Tag Archives for Ideas
Would that school were so easy.
You go to school to learn something. You take that something and use it in the real world to get things done.
But what if the world changes so fast that the nineteenth century sysetm you are learning in does not prepare you for the 21st century world you go home to live in, use the web in, make your friends in?
You end up disrupting education by finding your own consumption. And that has consequences — some great, some maybe not so great.
Has Traditional Education Jumped the Shark?
What happens when the school you go to is online, free and part of an experiment? What if it’s a test, and not really part of the formal system? Do you lose out by learning in it?
What matters most — that you experienced the very same experience as your “cohort,” or that you learned the skills that you need to get a job?
We are starting to see this kind of question a lot when we look into how different people hire school to get the job of education done.
When education looks different, but creates the same result, what are the tensions that one experiences when trying to use the byproduct of that education to get hired? This question on Quora makes us wonder. The asker of the question offers context:
I’m currently taking part in a free programming course with Stanford University, and I’m watching the same lectures and doing the same work as real students, just not getting a degree out of it. Is it appropriate to include this on my CV/LinkedIn profile?
Here are my questions:
1. If the guy learns skills from this course, but does not get a degree, and he can perform the job that having the degree would indicate he could perform, then what use is the degree?
2. What is more important to an employer — the skill or the degree?
3. Do we rely on the degree because the people who hire us are often people who are not specialists in that field — I’m thinking of an HR manager here, who must have to use degrees to vet applicants.
Future thinking: we can take this thinking to its long-term conclusions. What if education evolves into something that is more about showing your work, or proving that you can solve problems in teh real world? Is it stilla bout the degree? Does the degree become something that proves that, or does the work itself prove that?
If it is the work itself, then what is more important? Is it your relationship in the school, or your relationship in the community?
I think that education institutions give people a bigger platform on which to stand, to build greater relationships with community. But as internet technology deconstructs those platforms, you have to consistently see these things differently. If social web technologies are their own platforms, and one can use those to connect to communities, then what happens to education?
As I have written before, in education there are often more questions than real market forces. If we could experiment more and more with education, we would find the answer to these questions come readily. If we could see real “market forces,” like teachers giving active and ready insight into how they use products, or if there was less overhead to deal with (bureaucracy and red tape), then developers and entrepreneurs could make the changes that would facilitate better learning.
Back to the original point: when students are given access, outside of the system, to newer ways to learn, those choices end up part of the market forces in the equation, and teachers, or anyone who does not participate, becomes further isolated.
My gut instinct says that many who are in education and who make their living from it, are wary of exploring this too much. Realistically speaking, they may feel their livelihood is at stake.
I think it’s not at stake, but it changes. Teachers — in K12 all the way through higher ed — have to change their roles the way reporters in journalism institutions do. It is more important to be facilitator to the hyper-informed community than it is to be the broad generalist who seeks to be the single conduit for information.
Teaching moves from lecturing, monitoring, coaching and mentoring, to curating, guiding, disrupting, and platform leveling. It’s more a task of community management than it is a teacher role.
Brian Stetler, the NYTimes journalist who made his name by covering the Arab Spring via Twitter, lost 90 pounds by tweeting about the food he ate.
This confirms two suspicions — losing weight is not about a special diet or a special technique. Weight and body image is an almost entirely social construct that depends on how we think others see us. The other thing it confirms for me is that people hire social media to get jobs done that are at first blush antithetical to our perception of social media as a mere broadcast channel for our thoughts and the media we consume.
Social media, as Whitney Johnson eludes to in her examination of how we hire social media, is only a tool because of “how” we use it. It is nothing on its own. You can find that article at our Jobs-to-be-Done Quora board.
One of the great joys in sifting through the social networks in search of meaningful discussion partners is the arrival at a great resource for a specific subject area. I found that in Cody Boardman, a sales specialist I discovered in a conversation group in Facebook. Putting out compelling content often brings compelling people into the fray, and this was the case with Cody, whom you can follow on Google+. Put him in your circles.
Cody and I exchanged a few messages, but this particular message stood out for me, before I have even had a chance to talk to him in great detail. I wanted to know how he viewed sales, because the Jobs to be Done theory suggests that sales is not a solution pushing system. It’s about finding opportunities within problems that consumers / customers experience.
Perfect for a sales person, and something that seems an inherent part of the sales function.
Cody proved me right. He is able to solve problems, and find opportunities. He’s not there just to complete an equation of Boss needs this + Well, i got this, do you want it = We’ll buy it. He tells me in this message that sales is really about finding out the Why behind a purchasing decision, and filling in the blanks with meaningful opportunities linked to the product being sold — AS THEY RELATE to the business that will be using it.
