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Tag: Seth Godin


Curated Ecosystem of Live DJs

Seth Godin latest article, entitled “the trap of social media noise“, touches on one of the hot issues about the Internet. I curated this article from Seth which was reviewed eloquently from Robin Good who asked:

Are we creating and leveraging these tools to regurgitate and spit out more noise, or are we working to build tools and to help others understand the value of distilling and making sense of the information wave surrounding us?

Curation can also be an easy way to repost someone else’s information without doing much work yourself. You can share to multiple social networks and RSS feeds. This creates even more noise and confusion. Who was the original author and what is the intention of the curator?

Seth writes that “…either be better at pump and dump than anyone else, get your numbers into the millions, outmass those that choose to use mass and always dance at the edge of spam (in which the number of those you offend or turn off forever keep increasing)… or Relentlessly focus.

Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that’s worth owning and an audience that cares. Only one of these strategies builds an asset of value.”

Howard Reingold interviewed Robin Good about Curation in the video below. I have been following Robin on Scoopit and am learning how to be a curator from him. People can be gateways to the information we need instead of relying on digital robots using algorhythms that produce millions of resources in a search — millions that are not relevant.

I am enjoying building my Scoopits and gathering resources that will help me write and learn. But I do have some concerns similar to what Seth was writing about and Robin was talking about. Just getting your numbers up with followers, hits, comments, and others rescooping your scoops isn’t enough. The Internet is like drinking from a firehose. We need humans to filter now — not just put up lists to links and more links. Building a curated ecosystem means that each curator is customizing the flow of information for their audience. I am learning as I go. I’m following people with similar interests and finding and collecting sources that I would have missed in a basic search.

I am just dipping my toes in this new world and anxious to see where it ends up. Robin mentioned one thing that stuck out to me: “Are you a Mixed Tape or a Live DJ?” A live DJ finds information and distributes it the way his/her audience would enjoy it. A live DJ will talk about the music and personalize it. That’s what a curator can do with the resources they find.


Schools and the Search for Wonder

It hit me this morning after reading Seth Godin’s post “Lousy tomatoes and the rare search for Wonder” that schools are like supermarkets. Seth writes that supermarkets stock “waxy, tasteless tomatoes from Chile, Mexico and Florida” mainly because it keeps the price cheap and the store profitable. Also someone just might need a tomato in the middle of the night in winter and any tomato might do. He also wrote…

“Over time, as institutions create habits and earn subscribers, they often switch, gradually making the move from magical (worth a trip, worth a conversation) to good (there when you need it). Most TV is just good. Magazines, too. When was the last time People magazine did something that made you sit up and say, “wow”? Of course, you could argue that they’re not in the wow business, and you might be right.”

Here’s where I see the problem with schools. Schools are there because students are required to go. They were designed to deliver information in a form that just doesn’t work today. Today’s students are used to getting what they want when they want it with “on demand” everything. How can we expect our students to accept a waxy tomato when they are used to salsa with a spoonful of guacamole?

Everything in our lives is changing because of supply and demand. Schools will change because students are leaving for other options or dropping out. Schools will change because we are not meeting the needs of our children. Even online schools need to restructure how they deliver their curriculum. Today’s Kindergarteners use technology. 3rd graders have cell phones. I can guarantee that more than 75% of elementary students text their friends. More families are switching from TV to the Internet or Netflix or other ways to watch what they want when they want to watch it. Less families are subscribing to newspapers and magazines. Information is there at their fingertips now. I have CNN, NY Times, and lots of my shows on my iPhone.

Google is restructuring YouTube Edu to have curriculum matched to standards on playlists. iTunes University is in your pocket. Mobile learning is going to level the playing field for all children. Each child will find what they want or need using different apps. Thousands of apps are being developed every day.

