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Polymathic Monthly - Issue #34: Miseducation, Cities and 'Team Human'.


Polymathic Monthly

May 5 · Issue #34 · View online

A curation of articles, tech, books and innovation strategy to enrich your career and personal lives.

Some truth from a podcast I listened to a few weeks ago has stayed with me. Paraphrasing the guest on this podcast, he suggested that
if every month or couple of months you sat across from someone you’ve invested in or have an interest in and you questioned this person on why they didn’t look better or dressed better or why this person hasn’t grown taller by a few more inches since the last time you saw them, you would be considered mad. Mad for having unrealistic expectations. So why do we make this ask of businesses and no one questions the madness?
You have to believe that businesses are organisms for this to seem unrealistic. I happen to believe businesses are organisms.
We make the same ask of cities - there is the saying that if your city is not growing, it is dying - and it’s a mad ask. Because cities are organisms. For the simple reason that cities (and businesses) are made up of humans, organisms themselves, and they take on the organic nature of the people who dwell (and work) in them. But then we ask them to do things that are not of their nature. How long do we think we can do this?
All the above will read like madness to you if you do not believe that businesses or cities are organisms. I can’t help you much if that’s the case…

  • In a few years, we will look back and realize the voice of Douglas Rushkoff was the prescient voice we needed to listen to as technology tore apart our social and political fabric. With ‘Present Shock’, ‘Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus’ and now ‘Team Human’, where he reaffirms the need for community. It’s a shame we need to still reaffirm humans. Pair this one with ‘your attention was never the endgame’.
  • I’m late to this party but ‘Whiplash’, by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe, provides the most useful compass for our fast changing and thoroughly confusing times. Ignore the MIT ‘ads’ and be sure to take notes while you read this one. Especially the ‘PS’ sections at the end, which in themselves could make a separate fantastic book.
  • Jan Gehl’s ‘Cities for People’ is less a book and more a philosophy. You don’t read it as much as you reference it time and time again to remind yourself of what we are getting wrong as we rush into making our cities smart with technology we don’t quite understand. Especially as we emphasize efficiency at the expense of people and realize we haven’t factored in the ‘accidents’ of these tools.
Hope you have a great month!
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