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In my current use of stumbleupon, that most excellent Firefox plug-in, I’ve had it for a while set exclusively on the news setting, in an effort to bounce around from information source to information source to discover what is going on. The selector hasn’t quite worked like I think it would, instead it has been sending me off to op-ed pieces that are much more about analysing the news. This has been instructive and informative, especially in encouraging me to tie together trends that I had not previously connected, discovering new trends, and developing some links of my own between information. It’s piecing together the underlying factors and truths that motivate what happens in the every day world. The long term trends are what explain so much of the short-term world.

In the modern world, what Thomas Friedmann calls “The Flat World” there is no more utility in being an information provider. The internet makes it so easy to find information and facts that there are thousands, probably millions of sources for each fact. Instead what the world needs more of are people who can synthesize these huge reams of information, and to tie them all together to make it coherent and understand the essence of the information. In a way, the news papers and web sites that will get good analystical columnists, who can look at the news day and see a trend, can see a wider picture then the current news story are the ones who will thrive and suceed. Those old papers focused on ‘just the facts ma’am’ will have a hard time in this world.

In a way this is going to be more and more true of the world that we all inhabit. Whatever infomation we require to do our job is available from hundreds of sources. I can access most modern cases from five or so different law reports, and almost all of them are available online. There is no difficulty in knowing what is precisely the law on a point, all that it requires is that you go and read it. But tying multiple cases together, understanding what is relevant and what is not, how to pick apart reasoning or to reinforce it, the skills that the reader brings to the facts, is what distinguishes them. I think this is of relevance in the real world of the job market that I’m going to be heading out into as well. A lot of people will have information and some rough idea of what is going on. What will be needed is more and more specialisation, it will become essential that you know everything about something in effect to becomes a really sucessful member of society. It’s about what you know and how to deal with it in its technical context that counts the most. What value you can individually bring will become what is essential, some real traceable value add, that in the context of services must really be unique in some way to make this difference. The days of many anonymous workers are fading, and people who are stuck in that old paradigm are in trouble.

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2 Comments

    • Domhttp://www.xanga.com/behappy168
    • Posted March 21, 2006 at 10:10 pm
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    It’s nice to know you are using Firefox! πŸ™‚

    You are right, except for the big news agencies — I mean, someone’s gotta do the reporting!

    • Anonymous
    • Posted March 25, 2006 at 6:28 pm
    • Permalink

    thanks for introducing stumbleupon, it’s great πŸ™‚ i spent the last couple of hours stumbling on varied sites, only a few of which i’d come across before. i’m trying to convince hunaid to use it too .. m


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