All posts tagged Economy

  • The New York Times story: ‘How Australia Bungled Its $36 Billion High-Speed Internet Rollout’, May 2017

    My first story for The New York Times. Excerpt below.

    How Australia Bungled Its $36 Billion High-Speed Internet Rollout

    Its businesses and consumers burdened with some of developed world’s slowest speeds, the country is a cautionary tale about big-money ambitions.

    The New York Times story by Andrew McMillen: 'How Australia Bungled Its $36 Billion High-Speed Internet Rollout', May 2017

    BRISBANE, Australia — Fed up with Australian internet speeds that trail those in most of the developed world, Morgan Jaffit turned to a more reliable method of data transfer: the postal system.

    Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have downloaded Hand of Fate, an action video game made by his studio in Brisbane, Defiant Development. But when Defiant worked with an audio designer in Melbourne, more than 1,000 miles away, Mr. Jaffit knew it would be quicker to send a hard drive by road than to upload the files, which could take several days.

    “It’s really the big file sizes that kill us,” said Mr. Jaffit, the company’s co-founder and creative director. “When we release an update and there’s a small bug, that can kill us by three or four days.”

    Australia, a wealthy nation with a widely envied quality of life, lags in one essential area of modern life: its internet speed. Eight years after the country began an unprecedented broadband modernization effort that will cost at least 49 billion Australian dollars, or $36 billion, its average internet speed lags that of the United States, most of Western Europe, Japan and South Korea. In the most recent ranking of internet speeds by Akamai, a networking company, Australia came in at an embarrassing No. 51, trailing developing economies like Thailand and Kenya.

    For many here, slow broadband connections are a source of frustration and an inspiration for gallows humor. One parody video ponders what would happen if an American with a passion for Instagram and streaming “Scandal” were to switch places with an Australian resigned to taking bathroom breaks as her shows buffer.

    But the problem goes beyond sluggish Netflix streams and slurred Skype calls. Businesses complain that slow speeds hobble their effectiveness and add to their costs. More broadly, Australia risks being left behind at a time when countries like China and India are looking to nurture their own start-up cultures to match the success of Silicon Valley and keep their economies on the cutting edge.

    “Poor broadband speeds will hold back Australia and its competitive advantage,” said John O’Mahony, an economist at Deloitte Access Economics. A 2015 report by Deloitte valued the nation’s digital economy at $58 billion and estimated that it could be worth 50 percent more by 2020. “The speed of that growth is at risk if we don’t have the broadband to support it,” he said.

    The story of Australia’s costly internet bungle illustrates the hazards of mingling telecommunication infrastructure with the impatience of modern politics. The internet modernization plan has been hobbled by cost overruns, partisan maneuvering and a major technical compromise that put 19th-century technology between the country’s 21st-century digital backbone and many of its homes and businesses.

    For the full story, visit The New York Times. Above photo credit: Jason Reed for Reuters.

  • CNET story: ‘The Man Who Virtually Has It All’, March 2013

    A feature story for CNET Australia; excerpt below.

    The man who virtually has it all

    A 30 year-old Sydneysider has amassed a small fortune by trading virtual items for real cash in the online game Entropia Universe. What next, though?

    Zachurn "Deathifier" Emegen in Entropia Universe, pictured as part of 'The Man Who Virtually Has It All' story for CNET Australia, March 2013

    In game, the nearest moon to Planet Calypso sits huge in the sky, framed against a blanket of twinkling stars and space clouds. Surrounding mountains tower above and oddly bendy palm trees sway in a gentle breeze. It is beside the teleporter located at Camp Icarus, Planet Calypso’s seaside outpost for new players, that I met with Zachurn “Deathifier” Emegen, leader of the Dark Knights society and one of the wealthiest men ever to play Entropia Universe.

    With a few quick mouse gestures, Deathifier — a tall, handsome avatar clad in shiny red armour — had spawned a Quad-Wing Interceptor, an impressive and expensive-looking aircraft. He then added me to the vehicle’s guest list and invited me to take a seat inside. Our destination? Treasure Island.

    Deathifier is the owner of the 25-square-kilometre plot of in-game land called Treasure Island. He purchased it for US$26,500 in December 2004 and set a Guinness World Record for the largest amount spent on a virtual item. We had to take the long air route, though, because Entropia Universe game developer MindArk had, without notice, disabled the teleporter that allows new players to travel between Camp Icarus and Treasure Island with ease.

