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robertogreco : longterm   32

Vadik Marmeladov
"I design the most beautiful products. Before scrolling down to the pictures, please read our Codes of Practice:

1. Wear the uniform
2. Think long term (like 30 years from now)
3. Build stories and languages, not things
4. Create your own universe (or join ours)
5. Collect samples
6. Be a sample for somebody else 
7. Look for loyalty, not for a skill set
8. Do not build utilitarian products. However, use them as a medium to express yourself
9. Do not exploit introverts — doesn't work long term. Learn to be an introvert yourself 
10. Travel more
11. Do not work for corporations. Old corporations were meaningful when their founders were alive, but now, they have outlived their relevancy. They exist only to keep their numbers growing
12. New corporations are no better. They have scaled up features, and today’s founders want hyper-growth for growth’s sake (it seems like every line of code, every feature deserves its own corporation — it sure doesn't)
13. So, fuck the corporations
14. Tell the truth (bullshit never works long term)
15. Study and research fashion
16. Your phone is a temporary feature — don’t spend your life on it (like you wouldn’t spend it on a fax machine)
17. Fuck likes, followers, fake lives, fake friends
18. Remake your environment. Build it for yourself, and people will come 
19. Only trust those who make things you love
20. Move to LA 
21. Don’t buy property
22. Don’t go to Mars (just yet)
23. Use only one font, just a few colors, and just a few shapes
24. Use spreadsheets, but only to map out 30 cells — one for each year of the rest of your life
25. The next three are the most important
26. The past doesn’t exist — don’t get stuck in it
27. Don’t go to Silicon Valley (it’s not for you if you’re still reading this)
28. Remind yourself daily: you and everyone you know will die
29. We must build the most beautiful things
30. We are 2046 kids"

[via Warren Ellis's Orbital Operations newsletter, 8 April 2018:

"LOT 2046 [https://www.lot2046.com/ ] continues to be magnificent. This is actually a really strong duffel bag. You just never know what you're going to get.

Incidentally, culture watchers, keep an eye on this - the LOT 2046 user-in-residence programme [https://www.lot2046.com/360/11/875c4f ]. This feels like a small start to a significant idea. Vadik thinks long-term. He once had the following Codes Of Practise list from his previous business on his personal website, preserved by the sainted Wayback Machine:"]
vadikmarmeladov  codesofpractice  uniforms  longterm  stories  language  languages  worldbuilding  loyalty  skills  samples  examples  corporations  corporatism  losangeles  property  2046  beauty  part  present  siliconvalley  fonts  mars  trust  love  environment  like  follows  followers  fakeness  relevancy  features  numbers  scale  scalability  fashion  research  attention 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Room to Rise: The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums | Whitney Museum of American Art
"Explore findings from a groundbreaking research and evaluation initiative investigating the long-term impacts of museum programs for teens. Drawing on reflections and input from hundreds of program alumni across the United States, this study documents powerful effects on participants, including lasting engagement with arts and culture, significant personal and professional development, and increased leadership skills and civic engagement. 

ABOUT THE STUDY

Room to Rise is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, with support from a National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Each of the participating museums is home to a nationally recognized teen program that has operated continuously since the 1990s. These programs bring highly diverse urban youth together to work collaboratively with museum staff and artists, developing vibrant activities and events to engage teen audiences, from tours and exhibitions to performances and fashion shows. Lead Research Advisor Mary Ellen Munley and a network of critical friends and expert advisors guided this practitioner-driven research, which incorporates innovative arts-based methods. The study offers a detailed look at the lasting impact of these programs, and highlights key engagement strategies for educators.



PROJECT FINDINGS

Program participants reported that their experiences as teens in museums were transformational, shaping their adult lives in significant ways. This study traces a relationship between high impact engagement strategies, short-term outcomes, and long-lasting impacts for alumni, including:

Personal identity and self-knowledge
Lifelong relationship to museums and culture
Expanded career horizons
A worldview grounded in art
Community engagement and influence"
art  arteducation  research  teens  youth  via:caseygollan  moca  walkerartcenter  whitney  longterm  lcproject  openstudioproject  education  learning  identity  arts  culture  museums  slef-knowledge  community  2015  sfsh 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Why Copenhagen works: Lessons in city governance | Brookings Institution
"With such a reputation, it’s not surprising that Copenhagen has become a required stop for city builders of all stripes looking for smart techniques and tactics like enclosed bike lanes, district heating, innovative transit financing, and internal green courtyards.

But this exercise misses an important point. While acknowledging the value in a search for the discrete, replicable solution, we contend the reason for Copenhagen’s success runs deeper than having progressive ideas. Rather, it is rooted in fundamentals of sound governance. Copenhagen’s municipal government is powerful, and that enhances the city’s ability to make strategic decisions that span decades and mayoral terms. The capacity of the public sector is strengthened by an educated workforce with deep technical knowledge. And collaboration across political parties, levels of government, and sectors of society is common and consistent. 

Understanding this underlying structure—and which parts are replicable and which are not—is critical to advancing progress in other cities."



"The focus on strong local capacity is also reinforced by the city government’s ability to establish publicly owned corporations with specialized areas of responsibility and authority. For example, the city and seven surrounding municipalities co-created and co-own the Greater Copenhagen Utility (HOFOR), which is responsible for building, maintaining, and operating the wastewater system, district heating and cooling, and gas supply for the city and metro region. Another publicly owned corporation is CPH City and Port Development, a joint city/federal effort that is tasked with developing areas along the waterfront and in the Ørestad neighborhood, as well as overseeing operations in Copenhagen Port. The corporation raised capital for developing the Copenhagen metro system by rezoning and selling off valuable land in Ørestad and Nordhavnen—the latter a neighborhood partly built on surplus soil pulled up during subway construction. The benefits of these corporations lie in their ability to bring scale and to harness market forces while working toward the public good."
copenhagen  denmark  cities  planning  governance  government  politics  urbanplanning  longterm  2016  via:tealtan  power  urban  urbanism 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Sweden's Minister of the Future Explains How to Make Politicians Think Long-Term | Motherboard
"Kristina Persson’s job is rather unique. Just over a year ago, Stefan Löfven, Sweden's current social democratic prime minister, decided the 70-year-old from Österstund would be the perfect figure to lead the country's new ministry of future issues, strategy and cooperation.

