Three skills for living in a social media world

There will be three career fields in huge demand in the social media world. That is the idea Mark Schaefer presents in his blog, {grow}.

I discuss this in my post Three Skills for Living in a Social Media World at my other blog, Outrun Change.

At an individual level, I think these three careers point to skills each of us need to develop if we wish to function in a world dominated by social media.  The career fields and individual skills are: (more…)

Lots of things in life are really, really complicated. Sort of like a rain forest.

Some things are exquisitely complicated.  Making changes, fixing problems, or making improvements to such things is really difficult.

Unintended consequences result when you do something simple in a complex system.

Came across a superb illustration of the challenge of dealing with complexity. In his post The Health Care Disaster and the Miseries of Blue, Walter Russell Mead compares the US healthcare system to a jungle ecosystem.


Words as a creative visualization? Part 2

Previous post introduced the idea that software could take raw data and convert it to a usable news article.  My friend John Bredehoft introduced the idea to me.

I think it is a great way for creative visualization of raw data.  Good way to help us understand a mass of numbers.

What does an auto-written article look like? 

Here are a few examples I found.  They are all on the Forbes website, where Narrative Science is credited as the author.


This is what progress look like – 1 electronic gadget in 2010 does the work of 14 electronic gadgets in 1980

Check out these two pictures showing 1980 and 2010 electronics tools:  Worth a thousand words.

One tool in 2010 does the work of 14 (by my count) in 1980.  Can you begin to guess the cost reduction, even without discounting for inflation?  How about the weight reduction or portability increase?

From Café Hayek, of course. This is the type of thing I talk about at my other blog, Outrun Change.

Words as a creative visualization? Part 1

I enjoy watching for creative ways to explain things.

I’ve discussed rap videos to explain economics, the federal budget illustrated on a one-page chart, and using one map to show the destruction of Napoleon’s army during his invasion of Russia. That one map does a better job of telling the story that a 1,000 word article and far faster than a 100 page book.

I have tried my hand at creative visualizations by producing two animated cartoons.  They tell the story of setting up good internal controls in a local church. Part one has received over 900 views on YouTube. Part two is here.

Here’s a big brain stretch for you – using a computer program to turn raw data into a story – creative visualization using words


How government policy could make it easier to go through the massive transition in the economy

Have a post at my other blog, Outrun Change, that discusses how government policy at all levels needs to change so it will be easier to move through the massive transition we are seeing throughout the economy.

See How government could make the massive transition in the economy easier.

Federal, state, and local policies could slow down the transition. (Not stop it, just slow it down.)  Or those policies could make it easier and quicker to get through the painful transition.

How to emasculate a man and walk away feeling warm and fuzzy – unintended consequences, part 3

In Toxic Charity – How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It), Robert Lupton describes the harmful unintended consequences of the way we usually do charity.

In 1981, he moved into the neighborhood where he was serving.  On Christmas Eve, he was visiting the home of some new friends.

Mom, dad, and the kids were anxiously awaiting visitors.  There was one strand of lights on the small artificial tree in the corner.  The nicely dressed people from the suburbs arrived with armfuls of nice presents wrapped so pretty.

In the midst of the unwrapping, the father slipped out of the house.  Later one of the kids asked where he was.  Mom said he had to go to the store.


How to create inflation when kindness was intended – unintended consequences 2

A peculiar irony of charity is sometimes you get the unintended consequence of creating problems when you are trying to help someone.

I have several things to say on point. Currently I’m reading Toxic Charity: How the Church Hurt Those They Help and How to Reverse It, by Robert D. Lupton.  Very sobering – $11 on Kindle.

Before I talk about Mr. Lupton’s book (and I’ll have *lots* to say), I wanted to share an experience I had a long time ago.

While working at another CPA firm, I had the incredible, delightful opportunity to do several audits on the overseas operations of a large international NPO.  Their name doesn’t matter, because they are not part of the story.  I have tremendous respect for them and the work they are doing. If you have known me a while, then you know who I am talking about.


Unintended consequences – – how much harm can doing good cause?

What in the world is Swedow?

In writing about GIK and deworming meds, I’ve learned some fancy words, like Albendazole, Mebendazole and Swedow.  I’ve also started reading discussions in places I usually don’t go.

For example, Good Intentions are not enough is a great blog written by Saundra Schimmelpfennig.  She has lots of posts about the complexities of doing foreign aid well.

While visiting that site, I read a guest post by Juanita Rilling:  Compassion on Sale

She has a sobering discussion of the unintended waste of sending drinking water as part of humanitarian relief. (more…)

Q: What’s dropped in weight by a factor of 304 and increased in capacity by a factor of 131,000 in 55 years?

A: a computer.

As you are well aware by now, I get a kick out of Mark J. Perry’s blog, Carpe Diem.  He links to a photo comparing an IBM supercomputer with 5MB storage being lifted into the side of an aircraft with a forklift in 1956 to a 128GB flash drive today:  1st Super-Computer (1956) v. Today’s Flash Drives

That prompted me to make another comparison of then versus now.

I picked for comparison the first laptop that showed on an Amazon search. (more…)

Fun top 10 ten lists for 2011

Now that the new year is approaching, it’s time for bloggers to float their top ten posts. Here is one I enjoyed. Might list a few more if there are some that particularly catch my eye.

Good Intentions are not enough is a blog I just found this past week. Lot’s of great discussion there of the challenges to do international aid well.  I’m late to the party since the author has already cut back on posting earlier this year.

Here’s their list:

Good Intentions’ Top Posts for 2011

My three favorites: (more…)

Isn’t it great to be alive today? Christmas 1964 shopping list edition

Mark J. Perry at Carpe Diem often uses a delightful formula that consistently makes me thrilled to be alive today.

General formula is this:  You could have bought item X in whatever year. For the same amount of inflation adjusted dollars or same hours of labor, today you could buy X, plus Y and Z, along with A, B, C, D and E.

His post yesterday, The Magic and Miracle of the Marketplace: Christmas 1964 vs. 2011 – There’s No Comparison, has cool pictures from the 1964 Sears Christmas Catalog.

One of those really cool, great big, color TV consoles that takes up an entire wall could be had for $750 back then.  Adjusted for inflation, that would cost you $5,300 in 2010.  What could you buy today for inflation adjusted $5,500 today? His shopping list:


What’s the impact when there is zero cost to distribute one more item?

I have a series of posts up on my other blog, Outrun Change, discussing the radical changes in how books, music, and video are distributed today without having to use a traditional middleman.  There is a dramatic shift when it doesn’t cost anything to make and distribute one more copy of something.

This doesn’t just impact writers and musicians.  This has a huge impact on nonprofits that want to get their message or resources out, or businesses that want to start producing materials for education and promotion.

Check these out:


Pendulum swings in how we use computers

The swinging of a pendulum is a great word picture for describing change.   Especially helps for explaining shifts in computing power.  The pendulum swung from dumb terminals to personal computers and now to ‘the cloud’.

I mention this in a post at my other blog, Outrun ChangeThe computing pendulum has swung back to dumb terminals and service bureaus – will it swing back?

There I discuss and link to a post by John Bredehoft.

By the way, my ponderings about the change taking place around us are posted on the other blog.  That leaves this blog focused on nonprofit issues.