    My pilot wasn’t pleased about this unexpected change: he’s reliant on hunting tourism for much of his income, and if players can’t easily get there via teleporter, he’s missing out on potential Project Entropia Dollars (PED), the in-game currency that’s tied to the United States dollar at a fixed exchange rate of 10-to-one. (Treasure Island cost 265,000 PED in 2004.)

    In real life, outside of this vast virtual planet and its two continents, Deathifier is David Storey, a 30-year-old Sydneysider who has been playing Entropia Universe for almost 10 years. Throughout that decade, behind the screen, in-game investments and earnings have comprised the bulk of Storey’s income. With help from a handful of silent partners, whose identities he has never revealed, Storey has invested over US$1 million into the game. The $26,500 Treasure Island purchase broke even in its first year, thanks to Storey’s tireless development, salesmanship and marketing, both online and off.

    At first, this is a strange concept to get one’s head around. This man makes a good living by spending his work week inside a computer game, a space more readily associated with fun and entertainment than commerce and profit. While Storey piloted the Quad-Wing Interceptor south-west across vast oceans and jagged mountain ranges toward Treasure Island, my avatar sat in the gunner’s seat — the aircraft is armed and able to shoot down opposing vehicles if necessary — while we spoke over Skype.

    I asked him whether it’s been difficult to separate the fun from the business side of the game. “They’ve always been intertwined,” Storey replied. “At some points, it’s been more for fun; at others, more for business. More recently, I’ve transitioned more toward business, because the fun elements have declined, so to speak. The core gameplay hasn’t changed in 10 years.”

    To read the full story, visit CNET.

  • The Courier-Mail author profile: Melissa Gregg and ‘Work’s Intimacy’, October 2011

    A short author profile for The Courier-Mail’s new Life section, which is included in the Saturday paper. Click the below image to view the version that appeared in print.

    The text I’ve supplied underneath is the full article, which was slightly edited in print due to space restrictions.

    How to leave work at home: Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg

    If the office exists in your phone, how is it possible to claim the right to be away from it for any length of time?

    This question is central to Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg, a senior lecturer in gender and cultural studies at the University of Sydney. Gregg’s book is the result of a three-year study of information workers – including broadcast journalists, librarians and academics – which took place in Brisbane between 2007 and 2009.

    “That question captures the twin tensions in the book’s title: the idea of work being something that we’re invested in, in a way that’s pleasurable, and the way that technology allows that relationship to be available wherever we are,” she says. “Mobile devices are increasingly marketed as this desirable object because it gives us access to every pleasure we could possibly imagine,” she laughs. “The more portable the device, the more intimate the device, right?”

    If we’re to believe the companies that market these devices, that’s absolutely correct. Yet Gregg’s book contains dozens of examples of salaried professionals struggling to draw barriers between their work and leisure. This behaviour extends to checking and replying to emails outside of the workplace, in preparation for the actual workday.

    “That was extremely common,” Gregg says. “It seemed to point to a sense of unpredictability in people’s work days. We once thought of the office as a mind-numbing routine of 9-5, of always knowing what’s coming, and that being part of the problem. This tendency to check email outside of the office seemed to suggest that, individually, people did not know how to cope with the pace and the unpredictability of the workplace today.”

    For Gregg [pictured below], being based in Brisbane for the duration of her study was a blessing. “As someone who’s always been a bit of an outsider to any city I’ve lived in, I saw this as a great chance to look, from an outsider’s point of view, at changes that were happening in Brisbane at that time”; namely, the way in which the city was positioning itself within a creative economy.

    This confusing transitional period was reflected in the workers Gregg interviewed. She met a 61 year-old university professor, Clive, who said “I worry that I’m going to miss something” if he doesn’t check his email constantly. “I’m a bit addicted,” he said. “Partly because I don’t want email to swamp me. If I had a weekend off the Internet, then on Monday, I just have a huge inbox.”

    Similar anxieties were expressed by Patrick, a 24-year old part-time radio producer who barely sees his partner, Adam, since their schedules rarely align. Yet Patrick admitted “I do get a pang of sadness” when the pair were home at the same time, but both absorbed in their individual computer screens. The author dubs this being ‘together alone’.

    Gregg says that maintaining an emotional distance in these scenarios is “one of the challenges of this kind of research, because you’re always needing to retain objectivity in the moment of the interview, and to say as little as possible to affect them telling you what’s really going on.”

