In this short video from Bloomberg Dave Allen talks about technology and productivity.
The medium itself is neither good nor bad – it’s neutral.
It’s a message that many of us need to hear, to a certain extent, it’s not email that’s the problem, it’s how we use it. I say ‘to a certain extent’ because my own view is that email, as an example, is only neutral in the same way that alcohol is neutral. That might sound like quite a strong comparison to make, but the parallels that I am trying to draw out are these. Alcohol might be neutral until used, but it’s effect on people, once used, differs dramatically, and people aren’t always in control of their response. The same is true with email, and other technology media. Also, like alcohol, the effects aren’t always immediately evident and for the technology media we are a long way from understanding all of the impacts.
We need to do a much better job of helping people to understand what the impacts of their actions are when they use email, for instance, and to use it far more responsibly.
Things are changing and Dave Allen highlights this in the interview:
It’s all really cools stuff but there’s as much frustrations with it now as there is "wow this is neat".
The GTD methods that Dave Allen teaches, and other similar methodologies, are becoming very important.
The other day I read an interesting article when someone was paralleling the emerging Productivity Industry with the Diet Industry. It’s a similar parallel. (Annoyingly, for some reason, I didn’t bookmark it and now can’t find it.)