How Technology Kills Mediocrity

The development of technology and social media in particular has exposed all of us much more than in the past.

What the development of new media has done is to make it much more difficult than it used to be for organizations and individuals to operate in a quite backwater unnoticed by anybody else, just getting on with their own lives or perhaps just running their own business not very well.  The development of technology and social media in particular has exposed all of us much more than in the past.


When I started my working life, it was quite easy to be mediocre and nobody really noticed.  Now, you can move services across boundaries, across national boundaries, across continents very, very easily, and in most cases, therefore, what we’ve got is the need to make sure that we are competitive just not in the small circle in which we operate but much more widely because otherwise the danger is that somebody will come from a quite unexpected direction and occupy the space that we occupy, particularly if it’s profitable.  

Bluntly, if you are doing something that doesn't make money and is not very profitable, you may not be very threatened.  But once you’ve got something which is a service or produce goods that other people want and you're making money in it, then all this technology makes it much easier for people to move into your space.  So as far as education is concerned, what education can do is to make you aware of what these threats are so that you're much less likely to be caught unawares.

60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Yug, age 7, and Alia, age 10, both entered Let Grow's "Independence Challenge" essay contest.

Photos: Courtesy of Let Grow
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • The coronavirus pandemic may have a silver lining: It shows how insanely resourceful kids really are.
  • Let Grow, a non-profit promoting independence as a critical part of childhood, ran an "Independence Challenge" essay contest for kids. Here are a few of the amazing essays that came in.
  • Download Let Grow's free Independence Kit with ideas for kids.
Keep reading Show less

Four philosophers who realized they were completely wrong about things

Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?

Sartre and Wittgenstein realize they were mistaken. (Getty Images)
Culture & Religion

Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways. 

Keep reading Show less

Is there a limit to optimism when it comes to climate change?

Or is doubt a self-fulfilling prophecy?

David McNew/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

'We're doomed': a common refrain in casual conversation about climate change.

Keep reading Show less

What should schools teach? Now is the moment to ask.

The future of learning will be different, and now is the time to lay the groundwork.

What should schools teach? Now is the moment to ask. | Caroline ...
Future of Learning
  • The coronavirus pandemic has left many at an interesting crossroads in terms of mapping out the future of their respective fields and industries. For schools, that may mean a total shift not only in how educators teach, but what they teach.
  • One important strategy moving forward, thought leader Caroline Hill says, is to push back against the idea that getting ahead is more important than getting along. "The opportunity that education has in this moment to really push students and think about what is the right way to live, how do we do it and how do we do it in a way that doesn't hurt or rob the dignity of other people?"
  • Hill also argues that now is the time for bigger swings and for removing the barriers that limit education. The online space is boundary free and provides educators with new opportunities to connect with students around the world.

Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…