App Store

So where does the teacher fit in this new world? The teacher is the guide, the advisor, the co-learner in this world of wonder. They design the environment that lets students take risks and find what they need to meet their learning goals based on their personal learning plan. Who knows what school will look like in a few years? There may be a physical school or learning center where learning can happen anytime, anywhere. A teacher cannot compete with the “Wow” that our students have with games and apps that are new each day. Think of a place where students question everything and it is our job as teachers to encourage questions, provide opportunities to build things, fix things, experiment with new ideas, collaborate globally, and push students to explore outside of their comfort zone.

So the teacher’s role has to change. How about teachers as learning agents for the search of wonder?


Taking the First Step

You know what to do. You just don’t do it. It is so easy to find excuses to not do something that is really important because it is hard to do. It is easy to find excuses why you need to do the little unimportant things and put off the difficult stuff that really matters. So I say “stop making lists, delegate the little stuff, and take the first step to be a success.” I read Seth Godin’s post Sure but what’s the hard part and got me thinking about this and how it home for me.

I’ve heard this from others telling me over and over again that someone else can do this or that for me, but it was easier for me to make excuses or to presume that I was the only one in the whole wide world that could do something. I remember hearing and believing “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” The problem with that is that there is only one of you. You cannot do it all.  It’s that indispensable thing we tend to do to ourselves. Today is the day to let go.


Rethinking that Decision

You are a change agent and go to a school to discuss with the administrator how the teachers are going to change the way they teach. You think you and the administrator are talking the same language and design the professional development program. In reality, the change that the administrator has in mind might be completely different than what you had in mind. That administrator might have already made a decision on what they expected for their teachers — no matter what you and the administrator agreed upon. Same with the teachers. Let’s say you are a coach and set up a coaching agreement with a teacher. That teacher comes to the table with their own expectations on what they want to learn. However, they don’t express those expectations and just agree on what you decided on together.

I read Seth Godin’s blog The Decision before the Decision where he states “The decision before the decision is the box. When you think outside the box, what you’re actually doing is questioning the decision before the decision.”

Being a change agent means that you are questioning the decisions you believe have already been decided on and bring to the table strategies on why you and the administrator or teacher need to rethink those decisions.


Just Do It

I read Seth Godin’s blog post But what have you shipped? and thought about how that relates to teachers. If you just sit there and think about what you should do or not sure you can do something, then nothing will happen.

I write because I love writing. I write even if no one reads my blog posts, articles or columns. I hope you do and they give you some value, but that’s not why I write. My mother was an artist who had to draw or paint. It was in her blood. When times were tough, she still painted somehow. Then her talent opened doors for her and she became a courtroom artist. I think of her when I sit down to write. It just spills out of me. Sometimes in my dreams, I’m thinking of the next thing I want to write.

Now it’s time for me to write a book.

I find that everyone has something that they can ship, share, talk about, get the buzz out. No matter how tough times are, follow your dreams.


Are you indispensible? Seth Godin Interview about his book

I was one of the lucky few who was given an advance copy of Seth Godin’s book: Linchpin: Are you Indispensible? His book hits home for me especially involving education. To see all of the interviews, go to I asked him how his ideas fit with schools today and how we can better prepare for our students’ future:

Q. Since I work with educators, I am curious how you see teachers leading this change to more of a gift-giving and artist model? How do you see teacher education in the future as it relates to this model?

Seth: Teachers are the key to the whole deal. All successful people I know can name one or two or three teachers that had a huge impact on them. But why three? Why not thirty? Why is it that the rest of the teachers were competent at giving exams and getting us to do well at those exams, but didn’t teach us enough to change us?

The system has hamstrung teachers, handicapped those that want to stand out an make a difference. And yet a few still stand out.

What happens when more teachers realizing the opportunity and start challenging the status quo? Until that happens, we’re in real trouble.

I think we can’t wait for the teacher’s colleges to change, or the schools to change. We need teachers to care so much that they can’t stop pushing until they create change in the students who really need (and deserve) it.

Q. Universities take the longest to change. Does everyone need to take classes with information they mastered already? How can university students set their agenda, challenge material they know already, and demonstrate what they understand?

