The Value of *selective* Listening

I have recently come across this eye opening post. I mean, it probably was eye opening back when it was written in 1995, heck, I bet most Newsweek readers back then yelled something like “I knew it, that Internet thing is bullcrap!”.

This article, astonishingly titled Why the internet will fail, runs down through the many reasons why Internet would be something we would all get over soon really quickly, like we did with Tamagotchis (thankfully).

Now, this is not your run of the mill ignorant news reporter who talks about things s/he doesn’t understand, this was written by Clifford Stoll, an astronomer and technology writer, working out of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Yet, he can be quoted saying

Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.

This author was an authority, someone that we could think that knows much more than we do, so if we disagree with his view we might want to review our opinion.

And this is something that I have seen over and over again, the number of specialists, analysts, etcists, that express an opinion on their field and its completely wrong, completely off base. Of course, we are all humans, we tend to make mistakes, so don’t take this as being judgmental, I’m just saying, we should listen, but we should selectively listen and always make up our own mind and not act on other’s opinions but our own.

The Value of Idle Time

I have recently read a quote attributed to Einstein, it reads something along the lines of “the best ideas I have I have them while I shave”. This got me thinking, how much idle time do I have on any given month?

I am an Internet junky, and completely obsessed with efficiency, so I may not be a good statistical sample, but bear with me on this one.

Aftter considering the different idle times we get throughout our daily lives, commuting, personal care time, all meals, I have realized that most of those times I have occupied them (except commute since I work out of my home office) with some supposedly time saving activity, whether it is checking my email, browsing, reading blogs, even when I shower I have managed to be able to do “something”, even if it is just listening to music (come to think about it maybe I could tune some podcasts).

It feels like I’m constantly multitasking, maybe this is a good thing, or maybe not. Even now, I am on my way to a medical check up writing this post on my iPhone.

This forces me to ask myself “What’s the value of idle time?”. For some reason it feels like my ideas begin to flow so much better when I’m not doing something else, when I’m only commuting. It would seem like our information overload and constantly-online capabilities on our smartphones, our inclination to be constatly productive has actually defeated it’s own purpose messing with our creativity.

Listening to other people’s ideas requires not listening to ours, at least for a brief moment. You can use others’ ideas as a trigger for inspiration but at one point the marginal value of listening becomes detrimental to our own creativity and innovation. In the very same way that this happens with consumers indifference curves this can’t be quantifies nor generalized as more people require more listening and some people require less listening.

Ok enough about this, I’m going to continue reading on my kindle now.

The Value of Selfishness

I have recently had the opportunity to help out a friend who is launching her own company. This is the first time I have informally gave advice to a fellow entrepreneur and I have found it to be a very rich experience, where a lot of value is easily created, strengthening the “core friendship” in the process.

From a purely selfish point of view I have been enjoying myself, opening up to a new industry I haven’t gave too much thought ever before, and sharing ideas on the go. I have seen this before, but being the reminded of the richness of bouncing ideas off someones head and seeing what comes back at you is always a good and enjoyable thing.

Needless to say, I wish her the best of lucks in her new endeavor! Best of lucks, Lucila!