The Death Of Expertise

From Tom Nichols writing in The Federalist:

I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. By this, I do not mean the death of actual expertise, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other specialists in various fields. Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.

This is a very bad thing. Yes, it’s true that experts can make mistakes, as disasters from thalidomide to the Challenger explosion tragically remind us. But mostly, experts have a pretty good batting average compared to laymen: doctors, whatever their errors, seem to do better with most illnesses than faith healers or your Aunt Ginny and her special chicken gut poultice. To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion, is silly.

Later on in the article he states the following:

This isn’t just about politics, which would be bad enough. No, it’s worse than that: the perverse effect of the death of expertise is that without real experts, everyone is an expert on everything. To take but one horrifying example, we live today in an advanced post-industrial country that is now fighting a resurgence of whooping cough — a scourge nearly eliminated a century ago — merely because otherwise intelligent people have been second-guessing their doctors and refusing to vaccinate their kids after reading stuff written by people who know exactly zip about medicine. (Yes, I mean people like Jenny McCarthy.

I see this problem consistently appear in the Church and with people I know in church communications. It seems we have entered an age where every pastor is an expert on social issues due to the fact they oversee a congregation of people and have a sense of authority in their community.

On the church communications side, I see more people entering the conversation who are either currently not in the midst of working at a church or doling out information that lacks the depth needed to understand the issues at hand (I’ve been guilty of this).

My fear for the church and my profession is that we’re slipping into a soundbite culture that is based on grabbing attention and touting numbers that have no true meaning. (As I write this, we’re in the middle of preparing our annual report which more than likely include some of those meaningless numbers.)

via The Death Of Expertise

106 and Counting

106.

That is the number of graphic designers who applied for our open position at my work. I was shooting for at least 70, so I’m happy with that number.

I’m also happy with the quality level of the work that I’m seeing from applicants. I knew there would be few that would stick out, but what I didn’t anticipate is that there would be a few that portfolios that I fell in love with.

Here are some thoughts as I go through these portfolios:

Now to get ready for a week of interviews…

My Podcast Workflow

Next month Katie Allred and I kick off another year of The Church Communications podcast. So far we have over forty guests booked and we’re excited about the line up. I also have another podcast on the way (a reboot of The Ask Darrel podcast).

I think more people should try podcasting. The gear requirements are small and hosting costs are reasonable. Here’s a list of my gear and software I use to record the podcast:

So my startup costs were roughly $76 to start the podcast. If I wanted to, I could’ve used the free plan on Buzzsprout and Audacity plus Soundflower to record and mix. Then the only cost would be the mic.

If you want to learn more about podcasting and get into the how-to’s, I suggest you listen to The Podcast Method with Dan Benjamin.

French Workers Win Legal Right to Avoid Checking Work Email Out-Of-Hours

From The Guardian:

On 1 January, an employment law will enter into force that obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones.

Overuse of digital devices has been blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they can switch off.

The measure is intended to tackle the so-called “always-on” work culture that has led to a surge in usually unpaid overtime – while also giving employees flexibility to work outside the office.

Interesting solution to what has become a problem for most knowledge workers. The more I think about it, I realize that this is one area that most companies don’t talk about when bringing on a new employee. Sure, we’ll talk about benefits and salary. But rarely do we talk about what is expected of us and our devices after work has ended.

via French workers win legal right to avoid checking work email out-of-hours – The Guardian

My Favorite Things from 2016

I know a lot of people say that 2016 was a horrible year, but I actually found a lot of things to love this year. Here’s a quick list of my favorite things from 2016.

Movies

Apps

Books

Websites

Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace

In just fifteen minutes Simon Sinek nails the issue of millennials in the workplace. This is required viewing for anyone in a leadership position.

via Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace – YouTube

Why I Left Evernote for Apple Notes

Evernote and I have a long running relationship. I’ve stored pdfs, images, articles, bookmarks and anything else it accepted. However, over time it’s become my Macbook’s junk drawer. If I don’t where to put something, I just throw it into Evernote.

The issue for me has become that Evernote doesn’t seem to do any one thing really well, instead it does a whole lot things okay. Its reminders feature is a bit cumbersome, you can handwrite notes in iOS if you use their Penultimate app, and you can export out your notes in their unique enex format. These are just a few examples of things that Evernote does, but not well enough to be the best in class in terms of note-taking.

At the same time Evernote announced and then rescinded a plan to let engineers read your notes in order to help them build a better product. Now I don’t have anything in Evernote that I would deem extremely private, but the thought of Evernote looking over my shoulder isn’t very comforting.

So it’s time for me to “konmari” my note taking system and figure out what works best for me and brings me joy when I use it. So for me it’s Apple Notes. Now granted it doesn’t have tagging, OCR, a web clipper or the ability to talk to IFTTT. However, I find those limitations actually freeing.

The limitations force me to focus on using the app for its intended purpose.. to take notes. If I want a place to store pdfs I can do that in Google Drive. If I need to store articles somewhere I can use Instapaper. Both of them are far superior to Apple Notes or Evernote in those tasks.

Now there are some work-arounds I’m trying utilize. For one, you can’t email notes to Apple Notes. So for now I’m using Airmail and its actions feature to send emails to Apple Notes.

I’m over two weeks into my move and I’m immediately seeing some benefits. First, Apple Notes loads extremely fast. Second, its stripped down interface makes it easier to get straight to work.

Of course, there’s also that added benefit of not having to pay $70 a year.