Seth: Here’s what’s going to make universities change: we’re going to stop going. We’re going to stop paying. Once people realize that Full Sail and the U of Phoenix can deliver the same thing (or better) for much less money, the panic will set in, for the first time in five hundred years Universities are going to have to do something new. I think this will happen in the next thirty years.

Q. Education tends to be a top-down driven model where administrators, standards, policies, and test scores drive what teachers teach. How do you see education changing with this model where the individual sets their agenda?

Seth: As a student in a digital world, tell me again why I need the building? The administration? The system?

I don’t. And as accreditation becomes less meaningful because it’s easier to test the student than to test the system, the top heavy organizations will falter. And fast.

Q. There is a movement in social networking and Web 2.0 circles where individuals are responsible for their own learning. They build their personal learning network, use and share free resources, and find information from their connections. Is this an example of how individuals will set their agenda for their own learning? How do you see emerging technologies impacting teaching and learning?

Seth: I think this is going to happen, but I think it’s more likely that individuals with something to teach will set up their own digital schools. I offered an MBA last year to nine students, and it had an enormous impact (on me and on them). Multiply this by 1000 people in each field, and you have both an industry and a new way of learning.

Q. Schools today tend to require that everyone is on the same page. What age or grade level do we start teaching children to see? How would you teach individuals to find the artist in each of us?

Seth: Is there a number less than zero?

The job of school should be to teach people to solve interesting problems and to teach people to lead. We should start doing both in Kindergarten. The job of parents is to augment and amplify this, and, at the same time, stop yelling at schools about test scores. Test scores are a sucker’s game, the refuge of systems that can’t imagine a better way to measure, encourage and push kids to be brave and essential.

Q. It seems like you may have to create some models demonstrating how a school can prepare their students for the 21st century. Do you know of any schools that already use your model?

Seth: Some schools and some teachers have been doing this for a long, long time. The Putney international program in Vermont, or certain classes at the School of Visual Arts. We often find pockets of innovation, long-suffering teachers or small counter-culture institutions that seem like oddities until you realize that what they do actually works. Loren Pope wrote about 40 Colleges That Change Lives, and I think he had it right. We know how to do this, but we often don’t have the guts.

Q. Do we need to continue the industrial education model (school buildings open 9-3, students at specific grade levels, teachers in classrooms, and summers off), or do you have new models for education based on your ideas of giving, sharing, and artists that set their own agendas?

Seth: I think the reasons for the model you talk about left the building a long, long time ago. We need a system that permits parents to work, kids to grow, problems to be solved and a difference to be made. IT’s not clear to me why we decided to leave so many gaps in the system we’ve created (oh, no school today, see ya!) and at the same time, why we’ve insisted on a deadening march to mediocrity. It’s sort of pathetic how we’ve abdicated responsibility to a leaderless system that’s actually accountable to no one in particular.

Q. How do you see job training in the future?

Seth: I guess it depends on how we see jobs in the future. I think there are some things that the jobs of future have in common, and I hope that we can start measuring this and focusing on this and stop obsessing about the length of the hypotenuse.

1. Solve interesting problems.
2. Be self reliant.
3. Find the information you need from the Net and other places.
4. Connect.
5. Lead.
6. Invent.
7. Fail.
8. Learn from #7 and repeat.

How much time do we actually spend on that agenda today?

Q. If everyone gives their products and ideas away, then what is the revenue model for this new type of artist?

Seth: If everyone did anything, that thing would be pretty worthless. Even brain surgery. Here’s the thing: everyone’s NOT going to do it, not for a long time, because people are ill-trained for it and afraid of it.

Right now, the more you give away, the more you get. People flock to things that are wonderful, and pay to cut the line, pay to get access, pay for souvenirs and bespoke. It’s not a theory, they do. Once you cut overhead (and how much of higher education is essential?) there’s plenty of room to generate income.

I’m curious what you think of this new type of artist that we will need. Comments are welcome and encouraged below.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in change, the future, and what type of person we will need for our future. Check out my Squidoo Lens: The Future of Learning. You can set up your own Lens. This article was cross-posted on The Environmentalist