I delivered a short story yesterday at FEUI. Thank you very much to all attendants, especially to:
It was my first presentation in front of university students; great ones at that. So to be honest, I was not sure how it would turn out. There were some hints that I got when I was at the road: the students would likely be critical and not know much about digital. That didn’t sound good. Especially since I am just 2 hours away from my own talk about digital.
Turned out the worry was ungrounded. The students were amazing. Some of them are even very well versed in digital and the current real market condition out there. Not many big corporate guys can appreciate the impending change within the Indonesian market/business landscape as much as they can. I’d love to say they’re going to land on their first work gracefully.
But once you graduate or go as intern, the flowers are not that pretty and the grass ain’t so green. So I have 2 advices for those who are thinking to go into digital space:
What you learned yesterday was a glimpse into the current business era in Indonesia. We did the prologue for you so you can write the rest.
The most tragic thing about today’s education is that the graduates will make their first post-academic step without knowing they are fully equipped to face a world that no longer exists.
Do you know the most common sentences people say when they first meet a new person? These are 2 of them:
I can answer the first one with full confidence because I had the privilege to go to one of the finest universities in the world. So I say, “I went to University of Toronto”. It’s the 2nd one I’m having problem with.
What subject did you take?
Uhhh… I majored in Cognitive Science
What comes next is a long silence or an awkward stare, almost 100% of the time. If you have ever asked those questions to me, you know it’s true. Sometimes I feel the urge to just say my minors instead, which were psychology and philosophy. But they’re not as mesmerizing :)
So what is Cognitive Science?
Stanford has the technical definition. It’s a definition that I sometimes use just because integrating 6 different disciplines into 1 makes me look cool (or at least I think so). But usually people can’t wrap their head around it and think I’m a freak instead.
So these days, I just say “it’s the science of thinking”. Keep in mind, this definition does not, in any way, reduce the probability that people think I’m a freak *sob*. But at least a definition that, I hope, is more understandable.
Think of physics. Physics is the attempt to turn physical law of nature into theories, formulas and equations that humans can see and comprehend. Because of those theories, formulas and equations, humans can then build something out of it. For example: cars, that’s the law of thermodynamics applied.
Now think of your mind; how you think. Cognitive science is the attempt to codify your mind just like physics tries to reduce law of nature into equations. The only difference is physics is entirely made up of material beings (atoms, particles, etc). Our cognition is a whole different beast.. or bitch, for that matter.
Those 6 different disciplines are to be integrated because they shape our mind; they shape how we think.
What is the implication?
Cognitive science is a a new field of study. If we ever succeed to codify our mind, then we will start seeing a true artificial intelligence. Not those robots who sweep the street or bring coffee to your bed in the morning. These will be beings that act like us, think the way we think, and make the same mistakes that we tend to make. It will be artificial “us”.
Now there are also moral and ethical implication of having an artificial “us” but I’m not going to argue about it here (or ever). If you now understand what cognitive science is, this is a post well-written :)
P.S. I think I should bit.ly’ed this post so the next time someone gives me that long stare after I answered their question, I can refer them to this page. If they still don’t understand, it’s their problem now D:
I am now a mentor. I got to get kids to call me teach!
I joined Analysis Exchange in 2010. The Analysis Exchange is an effort designed to provide hands-on training opportunities for aspiring web analytics professionals while providing free web data analysis to the entire nonprofit community.
It was the perfect opportunity that I just got to know and I was desperate to gain more real world experience in web analytics. The place I worked at was not exactly the best place to grow in that area.
Or so I thought.
One immediate challenge: a newcomer with next to no professional track record in web analytics is not the most appealing choice for the non-profits. Especially when I was competing against some of the great web analyst in the world.
I finally got chosen though. It was a really exhilarating feeling to finally be able to contribute in something that I loved. I was ready to slice and dice some data.
Or so I thought.
Some data there was not. My very first project was a very niche website and the traffic count was almost next to 0. Got through it just fine and got a 9 though. The next project was just as fine and got another 9.
And now I’m a mentor. My first project as a mentor is with Expeditionary Learning, a fantastic education organization that aims to think differently and apply “new levels of focus and effort”. Education seems like the most appropriate first project as an “educator” :)
My student is Brad Rifkin from Chicago. He works at BBDO in account management department. And he is very eager to start learning.
I hope I can help the organization as much as I possibly can and I can pass my as much knowledge as Brad wants me to. It’s going to be a fun project.