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Posts Tagged ‘change’

This week my 11 year old daughter asked if she could download and join snapchat. I immediately nixed that idea. I haven’t nixed her getting involved in much else technically where the EULA allows it. Snapchat touched a chord and got me to thinking (again) about identity – how we identify ourselves – who we think we are – and who others think we are. I think about this deeply every so often, sometimes becoming unglued when I think too hard about it. It’s a complicated concept.

Who?

So many things contribute to the patterns that are what we are. Our identity and sense of place in this world – undoubtedly conditioned by the modern world – is built around physical place (and now virtual places) and social circles (and now virtual social networks) and status within established networks of influence. This was probably not always the case when people were far more nomadic and identity wasn’t tied to a hometown or a home school or a 150 person social network. But now, more than ever, identity is a thing.

I personally have moved residences over 20 times in my life. 13 of them different cities (social networks) and 5 across state lines.

Non Existence -> Born (don’t remember)
Littleton, CO (don’t remember, sorta remember)
Colorado Springs (k – 2nd grade)
Aurora, CO Laredo Circle House (2nd grade – 3rd grade???)
Aurora, CO Laredo Court House (4th grade??? – 7th grade)
Miami, FL Kendall House (8th grade)
Miami, FL Baptist Hospital House (9th grade – 10th grade)
Aurora, CO Salsaleto House (11th grade – 12th grade)
Aurora, CO Some Apartment I Forget Where (Summer before college)
Chicago, IL Woodward Court/Univ. Chicago (Freshman year college)
Aurora, CO Buckingham Mall House (Summer between Freshman and Sophomore Year)
Chicago, IL Woodward Court/Univ. Chicago (Sophomore year college)
Chicago, IL 53rd Street Apartment (summer between sophomore and junior year)
Chicago, IL Blackstone Building/University Chicago (Junior year college)
Chicago, IL 53rd Street Co-Op Apartment (summer between junior and senior year)
Santa Monica, CA 9th and Pico (1999)
Chicago, IL Roosevelt and Michigan Apartment (2000 – 2002)
Santa Monica, CA 9th and Pico (2002 – 2005)
Playa Vista, CA Fountainhead Apartment (2005 – 2006)
Venice, CA Abbot Kinney House (2006 – 2010)
Austin, TX Travis Heights House (2010 – 2011)
Austin, TX Deep Eddy House (2012)
Marina Del Rey, CA (2013 – present)

My own children have now moved 5 times (the oldest one) and twice across state lines.

And these are just the residence moves – not all the jobs, schools, social circles, life phases and other changes that go into making up our context and our history. I have 692 friends on facebook, a couple hundred followers on twitter, tens of followers on instagram, one attempt at snapchat, fifty pinterest followers and so on. Sometimes I think of this all as an audience, which is quite insane to me as a concept but I doubt I’m the only one that feels like they have an audience online. I’ve done speaking engagements at conferences, I’ve written 8 years of blogs, somehow I authored several whitepapers, I think i have a patent or three, I’ve performed in 40+ live theater shows, I built hundreds of websites and mobile apps with between 1 and 50 million users a month…. WHAT THE F*** DOES IT ALL ADD UP TO? WHO AM I? and WHY IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION?

It’s a question because my daughters keep finding new ways to “express themselves” and “connect to others.” They “identify” with my wife or myself by saying “oh, i’m so like mom!” They intellectually get the ideas of genetics and art and fashion and learning and the delineation between it all.  They are very keen at telling me I don’t “get” them…. I keep waiting for the day when the TSA finally says they are full human identities and require proof of the case (driver’s license/passport).

It’s also a question because everyday the Western world bombards each other in ways such as:
“what am I worth?”
“tell me about your past.”
“are you this ism or that ism?”
“what party are you?”

and every other variation of class, job history, race, culture, language, outward appearance…

Anchors is my best guess at identities. Us, limited beings, pattern creating and recognizing beings find ways to lay anchors and say THIS IS ENOUGH – THIS IS WHERE I’M DROPPING ANCHOR and REMEMBER THIS. We drop these anchors – which are complex patterns we simplify – and label them as classes, races, job titles, cultures, state lines, political parties, etc. We drop anchors to save energy. That is, we hope the anchors keep us from having to remember all of the context and history that lead us to here when we are in the heat of the moment of making a decision. We want to save time when working out who we hire, with whom we partner, with whom we commune, with whom we war…

Unfortunately.

