“Life-is-a-beta” – A homage to Jeff Jarvis

“Life-is-a-beta” – A homage to Jeff Jarvis

When I was looking for a title and motto for my blog, I was thinking for long what would describe best what is influencing my work most and what I’m experiencing in professional and private life so that I should write about it.

Besides a few key people who were inspiring me tremendously and challenging me for years to view things from different perspectives, especially during my master thesis and also during my PhD the binary thinking and the believe in numbers & “truth” of rationality that (almost) everything can be calculated and expressed clearly was one of the biggest illusions of modern economics and business life in my eyes. Rational thinking is a wish but doesn’t have much to do with reality but business administration and economics needs it to give certainty and reliability – so that nobody has to admit that it’s a lot about gut feeling and very subjective decisions in the end. So the clearness of numbers and rationality helps to give orientation and faith into a life of uncertainty – therefore we definitely need it but also have to realize and to anticipate that it is only a (yet very helpful) illusion.

That’s why I’m convinced that “life is a beta” how Jeff Jarvis put it brilliantly in his book “What would Google do?” (p 93, 2009) – there are no real blueprints, yet more approximations, best guesses, gut feelings, connected experiences, experiments etc.

The more I’m surprised day by day how many people know how the world works and that they know all about it – and that especially business life strongly builds its pillars on those who are the most successful to let others believe this. I personally prefer more humble approaches – it doesn’t make life easier and is not necessarily an accelerator for your professional career when you admit the more you know the more humble you become because you realize how much you don’t know and try to anticipate that in all you do. Yet in the end everybody has to look into the mirror and sees only his own picture and has to live with it and decide for himself. That’s why also everybody has to find his own way through life – making his own decisions and taking responsibility for them in the end. Nobody else will, so nobody else also has the right to judge.

As parallels to religious life, everybody has to admit one’s own responsibility, but not judge about others. Only oneself (or if you are religious then god in the end) has the right to judge about yourself, but nobody else again. If cultures would make this to a moral imperative (analog to Kant) to a certain meaningful degree then we would have more tolerance and less conflicts but people tend to see themselves in god’s or at least other people’s place too often – but I guess this also makes us human and defines us the way we are as mankind.

What’s now really exciting for me is that I just saw today in Jeff’s blog buzzmachine.com that he wrote two days ago about “Buzz: A beta too soon” where he mentions that his next book will have very likely the title “Beta” for which he’s collecting examples for “beta-think”! I’m really thrilled to hear this, hopefully I can also contribute either way some ideas and hope to get his good will and blessing for my humble blog “life is a beta”!

@JeffJarvis: Looking forward also to drive the idea of the “social flight” with you as we talked at DLD 2010! Count on you! ;-)


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