I’m a sales person by trade so let me break my response to your post down in two ways (again):
Professionally, I sell various analytic solutions to marketers now but have sold in other industries the last eleven years. In present context at Webtrends I help solve problem in SEM, site/social/mobile analytics, custom dashboards for executives etc… it’s in this space that I find people working on initiatives (all the above) with little more for a business case than their ‘gut’ and a handful of soft business requirements driving them. This goes for the ma/pa boutique all the way up to the global brands. It’s magical when someone can effectively answer the question ‘why’ as in why they are engaging in a project/initiative etc…
Personally, I listen to people from all walks and talks of life. Bodybuilders, Powerlifters, husbands and wives, men and women, Christians, Mormons, Buddhists etc… the ‘channels’ are most often in-person and via Facebook but I’ve spent a lot of time conversing in forums and a couple of blogs too. My experience, regardless of the context is that when a specific objective is set, one that is based off fact and not opinion initially, is most likely to achieve the goal/resolution etc… When it’s an organic discussion, that’s good for personal conversation but horrible for anything originating from a person with an agenda/point, one that was not well stated enough that people could ‘get it’.
If I had to establish a specialty, it’s in getting people who know they want to get from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ but don’t know in many cases ‘why’ beyond “My boss said this is where we need to go” even when their boss is also (and secretly) unsure why too. I’ve worked in various capacities (some as an interviewer others as a problem solver) with the General Counsel, Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Compliance Officer’s, VPs of Audit etc… of some of the worlds biggest companies (Kraft, Cargill, Alcatel-Lucent, Yahoo, Apple, Kodak etc…).
A sales person is a person looking for specialty in what he does, but also he is someone looking for the meaningful touch points that consumers experience in their emotional experience in the world.
Cody is an excellent conversationalist, and if you have the chance to engage with him on these social networks, including the comments on this blog, you will find that he’s very good at teasing out ideas by offering feedback, stories and suggestions.
The clumsy salesperson is someone who has bothered all of us, I would bet. He’s bothered me before, when the customer service rep helping me with a billing problem with Time Warner Cable in New York unveiled himself as a stealth salesperson who tried to sell me on a data package, a cable tv package (even though I don’t own a TV), and, I don’t know, maybe even dentistry services. I stopped listening and ended the call.
The clumsy salesperson really pissed off this Forbes writer, who uses his friend’s interaction with a young sales pup trying to sell a TV services package into one of the reasons he thinks Best Buy is going out of business.
What happens when one bad experience, and a bunch of data that are really not about the shopping experience lead a blogger to forecast the downfall of a retail electronics giant?
What you get is a revelation that is certainly very true — the pivot from offline only selling to online selling, and all the engineered components of making that work well, is jarring and hard to manage.
But, are we seeing Best Buy go bankrupt? Or are we seeing not just a switch in Best Buy, but a pivot of the entire market?
It seems that most of the mainstream press is befuddled about him and exactly what business Yahoo! is trying to be. Is it a media company? Is it a bulletin boards company? Advertising? Mobile? Marketing? No, not search.
It is a company that has a rapidly scalable identity and a huge community of users that it can rapid test ideas on, as it builds off what it used to be and turns into the next big thing.
This makes Yahoo! just like a start-up, and Thompson just like a budding entrepreneur, except he has skillz. Let me boldly proclaim that Thompson’s role as CEO at Yahoo! will move the company in the direction of social, community-centric e-commerce solutions. Watch out, Jack Ma, Yahoo! is coming for you!
Yahoo! is going to become the first huge scale media content company that is actually an e-commerce company. Think of it as a giant tupperware party where content and e-commerce are mashed together to form a new type of selling content, or a live advertising model where product, seller, consumer, and community are all mashed up into one.
Wal-Mart, but with a huge media engine.
We talk a bit at the Re-Wired Group about how the airlines could pander to our sensibilities better. We talk about it, not because we think we are more amazing than you or anyone else. We talk about it because it seems that airlines try to sell us on features.
But Delta Airlines has done something a little bit different. They have a new video advertising their Delta Airlines app, and it panders not to our wish that we could always sit in first class. It answers a question we have had before: what happens when our bag leaves our possession and travels on our flight to the next destination?
Now we know.
I met up with Mercury Media CEO Ranee Chung and her partner Julien Hauss on Thursday to talk about the launch of their new app, OpenBar. It’s Hong Kong’s first mobile web app for bars.
You can watch the full interview here, first, or read through this blog post and watch the full interview at the end.
Here is a video of their app, courtesy of www.openbar.hk:
To cut through the clutter of a super dense thicket of bars and restaurants, OpenBar allows bar owners to broadcast happy hour specials and details about the current social environment to app users, hoping to draw them into the crowd.
Like Tokyo, Hong Kong is filled with thousands of hidden bars, restaurants and supper clubs that don’t get a lot of surface attention from flyers or magazine ads. They subsist through word-of-mouth and high levels of late night traffic, often because they are super close to other equally hidden bars.
