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… Your Kids Need To Learn For The Future

If the best you produce in your written communication are (annoying) one-liners, this is for you too.

Here’s what far-looking prolific Greg Satell has to say, something one will do well to sit up and take note, something I subscribe to whole heartedly.

<<extract from his article dated 29/05/19 appearing here>>

Let the ink flow, keys be struck…

Many say that coding is the new literacy

Kids are encouraged to learn programming in school and take coding courses online. In that famous scene in The Graduate Dustin Hoffman’s character was encouraged by a family friend to go into plastics. If it were shot today, it would have probably been computer code.

This isn’t actually that new. I remember first being taught how to code in middle school in the early 80s in BASIC (a mostly defunct language now). Yet even today, coding is far from an essential skill. In fact, with the rise of no-code platforms, there is a strong argument to be made that code is becoming less important.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of coding to be done on the back end and programming is certainly a perfectly reasonable thing to learn. However, there’s no reason people need to learn it to have a successful, productive career. On the other hand writing, as well as other communication skills, will only become more important in the decades to come.

Collaboration Is The New Competitive Advantage

When my generation was in school, we were preparing for a future that seemed pretty clear cut. We assumed we would become doctors, lawyers, executives and engineers and spend our entire lives working in our chosen fields. It didn’t turn out that way. These days a business model is unlikely to last a decade, much less a lifetime.

Kids today need to prepare to become lifelong learners because the pace of change will not slow down. In fact, it is likely to accelerate beyond anything we can imagine today. The one thing we can predict about the future is that collaboration will be critical for success. People like geneticists and quantum scientists will need to work closely with chemists, designers sociologists and specialists in fields that haven’t even been invented yet.

These are, in fact, longstanding trends. The journal Nature recently noted that the average scientific paper today has four times as many authors as one did in 1950 and the work they are doing is far more interdisciplinary and done at greater distances than in the past. We can only expect these trends to become more prominent in the future.

In order to collaborate effectively, you need to communicate effectively and that’s where writing comes in. Being able to express thoughts and ideas clearly and cogently is absolutely essential to collaboration and innovation.

Writing Well Is Thinking Well

Probably the most overlooked aspect of writing is that it does more than communicate thoughts, but helps form them. As Fareed Zakaria has put it, “Thinking and writing are inextricably intertwined. When I begin to write, I realize that my ‘thoughts’ are usually a jumble of half-baked, incoherent impulses strung together with gaping logical holes between them.”

“Whether you’re a novelist, a businessman, a marketing consultant or a historian,” he continues, “writing forces you to make choices and it brings clarity and order to your ideas.” Zakaria also points to Jeff Bezos’ emphasis on memo writing as an example of how clarity of expression leads to innovation.

In fact, Amazon considers writing so essential to its ability to innovate that it has become a key part of its culture. It’s hard to make much of a career at Amazon if you cannot write well, because to create products and services that are technically sound, easy to use and efficiently executed, a diverse group of highly skilled people need to tightly coordinate their efforts.

Today, as the digital revolution comes to an end and we enter a new era of innovation. it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the rapid advancement of breakthrough technologies. However, the key to success in our uncertain future will be humans collaborating with other humans to design work for machines. That starts with writing effectively.
 
<<end extract>>

I can hear some of you saying in technical communication, one uses formal models using standard icons and labels. So where’s the need to write effectively?

Well, get an application architecture diagram to explain itself!

End

Image: Pixabay

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The simple answer is you don’t.

Imagine the following retail scenario. You discover beautiful piece of furniture only to find that it is a “one of a kind”. You discover where you can order one only to find out that it could take 4 to 6 months to receive your order. So, how does this retailer manage to survive in the age of free two day shipping? Salt Creek Farmhouse is an example of a vertical furniture retail shop that has found ways to develop customer relationships to thrive in an omnichannel world. Retail survival requires transformation to new paradigms. Lesson 1 starts with focusing on doing what the giants are not doing.

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And what are they doing right?

An extract (lightly edited for brevity) from Chris Peterson’s take on SCF’s success story interspersed with an occasional comment from me within <..>:

 Five lessons from Salt Creek Farmhouse

  1. Telling your story is as important as the products you sell

In the age of mass merchants, much of retail lost its “soul”. Stores merely became places to sell products. SCF is a small business and retail shop with a great story that creates a unique brand identity and differentiation for their products <though “Our Story” could do with more romance in there, I thought>

  1. Engage your customers to help tell your story

Far too many retailers use social media as another way to advertise products and promote sales. One of the most powerful aspects of visual social media like Instagram the new word-of-mouth   is having customers posting photos of how they are using products in their homes…To quote SCF’s Instagram page: “Lovely pieces should come with a lovely story.

