On novelty, and burnout should make us angry

A few months ago a friend came to visit and we talked about projects we could venture into, if we had all the right resources: financial, skills, time, etc. (of which I think skills would be no problem, the other two, on the other hand, would pose some slight problems). She mentioned about an entrepreneur / motivational speaker she heard, which seems to be sprouting like wild mushrooms amongst our community at the moment, again, if you have all the right capitals — social, cultural, financial, network, etc. — who held a ‘clinic’ for bloggers to ‘make money’. I don’t endorse the money-making method through ads, affiliations, and product placements (of which products are usually health-related products not endorsed by our Health Ministry and bordering dangerous anyway — think of skin whitening products, detox tea, etc.) not only for the fact that they can be a bit hokey, but also because they lack novelty. Novelty here is defined in a sense of something that will last, that will endure, despite the changes in trends in media or features of the platforms, of which ad marketing don’t usually do — you got your audience, they stepped in, they looked away, they don’t stay. They aren’t organic, and they usually don’t return. Meanwhile, you are happy talking about purely the high numbers of one time customers you acquire after running the ads, devoid of context, not because your products are good and speak for themselves. I told my friend the methods proposed by the ‘clinics’ won’t work long, and if we ever want to find ways to market our products effectively, whatever they may be, there is no easy or fast way to do it. Good ideas are time-tested ideas, like all good things should be. (Maybe a useful supplementary read: The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising.)

I have been thinking about novelty ever since design Twitter was talking about the proliferation of Behance / Dribble designers. They are good and they do this to build their portfolio, sure, but a lot of the UIs they posted on these platforms are devoid of the context of the design briefs or the real world scenario of which many designers out there were often presented to work from. In return, a lot of the UIs were purely aesthetic, merely pushing pixels, and as we all know, designers are more than just pixel pushers.

There’s also the conversations among STS (Science and Technology Studies) Twitter that I found myself in after enrolling into PhD. There were so many instances where people in tech overlooked the work of the STS researchers, which were often conducted with social sciences and humanities in mind, and plunged right into tech solutionism in order to solve some real world problems. The problem is exactly that — they are real world problems, and if you don’t heed the findings of social science researchers on whose work are built on the foundation of understanding people and society, then you’d lose its novelty.

There was a WITI edition where Noah Brier talks about his neophiliac tendency to music and books, of which he refers to a previous edition about ‘news peg’ — a term to refer to releases or events that quickly becomes the catalyst for an endless spree of op-eds — “It is better and more freeing for places to write about what is interesting and meaningful, even if it is completely decoupled and floating in space, far from something that needs to generate sales.” I guess looking at the broader picture, we should be discarding move-fast-break-things and instead move-slowly-do-things-more-meaningfully, now will that new motto work?

Unrelated, but still good things:

  • Questions to ask yourself before asking for someone’s help.
  • “My burnout made me desperately angry and resentful. But I’ve come to see that burnout should make us angry. It’s a side effect of an economy that is rigged from the start, where work no longer ends at the end of the workday and our agony is used to sell us bath bombs and expensive yoga retreats that we can’t afford.”
  • A very insightful thread on navigating and respecting boundaries regarding unloading emotions, even among your closest friends.

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