The idea behind the creation of such a ministry was a simple one: for Sweden to remain competitive tomorrow, it might, unfortunately, have to take unpopular steps today—and since politics and politicians, given elections and interests, tend to focus on the short-term, a watchdog for the long-term was needed.

It's easier said than done, as politics show us every day. Can you think of a politician willing to risk re-election for a better future they cannot benefit from? Most probably wouldn't. (Just look at American politicians' responses—or lack thereof—to climate change.) To understand a little more about how the new ministry works, how to plan the future, and why the Swedes always seems to be two steps in front of everybody else, I spoke with Persson.

Motherboard: Let’s start with the basics. What does long-term mean for you and your ministry?

Kristina Persson: Well, it really depends on the issue we are taking into consideration. It can be 5, 10 or even 50 years. Climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed with policies that looks at a 50 years or longer time spa\n, while the expansion of international cooperation is something we are working on with much shorter-term objectives.

Q: Can you tell us what are the areas you are focusing on?

A: The ministry is organized in three strategic groups. The first is concerned with the future of work, the second with the green transition and competitiveness, while the third one is what we call "global cooperation." Each strategic group brings together people with different backgrounds. Some come from the business community, others from civil society, trade unions, and academia. This variety is of the uttermost importance as the questions we are trying to address are complex, and finding solutions needs the cooperation of all of society’s stakeholders. No one [can be] excluded.

Q: Can you give us an example of your work?

A: Let’s take into consideration the "future of work" macro-area. There is no point trying to resist technological change and the expected automation of a great number of jobs in the coming years. Such an attitude would be shortsighted.

So the real question is not how we can try to delay the process. On the contrary, given the coming technological changes, how can we best prepare? And again, how can we guarantee that Sweden’s unemployment rate remains low and the level of social welfare the same as today? You see, these are not easy questions and if we want to find answers, we better start working now.

Q: Your ministry is a kind of odd one. You work across ministries rather than on your own agenda?

A: Yes, by its very nature the ministry of future issues overlaps with responsibilities of other ministries. For example, we work on issues that are the competence of the ministry of employment, the ministry of finance, as well as the foreign ministry. This makes our mission an extremely interesting one I believe. I think the best way to describe us is like a sort of internal government think tank whose role is to constantly remind others to include the long-term in the decision making process.

Q: That sounds quite complex, how is it to work with others?

A: It’s not always easy given the different perspectives of the different institutions involved. Yet ministries understand the importance of what we are doing and have always been quite cooperative.

We live in a world that is transforming at an unprecedented speed, a world that is constantly challenging and disrupting the old ways we are used to do things. Given the context, I believe that if politics wants to remain relevant and be useful to citizens, it needs to change its approach. It needs to experiment with new ways and new solutions. This is what we are doing at the ministry and it's quite ground breaking. A lot of colleagues from other countries have expressed interest in my work and I hope a similar institution will soon be developed in other parts of the world.

Q: I have a bit of a provocative question: Is there something undemocratic underlining your Ministry? Is it not as if you were saying that people only look at the short-term, and are unable to think long-term, so let’s create an unelected body to deal with that.

A: I can understand your point, but I disagree. If you think about it, most ministries have a top-down approach. By this I mean they decide on a specific policy and then, given they have a budget and political leverage, they have the power to implement it. This is a vertical approach, the opposite of the horizontal one we promote here at the ministry.

Rather than going top-down, we promote inter-ministerial collaboration and force decision makers to confront the long-term issues despite the fact this is harder to do sometimes. The product of our efforts are suggestions, never impositions, and I think this is very democratic. Also, whatever policy we might suggest has to be embraced other ministries in order to become a reality since we don’t have a budget and the political capital to push it through parliament.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you think that needs to be addressed other than climate change?

A: The demographic problem. Sweden, as well as the rest of Europe, has to cope with an increasingly ageing population. This raises questions about the present pension schemes and their sustainability. The issue is simple: who is going to pay for the pension benefits if in most European countries pensions will represent a higher percentage of GDP and fewer people will be part of the active labour force. We need to start thinking and acting now.

Q: When you are working, does anyone say something like "Oh my god, it's Kristina nagging about the long-term again"?

A: [Laughs] No, it has not happened yet."
kristinapersson  sweden  politics  policy  longterm  longnow  future  goodancestors  democracy  climatechange  aging  sustainability 
november 2015 by robertogreco
How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening | Comment is free | The Guardian
"And because the theatre captures data on every choice by every team, for every performance, I know we were not alone. The aggregated flowchart reveals that every audience, on every night, veers towards money and away from ethics.

Svendsen says: “Most people who were given the choice to raise wages – having cut them – did not. There is a route in the decision-tree that will only get played if people pursue a particularly ethical response, but very few people end up there. What we’ve realised is that it is not just the profit motive but also prudence, the need to survive at all costs, that pushes people in the game to go down more capitalist routes.”

In short, many people have no idea what running a business actually means in the 21st century. Yes, suppliers – from East Anglia to Shanghai – will try to break your ethical codes; but most of those giant firms’ commitment to good practice, and environmental sustainability, is real. And yes, the money is all important. But real businesses will take losses, go into debt and pay workers to stay idle in order to maintain the long-term relationships vital in a globalised economy.

