​Why is it hard to get news ?

With internet democratising the knowledge space, why is it I’m finding ever so hard to believe in news I get ?

The world used to get joy from watching parody shows. It was not just laughter, but good education too on issues that mattered.

The real news is now parody like. 

First, most of the actual news is absurd and puke worthy.  Then Media giants make their recipe of  click bait headlines. Then social media posts. Then parodies. Then parodies on parodies. Then more social media. 

Fake news , fake facts spread like wildfire. The collateral damage of omnipresent social media accessibility.

In the morning I used to get my daily dose of news through Twitter and Facebook. I have given up on Twitter and Facebook as news sources. They are ( it’s actually us, our contributions make those news feeds ) now just about pushing things faster, more. 

It’s absolutely excruciating to decipher facts. 

So how to survive this madness ?

This is what I do now. Read more. Read more from different sources, like news.google.com, AJ+ and Vox. 

I found, the more I read, the broader my understanding is, the more I’m open for different angles. 

The other side of ratings

I was waiting for my ride on Uber when I saw on app that the driver had a 3.5 rating.

Only 3.5 ?

A sudden irritation crept inside me. What could this 3.5 number mean?

Is he a reckless driver? Is he bad with using maps? is he mean? may be his car is in bad shape?

These thoughts circled my mind for the 5 minutes he took to arrive.

Reflecting on my mind state, I questioned my self “what if I had not seen the rating?”

I decided to act like I hadn’t seen his rating. I got in.

I was welcomed to a wide smile of a young man in his mid twenties.

To my surprise he drove exceptionally well. No crazy changing of lanes, no abrupt brakes, and he was very courteous.

He had been driving for 6 days on Uber. There can be many reasons for his 3.5 rating.

I judged him on his rating alone.

We already have enough criteria to be judgmental: monthly income, size of home, car, brand of clothes, number of degrees/MBA’s.

Now, with social media and apps: how many likes you get to your selfie? how many friends, followers, Shares ?

Ratings throw beauty of randomness out of human equation.

We judge people like they are things, not as humans who are capable of random acts of goodness.

These random, ad hoc characteristics of humans are been standardised to make humans palpable for big data. Then humans can be classified to include them in to target groups. Very interesting times.

Asking questions and fear of failure

I find audiences very peculiar. They don’t ask questions after a session is over.

When I go to a session, an event, a meeting or to a talk,  there’s a good reason why I am spending my time there. Otherwise I don’t go.

So when I am there, I want to ask questions to clarify and clear doubts. I want to learn new things.

I am not afraid if I look stupid in front of others, because my biggest resource is time, and it needs better care.

From experience I found, it is only my questions that can make my time spent worthwhile in many occasions. Here’s an example.

Extra tip: I am an avid google maps user, but I stop by and ask from people about the place I am going. I am pleasantly surprised by the knowledge I get.

I found most of the time, the reason I do not want to ask questions is the fear of rejection.

Steve Jobs explains this in less than 2 minutes:

How can I help you ?

how-can-i-help

At events, especially after completing a talk, number of people who network with me is high. It’s all good.

But time is limited. At one instance there were 3 persons from different organisations around me. All want to talk about their work, but all want to leave soon as well, because it was already past 530 pm. Traffic is insane in Colombo.

So this is what I did.

” How can I help you?”

The conversation moved from what we do to why we should connect. We all were questioning each other with specific questions and sooner we understood each other. It took 10 minutes and we knew how we can help each other.

Wonderful thing was with one person I  found he could help me more than I could help him.

So, ” How can I help you?”

Focus on customer behaviour

customer-behaviour

Arguments about technology changing needs of the customer is exciting, winding and depressing, because our assumptions are based on popular all or nothing trends. No, people don’t queue up for change in straight lines. It’s messy. So instead of zooming in on trends, try to zoom out and watch behaviour changes of people. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to observe people’s behaviours.

If tech changes everything, why there is still demand for printed books? printed news papers ?

If tech makes old structures go down, why Uber struggles in China, Taiwan and many East Asian countries ?

If digital music is the bomb, why still people call radio stations and request songs? Seriously?

