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jerryking : non-routine   9

Always seek out novelty — even at home
April 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.
* A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Claude Shannon (1948)
* The search for new experiences should not just be for our holidays.
* Japan: 10 days in a far-off land produces a richer treasury of detailed memories than 10 weeks back home. But why?
* Actively searching for new experiences --whether on holiday abroad or within your daily routine at home!!
* Novelty isn't just about mental stimulation. It also exposes you to opportunity.....Variation also reshapes the mental categorisation of experiences, so that freshness can be found within routine activities.
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While on an adventurous holiday, many people experience that strange sense of time having slowed down in the most pleasurable way, and of conversations that begin, “Was it really only yesterday that we . . . ?”

Ten days in a far-off land produces a richer treasury of detailed memories than 10 weeks back home. But what is behind this phenomenon?

Claude Shannon,in 1948, published one of his two profound contributions, A Mathematical Theory of Communication.....a message can be compressed to the extent that it is predictable. ....(e.g. Ritualised conversations (“How are you?” “Very well, thank you. How are you?”) can be heavily compressed.....A movie can be compressed because, between cuts, each frame tends to resemble the previous one....Although the parallel is not exact, much the same thing seems to be going on with our memories of life. The brain is not a video recorder; we recall the gist. Sometimes the gist is very brief. If I get up in the morning at the usual time, eat my customary breakfast and catch my usual train to the office, why should my brain trouble itself to remember this day two weeks after the fact? The diffs are barely worth bothering with. In contrast, fresh experiences defy compression: the diffs are too big........Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human, a book about conversations between humans and computers, speculates that if we’re seeking advice we should ask the person of whose answer we are least certain. If we want to understand a person, we should ask them the question to which we are least sure of their answer.
algorithms  books  compression  creativity  creative_renewal  economists  experience_economy  fresh_eyes  habits  holidays  insta-bae  Japan  mybestlife  novelty  non-routine  Slow_Movement  Tim_Harford  travel  unpredictability  vacations  variety 
april 2019 by jerryking
How to approach your own career like an entrepreneur - Fortune
1. Choose growth over profitability. Rather than focus on short-term gains, think long-term goals and what you need to get there.
2. Bet on who you want to work with, not on where. Job seekers should invest in people, not ideas. That means pick the place you’re going to work for the people you’re going to work with. They’re the ones who will train you and lead you to other opportunities when the time comes.
3. Find your special sauce. Fetishize your product-market fit. This may be one of the hardest challenges in the new economy.
4. Celebrate uncertainty. Iterate. Seek feedback and adapt. Pivot where necessary.
5. Be public. Be on Linkedin. Give away hard-won information and knowledge, you’ll get something back. Be more transparent.

Nitin Julka was 31 and working like a dog in Cleveland when he got the itch. For six years he’d been a VP of his family’s business, a $20 million company that sold IT to schools. He had moved home after getting an MBA, excited to grow the company and make a difference in educational technology. It had been a “wild ride,” but he was ready for change. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to do something different.”

The jobs that interested him most were in tech. He started calling friends, friends of friends, business school classmates, and even distant contacts to talk about Bay Area companies and about what professional roles he might actually qualify for. After 30 or so conversations, he made up his mind: He wanted to be a product manager at a fast-growing Silicon Valley–based startup.

This struck few as a logical or even feasible next step for Julka: “I was changing job functions, industries, and geographies. People told me you can do one of those things—not all three at once.”

But Julka is more self-aware than most. On a quarterly basis, he conducts a life assessment and reviews what he considers to be his professional competitive advantage. Among his “most unique” attributes he lists his receptiveness to feedback. Indeed, in his quest for continual improvement, he has recorded personal and professional feedback in a single, running Google doc since 2010. He reads it once a week, when prompted by a recurring calendar invite.

And so began what Julka considers the “abnormal part” of his job search: He drew up a spreadsheet of 60 target companies, a few of which he researched for 60 to 80 hours (he admits he “overinvested”). He read 10-Ks and 10-Qs and a hundred CrunchBase articles; he mined his personal and virtual connections; he enlisted a friend, a former Google programmer, to tutor him in code; and he found free online videos from which he learned UX/UI design. With his wife’s support, he gave himself five weeks in Silicon Valley—no mean feat given that he had an 18-month-old baby at home. He met with three or more people a day, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and rode the highs and lows of pitching himself for a job that many thought he was an odd fit for.

It ended on a high. In September 2013 he got several job offers—including one, through a contact of his business school professor, at Bizo, a startup that has since been acquired by LinkedIn LNKD .

Julka may sound like a case study in craziness, a modern-day Ben Franklin whose entrepreneurial energy and efforts cannot be easily matched. But while he exists at one extreme, he’s the prototype for what it takes to navigate one’s career these days.