Why do so many decent people, when asked to pretend they’re CEOs, become tyrants from central casting? Part of the answer is: capitalism subjects us to economic rationality. It forces us to see ourselves as cashflow generators, profit centres or interest-bearing assets. But that idea is always in conflict with something else: the non-economic priorities of human beings, and the need to sustain the environment. Though World Factory, as a play, is designed to show us the parallels between 19th-century Manchester and 21st-century China, it subtly illustrates what has changed."



"The whole purpose of this system of regulation – from above and below – is to prevent individual capitalists making short-term decisions that destroy the human and natural resources it needs to function. Capitalism is not just the selfish decisions of millions of people. It is those decisions sifted first through the all-important filter of regulation. It is, as late 20th-century social theorists understood, a mode of regulation, not just of production.

Yet it plays on us a cruel ideological trick. It looks like a spontaneous organism, to which government and regulation (and the desire of Chinese migrants to visit their families once a year) are mere irritants. In reality it needs the state to create and re-create it every day.

Banks create money because the state awards them the right to. Why does the state ram-raid the homes of small-time drug dealers, yet call in the CEOs of the banks whose employees commit multimillion-pound frauds for a stern ticking off over a tray of Waitrose sandwiches? Answer: because a company has limited liability status, created by parliament in 1855 after a political struggle.

Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism – as a state of being – is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. Today it is beset by strategic problems: debt- ridden, with sub-par growth and low productivity, it cannot unleash the true potential of the info-tech revolution because it cannot imagine what to do with the millions who would lose their jobs.

The computer that runs the data system in Svendsen’s play could easily run a robotic clothes factory. That’s the paradox. But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better. Maybe the next theatre game about work and exploitation should model the decisions of governments, lobbyists and judges, not the hapless managers."
capitalism  economics  ethics  money  values  2015  rationality  behavior  priorities  policy  sustainability  survival  worldfactory  paulmason  latecapitalism  psychology  zoesvendsen  growth  productivity  banks  banking  government  governance  regulation  longterm  shortterm 
june 2015 by robertogreco
No Panaceas! Elinor Ostrom Talks with Fran Korten - Shareable
"Fran: Many people associate “the commons” with Garrett Hardin’s famous essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” He says that if, for example, you have a pasture that everyone in a village has access to, then each person will put as many cows on that land as he can to maximize his own benefit, and pretty soon the pasture will be overgrazed and become worthless. What’s the difference between your perspective and Hardin’s?

Elinor: Well, I don’t see the human as hopeless. There’s a general tendency to presume people just act for short-term profit. But anyone who knows about small-town businesses and how people in a community relate to one another realizes that many of those decisions are not just for profit and that humans do try to organize and solve problems.

If you are in a fishery or have a pasture and you know your family’s long-term benefit is that you don’t destroy it, and if you can talk with the other people who use that resource, then you may well figure out rules that fit that local setting and organize to enforce them. But if the community doesn’t have a good way of communicating with each other or the costs of self-organization are too high, then they won’t organize, and there will be failures.

Fran: So, are you saying that Hardin is sometimes right?

Elinor: Yes. People say I disproved him, and I come back and say “No, that’s not right. I’ve not disproved him. I’ve shown that his assertion that common property will always be degraded is wrong.” But he was addressing a problem of considerable significance that we need to take seriously. It’s just that he went too far. He said people could never manage the commons well.

At the Workshop we’ve done experiments where we create an artificial form of common property such as an imaginary fishery or pasture, and we bring people into a lab and have them make decisions about that property. When we don’t allow any communication among the players, then they overharvest [the commons]. But when people can communicate, particularly on a face-to-face basis, and say, “Well, gee, how about if we do this? How about we do that?” Then they can come to an agreement.

Fran: But what about the “free-rider” problem where some people abide by the rules and some people don’t? Won’t the whole thing fall apart?

Elinor: Well if the people don’t communicate and get some shared norms and rules, that’s right, you’ll have that problem. But if they get together and say, “Hey folks, this is a project that we’re all going to have to contribute to. Now, let’s figure it out,” they can make it work. For example, if it’s a community garden, they might say, “Do we agree every Saturday morning we’re all going to go down to the community garden, and we’re going to take roll and we’re going to put the roll up on a bulletin board?” A lot of communities have figured out subtle ways of making everyone contribute, because if they don’t, those people are noticeable.

Fran: So public shaming and public honoring are one key to managing the commons?

Elinor: Shaming and honoring are very important. We don’t have as much of an understanding of that. There are scholars who understand that, but that’s not been part of our accepted way of thinking about collective action."



"Fran: Do you have a message for the general public?

Elinor: We need to get people away from the notion that you have to have a fancy car and a huge house. Some of the homes that have been built in the last 10 years just appall me. Why do humans need huge homes? I was born poor and I didn’t know you bought clothes at anything but the Goodwill until I went to college. Some of our mentality about what it means to have a good life is, I think, not going to help us in the next 50 years. We have to think through how to choose a meaningful life where we’re helping one another in ways that really help the Earth."

[via: http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/112050255339/theres-a-general-tendency-to-presume-people-just ]
elinorostrom  2010  economics  behavior  longterm  slow  community  communities  communication  organizing  business  problemsolving  fisheries  environment  sustainability  cooperation  collaboration  garretthardin  frankorten  collectivism  commons  landmanagement  governance  resourcemanagement  robertnetting  freeriding  freeriders 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci was no genius on Vimeo
"All of history’s biggest achievers found success in exactly the same way, and it’s the complete opposite to how we think today. This video essay reveals the hidden secret to creativity through the life story of Leonardo da Vinci."

[Part 2: https://vimeo.com/87448006 ]

"This missing chapter in the story of success reveals the secret to doing meaningful work. But in the modern world, full of distraction, do we have what it takes to do great things?

The second in a two-part series about creativity."

