For Hire

I’ve been lurking on Craigs for quite awhile now looking for a time trial bike, a 58 cm Cervelo P3 that goes real fast without hardly any pedaling. Everyone should always be shopping for (or selling) something on Craigs.

Many Craigers’ ad writing abilities leave A LOT to be desired. Can I have an ahmen?! There’s no picture guy, crummy picture guy, cut and paste product detail guy, depreciation calculation challenged guy, tweeter guy, and the worst of the lot, no frame size bike guy. There’s a special place in the back of the peloton of life for no frame size bike guy.

Since it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness, I am here to help. Send me a rough draft of your ad and I’ll improve it. You’ll sell your item much more quickly and for tons more money. All I ask in return is x% of the sale’s price. What, I wonder, is the fair value of X?

Other jobs I’d be great at include: Miami Heat reserve, professional golf caddy, chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company, travel writer, the guy who drives the team car during the Tour de France, and breakfast grill chef.

Lasting, Meaningful Work

Print versions of newspapers are endangered species. In part, for that you can thank Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist. Craigslist, which I’m a fan of, has crippled print classified revenue. For the newly unemployed journalists this is a negative and painful turn of events, for the rest of us it should be a precautionary tale about the Information Revolution and our children’s educational futures.

The plight of print newspapers begs a question: In an Information Revolution characterized by increasing global interdependence what type of K-12 and higher education experiences will enable young people to find lasting, meaningful work? More specifically, what knowledge, what skills, what sensibilities will increase the odds that young people will avoid economic dislocation as a result of increasing automation and outsourcing? 

Too few educators are asking those questions.

The young, internet savvy students in my globalization course are familiar with foreign call centers, but are surprised to learn the extent outsourcing is taking. As a reminder that whatever data or services can be digitized and sent abroad for processing probably will be, I provide each of them with a one inch long piece of coaxial cable to keep in their pockets throughout their PLU experience. After distributing the pieces of cable, I ask them what they think the key ingredients of an outsource-resistant education are.

Initially at least, they stare at me blankly (51 seconds in).

After awhile though, the wheels start to turn, and they begin responding with thoughtful insights.

Instead of revealing their thinking, what do you think?

Historically, a part of the “American dream” was that children would enjoy an even better quality of life than their parents. Now though, many anxious parents wonder whether their children will enjoy their same quality of life. By themselves, high school diplomas, G.E.D’s., and even higher education degrees don’t guarantee anything. Just ask the journalists at the Christian Science Monitor or Seattle Post Intelligencer.