The truth is, wherever you are on the corporate ladder, whatever you do for a living, you’ve got to think like you’re launching a business from the ground up.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote in their zeitgeist-tapping book from 2012, The Start-Up of You, “All humans are entrepreneurs.” To accelerate your career in today’s economy, you’ve got to embrace that spirit and apply the Silicon Valley formula—“adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself”—no matter how comfortable in your job you might be.

Imagine you’re a founder. You’ve been working for days—years, really. (You can’t remember the last time you took a day off.) You’ve networked like crazy. And now, at last, you’ve landed one of those much-coveted meetings with a high-profile venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road.

the start up of you bookIt feels as though you’ve been waiting your whole life for this: You’ve prepared your slide deck, rehearsed your pitch, and honed your talking points. You’re ready to be grilled about even the finest details of your marketing and monetization strategies. You’ve gone so far as to research your VC’s hobbies. But the product you’re selling isn’t some whiz-bang app or the latest and greatest cloud-computing platform; the product is you.

Here’s where your potential backer steps in: What’s your competitive advantage, she asks? The questions come rapid-fire: What’s your addressable market? The opportunities for growth? Your five-year plan? Your 10-year plan?

You may not be used to thinking about your career in such calculating terms, but old standards like “follow your passion” get you only so far. You won’t get Series A funding, but the analogy is apt: If you are the startup, you’d better start answering to your inner VC.

“You’ve got to have a sense of purpose, authenticity, self-awareness, intellectual honesty, and the ability to navigate ambiguity,” says Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm. That’s what he looks for in companies—and people—he invests in. Alan Braverman, an entrepreneur and angel investor who co-heads the Giant Pixel, a tech startup studio, speaks more bluntly: “What most people consider a safe career path, I consider falling behind.”

You don’t have to be a TaskRabbit (or a VC) to know that the world of work has changed. Technology, globalization, and one long recession—in which nearly one in six Americans reported losing a job, according to Princeton economist Henry Farber—have all disrupted old-fashioned employment. Corporations have downsized, outsourced, and rightsized. They slashed training budgets during the recession, and though that spending is coming back—up 15% in 2013, according to a Deloitte survey—corporate talent development is thought to be a dying art. “As companies see it, the incentives are just so perverse,” says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton Business School. “Typically you train someone, and once they become useful, they’re hired away from you.” Meanwhile, the slow march of automation continues: Robots now fly planes, perform surgeries, and in some cases write news. That leaves you, dear worker, in a tight spot—whether or not you’ve got your dream job now, you’ve got to stay relevant and evolve.

That’s not as easy as it once was. The half-life of desirable skills has shortened with the hastening pace of technological change. (A Python programmer now eats the once-hot Java programmer for lunch.) Fabio Rosati, CEO of the online freelancing platform Elance-oDesk, says these dynamics are moving us from the era of employment to one of newfangled “employability.” Professionals, like the 9.3 million who find work on his site, are now being viewed as mobile, independent bundles of skills. In this universe the most adaptable talent rules the day. Increasingly, learning agility is an attribute sought in corporate leadership, says Vicki Swisher, a senior director at Korn Ferry, an executive search firm. What’s more, she says, it’s what employers are looking for in all new hires.

That agility is also mission critical for your personal enterprise (formerly known as your career path). Rather than climb a single corporate ladder like the company man of yore, you’re more likely to spend your career scaling a professional jungle gym, maneuvering between projects, jobs, companies, industries, and locales. By the reckoning of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest job-tenure survey, you’ll pivot every 4.6 years (make that three if you’re a millennial, a demographic that will dominate the workforce in 2015). To do this well requires imagination, initiative, and some guts. Much like a startup, you’re forging your way ahead in a dynamic world where there is no conventional path.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” advises Mike Abbott, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who knows as an entrepreneur and as someone whose career zigged to Microsoft, Palm, and Twitter before it zagged to venture capital. In his case, he sought discomfort. “That’s how you learn the most.”

While the ideas of a free-agent nation and personal brand building have been with us for a couple of decades, DIY-career building has gotten a big push from the digital (and old-fashioned sharing) infrastructure that fosters this independence. There’s the rise in communal workspaces like WeWork and educational alternatives like Coursera, which offers college courses online, and General Assembly, which trains workers in the most in-demand tech skills. (As Julka’s case shows, YouTube and Google can also be empowering resources.)

A slew of online platforms has made it simpler to drum up employment, from one-off gigs to full-time jobs. Professionals can peddle their services, whether it be supply-chain management or legal advice, more easily and independently too, through sites like Elance-oDesk and TrustedPeer, which sometimes cater to big companies.

