2019年11月7日 星期四

Seth's Blog : How much is that piece of paper in the window?

How much is that piece of paper in the window?

Four years at MIT cost about $250,000 all in. Or, you could engage in more than 2,000 of their courses on their site, for free.
What’s the difference?
When you do education, you pay tuition, plus you pay with a focus on compliance. Traditional education requires that students trade in freedom of choice, coerced by tests and exams. And what do you get? You get an ‘A’ and you get a certificate.
The power of that certificate is extraordinary. Students (and their families) will go a lifetime in debt to get that paper. They’ll make choices about time and focus and geography for that paper, ignoring what’s ostensibly possible in exchange for the certainty of acquiring it.
Learning, on the other hand, is self-directed. Learning isn’t about changing our grade, it’s about changing the way we see the world. Learning is voluntary. Learning is always available, and it compounds, because once we’ve acquired it, we can use it again and again.
Most adults in the US read no more than a book a year. That’s because books aren’t assigned after you’ve got your paperwork done.
We’re surrounded by chances to learn, and yet, unless it’s sugarcoated or sold in the guise of earning a scarce credential, most of us would rather click on another link and swipe on another video instead.
The exception: People who have chosen to be high performers. Doctors, athletes, programmers and leaders who choose to make a ruckus understand that continuous learning is at the heart of what they’ll need to do.
“Will this be on the test?” is a question we learn from a young age. If you need to ask that before you encounter useful ideas, you’ve been trapped. It’s never been easier to level up, but the paper isn’t as important as we’ve been led to believe.

Seth's Blog : 'Not good enough' is an easy place to hide

‘Not good enough’ is an easy place to hide

Sniffing at the others who care is a form of virtue signalling. It’s also an ineffective way to create real change.
“My Prius Hybrid gets 140 miles per gallon.”
“My Tesla is solar powered.”
“Really, well I take an electric scooter.”
“We carpool by sharing a horse.”
“A horse? You should walk!”
This misses the real problem: The 1998 Chevy Suburban, with just one person on board, doing a forty-mile commute at 12 miles per gallon.
The same goes for ranking elected officials on who is the most perfect on the issue we care about.
The people who are paying attention are the ones who are trying. And shaming people who are trying because they’re not perfect is a terrific way to discourage them from trying. On the other hand, the core of every system is filled with the status quo, a status quo that isn’t even paying attention.
Focusing the group’s energy on shutting down stripped-mine coal is going to make far more impact than scolding the few who are trying.

Seth's Blog : The simple dynamics of failing retail

The simple dynamics of failing retail

The local retailer says, “I’m sitting here all day, with a limited selection and a paid staff, waiting for you to come and buy something I have in inventory. I’m paying rent, just waiting for you to come in, try things on and pay for them.”
The online retailer says, “I can use the same size staff to serve a town of a million, not a few thousand. I have a much bigger inventory, of course, but my rent and my staffing costs are tiny. And so what I sell you costs a lot less.”
The local retailer depended on two groups of people: Folks who needed or wanted the hands-on service, the ability to try things on and the chance to chat. And, people who didn’t demand those things but had no choice because there were no other options.
When online showed up, the second group defected. And with just the first group remaining, most local retailers are doomed.
The answer isn’t to figure out how to be as cheap as Amazon… you can’t. The answer is to figure out how to find the people (and the products and services they demand) so you can eagerly and comfortably charge a fair price.

Seth's Blog : What are the margins for?

What are the margins for?

A publisher recently sent me a 1,000 page book. The paper was perfect in its balance between opacity and thinness, but the margins were too small.
The production designer made a choice–push the text all the way to the edges, allowing the book to shave 20 or 30 pages in length. Sensible.
Except now, every single page seems cramped. The book is tense and can’t relax, and feels faintly amateurish. Why would a missing half-inch strip of white paper matter?
All of our media has margins. Even as computer and phone companies have made bezels ever smaller, we still want there to be a margin, a space between the thing we’re engaging with and the rest of the world. Movies have coming attractions and credits. Record albums have a few seconds between songs. Paintings have a frame, or a wall separating them from the next…
The edges do more than delineate. They give the person encountering the work confidence that a professional made it, someone who has an eye for what seems right and can respect the edges. It takes discipline to only go near the margin when you’re doing it on purpose, to make a point, not all the time.
Jackson Pollock not only abandoned the frame, he violated our understanding of the margin as well. But because he did it with intent, not out of commercial necessity or ignorance, his point was made.
The self-discipline to see the margin and use it as a tool is a gift we offer the consumer of culture.

Seth's Blog : 2 new articles

What are the margins for?

A publisher recently sent me a 1,000 page book. The paper was perfect in its balance between opacity and thinness, but the margins were too small.
The production designer made a choice–push the text all the way to the edges, allowing the book to shave 20 or 30 pages in length. Sensible.
Except now, every single page seems cramped. The book is tense and can’t relax, and feels faintly amateurish. Why would a missing half-inch strip of white paper matter?
All of our media has margins. Even as computer and phone companies have made bezels ever smaller, we still want there to be a margin, a space between the thing we’re engaging with and the rest of the world. Movies have coming attractions and credits. Record albums have a few seconds between songs. Paintings have a frame, or a wall separating them from the next…
The edges do more than delineate. They give the person encountering the work confidence that a professional made it, someone who has an eye for what seems right and can respect the edges. It takes discipline to only go near the margin when you’re doing it on purpose, to make a point, not all the time.
Jackson Pollock not only abandoned the frame, he violated our understanding of the margin as well. But because he did it with intent, not out of commercial necessity or ignorance, his point was made.
The self-discipline to see the margin and use it as a tool is a gift we offer the consumer of culture.

Seth's Blog : 741741 - To be seen

741741 — To be seen

A few years ago, Nancy Lublin discovered something obvious.
Nancy was the founder of Dosomething.org, the largest teenage charity in the world.
In order to keep up with its members, Dosomething shifted their communications from email to texting (yes, that’s obvious, but that’s not what she discovered).
Monitoring the effectiveness of the texts, she realized that even though the millions of texts they were sending were clearly announcements, not personal notes, kids were texting back.
Texting is such a personal medium that it’s easy to see how the natural thing to do with an incoming text sent with permission is to write back.
Within days, Nancy was seeing that many of the return texts were from kids in trouble. Kids who were being abused, or suffering with mental issues. People who needed to be seen.
And so, Crisis Text Line was born. Thousands of trained volunteers in the US (741741), Canada (686868) and the UK (85258) fielding millions of text messages from people who need to be seen and heard. Not just teens.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that they’ve saved thousands of lives.
CTL is running a fundraiser, but that’s not why I’m posting this today. I’m posting it because someone you know might need the number.
Humans need to be seen and heard. And when we’re in crisis, the privacy and speed of a text is magical.
741741. Use it wisely. Spread the word.