Cal Newport on the lowest value that technology can provide:
Invented Value. A technology offers you invented value if it solves a problem that you didn’t know existed before the tool came along. A Snapchat user, for example, might note that it’s the most convenient app for keeping friends posted on what you’re up to throughout the day (it doesn’t even require typing!). But this same user, in an age before SnapChat, probably didn’t even know he wanted constant updates from his friends — the app created the behavior that it optimizes.
I’m increasingly finding that most technology that is being created today falls in this category. It’s technology that claims to help, however it does little in the long run to actually improve life.
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.)
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:
Some of the best work I’m seeing is coming from some very young designers.
I’m seeing some work that is both experimental and effective. It’s beautiful combination.
If you think that church’s have to settle for sub-standard design, they don’t. I have the proof in these portfolios.
Some artists are leaning too heavy into using Gotham, Futura and Knockout. I don’t blame them, but they should show a few more pieces with some strong serif typefaces.
Some of these portfolios are from artists and not designers. The question is, do they know that?
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.
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.
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.
“Rogue One” – There was so much right about this movie, it was hard for me to find things that I didn’t like. It came across as a war movie that just happened to be a Star Wars movie. I think this was the right way to approach telling the story. Plus, the last scene with Darth Vader was perfect and terrifying.
“The Shallows” – One of the last few movies that made me jump in my seat. Jaume Collet-Serra’s direction let’s the viewer feel trapped in just the right ways.