The data are messy on the size and shape of this new, more independent workforce. The BLS, whose classification system dates back to 1948, counted 14.4 million self-employed Americans in April 2014. That’s a far cry from the results of a study commissioned this year by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, which put the number of freelancers—a broader category that includes temps, part-timers, and moonlighters—at 53 million, or one in three American workers. (A report on freelancers … [more]
Ben_Casnocha  customer_growth  discomforts  Elance-oDesk  free-agents  gig_economy  invest_in_yourself  it's_up_to_me  job_search  large_companies  learning_agility  Managing_Your_Career  non-routine  personal_branding  pitches  preparation  product-market_fit  readiness  Reid_Hoffman  self-assessment  self-awareness  self-employment  Silicon_Valley  skills  slight_edge  special_sauce  start_ups  torchbearers  transparency  TrustedPeer  uncertainty  value_propositions  via:enochko  WeWork 
july 2016 by jerryking
Meet Bloomberg's data-driven Daniel Doctoroff
Aug. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail |JOANNA SLATER.

Mr. Doctoroff’s job, as deputy mayor for economic development, would include rebuilding the site and pushing ahead with projects envisaged in the Olympic bid....Founded by Mr. Bloomberg in 1982, the firm grew into a global juggernaut that disrupted every field it touched, from market data to financial journalism....Mr. Doctoroff had a yen for precision and a belief in the power of data. To eliminate clutter on his desk, he never touches a piece of paper twice. “I either delegate something, I dump it, or I deal with it,”...Mr. Doctoroff’s mission at Bloomberg is twofold. The first is to sell more terminals – a subscription service that costs more than $20,000 (U.S.) a year per person and offers access to an expanding universe of data, analytical tools and news. Last year was a tough one for terminal sales; Wall Street firms continued to shed staff in what Mr. Doctoroff describes as “the fourth year of post-financial crisis adjustment.”

The second task is to lead the company into other areas and make those investments pay off. Bloomberg has launched what it hopes will become indispensable data products for fields like law and government and also for back-office personnel within finance. Then there’s the media business, which includes a news service, television, radio and magazines, among them Bloomberg Businessweek, which was purchased in 2009. Businessweek still isn’t profitable, but it’s losing much less money than it used to. The magazine, like the rest of the news operation, serves another objective in the Bloomberg ecosystem, Mr. Doctoroff said: heightening the firm’s profile so it can attract more market-moving scoops, which in turn helps to sell more terminals....On his career path: I believe we’re all endowed with a very small set of narrow skills that make us unique. You’ve got to find what that is. Most often what you truly understand makes you unique is something that you’re also going to build passion around. For me – and I didn’t really discover this until I was in my 40s, the line that connected the dots … [is] seeing patterns in numbers that enable me to tell a compelling story which helps to solve a problem. So whether it is helping a candidate get elected or doing a road show for a company, getting a project done in New York or hopefully setting a vision for a company, it’s that narrow skill.
New_York_City  Bloomberg  data_driven  precision  CEOs  organizational_culture  Wall_Street  private_equity  digital_media  disruption  privately_held_companies  Michael_Bloomberg  fin-tech  journalism  pattern_recognition  career_paths  gtd  mayoral  Daniel_Doctoroff  storytelling  product_launches  sense-making  leadership  insights  leaders  statistics  persuasion  ratios  analogies  back-office  connecting_the_dots  scoops  financial_journalism  financial_data  special_sauce  non-routine  skills 
august 2013 by jerryking
The Internship - Not the Movie - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 8, 2013

Internships are increasingly important today, they explained, because skills are increasingly important in the new economy and because colleges increasingly don’t teach the ones employers are looking for. Experience, rather than a degree, has become an important proxy for skill, they note, and internships give you that experience. So grab one wherever you can, they add, because, even if you’re just serving coffee, it is a way to see how businesses actually work and which skills are prized by employers.... Since so many internships are unpaid these days, added Sedlet, there is a real danger that only “rich kids” can afford them, which will only widen our income gaps. The key, if you get one, he added, is to remember “that companies don’t want generalists to help them think big; they want people who can help them execute” and “add value.”

But what, they were often asked, does “add value” mean? It means, they said, show that you have some creative flair — particularly in design, innovation, entrepreneurship, sales or marketing, skills that can’t be easily replaced by a piece of software, a machine or a cheaper worker in India.
job_search  tips  internships  HireArt  Managing_Your_Career  value_creation  new_graduates  experience  thinking_big  value_added  creativity  imagination  execution  Tom_Friedman  non-routine  in-person  special_sauce 
june 2013 by jerryking
What Knowledge Is of Most Worth in the Global and Digital Economy?
Catching Up or Leading the Way

by Yong Zhao

We must cultivate skills and knowledge that are not available at a
cheaper price in other countries or that cannot be rendered useless by
machines. This is mainly Pink's argument but is shared by others such as
the New Commission on Skills of the American Workforce and Harvard
economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, both professors of
economics at Harvard University. In The Race Between Education and
Technology, they write:

