On not collaborating

On not collaborating:

Ignore. Ridicule. Fight. Lose. That’s what happens to the institutions that seek to preserve the problems for which they were created.

So it is with collaboration. We’ve heard the word many times. And we’ve seen it paid lip service many times. But so long as it was not centre-stage, the immune system didn’t care.

[I often mention that the first field I really studied was music, with a clear concentration on group playing. Collaboration was a way of life. Solo efforts are often still collaborations with “launch” points. Hard for me to understand the ego and thinking that leads elsewhere.]

Source: Via Doc Searls

The Red Lantern

The Red Lantern:

Natural talent is rewarded early and often. As Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out, most of the players in the NHL have birthdays in a three month window, because when you’re 8 years old, being six months older is a huge advantage. Those kids, the skaters with good astrological signs, or possibly those performers with the genetic singing advantage–those are the kids that get the coaching and the applause and the playing time. Unearned advantages, multiplied.

If we’re serious about building the habits of success, tracking is precisely the wrong approach. Talent (born with or born without) is not your fault, is not a choice, is not something we ought to give you much credit or blame for.

How do we celebrate the Red Lantern winners instead?

[It seems like the Red Lantern of the Iditarod is sourced from the Lanterne rouge of the Tour de France, which in turn borrowed it from the rail system where the last car was marked with a red lantern so that the conductors could ensure that the train was complete. That said, Seth is right on. ]

Source: Seth’s Blog

Almost ran

The school bus was supposed to pick up The Kid™ at about 8:30am this morning. By 9am, my wife was getting exasperated, as she had expected to be at work long before then.

When the bus driver arrived the story he told was remarkable, and sounded a lot like an unintentional, possibly child complicit, abduction. But since I don’t know if any of it is true, I’m going to skip it.

It’s 2013, and sending kids to school seems wonderfully antiquated, and I’m going to skip this harangue as well and go straight to the following:

  • Why does a school bus in 2013 not have a GPS?
  • Why don’t I know where the bus is along the route it takes?
  • Why isn’t there a “bus pass” scanner that displays the child’s name and picture so that the bus driver knows that the child getting on the bus belongs on the bus?
  • Why hasn’t the printed paper bus pass been replaced with something more useful?
  • Why does the bus driver have a piece of paper listing the addresses of his route, but not a GPS with the route loaded in so that he really knows where to go?
  • Why doesn’t she at least have a print out from a Maps site of the route?
  • Why don’t I know that my child has safely arrived at school?
  • Why don’t I know that my child has left the school?
  • I could go on.

    I think this will all change shortly as it does not require much for parents to do a lot of this on their own, and it will continue to get less expensive to do so. But it concerns me that schools would rather try and deal with a flood of phone calls on mornings like this than add a bit of technology that would make even the least helicopterish parents happy.

    All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you…

    All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you…:

    Is it better in the end to know that we lived to be 97 years and six months and five days and nineteen hours, or that a Super Record derailleur saved us 17 grams? Neither does us much good.  What I look for in a bike: life. How much life does it have, and what kind of life? By which I mean spirit, I guess. Maybe personality or energy. I know when it’s there, I know when it’s not, I know when I like it and when I won’t, and sometimes I can tell if a bike will like me. Or, anyway, I hope that’s how bikes look at me. If they’re obsessing over my weight, I am in trouble.


    Source: True BS

    Work. Rewarded.

    Work. Rewarded.:

    This is like most big goals you set for yourself, a bit anti-climatic. There were no fireworks or signs for me when I registered. It is just another old car race. But to me it does feel special. Like 20 years of late nights and lost weekends. Time away from friends. Are finally paying off. Life has lots of small rewards we work for. But precious few big ones. Those goals that when we set seem impossible to achieve. Our Moby Dick’s and moon shots. This is one of those. Anti-climatic. But also, I know how hard I worked to get here – so I am set to savor it. Most likely from the back of the pack.

    [Along the same lines as this.]

    Source: Kevin Gosselin

    What he isn’t

    My son is 8. And he’s a lot of things. Over the course of the average day he saves the world from all sorts of bad guys, he rescues damsels in distress, and he designs and builds a variety of mostly flying vehicles for the aforementioned missions. He can also switch to being a dancer in a split second if the music and mood are right. He plays a mean air guitar. He sings while he works. He’s studying martial arts. And of course he’s also a student with a significant course load for one so young.

    And what is so very cool about any this is he hasn’t drawn any lines around himself stating what he isn’t. He is whatever he wants to be for as long he wants to be it. And then he’s on to the next thing. (Admittedly, often without cleaning up. We’re still working on that…)

    Soon friends, acquaintances, society will begin to ask him to make decisions about who he is. Probably before he’s given it much thought. The question in the less serious form has, of course, already occurred. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But there’s so many things wrong with that question it makes me grimace, although his answers on any given day can be amusing.

    I think the decisions about who we are *not* are complicated. Do you remember when you realized that you’re not an athlete? Were you picked last for any organized sports? Did it take any of the fun out of running or jumping? Riding or swimming? Should it have? Should you have thought “I’m not good at…” just because by whatever measure someone else seemed better? Is it good thing that “I’m not good at…” becomes “I’m not a…”? Is it helpful at steering us? Or is it the first real challenge we face—to not let anyone else define who we are and put off the decisions about what we are not for as long as possible.

    It might be more important to figure out who we’re not (do you want to be *that* guy?) but we should do it on our own terms, and as late in life as possible. By then we have the information that allows us to to be reasonably certain about our “nothood”.

    For years I’ve taught student of all types that most important thing you can do to get better is to concentrate on the things at which you are not good, because it’s easy to chase the I-do-that-well stream of endorphins. Want to be a great person? Work on everything you’re *not* good at. Want to be a good baker? Bake every day. When you realize you’re good at pie but not bread…bake bread every day. Etc. And if I can get The Kid™ to work on the skills he’s not good at, I’ll never have to be concerned about someone else defining who he is or is not, merely where he needs to apply himself.