Not Every American Needs to Learn How to Code

Let’s make sure our citizens are literate first and capable of doing basic math before we try to sell the next “American Dream” as being a app maker to our kids.

I love coding. I loved when my students were interested in coding as a middle school teacher. However, I made it clear to them that while hard work will get you halfway there, there’s a lot of persistence, skill and luck involved in developing the next Angry Birds.

While we realize the hard work involved in something insanely complicated like electrical wiring, we tend to gloss over the difficulties involved in computer science careers because “it’s just computers” and not a physical thing that you have “to do” in order to see results.

Code is only the latest in the classic American / Horatio Alger dream that hard work and the right education will by the golden key that ensures everyone has a job. Go west, get a farm. Learn chemistry. Become a mechanic. Learn how to fix computers. So on and so on and so on. Now: Learn to code! It fits very nicely with the current disruption/app/techie focus of the economy and suggests that the companies and donors that comprise it are necessarily the country’s future. They’re not.

via No, Mr. President, Not Everyone Needs to Learn How to Code – The Wire.

Edit: Dave Winer has a great post on this as well:

Bottom-line: In all likelihood, coding will NOT make you rich. So you’d better have another reason for wanting to do it, because it’s not easy.

Like blogging, coding isn’t easy and probably won’t make you rich!


Andy Beaumont on the plague of Pop-Ups 2.0 and the reason why publishers of all sizes are rushing to put them on their sites (hint.. doing analytics wrong):

I have tested this design pattern with real people, and a significant portion of them believe that they must do what the box is begging them for in order to close the overlay. These people remember, they’re people, not “conversions”, are signing up to a newsletter they don’t want. They’re then going to be irritated by it for several months until they work out how to unsubscribe from it. The analytics guru you brought in is walking away with a chunk of your money, in exchange for having pissed off a whole bunch of existing and potential customers.

via The Value of Content — I. M. H. O. — Medium.

Tom Merritt and the New Economy

Tom Merritt is not only an excellent sci-fi author (seriously), but an amazing talent in podcasting and tech punditry. I’ve listened to him from the days of TechTV a decade ago into CNet’s Buzz Out Loud and into his daily show on TWiT called Tech News Today.

So, this sucked…

After some soul searching, I’ve decided that we do need an in-studio anchor for Tech News Today, and a News Director who can help us build the kind of organization you can count on for authoritative tech news and information.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I’m announcing that we’re not going to renew Tom’s contract as host of TNT. His last show will be at the end of the month.

via | …the revolution will be streamed… – Blog – Changes at TWiT, Part 1.

Comments closed, indeed.

I’m a big fan of TWiT and Leo Laporte’s work on building his own podcasting empire, but this is not a good move.

Amazingly enough, Tom and his pal Roger recorded this podcast tonight about the nature of the new economy, working for yourself vs working for others and the uncertain road of going it alone.

It’s worth your time to go listen.

God knows this is something I’ve been going through with setting up my own business. Tom has been an inspiration for both my marketing agency, my podcasting aspirations for Thinking.FM and a plethora of other businesses I have in mind.

Godspeed, Tom. Sucks for now but things will be better than ever soon with the ability to handle the NSFW crowd like you do. Keep writing, podcasting, and inspiring the rest of us who want to follow you into the new economy.

Why You’ll Buy a Chromebook Soon

I can’t say how much I love my Chromebook… nice thought piece on TechCrunch about the Chromebook threat to Microsoft and why it’s more than a browser…

This time, the company is targeting Chromebooks, Google’s cheap ChromeOS-based, web-centric laptops. Why is Microsoft worried about Chromebooks? Because it can see the writing on the wall.

via Microsoft Should Be Worried About Google’s Chromebooks | TechCrunch.

Why I Will Never Hire Unpaid Interns

Internship has become the new entry level job, and that’s not good for anyone. Companies like the one I’m trying to build with a 100 year outlook would never trade short term savings for such a sham.

Do yourself a favor and go read this long but interesting piece that has so many fractals in so many career paths…

Fear inhibits innovation. In expensive cities, people live in constant fear. A small wrong move can upend everything, so they conform, terrified of losing their jobs, apartments, health insurance.  They conform intellectually, and they conform in behavior. They cling to a career ladder with a drop-off to hell. I don’t judge them. People do what they need to do to survive. But when survival is an aspiration, society has failed.

via Why You Should Never Have Taken That Prestigious Internship – PolicyMic.

The Ministry and Drug Gang Economics

I’d argue the same is true for ministers and most any level of professional job given our current economic mega-recession and the tendency of those inside the core to overstay their welcome…

The academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core  of insiders.

Interesting piece with nice graphics on the PhD market…

via How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang | Alexandre Afonso.

Worlds Colliding

I’m a big fan of Pawn Stars. It’s the one “reality show” I can watch (when I’m in a hotel or via the History Channel app on my Nexus 7). So, I was apprehensive about clicking this given I also love Paul Thurrott’s podcast “Windows Weekly” on TWiT and knowing his…um… love for Chromebook since I’ve been listening for over 5 years. Click to read his reaction to the Pawn Stars / Microsoft mashup:

So I was happy to see a great new “Scroogled” ad appear from Microsoft this week featuring the guys from “Pawn Stars.” It’s worth watching.

via Great New Scroogled Ad with the Pawn Stars | Cloud content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows.

I use a Windows machine here in the office and love it as a “truck” to do things like Photoshop or intense projects.

However, my go-to device is a little Acer Chromebook that I love. Between the Chromebook and my Nexus 5, I can run my company on the go and “in the cloud” pretty effectively. I sometimes need to get to the office to use this powerful Windows machine (or if I need to play a graphics intensive game), but my computing work is pretty evenly distributed between the Chromebook and this PC.

No, I don’t think a laptop needs Windows and Office to be a “real laptop” as the ad calls out. I know Paul disagrees, but this just reeks of desperation and won’t be received well.

Microsoft should decide what to be and go be it rather than trying to point out what other competitors are and are not. That’s my $50,000 marketing advice to them heading into a very important 2014 for the future of their company. Embrace RT. Push us old “we want desktop!” users harder to the Modern UI interface. Lean forward into the future and make Windows (RT) the kind of polished product that the XBox One is on launch day. Be innovative. Make us smile again.

Oh, and stop making my favorite TV people talk smack about something I love :)