Average Starbucks barista gets more training in a year than the average communications employee

Employees are motivated by more than just money and perks. According to a new study, employees value training. But communications companies are often not high on training:

The average Starbucks barista gets more training in a year than the average employee in a communications company, according to the Arnold Worldwide study.

For employees, the single most important motivational factor was the ability to learn. Yet the study found a huge disconnect when it comes to perceptions about company training. While 90 percent of employees say they learn by figuring things out on their own, only 25 percent of executives think that employees learn independently.

To keep employees motivated, agencies need to build a culture of learning, where employees leave more enriched at the end of each day.


For toddler, a magazine is an iPad that doesn’t work

Fascinating video.

“It’s essential to keep those people who know a thing can’t be done from bothering the people who are doing it”

If you want to do great things and do seemingly-impossible feats, keep those who say things can’t be done away from those who are trying to prove them wrong.

You don’t put a man on the moon by listening to those who say its impossible. You let those who dream big take the lead. Those who have the audacity to think the unthinkable can be done are the ones who will do the unthinkable — the impossible.

Dennis Ritchie, the creator of C, the most influential programming language ever developed, has died. C showed what many thought couldn’t be done, could be done.

There was no such thing as a general-purpose program that was both portable across a variety of hardware and also efficient enough to compete with custom code written for just that hardware. Fortran did okay for array-oriented number-crunching code, but nobody could do it for general-purpose code such as what you’d use to build just about anything down to, oh, say, an operating system.

So this young upstart whippersnapper comes along and decides to try to specify a language that will let people write programs that are: (a) high-level, with structures and functions; (b) portable to just about any kind of hardware; and (c) efficient on that hardware so that they’re competitive with handcrafted nonportable custom assembler code on that hardware. A high-level, portable, efficient systems programming language.

How silly. Everyone knew it couldn’t be done.

C is a poster child for why it’s essential to keep those people who know a thing can’t be done from bothering the people who are doing it.

C is still widely used today. Decedents C++, C# and Objective-C are three of the most popular programming languages available today. That last one, Objective-C, just so happens to be the programming language that powers iOS and OS X development.

Hat tip Daring Fireball.

Steve Jobs and never giving up hope (and rocking it until your last days)

Two things are clear to me with Steve Jobs and his death: He never gave up hope, and knowing that he was dying lit a fire beneath him that fueled incredible creativity.

Even if Steve knew the end was near, his actions showed that he never gave up hope. He presented plans for a new Apple campus just a few months ago. He moved forward with plans for a new home as well.

This is why I was surprised to hear of the news of Steve’s death. I figured if he was really sick, he still wouldn’t be spending his time presenting building plans to the Cupertino City Council. Surely, someone else at Apple could do that.

Steve was still occasionally going into work as well. He even did the Keynote at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, just four months before his death.

I thought that he had merely come to terms with the fact that he would never have the energy to be a CEO again. Being a CEO is beyond a full-time job. It’s long hours and lots of stress, especially if you want to be a wildly successful CEO like Steve.

A lot of people spend years and even decades in poor health. In reality, Steve didn’t know how to half-ass life. He didn’t know how to slow down and not work towards his life goals.

He presented his plans for a new campus for Apple to the city council because he cared so much about that new, one-of-a-kind campus and building, and he wanted to make sure his vision came to reality. The new Apple campus won’t be completed until 2015 at the earliest, and Steve knew at the time that he would probably never get to see it. But he wanted to make sure it was done right. Steve built things that will last long after he is gone, and he wanted to make sure that they those products, buildings, ideas, ideals, etc. were good long after he was gone.

I have to believe part of his working until the end was that he never gave up hope. Even if there was a 95 percent certainly that this was his last year, you never know. And so while many people would wallow at being taken from this Earth too early, in knowing that their final days were probably not far away, Steve kept up hope and kept working at building products and ideas that he believed in.

I can’t imagine Steve sitting in an in a recliner watching TV as his health slipped away. That wasn’t who he was. He was a fighter until the end.

Indeed, it appears that knowing that his time was limited lit a fire beneath him. The iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iCloud, iOS, Macbook Air and the resurgance of Mac OS and Mac hardware happened after his cancer diagnosis. He ran Apple like a man who knew that if he made a big mistake, it might be the last thing people remembered him for.

We all know that we’re going to die. But we don’t understand it. That’s what keeps us pushing things into the future. That’s what keeps us in jobs that we don’t like. That’s what keeps us from living the life we really want.

