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When you see a headline like “Drive for $1000, Alex” you may think Techlife’s electric car column is on its way. (Hint: Nissan, Tesla or Chevrolet when you drop one off, my outlet will power not just a review.) So if not electric cars, maybe this is about Google’s self driving cars that were on real roads with live drivers. Strike two. How about if you stop guessing and just let me tell you? No? You want to keep guessing? Bingo. That’s the “Drive” I am talking about.

We have covered so many unique folks to date, in just 2011; Connor Dunn of TabCloud, Jared Fanning and Michael Baldwin the cartographers, Josh Nimoy, Aleksandar Rodic, Chris Milk for coders of Open GL, Jeremy Young the amazing artist and let’s not forget my mom and her gmail hack. What did all of these people have in common? Ok, that was rhetorical – I set you up to say “Drive.” So as we explore a time in the calendar when some people take it easy, I wanted to share the story of drive. Instead of just sharing one person, learn about the passion two vastly different people bring to what they do.

Earlier this year I covered the amazing feat of IBM Researchers in “What is a computer overlord? Meet Watson.” Their goal was to have a computer be able to understand and beat the best human players of all time in a game of “Jeopardy!”  Well, be amazed again; meet Roger Craig, the all time Jeopardy! single day money winner.  He did it in just his second match, beating Ken Jennings record. Roger went on to become a Tournament of Champions winner as well.

This was no accident. This was pure drive. Roger details his dominance, with a look at his training methods. He used popular Jeopardy! site J-archive to build a private web learning tool around the data. Just to prove it works, he allowed three other friends to train with it. Each was a contestant who also crushed their competition (though they remain anonymous at this time.) His brilliant move, dismantling learning as he knew it.  His drive led him to re-learn, how to learn. Re-read that again. He taught himself a new way to learn.

You are sitting there nodding right now. Saying, yeah but Roger’s very smart to begin with and that helped in his quest. Drive has no barriers. Meet Kenny Brooks, door-to-door salesman. In just seven minutes he will have you wanting to buy his product.

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“Yeah, right? I don’t think so,”  you are saying to yourself. For years you have been conditioned to  not trust door-to-door folks, and be a skeptic. Kenny does more than show his drive, he details it for the listener. He explains himself and his goals, along with his role models. His drive is clear and direct but the delivery gets you laughing and excited. With nearly 1000 comments some claim this video to be phony, even so Kenny’s methods and his style show the human drive to immerse yourself in the challenge.

As the year winds to an end, and we begin to look ahead, pick your passion, and drive it into next year.