Consumption v Creation , part 2

May 15, 2010

Purchased an iPad the other day & while on the surface it’s definitely more of a “consumption” device, I’m going to try & use it for both consumption & more “creation” especially when mobile. Like now, as I sit lingering over the end of a solo dinner out.

So, not much content to this post which is basically an experiment to see if I can use the WordPress app on iPad to quickly post a thought.

Consumption v. Creation

May 2, 2010

A couple of friends have asked in recent months, “what happened to your blog?” translated as “why no recent posts?”  No good reason, other than work & life in general have kept me busy, and I’ve come to appreciate the writer’s discipline that others have and that I, so far, do not.

I’ve read various commentary recently about whether we’re becoming more a society of consumption versus creation and innovation.  This applies at many levels, but I’ve come to think of it more in terms of consumption or creation of information.  While there are many innovators creating on multiple levels and often using many newly developed or enhanced technologies to do so, some of these same technologies are allowing for even greater consumption.  This consumption can be of more, and sometimes better, information, entertainment, enlightenment, and sometimes pure distraction and/or information overload.  The fire hose of information on the Internet, increasingly accessed via mobile devices on the fly, can both inspire and educate as well as distract and stifle original thought.

My goal in the coming months is to see if I can find the discipline to start writing more often, even if it’s only for my own reference later as to what I thought was important in 2010, and less time reading stuff that doesn’t matter.  I’m pretty sure I read and look up far more stuff than I used to, sometimes adding value and other times just stifling my own creativity and thought processes.

Where do you hang out?

August 7, 2009

It’s been a few weeks since I read Seth Godin’s post on “social norms”, but it made an impression on a couple of levels:

1) On a macro level it reminded me of what I’ve tended to call the phenomenon of people hanging out with “like types”.  We hang out w/ people from the same class at school, with the same interests, those that went to the same college, single people hang w/ other singles, married people/no kids w/ other dinks, married people w/ children hang w/ the parents of their kids friends, etc.

2) In the more immediate sense, as someone frequently overloaded with the explosion of communication tools that can make one look like a Luddite for “only” using a cell phone and e-mail, it becomes confusing as to where & how to find and get in touch with people that you need to connect with.

The second one, to me at least, is more or less where Seth’s blog is aimed: if you want to connect with someone (personally, professionally, or both) you need to figure out where they “hang out”.  If they have 1000’s of followers on Twitter and tweet in the double digits every day, then they might not be reading your e-mails but a clever @theirtwittername reply might get their attention.  On the other hand, if they think twitter is something that birds do then their channel’s not tuned to your twitterverse if that’s where you’re hanging out.  Ditto for Facebook, LinkedIn, texting, e-mail, voicemail, IM, snailmail, etc.  Think about how they’re communicating, or not, with you and others and figure out how to get in sync using the same method they’re using.  Or, as Godin puts it act “the way they do”.  If you’re not sure, and it’s somebody that’s important for you to connect with then ask around of others that may know them better.  Kind of like figuring out what bar somebody’s hanging at on campus, or what club, neighborhood, favorite lunch place, coffee shop, you get the picture . . .

Seems simple enough, but can be hard to execute if you’re in multiple places using multiple channels of communication (guilty as charged, although I like to think of it as being multi-lingual – others would call it scattered!).  Also, don’t be offended or feel like somebody doesn’t “like you” when they’re not responding to your voicemail, e-mail, commenting on your Facebook status, etc.  They could easily be suffering from information and communication overload, or they could be hanging out somewhere besides where you’re trying to find them.  So, for those you want to reach on a regular basis, figure out where they like to play and go join them there.  Keep in mind that it can change over time or frequently if they use multiple modes of communication.  Better yet, get out and meet them in person (IRL).

Quality v Quantity

March 12, 2009

I was going to title this “Best & Worst of Internet are the Same”. In other words, the breadth/quantity of the info at our fingertips these days is amazing but sifting through it for what matters to you (quality as defined by user) can be daunting. Even with the best search tools as your guide. However, I decided that this is also true about more than just the Internet (the first search entry on quality v quantity doesn’t even mention the Internet and sex is high on the list of items discussed).

Part of what prompted my current thought on the topic is trying to keep up with the endless stream of tweets on Twitter (e.g. over 20 in the last hour from at least 13 different people/sources and I’m only “following” 88). While there are great snippets of info & links here, even some of the “thought leaders” have random musings that clutter the feed. That said, I’ll still take the quality of what’s there weighed against the downside of quantity overload. To me it’s about constantly broadening the scope of who, what, and how you’re listening/gathering information and using the continually improving search tools and your own critical thinking skills to refine and go deeper on what adds value for you.

Readers can judge the quality of this post; to stay quantity light, I will end here.

Problem/Solution – Need to be connected

February 23, 2009

After yet another drop on Wall Street today, +250 points to 12-year low, the “doom and gloom” scenarios outpace the optimist scenarios. Lots of reasons for how we ended up here, but I’m tired of hearing about the “problems”. Let’s start focusing more on “solutions” and less whining about the problems. Yeah, a lot of the problems we’re facing suck and are worse than we’ve seen in a long time, but time to stop dwelling on them. My 8-year old does a fine job of problem identification; I’m working on getting him to understand how to find solutions and fixes to problems rather than complaining about them.

I’ll be the first to admit, that it’s much easier to fixate on the problems than to think about solutions. Is it related to fear of failure if we suggest a solution that doesn’t work? At this point, I think in most cases some failures en route to solving our most pressing problems are better than no action or thinking that others will fix things for us. We’re all in this together; let’s focus more energy on problem solution and less on problem identification. Also, if I start ranting about a problem or something I think is broken in a future post without offering some sort of solution, call me on it!