If you know anything about DARPA then driverless cars is not a surprise to you. Trying to get a car to do the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb at speed (like Audi is going to do) or negotiate a full on urban situation (like Google is going to do) is quite a step further. The Audi thing is more like a “because it’s there” kind of challenge, but the Google version is about doing good in the world and reducing the road toll (something we obsess over in Australia (in comparison to deaths per capita shown here or here). IDEO think we need a better set of controls to make driving a car easier for us to help that, but we haven’t done that well with remote controls so far.
So why are there problems like this in the world? Maybe we are phoning it in or just going through the motions? Maybe there is something repressing about general company culture? Maybe we are scared at the high price of being brave and doing the things we must, and how that will look? Or maybe we are being held back by an unconscious sense of familiarity? Maybe we need a better challenge – after all, it is certainly possible for to make the sun shine in the dark.
I hope I have the energy to strive for above average when it matters – even when it seems like it doesn’t.
PS. ”The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” – Benjamin Mays
Ants (or sometimes more accurately, the colonies they form) are truly amazing. Capable of incredible feats of engineering and teamwork (check out the tunnel structure in the 1st video). Much of this is due to their ability to follow orders and work for the good of their colony, often as a priority over their own safety. But sometimes ants get in badly wrong because of just this strength (the 2nd video below is an ant circle or vortex, which is what happens when all the ants accidentally end up following each other – to their own exhaustion and death usually).
Having just come through the 9th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the western world spent some time remembering these events, but others used the opportunity to raise their own beliefs and conspiracy theories that centre on those events.
Say whatever you like about the conspiracy theorists for Sept11 (or more generally), but they do represent an important feature that separates people from ants – some of us will question things even though there is a strong belief in a particular direction.
So……Think about the last time you were swept up in a massive initiative that was, even from very early on, an out of the park home run. It was probably a really simple idea that had built up great momentum – a juggernaut by the time it reached you…….Did you ask any questions (or chase down the answers to them) before you were caught up in the enthusiasm for the initiative?
Given my focus on performance and key performance indicators, I find it very difficult not to ask myself a few questions about anything I see. – What is the ultimate goal here? How will we know that this initiative has been successful? What targets have been set for this initiative to achieve? How does this initiative align to other key objectives?
– People with different backgrounds/ perspectives will ask different questions based on their experience and the relevance of the initiative.
Asking those sorts of questions can be tough (on both the asker and askee) but the answers and the discussions they stimulate can make an initial good idea into a much stronger collaborative idea.
PS: ”In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock” – Thomas Jefferson
Depending on how jaded/ cynical/ sci-fi-orientated/ hopeful you are, you might answer:
– No. Complete fantasy.
– I wish. Complete fantasy!!
– Yes. But they will be completely messed up (ie. Watchmen, Heroes).
– Sure. Billionaire anonymous philanthropy is so in.
Of course you could have an answer that says we can all be heroes, if only we can be that person with the courage to do the right thing when the time comes – an idea that Philip Zimbardo explores in one of my favourite TED talks (Youtube link here).
Or you could become one of these guys.
At first you might laugh. Then you might think fake/ setup. Then you might even take a look at their Youtube channel and the related news articles that appear on them. Then you might scoff at the idea of someone anonymously doing good as a con.
And then you might think…does it really matter if it means one person takes a look at themselves and tries to make the world a better place for those around them.
PS. “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
“At midnight of the 12th of August” starts a classic line delivered by Richard Burton in Jeff Lyne’s musical version of War of the Worlds.
Lisa Simpson’s marriage in the future also happens in August – the 1st of August 2010 to be exact.
By now most anyone reading this will have seen the two stories circulating around of people quitting their jobs. One is a very clever I quit message delivered via 33 photos of whiteboards (which it turns out is a fake), and the other is an absolute brain explosion by a Jet Blue flight attendant who was simply pushed too far by an over demanding customer.
What’s the point? – Deciding when you will act (proactively) is often a way to create far better outcome that taking a wait-and-see approach or being reactive to what is going on around you. And so the saying goes… There are 3 kinds of people. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who ask “what happened?”.
All you have to do is decide which group you want to be in and then act accordingly. And so I now have a blog 🙂
PS. “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.” –Napoleon Hill
I think/hope my blog will be best defined by something from a Simpsons Halloween episode (Tree House of Horrors VII, 1996) where Kang and Kudos have taken over the bodies of Bob Dole and Bill Clinton and are vying to become President of the USA.
I want to move forward, not backward; upward, not downward; and always twirling, twirling toward the future freedom.”
– Kang (as Bill Clinton).
Hopefully the following posts are full of inspiration, ideas, and provoking points.
Isn’t this going to be fun!
PS. “It’s only when you have the courage to step off the ledge that you’ll realize you’ve had wings all along”. (From Gail Goodwin’s Blog)
Thanx to Dead Homer Society for the correction