Identity is an illusion.

We are not the isms, the races, the classes, nor the anchors we drop. We all are ever evolving changing masses of organs, cells, and atoms that respond to the changes around them. We are connected – to each other, to the Web, to the world, to nature, to everything that passes gamma rays into us – EVERYTHING.

And this isn’t a ZEN kind of thinking i’m talking about. It’s a very simple, real concept that *WE* don’t EXIST. and the idea that WE EXIST is a major reason why “we” all end up fighting and destroying and gloating and taking credit and paying dues and every other manner of paying homage to an illusion. We do this because the delusion of singular identity is efficient in many respects. Capital markets reward identities. Democracies, despite their conceptual idea of the masses, reward identities. Social media and the internet reward identities.

And in all this efficiency created by identities we actually end up destroying things. Identities are the most efficient destructive concepts we’ve collectively devised. They shut everything down. They allow entire populations to be ignored. They tune our attention out. They tune our own senses out.

It makes sense this is so and that it persists.

Can it be resisted? *I* don’t know. Can we live without it?  I don’t know.

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Great, actionable post from Seth Godin.

The certain thing is that you can change everything…

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Check out what I just put out to the world:

Get some perspective

get some perspective with the social bucket list application, need perspective, on facebook.

This is really just a labor of love.  Life’s very short.  I have some 15,000 days left.  I plan to exhaust my bucket list.

Do you?

Perspective: Get some. Give some.

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So, the question comes up more than once…

“What’s different about the changes that occurred in the 60’s and 70’s from the changes we are experiencing during our current crisis?”

There are not many parallels between the two times because they are as different as the 50 years apart that separates them. ALL the context is different. How could they possibly be similar?

First of all, we are just started the reaction and the responses to the last seven years and the 31 years leading up to this. It has just begun. You didn’t think it was some Palooka on Wall Street or in corporate America that made this happen, did you?

There are a lot of things that came together in the 60s and 70s that made them what they were and there are a lot of things that are converging now to make this what it will be. That is where the similarities probably end.

The 60s and 70s was the push back against repression, control, delayed gratification and isolation. The early 60s was a set of things in opposition to the status quo…. then other things came together, not by plan but by their own path and the confluence went POW!

Music was the medium like the Internet is today… But, no one had any idea what they were experiencing and it wasn’t because of the drugs or music.  Caesar didn’t realize what was going on either. It was just what was happening.

There were waves of change between the surfers-dudes and the button-down guys represented on the one hand by parents, Pat Boone, The Kingston Trio and, on the other, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and the Birds or Jefferson Airplane.

  • Drugs, sex and rock and roll
  • The pill
  • The war – the draft – the secrecy
  • The car
  • Woman’s liberation
  • The idealists

The “pill” represented freedoms never imagined as did the car. Both were escapes from mom and dad’s world… In a similar but opposing ways, Britney Spears music is devoid of any content relating to the world today as the Zits cartoon series is today.  The 60s and 70s had irreverent tunes and MAD magazine… Both ‘anti-now’.

But where is the VOICE of today? I don’t mean the Village Voice, which morphed into respectability and successfully collects ad revenue to support circulation of its coffee house rebels. I mean the “VOICE” of someone calling the ball on what has happened in America. That means accounting for losses as well as our mis-gotten “gains”. Whose voice is going to ring out to address America’s privatized profit but socializes risk, isolation from allies, might-makes-right arrogance and the branding of ‘Democracy’ through colonization?

We have untold messages yelling at us about losing allies, losing hope, losing dialogue, losing respect, losing trust and openness that is displaced with secrecy, fear and loathing of anyone different from us including our government and the other boss in the corner office.

What are you willing to give up? Cassias Clay was willing to lose everything. Martin Luther King Jr. did. Freedom riders, lunch counter activists and everything in between including those who were caught when the world changed on them like it has today for us.   You know who I am talking about; the cops that thought they were doing the right things, the governors, the FBI, the soldiers, the parents… they were All doing what they were told was right even if it was the opposite from what those they were repressing had been told.

If you have no answers, the next 12 years aren’t going to be a good time for you in America or Europe, or Japan or… You will end up sour and ailing because today you are witnessing the tree of entitlements being cut down. It will take years to grow another. What is the expression in business? “He is a dead man just looking for a place to lie down!”

So, where is the lightening rod for change from all this doom and gloom?   Where is that person going to come from? Come on; use that teraflop of processing power and your angry brain to generate something you like.

