Why We Need More Motivators, Not Teachers

Where lies the role of educators (teachers and professors) in the age of e-learning and online education (or, shall we say, free education for all)?

In this new world, teachers are no longer an authoritative source of “content”, but instead must focus on motivating and assisting students in making the best use of “content” that they find themselves.

But this, in no way, means that teachers now have less work to do.  In fact, it means the exact opposite.  If anything, they have a lot more work to do than before:

Certainly, this change will put more pressure on teachers. They have to adapt materials more often and keep up to date with the latest trends in technology. New technological developments need to be addressed and incorporated into the curriculum. References to online resources have to be constantly reviewed and assignments renewed.

Now, can you still tell me that the teaching profession isn’t nearly as important as it used to be?

We need more teacher-motivators.  We need a lot more of them.  They need to be trained properly, be selected carefully, and, last but not least, be compensated sufficiently.

Read in full here.

How Much Do You Care About Mastery of Your Work?

I couldn’t agree more with what the author discusses below.  It would be fair to say that most people are simply driven by extrinsic factors: grades, deadlines, next bullet item on the resume, awards, etc.  But, might it be what’s leading most people to just do okay at but never excel in what they do?

Now, when is the last time you really pushed to acquire mastery over something when you didn’t really have to?

Near graduation, I saw many Stanford seniors (including myself) throwing around resumes that were only a 60% fit for a given position, because we wanted to be rewarded for the hard work of achieving those extrinsic goals, those hard-won resume line-items. But the working world doesn’t care about the mostly arbitrary metrics of school— it cares about your skills. Not your skills as measured by a standardized exam or a timed trial that you can write on your resume — your skills as measured by your ability to do the job, quickly learn more about the job, and work with other people on that job. The working world cares about your drive to achieve mastery, even when there’s no socially anointed extrinsic goal to work toward.

H/T to Emma Townley-Smith.


Do Your Employees Actually Care?

You keep getting a little too many emails from a company.  Turns out the only you can unsubscribe is by calling the company.  So you call up and tell them that you want to unsubscribe.  And the person on the other side of the line says, “OK. Thanks. Goodbye.”

That’s it?

That’s what happens when you have an employee who doesn’t actually care.  And it is lethal to the life of the business.

What can you do about it to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your own business?

Read in full here.

Technology and Poverty

Is technology the ultimate cure to the problem of global extreme poverty?

To this replies Kentaro Toyama,


Technology—no matter how well designed—is only a magnifier of human intent and capacity. It is not a substitute.

In the recent years, technology has come a long way indeed.  There is no doubt that technology has done and is doing a myriad of wonders that, a decade ago, development professionals would haven’t even thought of doing.  Impact is doubled, tripled, and exponentially multiplied, all thanks to the development and deployment of the state-of-art technologies on the field.

But tools are just tools, really.  Tools exist mainly to be used by agents.  We cannot forget that, in order for tools to have a great, positive impact, they must first be in the hands of agents who are determined to use them to make a great, positive impact.  Human intent and capacity, then, are at the heart of the contemporary debate of whether technology can ultimately replace the existing humanitarian sector as a whole.

I think not.

What do you think?

Read in full here.

Consume or Produce

Are you a consumer or a producer?

Every day, we have two choices: consume or produce. Suppose you have three hours of free time after all your work and family obligations, you can use those three hours to read or watch TV; or you can write something, learn something, build something, or create something that you think people would want. Even if they don’t work as expected, your creativity improves. You will be able to do more creative things over time. It’s like going to the gym. The more you work out, the more you can work out.

Read in full here.

How to Become a Product Manager

Many aspire to become product managers, and yet very few actually do anything to become one.  I gather it’s because most of us think that it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to perform the job of any given profession until we have acquired the title.  But what if the only way to really become one is by demonstrating to the world that you are capable of doing the job before you get the title?