While tech changes behaviour, it is vital to understand it doesn’t completely change the world as found in excited speeches of futurists. Strike a balance when you do your business planning.

Happy Birthday, Time.

I am a digital nomad.

Many of us are digital nomads – knowingly or unknowingly internet has changed how we live, work and play.

Last year I received more than 300 birthday wishes. Most of them on Facebook, then twitter, Google + and Skype. For a single day in a year, I was flooded with wishes. I felt really good. I replied all of those wishes. Wow, this guy from Uni, who now lives in Australia, whom I had not talked in 10 years, remembered me, wished me.

I saw the pattern. Facebook sends the reminder to FB friends, then all in FB gets excited. Then someone who’s on twitter sees the FB message, sends her wishes on twitter. Twitter starts loving me. Same in Google +, same in skype. My birthday is a piece of data FB cross sell. There I was, dissecting my emotions. I removed my birthday visibility from Facebook. I did same with Google+. I tried several ways to remove birthday from Skype. Skype does not allow me to set my birthday to private or change anything. I have set my birthday and I can’t remove it. So I set my birthday to 10/12/1892 in skype. ( It’s actually allowed in Skype. Let’s see how skype takes it)

Earlier this January I completed 36 years on earth. This year, not a single birthday wish on my FB wall. 2 wishes on skype and one wish from Google + still found their way to me. That was it.

Sri Lankan Airlines’ Flysmiles remembered me in an email. Google doodle was dedicated for me.I should know better that this could be seen only by me, only on my laptop. Otherwise I would feel very important. (after turning off my birthday visibility in Google+, I don’t know how Google still beats me. Actually not surprising, because my data is somewhere there. If you know how to turn it off let me know how)

happy-bday-google

I started reflecting about my journey, about 36 years of memories. Is it ?

There are some years I can’t even remember if I have lived at all. For example, 2013. I can’t seem to track anything I’ve done in that year. Such is the irony of life. I think I have time, lots of it, but how much I enjoyed it, how much I made use of it, is a question ultimately begs to be answered. I hope I would not do it on my death bed. I hope I would not regret how I spent my life if I ever have to succumb to a tragic incident ( because I am not immune to any of the calamities of life).

So from now on, I would carefully reflect how I spend my time. Time is all I have. What I decide to do with it, is absolutely my decision. No excuses to live the life that makes me alive. Having this thought around 5 am in the morning when I wake up, has been a wonderful shift in my thinking.

I wish you all a happy birthday this year, and wish you the same abundance of thinking with regard to time.

Fake news is bigger than we think

fakenews

This post I wrote gives a philosophy to face fake news. Yet it seems fake news is now beyond individual attempts to decipher. Take a look at video below. After watching this video, take a deep breath and reflect on the next news you see. It’s a fake world out there. Be careful of what you consume.

Why increasing minimum wage is good?

I have heard enough stories on how badly the workers on factories, warehouses and supermarkets are salaried. I questioned the ethics of it. I mean, giants like Amazon, Walmart and Apple are ripping the low income workers. Doesn’t sound right. The stories are horrid. Here’s a sensible 3 minutes video explanation from a Silicon Valley Billionaire Nick Hanaeur, on why companies should raise their minimum wage.

On those new year resolutions.

resolutions

I had a peak in to my last year’s resolutions. It’s like a rude joke on my self by me. 🙂

Through painful analysis, I found out where I had gone wrong.

  • It’s a trend, and it sounds good.
  • Everybody’s doing it. I should catch up.
  • 8 resolutions. Really ?
  • Why I could not scheduled time for these goals ?
  • Why I could not track progress ?
  • Did I actually want these goals ? Or was I influenced by someone else ?

Resolutions are good. But if it is not clearly written down with timelines and resources needed, and did not find its way in to my digital calendar, you know what happened to my resolution.

For 2017: 

  • Be audacious, be hopeful, but be realistic.
  • Breakdown the goal in to weekly goals. Work from first week.
  • Track weekly. There are 52 of them. It gives honest feedback.
  • A new goal needs new behaviours. Focus your energy on that behaviour change.

Easier said than done. but we all want to succeed, right ?