201x is when everything changes. I am going to the party to dance.
tl;dr: The world is changing more than you think. Get ready, and prepare for a wild ride.
Things may be a bit non sequitur, but there is a lot going on in my mind right now and writing helps in putting pieces into their places in my head. ;)
The revolution will be in English. And she will not happen with the usual suspects.
I posted a link to a German article to my Facebook stream; unusual since all of my ‘public’ channels are 100% English; I even answer to Germans in English. Which results in a lot of animosity, but I have decided a long time ago that for my kind of work and industry English is the language to go. I am also not wasting much time in posting relevant stuff through my German channels. Many other internationals also don’t transfer into their local language which is bad: if it is not translated how can locals know about what is happening in the world?
Which is why this article from André is so relevant, explaining in German why the Americans are kicking the Europeans in the butt when it comes to technology. I wrote on my timeline:
Summary of the article is simple: Europeans may be a bit ahead in regards to some areas of mobile, but everything else is pushed by America, especially Silicon Valley. If you are one of those Germans who still thinks me being crazy for spending most of my time in the international thinking sphere – read the article.
I even included a link to Google translation.
Alexander Görlach then pinged me with a link to his article “And When the Last Scholar Has Died …” about the decline of the cultural industry and it hit me how much most people still are embedded in their old last millennium thinking. And part of that is because when it comes to a country like Germany, the language island is just too big. There is no need to go outside and ‘think’ in international.
Yes in theory students go abroad and ‘read English material’ but there is still a big difference to use English or be immersed into the sphere and have an international mindset. Which btw is one of the reasons I am attracted so much to Berlin.
His article talks about the problem of ‘funding of arts, culture, journalism and politics’:
“It’s relatively easy to say how much work went into producing a hair dryer. It’s much harder to say what it takes to write a good article. How do we measure the costs and value of thirteen years of school, a university degree, study abroad programs, or even a PhD? The difference in measurement parameters is one of the reasons why the typical CV of an engineer looks different from the CV of a journalist.”
I can relate strongly: In my work there is a lot of ‘play time’ – that is when I am not with clients or in workshops. What may look like wasted time to some is actually me building up knowledge for my future. Things I play around with today are what I use for my work some time down the road.
You will get those days when I seem to be spending all day on network X – that actually is mostly work. You do not see what is happening in the background. Me answering questions on reddit? It’s training my thinking and seeing how people ask / act, and helps me adapt my approach to client work. Me posting the whole day on my facebook profile? I am a very fast reader and sift through information, some goes into my streams, most into my database for later access. Clients hire me to have a broader insights into topics and in order to fulfill that need, I need to ‘train’.
And that is where Alexander’s article comes in again.
“We are living in a time when the proverbial best and brightest no longer opt to pursue careers in journalism or academia or politics. And we can already foresee a future when the exodus into economics will cease simply because the sphere of culture will have been reduced to insignificance. Apocalyptic rhetoric is fitting here: A cosmic battle is raging between the world of letters and the world of numbers.”
I take offense in calling spreadsheets not work of art ;) Journalism, Academia and more can still survive – but not in the thinking of the last milenium, limited by local country thinking and entitlement of what worked in the past when there where no other options. Artists of the past had business modells. They where sponsored too. Things change. Why not make a kickstarter campaign to fund your research? Oh – that would require that you would know what that is, how it works ….
The old ways are dying, yes. And I am not sure they should be kept alive.
Your old ways are not working anymore? Find new ones.
New paths, new ideas, new concepts – and new business models.
I love the Torchwood quote “the 21st century is when everything changes!” and I’m adapting it to 201x is when everything changes. It scares many people and it will take some time. And it will require disruptive thinking beyond what has been done before. Knowledge of what is out there, globally. Of what is done, said, developed.
When somebody says “Google Glasses” the answer should be “when can I get my hands on it and how can we use this, make use of this!” not “uh who needs that”. The “nobody needs / wants that” guy is the same complaining about what is not working anymore, but is not ready for the future.
I love quotes. Part of them go “surround yourself with people who lift you higher” and it describes my business model. Kinda. I am blessed with a bad memory which allows me to go out there over and over again and teach people (for good money) what I have played with years ago. Teach them basics of how to work with a computer. The internets. That facebooky thing. Or what ever else is just in hype.
But that is not inspiring. Don’t get me wrong – I love doing that. It is not hipster, but pays well. [hipsterland pays less but is more amusing as those smart kids usually don't want to believe how much they don't know ...]
That ‘international’ sphere is where my souls breathes. It is the reason I am moving to Berlin. When I am looking for inspirations, it will not be inside of my native language. It will most likely not be in Germany nor Europe. It may be Berlin and some other spots. It is 1130 on a thursday night and I am looking at my skype stream, chatting, calls, working all at the same time. The world is awake and I am part of that.
And trying to wrap my mind around what I want to transmit through this writing here. Maybe that should have been an audio recording, maybe that should have been a discussion somewhere.
I want more. I want technology to swoop in and make my life easier. Like we already know from writings and movies from decades past. I want the working babel fish. I am trying to find the companions, the mentors, the apprentices, the partners in crime. I want more professionalism, more structure, not reinventing the wheel and fire all the time. To connect, to help, to challenge, to be challenged.
We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
Savety Dance, Men without Hats
201x is when everything changes.
I am going to the party to dance.