Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Doing Without Knowing

Say you know someone, perhaps in your profession, who you admire - whose skills you would like to be able to do or whose types of creations you wish you could create.

In the training and education industry, I see trainers use each others curriculum, stories, games, and methods ALL THE TIME. Even when the content isn't open source, it gets taken by contract staff and participants who simply go out and do it so that it soon becomes open source - rarely is educational content original or documented to the extent that it truly belongs to someone.

So there is the ownership issue, but there is also the personal issue. All legalities aside, what happens to us when we see someone or something and we try to emulate without understanding the reasoning, history, or theory behind it?

I believe that through this behavior we stop being ourselves and start being a version of ourselves we wish we were. We do it because we want to create the same results we saw them get. Yes, imitation can help us learn and get better results, but if we stop there - copying without improving and making something truly original - we only achieve a light shade of the source, and that makes us appear disingenuous.

There will always be those who are content to peddle carbon copies of things they saw and heard, but as an educator, a learner, the challenge is to steal what is legal and morally conscientious, and to do it for the purpose of building something better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

True North

Over the past year I've done some work facilitating youth learning programs for a Danish education company called True North, and in April I joined them full time as CEO (/facilitator/curriculum developer/staff trainer/everything). Small company. You know.

The work is fun and meaningful, and the people I work with care about quality and give me lots of trust and autonomy, so I am having a great time.

So now I am in the exciting position of wanting to move to Copenhagen as soon as my wife and I have our baby boy in October and are able to sell our house. (If anyone wants to buy a house in Oceanside, California, let me know.)

One of the fun challenges of working in a small business for me is recognizing which area to devote time to in the company at any given moment: marketing, sales, development, staffing, etc. I have gained a lot of good execution ideas in various company areas from reading and talking with people who have been in similar positions, but with a never-ending stream of company needs and far more to-dos than time, the priority question is constant.

Earlier in life I learned how to check-off to-dos, now I am learning how to delete them.