Web Cuttings - October 11th, 2011

Web cuttings: a collection of ‘me too’ moments on the intertubes.

Brad Feld is similarly sceptical about the use of titles to flatter and bribe employees:
"I’ve never paid much attention to titles. This is especially true when I’m involved in helping recruit someone for a company. I’m much more focused on what the person is going to do and what they’ve done in the past than what their title is (or was). Every now and then an obsession with title is a positive trait as it drives an important discussion about roles; most of the time it’s an annoying obsession with title."

Alex Tabarrok points out women are riding out the GFC far better than men are in ‘The Great Male Stagnation’, reinforcing my argument that women are betters suited to the modern workplace:

“The big difference between female and males as far as jobs, of course, has been labor force participation rates, increasing strongly for the former and decreasing somewhat for the latter ... Other differences are that female education levels have increased dramatically and male levels have been relatively flat. Females are also more predominant in services and males in manufacturing: plumbers, car mechanics, carpenters, construction workers, electricians, and firefighters, for example are still 95%+ male.”

In ‘It’s Who You Know’, Tara Hunt reinforces my argument that Masters Degrees are primarily beneficial as a great hoop-jumping enterprise, and for their opportunities to network.

“Why do people go to university/college? The connections. Sure, you can learn stuff and grow your talent, but ... you can get access to all sorts of knowledge, talks, lectures and resources online, too. It’s not the content, it’s the connections. And when the barrier to entry is high ... it’s a signal that you now have access to those connections, too.”
Tiger Beatdown meanwhile explores how we even value and weigh the act of networking, in different contexts.

Reminiscent of my rant on ‘Education’s Forgotten Stakeholders,’ Michelle Rhee discusses how we have sidelined students in the debate about education reform:

“We’ve lost our competitive edge and our competitive spirit,” Michelle said. “If we continue to build a culture where we’re allowing kids to celebrate mediocrity, we’re going to lose overall as a nation.”

A Wikipedia Policy and Guideline page on tl;dr highlights one more danger of changing our writing to suit the web – oversimplification:

“As a label, it is sometimes used as a tactic to thwart the kinds of discussion which are essential in collaborative editing. TL;DR is a shorthand observation very much like the complaint that Mozart's music has too many notes. The label is used to end discussion rather than engaging it.”
Moral of the story: sometimes we really do have to sit down in a big, comfortable chair, and commit several hours of our lives to a single reading.

Reminiscent of my ‘Turning our workplace into our workbench’ article, J.C. Herz gives an excellent College Commencement Address at the Ringling College of Art and Design, reminding us to take ownership of our professional development:
“As a creative professional, you have to get over the idea that your employer or your client owes you a wide blue sky or a creative romper room. You are the one who’s responsible for your continued growth and development. Sometimes, you have to make your own fun, on your own time. The downside is, you don’t necessarily get paid for that. The upside is, you don’t need sponsorship or buy-in.”

Kudos to Mike Radivis, whose article about gamification takes my vague ideas about turning my creativity (and indeed life) into a game, and actually presents some concrete examples:
“My approach to personal development is to turn life into a game which consists of challenges and experiments. I call that new paradigm life gamification. Applying that paradigm helped me to get motivated and increase my productivity where all other techniques I tried before have failed miserably!”

Word of the day: circle jerking -
“Sometimes used to describe an internet forum thread where forum members all give each other kudos (Or rep where a rep system is present) for some non-event that has occurred.”
(Nicely fits my ‘Dangerous seduction of trophies’ philosophy.)

Relating to my article about how bad weather and depression makes us more focused on our work - there’s actually a term (though rather derogatory) for the large southern European countries (and some British isle ones): PIGS -
“Refers to the economies of Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, and sometimes Ireland – often in regard to matters relating to sovereign debt markets. Some news and economic organisations have limited or banned its use because of criticism regarding perceived offensive connotations. The acronym has long been used by bank analysts and bond and currency traders dating back at least to the period of the ERM and is used by some analysts, academics and commentators as a concise way to refer to the Eurozone countries of southern Europe noted for similar economic environments.”

A smart-looking article on how to increase your desirability by being selectively tempted, which relates to my rant about how women risk being labelled as ‘sluts’ if they are sexual liberal (even though guys generally want women to be sexually liberal with them):
“Walster and her colleagues argue the most desirable woman is a selectively hard-to-get woman, i.e., a woman who is easy for the subject to get but hard for all other men to get. Such a woman incorporates the positive characteristics of a hard-to-get woman - "selective" and "popular" - with the positive characteristics of an easy-to-get woman - "friendly," "warm," and "flexible"; a woman with all of these characteristics is a selectively-hard-to-get woman. A woman can intensify her desirability if she acquires a reputation for being hard-to-get and then, by her behavior, makes it clear to a selected romantic partner that she is attracted to him.”
And delving into the realm of game theory:
Showing selective interest is then the best strategy in both 'playing hard to get' and the 'in due course' policy. Both policies work when they signal selectivity. But for the person you are after, you should be easy to get because otherwise he may doubt your love for him.”

Reinforcing my philosophy that you do not need to love your job to have a creative outlet, one reviewer of Ken Robinson’s book The Element writes:
“It is never too late. Adults can find their passion, in spite of any past negative experiences. We can use our passions to do creative work of our choosing, even in the spare time left over after our main work is completed (such as a full-time job to earn a paycheck) while provides a feeling of fulfillment that impacts their entire life in a positive way. Sir Ken Robinson seems to hope that all people would find their passion in life (including in mid-life or in one's twilight years) and to not just focus on getting through life with a more basic survival mentality, bored and feeling empty inside but making ends meet (or living with large paychecks but still unhappy).”

Regarding the ‘slow train wreck’ of Europe’s economy, ‘Concerned of Italy’ comments:
“I'm curently touring in Europe and the media accross Europe clearly identify that the current bailout of Greece is only to allow time for the eurozone to brace for the impact of Greece & Ireland as they default. Instead of burdening our country with more debt (ie carbon tax) Gillard should be preparing it for the next GFC when the eurozone takes a body blow from the defaulting countries.”

And finally, a completely irreverent, and irrelevant, article about genital inferiority complex, translated (not too roughly) from Italy’s StyleIt :
“There is only an obsession comparable to that of men who would have a really big dick: that of women for the boobs. With the exception of the real plus - but I also met women with a 4 ‘measures more abundant that wanted “to have a circumference equal to that of my hips” - almost all women under the 4’, precisely, would like to have “a lot ‘more than boobs.” Even knowing, however, that no man despises a nice plus (no, not talking and arguing about those perfect cups of champagne), women can be unbearable in this too. While we humans, if we want it bigger, it is because we think that our partners could try a “more fun” to use, women dream of bigger breasts only for their personal gratification aesthetic for that moment when you look at the mirror after a shower and can say: “But what a nice pair of tits.””

Image by splityarm
Shout out to Erin for the idea :)