Where Do We Go Now?

Where Do We Go Now?

Google’s AdSense program let’s publishers or website owners have relevant ads show up when users visit those sites. Google earns revenues (via their Google Ads – previously AdWords platform) from businesses wanting those ads showing up to relevant customer groups. In turn, they pass on some of that revenue (based on ever-changing conditions!) to the site owners for using their space for displaying ads.

Google’s all-encompassing know-how of users and their searches and interests makes all this possible and seemingly co-exist well.

A few years back, I had applied for Google AdSense for my blog. Thankfully for me, they had replied with the inability to take me into the program. According to them, my blog covered a diverse range of topics – something not suited to their business model that prefers everything in buckets. Highly specific, highly siloed topics or themes. If only humans were that basic and simple.

While probably a lot of people are aware of the underlying problem with this, it seemed to get highlighted after a recent meeting with an old friend.

This friend was telling me about how he and a friend were keen on creating a blog that shared information around good health. And so, they collaborated and got working on it. One had a tech background, and handled site development and Google services they hoped to integrate and earn from. My friend, good with content, had already researched and created several articles around the theme of their still-being-developed site.

Then, apparently this June, Google altered their AdSense program, leading popular healthcare related sites and services to see a near 50% drop in web traffic to their sites. The result. These two friends have at least temporarily shelved the project.

Imagine people with keen interest or even a passion for certain fields or topics. And their humble hope to share their knowledge with the world, and to learn from it. To connect with like-minded people in other parts of the world. To interact and grow. And perhaps be remunerated for their effort, even if moderately. These people have now often been basing their decision to continue in that field or not, based on Google’s whims.

As a kid, I once heard of how in China, the government has a say in the profession you pursued. And it was independent of your educational background. I thought it was highly illogical.

Yet here we are. Unconsciously doing the same thing in accordance with the wishes of ever-changing algorithms of a for-profit company.

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If you own, manage or work at a company, and are grappling with a complex challenge or are in need of innovation for growth, get in touch. More here.

And you might find my book, ‘Design the Future’ interesting. It demystifies the mindset of Design Thinking. Ebook’s on Amazon, and paperbacks at leading online bookstores including Amazon & Flipkart.

Bonded Labour vs Freed Slaves

Bonded Labour vs Freed Slaves

There is a task to be done.

One dependent variable is whether the task is an enjoyable one or not. Then there is the quality of the completed task.

Then there is enthusiasm. The excitement and energy we have and channel towards the task.

And finally, there is, the ability to question the task itself. Or the ability to be able to choose one task over another.

Apologies for the possibly insulting title. But that’s unfortunately how a lot of employees end up becoming. Bonded labour. Either bound by the security of a job, or to the greed of acquiring more. Nothing wrong with either.

However, when it comes to the job, here’s what happens.

Let’s assume that early in one’s career, enthusiasm is often (though not the case with everyone!) high. So any task, irrespective of its higher meaning or goal, gets done reasonably well. However, with time, and a multitude of mundane tasks, the enthusiasm drops. And because the employee feels bound to the company, he or she can’t question or reject a task. Which then boils down to two variables. Either the quality of work improves. The work becomes more challenging and exciting, that is. Everything’s good in that scenario. However, in the cases where it doesn’t, the employee eventually runs out of enthusiasm, and goes into zombie mode. One where they just go through the motions of the responsibility. Either out of personal greed, or fear of the uncertain.

The freed slave could be an employee who does not have, or succumb to, fear or greed. It could also be an ex-employee presently his or her own boss. They often tend to question the task itself. And since they aren’t completely bound to cravings for meaningless assets or illusionary status, they can actually choose the tasks they take. They can therefore regulate and maintain the enthusiasm levels. And thus, be in a better position to deliver above average work.

There’s a reason I said ‘freed’ slaves and not ‘free people”. There are more than enough examples of people who have become great business people with no prior experience. Then of course, there are those who had the privilege of working for great companies, before deciding to better it in their own way. However, with most people, working for at least one company first, helps. It helps to know the difference to be able to make a difference.

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