Who You Do It With

Study broadly and without fear. Learn a language if you can, because that will make your life more interesting. Read a little bit each day. But most importantly, try to surround yourself with people you like and make cool stuff with them. In the end, what you do isn’t going to be nearly as interesting or important as who you do it with. — John Green

I strongly agree with this and the rest of the video.

Of course, it meshes well with the intent of a liberal arts degree by having students study broadly and learn another language. But it does not necessarily have to be a degree unless that is required to get the job one wants. There are plenty of opportunities to learn.

I have been fortunate to always have had jobs with coworkers I like, even supporting me when I decided to leave. We made cool stuff because we needed to fill something in us. Another rationale was become people needed the cool stuff.

Deletions

I may have blogger’s block.

Over the past three weeks I have deleted thirteen posts. I really want to blog about our new vendor, Desire2Learn. At the same time I do not want to be perceived as hurting the growing relationship we have with this company. None of the posts are about them. I just sense a negative tone in them that is… well… inappropriate. I don’t think you want to read it anymore than I want to publish it.

TED: How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries

Adam Savage holds the position of my favorite story teller. Part of it might be that he speeds his rate of talking up to the edge of where I think he is about to stumble, but he does not. It lends to sensing his excitement. He talks about Feynman and Eratosthenes here.

If the above video does not work, then try How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries

Competitive Edge

Found a Backupify blog on controlling employee access to social media odd. Preventing employees from discussing work on social media may help, but really you need to operate like the Manhattan Project. Sequester them in a town you build in the middle of nowhere, go through all of their correspondence paper or electronic, and control who they can physically see. People are going to talk about what they do.

Really, the issue is a business whose survival relies totally on secrets is one blabbermouth away from total destruction. The secrets are the problem not the employees. When owners and managers get to the point they cannot trust employees, the employees need to leave and take all their knowledge with them.

Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson, who has the great TED talk on how education kills creativity, Schools Kill Creativity, has a new one. A key concept is divergent thinking, an essential capacity of creativity, is the ability to see multiple answers or approaches. Education appears to kill off divergent thinking. Creativity is important to problem solving.

I had not considered the big risk for public education is the degree is not a guarantee of a good job. Certainly, people warned me my degree was useless for getting a job in the bachelor’s level, so I’d planned on getting a Master’s or even Ph.D. However, even those were no guarantee. This probably ties in with Anya Kamenetz’s idea maybe the better approach is to provide the content openly and turn education into services to help students master the content. I would agree education has aligned itself into an industrial production of graduates with increasing standardization.

How the current model is bad for kids and various things would solve it has been the discussion a parent and educator friends of the parent have discussed since I was at least in high school and all through college. Montessori and charter schools were all predicted to break public education yet it still stands. DIY Y is the latest. Why do they still stand? Because while experts know public education is not sustainable and the general public would agree, they rely heavily on politicians to make their decisions. It is easier to campaign about fixing education than it is to correct any of the systemic issues. My prediction is until public higher education tuition rises so high about 50% of potential college students cannot afford to attend even with available scholarships, things will not change much.

Ken’s stance on ADHD is eerily similar to the ideas presented in The Edison Gene.