December 2011 Articles

But in sports as elsewhere there is a downside to the new information-rich, free-access environment. Some creative drift is lost in the information rich world. As another LAT article put it:

Yes, wave forecasts help surfers plan, but that has resulted in overcrowding at popular spots and more intense competition for waves. What’s more, says veteran San Francisco surfer Mark Renneker, forecasts are rendering obsolete the unique thrill of the wave hunt. Without forecasts and detailed reports, surfers are more likely to wander up the coast searching for waves, he says. In seeking out better surf, important discoveries are made. “You’ll learn something about the place,” Renneker says. “Maybe you’ll get to know the people up there because you didn’t surf but just talked. The whole subculture of surfing depends on that.”

In the December issue of the journal City, Nazia Parvez of the Department of Geography at University College London extends Wainaina’s point into the realm of photography. While most people expect the written word to collect a certain amount of bias during its journey from the brain to the hand, we tend to think of photographs as stark depictions of the truth. But whose truth, Parvez wants to know. That of the African people being photographed, or of the Westerners taking the photos?

…But while she agrees that conditions there are dreadful and in need of improvement, she also believes the typical images of the slum fail to capture the true spirit of life there. Instead of showing the “resilience, resourcefulness, playfulness and quiet daily rituals,” most photographs of Kroo Bay depict only evidence of its poverty, Parvez writes. As a result these images “reinforce existing narratives” and tug at the heart-strings – often so certain groups can attract donations. Instead of reflecting reality they offer but a “pseudo-reality that flickers and fades,”…

As the New Year approaches, people will be making resolutions to eat better, exercise more, get that promotion at work, or spend more time with their families. While these are worthwhile goals, we have a more important challenge for young people: Think seriously about your development as a leader.

These are tough times. Many leaders of the baby boomer generation have failed in their responsibilities by placing their self-interest ahead of their organizations. In so doing, they have failed to serve society’s best interests. As a result, more young leaders from Gen X and the Millennials are being asked to take on major leadership responsibilities. To be prepared for the challenges you will face, we propose the following resolutions this New Year’s:

  • Find a trustworthy mentor
  • Form a leadership development group
  • Volunteer in a civic or service organization
  • Work in or travel to one new country
  • Finally, ask more questions than you answer

We think about networking as a very modern notion, with our accumulation of virtual “friends,” “followers,” and people-who-might-be-useful-to-us-someday. To me, it is just an extension of what my people, my family have been doing since 70 AD – making critical connections that enable both our survival. The tools may have changed, but our reliance on the network has not. In fact, without the network, I literally wouldn’t be alive.