Table Top Inventing Podcast

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Alma Ripley - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can normal public schools integrate STEM subjects deep into their curriculum? Why would a fine arts teacher need to know how to use an oscilloscope? What is an oscilloscope anyway? Listen in for the exciting answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today I’m talking to an innovative public school administrator whose favorite quote is by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather the wood or divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

I couldn’t agree more. There is a deep drive inside of us to face the unknown and to find the courage to explore it. Yet for too long we have tried to tame this desire and keep the fires of passion quietly smoldering in a corner, but here at Table Top Inventing we fan the flames until the fires of curiosity begin to light children from the inside. A deep and burning curiosity will drive a student to explore the unknown and to carve a space for themselves in this frontier.

The fires of curiosity and the “yearning for the vast and endless sea” drive everything we do here at Table Top Inventing. The fires burn particularly brightly in our Inventor’s Bootcamps every summer. I’m always excited to see the new ideas and creative machines the kids build, and we always have one or two students that walk in the door as an average child and leave with their curiosity brightly burning!

To find out more about the Inventor’s Bootcamp visit or you can just visit and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today we get to take a peek into the mind and heart of a true “lead learner” from an elementary school in Albuquerque, NM. Many administrators claim the title of “Lead Learner” but few take it to the heights Alma Ripley has.

Original Release Date: 7/29/15

Direct download: 046__STEM_Trajectory_with_Alma_Ripley.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 3:21pm PST

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John Griffith - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can a teenager from a good, decent, wonderful family end up making a mess out of their life by the age of 15? What is the path from poor teenage choices to a life of purpose and meaning? Where can parents look for some hope if their teen has taken a very bad path? Listen in for sobering answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! I got to talk to one of the most amazing individuals on today’s podcast! If you like underdog, transformation stories, then today’s episode is tailor made for you, and I think you’ll agree with Norman Vincent Peale who said,

“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.”

Confidence, or believing in yourself as the quote says, radically shifts what is possible. Belief for or against our own ability can have dramatic effects on what is possible. As individuals and even as a society, we often believe something to be impossible–such as running a four minute mile. No documented cases of a mile being run faster than 4 minutes was documented until an English runner named Roger Bannister did it on May 6, 1954. For thousands of years we have run and competed in running games. Yet for some reason in the years just following Roger Bannister’s record-breaking run, many athletes began to run a four minute mile, and now it is common for a professional male middle distance runner to be able to run a four minute mile. Why the sudden change?

Truthfully, we don’t know exactly what causes achievement, but we do know that limiting beliefs can have a significant effect on us. For this reason, we work very hard to remove limiting beliefs as students tackle challenges in our Inventor’s Bootcamp every summer. Students are encouraged to try new things and notice the outcomes because trying a new activity often leads us to new thinking. In fact, it turns out that the secret sauce for Roger Bannister had quite a bit to do with a new type of training that he began around that time. He noted significant changes in his running times after some of his training adjustments and continued in that direction. This approach of varying the inputs and observing the outputs is just the practical application of the scientific method which is in high regard during Inventor’s Bootcamp.

If you’d like to find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today I get the privilege of introducing you to one of the most remarkable individuals to be on our podcast, John Griffith. John’s is truly a story of tragedy and triumph. I won’t spoil the plot, so join me as we go on a journey through innocence and tragedy to great hope.

Original Release Date: 7/23/15

Direct download: 045_-_Breakin_It_Down_with_John_Griffith.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

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Caleb Simonyi-Gindele - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow do we foster curiosity and innovation in kids? How does a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy sharpen your business skills? How important is human uniqueness? Listen in for the thought-provoking answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! My guest today is a curious Canadian. I won’t give too much away just yet, but his focus on the importance of uniqueness prompted me to look up this quote by Salman Rushdie.

“Human beings, you see, do absolutely two primary things. We see like and unlike. Like becomes, in literature, simile and metaphor. Unlike becomes uniqueness and difference, from which I believe, the novel is born.”

Similarities and differences drive the uniqueness of human culture. Without similarities we would have no common ground upon which to connect. Yet without the differences, we would have no reason to exist because another person could just as easily take our place.

