Monthly Archives: May 2013

You should read Maria Bustillos on the new Internet Skeptics. Here’s why.

Maria Bustillos captures Evgeny Morozov nicely in this Awl piece and pins him up so all can see the flaws in his thinking (U MAD??? Evgeny Morozov, The Internet, And The Failure Of Invective | The Awl). Anyone impressed by Morozov’s skepticism and negativity owe it to themselves to read this. While the Internet and technology in general needs more skeptics, they deserve better skepticism than Morozov’s.

She also covers Jaron Lanier, and while she takes a few good swipes in his direction, he manages to escape the fate of Morozov. Earlier I recommended not bothering with Lanier’s book (Jaron Lanier is wrong again | Smart People I Know). Based on her review, you could argue that you would find some value in reading Lanier. I still believe it’s not worth your while, but Bustillos is a sharp reader and if you has found value in his work, then you may, too.

I’d like to see her take on Nicolas Carr at some point. He’s another one that seems to get a pass when it comes to making pronouncements on the negative effects of the Internet.

 

 

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Do you worry about work?

Then you should read this article: Worry Isn’t Work – Dan Pallotta – Harvard Business Review.   Key quote:

Worry isn’t work. Being stressed out isn’t work. Anxiety isn’t work. Entertaining a sense of impending doom isn’t work. Incessant internal verbal punishment isn’t work. Indulging the great unknown fear in your own mind isn’t work. Hating yourself isn’t work.

Work is the manifestation of value, and anyone who tells you that a person whose mind is 50% occupied with anxiety is more likely to manifest value is a person who isn’t manifesting much.

The part I highlighted is most important. Your goal at work should be creating value for your customers, your employer, and yourself. It’s the best way to maximize all three. If you are worrying all the time, you are never going to maximize them. You are never going to do the best job you could be doing.

Read the article. Think about what you are worrying over. Leverage the notion of achieving more value to help you reduce and eliminate the worry.

Inspiration for starting on Meatless Mondays

If you feel like you want to start eating less meat, then you may want to start doing it on Mondays and join the Meatless Monday crowd. If you feel it is a daunting prospect, here’s some inspiration for you to get started: Meatless Mondays: Even Mario Batali’s Doing It.

Jaron Lanier is wrong again

Jaron Lanier has a new book out called “Who Owns the Future?” and like his last book, “You are Not a Gadget”, he is out promoting it. (Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class – Salon.com.) In this Salon article, you find this:

“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” he writes in the book’s prelude: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 14,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”

When I read this, my first impression is: wow! Instagram in combination with other forces destroyed Kodak and all those jobs. Impressions are deceiving. In fact, what destroyed Kodak was Kodak management. As early as 1997, Kodak was under fire from Fuji and doing poorly (WHAT’S AILING KODAK? FUJI WHILE THE U.S. GIANT WAS SLEEPING, THE JAPANESE FILM COMPANY CUT PRICES, MARKETED AGGRESSIVELY, AND NOW IS STEALING MARKET SHARE. – October 27, 1997). Indeed, while Kodak has gone down, Fuji continues to do well, as I point out here: In considering Kodak’s demise, it’s important to remember that Fuji is still going strong | Smart People I Know.

The problem with Kodak was Kodak. It couldn’t deal with Fuji or the Internet. But Fuji was smart enough to do so, and if Kodak was as smart, they’d still be a going concern and alot of Kodak jobs would still exist.  If Lanier hasn’t done enough research to see that, I don’t know how much value you will find in his book. Maybe he gets alot more right and this is just a bad example, but I doubt it. Indeed, I blogged about him when he wrote his last book and how I thought that that book was troublesome: Jaron Lanier needs someone else to promote his new book, “You are Not A Gadget” | Smart People I Know. I’d expect more of the same from this book.

I don’t know what motivates him to write these books. He seems to get a pass when he does write them and the people who interview him seem to be impressed with his credentials and his appearance. To add to that, he is a well spoken individual, and I think there is even something in what he says. But I also think his writing is lazy and uninformed, and if you do wish to read authors critical of technology, I recommend you look elsewhere.

Why didn’t Stephen Harper use this to track what his MPs are saying?

Whether or not you are the Canadian Prime Minister, I highly recommend openparliament.ca. In particular, I  really like how if you type in your postal code, it will show you the MP that represents you and also give a run down of what they are doing in and out of Parliament. So, not just their voting record, but their twitter log! Brilliant stuff. Well worth a look.

How to read political news: a primer

People who love reading political news may want to skip this article, but for those of you who are skeptical of what you are reading and feel it is manipulative, puffy,  or overall a waste of time, I recommend this: What if political scientists covered the news? from Slate Magazine.

Some things to think about in between one work week and the next

If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed with work or the people at work, then you might find either one of these articles from the zenhabits blog to be useful: 13 small things to simplify your workday and 10 Ways to Deal With the Non-Simplifying Others in Your Life. If you read them now and then go on with your weekend activities, you may find that you have a plan to deal with these difficulties, come Monday. At the very least, knowing you have options can help you have a more relaxing weekend.

Good luck! Bon courage!