  • Is it the blogs?
  • The social communities?
  • The recipient paparazzi replacing investigative reporting?

With all the complexity, technology, information, misinformation and confusion…what we’ve done in the past isn’t going to be what we do in the future.    Some prognostications:

  1. More suffering as the financial stuff sinks in and new things will rise out of the ashes.

Hard times are going to drive a new of barter or “in-kind” exchange. Will it be a cottage industry economy? Will it be a network community sensitive to exchange and barter… a Woot.com for product and services grow up? I am guessing it will be those types of things.

That will result in the middle man being taken out of the formula for commence more and more.  That is unemployment and that leads to some heart ache but change.  If it didn’t we’d be using buggy whips today…

2.   Having a black President is a lightening rod! Having a President with a vision will draw the volts    and colts as needed.

    Now the insurgents in our own country will be running for the caves. And when they come out we, the people, have to meet them. We have to find our cohones and get them in the game.  You don’t need to change them; just participate.  After the election we’re going to hear and see some nasty stuff. If anything happens to the President there are going to be riots for all sorts of reasons and it won’t be only if our black president is gone.

    This all sucks you know… it sucks because it is not COMPLEX. It sucks because we have to experience it to grow.

    All the money and power falls apart at our feet without the slightest bit of introspection. We’ve had no introspection and we all are the greedy ones living outside our means.

    For them and for us, it’s all about the race, the chase, the game for positions and status. Trouble is, once you’ve arrived, where are you? We are rudderless now.  Our experiences will put us on a course with a world view rather than a mirror view.

    It is as reported to be for us and for our government?   Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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    There are many writings in science, law and politics these days that amount to a plea to use the laws that exist in the natural environment to better accomplish common objectives. The argument goes that in order to extend our life on earth and boost the quality of the 28,500 days* we have, we need to play to our strengths. Right now, our strength and the strength of many industrialized nations is the strengths that comes from science and technology.

    In a world view and in a regional view, it would be irresponsible if we didn’t use technology and science. That technology includes and an empirical approach to behavior that rubs the status quo proponents the wrong way. Use of what is known about the how we learn and how we behave can help prevent some of the ills and dilemmas that we’ve put ourselves in. It can also prevent others from occurring. Just as assuredly, changes are sure to cause new forms of discomfort. The individual and the society will have to work to deal individually, culturally, politically and environmentally with an empirical behavior analysis that takes a less emotional approach to behavior. Compared to the slaughter of people and cultures, this discomfort is actually a reprieve from what we can expect without change in the voodoo logic and the mumbo-jumbo of 3000 year old superstitions and traditions.

    This isn’t a new idea, just a new appeal to the world inhabited by users of science and technology. Someone said in the early 70’s:

    “2500 years ago it might have been said that man understood himself as well as any other part of his world. Today, he understands himself least.”

    Look at what has happened since that statement…! That makes it a particularly poignant when amplified repeatedly by the disturbing events each of us has had to endure in that period. Things that could have been prevented, avoided or better managed if there had been a different view of “man”.

    Due to technology society gets to see war real time; gets to see live video cam death in hospital wards, in police stations, on the campuses and via natural disasters. We get instant access and feedback in almost every media channel available to man. Thus, those that posit that a scientific approach to behavior is a threat to our way of life, look around. For those that claim a sectarian approach to behavior is not possible are reminded that the same things were said about chemistry, biology and physics as some brave explores went about figuring out how those parts of the world work. Anyone frightened by science that keeps him/her alive to protest is in a vulnerable state and is dangerous.

    Without a comfort zone we almost all are scared. With a comfort zone we may be still using leaches to clean blood, sage to protect us from evil spirits or apricot pits to cure cancer. [Yes, some reading this may still be favoring one or more of these remedies, but…]

    To prevent some of the things that we don’t like happening we’ll have to give up something. Nothing in life or Nature is free. Chemistry, biology and physics gave up ‘stuff.’ Now it is our turn. And, as frightening as it is, we need to find others that can help us make the adjustments over time. Others will help us learn to attend to the natural rules that have always been there but were ignored. Others can help dissolve conflicts over competing beliefs and traditions. We humans are great at adjustments and adaptations so it is clean this can work. It an adjustment how you came to read blogs on the Internet? However, if you like the state of the world, the relationships you have with the institutions, agencies and forces that inhabit your world, then you don’t need to do anything. You get to take the cultural Quaalude and pull over. Ok.

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    Well, are we all amused…? You know, things going your way, life better than it was a decade ago or at least a couple of birthdays ago…?

     

    Today it’s…

    • The Pope
    • The Supremes (Court that is…)
    • Playoffs – pick your sport…
    • Market(s)
    • War(s)
    • Civil law changes
    • Constitutional law changes
    • Pollution outlook
    • Gangstatainment
    • Food shortages in developed countries
    • Creation of diseases to use pharma’s research results
    • Barrel of pain @ $115
    • Oh, and that political thing going on…makes a person bitter just watching

     

    Nothing’s perfect of course so there are some things going well and others in or headed toward the big porcelain bowl.

     

    Check out a February, 2008, U.S. government statistic that estimates that 77 million workers will leave the workforce in the next few years.   Most are members of the baby-boom generation.  I guess that makes them “Gen B” in modern marketing parlance.

     

    Look to the left, look to the right, we’ll lose 6 to 10 % of the workforce by the time you all notice changes in your environment…as opposed to a written prediction that you find here.

     

    The up-“and thinking about it” generations of workers will not be nearly large or skilled enough to replace those Gen B workers, figuratively or literally.  Technologies promise is being fulfilled but the billion days of experience encased in those that leave the workforce can’t fulfill the needs to use the technology that exists.  It’s impossible. 

     

    So what we have here is a great potential for those that have a work ethic that they are able to promote to the highest bidder.  We also have a bunch of Peanut-like cartoon characters who want what they want which is not inline with what the workforce needs, the world needs or the mall needs.

     

    Already we have a shortage of talented workers.  That means that there are skills gaps all over every industry, every sector of commerce and every level of employment.  Again, it is contextual.  If you have the juice to do the stuff that is needed, it is a VERY good thing for you as an individual contributor.  If you have a skateboard in the living room next to your direct connect Facebook profile or your iPod tree of accessories, you may find the coming years a challenge…assuming of course that you recognize challenges when you trip over them.

     

    Amidst the impending shortage of workers and looming skills ‘black holes’, there is an increasing demand for results and continued pressure to improve the ‘bottom line’.  Now, there is not a big difference between the shareholder’s bottom line, the employer’s bottom line and your bottom line. As we are all finding out, we are all interconnected.  Not by some fuzzy, energy-laced icon, or a pillar of metaphorical musings or soft and romantic notions of nationality or piety but by relatedness in the absolute sense.  Screw up the aspirin formula in a lab in Malaysia and those in Germany and Mozambique get sicker, not better.

     

    We are all related in numerous ways that we don’t attend to.  We do things and others do things and together we interact and do other things.  We are related by the context of what is around us.  What is around us is that which is going on in Bosnia and Boston, Denver and Dubai.  THAT context is the context that will never grow smaller, never become diluted and never disappear.

     

    Today is always different than yesterday or tomorrow…[I know, heavy!]   But now, in this time period, we are more aware of things going on all around the world. With our greater access to everything we have greater potential for confusion when competing values must be confronted.

     

    With workforce changes exerting their effects and economic complexities exerting theirs, it all leads to increased pressures on whatever we are doing.  The rapid pace of business, the demands of families and the need to have some ‘stakes’ in the ground in different areas of our life… all make for a world more competitively primitive like that from which we evolved millions of years ago than a world provided by a John Grisham or some contemporary historical romance author.    

     

    So, here is the warning bell.  Take note… to overcome the losses from Gen B leaving and increase the probability of a single employee will be able to perform the work several employees have done in the past, there is going to be a wholesale changes in business performance software. Everything gets measured.  People are the ‘Business.’  Commerce uses what commerce needs.  Skill gaps identify contribution to cost.  Skills equate to value. 

     

    All this will be confounded by little attention for “casual Fridays” or a need for a window office.  Gen-NEXT will be hired based on performance at every measureable level, get evaluated seamlessly, will perform where needed, get tracked to available tasks and get paid only for results rather than ‘work’. 

     

    It’s already started.  There is less need to build robotics if you can get maximum production out of employees that need to feed their kin or code content.  There is a mushrooming interest in empirical learning and training that will come to dwarf philosophical and quasi-political niceties.  Get ready. 

     

    Oh, and then we’ll need to figure out the other parts…those family relationship changes, social community interactions and the individual identity agony that is sure to follow. 

     

    Hang on.

     

     

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