[See also: http://delve.tv/the-long-game-part-one/ ]
latebloomers  persistence  via:rushtheiceberg  2014  history  youth  age  practice  success  leonardodavinci  slow  longterm  accretion 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Making Games in a Fucked Up World – G4C 2014 | Molleindustria
"And yet here we are now, academia, disruptors from the education industry, DARPA creeps, venture philantrophists, noprofit bureocrats, technocrats, game fundamentalists…

We are working for all kinds of change. Therefore we cannot really talk about change.

We use euphemisms like social good, values, and other progressive terms that don’t offend or scare anyone (especially funders and sponsors).
But we can only really talk about games. It’s the only common denominator.

We are discussing games as general purpose instruments.
And in doing so we are putting the means ahead of the ends.

Here’s my first proposition:

If we can't talk about the change we want to see, we can't choose our tools according to tactical considerations and strategic goals.

The Nazis embraced radio because, in Germany, at that point in time it was an extremely centralized infrastructure. Perfectly consistent with the kind of change they wanted to create.

The discourse around serious and transformative games has been stuck in a sort of delusional loop for several years now.

Of course at this point we established that games can be expressive and representational media. They aren’t mere vectors for messages to be dumped into players’ brain.

They are objects we can think with – like moving images, or texts.

They are interfaces between people.
They are conversations that can happen via body language and verbal language, through the clash of conflicting desires, through the dance between chance and skill, through computation and storytelling…

Even single player games are conversations.
I often say that single player computer games are a type of multiplayer games. The designers can be seen as players as well. They are an extreme form of asynchronous, asymmetrical game if you will.
You play with the authors.

Games are multitude.

BUT for serious and transformative games this is not enough.
It’s not enough to be just a cultural form among the others.
Serious games want to transcend this symbolic and relational dimension and be the very embodiment of *actual* change.

This is the delusional loop I’m talking about.

One of the starting points of this narrative was this talk from 2007:
Making a new kind of serious game: Games that are designed as functions with an end result that is a measurable difference in the present state of reality.
— Jane McGonigal Erasing the Delta – Games that Accomplish a Specific Task, Games Developer Conference 2007

The delta is the gap between representation and actual change.
And here the keyword is measurement.

The presumption is that social change can be measured in the same way you can measure the calories burned by playing an exercise game.

This obsession with quantification pervades contemporary society.

It’s the basis of the gamification ideology.
And the basis of contemporary capitalism. Late capitalism is less about producing and selling stuff and more about reifying the immaterial sphere (culture, language, relationships, ambitions).

If you can measure something, you can rationalize it, you can optimize it, you can sell it.

If you are in the no profit industrial complex you can get more funding if you demonstrate a measurable impact.

Except the measurement of complex social phenomena is always reductionist and problematic.

We use the Gross Domestic Product to measure the success of a nation disregarding many other indicators.

By using standardized tests to assess the quality of learning we turned our schools into bootcamps for standardized tests.

Here’s another simple proposition:

If you can measure it then that’s not the change I want to see.

It’s a provocation of course, I’m fine with games accomplishing very specific tasks.

The problem is that by focusing on measurable goals we narrow our action.
We favor individual change, versus systemic and long term change.
We target burning calories without addressing food politics and food justice.
We try to impose prepackaged behavior protocols rather than facilitating critical thought.

And I’ll go even further:

If your game or technology really works (in this direct and reductionist way) it freaks me out.

If you actually figure out methods to control people’s behavior.
You can bet they will be adopted by governments and advertisers in no time.
You are working for them."



"But one thing I can tell for sure: the act of making games about social issues, has always been a profound transformative experience for me.

I came to the conclusion that there is a greater liberation potential in designing games rather than playing games.

I argue that next step of games for impact doesn’t lie in some technological advancement but rather, in helping people to engage with the practice of game design.

Game design, especially when socially engaged, involves a lot of research and synthesis. What are the actors and the forces governing this system?
What are the internal relationships?
What are the limits of the player’s agency?
This conceptual (and not just technical) tools is what we practitioners can share.

Designing game has a couple of terrific extra outcomes:

First: by designing games you acquire the tools to demystify all games. To play critically.

Second: by democratizing game design you don’t have to look for big funders.

Games are expensive to make but also not. I’ve never spent more than 100 dollars on my games.

There are plenty of digital tools. And non professionals have been making and adapting games (even games for change) since forever.
As Zach Gage said yesterday, every child is a game designer.

Third: by just facilitating the creation of games you don’t incur into typical fallacies of the white savior industrial complex. Like the mis-representation and objectification of others.

This makes me think about another keyword in this industry: empathy.
If you want to convince privileged people to donate you have to make them feel bad.

But empathy is almost inevitably patronizing, it presumes helpless subject who can’t speak for themselves. And privileged subjects i.e. “us” that are somehow separated from them.

Pppression is fractal.

Most of us (the 99% of us), are both oppressed and part of a system of oppression.

Anyway, here’s my last proposition:

WORK TO MAKE YOURSELF OBSOLETE

Which is probably a terrible idea if you want to be a professional in the social change industry.

I want to conclude by mentioning an initiative I’ve been helping to coordinate in the last two years.
It’s not a solution but a small contribution and a possible alternative model. It’s a series of workshops called Imagining better futures through play."
videogames  games  gaming  gamification  systemsthinking  longterm  systems  behavior  2014  paolopedercini  control  measurement  systemicchange  advertising  centralization  change  changemaking  seriousgames  gamedesign  design  quantification  capitalism  gdp  janemcgonigal  zachgage  classideas  children  making  empathy  paulofreire  oppression  saviorcomplex  privilege  edg  srg 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Perennial Design, by Wilson Miner · Issue 4 · The Manual
"The modern practice of agriculture is based on a system of annual monoculture because it’s what gets results. Because the plants have no long-term systems to support, all their energy goes toward producing grains, which means bigger harvests. By planting huge fields with only one crop, the large commercial operations, where most of our food is produced, can operate as efficiently as possible. Year over year, annual monoculture feeds the most people the most efficiently. It’s also completely, transparently, inherently unsustainable.

