On the surface, Scott Douglas Redmond's accomplishments look like a tornado of diverse projects-from high-tech inventions and patents with science fiction overtones to social and cultural engagements that empower people and touch the heart. Rarely does one person show the creative diversity shown in Mr. Redmond. He is not just an ordinary guy; he is blessed with a brain that is usually in overdrive, capturing and rearranging bits of data to invent, reinvent, design new applications, and create innovative products.
Redmond has numeric dyslexia (dyscalculia) and is considered 2e Gifted. (Others in the “2e club” include Richard Branson; Charles Schwab; John Chambers, the founder of Cisco and Robin Williams) He experienced learning challenges while growing up alternately labeled gifted then handicapped and identified as either a smart kid or a dumb kid. The International Dyslexia Association (Fact Sheet #5 — 02/98) states: “To call this a learning disability tends to infer that the person cannot learn. However, with the proper instruction, dyslexics do learn. The key is in using the term ‘learning difference' and not ‘disability.'”
Once Scott discovered how to learn in spite of his learning difference, his creative talent exploded. Still, his thoughts sometimes emerge in rapid succession like lightning bolts flashing across the sky. His seemingly unrelated projects nevertheless share a common theme-they are innovative and they do “make a difference.” They address social needs with product solutions that are at least a paradigm shift more advanced than the current solution. For example, Scott led a startup technology company to create a software “app” that enables communication without cellular infrastructure, he established a website to support an anti-bullying campaign, and he motivated parents and educators to use social media to improve literacy.
Redmond is the Founder and President of Peep Wireless Technology which is responsible for producing a software application (App) for the iPhone that enables peer-to-peer mesh networking-a communication without cellular infrastructure. The App enables the user to send Morse code, voice and image signals to communicate with other users who have installed the same App.
The onlineIPods news network,Ipodnn.com, reported in June 2011 that Peep Wireless technology was embedded in a new pro-democracy App, Democri-C, for iOS devices. The New York Times (June 12, 2011 article by James Glanz and John Markoff) carried an expansive story titled, U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors, on how the US government was supporting “mesh network technology, which can transform devices like cellphones or personal computers to create an invisible wireless web without a centralized hub.”
The software app is known to have played a role in the democracy uprisings in the Middle East and it could give critical communication following natural disasters and emergencies that destroy infrastructure. The Peep Wireless team that designed the Democri-C app under Scott Redmond's direction deserves credit for making a difference by providing alternative ways to promote free speech and reach people following natural disasters.
Website to Fight Bullying in Schools
Aiding his support for Anderson Cooper's 360 Series (on CNN network October 2011) to fight school bullying, Scott Redmond developed a number of websites to give places where bullied students can talk, report bullying aggression, get support, and find helpful resources. His website, entitled “Expose the Bully” enables students to share their experiences, expose bullies, and seek help. Bullies maintain their control through intimidation and isolation. If the bullied student can speak up and expose the bully, the bully will lose the crippling control. Anderson Cooper's series on anti-bullying drew attention to the emotional damage that bullying causes-damage that resulted in several teen suicides.
Although Redmond's philanthropic websites are not extraordinary, they join an expanding list of sites that offer hope and an outstretched hand to students who desperately need it. Making a difference, however small, still has merits.
Social Media to Improve Literacy
In another social outreach, Scott Redmond participated on a forum of educators and parents at the annual meeting of The International Dyslexia Association (IDA). In a PR Newswire November 22, 2011, IDA reported “…political leaders and world-renowned experts in the fields of education, advocacy, and business held a groundbreaking forum to discuss the literacy crisis in the United States.” As part of that forum, Scott led a motivating discussion on the use of social media in grassroots campaigns.
Scott explained how social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Foursquare can magnify one or a few voices and how software tools, like TweetDeck, a desktop application, can allow users to organize, send, and receive messages in high volumes. Additionally, social media provides platforms for people scattered across large geographies to reach like-minded individuals to share knowledge, experiences, and resources.
Scott's presentation was part of a series of speakers helping IDA improve literacy by promoting passage of a Literacy Education for All Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act and for working to pass state literacy laws to provide support, instruction, intervention and professional development for teachers to increase their ability to teach students with learning disabilities. Scott challenged the attendees to take “tangible steps to use social media to create parent/child partnerships to bring the legislation reform message to every state in America.”
Scott Redmond is a dyslexic who used his “learning difference” (aka disability) to overcome technological impediments to cellular communication that occur during disasters and political blackouts; cut school bullying by creating a website that offers emotional support and confidence building resources; and mobilize a grassroots effort to use social media to improve national and state literacy laws so every student will be able to learn. Blessed with a unique view of the world, Scott strives to make a difference by using the talents that made him different.