Tag Archives: UBC

Our Campus: Dan Olson—Wandering entrepreneur, ex-Deadhead and EUS president | The Ubyssey

Our Campus: Dan Olson—Wandering entrepreneur, ex-Deadhead and EUS president | The Ubyssey

By:  February 6, 2012

“Physically, I’m 38, my liver’s 78, and maturity, probably 23-24.”

This is Engineering Undergraduate Society President Dan Olson’s response when I ask him about his age. He may be older than your average undergraduate, but that doesn’t mean he’s had any trouble keeping up with the rest of the student society he runs. “Really, it’s a trick for them to keep up with me,” he says.

His first crack at university began in 1991, as a bright-eyed pre-med student at Utah State University. But after three years of studying biochemistry, Olson decided he needed some time off.

“I realized I’d been going to school so long that I wanted a break, so I was going to take one year off and then finish up and go right to med school,” said Olson.

His respite from the academic grind wound up taking him him from pre-med to Deadhead. “For a few years, I travelled and followed the Grateful Dead,” said Olson.

“I lived out of my Volkswagen van most of the time, but there’d always be a pretty bustling parking lot scene. So I could sell grilled cheese sandwiches or beer out of a cooler. You’d actually make enough money that you could buy a ticket and get gas money to the next city.

“Then Jerry Garcia died, so I went and lived in Austria for a couple years,” said Olson. “I was involved in a lot of service projects…Building houses, and things like that.”

Next Olson returned to the United States, and was met with another stroke of luck.

“My brother and some of his friends went to Olympia, Washington and started an internet service provider,” said Olson.

“As part of the dot-com boom, we got bought out by a big [telecommunications] company out of California, so I kind of went into semi-retirement for three or four years with my stock options and severance pay.

“When that money ran out, I realized if I was ever going to go back to school, I should do it now.”

No longer interested in medicine, Olson decided to give engineering a try. “My oldest brother went through UBC engineering; he graduated in 2002,” said Olson with trademark confidence. “I figured if he could do it, I was way better at math and science, so I should have no problem.”

Olson has held two positions on the EUS, last year as VP External and this year as president. He credits UBC engineers’ legendary school spirit to strong ties with alumni. Olson plans to continue being involved here after he graduates in May.

“The alumni like to come back and tell stories of the pranks they were pulling off, and how things were back in the day.”

Olson doesn’t admit to any involvement in any of the UBC engineers’ famous “stunts,” however, which in past years have included hanging a Volkswagen Beetle off of the Lions Gate Bridge.

“I’ve actually not been involved in any of the pranks…We just kind of hear about them the next day, and hopefully they’re creative and don’t involve too much vandalism.”

Olson is has been preparing for E-Week, the EUS’s yearly celebration, taking place this week. When asked what event he was most excited about, he almost didn’t know where to start.

The week’s most anticipated events, in Olson’s mind, are probably the E-Ball, a formal dance ending the week, and Red Night, a “ridiculous” party at the Cheeze.

“It’s the big party for E-Week, and if you’re wearing your red jacket, red cardigan, or one of the E-Week 2012 shirts, you end up getting [lots of] cheap beer.”

Red Night may pose an opportunity for Olson to show off one of his best-known skills: his ability to polish off an entire pitcher of beer at frightening speed.

“Just under 12 seconds,” bragged Olson. “Somehow, I have a great natural ability to drink very fast.”

Hitchhiking + Leadership for Student Leaders at UBC – Roundup

Owly Images
@jackiesayswhat 10:26am via HootSuite: @daveohoots talks about getting the right people on your bus (not goofballs) http://ow.ly/i/74g5 #UBCSLC

On the first Saturday of 2011, i ventured out to the glorious UBC campus on a stunning Vancouver day to spiel at the Student Leadership Conference with a talk called “Hitchhiking the Boardroom – Leadership Lessons from the Road“.

Basically, I outlined various traits and skills about leadership – most of which i’ve exercised at my day job – and explained scenarios from past adventures which taught (or allowed me to practice) these skills.

For example: Patience while arriving in Japan learning no language, or the importance of escape plan when confronted with an un-savory ride.

Allowed me to share the lost years of roaming and experiment with some new metaphors. In all, some fun storytelling to a full room (off-mic and off page).

I’ll compile the Twitter (great) feedback eventually, but here are a few key artifacts so far:

1) The slide deck featuring photos of hitchhiking signs from journeys past as well as anecdotal snaps

2) An article from the Vancouver Sun which i’ll liberally excerpt from for the preservation of the record.

Slide Deck

Notes

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Vancouver Sun Article

Note 2 alternate versions: Bringing a good idea to fruition and Everyone can be a leader By Jenny Lee, Vancouver Sun January 8, 2011

Dave Olson community director of Vancouver technology company, Hootsuite, says leadership skills are best learned when you’re out of your comfort zone. Photograph by: Jason Payne, Vancouver Sun

Conference speaker Dave Olson, who is community director of Hootsuite, a young local technology company, believes that leadership is learned by getting out of one’s comfort zone both pysically and mentally.

Leadership in fast-paced technological world is all about teamwork and camaraderie. Leaders must learn to trust, delegate, experiment and refine, he said.

“A lot of the things we experience living an adventurous life teaches us practical skills when leading fast paced groups,” Olson said. For Olson, that meant travelling. “Other people can learn the same feeling of openness when volunteering to work with handicapped kids one summer. For me, I learned about openness by sticking out my thumb.”

At Hootsuite everyone works in one big room and “everyone’s opinion is valid,” Olson said. “There are not a bunch of egos. We cross over and share skills across the department.

“You definitely have to cultivate that atmosphere,” Olson added. “You have to have something that brings that to life. [And] it starts top down.”

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Bringing+good+idea+fruition/4079252/story.html#ixzz1AbQ4iEhX

Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61

On Remembrance Day in sunny, brisk Vancouver, Ian Bell (fresh from a CBC appearance “On The Coast“) joins Dave to read from Grandpa Mark’s diaries written in the trenches in WW1 as a young Canadian. From the library steps with a flask of scotch, they reflect on the costs and motivations of war, importance of friendship and the ethereal experience of going “over the top” and facing the terror on the other side, plus anecdotes about capturing Germans soldiers and discourse on the importance of personal documentation to pass forward to generations.

Sit awhile for Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61

Vimy Rdge Diaires

Featuring:

Geoff Berner – Excerpts from “Maginot Line” Recorded live at the Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC, Feb. 28, 2009

Various artists (including piper Dave Ahl) – Recorded live at UBC Remembrance Day Ceremony, Nov. 11, 2009

Ian Bell reading from Grandpa Mark’s diaries

William Markle Pecover – Memory of Vimy Ridge

William Markle Pecover – On Being Bombed in Britain

Photo via CDN Veterans Affairs asks How Will you Remember? – Download Canadian historical war time photo and video packs, organized by theme and era, then remix and share via social networks.

Continue reading Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard # 61