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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Oh no, what now?!

Calm down.

When I say this, and if you know me, you should know I mean “everything has a solution”. The thing is, there’s a lesson here: problems are only one side of the coin. Unfortunately, they are the side most people end up looking at once they flip it.

I love that things have problems, otherwise we would have nothing to solve and life would be just boring (End of History, anyone?).

If you work with marketing or in an otherwise creative industry, you should know problems are your best friends. After all, where do you think the best insights come from?

It’s a common piece of criticism: Facebook is nothing but chitchat and gossip, I don’t see why I should use it, I don’t want to know useless things about other people’s lives.

While I may consider that to be partially true, I think people are way too harsh when judging something, and tend to just hit extreme opposites.

I understand those kinds of comments, but I also understand the importance Facebook and many other social channels have for businesses (disclaimer: I work in a social media agency). And while I don’t disregard people who take and defend this position, I do have something against only looking at one side of things.

You can argue that swearing is impolite, but that doesn’t mean that the ability to speak is such a bad idea.

Lately, I’ve had a couple of important chats regarding how much information we consume on a daily basis, and its importance to how we apprehend knowledge to produce something new and useful.

The world wide web and social media have brought many marvelous things to the way we educate ourselves, communicate and share. But with permanent connection comes permanent unplugging, at least if we don’t do something about it.

Bottom line: we’re blocked by these enormous amounts of information, infected with the fear of missing out. In fact, we’re actually blocking ourselves from the real things that matter, such as: what the hell am I going to do with all these articles, infographics, tools, stats and perspectives?

A few weeks back, this tweet by Armando Alves opened my eyes to the matter. In fact, it was upon reflecting that I decided to:

  1. Cut by half my RSS feeds (trust me, you don’t really need that much information)
  2. Start a blog and produce my own content

There’s no bright future in the information age. Only the ones who master knowledge will survive.

That’s what you think.

Needless to say, they (the customers) don’t think that. And if they feel you think such things about them, they’ll walk away, don’t you doubt about it.

These are Kevin Kelly’s words on the matter:

Whoever has the smartest customers wins.

I have to agree. Treating your customers like you’re doing them a favor has got to be one of the deadliest roads to travel nowadays. And fyi, there are no shortcuts for this trip.

John D. Cook said it well in a 2009 blog post:

Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code.

It’s a great take on programmers’ productivity needs (and realities), the need to simplify a certain problem and how good code is actually reusable for solving future problems.

More often than not, the best solutions are the simple ones, and good doses of reflection and insight are crucial for any problem solver. This is not exclusive for coders, and it’s not an easy task at all.

But then again, if it were, we’d all get a nifty raise in no time.

I regularly read about all sorts of things. Ok, my professional area is based on marketing and digital communications, but I think it’s wrong to just focus on those areas if you truly want to make work that matters.

Creative and strategic work demands curiosity, otherwise you’ll just end up thinking like everyone else and your solutions will just suck. It also demands a little craziness, but that’s a whole other topic.

My case: I work in a digital agency, but I love art (both curating it and writing about it) and am currently learning some basic coding skills.

What about you?

Here’s a little challenge: demand yourself to learn something new every day. If not for your job, at least for yourself.