You may know lots, something or nothing about the SOPA and PIPA bills working their way through the US legislative process at the moment. You might know something about the range of protests that are happening in various places.
It would be easy to blame on the people who wrote this bad law. It would be even easier to blame the politicians who have allowed this to become a remote possibility.
Yes. I am completely against it, along with many others including Clay Shirky and TED – great talk to help anyone understand why this is such a big deal.
It might be more correct thought, even if a bit harder, to blame ourselves for not expecting and demanding more from our elected officials. Seth Godin is sure putting that idea out there. My favourite one from his list is “Blame the system, the other side and your predecessors for the fact that you are not taking brave, independent action”.
Maybe we should really blame ourselves for not putting ourselves and any views we have out there and then standing by it.
PS. “High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton
Change is the only constant. Change is opportunity, crisis, strength and weakness all rolled into one. If you are a “Who moved my cheese” fan (I’m more of a Johnny Bunko fan) then you know that it is you who decides how you will feel about a change and how you respond to the change can make a big difference.
And it is certainly easier to say all that when you aren’t going through a change…
My blog has been a bit quiet of late because we have been going through a change at the office, and obviously these things don’t just appear instantaneously.
I find it quite unnerving that when these sorts of changes are in the air, we only talk about them in very hushed tones, only with those who we trust, and only seriously if we have been given an official heads up. But is secrecy really the way to go?
Argument 1: It may change again.
– Just imagine if we didn’t tell people about things because they might change again.
Argument 2: The secret will get out.
– Chances are it probably already is out. Plus not sharing doesn’t exactly send a vote of confidence to those around you.
Argument 3: People’s lives are involved.
– There is a grain of truth here about some people being more impacted than others, but once those people are spoken to and involved in the discussion, is there really a problem with this? Would they be even more likely to want to hear and talk about the opportunities the change is creating in other areas of the business?
At the heart of all this though is something about the way we (don’t) share our ideas before they are completed. Seth Godin refers to it as shipping. Getting the product/service/thingy/ idea out there as soon as you can, so that you can get some real feedback on it, make it better based on some of that feedback and the good ideas other people have, involving the key customers so it works best for them – they are the ones who we need to “buy” it after all.
There are lots of reasons why people don’t want to share their idea before it is complete (fear of negative feedback being a big one)…but maybe the possibilities of sharing can be so much bigger & better.
And if it relates to a really big idea, doesn’t that make the possibilities of sharing even better…
“The key to change…is to let go of fear” – Rosanne Cash
I was out buying shoes this weekend (I wish it could have been these performance enhancing shoes – I need something like them to avoid this picture happening over and over) and came across some behaviour that was quite clearly broken (according to Seth Godin anyway).
Broken 1: Trying on shoes usually means inserting the laces into the holes. This isn’t that hard UNLESS there is an anti-theft device taking up the space where the laces are meant to go. I joked to the shop assistant that we needed someone to invent a pair of shoes to better deal with these security devices (laughter followed). Interestingly though, not an offer to remove the device.
– Good Response: Assistant automatically removes security device.
– Better Response: Assistant speaks to manager about placement of security devices or placement of shores in store to reduce risk of theft.
Broken 2: Having now purchased a pair of shows, I returned to the first store I visited (where I had asked the shop assistant to hold a pair of shoes for me). I found the same assistant and told him I had found something else. He nodded and went about his day.
– Good Response: Assistant thanks customer for returning and gives a cheery “hope we see you next time”
– Better Response: Assistant asks customer a couple of simple questions about their purchase (what, where, why) to better understand the competitive position of store (reporting this to the store manager), and then thanks customer for their time.
While it would be easy to blame the assistant in both cases, it would be far more productive to think about how the store management could have encouraged their shop assistants to either follow a better response guideline or encourage them to think more freely for themselves. For me, this is something like a company statement about their people needing to be more innovative – even though its people have nifty blogs (no, not like mine, imaginative creative stuff ), great things they share in social media, and maybe even do inspiring volunteer work for a non-profit. The problem is usually too many boundaries. Something I would suggest Netflix don’t have a problem with.
I can only aspire to be like that for people I work with.
