Leonardo da Vinci's Resume

“Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.

1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.

3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.

4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.

5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.

6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.

7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.

9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.

10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.

11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency - to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.”


What a remarkable way to present his career.


Photoshop's 20th Anniversary Documentary

In this 18 minute documentary, the founders of Adobe Photoshop - John Knoll, Thomas Knoll, Russell Brown, and Steve Guttman - tell the story of how an amazing coincidence of circumstances, that came together at just the right time 20 years ago, spawned a cultural paradigm shift unparalleled in our lifetime.

It’s almost hard to believe the program is 20 years old. I remember using a very early version of it that had no layers, no history and each variation of an image had to be saved as a separate file. There are some surprising references to Macintosh, ILM, Pixar and James Cameron that relate to the birth of Photoshop.


The Resume Remixed

In what ways are formats, standards and best practices getting in the way of your creative work?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.

A couple of friends are working on a project that I encouraged them to pursue together. Every few weeks they share what they’ve created so far and I am always surprised. Even if they are executing something I suggested it is always delivered in a way that is completely different from what I imagined. Part of this process has been an ongoing conversation about formats, standards and why are things the way they are. 

This project has led to a lot of questions: at which point did the formats or the media used change the creative process? Did composers write symphonies because that is what the vision was or because that was the expected form the composition should take? CDs (remember those) held approximately 75 minutes of music, but did albums need to be 75 minutes long, or could they contain less music? In the digital age, what form would an album take? Can the album be reinvented? (One could argue that iTunes LP is the album reinvented, but that is exclusive to iTunes, what would the universal new shape of an album be?) Are plays creative works meant to be read or seen in production? Is the theater of the imagination better than an actual theater? What is a theater? What is a book? A magazine? What is a website? An advertisement? Is an open source environment better than a closed system? Is HTML5 better than Flash?

Restrictions can be very helpful to the creative process. Limitations often yield the best creative solutions because of the discipline they enforce. But I worry that over time we’ve conditioned our creative process to fit the things we know to be true making innovation evolutionary rather than truly visionary. Having true visions devoid of formatting restrictions has become something we are not trained to do. 

It is exciting to be at the threshold of so much change in media and technology. This is a perfect opportunity to not only create smart work, but to also take the time to question the forms the work will inhabit. 

As someone that is currently looking for interesting projects and collaborators I am always asked to submit my resume first. The resume becomes the summary of my career as well as a billboard for my personal brand. The resume is the one thing that determines whether the conversation stops or continues, but there is no way that it could present the full picture. And so, all this thinking about formats, and inspired by remix/mash-up culture I decided to do an experiment. 

I created an EP for my resume. I developed the Antonio Ortiz Resume EP 2010, an interactive PDF which includes my original resume and nine remixes and an EP exclusive. I experimented with content and with format to present a more complete picture of my career and how I work. I’ve already thought of additional remixes to create in the future and have asked some friends to be guest remixers and create their versions of my resume while I return the favor. 

Download the EP PDF here. Please take a look, see what you think. Feel free to share with anyone you think would enjoy it or find it interesting. What other remixes would you suggest? Would you remix your resume? Your personal brand? Would you allow others to do so? 

And if you, or anyone you know, would enjoy collaborating with me, please let me know. 

In what ways are formats, standards and best practices getting in the way of your creative work? 

And what are you doing about it?

TED 2010 Conference Makes for Strange Bedfellows

LONG BEACH, California — Bedfellows were never more strange than those assembling this week for the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference launching Wednesday in Long Beach.

Avatar director James Cameron, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former covert CIA analyst Valerie Plame, 4chan founder and provocateur Christopher “Moot” Poole and potty-mouthed comedian Sarah Silverman are among the eclectic mix of speakers that will rock the small harbor town through Saturday.

The four-day, $6,000 a head, invitation-only event, dubbed “Davos for the Digerati set,” will gather industry titans, celebrities, academics and alpha geeks for its 26th year. This year’s overall theme is “What the World Needs Now,” with separate themes listed for each track of speakers.

