futurish_0001 ❤ Why Generalists Triumph, Facebook's Dilemma
Welcome to Futurish
Woah, what is this? Yes, my friends I know you've been eagerly wanting more Futurish - so here you go! This time without having to hear our annoying - yet, admittedly sexy, voices.
So, what's been new this past month? Well, we're both still living in Melbourne and Helsinki, respectively. The pandemic is still... well a pandemic. It still sucks. Melbourne is still in lockdown but that seems to be working and cases have now plummeted from an all-time high of 687 cases in one day to averaging in the low 10's per day now. But life in lockdown is not fun at all, the only excitement seems to be going out to the supermarket and finding a new brand of chocolate you haven't tried before. Helsinki, unfortunately, has had its cases start rising again - but at least they're still able to socialize and are trying to create a new norm in these times.
But things are not all bleak! At least we all still have Futurish! So, I hope you enjoy the very first issue of the newsletter and we can satiate your never-ending curiosity even just a little.
Btw we love comments! Simply reply to this email and start the conversation. We're not lonely- I swear! (PLEASE REPLY WE'RE BEGGING YOU)
Gerhard: Ever felt that you are behind, or felt discouraged and anxious that you haven't found that "thing" you wanna do for the rest of your life? I certainly did throughout my 20s. I still wouldn't say that I have found that "thing" that everyone seems to be chasing after, but I have learned to see life as a set of experiments. Experiments that invite me to learn and try new things with a childlike curiosity. Life is offering you so much if you are willing to listen and let go of how you think life should be.
Hence, I can recommend the book "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World" by David Epstein to anyone who feels discouraged or anxious because you haven't found that "thing" yet. David Epstein made a strong case that specializing too early in life is actually a bad thing, and that most of us find that "thing" later in life. Short-term experimenting should be actually favored over long-term planning, as you dear reader probably know: Life doesn't care about your long-term plans. This said, go out, try things, explore - make the world around you to your playground. Because in the end, we all came to this world with a childlike sense of wonder and the mindset of a scientist. As we grow older, it is easy to forget that.
Pete: Coming from an 'accidental' generalist - I love this! My whole career was driven by a constant search of that "thing" and, honestly, I feel like I've lucked out with how it turned out. Especially considering that Product Management benefits from someone who has worked in the areas that I have. Did I know this the whole way? Noooooo. Haha, I wish I could say I did. I just constantly failed and bounced back. But I kept learning and using the past experiences the influence my choices.
I wonder though if workplaces and societal culture align with those viewpoints now. I know I worried during all my entire career if I was making the right choices and if my career changes would negatively affect me. Especially since I was told all along the way that there were a set of norms that I had to adhere to; time spent at a job and type of position you accept next should be related in some way - or a step up - from your previous role.
Pete: Have you seen the new documentary, The Social Dilemma, on Netflix yet? If you haven't, go now and check it out - it's o.k., I'll wait. Cool? Cool. Crazy right!? I mean if you're like me there's probably not much new but it is great to refresh and start seeing exactly what potentially damaging things these networks are doing. Especially worrying when we start thinking about the long term damage it will enact on society which is slowly, but surely, becoming more conscious of signals being told on their devices than they are from the outside world.
Worrying right? Well, not according to Facebook who feels it's all a "distorted view" and how it is simply trying to make Facebook out as a scapegoat. They argue against 7 points raised; Addiction, You being the product, Their use of algorithms, What data they capture, What they do to treat polarising views, Treatment around elections and misinformation on the platform - or fake news as a certain someone like to call it!
Honestly, the whole thing reads like a very defensive take by someone who is 100% a part of the problem and just won't admit it. Do I think that they're the entire problem? No. Definitely not. If Facebook goes not much will change. But I think it's documentaries like, The Social Dilemma, that help raise awareness. It's that awareness that I'm hoping will drive change in how people actually use these platforms and what information about themselves they're willing to give up.
Gerhard: I also have watched the documentary and I am not one bit surprised that Facebook released this statement. I mean what else should they do? Their stock has been growing pretty nicely in the last years despite several scandals. This made Facebook a pretty good investment and therefore getting the trust of Facebook's shareholders to continue doing what they are doing: milking our attention. Facebook has become so big that they simply don't even realize that they are part of the problem and therefore are excluding themselves from being part of the solution. I honestly think Facebook was not founded with evil intentions. Quite the contrary, Facebook has also enabled a lot of positive and powerful things. But somewhere along the way, it got out of the hand and the problem has become so complex that it seems easier to just continue this road than looking in the mirror and dealing with the problem at hand.
The documentary hasn't taught me anything new about the addictive nature of this product, but what it very well underlined is that we live in a society that has never been so divided as today. We forgot how to listen to each other, even though we don't agree with each other. We have forgotten to respect each other's opinions. Instead, we prefer to ridicule one's opinion just because it is different. We have forgotten to have a dialogue instead of a discussion. We have forgotten that we can be both right and wrong at the same time.
We are so concerned about missing out on new messages, likes, shares, etc., that we don't even realize that we miss out on the moment at hand.
The existence, the physical universe is basically playful.
There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. That is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at.
We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.
But we missed the point the whole way along.
It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.
Around the web
→ An interesting perspective from a tech founder's journey to a billion-dollar valuation.
→ Forgot your wallet, credit card, and phone at home? Still have your hand attached? Well try Amazon One and let Amazon have even more identifiable information about yourself.
→ How the extremely sensitive nose of dogs might prove to become a groundbreaking new tool in the fight against the COVID-19
→ FutureMe: Write a Letter to your Future Self
→ Is Social Media Good For Anything At All?
→ The EU wants to start restricting what apps Apple and Google can pre-install on your phone - hallelujah!
♥ Pete & Gerhard