Steve Jobs, his actions and his incredible Stanford graduation speech have taught me so much about how to live life. How to love life. And that today, not 10 years from now, is when you should love life.

Go watch Steve’s Stanford graduation speech. Live life. Love life.

Run wildly through life. Make a dent in the universe.

Episode 16: Honor Steve Jobs by learning something new, something outside your comfort zone

We dedicate this week’s episode to Steve Jobs, but rather than send up his life’s work, which we already did after he retired, we decided to salute Steve Jobs’s legacy of thinking different and of learning new skills.

This episode looks at education and how school almost beat the creativity out of him. This episode also encourages students to look outside their majors, to take random classes and to experiment.

The original Macintosh and personal computers owe their great typography to Steve Jobs randomly taking a calligraphy class (or rather dropping into it). Steve was a life-long student. While Steve Jobs may be best known for founding a great tech company, his appreciation for design and the liberal arts really helped move the industry forward and helped make computers more personal.

More journalists should learn about technology and computer science. More engineers should learn more about the arts and writing. We could all stand to know more than just our majors and careers.

What made Steve Job great was not that he was the world’s best designer or engineer, but rather that he could get people to put it all together. He understood at least a little bit of everything that Apple did. That allowed him to get designers, hardware engineers and software developers to work together to create products that were a cut above competitors.

Perhaps the best way to honor Steve Jobs is to learn something new. Go ahead, go outside your comfort zone. Think different.

Listen to this week’s episode:


Show notes:

The future of journalism is linked to technology. Tell newspaper columnists this.

The future of journalism is inextricably linked with technology. There is no way around that. And journalists who don’t get that are actively holding journalism back.

Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson wrote a piece about Steve Jobs and technology that was so off base and so out of touch, one would almost have too assume that it’s satire. Maybe he is auditioning for The Onion:

Before reading this, you should know the following: I do not own an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod or a Mac. I abandoned my typewriter only recently. In short, I have not enlisted in the digital revolution and have kept my involvement to a desktop computer, e-mail and the Internet…

By history’s measure, Jobs’s achievements are tiny. Transforming the music industry is not the same as transforming society. There are many technological advances that had a far larger impact on society: antibiotics, air travel, air conditioning and television. By contrast, many of Apple’s products are gadgets, as commentators have noted. Their ultimate social impact may be less than Facebook’s.

The work that Steve Jobs did on personal computers, smartphones, tablets and general usability for technology far outweighs some of the “big” examples that Samuelson exposes. The television? Honestly, that’s nothing compared to computers.

Many tech savvy people of my generation are forgoing traditional televisions because Internet-connected devices are so much deeper and more powerful than a TV. Standalone TV is a blimp in history that will be replaced by Internet video (all video will eventually go over IP, and this transition is already underway).

Steve Jobs and his works are big because they brought computing to the masses. The Internet and personal computing — PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc. — are some of the biggest advances in human history.

Steve Jobs worked to take technology and make it usable for non-technologists. He helped democratize technology. That is huge.

For a journalist to not understand technology, when technology is disrupting journalism so greatly and allowing for journalism to do things that it could never do before, is somewhat mind blowing. Samuelson is not some Podunk journalist. He works for one of the best news organizations in America.

I expect more.

We become journalists because we’re addicted to learning and reading. We simply have to know more about our world around us. Samuelson, a good political reporter, would be a better journalist if he was more curious about technology.

Hat tip to Daring Fireball.

Students create newspaper with typewriters, X-actos and film cameras

Students at Florida Atlantic University decided to give old-school production a try:

The loss of technology compelled students to be more collaborative and engaged. When 35mm film gave them a 36-shot limit, they took more care with each frame. When they banged out stories on typewriters, they stopped and considered each sentence before committing it to paper. It was slower, more difficult and much more frustrating, but it taught them to exercise the human muscles behind journalism, and not to rely so much on the automated crutches.

This kind of experience doesn’t make a journalist, but it makes a talented journalist more
nimble and creative.

The actual idea of building a newspaper the old-fashioned way is dumb. It took them three weekends to pull this off, when it should have taken an afternoon with InDesign. But the idea that they had to think more about their craft is profound.

It’s really easy to pop off 1,000 mindless shots with a DSLR. But that leads to a lot of really bad shots and wasted time. Good photojournalism is about craft and love. Perhaps students need to learn to walk before they can run with the latest digital tools?