Henry Ford to Steve Jobs

Lately, I have found myself gravitating towards these two men and their profound influence. I also just happen to be reading their autobiography and biography simultaneously. On purpose. The reasoning behind this came from a recent discovery that a quote/idea that I had been crediting to Steve Jobs, was originally said by Henry Ford! This blew my mind. I came to find through a perusal of internet facts that most modern day business ideas and standards of innovation are all a throw back to Henry Ford. Pardon if this knowledge is widely common and I have simply been in the dark…but WOW. The amazing thing is, I really don’t think that most people realize what they are doing; they may never have even read about Henry Ford, but are paraphrasing and re-quoting him nonetheless. I believe that my error is also common, as Henry Ford did not have the internet, YouTube or Twitter. All of his ideas are preserved in only a few literary tomes; and as wonderful as books are, unless they are on the New York Times Bestseller List, they do not have an expansive reach. (and even then)

I am only on the very first chapters of both biographies, Steve Jobs and My Life and Work (free on your Kindle btw!) But I am excited to read about them both. At this moment, of course, I am more familiar with the life and work of Steve Jobs, as he is a modern and wide-spread phenomenon. In terms of the book, from what I have digested so far, I can tell you with certainty that I identify with Steve Jobs, he is an inspiration to me, in the way in which someone who speaks your language and repeats your thoughts can underscore and enhance your belief and ability to pull them forward. He was far from a perfect man, manager or product developer; but he had a vision, a really kick ass vision and a vision the he himself didn’t even fully understand the magnitude of. He screwed it up, a bunch of times; made the wrong choices, said the wrong things…but he was a passionate, unique and brilliant human being who constantly saw beyond the status quo. People call him a genius, they do not call him a saint. I dream that someday, the world will say even a minor offshoot of that, about me (though his genius and mine do not begin to compare).

Here are a few nuggets that have already caught my eye:

“Almost any one can think up an idea. The thing that counts is developing it into a practical product.”—Guess who?….Henry Ford

Why I love the guy:

“As things are now organized, I could, were I thinking only selfishly, ask for no change. If I merely want money the present system is alright; it gives money in plenty to me. But I am thinking of service. The present system does not permit of the best service because it encourages every kind of waste–it keeps many men from getting the full return from service. And it is going nowwhere. It is all a matter of better planning and adjustment.” -Henry Ford

“Some mistakes will be made along the way, but that’s good, because at least some decisions are being made.” -Steve Jobs

I say, let’s all try a little bit harder to embrace our inner crazy, misfit, rebel and reject the status quo. Because…

“Those people crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”               –  Apple II/Think Different

Your Rebel,


Let’s Try and Be Everything Shall We?

I used to be one of those people you envy. One of those people who was so certain of what they were going to do with their life that there were no questions. Most people start to try and figure out this kind of thing in high school, in preparation for declaring a college major. I knew when I was 10 years old. Could have told you exactly what I was going to do, who I was going to be and even where I was going to go to school (NYU! TISCH!). What is hyper-strange about me, is that as time progressed, I became less and less sure. I feel like this is the opposite of the way it usually works. No kid knows for sure what they want to do at 10, but they figure it out along the way and there you go.

At 17, when first applying to NYU, Tisch School of the Arts I realized that I didn’t want to be a performer. I had loved it since I first learned to talk, but it wasn’t the right career for me. I needed to DO to CONTROL and to DECIDE, three things that are not inherently up to you as an actor/singer etc. Existential crisis. While in crisis and trying to find out what was the right fit for me, I discovered directing. It is hard for me to believe looking back on it that this had not occurred to me before. I applied to NYU as a theater director and in my first semester, also discovered art history. And…now I’m a double major.

This will turn into a full length essay if I detail everything I’ve done since then. But suffice it to say, I have never had a linear career path. More like the trajectory of a ping pong ball. This however, is not for lack of focus. That I have always had. Passion is also something never lacking. So why can’t I just be like the normal people and pick one thing to do for the rest of my life? Well, I will tell you.

Recently, I was sitting at Dogpatch Labs and someone waiting to meet with another DP resident started up a conversation and in the process asked me, “What is your greatest fear?” I think I gave a slightly obscure answer at the time, but the question made me think. Do you know what my greatest fear is? DOING THE SAME THING FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I can’t commit the next 10 years to anything, I do not care how cool, awesome or ridiculously high paying you are. Does this make me interesting and awesome? Or just a girl with commitment issues?

