Have you heard of Ransom Stephens? This is a man who has written hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from signal integrity to quantum physics to parenting teens and two novels. His new book, The Left Brain Speaks, The Right Brain Laughs (Viva Editions, 2016), is an irreverent look at the neuroscience of innovation in technology, art, and science. A pioneer in jitter analysis, Ransom has invented new methods for extracting signals from noise and has served on several high data rate standards. He has given thousands of speeches across the US, Europe, and Asia, and has developed a reputation for making complex topics accessible and funny.
The reason I mention all of this here is that I was just meandering my way through the full schedule for the forthcoming Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), which is to be held November 8-9, in Minneapolis.
OMG. That's only eight weeks away as I pen these words. I'm not ready. I'm too young for all this excitement. Quite apart from anything else, I'll be giving the keynote presentation at the Electronics of Tomorrow (EOT) conference in Denmark the week before (see Electronics of Tomorrow in Denmark Today). By the time I get to ESC, my head will be spinning like a top, but that's not what I wanted to talk to you about…
The thing is that, while rooting around the ESC schedule, I saw that young Ransom will be giving one of the keynote presentations: The Keys to Innovation: Priming Your Brain to Percolate Brilliant Ideas . As it says in the official blurb:
Whether you're designing a circuit, debugging a SerDes, or painting a lily pad, you call on your innovative powers every day. In this presentation, best-selling author and renowned physicist and engineer Ransom Stephens will examine the neural processes that percolate insights into consciousness: the physics of lateral thought, the power of perspective, the value of novelty, and how your brain selects and rejects ideas before you're even aware of them. Methods for fine-tuning the balance of stress and confidence, concentration and distraction that prime our brains to innovate our way to solutions of the challenges that we each face, as well as those that we face together, will also be discussed, as will the neuroaesthetics of what makes products and discoveries good, bad, and valuable.
Now, your knee-jerk reaction might be to exclaim: “What?” I know what you mean. Generally speaking, when I hear someone say things like “processes that percolate insights” and “the power of perspective” and “neuroaesthetics,” I tend to nod my head thoughtfully, plaster a smile on my face, and sidle my way towards the nearest exit.
But wait! I was in the audience when Ransom gave this presentation at a previous conference, and I can honestly say that it's a must-see event. I have an almost insatiable thirst for tidbits of trivia, and Ransom's presentation left me stuffed and satiated and gorged and replete with more nuggets of knowledge than you could swing a stick at.
In fact, Ransom's presentation was so good that I cannot wait to see it again, which is saying something because I rarely like to do anything more than once.
Will you be attending ESC Minneapolis? If so, perhaps I'll see you at Ransom's keynote. Happily, this will be open to anyone to attend so long as they are flaunting a Free Expo Pass, but you do have to register. I'll be the one in the Hawaiian shirt. As always, all you have to do is shout “Max, Beer!” or “Max, Bacon!” to be assured of my undivided attention.