Archive for example

Exercise Talent as a Service to Others

This short compilation of aerial videos was taken by my 16 year old son who is on a journey to apply his skills so that can bring value to other people. This latest updated compilation is to show what he can do for businesses that need a view from above of their properties and commercial activities.

In one of those excerpts in the compilation, you can see the first free one that he did for a local engineering firm. Through a fortuitous meeting at lunch in our local pizzeria, a man connected to a big local earth moving project was intrigued by the possibilities of affordable aerial videography. After showing his drone to the man and what it could do, the rest of the engineering team was enthusiastic about letting him fly over so they could have a dramatic capture of the hard work they were doing. My teenage son’s cheerful and diligent turnaround in the following days with behind-the-scene editing and then providing them with links and video copies was what opened the doors for being approached by another engineering team. That team wanted him to document their project in another city – but this time for pay. I’m happy to report that the filming project has now come and gone and was a great success! Another big one is now lined up based on that last success. And on and on, this 10,000 hour talent journey will keep progressing.

What application does this have for your own son or daughter’s situation? Simply that in order to really grow your child’s talent in such a way that it brings value to other people, it is necessary for your son or daughter to gradually and systematically find ways to showcase and deliver to others with some aspect of value. This value for others means that it is not just the product itself that is important, such as the final video in this example, but also that it is served in the location, manner, and timing that is important to those who will benefit from the talent. As a parent, I take this service part of the talent so seriously, that I will halt my son’s normal school work schedule in favor of him being able to quickly agree to an onsite filming schedule that is convenient to the customer. I make the school schedule bend and flex in favor of my son’s talent development. I will make his normal math or English curriculum schoolwork step aside and allow my son to make it up later in the evening or on another day.

No matter where your child is with regards to his long-term talent development, there is most likely some aspect of it that he can use today to bring value to others besides himself. If he gets your creative parental support to find a way to do it at a young age, he will have a huge advantage of not having to wait till he is in his last year of high-school to find that creative application on his own.

Make your child’s education be the slave to your child, not the master. Make it stand up and sit down on your demand. You and your child are the masters.

Do You Have a Dryer that Can Build Talent?

When you are encouraging your son or daughter to build an amazing talent, do you have the desire to do what it takes for them to be able to reach that level of engagement? One of the keys to building talent is to understand that in order to get very good, you must break it down into the individual skills and work on each of those separately.

Here’s a short video example of how parents of a professional hockey player had created room for their son at a young age to focus on one aspect of his hockey…by allowing him to beat up an old dryer, hour after hour, day after day, with a hockey puck. They did not have to commute far and it did not involve disrupting their normal family life, but they did make room for talent development a priority. Do you have an equivalent of that dryer in your family life that would allow your young person to focus that intensely on a sub-skill? If so, I would love to hear your story as to how you cleverly made room for that in your child.

Update on My 16 Year Old Son’s Talent Journey

Watch my son’s latest video produced to bring specific value through the use of his aerial videography talent. Also, below is an update on my oldest son’s 10,000 hour journey to amazing talent:

This past week, my son Jonathan Jr. was able to take his talent development into a slightly new direction. This is consistent with our family strategy of remaining flexible to opportunities while building on the skills already acquired. This talent journey started a few years ago when our son was enlisted to help us in our family business by taking product photos for our website. He also interested himself in some of the business mechanics of the home business. We encouraged it wherever he was capable of contributing or understanding.

From simple photo taking projects, he grew into learning how to do small videos of my wife doing her product explanations and editing them for brevity. This again was part of a strategy of understanding that our own family environment had advantages he could learn to use for his own benefit. Keep in mind that my son’s original personal interests only played one part in this successful talent building strategy. The other parts are found in the family’s environment and are identified and released by his parents.

The next phase of his talent discovery and development process came when he met a family friend of mine who let him fly his new quadcopter drone with a small camera mounted under its belly. That’s when he realized that he could marry his burgeoning videography with the new affordable flying drones. The feedback he was getting was that there was room for him to bring value to a market that was not yet crowded. When he compared that opportunity to that of becoming a wedding photographer (a typical destination for those with digital cameras and aspirations of going professional), he realized that the wedding market was already very well served. There were would be little room for him in that venue long-term and he would have to beg and scrape for a living. But with the appearance of drones, he realized that this was an opportunity that he should not pass up. It was the classic case of “luck” coming to those who are prepared.

As he started approaching real estate agents to do some basic aerial shots of houses they had for sell or rent, he realized that he enjoyed to talking to grown adult men in the context of business. This in turn caused me to suggest he tap into the expertise of another family friend who was quite the successful salesperson in the insurance industry. That he did. With a few hours of advice and consulting (such as “don’t charge by the hour, but by the project”), Jonathan picked up some better techniques for pitching his service to interested parties. Soon he was engaged in weekly paying “gigs” that involved filming not only housing property, but also undeveloped commercial property. Each time he finished his project and handed off the finished video to the customer, he would also add it to his website. This built up his website as a living portfolio of his work. That public documentation in turn opened up more deals for him. From real estate aerial filming, it now seems to be jumping into some new opportunities involving documenting engineering projects from the air. This, at least, so far seems to leading him into a possible niche. We don’t know for sure, but opportunities and the dollar value that his customers are willing to pay him will be signposts to which way he should grow his talent.

What did we do right and should you do? As his parents, we did not panic ourselves into forcing a career name onto a growing and emerging talent. This allowed us to actively encourage him to pursue opportunities that we previously had never heard about. Because of this parental flexibility, our son is able to explore a growing field involving the application of new technology. And yet, I still don’t think that my son is yet ready to define himself with a career name, because his opportunities are still growing. For now, I’m okay if he says “aerial videographer”, but I doubt that is his end destination. This should be the same with your young person: have a focus, but expect that this focus is simply a building block to hoist him up to get to new and more exciting opportunities, as of yet unknown.