    She says that “a number of the interviews were quite shocking to me, and did make me feel that there was merit in having people talking about these issues, because they could at least become prominent in their minds for a while, to see just how much they could recognise their relationships had changed within the family structure.”

    Though Gregg says she’s “no shining example” in contrast to the work/life issues raised by her interviewees, she hopes that people “take a little more independent action to refuse the pace of their workplace. Teamwork culture is very coercive because of the rhetoric of collegiality and friendship, so it does make it very difficult for people to resist. But that’s not going to stop me recommending that people do it.”

    Work’s Intimacy can be ordered via Polity Books’ website.

  • AusIndies.com.au guest post: ‘Artist patronage’, September 2011

    A guest post for AusIndies.com.au, the online home of the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR). Excerpt below.

    Artist patronage: What does it mean to be a fan in 2011?

    If you tell me you’re a fan of The Jezabels or Kanye West in 2011, what might you mean by that?

    Let’s assume that you mean that, at a base level, you enjoy listening to music written, recorded and performed by a particular artist or band. You identify with their music, or lyrics, or image, for whatever reason. And so you elect to align yourself with this artist or band by listening to their music, ‘liking’ them on Facebook, telling your friends about their music, following them on Twitter, buying a ticket to their nearby shows, buying a t-shirt advertising their name, and perhaps, buying their music.

    The latter three are optional, nowadays; the last one, especially so. In 2011, buying music is like the ‘maybe’ you select on a Facebook event invite so as to not offend your friend, even though you immediately know you don’t want to attend. You know that you can buy an artist’s music, but you know that you can just as easily hear their music without making a transaction. You know that YouTube, streaming services and torrents are the most efficient methods of listening to music without having to pay for it.

    In 2011, it’s easier than ever to be a fan of an artist without ever parting with your money.

    This is a problematic situation for all but the biggest artists, many of who were already established before Napster smashed the piñata with a sledgehammer and left the entire music industry scrambling on the ground for pennies.

    It’s a bizarre situation where you can know all the words to your new favourite band’s debut album and catch their buzz-driven set during summer festival season without ever making an explicit donation into their wallets. They’ll get a performance fee from the tour promoter, of course, but generally speaking, the road to the Big Day Out is paved with poverty and hardship for every artist without wealthy benefactors supporting their art.

    Historically, this role has been inhabited by the record label: the wealthy benefactor who provided cash for talented musicians so that they might grow and mature as songwriters and performers. So that they might sell more records, play larger venues, and eventually provide a return on the record label’s initial investment. Labels were banks, signing mortgages to artists who might someday be able to own the house outright.

    Labels are banks, still, but they’re no longer the only service provider. Canny media platforms and service providers like Bandcamp and Topspin can become surrogate record labels for artists by distributing and marketing their music on a worldwide basis. Canny artists, too, can manage their own affairs, if they’re willing to invest significant attention into the business side of creativity. A third – and often overlooked – option exists: fans as artist patrons.

    We Are Hunted co-founder Nick Crocker defines patronage as, “One that supports, protects, or champions someone or something, such as an institution, event, or cause; a sponsor or benefactor: a patron of the arts.

    This notion of artist patronage is what we need to foster among the next generation of music fans. That music is valuable, because talent isn’t free.

    To read the full article, visit AusIndies.com.au.

  • The Vine column: ‘Group Therapy’ #1 – ‘What is the value of recorded music?’, April 2011

    A new column for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    Group Therapy #1 – ‘What is the value of recorded music?’

    This week we here at TheVine are positing a new column. The idea is that Group Therapy will operate as a semi-random music industry related Q&A, a missive we send out to a great many artists in order to gauge their feedback on any particular issue.

    This maiden edition is a good way to start: back in October last year, journalist Andrew McMillen was intimately involved in the One Movement festival in Perth (a festival which, incidentally, has just been deferred pending a review of the event). McMillen was well placed to engage with a wide array of artists attending the five-day event. Whilst there, he saw fit to ask them all this question:

    “Your recorded music is an advertisement for your live show. You should not expect that people will buy your music. Agree/disagree?”

    Responses below.

    Agree:

    The Jezabels [pictured above, left]

    “I guess so. You can’t stop downloads, and I’d rather people have the music than not. Also I think it’s a pretty healthy thing for a band to view touring as their livelihood. It’s when you contact most of the people who might become real fans.”

