Month: July 2015

Not 30 Posts In 30 Days — Not Even Close

GoRuck TshirtHere’s to experiments — the winners (electricity), the losers (alchemy), and writing. Instead of the 30 posts I said I’d write in June, I wrote 10. These garnered 419 views from 255 visitors, or about 1.6 views per visit.

To all of you who came and read, thank you.

They say you should learn from your mistakes. But they neglect to mention that so many people have made so many mistakes so far that the likelihood you’ve learned something new is zero. So, here are the things that are already known which I needlessly demonstrated for myself:

  1. Under promise, over deliver. Not the other way around. See T-shirt above.
  2. Writing because you have something to say is fun. Blurting junk because you have to write is not.
  3. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something stupid.

The worst part is that these aren’t just things known by someone somewhere sometime before this experiment. I knew these things. The decision research on overconfidence is clear. Anything motivated by a quota — even sex — loses its enjoyment. Pick your favorite wisdom literature and it’ll tell you to keep your mouth shut.

But some things have to be learned personally, and often re-learned, for them to stick. It’s worth remembering this as we move into the age of big data.

1933 worlds fair poster

In the early twentieth century, the pace of technological advancement in science and industry was so great that the perfectability of humankind was at hand. The motto of the 1933 World’s Fair summed it up:

Science Finds — Industry Applies — Man Conforms

The overall theme of the fair was “A Century Of Progress”, mainly through technology. Taking place in the heart of the great depression and a mere fifteen years after The Great War, this was clearly the triumph of hope over experience. As we now know, progress suffered serious setbacks in the decades that followed. Believing technology can eliminate human weakness is a human weakness itself.

So, I’ll continue to write, but at a more measured pace. In the mean time, let’s all agree to avoid a 1933 World’s Fair for big data.