“You can´t think about thinking if you don’t think about thinking about something.”
Be meta, and dare to be wacko.
I’m sitting here, thinking about thinking about what to think about as I’m planning to write it down. I want to make some notes about my personal experience of the conference I was just recently a part of, the Schibsted Reboot conference.
To reboot a whole company is not easy, and when it means adapting and may I say adopting, a new technology culture, it’s probably even harder. For a company that has been around for 176 years, to take the leap and become a real technology and product driven company is huge. You need a lot of awesome people, about 1400 of them to be exact. They need to be passionate, intelligent, and have a can-do mentality. I believe, after these two days the past week, that we absolutely have that.
“In the future, it’s not the technology that will be your competitive advantage. Every company and person will have access to the same technology. It’s the people developing and using that technology that will be your advantage.” – A professor told us when I studied in Singapore
So make sure you hire the right people to drive this change, it’s alpha and omega.
On a more personal note then, the conference started of with some very inspirational talks. I mean inspirational as in I was almost shaking, as a physical reaction to my body of all the inspiration and can-do mentality I felt when listening to them.
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab, media technology enabler and advisor to the most powerful and thus impactful people the world has ever seen.
I cannot cite the whole talk Nicholas gave here, it’s not my intention and I wouldn’t make it justice. My takeaways are: Be meta, think about thinking, dare to be wacko and learning learning.
To challenge the way people think is easy, but we do it every day. To absolutely and profoundly change the way people think about thinking is nearly impossible. At least when we talk about adults it may seem impossible. Kids can do it, they haven’t yet learnt the way we should think about thinking or learn learning. Examples that form this rigid way of thinking is the typical influencers throughout an upbringing; school, teachers, parents, society and norms. I was so inspired by this talk, and I want to learn more about this thought, so that I can be ready when I get children to be aware and not kill their “childish” way of thinking about thinking. Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child was an inspiring example to what happens when children get to define how they learn.
I also want to start think about thinking even more. I know if my mom read this she would say I already am doing “too much thinking” but to try and find those interesting questions, the ones without answers or have answers that we can still challenge. If it changes my way of viewing the world or if it sparks a business idea, I don’t mind.
I’m a control freak, or not that bad, really, but just a little bit. Ok, I like control. And if I continue like that, and don’t challenge it, I won’t be able to be wacko enough to come up with the crazy ideas or answers to questions I find when thinking about thinking. I’m so scared to be wrong. But that is just something society, teachers and parents have taught me. Can I re-teach myself?
Linda Liukas, founder of Rails Girls and now designer, writer and storyteller of the book Hello Ruby for kids to start learning programming. My key take-away for this presentation was: dare to take the leap, be approachable and work on your storytelling.
Linda was inspiring, so successful, so young, a women non the least, and her smiling face and way to present her story was just the icing on the cake. She has what I’ve always wanted. She seems so daring and approachable. I know, strange combination of words to choose to describe someone? I know I’m a doer, and I can spark ideas, I do a lot of thinking, and when I want results, I go get them. But what she had was also guts, she had a passion and a will to change the world, at least a part of it, and she went and did it. It’s not the workload I’m scared of when I think of becoming an entrepreneur, it’s the “taking the leap” part…and failing…part.
Linda is so successful, and she has become that on a good case and for what all I know, with a fantastic personality. She has charisma, and being approachable is something I value, and have challenged myself to become the last 5 years too. That means you can gain trust quickly, you are likeable, and you get passionate people around you to fight and work for the same cause as you.
That Linda chose to fight for teaching young women how to code, and now explaining computer science to kids, is also just amazing. She saw the need, and the potential, and she went for it. She seems to have a way of storytelling, a code that no one has cracked before. It’s intriguing. I don’t know how yet, but I want to start practicing my storytelling. Maybe I can write more, like this, or also get out there and do talks, get feedback and become even better the next time? All I know is that it’s not too late, and I have all the inspiration I need.
I’m happy I get to work at a company with so many inspirational people. These talks described above was external speakers, but I also got the opportunity to listen to my amazing colleagues about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, how to build a successful product and how to align processes. I’m looking forward to assuming a new role in this play, as a Product Manager in November.