Finally, the best thing you can do to become a product manager is build products. You don’t have to be a PM within a company to do that — you can work on your own side projects and build skills needed to be PM — from ideation, doing customer research, prioritizing requirements for an MVP, designing and building the MVP, marketing, showing it to customers, getting feedback and growing the product. The products you build need not be world-changing — but they will help you learn the art of building a product from scratch and dealing with tonnes of ambiguity. After building the product — showcase it to the world. What if the product fails? No problem, you would have learned some valuable lessons from its failure. Share your journey with others. Ask them for feedback. An easy way to do this is to write about your experience or capturing it in a portfolio. These are great ways to showcase your product journey to teams hiring PMs.

Read this Medium article in full here.

Blogs over Books

Is there a future for the publication industry?

That’s one loaded question that certainly cannot be answered in a short, single post.  But here’s how Ben Thompson makes a case for why (and how) the blog has taken over the book and is the future of communication for the masses.

To put it another way, at least in my experience, the lowly blog has fully disrupted the mighty book: the former was long thought to be an inferior alternative, or at best, a complementary piece for an author looking to drum up an audience; slowly but surely, though, the tools have gotten better, everything from social media for marketing to Stripe for payments to WordPress for publishing to tools like Memberful for subscriber management. It became increasingly apparent, to me anyways, that while books remained a fantastic medium for stories, both fiction and non, blogs were not only good enough, they were actually better for ideas closely tied to a world changing far more quickly than any book-related editorial process can keep up with.

Read in full here.

Marketing Technology and Israel

I have never really thought of Israel as an industry leader in marketing technology. After all, there is already so much we hear about and associate with this nation that it just never occurred to me to see it as a hub of some of the most prominent marketing technology startups in the world (see this map).

At the heat of this army of marketing tech startups is:

Content marketing.

Just what is it, and why is it such a buzz word? Does it still work? Should aspiring marketers care about it at all?

Content marketing allows businesses to build customer relations, showcase industry expertise and draw consumers to their websites and social media pages. In 2015, 88 percent of B2B marketers employed content marketing, and 76 percent of those companies planned to increase the amount of content they produce going forward. In addition, a recent survey of marketing professionals showed 21 percent felt content marketing would have the greatest commercial impact in 2016, which was more than 5 percent higher than any other marketing activity.

Read in full here.

Content Strategy

We live in a day and age flooded by information and data.  As I sit down to write this post (and as you are scrolling down this page), our inboxes are ringing with notifications of new messages while our Google News feeds are being updated with news from all over the world every second.  There has never been a time when so much information was made accessible to so many people with such ease, and many of us don’t even stop to think how we have gotten here.  Just a little over a decade ago, most of the tech giants that dominate (and basically control) our lives did not even exist.

With the advent of this information-ridden era, we have welcomed in a new discreet challenge — in fact, so discreet that many of us don’t even think this is really an issue.  The challenge is now on us to figure out just what information to take in (or toss out) and just how to do so.  When there is simply so much just floating around the web (most of the time, free of charge, accessible to all), where do we even begin?

Content strategy is about answering that question.  Specifically, it is about how to navigate the web space in order to filter through the massive amount of data to extract the things we want so that we might put that piece of info (data) to work.  That is, a good strategist is a tech-savvy, fast-learning, information architect who does all this quickly and accurately in visually appealing manners.

Not sure if that’s really what a content strategist does? Don’t just take my word for it — here is what some others have to say:

Karen McGrane defines content strategy as:

helping the world understand what makes the web different from print and how we fully take advantage of this new medium. It’s exciting! It’s Gutenberg-level stuff.

According to another content strategist Brigid Auchettl (emphasis added):

Being a content strategist is a mix of editorial writing, organisation and management skills, analytical abilities, developing marketing know-how and being a communications whiz. My day-to-day responsibilities include creating and managing social media campaigns, monitoring engagement and analyzing data, implementing SEO and building strategic partnerships with a variety of clients.

All in all, in this day and age, there is an increasingly high demand for a good content strategist who understands his roles and has mastery of his art.

Journalism isn’t dead — it’s simply changed over time.

Read Karen McGrane’s take on the future of content strategy here.
Read the Auchettle piece in full here.