13 December 2006

In demand

Ever laconic Seth Godin posts on what he sees in demand these days:

We don't need pilots. We need instigators and navigators, rabble rousers and innovators. People who can't follow a checklist to save their life, but invent the future every day.

I don't think Seth really understands what it means to be a great airplane pilot, but what he's trying to say is right. There was a time when folks who could do the "cog work" (e.g. follow this procedure, the same way, every time. etc.) were valued, but not any more. Moving away from the front line, I might say, what we need are leaders, not managers.

On the hive mind and the wisdom of crowds (or the lack thereof) Steven Johnson of the New York Times summarizes:

A swarm of connected human minds is a fantastic resource for tracking down software bugs or discovering obscure gems on the Web. But if you want to come up with a good idea, or a sophisticated argument, or a work of art, you’re still better off going solo.

There will always be a premium on creativity. You just can't engineer that. It's a human thing. There are problems you can solve with money, but being creative isn't one of them.

3 comments:

pethr said...

You mean it's time for Ballmer to go?:-D

John C. Welch said...

You know what we need? People who are professional and reliable. I'd trade a roomful of uber-creatives for ten people I can rely on with absolute trust day in and day out.

Because here's the rub...coming up with a good idea is 20% of the work.

Implementing that idea well, in a way that is usable by all, and reliable enough to work all day every day? That's the critical part, and it's the part that the rabble rousers will never be good at because it requires far too much focus for them.

Navigators, by the way, are some of the most disciplined, non-rabble rousing people you'll ever meet. Seth needs to figure out what he's really talking about.

Paul Berkowitz said...

Anybody home? Dec. 13 - Jan. 13 - no post?