Gates, who last year made headlines after releasing a handful of mosquitoes on stage to draw attention to malaria, will be speaking in a session dubbed “Boldness” about work being done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate malaria.

Plame and Poole will both appear in a session dubbed “Provocation.” Poole will discuss 4chan, the online forum he created that serves as a haunt for would-be hackers and members of Anonymous — a motley, loose-knit crew of online rabble-rousers who have launched crusades against the Church of Scientology, the Australian government and others while often missing their mark.

Other speakers include:

  • Temple Grandin, an autism activist and designer of livestock facilities, who is the subject of an HBO biopic with actress Claire Danes;
  • biologist Cheryl Hayashi will discuss the amazing properties of spider silk and its possible uses in protective armor for soldiers on the battlefield as well as biodegradable surgical sutures;
  • legal activist Philip Howard will take on the provocative topic of why the world can do without lawyers;
  • cell biologist Mark Roth will discuss the latest research into the possible use of hydrogen sulfide to reduce the metabolism of trauma patients and heart-attack victims to buy time until they can be treated;
  • and interface designer John Underkoffler will discuss the point-and-touch interface he invented.

To provide respite from the often rich and heady presentations of TED speakers, an array of musicians and artists will provide palate-cleansing performances — former Talking Heads musician David Byrne, as well as singers Natalie Merchant and Sheryl Crow.

Wired magazine’s Chris Anderson will also be showing attendees the magazine’s new strategy for bringing its content to users of Apple’s new iPad device.

Continuing this year is the TED fellowship program that opens TED’s elite doors to more than three dozen up-and-coming thinkers and doers from developing regions who are invited to attend for free.

Founded in 1984 by architect and designer Richard Saul Wurman as a kind of dream dinner party with interesting people he wanted to meet, the conference was bought by publisher Chris Anderson in 2001 (not Wired’s Chris Anderson). Anderson’s nonprofit, Sapling Foundation, now runs the conference, along with the TED Global conference held in Oxford, England, each year, and the satellite TED Africa and TED India events.

Since taking over eight years ago, Anderson has focused the conference on philanthropy and social consciousness. The primary purpose is to cross-pollinate people from various fields to share knowledge about the latest developments in the sciences and arts and to inspire attendees to think imaginatively about their own contributions to the world.

The conference attracts a wide range of attendees, whose accomplishments and notoriety often rival the speakers -– Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, musician Peter Gabriel and comedian Robin Williams have appeared at past events. Past speakers have included former Vice President Al Gore, filmmaker J.J. Abrams, Sims creator Will Wright and physicist Stephen Hawking.

Generally, one talk stands out each year as the crowd favorite, for varying reasons. In 2008, it was neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor’s riveting account of a stroke she experienced years earlier. In 2006, Hans Rosling, a geeky professor of international health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, became the resident rock star for his surprisingly stunning presentation on statistics and the developing world.

Among the annual features of the conference is the TED prize, generally given to three recipients. This year it will be given only to one — celebrity chef and author Jamie Oliver. The prize is an annual award launched in 2005 to recognize individuals whose work has had and will have a powerful and positive impact on society. It provides each recipient with $100,000 and the chance to ask for help from the TED community in achieving one grand wish to change the world.

Past winners have included U2 singer Bono, former President Bill Clinton, oceanographer Sylvia Earle, astronomer Jill Cornell Tarter, and former economist and trained musician Jose Antonio Abreu.

Oliver will receive his award and reveal his wish at a ceremony Wednesday night.

Those who aren’t invited to TED can see the conference presentations as they’re posted to the web over several weeks after the conference ends. Since TED began posting videos of its talks in 2006, more than 15 million visitors have viewed them.

Earlier this year, TED launched a translation/transcription version of its talks.

The tool combines crowdsourcing with smart language markup to provide translated and transcribed videos in more than 40 languages — from Arabic to Urdu — that can be indexed and searched by keywords. Users can click on any phrase in the transcript of a talk, and jump to that point in the video.

Wired.com will publish stories from the conference all week.


Very much looking forward to this year’s conference. It also features LXD performing.