Finding Happiness in our knowledge economy

Happiness in our knowledge economy

Conrad Wolfram discussed a real problem facing our society today. Actually, it was back at a TED conference on October 10th, 2010, interestingly enough, exactly two years to this day!)

“I think we’ve got a real problem with math education, particularly in schools right now. Basically, no one’s very happy. Most of those trying to learn it think it’s boring and irrelevant. Employers think that people don’t know enough. Governments realize it’s critical for economic development, but don’t know what to do about fixing it, and many teachers are frustrated, too. And yet, without question, math is more important to the world than it ever has been in human history. So at one end we’ve got falling interest in education in math and at the other, a world that’s ever more quantitative, ever more mathematical than it has been. So what’s gone wrong and how do we bridge this chasm? Well, actually I think the answer’s really very simple: use computers. I want to talk through and explain why I think computers really are the silver bullet to making math education work but used dramatically.”

By suggesting “Basically, no one’s very happy. Most of those trying to learn it think it’s boring and irrelevant.”  The chasm is further described by an education system not using the computer for what it does best ‘computation.’  The method of math is a four step process that begins with posing the right question, formulating the problem, computing and then verifying the results.
1. Posing the right question
2. Real world =>math formulation
3. computation
4. Math formulation=>real-world validation, verification

Does this recursive pattern sound familiar?  I mentioned this in a previous post, begin by asking the right question.  Could math actually also be an answer to happiness?  If only folks could determine what insurance policy to go with or what their expected growth for retaining a particular service.  Couldn’t these computations support us ‘in real time’ and ‘on the fly’?   What if you could tell what local events and activities are most interesting us, based on our own predictive analysis? Why not?

We can model the process and let our hand held devices do, well the ‘math’.

What if we had a way of managing answers from real-world investigation and validation?  I mean, if I wasn’t sitting behind  this desk, I might be able to speak to real people who were standing in line waiting for the new iPhone5, now that’s a ‘captive’ audience!
With current technology this can be done..
I’ve discovered social media users (content writers/bloggers) evoke the same basic pattern to “grow” an audience, and discern effectiveness over time.  By posing a problem in a story, seeking feedback in the form of an open-ended question, from the real world (their consumers), compute the deltas, verify results.  And the good ones do it over and over with greater consistency and frequency.

We (would) choose to do things that make us happy, but we’re not very good predictors of what makes us happy.  

We consistently choose pleasure over passions and passions over higher purpose.  If we truly wanted to be happy, we strive for a higher purpose first, then allow our passions and pleasures to fall in place?  What is the answer to our own happiness?

Until recently, I thought it came from within each individual, but recently, found a more realistic solution it’s from ‘in between’ or more commonly known as the ‘relationships.’
How do these relationships develop? (Well, they could be positively and proactively)
What factors or variables can help lead to our relationships with friends and family, brands and small businesses? Are the processes or tools already in place?  How do we know when we’ll be happy?  We don’t.  Is  it possible to develop an algorithm based on our own individual sentiment analysis?  It may be difficult with just Twitter, because our persona(s) are typically ‘masked’ to provide a more cheery disposition of ourselves.   What if we were to privately document, journal our own ‘experiences’ and monitor our lives, can we begin to understand ourselves better?  What if this information were recorded ‘on the fly’?

As mentioned, we already tweet and blog and through these interactions, our sentiment toward friends, family, brands and businesses can be analyzed through listening applications like Awareness.  Folks are already doing this.  So, what if we only align ourselves with friends, family, brands/businesses and organizations whose ‘higher values or visions’ were similar to our own life and lifestyle?  Seems like a plan, but how?  We have to go to work, right?-urgh.

Can we proactively align ourselves with folks who hold similar values? Sure we can!

Would this make us happier?  Like Tony Hsieh, “we can choose to leave one table and go to the next!”  We certainly can and the quicker we do, the better we’ll become, it’s as easy as moving from one circle in Google+ to the next!
So, if we monitor or manage our own efforts, we could trace back to times, moments, experiences that were most happy for us.  We’re we alone?  We’re we with friends?  Did we just receive a shipment from Zappos-who knows! It’s (the future) and hasn’t happened yet..

Who knows when you were most happy better then you?  Nobody.

Developing a method that tracks our happiness could be relatively simple.  We know happiness begins with ourselves and ends somewhere ‘in-between’ the relationships we develop through experiences with others.  Our social media is an outward reflection of our inner selves.  What reason did we choose to push the content out?  Was it for self-promotion or another subconscious reason?  Actually,

Paul Adams, a user experience researcher at Google, indicates that people have four primary reasons for updating their status (but not specifically “sharing”):

  1. To shape how others perceive them.(makes sense)
  2. To maintain and grow relationships. (DING, DING, DING)
  3. To share content that others might find valuable.(DING, DING, DING)
  4. To source information. (DING, DING)

Find more at ‘The real life social network

Find out what (or who) makes you happy “in real life” and tweet about those experiences, better yet, send a picture at the “moment in time and send it to Instagram or Tumblr.” Get a glimpse or maintain a journal of when you were happiest.  This will encourage future similar interactions that can form by learning about yourself and those around you.  Do you like who you are today?  If you find you’re aggregating photos and memories that aren’t so flattering or you’re not telling the ‘adventurous’ story of yourself that you want to be told, you can proactively “change tables.”

Back to math and happiness, if we could find an ‘app to do that’ (tell us where we might be most happy) we could help others do the same!  Do you know of an app(s) that seeks to discover your happiness ‘on the fly’?


After breaking new media ground with products like Tumblr and Instapaper, Marco Arment is turning his attention to a more conventional publishing format — the magazine.

Frequently used words

better brands businesses chose develop don’t education ever family friends go happiness happy know makes math more most not only our ourselves over passions problem question real really relationships right think those through tweet us very want we’re world


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