I've always loved this "I Am Canadian" Molson commercial that made fun of Canadian clichés, but ultimately is all about Canadian pride (I am Canadian FYI). 3 months ago, I thought it would be fun to do a geek version of it. I look at myself as a geek, and I wanted to bring to light some geek clichés in a lighthearted video that ultimately embraced geek pride and brought everyone together.
I hooked up with my "This Week In Youtube" co-host, Lon Harris, and in an hour at Swingers in Santa Monica, we came up with the script for "I AM A GEEK". While I was going to do the whole video myself, I thought it would be even more powerful if we got different types of geeks in the space to each say a line for the video that they would record themselves à la video blog. I set out on a mission and started getting people on board- MC Hammer, IJustine, Steve Wozniak, Leo Laporte, Wil Wheaton and many more. At this point, I realized that besides simply producing a video that would entertain, I wanted to show the power of us all coming together to help something bigger and make a positive impact. My friend Tim Ferriss of "4-Hour Work Week" fame, introduced me to an amazing charity called "Room To Read". It was started by a former Microsoft Exec, John Wood, and they build schools and libraries for children in developing countries. They were a perfect fit for this project, because they provide the tools for these children to find their potential. Not only as a geek, but as an individual on this planet, I feel we have a responsibility to bring our skills and talents to those less fortunate as well.
The result, is the video above and the site (http://geekadvancement.com) where you can watch, embrace being a geek and "be the geeks who keeps on giving". You can give back whether it be a direct donation or by buying the awesome "I AM A GEEK T-SHIRT" with proceeds going to the charity as well. On Monday, we had people around the world tweeting about their geek pride and #iamageek became a top twitter trending topic.
We also threw an amazing event at the W Westwood in Los Angeles with around 500 people raising over $1,500, which enables Room to Read to change the lives of six girls, with a scholarship for an secondary education. Room to Read is currently sponsoring almost 7,000 girls scholarships.
This project has been a blast to put together and couldn't have happened without the help of everyone in the video and the community. I hope to now use The Society For Geek Advancement to spearhead other fun yet relevant and always philanthropic initiatives that bring everyone together to inspire change.
One of my favorite quotes to come out of this:
"Being a geek means being so interested in something that you don't care whether or not it's cool."