Funshop Logo

Richard F. Ransom, Ph.D.

Founder, Author, Artist, Scientist, Funman

I've spent my entire life becoming a scientist (it's an ongoing process, believe me), and decided at age 12 that I would be a biochemist. That pursuit led me to a both a B.S. (1983, Michigan State University) and a Ph.D. (1991, Purdue University) in biochemistry, followed by post-doctoral training in bacterial pathogenesis of tomatoes (University of California at Riverside) and fungal pathogenesis of corn (MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab). I then turned sharply to the left into biomedical research, and managed a lab at the University of Michigan studying the kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome. This grew into a faculty position, with focus on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the therapeutic efficacy of glucocorticoids in nephrotic syndrome. After obtaining my second major research award, I moved on to The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a faculty position at The Ohio State University doing the same work. Check out my CV for more details.

After several years running my own lab, a variety of difficulties led me to leave my faculty position, and I resolved to pursue only work that was closest to my heart. I founded Live Dye, a business dedicated to increasing the world's supply of beauty through resist dyeing, better known as tie-dye. Besides producing various resist dyes for sale, I conduct workshops and disseminate information on how to perform the techniques I've refined and developed. I've been dyeing for thirty years, and it's my art.

Time and time again during my long and difficult years pursuing academic research, the concept of fun pushed forward in what seemed at the time to be an inappropriate way. Science is serious, so why did I keep stumbling over something as apparently frivolous as fun? I'm used to digging into the literature to assemble the knowledge I need to answer questions, and eventually I applied the same sort of rigorous investigation to fun that I have to molecular mechanisms of disease and therapy. I found the pool of knowledge on fun to be very shallow, and resolved to look deeper. That pursuit has become my vocation, subsuming every other aspect of my being into its mysteries. Luckily, I can think of no better direction for my life than the pursuit of fun – fun in every aspect of my life, work, and art. How sweet it is to be working in a field that demands that my life be as fun as possible in order to develop the necessary tools for my work and to maintain my credibility. Who would want to hire a fun expert who has no fun – who is no fun? I've learned to walk the talk, and I'm eager to bring the lessons I've learned to a broader audience.

Joshua Manley

Health Hacker, Scientist, Teacher . . . Funman

Hi, I'm Josh. I run a science tutoring and consulting business called Manley Tutoring, focusing on non-traditional methods of learning. I consult with a healthtech company called SenseHealth where my responsibility is to design text message interventions for at-risk populations to improve their health and I speak about the importance of paying attention, living healthier, and learning 2.0. I've appeared on, The New York Times, and Quantified-Self and I've spoken in Beijing about my unconventional ideas and the future of health improvement. I have a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and publications in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, The American Journal of Renal Physiology and PLOS One.

I was drawn into fun from my association with Richard at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and from the experiences I had in my own businesses. I'm a fun guy, and bringing that fun to my work was instantly appealing. Education has become my vocation, and I've found that fun is an incredibly powerful method to improve my teaching – and learning.

[Founder's Note: Josh is the only one who supplied a torso shot instead of a full length photo – ironically, he's by far the most fit of the bunch. He lives on his bike on his constant tours of New York city. It is a very nice shot. I particularly love the stairs in the background – urban cool. Just because he's the youngest Funman doesn't mean we resent his good looks and vitality – far from it! Our resentment is because he has a TED video.]

Desmond Rutherford, M.Ed.

Learner, Educator, Trainer, Funman

I’m a learner and an educator. I live for the moment people light up when an idea pops and the change begins. All learning is about change. I’m passionate about helping people grow and transforming themselves. I have spent my life learning and inspiring people to do what drives them.

I've also worked in situations that border on demoralizing – or that go right on past and head for despair. Like many, when the economy took a dive, so did my self-esteem and opportunity. I went from being a VP of a college to an entry level wage slave, but I was still doing what I love: training! I learned to recreate my environment and make it fun, despite the obstacles. I learned to kick ass and create great things, even in a situation that did not support it. When you have fun doing what you love, you grow, you change, and you affect your environment.

I earned degrees in creative writing (B.A.) and education and instructional technologies (M.Ed.) from San Francisco State University. I’ve created and delivered training in software, healthcare, adult education, manufacturing, and the utility industry. I believe in engaging people in a learner-centered environment. When we're given the tools to construct our own learning, it makes a far greater impact. For me, it’s not so much about teaching as it is about providing a place to learn and grow outwards from what is most important to us. I can’t tell you how to learn or what to learn, but I can help you see how serious fun can take you to the place you belong. I'm thrilled to work with my colleagues to make this happen. I am part of the Funshop team because my vocation is to teach and inspire – and to have fun every step of the way!

[Founder's Note: Desmond's Bio is the only one without a hyperlink, and that is so old school! We decided that he needed a this-century animation for his pic to compensate (you may have missed it, it only happens twice), though I was tempted to just use his facing-away pic. . But that would have emphasized his funk over the fact that Josh has a TED video.]

James E. Ransom, Jr.

Elder Brother, Problem Solver, Systems Builder, Funman

I like to understand how and why things work. I like to fix things that are not working properly. Most of all, I like to create innovative new systems to provide services and to create useful products.

The snap of insight as you figure out how a mechanism, a mathematical model, or a complex system interaction works is fun. Solving a problem is fun. Creating and maintaining a creative and innovative project team is lightning-strikingly fun. Conceiving, designing, and building new systems are supernova fun.

My career has been very non-linear, perhaps best modeled by a fractal, a chaotic system, or a complex function with singularities/poles. My degrees are in physics, B.S. (1973, University of Michigan) and M.S. (1978, Michigan State University), with large doses of mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, and engineering. Every job offered opportunities to create new solutions and to learn new things. I have worked as an engineer, scientist, and teacher—but not in simple categories, or with boring consistency—space systems engineer, rocket scientist, university astronomy instructor, electronics engineer, high school science teacher, project engineer, intelligence analyst, manager, high-power laser engineer… and other roles covered by non-disclosure agreements that will likely outlive me.

For my colleagues and me over the decades, fun has been respect and teamwork, but also challenge and individual integrity. Fun is flow and synergism, planning and examination, creativity and innovation, professional discipline and building on tested procedures. Fun is a critical and honest metric of when a system, a project team, or a process is working well.

[Founder's Note: That's a real Argentinian nickel-iron meteorite in Jim's hands. Jim is the smart older brother than always foiled my attempts to do stupid stuff with his super cool chemistry set. He's the kind of brother who inspires you (that chemistry set is what inspired me to be a scientist), infuriates you, and has lots of cool stuff you envy . . . And no, Jim doesn't really care that Josh has a TED video.]

Download a PDF version of The Fun Manifesto . . .

Listen to the audiobook version of The Fun Manifesto . . .

Read a draft chapter, Is Fun Just Another Fad?, from my book-in-progress, The Fun Paradox . . .

I'm now posting more new chapters on the Funshop Blog, help me refine it and get credit and prizes!

Learn more about how you can bring the power of fun to your work through Funshop . . .

But, most importantly, please go out and have fun!   and . . . why not now?