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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stalin's Maxim

 “The death of one is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” Josef Stalin

What is the future of the republic? It’s smart phone enabled, that’s what. We start with the future inaugural of a new president, and then track back, way back, until we stop at the president’s soon to be dad, using his smart phone to book a ticket on the outbound train so he can just in time introduce himself to the president’s soon to be mom.

Moral of the story: AT&T and Blackberry Smart Phone: Your future enabled!

Back to the future app

When the hype machine morphs into a time machine, we know we have problems. In the blissful world of Web 2.0, we are in touch continually, simultaneously, productively, and happily with everything that counts everywhere. And we are constantly reminded of this great boon through the flash of sights and sounds and breathless imagery of nonstop advertising and bleeping reminders. Now, tethered to our i phones, pads, pods, and assorted information appliances, it’s not just you, but the Web 2! However, bring your appliances to work and have them enabled for you at work is akin to ‘bring your daughter, puppy, or mother in law to work day’. Needless to say, you won’t get that much done. Unfortunately, there’s no profit to device manufacturers, content providers, and software developers in telling you differently, until you realize it the hard way when your company shows ‘no profit’.

And then there are statistics, statistics, and more damn statistics. The web is a distracter mechanism par excellence, and to how measure distracters on the web take their toll on the productivity of homo-sapiens in his working habitat, you simply add them up. It’s all in the numbers.

Stat Sheet

So, on average, 28% of our time at work is spent wasting time. Sounds bad, until you realize that averages have a way of getting away from you because deep down, they aren’t you! Thus we know that half of us are over weight, most of us are too stressed, and nearly all of us waste too much time. But so what?  Against the dead hand of numbers and percentages are those everyday experiences of you and I who use the web to get the score, settle a score, or in the case of our stranger on a train, just score. Individual experiences trump statistics, even though in the end we all become one of them. Statistics are an ineffective counterweight against the immediate pull of personal experience, and inverts Stalin’s maxim for a new score of happy victims. One may say in these gentler times on internet omniscience that a simple search is a happy fact, but that the inconvenience and suffering wrought by millions of them is but an unhappy statistic.

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