Links for the Week – August 5, 2006

calvin corporatism
The brilliant Bill Watterson nails corporatism, perfectly.

A mishmash this week, but there’s some really interesting and important developments here.

Taskonomy, not Taxonomy: There’s a lot of debate in Knowledge Management circles about when taxonomy (a top-down imposed organizing scheme for subject matter in a library or database) is better and worse than folksonomy (a bottom-up evolving organizing scheme, where people choose their own tags to index the content). Here’s an interesting article by Don Norman that suggests a different approach again: Instead of organizing content by subject matter at all, organize it by its expected (re-)purpose/re-use. Duh! Thanks to Innovation Weekly for the link.

What Do You Do When There’s No Profit In Curing a Terrible Disease?: Black fever kills a half million people a year, but because they’re mostly poor, Big Pharma has simply abandoned developing and marketing drugs that could easily eradicate the disease. So a small charity has stepped in to bring the drug to market, and had to fight huge hurdles thrown in its way by corporatists and bureaucrats. But they’ve persevered, and in the process developed yet another promising model (like microfinance) to help us replace the shabby and dysfunctional market economy. Bravo!

Chronic Under-Employment is No Better Than Unemployment…: US unemployment is shooting up again, even using the horrifically distorted data put out by the Bush Admin to obfuscate the utter failure of its economic programs. But there’s still little attention to the much larger problem of chronic under-employment — people working grueling hours at multiple jobs far beneath their capabilities for pathetic wages and few/no benefits, all in the interests of reducing corporate labour costs, increasing ‘productivity’ and maximizing obscene ROIs for corporate execs and shareholders. Finally, the NYT has caught on, and reports that the number of people who just aren’t putting up with it any more is soaring. Make more room on the Edge!

…Ten Reasons Not to Have a Job…: On a related note, Steve Pavlina provides ten good reasons not to have a job, ever. A must read. Thanks to Rob Paterson for the link.

… and A Personal Declaration of Independence: And if you need some encouragement to quit your meaningless job, start with Pamela Slim’s video, and then dig further into her blog. Thanks to Rob Paterson and Kathy Sierra for this link.

Pay Attention! Innovation Does Start With Customers: Kathy Sierra argues that great innovation is about imagining and creating new needs, not satisfying unmet ones. It’s a compelling and recurring argument among innovation thinkers, but, as I’ve argued before, at length, it’s wrong.

“Jerry Springers”: How the US Troops Describe Their Own Iraq Behaviour: If you still need convincing that the US must get out of Iraq, completely, immediately, now, read this. Thanks to Umair Haque for the link.

The (False?) Promise of Ethanol: The debate over the potential of ethanol as an alternative fuel rages on, with skeptics saying it’s hopelessly inefficient and just another way to get more massive subsidies for agriculture. The issues are notthat simple, though. Use this post from Salon’s Andrew Leonard to read both sides and make up your own mind.

Thought for the Week, a poem, from Orion Magazine, by Reg Saner:

Night Coyotes

To our dog three coyotes howled
where he was from. “Come back,
come back,” they called, “home
to the wild where the dark is hard
as bone, sweet as the marrow
inside.” Three coyotes howled
and our dog barked in return.
To say that he heard and remembered.
That he heard but would not come.

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2 Responses to Links for the Week – August 5, 2006

  1. Martin-Eric says:

    Steve Pavlina’s next blog article was, not surprisingly, titled “10 Myths About Self-Employment”. So, while he started by putting down the whole idea of jobs, he quickly added that being self-employed (a.k.a. entrepreneurship) is not easy either. Gotta love a guy who is able to play his own devil’s advocate. :)There was also a rebutal to Steve’s “10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job”, where someone stated that finding a great company with a visionary CEO and truely professional collegues can also be extremely enlightening because of mentoring and of mild competition stimulating people into innovating. I think that this is a very valid point, but then again, there hardly seems to be any companies out there that really are worth working for.

  2. Pearl says:

    That’s a cool poem. Steve Pavlina links are always juicy too. :)

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