May 14, 2013
And lo, there did come the day when lolcat, destroyer of jobs, went about his dread culling …
I have trouble with the premise that Jaron Lanier presents in this recent Salon article about how the Internet “destroyed the middle class.” If anything, it has empowered the middle class.
The Internet is a technological tool. Tools are pass-through mechanisms. A person or people exert energy through it, leveraging that energy to greater or more focused effect. In that sense, the people carry the culpability for things, not their tools — this is why we convict and imprison people, not bullets or blades, no matter how controversial those tools may be.
That said, Kodak going bankrupt is a tale told numerous times by the steamboat, the horse and buggy (as mentioned in the article), and major railroads, among others. In telling this cautionary tale of the terrible human cost of technology in the form of ro-butts stealin’ our jobs!, we gloss over the fact that Kodak is emerging from bankruptcy, still employs hundreds, and has revenues of $6B. They are not a charity case – and no business should be. And neither should their employee base be considered one, despite Lanier’s suppositions.
The way I look at it, we have all found this tool, and can use it to make what we will. I don’t need a traditional middle-class job if my ability to work with this tool, and other technological advances, lets me make the same salary or even considerably more. I know this is the case for myself and many, many others. Lest we forget, Facebook has 4,900 and is growing; LinkedIn has over 3,500; Twitter has close to one thousand. There are millions of websites. A small fraction give at least one person a job. In fact, John Quelch did a study for the IAB four years ago that discovered over 3 million jobs created by the Internet in the US alone.
So, I have trouble seeing the Internet as the great destroyer of jobs. Technology and society simply march on, right? Or am I off-base somewhere? Let me know in the comments below.
More media – affiliate and otherwise – about the Internet, the gold watch, and everything:
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February 5, 2013
I really wanted to name this post, “Have laptop, will travel.”
On a hunch (and as a good best practice), I did a little due diligence and found that there were over 100,000 people who’d had the same idea. I started to get frustrated, then defaulted to, “Well, great minds think alike.” So, before I say anything else, let me injudiciously spotlight a few other folks who were smarter, quicker, or both on the Have Laptop, Will Travel train.
After I give them props, I’ll explain to you what I mean, and how I’m living a Western:
But, all of that both is and is not why I’m writing this. I’m really writing this because of Paladin.
Have Gun – Will Travel (a snowclone phrase popular the first half of the 20th Century) was a TV show about a gunfighter named Paladin who walked the Earth, having adventures. (“Have gun. Will travel.” Get it?) I never watched it, but the Ballad of Paladin was a fair pre-Internet meme. It went like this:
Have gun. Will travel. Not on craigslist.
This is on my mind this morning because I had a moment of epiphany in appreciation of my life. Things have been stressful lately (join the club, amirite?), but I took a step back and assessed today. I liked what I saw.
You know what I do every day? I wake up, roll out of bed, hit my laptop, and work until I can’t stand not eating or not peeing anymore. (This morning’s new record: 3.75 hours! I won’t tell you for which.) Then, I go back to work, either going into my office (precisely 4 minutes from where I live) or at home, depending on the patent-pending Ron Marshall Distractedosity Index (p-pRMDI) – if I feel too distracted at home (or I need to interact with people at the office), I shoot over to the office. If I feel like the office will be too distracting (and I really need to hunker down on lockdown), I stay at the domicilic headquarters. I then proceed to work until I get brain-fry or hunger pangs (looking down, that’s too often lately). Then, I repeat. I keep up this cycle for 12-18 hours, 5-6 days every week.
The result? On my favorite days, it means checking things off of my list. Oh, the joys of list checking-off; if you don’t know them, you should. On lesser days, I add more things to the list than I check off. That increases the net task “surplus”, but I’m learning to better manage my people and resources to make that work, too.
And what do I do for a living? I find trouble. I solve problems. I make solutions. I have meetings – online, offline, on phone, in face. I listen to what my clients feel like other people think is impossible, and hear that they want me to do just that. I grind, I grab, I tussle with friends and foes. And I do it quiet like a ninja, because if anyone knew how the sausage was really made, it might make them sick to the stomach. They don’t need to know the process. They just need the delicious result – and I never use horse meat.
Everything isn’t perfect – if it were, people like me wouldn’t have a job. But, we work to perfect it – everything. We go where we’re needed. We don’t like to fight, but when we do, we’re in it to win. We look, we make, we build, we change, we remain …
“Have gun; will travel,” reads the card of a man …
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