Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Samsung Focus Review: My iPhone Love Wasn’t Love

The Start screen of Windows Phone 7

Image via Wikipedia

Warning: While this review was written with the intent to be a review about the Samsung Focus smartphone, it also ends up being a little bit about the Mango OS, and the behavior it induces, as well as the meaning it creates.  I come from a school of thought that design teaches as it improves the user and the user’s expectation. It may also go so far, in really great mobile device and mobile software design, to eliminate the need for expectations by reducing difficulty and ensuring compatibility between user and phone.

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Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Tech, Work, , , ,

Why This #Recession is Different: A Future Without #Jobs

Scary, right? Well, there may be some kind of truth to the alarmist sentiment. But this recession might be different in the jobs creation department.

Look at this McKinsey graph about job creation and its lag after rises in GDP after recessionary troughs. We are a full 60 months behind any healthy uptick in jobs creation, which usually lags behind any increases in GDP during or after a recession.

This Recession has seen the slowest jobs creation uptick in history

A recent TechCrunch article posited that this recession is different, and that the future might already be here — an economy without jobs, because technology outpaces the skills available to use it meaningfully. TechCrunch blogger Jon Evans writes:

Unless Martin Ford and/or Arnold Kling are right. Ford essentially argues that we have hit an inflection point at which technology destroys jobs faster than it creates them. Kling writes (at length, but it’s worth reading): “The new jobs that emerge may not produce a middle class … gains in well-being that come from productivity improvements [may] accrue to an economic elite … we could be headed into an era of highly unequal economic classes. People at the bottom will have access to food, healthcare, and electronic entertainment, but the rich will live in an exclusive world of exotic homes and extravagant personal services.”

We already see evidence where people are shopping differently, turning to the mobile device, and using things like Square, which founder Jack Dorsey explains is pulling in $11 million in transactions a day, and not just for cab rides.  What does that do your company’s sales force?

GDP (PPP) Per Capita based on 2008 estimates h...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve long argued that our education system is not preparing people for a world they can work in, nor is it preparing them to use the tech they need to use as consumers. Or leaders, or entrepreneurs. The education system is only teaching them how to get through the education system and qualify for accolades and awards that only make sense to the people in the education system.

With massively inappropriate under-preparation like this, what happens to our GDP, or our jobs, or our lifestyle over time?

People in the Occupy Movement may think it’s about 1% of the people of the world possessing nearly all the wealth, but I would have to disagree. It’s about 99% of the people being poorly prepared to make it in the world. In fact, the saddest part of it is that they are only introduced to the realities of the world AFTER their education. And what kind of education is that, then?


Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Tech, , , , , ,

LinkedIn Launches Attractive Stats Interface for LinkedIn Groups

Have you checked your LinkedIn Groups lately? If you are the moderator of any LinkedIn Groups you will notice today that the company has prettified your group pages with a very handy statistics interface.

Here’s the interface for Education Edge, the group that I manage for education entrepreneurs and directors of education management organizations.

A new attractive interface for tracking how people engage and work in your LinkedIn groups

Filed under: Influence, Tech, , , , ,

From Big Apple to Big Data: Making Data as Powerful as New York’s Physical Experience

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City

Image via Wikipedia

It should be no surprise that New York City, run by a mayor who made his billions on data and information media, is one of the fast-moving cities trying to open up all of their data centers to provide a firehose of information to developers and other cities in an effort to making living in dense urban centers easier and more enjoyable.


At the forefront of this push is the city’s Department of Information Technology Telecommunications, which is behind an effort to create NYC Big Apps, an attempt to make an open graph of data for anyone and any department in the city wishing to make applications that can improve people’s lives. The city is even interested in sharing its APIs and data with other cities, but that may be a little further down the road.

I talked briefly with Nicholas T. Sbordone, Director of External Affairs, New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, about the NYC Open Data initiative and other moves the city is making to make the city more open. He offered me three bullet points. I’ve also included a video of Rachel Stern, who is the city’s data protagonist, below.

According to Sbordone, the city is trying to achieve the following:

        Replacing the old NYC DataMine, NYC Open Data provides datasets in a variety of machine-readable formats and as application programming interfaces (APIs) for direct connectivity to data feeds; enhanced browsing and search capabilities allowing users to search by full dataset – or by datum within datasets; visualization tools such as maps, charts and graphs; and discussion forums for user feedback and suggestions.

Moving forward, regular refreshes of data sets will follow, and we’re in the process of adding a field to the metadata that will tell users how often that particular dataset will be updated.

In parallel, we’re working to help City agencies automate the publishing of their data – so instead of their having to send it over periodically we’ll be able to refresh it on NYC Open Data as soon as they update in their systems.

Here’s a video of Sterne talking about open data and the city’s “Roadmap for the Digital City” at O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 conference a couple of weeks ago:

Filed under: Influence, Tech, Work, , , , , , , ,

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