the energy to refute

On the last Friday of each month I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“One day historians will view ant-vaxxers the same way they viewed climate deniers and those who drowned women because they were witches.”@DavidPrice

“When the virus is circulating in a vaccinated population, variants that are more rapidly transmitting are selected for — those are vaccine evading variants. By vaccinating without shutting down transmission we are promoting vaccine evading variants.”@YaneerBarYam

“Maybe the problem is that we shouldn’t be looking to politicians for leadership. There’s nothing saying anyone we elect at virtually any position have any abilities to succeed in times of this. We need to develop a civic self-efficacy where we join together with those around us.”@ClayForsberg (more…)

convening the right people

I have often said that a critical role for people in leadership positions today is helping make the network smarter. In a recent blog post, the author discusses another critical aspect of leadership — convening the right people — and uses the example of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Leadership in a collective or networked world is defined by those who have vision to convene the necessary group (Dixon, 2009) and those who spend resources wisely for the right things. Merkel was brilliant in setting up shop in Berlin. In the future, that means Germany will be internationally known for epidemiology. She will also inspire a new generation of German scientists and doctors based on this hub. Of course, she didn’t just fall into leading in science, she has her PhD in quantum chemistry (The Atlantic, 2020). Merkel is technically competent, knows how interact with others, and can conceptualize a future that is better than present for tracking pandemics (Jacques, 1986). That is leadership.” —Hilda831


filtering out the crap

“ninety percent of everything is crap”Sturgeon’s Revelation

“Twitter is often derided as a forum for gossip and nonsense, which it also is. But I find more serious discussion of critical issues, more sources shared and claims checked here than in most of the mainstream media.”George Monbiot

While 90% of what is shared on Twitter may be crap, a critical eye and good information filters will reveal the 10% that is great. Good personal knowledge mastery practices will lead to filter success. (more…)

a labour of love

I have mentioned over the years that you have to own your data and that many online platforms are set up for crowd-milking. One of the latest platforms for writers to make-it-rich is Substack, where the top writers may earn six figures. Substack lets writers set up paid subscriptions and takes 10 percent. However, the platform also paid high profile writers in advance to get them to use the platform, and in turn could say how much money writers were making. Annalee Newitz described this scam, ironically, on Substack [as an aside, I think that Newitz is a great writer].

Simon Owens recently discussed the gritty reality of Substack’s middle class. He has turned down full-time writing and editorial jobs and is completely focused on producing content, both free and paid. His observations include:

“you really have to minimize time spent on anything other than content creation”
“You need some sort of financial cushion.” — “I think it’s safe to say that you’ll want to have a minimum of one year’s salary in the bank before even considering making the plunge.”
“While I was constantly experimenting with small tweaks during this time, there was simply no way to collect quantitative data on whether they were actually effective.”
“I do think it’s very much possible for the average person to join this middle class, but it’s important that everyone understands the punishing economics at play.”


the last fortnight

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds. The next Friday’s Finds post will be on 24 September, as these will now be posted the last Friday of each month.

“Twitter is a place where you can watch people who don’t read books argue with people who write them.”Mark Safranski

“It’s far better to adapt your organisation to the future than to try and force everyone back into the past. This ‘return to the office’ has more to do with status symbols, fragile executive egos, and idiocy than shareholder value. It is bonkers — Hybrid [work] is just a way of saying ‘let us have the future but just like the past because we’ve spent lots of money on the past’. It never works but we never seem to learn.”@SWardley

“Vaccinated people are like wet logs, unvaccinated like dry kindling. COVID is the fire.
Can wet logs catch fire? Yes.
Can wet logs SPREAD fire once they catch flame? Sure.
But it’s MUCH harder to start a fire with wet logs, and nearly impossible when there’s no more kindling.”
@AuforGA (more…)

the social sweet spot

Continued from — social learning powers distributed work.

Social learning is about people in trusted relationships sharing and building collective knowledge. It is part of our common evolutionarily developed ‘social suite’.

In Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of A Good Society, Nicholas Christakis argues that this coevolution has equipped us with a “social suite” of traits that arose through genetic evolution and that have been amplified by cultural evolution, which has in turn influenced our genetic evolution toward propensities that support the social suite. These include the “capacity to have and recognize individual identity,” “love for partners and offspring,” friendship, social networks, cooperation, “preference for one’s own group (‘in-group bias’),” “mild hierarchy (that is, relative egalitarianism),” and “social learning and teaching.” —Howard Rheingold

These seven traits identified by Christakis can be arranged in how valuable they are to overall society.  Self-identity has high individual value while social learning is how we developed our second evolutionary strand — shared culture and knowledge. (more…)

social learning powers distributed work

Distributed work is here to stay, because many people like it, the pandemic is not over and there will be others, and market forces will seek to maximize profits and reduce labour costs. But Zoom calls all day are not going to create work environments where knowledge workers can deal with complex problems or create innovative solutions. The key to distributed work is social learning.

Distributed work is driving a work-from-anywhere culture and is increasingly reliant on asynchronous communication, as people move to multiple time zones. In order to share the necessary implicit knowledge needed for complex work, trust has to be developed. People only share with others they trust. This trust takes time to develop between people. How can they do this when they are not in the same office? (more…)

we have met the enemy

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

The Twitter Paradox — “I loathe the fact that Twitter is a place where I am exposed to profound thoughts and new experiences, as well as a breeding ground for hate and harassment.”@TheWorstDev

Before Tom Peters, before Peter Drucker, we had Mary Parker Follett by @TimKastelle

“There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish.” —Mary Parker Follett


top tools 2021

Every year, Jane Hart asks, “What are the most popular digital tools for learning and why?”. This is the fifteenth year Jane asked this question — and compiled the results into a valuable resource — and this is my tenth year responding.

Once again my responses have not changed much from my 2020 tools list. I explained last year why I used these tools.

Zoom has moved up, for obvious reasons given the pandemic and lockdowns. WordPress remains on top as it powers this blog, my online workshops, and our community. I have been listening to more podcasts this past year, so Overcast has moved into 10th place.

Two important sensemaking types of tools that everyone should use are feed aggregators and social bookmarks. Though the specific tools may change, everyone needs a way to control the push of information and a way to save, categorize, and annotate resources for later use. For the last two years I have I used Feedly and Pinboard. (more…)

learning with others

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds. After a two-week hiatus I will slowly get back to more regular blogging.

@PicardTips“Picard management tip: Keep group meetings short. Take your time with one-on-ones.”

@DThom_“Universities: let’s be leaders and innovate, innovate, innovate. Also universities: let’s not mandate vaccines unless everyone else does first.” (more…)