OpenBar offers a combo of photo-sharing, advertising and couponing to lure the drunk and searching hordes to smaller and less obvious bars. It socializes the experience and makes it easy for people to attract their friends and find others in the spaces.
Chung and Hauss have devised the app to help bar owners attract an instantaneous crowd, and by the looks of it, they might be on to something. Here’s a quick video interview I did with them about the origin of the app.
We also talk about what makes Hong Kong unique in the web apps and social mobile web space.
Is there any value to joining LinkedIn? Charlie Spencer asks this in his comments at Inc. magazine, where Marla Tabaka has written a thoughtful post about how to maximize your use of LinkedIn to, in some cases find a job, but in most cases network with others.
Often asked as a question, the query about whether there is any value in a social platform is actually a statement of frustration from people who don’t seem to understand that a social platform like LinkedIn is not a vending machine.
Neither is a business in which employees put in 9 hours of work each day in return for a salary, health benefits, and — this is ironic — access to a vending machine.
When my father would take us to work on the weekends, he definitely had work to do. Yes, there was a vending machine quality to the mission. He had to sort “x” amount of work for ”
“x” amount of hours to get a “y” result, usually routing trucks to do “hot shot” deliveries of Pepsi to stores that had a sale on Pepsi and lost product faster than they could replenish on a regular route cycle. As a kid, I didn’t pay much attention to that aspect of his work, but I did pay attention to what went on while we were there.
Lots of socializing. My father was a manager. He had to manage other sales personnel, who were also there on the weekend. What I noticed at an early age is that the sales staff at the Pepsi plant were doing more than just fulfilling “x” amounts of work to get a “y” outcome. They were showing up for my dad. They knew he was in a position of influence and could help them with their careers.
These were sales people. They worked by the force of their rhetoric, their logic, and their ability to hustle and solve problems. It was clear that by putting time in for my father, they were also representing themselves as people who could be trusted, who supported his efforts and had enough ambition to see the job through.
Today, when many of us work remotely, and, if you are like me, you work for clients you see face-to-face intermittently, you need to show up for them. That’s why you would go to a platform like LinkedIn, for example.
You can communicate there. You can recommend clients to others there. You can get your work done, and you can get other people’s work done. That was the subject of my radio show talk last night with Soluto’s Tomer Dvir. We are in this game to win, but we want to win with others. We want and need to help others in the dynamic, and chaotically changing structure of capitalism these days.
So when Charlie Spencer writes something like this, let’s pause:
If I’m not in marketing or looking for a job, is there any value in LinkedIn? I’ve joined for the second time, but I now recall why I canceled my first account. I don’t know how to get any value from it.
I’m an IT tech for a medium-sized business. I don’t interact with our external customers or vendors. While I am aware of the current economic issues, we’ve turned the corner and I expect to remain employed here until I retire in a decade or so.
I don’t participate in other social networks, so that may be hindering me. I don’t understand the Barbara’s use of the word ‘conversations’ or how to conduct one. (I have the same problem with my attempts to use Twitter.) Most of my contacts are co-workers. I don’t have a ‘real world’ network.
We are nothing without the network. Networks will be our most significant source for rises in income, new job offers, and the rise of what I will call the Freelance Globalist Population, which will work, not for a corporate entity, but in service to many entities, people and missions.
We need to start learning how to use the network, and to utilize the network to feed ourselves.
There is value to a platform like LinkedIn. Without platforms like this in the real world, the dry and mundane aspect of work kills us. It kills our chances for promotion, and it kills our spirits. Ironically, as I was writing this blog post, Charlie Spencer responded with a comment below his first one, noting that he needed to use platforms to improve his social skills and enhance his real world network.
I hope that works for him. We are certainly of the mind here at Re-Wired that we are nothing without our networks. After all, as we have written before, the new MBA is to manage your business and your team as if you are a social worker.
Nothing in a social web environment exists for the sake of its users alone. Social platforms are not vending machines. They are not vending machines, because you can not, in a digital age, work with the assumption that “x” + “y” = “z”, where “z” is quality of life, and “x” is an input like hours, and “y” is an input like “quality of work.”
We don’t live that way anymore. You cannot put a coin in a slot and get exactly what you want.
You now have to make what you want, and making what you want, creating your vision, starts with starting relationships, building relationships, and becoming partners with people — even complete strangers.
Food for thought: read our latest post on Airbnb and changing your life by changing your networks.
I have put up a review of the Samsung Focus using Windows 7. I’m taking a stab at examining why I use certain types of smartphones, and why a phone that is new to me actually seems to get something done for me that an iPhone cannot.
If you would like to leave feedback, please do so. Here is a link to the review