

Phone: 631.632.7171
Fax: 631.632.8181