    The Great Spy Experiment (Singapore)

    “Do you mean it the other way? That is, if our live show – as an advertisement for our recorded music – sucks then we should not expect people to buy our music? Either way, I probably agree. The best thing about our live sets is our dancing. And you can’t get that on our records. So we understand if you don’t want to buy our CD.”

    Big Scary (Melbourne)

    “I agree. I started realising this switch in the industry a few years back. For most musicians – I don’t think this necessarily applies to super famous and successful artists like Lady Gaga etc – firstly, the live stuff is usually band’s bread and butter. Secondly, people can get their hands on so much free music from downloading and blogs and all the streaming on Myspace that it’s not easy to encourage them to spend on what they can easily get for free. We’ve been giving away our singles all year because we know it’s better to get people to our shows.”

    Richard In Your Mind (Sydney)

    “I agree that recorded music is an advertisement, but it’s a product too. That’s the great thing about music: it comes in different forms to be enjoyed in different ways. Some people don’t like going out to shows, they prefer to sit in their lounge room listening with a cup of tea. Less people are actually buying music because of the internet, I guess, but there will always be those who still pay for it.”

    For the full column – which includes artists who disagree with the statement, as well as a few fence-sitters – visit The Vine.

  • A Conversation With Tait Ischia, Junior co-founder and freelance writer

    Tait Ischia is the co-founder of an excellent resource for young creatives named Junior, a freelance writer, and a RMIT Creative Advertising graduate. The degree is listed last for a reason, as Tait believes in getting shit done, instead of basking in his own glory.

    It’s no secret that Tait’s Junior – founded alongside RMIT fellow Ed Howley – regularly kicks my inspiration’s ass. They rope interesting, real-life creatives into entertaining conversations; unsurprisingly, their no-bullshit style is a big influence on my interviews. In tribute, this piece will adopt Junior’s bright-highlight style to draw your eye to choice advice that’ll flow from Tait’s brain to yours. Eww.

    I sent Tait the link to my Tim Kentley interview, which referenced his initial piece for Junior. Since he’s such a fucking nice guy, he agreed to answer my questions that’d lingered since reading The Enthusiast‘s January 2009 interview.

    Tait, I loved your statement in The Enthusiast’s interview: “really, the economy being in the dumps doesn’t mean anything [for junior creatives]“. Marketing budgets might have contracted of late, but businesses still need agencies to develop engaging ideas to raise awareness of their products or services. Hell, you could probably argue that right now is the best time for dedicated creatives to work their arse off and make a name for themselves; on the economic ground floor, so to speak. What do you think?

    You’re really asking two questions here. One about the economy and one about juniors. It’s a fucking elephant’s cock of a question, so bear with me.

    It’s a tough time for anybody in business, and creative businesses aren’t immune. I’ve heard a bunch of stories where agencies have had budgets cut in half, projects fall over just when they’re ready to shoot, and clients taking away their business entirely. It sucks big time.

    Having said that, the creative industries aren’t a giant immovable object. Unlike businesses run by boring dudes in suits, creative businesses are run by people who can change and adapt pretty easily.

    So although it’s a tough time for everyone, this is a pretty good industry to be in at a time like this.

    The other part to that is everybody in the world right now is re-thinking what the hell they spend their money on. All of a sudden throwing money around on bitches and fine cheeses isn’t seen as a very good idea anymore.

    So as far as creative industries are concerned, especially advertising agencies, there’s a whole lot of people reading newspapers and watching TV wondering what the hell to spend their money better on. In other words, a captive audience. Which means it’s the perfect time for clients to advertise. And the word on the street is those clients that do will come out of this faster and bigger than those that don’t.

    As far as juniors are concerned, “really, the economy being in the dumps doesn’t mean anything“. I’m glad I said that. I can’t put it any better than what Clemenger BBDO‘s Emma Hill told us in her interview, “It’s the toughest that it’s ever been for juniors. That being said, their advantage is they don’t cost much. So you can look at it as glass half empty or full.”

    Many big agencies have put on hiring freezes and a huge amount of poor people are losing their jobs. BUT! And this is a huge but. Good people will always get work. If you’re awesome then businesses will go out of their way to get you in. You will make them money. It’s as simple as that.

    All you have to do is prove to them that you are awesome. How you choose to do that is your choice. Here’s a good tip though, again from Emma Hill, “If your idea is a bit gimmicky, you come across as a gimmicky creative. Rather than a genuine, intelligent one.

    Show them you’re intelligent and that your work is great – do that and you’ll be fine.

