In need of a mindmapping tool? Bluemind is the ideal solution, its lightweight, easy to use, and gets the job done. I’ve been using it for the past few weeks and love it (sorry for all the Mac users out there, but this is PC only).
At the recent TEDxMidwest, Jason Fried from 37 Signals talks about the work environment and how its not really the ideal place to get things done… check it out below.
So where and when are you most productive?
If you’re not familiar with 37 Signals, they are a company that has created a suite of web apps focused around collaboration and increasing productivity, the most famous being Basecamp. The team at 37 Signals more or less work remotely throughout the year, just one of many unconventional practices implemented at the company.
If you want to know more about how they think a company should be run, check out their recent book Rework, from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Its a great read and really introduces some interesting perspective on the traditional business practices.
In the age of connectivity, with the Internet, smart phones, and live streaming, everyone has the ability to be connected 24/7. This means we are creating a culture that values immediacy over anything else. First it was Google, then Wikipedia and YouTube, now Facebook and Twitter – we are getting more and more engaged with the internet through these addictive platforms and more and more dependent on them for both our work and play.
This idea of “constant connectivity” is creating too much information and choice that can be both overwhelming and distracting. This results in a concern for credibility:
“More information has also meant more mis-information, more superficial snapshots, more shards of stray information taken out of context. And it has also meant more willful dis-information – not only differences of opinion, but distortions of fact. A wide-open internet allows divisive information to travel as far and as fast as reliable information. There are virtually no barriers to entry and anyone, responsible or irresponsible, can play the game.” The Aga Khan speaking at the 2010 LaFontaine Baldwin Symposium.
The threat of mis-information, along with the new found value of immediacy, can be a very dangerous combination as we may not take the time to ensure what we are reading is a trusted source of information. Truly we take the legitimacy and truth of information almost for granted in the digital age.
At the same time, the ability to access information immediately adds great value, as does being able to connect with anyone in the world or spread ideas rapidly. Furthermore, even if the information is not legitimate, being exposed to different ideas and opinions can raise new perspectives and lead to solutions otherwise never explored.
In the end, it is important that we are aware of ourselves and take the credibility of information into account as we participate in this shift towards constant connectivity and the digital age, to ensure we do not overlook what we truly value.
A great video talking about the “Remix” and asking the question, is Everything a Remix? Check it out below.
So is Everything a Remix? Its an interesting idea, as we see many people borrowing ideas and concepts from one another and some artists even coming out and saying that the best artists steal. Instead of calling it stealing though, I feel its essentially intersecting, where we take existing concepts from different places and combine them into something “new”. What do you think?
Want to understand how the world lives online? Check out Digital World’s visualization of online data in the major countries worldwide. Includes stats on What Do We Do Online, How Long We Stay Online, Who Is Most Social, and more.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on how the government should be spending their money, so here’s your chance to show them how its done. A great interactive program from New York Times allows you to make the tough decisions on budget issues.
Do you really know what the internet is? What a browser does? A recent survey revealed that many don’t, so through a collaborative effort, Google brings you an engaging e-book built in HTML5 to inform everyone on what the web is all about.
This is really the question that many entrepreneurs have and there isn’t really a right answer. In this Harvard Business Review article we get a unique perspective from someone who dived right into the entrepreneurial world without an MBA.
The idea that Albert Einstein is talking about here is the concept of an open environment equipped with the needed resources that allows children to really discover and solve problems themselves, a process in which true learning occurs. A student needs to to come to that realization, that Aha! moment on their own, when things become so clear and they understand the principles of the situation and problem; this is the purest form of learning.
This concept of an open environment for education is something that schools will hopefully take to heart, as I feel it is this type of environment where students actually learn how to learn, rather than being taught.
Influencers is a video about how certain people are able to influence trends, spark creativity, and make ideas contagious. Check out the video below by R + I Creative.
How can we cultivate more influential people in the world? There are a number of different factors that come into consideration, but one is certainly education. The school system needs to focus more on nurturing the creativity of the next generation, rather than killing it. What other ways can we develop a generation of influencers?
The average time a person spends in the education system is approximately 17 years during which they spend about 21,420 hours or 1,285,200 minutes physically in school. Is it worth it? From Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, we learn that it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, so based on that tidbit, we should all hopefully be experts in two separate areas. I was personally an expert at the extended bathroom break and concealed texting during class.
Now maybe the point of our earlier years of school isn’t to develop expertise, but rather just develop a solid, diverse foundation to prepare ourselves for college. This so-called foundation is focused around math, science, english, and other “core” subjects, but are these subjects appropriate for everyone?? If school’s primary purpose is to prepare us for our career, life, and future then is this concrete curriculum really fulfilling these needs? I feel that each individual has a certain passion, an area that they are best suited to and that school’s simplest purpose should be in discovering what this passion is.
How many of you really had no idea what you wanted to do when you went to college? How many of you changed your degrees at least once? How many of you realized that you didn’t want to pursue your degree after college?
I think the biggest problem with our education system is that it doesn’t allow students to fully explore and discover themselves. I myself first thought I wanted to be a doctor, then I was thinking biomedical engineering, and I finally studied chemical engineering, which I have no intention of utilizing in the future. Think how much I would have benefited if I knew that I was more interested in design, business, and education earlier in my life. Think of how much you could benefit from knowing your passions earlier in life.
Sure there were great experiences along the way and I have no regrets on the path I took, but it shouldn’t be this hard to discover what you want to do in life. There are exceptions of people who realized what they love earlier in life, but I think this is more a result of external influence that led them to such discoveries. These external influences include extracurricular activities, parents involvement, friends influence, or just unique opportunities at the right place and right time.
Either way, its more likely this exploration and discovery is realized outside of school, with the exceptions of sports, some music (band/orchestra), and the core subjects. In this regard, perhaps we know we’re good at math, but what does that mean? Where is the real world application? What can math be applied to? These are the kinds of things that we don’t really talk about in school and thereby the real value of even this passion is not fully realized.
I feel that schools need to focus on implementing this form of exploration in diverse activities that can lead students to their true passion. The current external activities are available but to a very limited extent due to time and accessibility constraints. Better integration of such diverse extracurriculars in school would allow students to discover, explore, and experiment earlier in their lives to allow them to truly know what they want to do in life and how they can make that a reality.
An intriguing infographic on illiteracy worldwide as well as in the U.S. There are several very surprising bits of information found here:
42 million American adults can’t read at all
The illiteracy rate is increasing in the U.S.
U.S. ranks 25th out of 30 industrialized nations when it comes to Math
Now looking at the world statistics, its great to see them trending to lower and lower rates of illiteracy worldwide, but the numbers in the U.S. are quite startling. How can we work to minimize illiteracy in the world when its not even a solved problem in our own country?
An interesting video from GOOD Magazine that has an in depth look at the hidden costs of war. For this assessment, they look at the Iraq War where the initial estimated cost would be 60 billion dollars, the actual cost is ridiculous… I’m pretty sure there’s a better use for this money…