What are some of the discussions I’m having with him now? We have recently been talking about how he probably needs to get himself declared into a C-corporation, so he can position himself with tax advantages and flexibility in future partnering deals. He’s not making enough money yet that it matters, but we want to position him in the best spot possible for future growth. I picked up the phone and talked to an entrepreneur friend who is recommending we look at incorporating in the state of Wyoming because (among other reasons) it is only $50 filing per year vs. the $800 filing fee per year in California. Maybe Wyoming incorporation is an affordable option for him.

We are also talking about how much pleasure and success he is getting at pitching his service to others. This means he might want to think about how he can concentrate on getting new business. To do so he would have to job out the editing of the raw footage he is now doing by himself through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service.  This in turn would mean he would have to start documenting the “recipe” he would want a contractor to follow so that it meets his customers’ needs. These are all conversations now, but our conversations will often lead to meaningful action in the months to come. I take all these conversations as serious, or more seriously, than his ability to memorize the history dates of a Western Civilization course. (By the way, we love and highly recommend the Western Civilization course by Tom Woods of the We know that no one will hire Jonathan to give his opinions on history any time soon, but we are fairly certain that he will be amply rewarded as a young man if he delivers faithfully on his service to others through his talent.

Would you like to read the guide on how to create opportunities like that for your own student? Check out my e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”


Arrival of the DJI Phantom Drone

My 15, soon to be, 16 year old son Jonathan jr. has been very excited about the new tool he just acquired from his work savings: a DJI Phantom drone with GoPro3 camera. Why am I sharing this with you? To encourage you with an excellent example of how to be flexible in the development of talent in the life of your older child. Because, remember that if you try to fully identify your child’s talent early on, it is likely too crowded already for your son or daughter to bring significant extra value to others.

There are several skills being deliberately developed in my oldest son’s life, some of them heavily tied to our family’s business so he can develop business acumen.

One of those skills he uses in the business involves basic photography as we have had to use a good camera for taking product shots and take short videos for my wife to promote our business. From there, we gradually called on him to do more and more of the advanced product shots. By frequently working with the camera, he gradually got comfortable enough to want to do several short fun films on his own, using neighborhood friends as an experiment. It made him quickly realize that though the filming was good experience, it was not easy to get many young people to work consistently together. This prompted him to read up on professional storyboarding and to have a plan for filming each scene instead of leaving too many things to chance. He was also was becoming aware that shooting clever films was not sufficient in itself to bring value to others beyond his immediate circle of friends. His desire for wanting to fulfill some market value for others grew with it.

Next he met a distant family friend who happened to have a camera drone in his possession. This family friend showed him some of the possibilities of areal photography. This greatly piqued my son’s curiosity to the potential to film interesting video that adults would also find very attractive. He quickly became an even bigger follower on YouTube and Instagram of a new crop of videographers who were using drones for commercial shots. In addition to this, I agreed to a monthly subscription of Adobe Creative. That subscription is giving him full access to all the graphic and video editing software that he could possibly use at this stage of his talent growth. Additionally, as part of his normal homework assignment, he has to create at the end of each of his daily Western Civilization lectures, a graphic capturing the summary and intent of the lecturer’s purpose. This daily and consistent output has built up his confidence that he could handle editing the video footage from a drone. This motivated him to work work extra hard this past fall in order to save up money to buy a drone for himself. Now he has it! And he filmed his first test video for what he could do to showcase real estate that is for sale. Perhaps there is some space in that market into which he can bring value to others and he is going to explore the possibility. Day after day, he has been getting up early or going out in the evening to test the capabilities of his tool.

What I hope others will see in the recount of this example, is that they can also imitate this flexibility in order to start skills now that don’t fall within a the scope of a textbook or store-bought curriculum.

Following the principles in the guide “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent“, here are some actions my son took to get him where he currently is:

  • he used an asset that our family already had: a high end digital camera
  • he practiced simple photography skills by providing value to our home business: through product shots and talking head videos. This gave us, as parents, the emotional desire to keep seeing him spend time getting good in this area, because the home business is important to our specific household.
  • he combined his video and graphic editing into his normal school time: this reinforced his learning of otherwise dry material and it built up his ability to manipulate software editing tools for graphics and video.
  • this motivated him to follow closely over the Internet and start chatting directly with professionals using a new technology that is opening up a new, uncrowded market into which a young person has space to potentially make videos that others will pay him handsomely for.

Your Call to Action: If your son or daughter has followed an interesting talent development path of his own, using the changing environment of his assets and your family’s people connections, please email me your story so I can share it with others.



Example of 10,000 Hours in Practice

Julia Child’s autobiography “My Life in France” is a perfect example of the 10,000 hours principle. You can read in detail her personal adventure and quest at becoming the “Grand Dame” of American cooking. Although I’m not in sympathy with her personal political views she ascribes to in her book, she did do a great job serving our culture in an area that was very inadequate in the United States. Read especially the part about how she practiced making so many batches of mayonnaise, she had to dump them down the toilet! Read also how her expensive education did not prepare her for her life’s calling – she too had to put in her tedious 10,000 hours!

Because she had amazing talent, she was hard to put in a box with a specific career label, such as describing her as a “chef.” This is how you want your son or daughter to view talent development – as a journey to become so good and unique that a career label no longer fits your child.
You can read her biography by purchasing it from my Amazon affiliate link here: