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Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘disruption’

Sunday musings 5/3/14

Sunday musingsā€¦

1) Gopher. Not really sure what my varmint is, but something very much like Bill Murray’s nemesis is winning right now Chez bingo.

2) Small talk. The gift of gab. In olden times in the medical world, bedside manner.

It’s just painful to watch/listen to someone who just can’t do it and hasn’t yet figured that out.

3) Buehler. Sometimes it’s necessary to be present. That’s all, just present and accounted for. Not often, but on occasion it’s unavoidable. Very few folks who get to ignore this requirement.

Sadly, I am on the list of folks who must occasionally see and be seen.

4) Cultural relevance. In the course of my day job it is necessary for me to find some sort of conversational common ground with people from all walks of life. I’m a pretty weird dude; heck, we’re all pretty weird in our own way. What makes me, and you, unique can be a barrier to us connecting if one of us doesn’t find some “place” where we can meet, at least conversationally.

Many folks find this in the cultural touchstones found on television. Letterman is retiring this month. Aong with Johnny Carson and a very tiny number of other drivers of cultural currency, Letterman has in many ways created a cultural intersection across which people of all sorts might reach in order to connect.

My diurnal curve forced me to miss all things Letterman, at least until Youtube and Facebook.

Yet I’ve managed to keep myself no more than a slightly amusing single step behind the ebb and flow of our popular culture here in the U.S. Enough, at least, to make it possible to connect with those younger and older, less well or better educated, higher or lower on the economic food chain. It takes a bit of work, if watching Letterman or reading People magazine can be considered work, and I think that’s probably the point.

Connecting across broad societal domains requires a bit of personal cultural relevance, and it’s probably worth the effort to obtain and maintain that no matter what your lot in life.

5) Disruption. The NYT is bleating this morning that technology has disrupted the economy, as if this is somehow new and different and unique to electronic technology. I call BS. Technology, or more specifically new and better technology, has been disrupting economies since the first gathering of pre-humans around a fire.

Think about it for a minute. Is the internet and all of our ability to connect and transmit ideas any more disruptive than the Guttenberg printing press? I think not. Indeed, there was as much call to ban the printing press among the tyrants of that day as we see efforts to restrict access to various sites on the internet today.

There is a multiplier effect seen in new technology of any sort, and early adopters of effective and lasting new tech gain a significant advantage over their competitors. Combine a truly new, revolutionary concept or product with another new technology and you can literally change at least a part of the world.

Papyrus -> Guttenberg -> Radio -> TV -> Internet. Fingers + Toes -> Abacus -> Calculator -> Watson. Think for a moment about other tech, other new ideas, ideologies new and old that piggy-backed on this trend line. Since this is CrossFit.com, think for just a moment about what “CrossFit” in all of its facets would be if the internet didn’t exist, or it it had not been so keenly embraced early on. An interesting exercise to apply to lots of stuff, eh? What would the CrossFit world, heck what would CrossFit as a fitness program be like if the most efficient means of spreading CrossFit knowledge was the printed and spoken word?

The NYT asks if technology is ultimately the answer to solving the disruptions of technology. That’s as silly as bemoaning the disruption itself, and lacks as much intuition as the original premise that modern tech is somehow more disruptive than historical technology. If you use the creative disruption produced by a new technological development to solve the issues created by the last technological disruption, what do you get? Well, in the fitness world at least, you get CrossFit.

The challenge now, for CrossFit and other present day disrupters, is to figure out what the next disruption is likely to be, and then use that next new technology to remain culturally relevant.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at May 3, 2015 7:48 AM

The Coda (Adopted from Sunday musings 3/1/15)

A friend from my post-grad program recently reminded me of the coda I shared with him some 25+ years ago. It turns out that, for the most part, I’ve continued to make most decisions using the same three simple concepts.

Knowledge is Power. Pretty obvious, that one. The guy in the know always starts every encounter with a huge advantage. The more you know the less likely you are to be ambushed, knocked on your heels. Foreknowledge begets forethought, which while not foolproof, at least should inoculate you against being fooled or looking foolish. One should not only try to have the most knowledge but also to be aware when one does not.

Perception is more important than reality. You could say this one also takes into account bias, both yours and that of others. What is the reality of human influence on the global climate, for example? Your perception of this along with any biases you may have is your version of reality. Being open to this phenomenon in yourself allows you to maintain a more critical view of your own reality. Knowing this about others around you should help to keep you from being surprised by their reactions to you and what you do and say.

Evolution is better than revolution. Slow, steady, incremental movement toward better is generally better tolerated by both participants and spectators. Face it, there’s an awful lot of carnage in any kind of revolution, and it seems as if the more disruptive the revolution the more collateral damage there is among spectators and bystanders. The violence inherent in revolution is not necessarily physical; economic disruption can feel an awful lot like a punch to the throat, eh?

This last one is kinda tricky, in part because it rides both alongside and astride the first two. Every evolution begins at some point with the equivalent of a revolution. A single genius idea launched into an entrenched system upends intellectual, economic, or some other established orthodoxy. Whether it’s a revolution or evolution depends on when you became aware of its existence and how it is changing you or your life. I’m sure the good folks at Radio Shack look at what happened to them as being trounced in a revolution, but Amazon probably barely rose to yawn.

Sometimes life is not much more than “read and react”. Like a linebacker. Maybe most times for most people. Three simple rules, a coda if you will, have helped guide me and a few folks I might have mentored once upon a time to make what feel like better decisions for us and those around us.

What’s your coda?