We can’t afford to follow the same model. We’re beginning to recognize our own monocultures as the short-lived efficiencies we extracted from them begin to unravel. The premise that we can design for a manageable number of combinations of screen sizes, platforms, contexts, and devices is quickly eroding. The diversity of variables in our ever-changing digital environment demand thoughtful systems designed around principles durable enough to outlast increasingly brief cycles of obsolescence.

When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term."

[via http://tinyletter.com/intriguingthings/letters/5-intriguing-things-43
via http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/74218411367 ]
monoculture  farming  agriculture  wendellberry  wilson  miner  sustainability  2014  growth  slow  small  diversity  environment  efficiency  obsolescence  profit  renewal  wesjackson  thelandinstitute  systemsthinking  durability  time  longterm  shortterm 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Be Nelson Mandela | Easily Distracted
"So he was a strategist. This, too, is a commonplace thing to say about Mandela. More than a few of the well-prepared obituaries that have been circulating since yesterday afternoon have repeated Ahmed Kathrada’s oft-told tale of a three-day chess game that Mandela played against a new detainee on Robben Island, until his opponent surrendered. But this too isn’t quite right, if it’s meant to confer superhuman acuity on Mandela. As he himself was quick to say for much of his life, he made a great many mistakes as both leader and man. The ANC’s approach to the political struggle in South Africa, whether under the active leadership of Mandela and his circle or not, has been full of bone-headed moves. Mandela’s commitment to the armed struggle was a strategic necessity and a political masterstroke, but the actual activities of MK were mostly a sideshow to the real revolution fought in the townships after 1976. It’s not as if Mandela sat down and said, “Ok, so now I go into jail for 27 years and come out a statesman”. His life as both revolutionary and president was, as any political life is, a series of improvisations and accidents.

His improvisations were far more gifted than most, in part because of his disciplined approach to political selfhood. That’s the thing that made Mandela’s strategy and his adaptations stand out. All of his selves and words and decisions were an enactment of the enduring nation he meant to live in some day. I think that is the difference between him and many of his nationalist contemporaries who ascended to power in newly independent African states between 1960 and 1990. (This, too, needs remembering today: Mandela came to nationalism in the same historical moment as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Kenneth Kaunda, and so on.) The difference is that Mandela was always looking through the struggle to its ultimate ends, whereas most of the nationalists could see little further than the retreat of the colonial powers from the continent and the defeat of any local political rivals. Perhaps that was because Mandela and his closest allies, even during the Youth League’s insurgency against the old ANC leadership, could see that the endgame of apartheid could never be as simple as making a colonizer go back home. Perhaps it is just that he was a better person, a bigger man, a greater leader than most of them.

Or indeed, most of all the leaders of his time in this respect: to keep a long view of the world he ultimately thought his people, all people, should live in. He is the head of his class on a global scale, standing tall not just above his African contemporaries but above most other nationalists and certainly above the neoliberal West, whose leaders seem almost embarrassed to have ever thought about politics as the art of shaping a better future for all."



"When you say, “He was a great statesman”, credit what that means. It means that he looked ahead, kept his eyes on the prize, and tried to do what needed doing, whether that meant taking up arms, or playing chess, or making a friendly connection with a potentially friendly jailer. If you’re going to say it, then credit first that there might be great leaders (and great movements) where you right now see only terrorism or revolution or disorder. That so many people were wrong about Mandela should at least allow for that much.

Don’t forget that it wasn’t just the Cold War leadership of the West that was wrong. Other African nationalists were wrong: many forget that for a time, the PAC had a serious chance of being taken as the legitimate representative of the aspirations of South Africans. Of course, some of them were perfectly right about Mandela and that’s why they hated him both early and late, because he had a far-sightedness and a realistic vision of a world that could be that they lacked. For someone like Robert Mugabe, the most unforgiveable thing about Mandela is that having power, he gave it up. And those on the left who just want to remember Mandela the revolutionary have to remember that Mandela the neoliberal was largely the same man, with the same political vision.

So of course it sticks in the craw to hear those who would have condemned Mandela (and those who did condemn him through word and deed) now speak of his greatness. But again, the point is not to say, “You were wrong this once, because this man”. It is to say, “You are often wrong, and not just because your judgement of individual greatness is wrong.” You are wrong when you can’t be bothered to hear from people who would have been, who were, your friends when they come to testify about how your drones killed their families, wrong when you spy on anyone going into a mosque in New York City, wrong when you let some mid-rank bureaucrat or think-tank enfant play the role of policy-wonk Iago who whispers to you which friends to murder or neglect. You are wrong when you pretend that from Washington or London you can sort and sift through who ought to be allowed to win desperate struggles for freedom and justice and who should not, and wrong when you arm and forgive and advise the same kind of grifters who take your money and laugh all the way to the torture chambers.

You were wrong then and now because you won’t let yourself see a Mandela. But also because you think that the privilege of making a Mandela belongs to the empire. This in the end is his final legacy: that he, and his closest colleagues, and the people in the streets of Soweto, and maybe even a bit (though not nearly so much as they themselves would like to think) the global allies of the anti-apartheid struggle, all of that made Mandela. Mandela made himself, much as he in his humility would always insist that he was made by the people and was their servant."



"What no one really wants to see is Mandela the builder, because nowhere in that sight can we find our own reflection.