I recently reached a point of deciding what exactly I want to do next. I have about four or five options that I can think of, and those options have options. At the encouragement of a friend, I end up making myself a career-oriented bucket list. What are all the end points that I would desire (not the end-end, but stopping points). At this juncture I am sure that you will not be surprised by the fact that…I needed a second sheet of paper. After my “Oy, holy crap” moment, I relay this news to the same friend who replied with “Awesome.” (love that some people in my life are as crazy as me). When I replied with my concern about what it all meant…he wisely countered with “If it were easy more people would do it.”

I want to be and do everything. Not everything, everything (no desire be the a doctor OR a lawyer) but enough everything to justify the hyperbole. However, my everythings fall under the following themes:  art, theater, education, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, entertainment and changing the world.  If you would like to be involved in (see About) or hire me for (girl’s gotta eat) the next thing that I will be or do, let’s talk. Your timing is perfect.

“If it’s not at least a little bit impossible, I’m bored” – Me


My First Crazy Idea

I have had many crazy ideas in my lifetime. Starting around the time I learned to crawl, with a steady progression as the motor skills developed. Some of them good and a lot of them terrible. But even the terrible ones still turned out okay (no deaths or injuries to speak of), because what I learned was that ‘that doesn’t work’. At lot of the time, my crazy ideas and dreams came from wishing to make the world work, the way that I thought it should, that makes the most sense to me. This usually blew up in my face, of course; because as a child and adolescent I didn’t really have the power to make people listen (especially in Catholic school, cause they don’t change for nothing), and also just didn’t understand why they didn’t understand me.

To me the world is a place of infinite change and that there is always a better way to do something than the way you are doing it now. I tried to solve everything from school parking to social interactions to the awful stage direction in the Spring Musical; it didn’t matter what it was, if I saw a better, more efficient, more logical solution…I would become passionate about it, which usually lead to frustration because the nuns wouldn’t listen, the principal (aka musical director) took great offense to my suggestions and because changing the way people interacted socially in High School…is not something you are ever gonna change; teenagers are teenagers!  Crazy me.

I am not sure if it has been this way my entire life or if it was something that became a well-refined philosophy in directing school, but I firmly believe that every problem has a solution…we just haven’t thought of it yet. Just because you don’t know how to do it now…doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Most people don’t see the world this way and I may have just gotten used to/numb to the feeling of disappointment or frustration. Or it is simply the fact that these feelings no longer matter; I have something bigger in mind.

There are a couple of projects and plans (aka crazy ideas)  currently in the “Megan Janel Zimmer pipeline”, some of which are just problems, without solutions (yet). See the ABOUT page for details. So this is a place where I will likely try and work these problems out and throw in a random observation or two. I will also be attempting to teach myself Ruby on Rails and re-teach myself Algebra (it’s been 10 years). Let’s see where it goes. If there is a universe stumping question that you’d like to see me address…send it my way. Even so far as, “Who is John Galt?”

Thanks for stopping by!



P.S. Posts previous to this one were written on another blog (but by me!), as my favorites, I decided to move them over here. :)

Holding a Mirror Up to Nature

ARCHIVED June 6, 2011

Going to the theater is nothing like going to the movies, but other than the obvious, it is often difficult to explain why. Today, I might try. On Sunday afternoon I went to see a Poetic Theater Productions piece called GOLIATH, which is being presented as part of the Planet Connections Festival. The reason I went was to offer mutual support to the show’s director, Alex Mallory, who is one of the first early adopters of Theater Connects. I had never met Alex in person, nor seen any of her work, so I was interested and excited to see what this would become.

Sunday was a theatrical experience; one I am not likely to forget anytime soon. My experience of GOLIATH reminded me in full force the power of theater in certain circumstances and the range of experiences had by each individual audience member. Now, sometimes theater (and art in general) is just bad and the whole audience is bored and in pain; nothing is perfect, it happens. To be fair, I was a little bit afraid of what would happen here, poetry has a slightly more exponential ability to be dull when it is bad. Just like listening to actors read Shakespeare who also have no idea what they are actually talking about, which leaves you confused, and yes bored.

But Sunday was not one of those days, because for me, Megan Janel Zimmer, GOLIATH was a magical transcending powerful experience. If I must admit, I was actually in tears about 10 minutes into the play, all the while thinking to myself….”seriously Megan? It just started? And your already a basket case? What?!?” It was true. [So lucky for all of you there are still 4 more performances].