“There is no greater challenge than to have someone relying upon you; no greater satisfaction than to vindicate his expectation” – Kingman Brewster
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
Seth Godin is very big on the importance of shipping. It means overcoming your fear and getting something out – suggesting an idea that might be stupid, asking a question everyone else already knows the answer to, sending an email that might sound silly (like this one). ie. Just generally putting something out there.
I have now seen the example I am going to use as a reminder to myself on the importance of shipping – and it is Minecraft.
Minecraft is a computer game (video trailer) designed and built by Markus “Notch” Peterson. The game is not finished and is not even at the pre-release “Beta” stage yet. But that hasn’t stopped it becoming a hit (with comparisons to World of Warcraft) – so much so that the website couldn’t handle all the traffic and Notch has had to shut down everything fancy on his website and let anyone play it for free for a time.
Some office cultures include secrecy and waiting for a perfect launch as critical because they are concerned about “white-anting” (basically a termite analogy) of their idea by other staff.
Maybe though, if you are aiming for something great, you should look to share your idea and encourage others to join you by asking their questions and sharing their ideas, in the hope that the idea becomes so much stronger.
PS. ”Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
I would love to have a robot working for me, even an old one….
(I have borrowed the Star Wars Gonk Bot image from JeffSotoArt – he has a variety of images for sale there – beautiful work)
I am a big fan of Seth Godin and the ideas expressed in Linchpin around emotional labour. I have also seen a similar idea expressed by another favourite blog of mine Christopher S Penn’s Awaken your Superhero around the idea of not having robots working for you.
While I do like the sentiment they express, I am very aware that my own work in building an automated reporting solution within Excel is pushing relentlessly to doing substantial amounts of work robotic-ally.
I think the point I would want to make though is: We don’t have to choose between robots and Linchpins. Both have their place and both together can be very effective indeed!
PS. “You are remembered for the rules you break.” Douglas MacArthur
I would normally have written a post on some topic this week but have seen numerous things that have just got me looking at the world going…what is wrong with all of us?
Much like a brainstorming process where you need to write the idea down to get it out so you can move to the next one, I am going to try to cleanse my mind of these things by writing them down here. And then I will move on.
Some of these I have problems with for completely different reasons, and not just the main headline or point of the articles. I have shown the links so you will know exactly what you are getting if you click on them (undoubtedly, some will cause offense).
So here goes, APPARENTLY…
– It’s a feel good story if a smoking toddler quits – http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STIStory_574070.html
– The homeless are more responsible for their plight than we think – http://www.theawl.com/2010/08/why-is-american-selfishness-so-widespread-now
– People can be not given a job, or interviewed, because they don’t have a positive online presence – http://daveibsen.typepad.com/5_blogs_before_lunch/2010/08/rejected-outright-for-the-job-because-of-their-online-image-.html
– The American left is in serious trouble because they aren’t prepared to play as dirty as the right – http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/have-you-no-decency-083110
– US Government protection from revealing sources should only extend to traditional media – http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/commentary.aspx?id=23303
– There is a serious problem with letting people play a game from either side of a conflict when the game can be sold near an emotive location – http://www.theawl.com/2010/09/videogame-mocks-everything-america-stands-for
– You can exhibit (as art) a one night stand – http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/a-single-mans-onenight-stand-in-fleeting-exhibition-20100831-14f9j.html
– We don’t have to think through hoax ads – http://www.nerdcore.de/wp/2010/09/02/legendary-time-traveller-speaks/
– You ought to be the gatekeeper of your own work, rather than be forced to deal with a gatekeeper that has already earned their audience (I normally love Seth Godin’s stuff) – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/08/just-launched-linchpin-on-the-vook-on-the-ipad.html
– We should be careful about those positive archetypes – http://www.influxinsights.com/blog/article/2576/why-do-we-trust-farmers-.html
– You can get away with it, if no one wants to come after you – http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/curtin-lecturer-implicated-in-sexformarks-scandal-with-students-20100902-14p4g.html
– We can trust announcements – http://www.theawl.com/2010/08/the-american-experiment-on-the-last-day-of-the-war
– We only do things because someone else has an agenda – http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2010/08/billionaire-koch-brothers.html
I’m sure that I will feel better soon….
Now. Moving On.
PS. “Build a bridge. Get over it.”