That’s why he seems like such a lonely giant, mourned by all, imitated by none. Because who now can boast of a long-term view of the future? Who is looking past the inadequacies of the moment to a better dispensation? Who really works to see and imagine a place, a nation, a world in which we might all want to live and then plots the distance between here and there? Some of us know what we despise, we know the shape of the boot on our neck or the weight on our shoulders. Some of us know what we fear: the shadow of a plane falling on a skyscraper, the cough of a bomb exploding, the loss of an ease in the world. We know how to feel a hundred daily outrages at a stupid or bad thing said, how to gesture at the empty spaces where a vision once resided, how to sneer at our splitters and wankers, how to invest endless energies in demanding symbolic triumphs that lead nowhere and build nothing. Our political leaders (and South Africa’s, too) have no vision beyond the next re-election and their retinues of pundits and experts and appointees are happy to compliment and flatter the vast expanses of their nakedness in return for a share of the spoils.

Mourn the statesman and the revolutionary and the terrorist and the neoliberal and the ethicist and the pragmatist and the saint and don’t you dare try to discard or remove any part of that whole. Celebrate him? Sure, but then make sure you’re willing to consider emulating him."
nelsonmandela  timothyburke  2013  vision  forethought  longterm  longtermthinking  visionaries  politics  africa  southafrica  history  strategy  power  leadership 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Ian Bogost - What Grows when MOOCs Grow?
"You might want to read this New York Times article about Georgia Tech's new online masters degree in computer science. The article is pretty good, reasonably balanced, and looks at the issue from (almost) all sides. Notable side missing, as usual: what students think.

Anyway, I've said enough about this whole MOOC thing, but I did want to highlight one excerpt from the NYT piece:
The three leading MOOC providers, Udacity, Coursera and edX, have grown at a remarkable rate, adding hundreds of courses with dozens of college and university partners. But the path ahead is less clear, and all three are working with universities to find ways in which their courses can be used for credit.

This is true only for certain definitions of "growth." Really, the MOOC providers have grown exclusively on the usual Silicon Valley premise of speculative, short-term bets that have little concern about long-term prospects. Certainly their revenues haven't grown much; only their reach, as they manage to convince universities to give away the "content" of courses and teaching to produce a beneficial network effect for these private technology services.

The growth of private MOOC companies is driven almost entirely from financial speculation, speculation with an interest in private, short-term gain via industrialized scale. It's worth imagining what other kinds of growth might be possible if we had the stomach for a different kind of speculation meant to benefit long-term social institutions like schools instead of just the market. There's an alternate universe in which the NYT published a story today about how strong public investment in educational programs reduced costs and increased quality without selling the farm to bankers. One in which the key measure of "growth" is related to educational practice rather than industrialization. But that's not our universe."
moocs  ianbogost  shortterm  longterm  finance  udacity  coursera  edx  2013  industrialization  speculation  mooc 
august 2013 by robertogreco
THE ONES
"‘Heirloomness’ is the one principle that guides everything on this list. Is this something we want forever? Is this something that our grandkids could want forever? These are hard, bordering impossible, questions. But let’s step away from external forces that drive current desires and trends and consider the objects we acquire on a generational time scale.

* The design is simple, timeless and long-lasting. We want to love it today and forever.

*It’s over-engineered to take a beating and age gracefully. We trip, fall, spill and drop things. It’s part of life. Engineer it to account for abuse, misuse and wear.

*It’s built with quality in mind, using the right tools and materials. There’s a time and place for every material. But, let’s not kid ourselves, a plastic case with a metallic finish will not perform the same as a piece that’s milled out of a solid block of metal.

*The interface is intuitive to use and works as expected. No manuals please. Who reads those anyways?…"
builttolast  longlasting  advice  quality  betterthings  lessthings  possessions  tools  cw  longterm 
december 2012 by robertogreco
The Case for Spending a Little More Sometimes - NYTimes.com [Similar to a Bruce Sterling post. Also apply to policy decisions.]
"Too often I think we convince ourselves that buying for the long term doesn’t matter. We can always replace it, right? But how much simpler would life and our money decisions be if we bought with the goal of owning that item for a long time?

Taking this approach puts a new spin on how we spend our money. Maybe it makes us think a little harder about what we’re buying. Maybe it makes us wait a little longer so we can afford exactly what we want. Maybe it makes us a little happier about what we have because we’re buying things we want around for a long time.

When we start treating everything around us as disposable, it’s hard to not think of money as disposable, too. And it’s this line of thinking that gets us into trouble.

Don’t be the person who ends up with a storage unit full of stuff you didn’t really want in the first place and an empty bank account. Do be the person who buys good things and then hangs on to them. Both you and your bank account will be happier."
money  qualityoverquantity  purchasinghabits  longterm  personalfinance  2012  carlrichards 
september 2012 by robertogreco
BuzzFeed’s strategy - Chris Dixon
"Why BuzzFeed Is Succeeding Right Now?

1) Long Term Focus

When you compare web publishing today with what Hearst and Conde Nast built in the last century, it is clear that online publishing has a long long way to go. …

2) Respecting our Readers

We care about the experience of people who read BuzzFeed and we don’t try to trick them for short term gain. This approach is surprisingly rare.

How does this matter in practice? First of all, we don’t publish slideshows. Instead we publish scrollable lists so readers don’t have to click a million times and can easily scroll through a post. …

3) We Build The Whole Enchilada…

4) We Are Doing Something Hard…

5) We Got Lucky!

A big part of our recent success has also been luck.  People don’t like to admit it but skill is 63% luck.

6) We Don’t Treat Half Our Team Like Losers…

7) Our Awesome Team…

But Success Is Fragile…"
readers  entrepreneurship  luck  chrisdixon  strategy  business  media  journalism  buzzfeed  publishing  scrolling  pagination  longterm 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: Matt Haughey - Lessons from a 40 year old on Vimeo
"Matt will cover a bunch of lessons he’s learned in the past decade of life as he embarks on turning 40. They eschew much of the Techcrunch/ReadWriteWeb/Mashable world by focusing on taking a longer term view of your work and focusing on life/work balance and having a happy life as well as a fulfilling career."