Today, skills, no matter how complex, that can be exported through
outsourcing or offshoring are vulnerable. Even some highly skilled jobs
that can be outsourced, such as reading radiographs, may be in danger of
having stable or declining demand. Skills for which a computer program
can substitute are also in danger. But skills for non-routine
employments and jobs with in-person skills are less susceptible. (Goldin
& Katz, 2008, p. 352)
21st._century  automation  China  core_competencies  Daniel_Pink  digital_economy  eBay  education  face2face  future-proofing  imagination  in-person  knowledge  Lawrence_Katz  Managing_Your_Career  mental_maps  non-routine  personal_growth  outsourcing  self-analysis  self-worth  skills  skills_training  special_sauce 
june 2011 by jerryking
To Get Paid What You're Worth, Know Your Disruptive Skills - Whitney Johnson -
September 14, 2010 | Harvard Business Review | Whitney Johnson.
To close the gap between what we're paid and what we're worth, there
is a lesson to be learned from the stock market. The stocks that trade
at fair value or even a premium to their peers are those that know what
kind of stock they are, and then deliver, whether "disruptive innovation
— emerging growth," "sustaining innovation — best-of-breed," or
"being-disrupted — but dividend-paying." Not surprisingly, the stocks
that lead with their unique or disruptive capabilities command the
highest absolute multiples...Translating this to our careers, when we
proffer to the marketplace a disruptive skill set, focusing on our
distinctive innate talents rather than 'me-too' skills, we are more
likely to achieve success and increase what we earn. Any hard-won,
'me-too' skills can follow as a kicker.
Clayton_Christensen  compensation  disruption  hbr  indispensable  JCK  Managing_Your_Career  non-routine  personal_growth  salaries  self-worth  skills  special_sauce  uncharted_problems 
september 2010 by jerryking
Seth Godin on What it Takes to be a Linchpin [INTERVIEW]
Feb. 14, 2010 | Mashable | Interview of Seth Godin by Steve
Cunningham is the CEO of Polar Unlimited, a digital marketing agency.
In his book — Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? — Seth Godin poses a
challenge: Take your gift, whatever it is, and use it to change the
world. As Godin says, “a linchpin is the essential element, the person
who holds part of the operation together. Without the linchpin, the
thing falls apart.” "If I told you, step-by-step, what to do to become
indispensable, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could do it, it
wouldn’t be worth very much. Scarcity creates value. And, this is going
to frustrate people, but the emotional labor of work, today — the thing
that makes you worth $50,000 or $100,000 or $150,000 a year — is that
you can navigate the world without a map. People who need a map, are
going to get paid less and less and work harder and harder every day,
because there’s plenty of those people, and I can find them with a click
of the mouse."
Seth_Godin  indispensable  howto  entrepreneur  inspiration  scarcity  interviews  proprietary  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  navigation  non-routine  uncharted_problems 
february 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - The New Untouchables - NYTimes.com
October 20, 2009 | New York Times | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN. The
economic downturn has coincided with an education breakdown on Main
Street — precisely as a 'Flat World' enables so many more people to
compete with Americans for middle-class jobs. "“... education failure is
the largest contributing factor to the decline of the American worker’s
global competitiveness, particularly at the middle and bottom ranges,”
"...those [professionals] who have the ability to imagine new services,
new opportunities and new ways to recruit work [will be] retained. They
are the new untouchables." .......A Washington lawyer friend recently told me about layoffs at his firm. I asked him who was getting axed. He said it was interesting: lawyers who were used to just showing up and having work handed to them were the first to go because with the bursting of the credit bubble, that flow of work just isn’t there. But those who have the ability to imagine new services, new opportunities and new ways to recruit work were being retained. They are the new untouchables...........Survival means actively engaged in
developing new ideas or recombining existing technologies or thinking
about what new customers want......those who have some interpersonal skills — the salesperson who can deal with customers face to face or the home contractor who can help you redesign your kitchen without going to an architect — have done well.”.....Just being an average accountant, lawyer, contractor or assembly-line worker is not the ticket it used to be. As Daniel Pink, the author of “A Whole New Mind,” puts it: In a world in which more and more average work can be done by a computer, robot or talented foreigner faster, cheaper “and just as well,” vanilla doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s all about what chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cherry you can put on top. So our schools have a doubly hard task now — not just improving reading, writing and arithmetic but entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.
interpersonal_skills  Tom_Friedman  Daniel_Pink  schools  education  individual_initiative  decline  non-routine  Managing_Your_Career  imagination  skills  special_sauce  idea_generation  Flat_World  unarticulated_desires  middle_class  new_thinking  intrinsically_motivated  winner-take-all  entrepreneurship  innovation  creativity  Lawrence_Katz  mental_dexterity 
october 2009 by jerryking

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