Work + Education

I think more people need to experience a combination of work and education. In fact, I would argue that people exposed to both day to day work lifestyle + some form of graduate education are better equipped than those who focus solely on either of those.

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How similar work is to school

I started my externship at a company and its been over a week. What strikes me the most is how similar the experience was to my last big demo project. The process is very similar, the methodologies seem so far to be similar (though it looks likes there’s more frequent use of workshops) and the questions being asked all seem to be very familiar. Its not unexpected but what is surprising is the reaction of the folks when i mention that. They dont expect the similarity. Now admittedly, it is early and I expect that what I will find will be specific practices that are more advanced than what we’ve learned at school, like the methods of storytelling, use of prototyping at earlier stages etc.

Now this is good since it means a transition will be much easier and less disruptive on both sides. I have less than 3 weeks remaining and i’m eager to see what else i can learn.

Test post from the g1 app

G1 released a wordpress app for moblogging. Lets see if this works

It’s nice when you experience knowledge convergence

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success where he says that place, cultural legacy and people are critical in an individual’s success and that trying to narrowly and incorrectly define the success of people such as Bill Gates or Paul Allen through the myth of a lone-wolf is missing the point. In one of his chapters, he links wet-rice farming, math skills and the Asian people together with some interesting research. His basic point was that cultures that depended on labor intensive wet-rice farming methods spent double the amount of annual hourly labor in taking care of their fields. This cultural legacy spilled over to the intensity of preparation for children in their studies. The interesting part of this story was that while Asian’s didn’t necessarily have a higher IQ in general, their ability to spend far more focused time (30% more in one of his examples) trying to solve math problems led to an significant increase in their mathematical ability.

The second article I read today was about the “The New Work Ethic‘ where the point was being made that the work ethic of the new generation should not just be to work hard, but be more focused on whatever they are working on. This resonated well with me since a different chapter in Outliers mentions the 10,000 hour rule, which represents the number of hours to truly develop mastery of a specific skillset. It’s implied in the description of those who had accumulated these hours that they were 10,000 focused hours, not simple hours spent watching tv while practicing a violin for example.

Finally, this morning, I ended up chancing on the discovery channel episode regarding the evolution of the Shaolin Temple in China. The temple has long trained fighting monks who are perfect examples of those gaining mastery of their practice using focused attention and long hours of practice.

So it’s nice to see reinforcing perspectives the importance of focused attention, and long term hard work to develop mastery of a skill.

Good stuff to know on who actually own’s the idea generated in school

Having had a lot of ideas and developed a few of them in and out of school, I found this to be an interesting article on intellectual property of products designed in schools.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/education/edlife/whoseidea-t.html?pagewanted=3&ref=edlife

Semester’s over and updates to the blog are overdue

I’ve got 2 days left in my extended interview/mini-internship and I’ve promised myself to write at least 5 new blog posts over the next 10 days. There’s so much I need to capture for myself, including my learnings from this semester, and my anticipation of my next extended interview/mini-internship at GravityTank.

I need to come up with a better name for what I’m doing. I’m not sure Minternship or Exterview will do.

Great article on the design of the Samsung Instinct for Sprint

Parrish, head of the Experience Planning group at Motorola pointed me in the direction of this article on the development of the Samsung Instinct for Sprint. The discussion came about as we were talking about how large companies such as Microsoft, Boeing and Target were using smaller design groups to spur the larger company to take greater chances. The talk then led to the concept of open innovation, which was a topic I had just finished writing a paper on.

Anyway, here’s the link:
http://sender11.typepad.com/sender11/2008/10/design-of-the-s.html