  1. When you can’t compete on price, compete on value and personalization

…SCF competes on quality art and workmanship that people still value. They also create personal relevance by designing things for customers, and pieces that you cannot purchase everywhere…<Just imagine what a draw these pieces would be in your rooms>

  1. Know your customers and go where they are shopping

For SCF’s products that would get lost and never be found in the millions of SKUs of an retail giant, Etsy was a perfect digital place in the company of other similar artisan style stores therein…core customers could organically search for products like theirs on Etsy. It is more important to be where your customers are, than to be on sites or in stores with the most traffic.

       5. Lack of inventory can be managed as an asset

…SCF literally carries almost no inventory. In order to sell pieces as they build them, they focus on other value propositions of customization and exclusivity as opposed to the old paradigm of “mass merchandising”. It also requires developing an intimate relationship with customers who appreciate quality and service beyond the expected and are quite willing to wait for months to get what they want!…

End

 

 

Source: Chris’s article appears here.

 

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as long as algorithms work like this one did.

Clicking on a link given to me took to me as intended to a book on the renowned temple town of Srirangam:

(some parts edited out and some reformatting for clarity)

” 

krblog-sirangam-amazon

Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikuntam (First Edition) Hardcover – 2016

by J. Ramanan (Author), Vrindaramanan (Editor)

4.4 out of 5 stars    5 customer reviews

See all formats and editions

Hardcover 1,800.00

Delivery to pincode 600001 – Chennai between Mar 11 – 13. Details

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Description for Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikuntam (First Edition)

Pictorial tribute to Srirangam, the first of the 108 Divyadesams, this volume “Srirangam Bhooloka Vaikuntam” contains a compilation of interesting mythological legends, historical facts and figures, art and architecture & fascinating festivals. The highlight of this coffee-table book are the mesmerizing photographs of the temple precincts; of Nam Perumal, decorated and seated on various vahanas; the exile of Azhagiya Manavalan in the forests of Seshachalam at the foot hills of Tirumala and the frenzy festival fervor of the shrine, all captured by J. Ramanan, with an appealing narration by Vrinda Ramanan.

Tell the Publisher! 
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don’t have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

If you didn’t notice, people who bought the coffee-table book on the temple town also bought 1 Kg of detergent and a book on colonial history of India, so Amazon tells us!!!

So we’re safe at least for now!

End

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One of my recent experiences.

The_Table_Of_Shame

A few days ago, I was at the pharmacy/chemist, my Family Warrant holder for years now.

Stacks of baby-food tins, packs of sanitary napkins and crates of bottled water reduced the customer space to a single file in the small shop. The short guy spotted me patiently waiting behind a lady unhurriedly examining the label on a diet kakra pack. He is one of the guys – there are two or three of them – filling my orders regularly over the last three years. I shouted out my usual order for insulin cartridges and some OTC items. He pulled them out one by one from the fridge, shelves and cabinets and piled them up on the counter, punctuating regularly with a ‘What else, Sir?’

I wasn’t sure if he remembered. Disregarding the awkwardness, I asked him for the Senior Citizen’s discount on the bill. Transaction completed, I stepped out.

Gone for a few minutes on my next errand, I remembered. I returned to the pharmacy, got the attention of the short guy.

‘Hey, you did not give me needles for the insulin pens.’

‘Sir, I asked you ‘What else?’ and you didn’t tell me,’ he looked hurt at my unfair accusation.

He didn’t suspect I would need the needles to get the insulin into my blood.

If this is my pharmacy, it is the same with the appliances store where we’ve bought for last 25 years and all other businesses we transact with. My government does even better – it needs me to have my ration card (used more for identity proof than for buying provisions through government shops at subsidized rates), PAN card for income-tax, Election Card for voting, Know-Your-Customer for some financial transactions and of course, passport for travel, not to mention telephone bills, electricity bills, cooking-gas bills, rent receipts, etc., etc. for identity/residence proof. I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few.

On my part, I’ve been remiss of one thing – on my next visit, I’ll find out the name of the short guy.

While on the subject, there is an interesting post from Bernadette Jiwa’s blog at thestoryoftelling.com that succinctly captures the essence of personalized service – her posts are always short, easy-to-read and jogs one’s mind. Note she is talking about organization consciously basing its entire service model on what it knows about its customer – it’s a lot more than customizing web pages on browsing history or profile data entered/collected or even CRM.

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Credits: thestoryoftelling.com and hahastop.com

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