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thoughts on 2017

I don’t really know what to think about 2017.

These are a bunch of thoughts that have nothing to do with the new year.

I’ve been thinking about education and what the value of a degree is, and the following seems relevant.

From David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon College Commencement Speech

Here is the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out.

If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

Maybe that relates to my next point.

Are you day trading? (From Seth Godin’s Blog)

The volatility of bitcoin turns the people who own it into addicts. At any given moment, it's up $100 or down a thousand.
When it's up, you think you're brilliant, that you somehow had something to do with it. And when it's down, the world is about to implode.
Most people don't day trade bitcoin, but all of us day trade something. We're hooked into something volatile, easily measured and emotional. We overdo our response to news, good or bad, and let it distract us from the long-term job of living a useful life.
Your SEO results, your Facebook likes, the look on your boss's face when she gets back from a meeting--all of these things are rife with opportunities for day trading.
It'll be volatile with or without your help. Better to set it aside and get back to the real work of making a difference instead. 


This is a rant :

Results

The goal of a business is to make a profit.

A business employs people because they do work and make the business profitable.

You work towards a University degree because you will do work better and will be more attractive to businesses.

At the end of the day, all that matters is results.

That’s the point. Instead of proving your value through getting a degree, prove your value by getting results.

Get page views, get purchase orders, show your understanding of how consumers think and how to take advantage of it.

There are very few people who teach at Universities who have attained results. They have been taught about results, they talk about results, they think about results.

But they never get results.

At the end of the day, the only way to absolutely prove you get results, is to get results.

That is why I am so unsure of this University thing. No one can prove they know how to get results by teaching. Only by doing.

Summary: Success in University does not directly translate to success in the real world.



Finally,

Creative people have a weird job

Do you create things that you think are cool, or do you create things that you think other people will like. In more abstract terms, it’s the difference between staying true to yourself and selling out, right? But how do you define the line between your audience’s taste and your own. Presumably, a great creator would accumulate such a unique audience that there would be no difference between their two tastes.

Maybe it’s a matter of having a constant conversation with your audience. Each party challenging the other the create new and better things. The difference between that and losing your own say in the things you create is a blurry one.

I assume the only absolute solution is to create as if your audience is irrelevant.