Author: Peter Gietl

Politics

#Politics and the Rise of the Internet Journalist

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

-George Orwell

Orwell penned those words over 70 years ago, but, like most of what he wrote, they are as true today as when they were first typed out. There is no escaping politics, any more than one can avoid breathing; even ignoring politics is a highly political act. It also begs a question of how the media covers politics, of whether there can ever be objectivity when covering something so deeply personal. 2016 will be remembered as the year when technology, and specifically the Internet, was truly unleashed onto the American political system for the first time. This summer has witnessed the first presidential campaign in a truly digital age, and it will change how Americans think about politics forever.

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Sustainability

An Unlikely Champion

If there is one thing Americans love, it is the comeback story. Winning can be boring, but winning after failing elicits something very primal in our nature. But life isn’t a Rocky movie; usually, the demons of addiction and depression end up destroying a person. There rarely is a made-for-TV ending, the musical montage with the smiling protagonist. Rather it’s just the simple tragedy of an unfulfilled life. But every once in a while there is a second chance, and not just the opportunity to win another fight.

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Tech

Anarchy Currencies

A hidden world exists, designed and utilized by some of the most brilliant and secretive people alive. It is the domain of a clandestine, online digital currency that is untraceable, difficult to understand, and resident in the shadows of the dark web. It may be moving into the light to alter how we understand the nature of money.

This is a story of gunrunners and assassins for hire, anarchists, hackers and secret identities, where the owner of an obscure card game website can become worth half a billion dollars only to fall victim to a $700 million online heist. In this world, you can use a string of numbers to instantly purchase drugs or a Ferrari, or donate to charities or your local congressman’s re-election campaign. Read more “Anarchy Currencies”

Travel

Chasing Ghosts is Hard Work

Making the hard choice and putting in the work is easier said than done. Every day we are faced with the prospect of cutting corners or taking the easy way out. But eventually, those small decisions, whether good or bad end up having a huge effect on the work we do and the lives we lead. Michael Jensen is a man that doesn’t compromise when it comes to his work. He is the co-owner and operator of Haunted Key West Tours, an award-winning ghost tour in Key West, Florida. And you don’t have to be a paranormal medium to decipher his keys to success

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Science

Smashing Our Understanding of Physics

Buried nearly 570 feet beneath the ground, and stretching over 17 miles on the idyllic French-Swiss border, lies the largest, most powerful machine that humanity has ever produced. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator of unparalleled size and scope that seeks to shed light on some of the greatest mysteries of the universe. By firing protons at nearly the speed of light and crashing them into each other, discoveries relating to the nature of the Big Bang, dark matter, and even parallel universes have begun to emerge. Renowned for its discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, the LHC and the scientists who run it are on the forefront of physics in the modern era. Read more “Smashing Our Understanding of Physics”

Science

Lisa Randall: Enlightened on Dark Matter

Dr. Lisa Randall is a scientist who is comfortable pondering the enigmatic reaches of the universe and trying to make sense of it. She has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. She is the author of numerous books, including The New York Times bestsellers Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World. Books that seek to elucidate difficult-to-grasp aspects of particle physics. Read more “Lisa Randall: Enlightened on Dark Matter”

Food

You Are What You Eat: Interview with Kimbal Musk

Kimbal Musk unapologetically wants to change the world. We all entertain these notions at times, but he is the rare individual who can actually accomplish such a lofty goal. His older brother receives more attention, but in the same way that Elon Musk is seeking to smash the existing paradigm of transportation, Kimbal wants to transform the industrial food culture in the U.S. Read more “You Are What You Eat: Interview with Kimbal Musk”

Travel

VELTRA IPO Gives Rare Insight on Financials for Online…

The revenue of the major online players in Tours, Activities & Attractions has always been a bit of a mystery. Beyond Phocuswright’s research on the sector, there is little publically available data to estimate sales volumes of the big players. Most companies are privately held, and key public online travel companies such as Expedia and China’s Ctrip do not break down data for the segment. TripAdvisor only reports “non-hotel” revenue. Although activities is believed to represent a significant portion of that revenue, it does include other segments such as restaurants and vacation rentals.

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Science

The Martian Chronicles: Looking at a Future of Human…

In November 2016, an international crew of six astronauts will embark on a perilous journey to an unforgiving planet, extremely hostile to life, aboard the ship Daedalus. They will be humanity’s beginning towards exploring other worlds, as they seek to establish the first colony and life on Mars. Named after the Roman god of war, Mars will present a myriad of dangers that may align to kill Daedalus’ crew. If they succeed, they may position our species on a trajectory of interstellar exploration for the next millennia. Read more “The Martian Chronicles: Looking at a Future of Human Life on Mars”

Politics

Cody Wilson 3D Prints the Gun

Cody Wilson has been called the most dangerous man on the Internet. Depending on who you talk to, he is an irrational zealot who proliferates untraceable guns, or he is a digital patriot who is fighting for individual rights. As with so many things in our society, your opinion of him probably breaks along your political beliefs. When I sat down to speak with Cody, I found a highly articulate intellectual with a quiet intensity about his work. Read more “Cody Wilson 3D Prints the Gun”

Travel

Seeking Disagreement: How Challenging Assumptions Can Help Your Business

The best-laid plans of mice and men. Or so they say. Life rarely turns out the way you plan it. You can have goals that you work towards, but the path you take is often winding. One of the keys is to be flexible and embrace the chaos. It also means being willing to challenge preconceived notions.

