‘Serial,’ Podcasting’s First Breakout Hit, Sets Stage for More – NYTimes.com Reply

Podcasts have moved beyond being a nerd curio because all of the friction has been removed from the process, which used to require setting up RSS feeds or cutting and pasting web addresses into a browser. Now, with the advent of ever smarter smartphones, it has become one more push-button technology, allowing consumers to download an app and listen to audio programming at a time of their choosing. If that sounds familiar — Netflix, anyone? — it’s no surprise that it will have similar transformative effects on traditional providers of serious audio programming, which means public radio.

via ‘Serial,’ Podcasting’s First Breakout Hit, Sets Stage for More – NYTimes.com.

Creativity, Corporatism, and Crowds by Robert J. Shiller – Project Syndicate Reply

I found this to be a superbly crafted thought piece about economic growth, creativity, and the different ways we harness the energy of crowds.  Robert Shiller, along the way, shares a very interesting etymology of “crowd.”  Really glad I took the time to read this (follow the link below).

Ultimately, we need economic institutions that somehow promote the concerted creative actions of a wide swath of the world’s people. They should not be corporatist institutions, dominated by central leaders, but should derive their power from the fluid actions of modern crowds.

Some of those actions will have to be disruptive, because the momentum of organizations can carry them beyond their usefulness. But there must also be enough continuity that people can trust their careers and futures to such organizations. Acknowledging the need to experiment and design new forms of economic organization must not mean abandoning fairness and compassion.

via Creativity, Corporatism, and Crowds by Robert J. Shiller – Project Syndicate.

Goldman Sachs Recasts Its Reputation to Woo Tech Talent – NYTimes.com Reply

When I started working in a business school, mid 1990s, Goldman had a great name and its reputation stood for excellence.  Today, post IPO, it appears they actually have to sell the company to smart and talented people.  I guess this is the ebb of flow of a firm’s “good name.”

A panel of Goldman Sachs employees spent a recent Tuesday night at the Columbia University faculty club trying to convince a packed room of potential recruits that Wall Street, not Silicon Valley, was the place to be for computer scientists.

The Goldman employees knew they had an uphill battle. They were fighting against perceptions of Wall Street as boring and regulation-bound and Silicon Valley as the promised land of flip-flops, beanbag chairs and million-dollar stock options.

via Goldman Sachs Recasts Its Reputation to Woo Tech Talent – NYTimes.com.

Cedric Vanhaver: Strong guidelines needed for native advertising in Asia- Nikkei Asian Review Reply

Today, most of those working in marketing, PR, advertising or social media know about native advertising, but to the untrained eye, native advertising can be hard to detect.

The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta has said that native advertising is basically promising corporations that want to advertise: We will camouflage your ads to make them look like news stories. It has become popular with advertisers precisely because it is, in many cases, hard to distinguish from noncommercial content. Good native advertising fits within the context of the content surrounding it and aligns with the media outlet’s style, tone and content type.

via Cedric Vanhaver: Strong guidelines needed for native advertising in Asia- Nikkei Asian Review.

Hat tip to Zeno’s John Kerr for tuning me into this article.

Golden Thread or Red Thread: When Should You Use Each? Reply

Recently I have heard a handful of executives speak about “red threads” in their corporate learning programmes.  For me, this was a new phrase.  Certainly I was familiar with “golden threads” that are woven into stories and programmes, but I began to wonder how the two concepts might be the same or different.

The academic in me had to investigate.  What does “red thread” actually mean and how might be fairly use both terms?

Golden Thread–the thing that binds it all together. At least for modern history, this concept seems most strongly tied to imageDickens and The Tale of Two Cities.  Here, the character Lucie is a young girl with golden hair and is adored by all.  While this is the literal description of Lucie, in the book she is the character that binds the family together.  “She becomes the “golden thread” that unites her father with his present, not allowing him to dwell too much in the horrors of the past.”  Throughout the book she unites people, making it quite easy for us to now refer to “golden threads” as those ideas which run through anything (e.g., an education programme, novel, etc) and unite it as a whole.  Morally, this use of golden thread seems linked to a higher purpose or goodness in people’s lives.

As we will see next, in this comparison the fact that golden threads are public and loved by all, the way Lucie was, is important.  The public nature of golden threads make them usable and useful to people.

Ari_TIn antiquity, we find the story of Ariadne and Theseus.  Ariadne helped Theseus slay the minotaur and escape the labyrinth by providing a thread he unraveled and then followed back out again.  Here, the thread both connected people and provided guidance to a destination.  The thread helps us find our way through something that can be confusing and difficult to navigate (not unlike some educational experiences).

Morally, the thread here is pragmatic, solving a real problem (that of escaping the labyrinth after slaying the minotaur) and thus enabling love.

Threads connect, run through, bind and unite.  for me, that would be consistent with how I have heard the term “golden thread” used in literature and common expression.

Red Threads–a hidden connection between two people.  “The story of the red thread comes to us from east Asia.  There is a rsz_screen_shot_2014-09-11_at_70340_amvery famous Chinese saying: “You are thousands of miles apart but you come together because you have YUAN between you. You face each other but you don’t know each other because you don’t have YUAN between you.” Chinese like to say that YUAN is an invisible thread that connects people.”

By definition, the concept of fate will give “red thread” a very different meaning than “golden thread”  Both connect.  That much is certain.  But the root concept of red thread is something that is invisible, known perhaps only to the two people who are connected, and is something that lies outside our control.  Fate is something predetermined by supernatural forces.

Do we have morality when something is predetermined by supernatural forces?  Without that element of free will, the moral angle slides into the background leaving “red thread” a concept outside the boundaries of human choice.

There appears to be some loose evidence that the Chinese concept of “red thread” did find its way into English language in the 19th century, and perhaps I will later spend more time looking at this line of questioning.  But my initial inquiry, however, suggests that the concept of a “red thread” was interpreted in a way more consistent with western history and the way I am using “golden thread” here.  “Red thread” appears to have not retained a meaning similar to that in eastern literature when brought over to the English language.

So How Might We Fairly Use Each Expression?

In the end, I think the choice emerges with some clarity–do you want people to be in a predestined position or do you wish to convey the free will to create and discover?  “Red thread” seems much more appropriate for the former while “golden thread” seems more suitable for the latter.

Coming to this question of golden versus red thread via other educators, these investigations make it easy for me to conclude that “golden thread” makes more sense when we talk about education, programme designs, and human learning.  The two terms seem to convey very different meanings.

The invisible, predetermined, and amoral qualities of how “red thread” as used in eastern literature I think makes it less than ideal as a metaphor for describing education and learning.  Frankly, it seems much more akin to the notion of “soul mates” in the west, something that relates to love rather than learning.

While this post reflects only my curiosity at play, I have learned a bit along the way and now have clearer guidance regarding the use of both terms.  I will be sticking with golden thread in my educational references.