Now back on topic, the reason that this show affected me so much was that it held a very harsh, accurate and well-acted mirror up to the experiences of my own life and lives of those closest to me. I saw my mother, I saw my brother, I saw my father and I even saw me. The power of the theater is that you are not voyeuristically watching someone in another world experience a story (like in the movies), but you are GOING through that experience with that other human being who standing anywhere from 12 inches to 50 ft in front of you and unless you are made of stone it affects you the same way everything that happens to you or the people around you does on a daily basis. I cannot expect that every audience member had the same experience that I did, how could they? But the fact that a mirror was held up to nature, a mere 6 ft from my chair, had me praying I did not look like a raccoon when the lights came up.

I do not write reviews, but suffice it to say, GOLIATH was beautiful. The characters were real, while speaking in a poetic ensemble that made everything they said, more powerful. The set is also made of 3 milk crates and some paper. In the discussion period afterward, I had my turn to speak and the first thing that I said was “All I keep thinking is ‘I wish I could bring my family to see this.’ Because the words spoken by “the mother”, were quite close to verbatim the words my mother also said when her son was shipped off to war and the words that weren’t, were even more powerful because I knew in my heart that those were the things she was thinking.” (I believe this is the first time I cried) My father never spoke the way this “father” did, but he certainly expected my brother to grow up, man up and shed all weakness, insanely proud of him when he enlisted. Anyway, I could go on and on, but don’t have the space, nor do I want to give away the story.

Theater holds a mirror up to nature. When it does so for you, it is one of the most powerful things you can ever hope to experience. We are not all the same, but a mirror reflecting back at one, is a portal for the other.


Fail Faster

ARCHIVED March 31, 2011

Lesson of the Day is:   Fail Faster

As human beings we can pretty much assume that we would all prefer to never fail at all. But the counterpoint is that, because we are human beings, we are destined to fail. The problem is that the fear of that failure and desire to be perfect, accepted or right,  strings out the process of failure sometimes in years!! We as entrepreneurs and human beings in general have the ability to pivot, course correct and learn. The faster you get to the failing part, the faster you reap the benefits of that failure and create a better future, whether for the world or simply for yourself.

If you are going to fail at something, it is never because YOU were wrong or that YOU have no talent for whatever it is you are doing. What failed is your strategy. The inherent worth in the person that is YOU, is not a failure by default. Your plan for getting to wherever you were trying to go…was not a good one. Now if you try and tell me that they way you were doing it is the ONLY way that exists on the planet…well then I’ll tell you that you are crazy.

For example, working on a project for 6 months in order to get it right and perfect, only to realize that nobody wants it and the concept is a complete bust. When in reality…you could have figured this out in about 6 hours. You could have saved SOOO much time, and by the end of the original 6 months you will have gone on to build 2 other products. I guess you could say that the faster you fail, the faster you’ll succeed. All of that time you spend putting off the possible failure is just TIME WASTED.  Days and months thrown away that you can never get back.

Failure is not the end of the world and if you never fail at anything in your life, I guarantee that you will never learn anything either. If taking the easy road is where you are comfortable and yearn to stay, than ignore everything I say. Failure is a terrifying, albeit freeing concept.

So in everything you do, find the failure faster. If you’re going to fail, you are going to fail and prolonging the process only hurts you. The shorter the process, the more time you have to correct what you probably did wrong the first time and actually gain the knowledge inherent in that at an accelerated rate. It is like getting three years  worth of a master’s degree in one…wouldn’t that be preferable? You only have to give up one year of your life, instead of three? Think what you could DO in those TWO extra years!?! THAT WOULD ROCK. And given those circumstance, I might actually go!

Good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.

Now let’s go change the world….shall we?


Equal Opportunity Excitement = Success

ARCHIVED March 25, 2011

The past two evenings were pretty exciting. In the very academicy – businessy kind of way! But also in the super rewarding and personally educational way as well. Theater Connects went on the road to Columbia University and New York University, back to back.

Last night Theater Connects was an invited employer to the Columbia University Media Networking Night. Other than the fact that my name was spelled incorrectly on my name tag, which was partially my own darn fault, it was pretty good! A little bit insane, as we (companies) were separated by colors and tables with large banner signs were placed throughout the large hall of Low Library. I was in the Online and New Media group, also the Entertainment Group. I’d say for the first 30 minutes, employers were talking amongst themselves…because we couldn’t really see any students (people without nametags) anywhere….but lo and behold within the next half hour, movement was barely possible!! The students had these nice little guidebooks to tell them what companies were supposed to be in which sections, so they would come and find you.

