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Archive for the month “December, 2017”

So the university studied about obsolescence

I was trying to trace down the origins of something shared by Mitch Wagner – namely, a tweet from Vala Afshar that included the following:

“Investor concern over the threat of new technologies is overstated”

—1999 Blockbuster analyst report

Today, our local Blockbuster Video is a Chase Bank.

When I first read the quote, I placed great emphasis on the fact that it was uttered by an analyst, not by Blockbuster itself. But then I read something that stated that the quote came from a report commissioned by Blockbuster itself.

The “something” that I read was in the Digital Communications Team Blog at the University of St. Andrews.

standrews

This blog post recorded the salient points from a lecture by Paul Boag, co-founder of digital consultancy Headscape and author of Digital Adaption. Apparently this lecture was given to staff at the University; I’m not sure if any students were present. However, as we shall see, Boag’s message was primarily to the staff.

The lecture was entitled “Digital Change.” Boag started by talking about the Blockbuster example, where the whole digital media movement passed the company by. Then he moved on to Kodak, another company that was so attached to the physical medium that it never really mastered the digital one.

After that, as Carley Hollis notes, Boag hit a little closer to home.

The inability to adapt to a world which is changing around us is one of the biggest risks to institutions today – and that includes the University of St Andrews.

What? A risk to a university? But people are always going to want to travel to an educational institution and read books, right?

We need to realise that if we do not work to meet the needs of these students – recognise that their needs are different to the need of students of even five years ago – then we will be failing them. And if we are failing students, we are at risk of failing as an institution.

The remainder of the post describes how the University’s digital communications team is seeking to render ITSELF obsolete. Until such time as “digital” is integrated into everything, though, the digital communications team is striving to help students and staff move forward.

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A lifetime of memories, on a smaller scale

A recent news story on the Los Angeles CBS news radio station emphasized how time scales are different for many of us.

The story discussed damage from one of several fires that have plagued California in the last few weeks. It concentrated on the destruction to the Sylmar Independent Baseball League’s fields.

siblDSC_1776_1

Sylmar Independent Baseball League

Fields that are used by young people.

One of these kids was quoted in the story:

“I played in this park since I was 3. I’ve never seen it like this, so I’m pretty bummed about it,” said one player.

They didn’t state the age of the player, but he was probably no more than ten years old, and possibly younger.

So his memories of the baseball field stretch back no more than seven years, but those memories span more than half of his lifetime.

This boy’s perspective of time is different than mine, because I’ve lived a little bit longer than him.

Seven years? Heck, that was only ONE corporate reorganization ago, and it was AFTER the groundbreaking NAS report was released. My daughter was just getting ready for her first year of college.

So what did things look half a lifetime ago for me? Well, the NAS report, or fingerprinting in general, wasn’t a concern of mine. My daughter wasn’t a concern of mine either; I wasn’t even married yet.

And Sylmar? The 1994 Northridge earthquake was still in Sylmar’s future.

But the Sylmar Independent Baseball League was around at that time.

And it probably will be 30 years from now.

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