Daniel Kish – Teaching the Blind to See

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Daniel Kish, here’s what you should know about Daniel…

We deal a lot with the impossible on this website, but Daniel Kish has done something that most people would say is truly, literally, impossible. Completely blind from the age of one (and that’s with zero residual sight; he lost both of his eyes), Daniel has taught himself to see. And now he’s teaching other blind and visually impaired people to do the same.

Daniel’s company World Access For the Blind teaches the use of what’s called “Flash Sonar.” The user emits vocalizations, and those vocalizations strike objects in the world and bounce back. Through careful study, students learn to interpret the changes in the echoes and can find the object around them, tell their shapes, and navigate around them. [Read more...]

Jon Morrow – Entrepreneur

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Jon, here’s what you should know about Jon…

By most standards, going to work at the office — which also doubles as your residential 8th floor balcony overlooking the ocean in coastal Mexico — is pretty badass.  But what makes it even more remarkable is knowing how Jon Morrow arrived there in the first place.

Jon was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a degenerative neuromuscular disease that progressively weakens the body to the point of complete atrophy, and eventual death.  For most families, it would be an excuse to throw in the towel and give in before ever giving life a shot.  Not for the Morrows.

“I was really lucky to have two incredible parents,” Jon says.  “It’s one of the reasons why I’ve survived this disease.  But it’s also one of the reasons I’m able to do these things.”

[Read more...]

Gabe Trujillo – Disabled Devil on Wheels

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Gabe, here’s what you should know about him:

Gabe Trujillo was always an athlete. He had asthma, but he could control it, and life went on.

But one day, when he was 14, he was struck with what seemed to be a severe cold. Exacerbated by his asthma, the cold got worse, and his parents eventually took him to the hospital. Skip forward… and Gabe was surprised to find himself waking from a coma, with a collapsed lung, on a ventilator, unable to move his arms and legs. [Read more...]

AJ Brockman – Artist and MDA Telethon Icon

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with AJ, here’s what you should know about him:

AJ Brockman is a bit of a badass celebrity. Years back, AJ appeared regularly on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, helping to put a face to the condition. Followers of the telethon watched AJ grow up, but that bit of niche celebrity was only the beginning for AJ, who has always been an artist at heart. [Read more...]

Rachel Cornell – Pro Nagger

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Rachel, here’s what you should know about her:

Rachel Cornell, born with a visual impairment that left her legally blind, spent a lot of her early life blaming her “disability” for her problems.

But when her mother was diagnosed with aggressive cancer, she decided that it was time to turn her life around.

Did she want to keep blaming circumstances outside of her control for the bad things in her life? Or did she want to take control? [Read more...]

Tori Molnar – Teen Entrepreneur

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Tori, here’s what you should know about her:

14-year-old Tori Molnar was raised by entrepreneurs, so as she entered high school and her friends started trying to get (and didn’t always succeed at getting) jobs, she started looking for an entrepreneurial alternative. With the help of her family, she founded her own direct marketing company, called Utoria.

As CEO and founder of Utoria, Tori was able to not only open opportunity for herself, but also for her friends who wanted to start their own venture, and for small businesses… because Utoria only sells products from small businesses, instead of white-labeling their own products.

All of this happened despite an early diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Since the age of 2 or 3, she went to physical therapy five or six days a week, sometimes twice a day. But despite being “different” growing up, she’s centered her company on empowering her “Utoria girls” and turned her determination to fighting through the red tape and hurdles she’s faced in her business. [Read more...]

Kyle Maynard proves nothing is impossible

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I could give you all sorts of details on this video, but instead I’ll just suggest that you watch it.

I talked to Kyle Maynard as one of our very first Badass Project interviews, and he’s a seriously amazing guy, but this video from ESPN’s Outside the Lines takes it to a whole new level.

Would you have the guts to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro if you didn’t have full arms and legs?

What are you saying isn’t possible?

Ketra Oberlander – Artist

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Ketra, here’s what you should know about her:

Ketra Oberlander always had vision problems, but eventually all of her cone (color) and most of her rod (black and white) vision failed and she became blind. To answer the questions of curious and concerned friends, she embraced art as a way to show others how she was seeing the world. What surprised her, however, was how well-received her art was.  [Read more...]

The Badass Project 2012 conference recordings are now available!

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I’m very pleased to announce that after much waiting, technical tomfoolery, and general shenanigans, the recordings of the 2012 Badass Project Conference are now available!

We lost a few of the sessions due to technical issues, but most of them made it through fine.

Here’s what we lost:

  • Anissa Mayhew: Anissa’s audio connection failed during the conference, so we managed a clever hack wherein Anissa called Jess, whose audio was working fine, and Jess held her phone up to her own microphone. It worked great live, but the audio didn’t make it to the recording.
  • Carole Brown: Same deal as with Anissa.
  • John T. Unger: The recording of John’s session became unwatchably glitchy at the end, despite being okay live.
  • Amber Osborne: Same as with John.
  • Seth Godin: Same deal. But if you find that you can skip to around 2:41:00 on the actual Vokle recording and watch Seth’s session without glitches and with audio that seems in-sync and non-overlapping, leave a comment on this post because I may have a job for you….
  • Brian Clark: Brian was unable to join us live due to equipment failure, which is why Julien Smith’s preceding session is so long. He’s promised us a make-up interview though, which I’ll record and post when it’s available.

One last thing… there’s a bonus interview up there that nobody has seen yet. We really wanted to include Chris Guillebeau in the conference, but he was traveling during the live event. So I recorded a session with Chris, and you’ll find it on the conference page with the others.

We hope you got a lot out of the conference, and we hope you get a lot out of these replays!

David Ledwitz – Disability Transportation Advocate

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with David, here’s what you should know about him:

After receiving an American Public Transportation Foundation scholarship, David Ledwitz went on to become one of the program’s shining success stories, working as a Management Analyst for Accessible Services at Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California. He’s responsible for compliance, safety, and training issues revolving around public transportation services available for people with disabilities.

David is so highly respected at his job, he’s the only Badass Project nominee to date who received three separate nominations from three different people. His dedication to making transportation accessible across the board is palpable and inspiring. [Read more...]