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Suster: Avoid Monoculture

Mark Suster (GRP) gets the VC post of the day with his post Avoid Monoculture. Travel. Read Widely. Let Experience be Your CompassIt’s a really great post to read just before the weekend to remind you to make sure you are living your life and constantly exploring new things, rather than just being heads down on whatever you are working on. I’ve spent much of the summer in Europe (in Paris and Tuscany) “just living” – which includes plenty of work, but a completely change of context for how I live my every day life. I’ll write a lot more about this on Feld Thoughts after I get back to Boulder, but in the mean time much of what Mark said rang true to me as I read it, especially:

“Challenge conventional wisdom. Fight monoculture. Question authority. Take lots of inputs but then let your internal compass set your course. If “all the cool kids are doing it” make sure you have strong internal logic for why you’re going to follow them. Often it’s not the best course.”

Bryce Roberts (OATV) gets runner up with his post There Is No i In Apple. It’s a great reminder of the difference between “i” and “we”. The paragraph that nails this is:

“Reading through the many compilation of Jobs’ quotes last night a similar theme emerges. When speaking of personal foibles or lessons learned he uses I and Me. But, when he speaks of the company he founded, was fired from and helped resuscitated to life he speaks in We and Us.”

If you are in the northeast US this weekend, be safe!

August 26th, 2011 by     Categories: VC Post of the Day     Tags: , , , ,
  • http://twitter.com/thoughtspaces thought spaces

    I am an extreme proponent of this way of thinking, but it does lead to life in contradiction and moreover tilts my personal environment towards concerns about randomness.  These concerns about randomness I find are more of a feature of an internal desire for control. 

    My personal experience has been that when I embrace the challenge of overcoming uncertainty, there is less control and therefore randomness is an aspect of control.

    Monoculture to me is ironically living with a drilled university education, still seeing the world in the way one’s professors sought us to see it. 

    Academia has its place in culture, but we can embrace both the best of reason that the university imparts into its student body and break free to “let experience be your compass”. 

    The apt word is compass, for as I see it in a news culture, we need to get back to N-E-W-S and not “mono-news” – North-East-West-South is where the real news is, not in the news we speak of.

    I used to be more mono like a digital couch potato, now I am more like a radio dial, and when the frequency I tune into is real good, I stick around and pay more attention.

    Otherwise I love the freedom of moving the digital dial – which unlike the analog forward and back motion is better seen as a metaphor called the compass.

    M.

  • http://twitter.com/thoughtspaces thought spaces

    I am an extreme proponent of this way of thinking, but it does lead to life in contradiction and moreover tilts my personal environment towards concerns about randomness.  These concerns about randomness I find are more of a feature of an internal desire for control. 

    My personal experience has been that when I embrace the challenge of overcoming uncertainty, there is less control and therefore randomness is an aspect of control.

    Monoculture to me is ironically living with a drilled university education, still seeing the world in the way one’s professors sought us to see it. 

    Academia has its place in culture, but we can embrace both the best of reason that the university imparts into its student body and break free to “let experience be your compass”. 

    The apt word is compass, for as I see it in a news culture, we need to get back to N-E-W-S and not “mono-news” – North-East-West-South is where the real news is, not in the news we speak of.

    I used to be more mono like a digital couch potato, now I am more like a radio dial, and when the frequency I tune into is real good, I stick around and pay more attention.

    Otherwise I love the freedom of moving the digital dial – which unlike the analog forward and back motion is better seen as a metaphor called the compass.

    M.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I love the N-E-W-S concept. Today’s “news” is horrible, but if it turned into real North-East-West-South looking stuff, it could get really useful. In the absence of this, by creating your own approach (and the radio dial analogy works for me) you create your own N-E-W-S. Well done.

      • http://twitter.com/thoughtspaces thought spaces

        It is we who in reality make or unmake the news – if we did not consume it, it would continue to fashion itself until we do – the nature of the media beast assumes we can’t do without it, but IMHO it cannot do without us.  I cannot change how society eats and craps commodity but I sure can change the direction of the signal – and while waste is a natural part of existence, I am not wasted.

        In a couple of weeks time Newton Minnow is going to address an audience at the Berkman Center and he is going to talk about his famous “Vast Wasteland” speech probably in light of today’s media and broadcasting ecology.  It is up to people like you or Newton to convey what needs to be conveyed, so people like me can be free to live our lives in the obscurity of own own peace.

        I hope that a part of Newton Minnow message will be that if at the time of my own birth in 1961, that we were born into media world blowing in the wind, that the winds of change are in the hands of people today, not broadcasters.  I will hope Newton makes that call, if he doesn’t I will still live my life, for my home is still a home and not a refuge for change.  Change is us, and it moves outwards into the world, not inwards to the tranquility of my sofa :-)

        I don’t want to be a news item, I don’t fancy being a commodity, I won’t let people buy me off the shelf, that is what N-E-W-S spells out to me today Brad – I am not an element in the broadcast, I am free of the cast – I am not “broadcast” I am broad and narrow – I am the signal of my heart and as long as I am not jammed, I am connecting with my free spirit on this emerging air-wave of personal discovery and dare I say it, a most personalized way of emerging media possibility.

        M.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          I love it – this is a great message. And a great way to live and think about life.