Unfortunately, I did not have a whole lot to offer most of the students who came my way….apparently everyone is a writer nowadays. They all asked me about writing for Theater Connects….but I had to tell them that pretty much everything on the site is user generated content. However, I met two great videographers who I may use in the very near future and 2-3 students who actually fit my intern profile. By the way, my intern profile is simply this: Excited, Intelligent, Awesome. If you fit those categories, I could probably use you. If you are excited about the start-up environment and about Theater Connects…how could I not?? Some days….it feels like those are the only two skills that I personally possess!! It’s a roller coaster of a business and as fellow female founder recently told me: “Everyday you pretty much realize how stupid you are.” God I love this business!! Figuring out how stupid you are gives you an open opportunity to learn.

Which is a nice segway into this evening which was entirely different, as I sat on a panel with 5 other professionals in the Cultural and Performing Arts at NYU. This time there was a big long table separating us from the students and grads, there were microphones and name placards like you are sitting in congress. The students sat at tables…which was nice as they were serving food and it is always awkward to try and eat in your lap. Everyone did an intro and I had to come right after the guy with the PowerPoint and the girl with the puppet. Not kidding. Therefore I prefaced my 7 minutes to speak with the fact that I was definitely going to be dull in comparison!! I gave a bit of advice on ‘Not waiting to be chosen, but choosing yourself”, how to overcome your internal fear that is holding you back and ‘if you’re not being rejected on a daily basis, you’re goals aren’t ambitious enough.’ But…..segway to the audience question period  and I was thrilled when someone actually directed a question at me! It was like ‘what, who?’ ‘really?’—my experience of the night was again with writers…but this time it was the kind of writer I understood and actually stood a chance at helping in anyway: The Playwright.

What was amazing to me at the end when speaking with another playwright, who was asking my advice on what to do after graduation and how to ‘get her career in gear’ (as the seminar was called). And I honestly had to sit there and say “you know what? It kind of sucks.” There is really nothing full-proof or proven to tell a playwright to go do to get their work noticed…I mean there are a few…but even then the numbers aren’t very good.

So with the students, it totally came around to Theater Connects…the reason I started the project in the first place. To give these new grads and talented artists ACTUAL ANSWERS.  TO GIVE THEM A RESOURCE, A PATH, A PLACE TO ‘POUND PAVEMENT’ AND MAKE THEIR OWN RESULTS.  The best piece of advice I gave her was to go out and find a director who loves your work. Yes, a producer will be the one to book a venue and get you a team and a production, but a director can help you work on the script. A playwright and director can easily put up a reading together. So 1) don’t jump ahead of yourself. really work on your script until you can actually be confident it is ready for performance and 2) the director will be just as excited as you!! they will be thrilled to have found a playwright whose work they love!! It is equal opportunity jazzed. A shared passion and excitement could really take you both places.

How can she find said director? No actual answer there. But before next year, I will be able to tell her exactly how to find the director, how to submit her work and even what kind of director she should be seeking. I could give out strategy and resources and educational options.


Give the next generation some REAL answers about why and how to make it in the theater world. A place to go, a resource to use and people to learn from!



The Fear and The Lesson

ARCHIVED March 20, 2011

I love the fact that currently my work doesn’t feel like work! I would just like to say, that going after something you believe in, with everything you’ve got is kind of the best thing ever. No fears, no doubts, no hesitations. Now the previous sentence is far from easy; it takes a lot of work. We are all human and the fear/doubt/hesitation thing is almost what we are brought up to do. But every now and then, a little bit of blind faith never hurt anybody.

I read a lot and I talk to people a lot; so I often can’t remember where I read and/or heard a certain thing that stuck with me. So, I can’t site this…but I remember being asked to make a list of things that I would do if I could not fail. Kind of like that magical potion from HP 6. It turns out to be a really interesting list — what would you do if it was impossible for you to fail? Well, I made this list a few months ago…and found it in one of my notebooks yesterday. Turns out, I’ve actually already gone after at least half of them. A life without fear, or the courage and judgment that something else is more important than fear, is what will set you free. It has probably been over a year since I accepted this to be true…but it has taken this long to find a way to put it into practice. I’d say it has taken a lot of trust in myself, living by ‘you don’t get anything that you don’t ask for’ and acceptance of possibility of failure. And that failure is SO NOT the end of the world. (I totally used to believe that it was).

No one is truly fearless. But the cliche of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ can actually become a lifestyle, if you work hard enough. Also remembering that nobody is perfect and you will always have days or situations that freak you out enough to hold you back. I think that’s totally okay, as long as you recognize that in that moment, the fear took over, and you’ll do better next time. That is all anybody can ever hope to do…learn.