🌏 Free-Range Technologist 26 🛃
From Prof C -March 2022
🛃 Balkanization and Borders in Cyberspace 🌐
The Internet seems boundless and borderless when we use it, but in reality, our national borders define our online experience. How your home country incentivizes and regulates internet service providers (ISPs) determines the speed and quality of your connection and the degree to which your online activities are restricted or surveilled.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about these issues and discuss some ideas for a borderless Internet. Here is a list of the links I used and my slide deck from the presentation, and several related resources. And contact me if you are interested in a presentation on this topic.
🧑🏫 Prof C in An App? 📱
You can now read The Free-Range Technologist from Prof C in the new Substack app for iPhone.
You’ll have a dedicated Inbox for my Substack and any others you subscribe to with the app. New posts will never get lost in your email filters or stuck in spam. Your email app will never cut off longer posts. Comments and rich media will all work seamlessly. Overall, it’s a significant upgrade to the reading experience.
The Substack app is currently available for iOS. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can join the Android waitlist here.
📚 Book Review: Another Now
by Yanis Varoufakis 👍
Yanis is a famous economist and voice of market-based socialism in the modern world. He has written several interesting books, and I am in the process of reading most of what he has written. Another Now is his first (and perhaps last) work of fiction, one in which he imagines an alternative, parallel reality. Think “Sliding Doors,” but for economists. In this case, the split in time happens during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. "Our now" opted for bailing out big banks at the taxpayer's expense and future generations. The "Other Now" took a very different path, rebuilding the world economic system using markets but eliminating the inequality that our current system generates.
Yanis wrote this book to show what might be possible if we rejiggered our systems. However, he is clever enough to acknowledge that while this "Other now" might have many benefits that our system doesn't, it will not solve all problems and probably create some new issues.
At the end of the book, one character (Iris) in "Our Now" has the choice to cross over to the "Other Now." She declines. Iris wants to stay in our less perfect world to fight more effectively for an even more ideal future. For her, the good gets in the way of the perfect. Iris's decision to stay in “Our Now” reminded me of my favorite book from my childhood, Dr. Suess's "I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew," in which the character attempts to escape his troubles by journeying to “to the City of Solla Sollew, on the banks of the beautiful River Wah-Hoo, where they never have troubles! At least, very few.” When he arrives, after a harrowing journey, he finds that there is just one problem in Solla Sollew, but that problem is so large that the people of Solla Sollew are setting off for another land where there are no troubles at all. But, instead of heading to the next promised land, he heads home with a new attitude and a new bat to smash his problems.
Stay and fight your troubles, or flee for better lands? A question we must all answer.
Several quotes about the problems with our current system resonated with me, including this one:
"Corporations go to great lengths to employ geniuses: technologists, designers, financial engineers, economists, artists even. I've seen it happen," he said. "But what have they done with them? They channel all that talent and creativity towards humanity's destruction. Even when it is creative, Eva, capitalism is extractive. In search of shareholder profit, corporations have put these geniuses in charge of extracting the last morsel value from humans and from the earth, from the minerals in its guts to the life in its oceans."
🙏 A Thank You for Making the Future Great! 🚀
It is always a great honor to get to teach and to share and I appreciate the opportunity that thousands of people have given me to share through workshops, the Free-Range Technologist, and my talks!
I want to send a small thank you. Just fill out this form and I will have an Explore-Learn-Build-Share laptop sticker and notebook sent to you!
And if you know of someone who would be interested in this newsletter, please let them know!
📺 Must Watch: Downfall ✈️
The Case Against Boeing 👍
This documentary focuses on how Boeing's merger with Lockheed Marti eroded its safety, quality, and community culture. Post-merger, Boeing became a company focused on fast production and maximizing shareholder value in the short term, and its organizational structure became more hierarchical and rigid. This culture change ultimately leads to two crashes of the 737Max airplane. Several things stand out for me in this well-done documentary. First, the CEO of the company failed to understand how his failure of leadership would quickly destroy the good name of Boeing. Second, industry lobbying and pressure on regulators can weaken the checks and balances that have been put in place to make sure commercial aircraft are safe to fly.
One of the biggest challenges of teaching undergraduate students (who often have little experience outside the educational system) is to get them to understand the importance of an organization's culture and how culture affects performance. The Boeing story is a great example that I will be using in future classes.
Here is a trailer that gives you a taste
👨🏫 Upcoming Talks:
I am scheduled to present “The Future of Money” to the Financial Planning Association of Greater St Louis on April 7th, 2022. Details will be posted here.
I will be talking about “Blockchains and Bitcoins” Greater Leadership Conference of Missouri on July 20th, 2022. Details will be posted here.
I will be presenting a number of talks this summer as part of the Mid-Missouri PMI (Project Management International)” ‘s PMs in the AM Series. Registration will be available here and the topics include:
ClickUp for Project Management. One app to rule them all?
June 14 at 7:30 am on Zoom with co-presenter Chris Sanders, Project Manager for KCAV.
This session will be an active discussion with input from the audience on how to select project management tools. The presenters have been using ClickUp for a year or more as their primary project management tool. They will start the discussion by presenting the features that have drawn them to ClickUp and some of the difficulties with adoption.
Christianson's Law of Communications
July 12th at 7:30 am on Zoom.
An important corollary to Brook's Law is Christianson's Law: An increase in the communication channels/programs will decrease productivity (https://bit.ly/jsc-law). Can unified communication tools like Slack, Discord, and MS Teams help, or do they add to the problem? Prof C will present his experience and his desperate attempts to limit the many routes by which clients communicate with him as a way to start the discussion with PMI members regarding their strategies.
Meaningful Mentoring of New Project Managers
August 9th at 7:30 am on Zoom.
Do you remember the first time you worked on a project? Were you thrown into the deep end or isolated in the kiddie pool? New PMs need both encouragement and big challenges to excel. Drawing on his experience as a Project Management teacher and numerous interviews with mentors and mentees, Professor C will provide practical advice on getting news PMs off to a great start on their Project Management adventures.
🙏 🔗 Links of the Week
Important and/or fascinating stories about technology and fun stuff. (Share your must-reads. Just drop me a line or tweet them to me.)
The African philosophy of Ubuntu: The philosophy that can change how you look at life from the BBC. A good reminder of why history and community are so important to building a great future.
My wife and I love watching birds (she is the expert birder) and we are always amazed at what they can do. This
This tweet from Tiago Forte hit home for me. I know that these are the three things that I should be doing, but not being distracted by shiny objects can be a challenge.The new triple threat: 1. Writing (to develop ideas) 2. Video-making (for audience building) 3. Teaching (making money + impact) There is almost no limit to the number of people you can help and the business you can build with these 3 skills
(BTW, Collin B and I are hatching plans from some interesting courses for the “startup curious” this summer, stay tuned!)
The future of travel? I would certainly prefer this to a two-hour Lyft ride from SFO to downtown SF.
As always, be sure to hit reply and tell me what you have been up to, what you are reading, and what neat stuff you have discovered lately! I always look forward to getting responses from you all, hearing about what you have been creating recently, and the resources/lifehacks you are using!! And thanks to the 1300+ colleagues and friends who read my monthly emails!