understanding work

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@DonaldHTaylor: ‘In Turkish you never ask “Did you understand me?” It’s rather rude. Instead, you say “Anlatabildim mi?” – Was I able to explain?’

@suitpossum: “The world is not data. The world is soil, sun, water, bodies, communities, sweat & oil. Data is an echo of these. It is not ‘the new oil’”

@Tom_Peters: “Zuckerberg has a “vision”: To know every conceivable thing about me including things I don’t know; then “monetize” every bit and byte of it.”

The Guardian: The Great Digital Age Swindle

They [Google & Facebook] are not examples of free competition, but its sworn enemies.

What’s more, they’ve developed a variant of business practice that’s been termed “surveillance capitalism”. The genius of the internet giants is that they make their users complicit in their commercial exploitation. They data-mine users who, through their every action, reveal their commodified identity.

“So you’re the raw material in the product they manufacture and then sell to advertisers,” says Taplin. “Amazon now puts a microphone in your house called Alexa. That microphone is always on. It’s recording endless nothing, but maybe you’ll say, ‘Oh, we need diapers”, and the next time you [go online] there’s an ad for diapers.”

Everything is fiendishly geared towards ad sales. So there is no discrimination, no quality control other than quantity response.

What is human capital?

“What isn’t a joking matter, however, is the brave new world of work that has followed in the wake of neoclassical ideas such as human capital theory. Only when the employee is framed in such an ultra-individualist manner could the regressive trend of on-demand (or ‘zero-hours’) employment contracts ever gain a foothold in the economy. What some have called the Uberisation of the workforce functions by reclassifying workers as independent business owners, thereby shifting all employment costs to the employee: training, uniforms, vehicles and almost everything else.”

Art and literature are vital to democracy  via @TiinaMaki

“Yet while it’s conventional that wisdom exists in literature, creative writing has always been seen as more rarified or intimidating. It has been celebrated as personally palliative, yes, but it’s never been considered a method to increase participation in society. After all, what good is composing poetry and writing stories when you need a job, or a nation must be founded, or a war has to be won, or cancer is ravaging the bodies both human and politic?

But creative writing can be anyone’s best training for speaking out — and if you’ve ever read novels, heard scripture, watched movies or TV, listened to songs, or learned folklore, then you’ve been studying your entire life how storytelling works. By applying your hand at creating it, you are not just attempting art, you are learning vital skills and life lessons.”

Erik Spiekermann: No Free Pitches

“Work is gas. Work will fill any given volume. If you give me two hours, I will take two hours. If you give me 10 minutes, I will take 10 minutes. So if you give somebody two weeks to do a project, he’s going to start on day 12 and it will take him two days, but the two weeks will be filled because work expands like gas. Straightforward physics. That’s why I don’t believe in time sheets, because you always happen to have eight hours at the end of the day. You make up stuff. I felt that if our business model means that people have to work overtime or weekends, the business model sucks. So everybody is out by 7 p.m.– we literally close the doors at 7 p.m. – because if you have to work overtime, then your model sucks. And if the clients require you to do weekends, then the clients aren’t right. They wouldn’t do it themselves.”

J.K. Rowling: How to Deal with Failure

“Take control by increasing your odds of success with persistence. Success depends on the consistency of effort as much as it does on the quality of work. We can produce great work and not have it recognized. It takes more than that. It’s a numbers game. Trying again and again makes all the difference.”

Knowmad qualities via @AkiSaariaho :

Knowmad qualities by Knowmad Society

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Author: Harold Jarche

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