For Tom Medin, that meant making a decision that would change his life in order to pursue his passion. He loved being a writer, and his hometown of San Francisco served as a great backdrop for the murder mystery novels he wrote.

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Politics

Talking Politics with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with Cenk Uygur, the creator and host of The Young Turks, a progressive political commentary powerhouse on YouTube that boasts over three billion total views. The channel presents a no-holds-barred approach to politics, where the TYT team offers honest and open analysis from a liberal perspective on political stories from around the country. In this wide-ranging interview, Cenk discusses the presidential race, how tech is changing politics, and his excitement for a new breed of journalist that the internet is creating. Read more “Talking Politics with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks”

Travel

Merging the Past With the Future of the Tour…

Change is never easy. For in-destination operators around the world, the need to innovate has never been greater. Technology is transforming how we travel. More importantly, tastes are evolving rapidly, and the desire for more ‘authentic experiences’ that connect travelers to their destination are placing new demands on operators. For Dan Rogoski, President and Chief Revenue Officer of The Ride in New York City, that meant transforming one of the oldest types of experiences around: the sightseeing bus tour.

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movies

Oscar Nominated Director Morten Tydlum Talks Sci-Fi and Passengers

I sat down with Academy Award nominated director Morten Tydlum for a wide ranging interview about his new film Passengers. We discussed the chemistry between stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, CGI vs. practical effects, and the Sci-fi films and writers who have influenced him the most. Passengers is currently in wide release across the country. Read more “Oscar Nominated Director Morten Tydlum Talks Sci-Fi and Passengers”

Travel

Can a Tour Find Success in a Smaller Destination?

How one business grew in a small market, by embracing culinary and authentic experiences, using savvy marketing, and getting creative. Here’s their story.

Think tours and sightseeing, and the obvious destinations – New York, Paris, Rome – come to mind. But the rapid growth of tours and activities has seen new tour businesses emerge in many locales that don’t come right to mind for travel and tourism. But, it’s interesting that the broader industry trends are just as true in smaller locales. This speaks to a fundamental transformation in how everyone is traveling. From the fashionista in Milan to the business traveler in the Midwest of America, people are seeking authenticity.

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Food

One of The Best Chefs in the World Lands…

Legendary Spanish chef Jordi Roca brings three-star Michelin elegance to the metro area

It’s rare to meet someone who is universally acknowledged to be one of the best in the world at their chosen profession. It’s surprising when that person is as kind, down to earth, and funny as Chef Jordi Roca. He is one of three brothers, along with Joan and Josep, who are the creative masterminds behind El Celler de Can Roca, a legendary three-star Michelin restaurant located in Girona, Spain. Known for gastronomically expanding the minds of even the most jaded connoisseur, the three brothers are revered for approaching food with a level of playfulness and creativity that is almost unrivaled in the culinary world. Restaurant Magazine has named El Celler de Can Roca“The Best Restaurant in the World”, and awarded Chef Jordi with the designation of the “World’s Best Pastry Chef.”

Read more “One of The Best Chefs in the World Lands in Denver”

Travel

TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer Walks Back Statements on Preferencing…

Speaking at the Phocuswright Conference in Los Angeles on Thursday, TripAdvisor President and CEO Stephen Kaufer appeared to walk back earlier comments by TripAdvisor Experiences President Dermot Halpin. Kaufer said the company will not preference tour and activity operators that use Bokun – the reservation system provider it acquired earlier this year – over those that do not.

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Tech

Social Media Brownie Points

We need to have a conversation about the endless political/social commentary petitions that fill our social media feeds. Enough is enough. We get it. You care deeply about [insert social cause here], but the problem is that subjecting the rest of us to your thoughts about said issue is becoming rather tedious. Climate Change. Obama. Trump. Gun Control. Racism. We get it. The world is a complicated, dangerous place, and instantaneous news allows us to witness the chaos in real-time, with live video feeds from around the world. However, these are incredibly complex issues that, sadly, you will usually not be able to fix with a 140-character Tweet or that clever statement you just posted on Facebook. Read more “Social Media Brownie Points”

Travel

Operators React to TRIP’s Sponsored Listings for Bokun Users

TripAdvisor this week announced a significant new effort in its quest to bring more Tour, Activity & Attraction operators into its ecosystem. It’s called Sponsored Placements, and it replicates what TripAdvisor has already been selling to hotels and restaurants: a way to get promoted above the usual TripAdvisor sort ranking. But, in a twist unique to its Experiences listings, it comes with a catch. Operators who wish to participate must use the Bokun reservation platform, which TripAdvisor acquired in early 2018.

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