Seth Godin on web sites: Good Enough or Great? Making Raving Fans: Zappos
Oct 15

This morning I heard a great observation on the podcast TWiT Episode 116 (this week in tech) about how the schools are teaching children.

They were commenting on Dr. Goodnight’s rant, founder of SAS, which is summarized below:

“What does SAS CEO Dr. Jim Goodnight have in common with 47% of high school dropouts? A belief that school is boring. Marking the 50th anniversary of Sputnik with a call for renewed emphasis on science and technology in America’s schools, Goodnight finds today’s kids ill-served by old-school schooling: ‘Today’s generation of kids is the most technology savvy group that this country has ever produced. They are born with an iPod in one hand and a cell phone in another. They’re text messaging, e-mailing, instant messaging. They’re on MySpace, YouTube & Google. They’ve got Nintendo Wiis, Game Boys, PlayStations. Their world is one of total interactivity. They’re in constant communication with each other, but when they go to school, they are told to leave those ‘toys’ at home. They’re not to be used in school. Instead, the system continues teaching as if these kids belong to the last century, by standing in front of a blackboard.’” from slashdpot, see original interview

I think Dr. Goodnight has some credence to his rant. But my point really isn’t about school children. What I wonder, is how well is the business person adapting?

We’re in a world where we can learn anything we want to with a simple click of the mouse. Need to know how to create a blog? Need to figure out how to configure your Outlook? Need to know how to build a web site? Need to know how to create a marketing budget?

It doesn’t stop with just simply searching web pages on Google. You can also find video and audio to enhance you’re learning. You can even subscribe to a topic, using RSS.

It’s alarming that adults spend an average of 4 hours watching television a day, when we could be in almost a constant state of learning. I don’t know about you, but I think learning is great. I take a life-long approach to the subject, and feel very fortunate that we have all of these tools at our disposal. I’m learning how to adapt. I’m shelving the old model of learning, and using technology to enhance my current learning. For the professional, learning doesn’t stop at college and we can’t depend on our employer to teach us what we need to know. The internet has given us the ability to take our professional development (or personal development) into our own hands.

So here’s a challenge: What can you do today to begin enhancing your professional/personal development?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Find 3 blogs to follow, and subscribe to them via an RSS reader (see my Google Reader blog for more info)
  • Get an iPod and subscribe to You can download 1-2 books on “tape” and listen to these books to and from work, when you mow the lawn, exercise, etc.
  • Search the iTunes store for a podcast of a subject that interests you. Listen to your podcasts throughout the week.

Let’s not fall into the same trap our school system is and assume we have to learn the same ol’ way. Use technology to take advantage of the amazing opportunity to advance your professional and personal life. Seize the day!

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