In This Edition:
1. The Autumn Breeze
2. More, More, and Still More Information
3. The Endless Tinkering
4. On the Lighter Side
The Autumn Breeze
Back from vacation, back to school, and back to work: that sums up the start of September. Ah, but wait, back to the bombardment as well. New TV shows, dozens of new ads, new movies, new books, new web sites. More, more, and still more information competing for your attention, with seemingly less time to offer any attention!
More, More, and Still More Information
More information has been produced in the last 30 years than the previous 5,000, according to Reuters Business Information services. The total quantity of all printed material is doubling every five years, and accelerating. A weekday edition of any major newspaper contains more information than the 17th century man or woman would have encountered in a lifetime!
Jim Lewis, author of The King is Dead, says that by some estimates, the data storage curve is rocketing upward at the rate of 800% per year. Organizations are collecting so much data they’re overwhelmed. Families are no different; we have more things on disk, more photos, more items stored than we’ll ever have to allocate time for. “Since Kodachrome made way for jpeg, pictures accumulate on hard drives like wet leaves in a gutter,” said Lewis
Your everyday supermarket now carries roughly 40,000 items, twice as many as a decade ago. There are so many products, brands, and sub-species of those brands that no consumer is safe from the bombardment of choice overload. The manufacturers plead mea culpa — they are trying to differentiate their products to reach selected niches, a vital and necessary component of survival in the hyper-intense capitalistic jungle. For example, more than 16 varieties just of Colgate toothpaste, 75 types of Pantene hair care treatments, a 110 varieties of Hallmark greeting cards, and untold numbers of other products are available from the same vendor in the same product line.
The Endless Tinkering
Computers thwart, contort, and befuddle us. We mess around with fonts, change screen backgrounds, update our Twitter. We tweak and we piddle. We spend countess hours preparing Powerpoint slides that most people forget in seconds. We generate reports in duplicate and triplicate and then some, that end up serving only one function for most of the recipients — to collect dust.
We sit in front of our keyboards and try take control of our little corner of the world. We communicate with staff, impress our bosses, and do our best to stay on top of things, but at the same time, we visit our favorite blogs, comparison shop online, and pass jokes back and forth — not the essence of productivity. Management, with alarming irregularity, wants to know what we’re typing, what we’re looking at, with whom we’re communicating, and what we’re passing back and forth.
The temptation that a computer in general, and the Internet in particular, provides can lure even the most diligent, loyal, and hard-working among us. Who has not strayed during the course of the day, sometimes for prolonged periods? Who has not taken chunks of time, here and there, away from their employer, proceeding all the while as if no one will know the difference? Though the word is rarely used, such forays are actually a form of theft. You can rationalize your escapes as long as you get the job done, i.e., who cares if you take a couple of minutes here and there for your own interests? Besides, you’re not on the clock, you’re a salaried or commission-based employee.
Still, if the tables were turned, wouldn’t you feel you had a right to know when your employees were actually working?
On the Lighter Side
The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. Conclusion: Eat & drink what you like. It’s speaking English that kills you.