Left-of-field, but Tasmania (the island at the bottom of Australia) is stunning and you will not regret it. It's very much a cold climate, and home to pristine air and wilderness like you can't imagine. Hobart is a perfect base, a place of history, makers and artisan food and brew producers, and you can hike Cradle Mountain, walk the Bay of Fires, relax at Wineglass Bay, whale watch at Freycinet and visit singal-malt whisky distilleries in the highlands. Then to up the ante, hop on the Orion from Hobart and explore Antarctica. Whatever you choose, enjoy! :)
I'm wondering if it could have something to do with the level of encryption enabled by ODF documents? It's no secret the Australian Gov't has come under sustained hack attacks of late, so maybe this was the catalyst?
My advice - have a monetisation plan. Nut out all the potential monetization streams. But it doesn't mean to you have to implement them from the get-go - as you say, there's definitely merit in just building something people want and focusing on attracting and retaining users :)
Hey man! This is what my startup is working on. Travel is a ridiculously cluttered industry, yet no one's managed to nail it. (I think because they're so focused on pure monetisation - skimming off bookings etc - they're less focused on the inspirational or emotional design side of things. We're pairing this with kick-*ss functionality). We're not launched yet, but I would love to get your feedback on our demo when it's finalized :)
For anyone who's interested, I recommend watching the film 'Race to Nowhere' - it documents the current education system's focus on standardized tests and questions what 'success' looks like.
Personally I think we should be gearing curriculums towards what are being defined as the 21st Century Set of Literacies: how well we can find information, validate it, synthesize it, leverage it, communicate it, collaborate with it and problem solve with it.
What's education really for? I'd like to see the focus move from a focus on test scores towards producing future generations who are creative, empathetic, resilient, driven and entrepreneurial.
I don't think testing as a way of tracking progress should be stopped completely (what gets measured gets done, right?) But the focus on testing is too strong.
In systems geared around testing, it creates a culture of scarcity in which teachers and schools are competing against each other. This compares with a system such as Finland, where they have no standardized tests (and hence have a more collaborative approach to education) and yet they rate among the world's best for educational outcomes.
The 'Program for International Student Assessment' is an international testing system of 15-year-old students undertaken every three years by the OECD - Finland repeatedly ranks amongst the top of these international rankings based on science, mathematics and literacy.
Education's a random passion of mine so I've read a lot about it - the Finnish system is just so cool as it focuses on non-cognitive skills more than most systems - growing emotional intelligence and resilience - so it's pretty cool that despite no national testing program (apart from the OECD) they come out really well :)
I don't disagree, but Finnish students are subject to one OECD test at age 15, as opposed to going through a system geared around very regular, standardized tests. There's a big difference. Personally I think the Finnish system sounds more fun.
Such a good question! It illustrates how for ideas to flourish they need a platform and strategy to be organized and improved upon.
For example there's a great innovation tool called the Lotus Blossom Technique - you start with a concept, but then add layers of ideas or improvements to the original idea (like peeling a blossom) until you reach a core (and much improved) idea. The results of this are much more effective and targeted than traditional crowd-sourced problem solving - such as via forums - that can often involve lots of orthogonal voices shouting ideas yet lacking structure.
I love the Lotus Blossom as a creative thinking tool, yet can imagine on a larger scale it's an issue in itself to organize (e.g. who leads the process? how to make everyone feel 'heard'? how to keep the brainstorming on track so ideas are strengthened, not watered down?) So, when it all boils down, it's understanding and adapting to human psychology (at both an individual and collective level) that solves large-scale problems. This would be an awesome problem to solve!
Microchip all guns? Or utilize nanotechnology to hook them up with a scannable barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone app? If it's not chipped, it's not legal. All police nationally should be equipped with necessary devices to scan guns on the spot.
Why would this help? There are currently millions of guns that have been subject to very little character checking or cross-checking. A gun census, of sorts, is needed. So I would suggest a harmonized shooter's license scheme and weapon registration scheme. Similar to a buyback - all gun owners have within a defined period to re-license (read: microchip) every one of their guns, after which time any unlicensed weapons (under the new universal license scheme) are illegal and confiscated. Part of this new licensing includes universal registration - so police nationally have records of all gun ownership and licenses - providing a uniform standard of safety across the country.
Bias: I'm Aussie, and in 1996 laws were introduced banning semi-automatic weapons in Australia (via a buyback scheme). In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings - but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. Firearm homicides and suicides reduced dramatically. Life is safer without guns.