    You rose from a ‘zero’ advertising undergraduate to junior ‘hero’ over the last two years, and it’s all documented online. I’m a couple years younger than you, but this is essentially the ethos of our generation: everything we’ve ever done online will be visible to everyone, forever. Gary Vaynerchuk discusses this legacy regularly; what are your thoughts?

    That is by far one of the funniest and scariest vlogs I’ve seen in a while. Whatever that guy says should be taken with a grain of salt, then possibly spread on something to make it delicious. Unless you want to be a greasy entrepreneur and have a lot of people hate your guts, don’t talk about your ‘personal brand’ too much.

    I think smart people will be careful what they put their real name to. But I don’t think anyone should worry too much about what they put online, especially in this business. The internet is here to stay, so rather than get scared by what people ‘might’ find, embrace it. Put out a lot of stuff you want people to see, and put your name all over it.

    I’d rather there be pages and pages of things I’ve made and be proud of on Google than a clean page with nothing on it.

    Vaynerchuk reckons that legacy is always greater than currency. The latter is frequently cause for concern among my creative friends – “how do I get paid to do what I love?” Conventional wisdom suggests that the creative industries are tough to break into, in that it might take months or years to work on your passion full-time. What was your experience scraping coin together as an undergraduate – and later, junior at The Surgery – and would you advise that others follow your path?

    I’ve had a lot of fun scraping money together over the years. I moved out of home while at uni and started a profitable friendship with Centrelink [note: Australia’s welfare/youth allowance provider].

    I moved closer to the city so I could hang-out with my peers and blow my money getting drunk with people like Penny Modra at ThreeThousand. Getting drunk and spending all your savings doing it is a great investment in your career. Like those old douchebags in business school always say, you need to spend money to make money.

    If you’re really that passionate about what you’re doing then you will make enough money to survive. If you’re super smart and commercially minded you will make a decent amount of money and possibly own a Mercedes. Best thing to do as a junior is get a full-time job, get paid a salary, stop worrying about money, and focus on doing great work.

    Blogs get jobs“. A mantra you share with the likes of Craig Wilson and Gavin Heaton. My experience is that if you’re prepared to invest your time into an unpaid personal project, a smart employer will recognise that investment and reward you with an offer. It’s really that goddamn simple; why do you think people still have a hard time understanding it?

    Because everyone’s so frickin’ lazy. The problem with social media and all the ‘gurus’ it has produced is that everyone’s so caught up being a part of the conversation that they forget to actually do stuff.

    I suppose it’s OK if you want to be a planner or an accounts person because those jobs require you talk shit and be good at it. But if you want a job actually doing something, it’s not enough to merely want one. You have to prove to business owners that you are good and that you’ll make them money. And of course the best way to prove it is by doing stuff.

    Blogs are the easiest way to do stuff. It’s basically like maintaining a Facebook but isn’t a complete time-wasting exercise in vanity. If all the kids these days spent the same amount of time writing blogs that they did on Facebook, then this industry would be a hell of a lot more competitive.

    Woody Allen said, “eighty percent of success is showing up“. If you write in a blog regularly you are already doing better than eighty percent of your rivals. Now all you gotta do is write well, try not to piss anyone off and spread the love. After that, getting a job should become a hell of a lot easier.

    Procrastination. How do you deal with the urge to shirk your writing responsibilities when YouTube/Wii/the pub seems more enticing?

    I’m still dealing with this one. It’s an ongoing struggle for everyone, but I think I’m finally getting on top of it. I recently found this article on procrastination to be pretty fascinating. I think it’s something we’ve all got to deal with in our own time.

    Some people are married to their work, some want to actually have a life, and others sit at their desk staring at a blank screen for hours. I don’t have any other advice than sit down and do some work. I recommend ‘just starting’. That’s always been a good motivator for me.

    If you don’t know where to start, just begin anyway, and it will start flowing soon enough.

    Really, if it’s that big a problem, the best thing to do is to quit all your jobs and have your livelihood depend on your work. If you know you’re going to get evicted unless you write that article, you’ll be working your ass off.

    And if you don’t do it and get evicted you’ll know what it feels like and you’ll never do it again.

    You studied creative advertising at RMIT. Was it a kick-ass, practical degree full of industry-applicable knowledge? Would you recommend taking it?

    To tell you the truth, I have no idea whether taking that course was better than taking any other university course. It was as awesome as it was shithouse.