["Semi-transcript": http://a.wholelottanothing.org/2012/03/my-webstock-talk.html
community  portability  backup  platformagnostic  urls  permanence  simple  attention  time  relationships  cv  metafilter  longterm  37signals  small  slow  bootstrap  lifestylebusiness  aging  wisdom  lifelessons  startups  webstock12  webstock  longnow  meaning  purpose  work  happiness  fulfillment  life  matthaughey  work-lifebalance 
march 2012 by robertogreco
The peak oil crisis: the energy trap
"…most government policies aimed at helping with energy costs - tax rebates on efficient vehicles, subsidized public transit & telecommuting, benefit mainly those with higher incomes…

If there is a way out of the energy trap, it is going to be hard to find. For now most of us are muddling along. Long vacation trips are down a bit but commuting, shopping, visiting, moving the kids about is going along about as usual. Those who can't afford driving, shopping, recreation, and eating are cutting back as much as necessary to keep the gas tank full.

The long term solution to all this is rather straight forward -- better public transit, far more efficient cars, housing closer to work. But these are all long term solutions, expensive and years to implement. All indications are that the energy trap can only get worse, perhaps much worse, in the next few years."
energytrap  energy  us  publictransit  masstransit  missedopportunities  2011  peakoil  government  policy  longterm 
october 2011 by robertogreco
DEAR AMERICA: It's Time To Say A Big 'Thank You' To Amazon
"Amazon is investing (and hiring) while many other American corporations are milking incumbent businesses, under-investing in research and development, and hoarding cash. To the chagrin of some traders, Amazon is distinctly NOT "maximizing near-term profits" — it is sacrificing near-term profits. It is making less money now in the hopes of making more money and creating more value later. And it is ignoring the howls and screams of short-term traders who couldn't care less about Amazon's long-term prognosis, add nothing to the economy, and just want to make money now.

If more American companies started to do what Amazon does — ignore short-term pressures, sacrifice near-term profits, and invest for the long-term — the American economy would start to heal itself quickly."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/12030550839/amazon-is-investing-and-hiring-while-many-other ]
amazon  shortterm  longterm  investment  2011  self-interest  capitalism  business  economics  wallstreet  occupywallstreet  ows  greed  finance  self-interestproperlyunderstood 
october 2011 by robertogreco
What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? - NYTimes.com
"…concerns about a character program…comprised only those kind of nice-guy values. “The danger w/ character is if you just revert to these general terms—respect, honesty, tolerance—it seems really vague. If I stand in front of kids & just say, ‘It’s really important for you to respect each other,’…they glaze over. But if you say, ‘Well, actually you need to exhibit self-control,’ or you explain the value of social intelligence—this will help you collaborate more effectively —…it seems…more tangible.”…

“Sure, a trait can backfire. Too much grit…you start to lose ability to have empathy for other people. If you’re so gritty that you don’t understand why everyone’s complaining about how hard things are, because nothing’s hard for you, because you’re Mr. Grit, you’re going to have a hard time being kind. Even love—being too loving might make you the kind of person who can get played…character is something you have to be careful about…strengths can become character weaknesses.”
education  character  tcsnmy  lcproject  teaching  learning  grading  books  success  failure  kipp  schools  workethic  kindness  empathy  dominicrandolph  davidlevin  michaelfeinberg  martinseligman  christopherpeterson  2011  psychology  longterm  grit  gritscale  angeladuckworth  iq  wholecandidatescore  grades  self-control  socialintelligence  gratitude  curiosity  optimism  zest  gpa  cpa  character-pointaverage  middle-classvalues  self-regulation  interpersonal  love  humor  beauty  bravery  citizenship  fairness  integrity  wisdom 
september 2011 by robertogreco
allen.sw.huang — Steve Jobs & Taking The Long Road
"Jobs (and by extension, Apple) has taught me (and I am sure others) a big lesson: If you want to change something, you have to be patient and take the long view. If Apple and Steve’s incredible comeback teaches us something, it’s that when you are right and the world doesn’t see it that way, you just have to be patient and wait for the world to change its mind.

Today, we are living in a world that’s about taking short-term decisions: CEOs who pray to at the altar of the devil called quarterly earnings, companies that react to rivals, politicians who are only worried about the coming election cycle and leaders who are in for the near-term gain.

And then there are Steve and Apple: a leader and a company not afraid to take the long view, patiently building the way to the future envisioned for the company. Not afraid to invent the future and to be wrong. And almost always willing to do one small thing — cannibalize itself."
ommalik  2011  stevejobs  longterm  apple  business  risk  purpose  design  making  doing  self-cannibalization  shortterm  near-term  longview  vision  mistakes  patience  lcproject  tcsnmy  persistence  gamechanging  via:rushtheiceberg 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The American suburbs are a giant Ponzi scheme | Grist
"Since the end of WWII, our cities & towns have experienced growth using three primary mechanisms:

1. Transfer payments between governments: where the federal or state government makes a direct investment in growth at the local level, such as funding a water or sewer system expansion.

2. Transportation spending: where transportation infrastructure is used to improve access to a site that can then be developed.

3. Public and private-sector debt: where cities, developers, companies, & individuals take on debt as part of the development process, whether during construction or through the assumption of a mortgage.

In each of these mechanisms, the local unit of government benefits from the enhanced revenues associated with new growth. But it also typically assumes the long-term liability for maintaining the new infrastructure. This exchange -- a near-term cash advantage for a long-term financial obligation -- is one element of a Ponzi scheme…"
politics  economics  cities  urban  business  suburbs  suburbia  ponzischemes  government  strongtowns  sustainability  finance  infrastructure  2011  charlesmarohn  future  development  transportation  liabilities  maintenance  urbanism  policy  longterm 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Study raises questions about full-day kindergarten
"Full-day kindergarten may be having a negative effect on the learning and personal development of some children, according to new research.

Early results from a pilot study focusing on two classrooms in southwestern Ontario revealed that teachers in a regular school setting were often caught in the tension that exists between meeting curriculum expectations and teaching to student interests.

