If you haven’t heard of Theranos, just wait. I’ve got a feeling we’ll be hearing quite a lot from this company in future. Elizabeth Holmes is their CEO and she is trying to transform the way blood diagnostic testing is done in the United States. Theranos is the Uber of the blood diagnostic industry.
Holmes is an interesting woman. I don’t know her, but her story caught my attention. It goes back to when she was nine years old. Her father was moving the family from Washington, DC to Houston, Texas and Holmes wrote him a letter. You can see part of it here from a screen shot I took from the CBS story on her.
The letter starts out, “Dear Daddy, What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do.” Now twenty-two years later, Holmes is realizing her dreams. Pretty cool. Oh, and by the way, she’s the youngest female self-made billionaire. Not too shabby.
I recently saw a story on CBS about you and Theranos. I don’t like to get my blood taken – especially if it requires several large tubes. I always request to lie down. One time I fainted after the lab technician, who was obviously training, asked for someone to come and check that she was doing everything right. Ironically she was mad at me for passing out and scaring her!
What moved me to write to you was the handwritten letter you sent your father when you were nine. The curiosity and sense of sense of adventure in your words are inspiring. What did I tell my parents I wanted to do when I was nine? Probably play centerfield for the New York Mets (and I don’t play professional baseball in case you were wondering.) That’s ok though – what matters is making a difference in the lives of others. You are doing just that.
Congratulations and best of luck to you.
Photo: CBS News
Steve Hartman is one of the best. Every week he pulls back the curtain and introduces us to an extraordinary person – often tugging at our heartstrings and causing tears to well up in our eyes. To see some of Steve’s work, check out links on Day 143 and Day 147 – letter recipients who I learned about through his reporting.
I do a lot of work around storytelling and can assure you that Steve is a master. He knows how to craft a narrative that moves the audience to think, feel or do something and that is really the power of storytelling. We learn through story. We influence through story. And we entertain through story.
I’d love the opportunity to watch Steve work up close. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, that could happen and someday I’ll tell you a story about it.
For me, it was the Jason McElwain story back in 2006 when you ended your touching report with, “Because he is autistic, Jason says he’s used to feeling different. But never this different. Never this wonderful.” I took note of your name and for the past decade I’ve been carefully collecting your stories.
You give your audience a gift every time you do a segment. You tell the kind of stories we thirst for, and you tell them with unparalleled artistic brilliance. You have my dream job! Uncovering and sharing meaningful stories that reflect the world we want to live in.
I crave narratives that strengthen the fabric of our community. In my pursuit to perfect my own storytelling, I would like to ask you to consider allowing me to tag along on a future assignment – a kind of apprenticeship if you will. I’d cover all my expenses, I’d just be extremely grateful for the opportunity. As Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Well, I’m building a door!
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and for considering what would be a chance of a lifetime experience for me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted in Request, You're Awesome!
Tagged CBS, dream jobs, handwritten letters, heroes, inspiring stories, narratives, On the Road with Steve Hartman, Steve Hartman, stories, storytelling, Year of Letters
Grammar is not my strong suit. Neither is spelling for that matter. I regularly receive emails from friends and followers pointing out blunders on my blogs. It doesn’t bother me that they point them out, in fact, I appreciate it. What bothers me is the fact that I commit the mistakes in the first place.
I recently saw a story by Steve Hartman about a man from San Jose, California who has spent the past four years eliminating more than 47,000 instances of “comprised of” on Wikipedia. I had to write this guy a letter. Coincidentally, I discovered he lives less than five miles away from the first house I lived in off of McLaughlin Avenue.
I recently learned about your four-year crusade to eradicate “comprised of” from Wikipedia. I have a handful of social projects that have corresponding blogs – I checked them and found that I had committed this error on YearOfGiving.org and AnthonyAndMe.com. Don’t worry though, I went back and changed every instance of “comprised of” to “composed of.” Thank you for your Wikipedia service and for drawing attention to this common mistake.
P.S. I half expect to get this letter back from you with corrections made in red pen!
Posted in Just because, Thank-yous
Tagged CBS, editing, embossing, English language, grammar, handwritten letters, internet, Paper Source, Steve Hartman, Wikipedia, writing, Year of Letters
Photo: Darryl Bush
One of my favorite television journalists is Steve Hartman. When you turn on CBS and see him, you know that you are about to see a story that is going to touch your heart. He did a story in October of 2006 about a young kid with autism named Jason McElwain who became an unlikely hero on the basketball court.
Last night I saw a story he did on an art professor named Michael Swaine from San Francisco. Once a month for the past 15 years Michael pulls a cart with an antique sewing machine on it into the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District and repairs and alters people’s clothes at no cost. He calls it the Free Mending Library. And while what he is doing is awesome in and of itself, the real value is how he is touching the community. The stories he sews are strengthening that community.
I saw your story on CBS last evening – so inspiring. I love it. I looked you up online and found FutureFarmers.com – also amazing projects.
You are doing so much more than sewing – you’re mending a stronger fabric of community which is something we are thirsty for these days. I’d love to know more about other projects you’re involved with as I too am investing in projects that create meaningful community in unique and hopefully inspiring ways. Where’s the best place to follow what you are up to?
All the best,
Posted in You're Awesome!
Tagged CBS, community, cool projects, Free Mending Library, handwritten letters, journalists, Michael Swaine, Paper Source, San Francisco, sewing, Steve Hartman, stories, Tenderloin District, writing letters, Year of Letters
My PO Box is empty
It’s Sunday….I got behind on posting this weekend. Let me tell you, this project takes a LOT more time than I thought. Writing the letters, photographing them, uploading them, posting on social media, responding to all the response letters that are filling up my mailbox, etc.
Ok, the last part isn’t really true. In fact, I haven’t received one response letter yet. I know it’s only been a month, but I have exchanged a few emails and tweets with recipients of my letters in January and several indicated they would be writing me back. Oh well. So not much to report on today on that front.
I’ll leave you with this touching story from CBS Sunday Morning about a woman suffering with memory loss who finds a stack of 45 year-old love letters which help put the pieces of her life back together. Steve Hartman brings the story to us as only he can. He’s one of the best. Enjoy!
Now off to watch the Super Bowl!