    I made some incredible friends. One of our lecturers became our weekly Junior whip cracker, Stan Lee. We were exposed to the industry and all the shit it stirs. Sometimes I wish I had gone to Melbourne Uni and done a good old arts degree but even that has its own ups and downs.

    I think the best advice is to never let your schooling get in the way of your education. University is just a building. Most of them don’t even have any good resources anyway. If you go to a uni where you can immerse yourself in culture, ideas and people than you’re on the right track.

    So as far as that’s concerned I definitely recommend it as a course. Just don’t go there hoping to learn everything there is to know about advertising.

    What’s next for Junior?

    Good question. We’ve got a few big things on the horizon. Nothing I can divulge on right at the moment because there’s a chance it will all die in the ass. But as soon as its locked in we’ll let you know.

    Otherwise I’m meeting with Woody from SneakerFreaker Magazine tomorrow for a beer and a chat and an interview. It’ll be nice to do an interview that isn’t advertising focussed. I haven’t done one of those in a while.

    What’s next for you?

    I’m headed to New York City in June. I’m done with Melbourne and this wasteland called Australia. I’m ready to be a very small fish in a very big pond and put myself to the test, Big Apple-style. I’ve got a handful of contacts, a neat little folio of work and this thing called Junior that I’ll be taking over with me. I’m staying for nine weeks but if all goes to plan I’ll be staying a little longer.

    Right now though, I’m taking some time off to read books, go to the cinema, pick chestnuts and freelance.

    Why freelance? What attracted you?

    Not having to be at work at 9am every morning and 8.30am on Mondays. I can also focus on my work much easier without an office buzzing around me. It’s a temporary thing for me before I go to NYC, but I can see why some people can’t do it and why others swear by it.

    We interviewed Todd Lamb on Junior and he told us this, “I don’t have any advice other than freelancing is 100% gambling. It’s unsteady and with no guarantees. So you better be brave and you better be OK with falling flat on your face. But I recommend everyone try it, it is a different way to live.

    So there you go. It’s helped me work better and more efficiently in the two months I’ve been doing it and I’ve made enough to pay the bills so I’m doing OK.

    Finally; why did you stop blogging? I figured that freelancing  would mean that you could better spread your time between client, publication and personal writing, as well as Junior and name-yer-social-network-flavour-of-the-month.

    Ah, that old chestnut. I literally blogged for about two weeks. That blog got me in with the lovely people at Right Angle Publishing – as discussed in my interview with The Enthusiast –  which was why I started it in the first place. So after I achieved my goal I just stopped. I was a student when I started it and I don’t really think the same as I did then either.

    I’m not a huge fan of ‘marketing comment’. I think there’s a place for it but I don’t want to be a strategy planner or a social-media guru. I want to be a creative. And a creative doesn’t comment on what other people do, they go out and do stuff themselves for other people to comment on.

    So yes I sorta do plan on blogging again, but only when I can use it to show the world my creativity and not just to add to the already saturated pool of marketing comment.

    If you’ve read this far and you haven’t yet subscribed to Junior, it’s best you click here and follow-through. Don’t be scared; it’s likely that Tait Ischia’s writing will regularly kick your inspiration’s ass, if the above interview hasn’t already. Contact Tait via email or Twitter.

  • What don’t you know?

    While chatting with a friend using MSN Messenger, I found myself about to ask a simple, specific question about an upcoming event. I stopped myself, because I realised that the answer was almost right in front of me.

    All that I had to do was alt-tab; ctrl+E; enter query.

    I’m embarrassed that I only just noticed this tendency of denying myself instant knowledge. Of relying on others to supply information that’s easily within my grasp. While I regularly use Google to define unfamiliar terms when reading, I’ve never consciously acknowledged this selfish habit when interacting with others.

    This is less about creating an all-knowing facade than it is about about a desire to save time. By taking the initiative and informing myself of an unfamiliar term, I’m saving my friend the time it’d take them to explain. It’s futile to wish for this desire to be mutual: I’ve already realised that you should never hold others to your own standards.

    This discussion presents an interesting dichotomy: increasingly, the question is changing from “what do you know?“, to “what don’t you know?”.

    In an economy where information is free and search engine algorithms are constantly being refined, knowledge barriers are almost non-existent. This means that age is no longer an issue. It’s entirely possible that a dedicated 15 year-old – hell, a 12 year-old – could become one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the world in a particular topic; though, this notion has limitations in fields that require practical experience.

    It’s heartening to see that some are realising the value of encouraging students to engage with social media. True world-changers are already engaging.