The researchers argue that academic goals, centered on results and preparation for standardized tests in later years, are taking away from play-based learning that builds upon what the child already knows."
play  curriculum  emergentcurriculum  kindergarten  pedagogy  teaching  learning  longterm  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  schooliness  standardizedtesting  testing  conflict  results  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Ivory Towers of Debt | varnelis.net
"It's a giant ponzi scheme with little of value for students and, as Harper's described in a notorious graphic about the consequeneces of overbuilding in Brandeis (Brandeis has threatened a lawsuit and has accused Harper's of slander and libel over this piece), can collapse precipitously during times of economic crisis. But while bonds were hot, Wall Street couldn't have enough of them, so universities eagerly complied."
tcsnmy  fundraising  bonds  endowment  universities  highered  money  economics  recession  priorities  shortterm  longterm  kazysvarnelis  javierarbona  cities  architecture  buildings  finance  leadership  administration 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - America on Deadline - NYTimes.com
"Some years ago, psychologists posed a deceptively simple question: if I were to offer you $100 right now, or $110 a week from now, which would you choose? Most subjects chose to take $100 right then. It didn’t seem worthwhile to wait an entire week for only $10 more.

[via: http://blog.longnow.org/2009/12/04/discounting-the-future/ ]
psychology  davideagleman  procrastination  afghanistan  uncertainty  certainty  future  politics  policy  barackobama  instantgratification  delayedgratification  crisis  2009  subprime  shortterm  longterm  longnow 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Sander van der Leeuw: The Archaeology of Innovation - The Long Now
"As we become ever more adept at solving short-term problems, we shift the risk to long-term problems---such as climate change---which do not match the skills we have developed and know how to reward. We are headed into a trap of our own devising. To get out of it, if we can, will require a "battle with ourselves" to wholly redefine our social structures and institutions to master the long term."
stewartbrand  technology  history  intelligence  archaeology  longnow  innovation  evolution  longterm  problemsolving 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Christopher D. Sessums :: Blog :: Substitute Students and Learning for Customers and What Do you Get?
"I enjoyed listening to Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman of the board, and CEO of Amazon (who recently acquired Zappos), talk about his philosophy for a successful business. While I am not insisting on a one to one correlation here, I think educators can learn a lot from thinking about what Mr. Bezos says in relation to students, learning, and the community of stakeholders associated with schooling. If educators were as dedicated to students and learning as Amazon and Zappos are to customers, imagine the level of learning and understanding that could be possible for everyone involved. This formula requires us to reimagine schooling from the ground up (i.e., please erase the current industrial model immediately).
jeffbezos  amazon  zappos  business  education  learning  teaching  tcsnmy  change  reform  students  community  longterm  criticism  focus  competition  gamechanging  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling 
august 2009 by robertogreco
ADHD drug debate at Joanne Jacobs
"In the short run, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder benefit from drug therapy, researchers say. They do much better than kids treated with talk therapy alone or routine medical care. In the long run — more than two years – ADHD drugs lose effectiveness. And kids who take the drugs for three years or more end up shorter than those who quit earlier. Some scientists accuse others of downplaying the long-term trend, reports the Washington Post:"
adhd  drugs  pharmaceuticals  learning  education  parenting  longterm  research 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Open the Future: The End of Long-Term Thinking
"My intent, from this point forward, is to stop talking about the "long-term." No more long-term problems, long-term solutions, long-term changes. No more long-term perspectives. In its place, I'm going to start talking about "multigenerational" issues. Multigenerational problems, solutions, changes. Multigenerational perspectives."
jamaiscascio  via:blackbeltjones  future  futurology  generations  longterm  language  terminology 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Reversal of Fortune: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com
"Describing how ideology, special-interest pressure, populist politics, and sheer incompetence have left the U.S. economy on life support, the author puts forth a clear, commonsense plan to reverse the Bush-era follies and regain America’s economic sanity." ... "When the American economy enters a downturn, you often hear the experts debating whether it is likely to be V-shaped (short and sharp) or U-shaped (longer but milder). Today, the American economy may be entering a downturn that is best described as L-shaped. It is in a very low place indeed, and likely to remain there for some time to come."
josephstiglitz  economics  us  crisis  bailout  2008  banking  finance  money  policy  politics  sustainability  energy  longterm  future  taxes  biofuels  oil  gamechanging  regulation  subprime  meltdown  recession  wallstreet  reaganomics  georgewbush  housing  jobs  markets  unemployment  freemarkets  greatdepression  wealth  disparity  lending  reform  change 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Can You Tell the Truth About Being Self Interested? > Trusted Advisor Associates > Trust Matters
"desire for immediate gratification is often enemy of longer-term happiness...5-year-olds were analyzed according to ability to defer gratification...lives then traced over decades...kids who chose more later were notably happier, more successful, more st
time  life  happiness  research  gratification  longterm  shortterm  delayedgratification 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Conceptual Trends and Current Topics: Incremental Vs. Discrete Content
"Micro-incremental growth is an under-appreciated element of successful new media. This method is way beyond issuing beta versions, because there are no versions, just ever tiny modifications, some of which are not even improvements but simply changes."
wikipedia  change  growth  citizendium  jimmywales  crowdsourcing  quality  time  wikis  wikiasearch  slow  longterm  kevinkelly  content  encyclopedias  semantic  semanticweb  internet  web  online  data  database  information  knowledge 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: MacroMyopia overestimating the short term and underestimating the long term
"Yesterday it was Inbox 2.0 - Email meets Social Networks. Macro-Myopia is the tendency to overestimate the short term impact of a new product or technology, and underestimate its long term implications on the marketplace, and how competitors will react."
email  sms  texting  predictions  future  shortterm  longterm  macromyopia  trends  work  youth  etiquette  communication 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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