If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year.
If you do well on the other test, you'll certainly get to go to a famous college.
After you repeat these steps obediently for more than ten years, there will be a placement office, where there will certainly be a job ready for you, with fixed hours and a career path.
People telling you what to do, and when you respond by reciting the notes you took, people rewarding you.
We've trained people to be certain for years, and then launch them into a culture and an economy where relying on certainty does us almost no good at all.
Broken-field running, free range kids, the passionate desire to pick yourself—that seems like a more robust and resilient way to prepare, doesn't it? Who's teaching you what to do when the certain thing doesn't happen?
When two things offer simply the same appropriate level of function, we'll choose the cheap one.
But if one offers more connection than the other, it is worth more. This hotel over that one. Where is the tribe, do people like me do things like this, who's there, will they miss me, do I trust them, have I been here before…
If two items offer connection, but one offers the approval and sexiness that style brings, some of us will pay extra for that. After all, style promises ever more connection.
And at the top of the hierarchy is our quest for scarcity, desire and the hotness of now.
In a market like smartphones, it's pretty clear that it's really difficult to offer more function than the other guy. And the quality of connection, the very attribute that fuels the smartphone, was surrendered to the app makers a long time ago. Which leaves the sexiness of a drop-dead case and the urgency of the latest model.
What do you and your team offer? Where are you in the hierarchy?
Most freelancers have been so beaten down in the quest to make a go of it, they stop at function and take what they can get. Some businesses (small and large) find the patience and guts to offer connection or even style. And every once in awhile, an idea and an organization come along that promise to share the elusive hot that sits atop the pyramid.
So, buy a Harley, not because it can move you from here to there cheaper, but because it comes with a tribe. And buy that Nars lipstick because of the way it makes you feel. And get on line for that new gadget, because, hey, there's a line.
And then, someone finds the audacity to redefine 'function' and the whole thing begins again.
Some people collect old cars or trade baseball cards. I'm more interested in holding something I have a real connection with, something with ideas that have changed me.
I've written in the past about luxury goods and the value of physical artifacts in a digital world.
A book is a special object, a time-tested conveyor of not just information, but emotion and connection. Some of my best friends are books.
This summer, I put together a worldwide team to create a book that might be worth owning, saving and sharing. The goal was to create a substantial (okay, huge) and beautiful book that would be scarce, valuable and worth it.
We sent the files to the printer last week, and I couldn't be more excited about what we've created. You can see some sample pages and read about the history of the project here. It's absolutely the most beautiful thing I've ever been privileged to put my name on. It weighs more than 15 hardcover books and is 800 pages long.
All the words are already online for free (it's a collection of my online writing over the last four years). What you can't get online, though, is the feeling of owning it and the joy of gifting it.
A few thousand people pre-ordered their reserved copy last week, and now we're opening a window for pre-ship orders. As I write this there are fewer than 2,400 copies available for sale between now and September 9th. There will be one more window at a higher price for any remaining copies in November when the books begin to ship.
There's only one printing, and when the book is gone, that's all there is.
The book doesn't actually cost $400 or even half that, but the shipping fees to some countries are ridiculous. We worked hard to create something inspiring and timeless, and we're doing our best to get it to the few people who would like to be part of this journey.
Every year, IT professionals at colleges have to deal with an influx of newbies, all of whom ask precisely the same questions as the newbies did last year. It's Sisyphean.
Of course, every day on the internet is like September, because there are always newbies, or people who didn't get the memo. The internet is a connection machine, a community. It has swimmers and lifeguards, givers and takers, the honest and the grifters…
Here are ten things to remember, feel free to share with those that are less experienced. Happy September:
Don't hit 'reply all' to an email unless you have a really good reason. And don't write, "take me off this list" to a listserv, because everyone on the list will probably get your note. That's been true for thirty years and it's still true.
You may think you can recall a sent email, but you probably can't. Best to breathe three times before you hit send.
Don't type in all caps.
Don't buy anything on the phone (or by email) from a stranger, especially anything having to do with your small business, your computer, your Google listing or a charity. Just hang up.
Everything you click on or surf on or do online is being recorded somewhere. Act accordingly.
Backup your data, get tenant's insurance and turn on 'Find my iPhone' on your Mac.
When in doubt, restart your computer. If that doesn't work, visit duckduckgo and type in your question. You'll be amazed at how many people have had the problem you're having.
To become an expert in something, you're going to need to read more than the first link that comes up in a search. And before you forward something you're not an expert in, check Snopes.
Offer help on something you're good at to the community at least three times before you ask that community for help. Someone is always coming up behind you.
Don't believe everything you read online. In fact, don't believe most of it.
The first can be fixed with money. There's a defect in the plumbing and you can't get a permit to open until you fix it. The design team needs to hire a UI expert to improve the widget before it ships. The family can't get a good night's sleep with three little kids sleeping in one room…
The second can't be fixed with money. These are issues of trust or judgment. Horrific injuries or crimes against nature. An old growth forest doesn't grow back merely because you pay the trees more.
The third, of course, are problems that appear that they can be solved with money, but can't. They range from the mythical man-month to the relationship that uses resources as a false proxy for other things yet to be discussed. Culture, process and expectations are tempting targets, but the resources spent often make the problem worse in the long run.
If a problem can be fixed with money or other resources, and you can afford it, you should do so, quickly, efficiently and without breaking a sweat. For the other kind of problems, resist that shortcut and get to the heart of the matter instead.
September 2, 2016
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