A 2013 Pop Culture Retrospective: What Female Entrepreneurs Can Learn About Balancing Humanity & Technology:

We again interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you musings about cultural trends in 2013. I will return to my current theme after the holiday season. Thanks!

“People always ask me, ‘What is it that you regret?’ And I say, ‘nothing, because I could not buy what I’ve learned.’ And I apply those things to my life I learn. And hopefully, hopefully it helps me to be a better human in the future and make better choices.”

– Katy Perry

“If you are truly innovating, you don’t have a prototype you can refer to.”

– Sir Jonathan Ive

We are all counting down to the end of 2013. We are remembering the year that was, in terms of our lives, our experiences, how our Story intersected with those of others in known and unknown ways, and our memories of pop culture trends and stories. The ones that stood out. The ones that moved us. The ones that will linger in our minds, as we herald in 2014.

The Oxford Dictionary defines pop culture as “modern popular culture transmitted via mass media.” Pop culture has a long standing tradition of appealing to adolescents and adults alike finding their “voice”, changing their perspectives,  and spawning trends; cultural, geopolitical, and economic. This past year was no different. Since economics is essentially the study of human behavior and its impact on these trends, it behooves educators and entrepreneurs alike to stay current and keep up with what’s “trending” in the media, in the blogsphere, and in cyberspace.

As a pediatric speech therapist/Autism Specialist turned social entrepreneur, I find cultural trends and mores rich with fascinating lessons about roads not taken, what to emulate, what to remember, and what to pray to forget. Most importantly, pop culture has much to teach us about balancing our humanity and technology in today’s startup culture. That’s the running theme in my upcoming book, The NICE Reboot: How to Become a Better Female Entrepreneur, to be published in January 2014 by Maven House Press.

From the TV networks to the Internet, from the Twitterati to the Pinterest pinners and beyond, here are my choices for the 2013 winners of  The NICE Awards. Here are my choices on which items did the best job in providing food for thought on balancing humanity & technology in today’s fast paced, competitive, globally connected, and emotionally fragmented culture….

The 2013 Pop Culture Top Twenty NICE Awards:

  • Best Priced and Illustrated Cautionary Tale for Children and Adults Alike: Chalk for Kindle™ by Bill Thomson.
  • Best “Girl Power” Book re: Tech for Children and Adults Alike: Dot by Randi Zuckerberg.
  • Best Tech Product for Children and Adults Alike Balancing Work/Play: Apple’s iPad Air.
  • Best Medical Breakthrough for Humanity: Cancer Immunotherapy.
  • Best Song Tapping Into Our Humanity: Katy Perry’s Unconditionally.
  • Best Song Tapping into Our Wariness of Tech & The Future: Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive.
  • Best Anthem Lyrics and Overall Music Album for Startup, Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs: OneRepublic’s Native Album, especially  I Lived.
  • Best Website/Blogposts to Enhance Our Humanity: Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings.
  • Best Website/Blogposts to Enhance Our Social Tech Savvy: Hubspot’s Up and to the Right.
  • Best Example of Humanizing Social Media/Best Use of YouTube: Marie Forleo’s MarieTV.
  • Best Example of Harnessing Technology for Professional Development and Project Based Learning (PBL) Using Educational Technology: Udacity. 
  • Best TV Drama Showcasing the Range of Human Experiences: The Good Wife.
  • Best TV Drama Showcasing the Dark Side of Humanity: Scandal
  • Best TV Drama Showcasing the Dark Side of Technology: Almost Human. 
  • Best Movie for Cautionary Lessons in Humanity: Saving Mr. Banks.
  • Best Movie for Cautionary Lessons in Technology: Hunger Games II: Catching Fire.
  • Best Underrated Movie Hitting Home Life’s Most Important Lesson; “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover”: Austenland
  • Best Commercial About the Human Realities of Women at Work: Pantene’s “Labels Against Women”.
  • Best Commercial About the Technological Realities of Gadgets: Nokia’s Windows Phone Lumia 1020.
  • Most Valuable Player (MVP) Who Achieved Cultural Crossover and Can Be Found Everywhere: Guy Kawasaki.

Life is about patterns; patterns in the way people act/react to their environment and those in it. That’s why pop culture is both a petri dish for and a commentary on the human condition; especially for entrepreneurs. After all, we’re the people trying to discern patterns and find ways to disrupt them, and create services/products that do so! So get out the magnifying glass and get ready for the next psychological study and science experiment!  Please comment and share this post! I hope this list sparks discourse and debate. Let’s get connected online and help get the creative juices flowing for 2014! I believe in you…..together we can do something great!

I wish you all a happy, healthy, successful, interesting, entertaining, and educational new year 🙂





About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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