Reading List

Reading List #10

Another week has gone by, this one without me being sick – so that’s good. Some more great work to share – so Enjoy!


The Inferno of Independence

by @fchimero

This post from Frank Chimero achieves the Awesome category this week and it got a lot of publicity this week – because it really is that good. If you haven’t already read it – go now, come back to the list when you’re done!

Finished? OK good.

The idea that “INDEPENDENCE IS LONELY” is something that I would say I share with Frank. When I read his blog I had that same gut reaction and immediate sense of being given words to something I have always felt he felt. I am not an independent artist but I feel a an affinity to work independently – but I struggle with the burden and deep-seated need for stability and a level of predictability. I have surrendered real independence for jobs with a level of autonomy – which doesn’t always do me any favours, particularly when my mind needs to wander. I am creative and so to seek our independence I have found that often that requires me to work by myself instead of for myself. Enough about me though – but this piece really connected and resonated with me!

Frank’s article has some really profound things to say. My favourites include:

I think words are abstractions, and abstractions become expressions that frame our understanding of our experiences, expectations, culture—everything. Language is an interface, and if an interface can mould behaviour and perception, than language does that to your life.

This sums up why I get caught up on words and phrases so often!

I have the ability to think in systems and can be incisive and empathetic by understanding how things fit together.

Again, this is how I feel about where my talent lies – not necessarily in the doing of things themselves – but in how they fit together.

I also loved the unpacking of the internet-culture mythology around agility and the failing, particularly this:

Oddly, only successful people say failure is necessary, because anyone who has truly failed in a meaningful, unrecoverable way would advise you to stay away from that shit at all costs.

But this is perhaps more important:

contemporary digital culture has co-opted the language of revolution and magic without the muscle, ethics, conviction, or imagination of either.


Why innovation needs its own language

by @ovoinnovation

Picks up on one of my problems with the term innovation – that it’s become a subjective term that it means whatever the speaker/writer/listener believes it to. I support the call to change the language. I think this perfectly sums up the challenges language must address:

  1. Lack of shared meaning
  2. Lack of systemic context
  3. No clear linkage to strategy or goals
  4. Ideas no longer hold their original meanings or the culture rejects their meaning
  5. Language limits or narrows discussion or thinking rather than encouraging and broadening it
  6. Words become filler or placeholders, not meant to encourage thinking or action


The merchants of average

by @ThisIsSethsBlog

The masses are average. And by definition, we have a surplus of average.
Don’t be different just to be different. Be different to be better.

I think Godin has a knack for aphorisms and this is a good one! It reflects my struggle and why I feel the need to go against the grain – not for its own sake, but to simply do and be better.

Barriers to Knowledge Work

by @hjarche

This post is particularly important from Harold Jarche as it provides some insight into the barriers that organisations and businesses have in place when it comes to knowledge work. It’s how I would describe my role – and I can say that I have experienced every single one of these barriers at some stage. In fact I think in general we still are – and mainly because I don’t think they really understand what Knowledge Work is.

A visual introduction to my perspectives on work & learning

This is Harold’s alternative to business card and it’s a really nice idea. In terms of placing it in the Work section it was this line:

A job is not the same as meaningful work. Labour is replaceable, talent is not.

Something that I think too many organisations and businesses just don’t understand.

Stop Asking For Permission to Change

by @bharrisonp

I have to say that I fall into this trap too often. That the everything else is to blame for all of my woes – rather than my ability to overcome my own beliefs. Really like this too:

sustained, meaningful change requires a collective buy-in, and buy in is a by-product of both autonomy and connection.

Thrust Work vs. Drag Work

by @herbertlui

I have to say that work at the moment is too heavily weighted by drag tasks.

“Thrust tasks” create high intrinsic value and move our creativity and career forward, whereas “drag tasks” create low intrinsic value and can slow us down.


Learning in the Wild West of ‘Open’

by @onlinelearningI

Really nice post on the concept of open learning and this description is perfect –

Learning in the open is non-linear, unpredictable and without guard rails that education institutions or companies create to structure learning in traditional settings.

Glad to say that I’ve started to really get into the recommendations – reflect and blog consistently as well as sharing and engaging with others via a social media. I can attest that the benefit is that you get more out than what you put in!

MOOCs Need to Go Back to Their Roots

by @mburnamfink

There is nothing ground breaking here, but it is a simple un-glossy critique of MOOCs (which is quite refreshing). I have to agree with this statement in particular (but wonder deeply why this wasn’t actually done as part of the requirements gathering stage):

Rather than pouring effort into making thousands of glossy but ultimately stagnant hypertextbook “classes,” MOOC developers should be designing platforms that work for traditional scholarly fields and the new skills of the global economy.

Pyne: A pain for education in Australia

by madelinebevs

Christopher Pyne – the new Minister for Education – is looking to shape education here in Australia by being more “hands on”. This includes becoming the arbiter of curriculum and assessment. This post is great and I can’t agree more with this accurate summation of education policy around the world –

Apparently, if you want the authority on education in Australia you go to the lawyers, not the teachers, because a law degree makes one better qualified to make significant decisions on education in Australia than an executive of experienced, well-qualified, educators.

User Experience

What Clayton Christensen Got Wrong

by @monkbent

Ben Thompson’s post on What Clayton Christensen Got Wrong is a really excellent critique of the low-end disruption theory – so much so it got me to write something of my own! It’s a thoughtful and insightful unpacking of the idea, concepts and motivations to spell out why it’s essentially wrong.

Computers are too difficult and people are computer illiterate

by @fakebaldur

Great post about the need to not accept the binary we are often presented with and how –

storytelling is often too effective a tool for presenting ideas and ‘facts’, trumping data, statistics, and research.

Turning Paper Cuts Into Magical Moments

by @dmolsen

Dave tweeted a link to this older blog post this week. I’ve been advocating an approach to organisational technology that highlights the need to become more seamless – so pain points, like papercuts, are really important markers in the user experience. The advice here is really empowering – to reimagine these not as things that need to be removed or exorcised – but reframed and recreated as magical moments.


Planning for Content Beyond the Web

by @dmolsen

Another great post from Dave Olsen calling us to starting thinking and building beyond what’s here and now. This isn’t some futurist idealism – but simple practicality! If you’ve been involved in the web for more than a year you know how quickly things can change so it’s time we accept that as the norm. Being future friendly is really about making our lives easier in the long run, because we all know the future will be different from now. This is really what’s been driving my work on TADPOLE – and why I feel it’s so important and worth the effort – to be future friendly.

Decentering Syndication or, a Push Away from RSS

by @jimgroom

I am really getting into the idea of increasing the hub/spoke architecture of the web. Rather than just single nodes it provides the ability for people, content, connections and conversations to become multi-platform and multi-faceted. This post shows how WordPress can be used to create hubs and spokes. Thinking beyond what is here I think there’s some great potential here for creating multiple hubs – for example one for each student and teacher – which in turn feeds into a central hub for a course or subject … discussed in the comments too.

The User is Drunk

from @squareweave

Simple and effective way of explaining the how and why of developing user-friendly stuff.


PS: Thanks to @marksmithers for a lot of great links this week!



By Tim Klapdor

Passionate about good design, motivated by the power of media and enchanted by the opportunities of technology.

2 replies on “Reading List #10”

Thank you for the great post! Totally support your augment and am quite fearful of what Pyne could do to the whole education sector. Pedagogy > Policy

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