Teenagers are at that point in their lives when they are just beginning to find out what makes them unique. We have found the environment we create in the Inventor’s Bootcamp to be one of those magical places where uniqueness and creative exploration grow. Every single class we can honestly say, “I’ve never seen that before!” Students never cease to amaze us like the bottle-top-vampire-security-system built by three teenage girls last summer. The new skills students learn and the uniqueness they bring make the Inventor’s Bootcamp an unforgettable experience.

To learn more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

As with most of our guests, I can honestly say that Caleb Simonyi-Gindele is unique. His perspective on business seen through the lens of both a curious innovator and a trained Marriage and Family Therapist is truly one-of-a-kind. Let’s dive in and pick the brain of a truly deep thinker.

Original Release Date: 7/16/15

Direct download: 044_-_Human_Uniqueness_with_Caleb_Simonyi-Gindele.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

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Jody Maberry - Table Top Inventing PodcastCan a student get A’s in College Calculus after almost failing algebra in high school? How does a financial analyst find his way to becoming a Park Ranger? What is the power of a story to influence students, customers, or acquaintances? Listen in for the engaging answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today’s guest is anything but ordinary. As a Park Ranger turned MBA, he’s a real story teller! As humans we long to have the world woven into a story. John Steinbeck said,

“We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say-and to feel- ‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it.’ You’re not as alone as you thought.”

I was actually thinking that very thought this morning as I listened again to one of my favorite stories. I like to start my day of with a good story to launch me into the day. I love harrowing stories with heroes and villains and underdogs. Do you like stories like I do?

If so, you might resonate with this story. Last summer during one of our Inventor’s Bootcamps, we had a young teenager. His name was Eric, and he wasn’t fitting in very well with his team. He was obviously a bright young man but needed to find his place in our high tech summer camp. He had tried the electronics and programming but hadn’t meshed very well. Then he tried the 3D design and was taken to another world! He spent the rest of the week designing and 3D printing his designs. The real kicker? Eric was on the Autism spectrum and yet found a way to thrive in his team!

To find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit!

And now to our story teller of the day: Jody Maberry. Jody started off as a pretty bad high school student, but even though he dropped his Basic Algebra class twice in college for poor grades, two years later he was getting an A in calculus. Let’s listen in to find out how this transformation occurred.

Original Release Date: 7/9/15

Direct download: 043_-_A_Good_Story_with_Jody_Maberry.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

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Tom Friedhof - Table Top Inventing PodcastDoes being a drummer really correlate to strong logical skills? How important is reading books to success? How important is application in the learning process? Listen in for answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! If you don’t know what LoL is, I bet your kids do. Our guest today has helped companies like Riot Games, the XPrize Foundation, and Hollywood’s “The Wrap” craft great looking websites. In our interview, Tom referenced a great quote by the late Stephen Covey from his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

“Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”

I am the poster child for this quote. Every time I learn something, I want to go find out if it really works. My problem is that I read and learn so much! Yet the wisdom is backed by some of the best educational theory. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of papers on the subject of applying knowledge and the value of application. There is no substitute for trying an idea if we want it to stick.

We see the value of this idea every year in our Inventor’s Bootcamp summer program for teens. Just a couple weeks ago we had our first Inventor’s Bootcamp of 2015, and I remember vividly a girl named Claire. She was trying to understand how to wire up and use her team’s Impact sensor which measures the change of pressure with time. I could tell my words were quickly making her eyes roll back in her head, so I encouraged her to try the computer code to see what would happen. She tinkered with it for 5 or 10 minutes, and then I heard my favorite sound: “Ohhhhhhh!!” and a second later, “I get it. That is sooooo cool!”

This experience gets played out dozens of times every week during Inventor’s Bootcamp because we let kids use technology and get their hands on it.

If you’d like to find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

And now let’s introduce Tom Friedhof. Tom’s company ActiveLamp creates beautiful, intuitive websites for some very well known brands. Yet he didn’t get his start in the coding world in the normal fashion. Let’s get the story from Tom.

Original Release Date: 7/2/15

Direct download: 042_-_Gotta_Do_It_with_Tom_Friedhof.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:00pm PST