Luis Davila's Blog

sharing thoughts on life, change and innovation…

The letter that saved the world

For the past few days I’ve been battling a mean case of bronchitis, so have not been able to focus on work or anything else. However, I did see this video on Twitter of an interesting short shot in Paraguaná, the desertic peninsula where I come from in Venezuela. It’s about an old man (over 90 years old) who thinks that a letter he sent to Mikhail Gorbachev led to the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s very short and in Spanish, but hope you like it:


Posted by Luis on February 15, 2012 | Posted in art, venezuela | Tagged , , , | Comment

Jarvis vs. Morozov

Last night I read a pretty detailed review of Jeff Jarvis’ latest book Private Parts by Evgeny Morozov. To call it a “shellshacking” would be an understament…

After work I came home and saw that Jarvis had actually written a reply on Google+ and there had been a bit of back and forth (for some here and here) between Morozov and Jarvis on Twitter. I think the most interesting part of Jarvis’ response is the amount of comments from Jarvis supporters attacking Morozov’s critique. I found it interesting because many accused Morozov of being “cynical” and a “pessimist” especially against the “positive” and “forward-looking” cadre of cyber-utopians led by Jarvis and the like. It seemed that most people who supported Jarvis were from the US… It reminded me of a book by Barbara Ehrenreich titled Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World. How much is Internet-centrism a consequence of cultural norm? How much is it engrained in the “have a nice day!” society? I wrote Morozov about it on Twitter and if he responds, I’ll update the post!


Posted by Luis on October 14, 2011 | Posted in Innovation, politics | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

10 Tips and techniques for more effective presentations

My dad sent me a short document by Jon Thomas at PresentationAdvisors titled “10 Tips and techniques for more effective presentations: Breaking the mold and standing out from the crowd.” It offers pretty straightforward and useful advice when designing a presentation. I plan to start using it for my presentations, even though it may be hard for people in my field to accept a different format from the standard Power Point, bullet-point presentation. I’ve already tried to change presentation formats as seen here and it was well-received, so perhaps I should continue.

Below is the actual document for your amusement, I recommend it!

Posted by Luis on April 25, 2011 | Posted in presentation | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Remake of the Thundercats coming this July!

I could not believe it, but a new version of my favorite TV show from the 80’s is coming back! The Thundercats will be coming to Cartoon Network this summer, and I can’t wait to see how they will turn out. I will have to find a way to watch them from Germany… In any case, here is the trailer:

Update 1: Youtube decided to take out the trailer (at least in Germany), so I’m switching to Vimeo… If they shut this one down, I’ll host it myself! HO!

Posted by Luis on April 4, 2011 | Posted in personal, youth | Tagged | Comment

‘Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You’ – What if they don’t have your number?

Since I moved to Germany over a year ago, I have not paid as much attention to philanthropy as I used to when I worked at the Environmental Grantmakers Association and at a few US-based non-governmental organizations. However, I just saw a tweet referencing an article by on PhilanTopic and could not help to share my thoughts, so I posted a comment on a blog post titled “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” describing the way that the majority of US foundations do not want grant-seekers to send in unsolicited proposals.

My comment reads:

I think this is the most important part of this article: “… so if you happen to be part of the process, you’ll most likely get a grant. If not, well, you’re just not part of the in-crowd.”

How are people coming from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds going to “try to find someone who knows a board member, a staff person, or any other connection that would help get them in the door”?

This post just reaffirms that organized philanthropy still has a long way to go in order to become a truly progressive force for social good… Otherwise it is just an avenue for those in “the in-crowd” to push their own agendas and perpetuate their wealth by only giving out 5% of their assets while keeping the other 95% of their money locked up in foundation trusts in perpetuity.

I hope that others comment on this blog post, especially those working in the fields of social justice philanthropy and mission-related investments. This may help address issues of power and exclusivity that are a strong component of how professional philanthropy works in the US.

Posted by Luis on March 8, 2011 | Posted in philanthropy | Tagged , , , | Comment

Interesting short films on climate and development by Germanwatch

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Germanwatch about two short films they posted on-line that address climate and development in an “unusual” way. Here they are:

“Climate Dish”

“The Bill”

I don’t like the fact that they play with seemingly real food in the first one… The second one is pretty cool, and I think I had seen it a few months ago. It would probably play well with some of my beer-drinking friends 🙂

In any case, both are interesting examples of using creative ways to communicate with the general public about climate change and it may be worthwhile to share them around.

Posted by Luis on March 8, 2011 | Posted in Climate Change, environmentalism, global warming, renewable energy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom – Some quick thoughts

The Net DelusionI started reading Evgeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion and find it very interesting. It is obviously very timely due to the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt. The book argues for a more sophisticated look at the role that social media can play in promoting socio-political change. I’ll try to write a full review when I’m done, but share one thought with Lee Siegel who reviewed the book for the New York Times; Morozov does exhibit “traces of the Eastern European intellectual fatalist gloom from time.” The book so far reminds me of my time participating in Vacel Havel’s Student Forum 2000, and learning about the NGO community (which Morozov actually belonged to) in Central and Eastern Europe trying to promote democratic values with a constant dose of cynicism and dark humor. In any case… a proper review will come in the next few days.

Posted by Luis on February 6, 2011 | Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | Comment