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Posts Tagged ‘Rules of Thumb’

Either/Or (past) v. Both/And (future)

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I just hit the section of Alan Webber’s new book, Rules of Thumb which made me think of an earlier family conversation today.  (Alan, by the way, is the cofounder of Fast Company.)  I reached the either/or past and both/and future tale in the book (which I’ll try not to give away here), which reminded me of my brother and I trying to explain to my mom the differences between different types of social media…Facebook and LinkedIn in particular.

My brother has a ton of friends on Facebook.  He’s not on LinkedIn.  On the other hand, I tend to focus on professional connections on LinkedIn, and am (barely) on Facebook.  What I stated out loud to mom but never really articulated in my own mind prior was that, to me, Facebook is all about the past.  I tend to connect with people from my past on it.  On the other side, LinkedIn to me is all about the future.  It focuses on what could be.  My brother retorted that LinkedIn to him was merely a site for people to look for their next job. (Of course, in classic Albert fashion, we agreed to disagree.)

While trying not to give too much away, in Webber’s book, he argues that in the past, things seemed to be a little more cut and dried.  Tastes great v. Less Filling.  Good guy v. Bad guy.  Now and moving forward, we tend to need both, at least in terms of successful companies.  We need a low cost, efficient AND high quality car.  It’s no longer an either or, it is now both+.  Furthermore, this passage reminded me of another book, The Opposable Mind, in that to hold 2 opposing ideas in one’s head at the same time is what makes someone a great leader.  (Oh, and BTW, the ability to hold 2 opposing ideas in the head is a great skill I’ve been trying to work on in law school too.)

I suppose if my past is in Facebook and the future is in LinkedIn, so be it. The answer appears to be to keep both for now, AND if I’m on Twitter, YouTube and a couple of other places, that’s also cool.

Tastes great AND less filling!