Friday, February 29, 2008

Reflections on a Video Starring Daniel Pink

Today in class we are watching a video starring Daniel Pink. He begins the video by saying how he is disturbed by how everyone in school is always so concerned about the right or wrong answer and how schools are obsessed with logical, left-brained thinking. I find a difference in Ms. Smith’s class because we think “outside the box”, and, granted, it is an English class so it involves right-brained thinking, yet I find it different from any other classes I have taken because we don’t often do things with a lot of instructions or a sequence (as is pertinent in left-brained thinking). We are, more often than not, allowed to do a project in the way that we think is best and the way that we want to do it rather than by a long list of instructions
He then tells us the three key elements of a great speech: brevity, levity, and repetition.
He says that his biggest mistake in his life was going to law school mostly because his parents encouraged him to choose a career path such as law, medicine, or accounting. I can really relate to this because I had previously wanted to become a fashion designer or a writer, but instead many people encouraged me to become something more "practical" because it will leave me with a secure salary. I am starting to feel glad that I have been exposed to this book because without it, I probably would have gone on to the law profession without the knowledge that it can be done cheaper with a computer and that of people print legal documents off of affordable legal websites and then take them to a lawyer, it costs much less.
Mr. Pink makes it clear how left-brain abilities are still necessary but less sufficient and how right-brain abilities are staring to emerge. This is a relief for me because I'm primarily a right-brained thinker, and knew this before I even knew about this book.Mr. Pink then talks about "Abundance, Asia, and Automation." I remember these topics from the assigned reading and am now noticing that the content of this video is extremely similar to our assigned reading (Introduction through Chapter Three). He talks about how there are more cars than licensed drivers in the U.S., and how since 1974 the amount of living space per capita has increased by 65% in the U.S. He says how there are more self-storage facilities in the U.S. than the amount of McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s combined (which demonstrates how much “extra stuff” everyone has). In this age of abundance, people are not just looking for objects that function well, but for objects that are pleasing to the eye. Design is ultimately a combination of utility and significance. This means that objects need to have not only utility (function), but also significance (pleasing aesthetics). Being that right-brained thinking works with the significance side of this pair, it is needed more and more in this day and age. This explains why left-brained thinking is still necessary, yet not completely sufficient because these two types of thinking work together; however, right-brained thinking is beginning to emerge. Designers such as Michael Graves are now making even your average toilet brush more interesting through great design, because that’s what the age of abundance in which we live demands.
The part about how left-brained thinking based jobs are being outsourced (“Asia”) was somewhat disturbing to me, as it was when I read it recently because my dad is a computer programmer. This is a little frightening to think that his job could be outsourced to an Indian citizen that’s willing to work for thousands upon thousands of dollars less per year. However, just as Mr. Pink describes, when he was growing up and eventually continuing on to college it was not known that this could happen, as computers were just being introduced. No one had ever dreamed that jobs working with computers would be outsourced to India in the next few decades.
Mr. Pink says that the word we should all be afraid of is ROUTINE because anything that can be condensed into a formula or a set of steps can be done faster by a computer or cheaper by someone overseas. Abilities such as high concept and high touch that are mastered by the right brain can’t be outsourced or done by a computer. This is great news for me because I’ve always thought a career in design would be interesting, and now that I’m being told that this will give me an almost guaranteed career that can’t be outsourced or done cheaper by a computer, I’m very excited.
We are then presented with the three questions we should ask ourselves while considering future careers:

1. Can it be done cheaper overseas?
2. Can it be done faster by a computer?
3. Is what’s being sold in demand in an age of abundance?

He wraps up the video by stating a few more right-brain abilities that are now in demand, such as symphony and play. Although this video was interesting, it was almost an exact recap of the assigned reading, so for me it became repetitive after awhile. Hopefully, though, seeing this video will help me to remember the information better.

I am glad that he included the part on how being a lawyer is no longer the best job because in the past year or so, I’ve been strongly leaning toward a career in law. This video and the assigned reading have helped me to reconsider my possible career choices, and I am happy about this because it kept me from making a big mistake that I won’t have to go back and correct later.

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