Archive for October 26th, 2012

Please vote.

In the last presidential election, fewer than 57% of voting age Americans actually voted. And this was one of the most watched events in history.  In 2010 it was fewer than 40% Surprised? Don’t be.  The numbers have been low for years.  This year,  we can all step up and do something about it.

There are a lot of reasons why it never makes sense to abstain from voting.

From the legal angle, if you don’t vote, then you aren’t thinking enough about the issues. The policies at stake are not only important, but they impact you profoundly.  If you consider the rules and policies of healthcare, education reform and unemployment a little more, you’d know just how much your voice mattered.

From the business side, I’d say this is a serious marketing problem. Not just from the candidates but from state government too.  How can you not exercise your most fundamental right to vote, to have a say, and to take part on the day that more people will be tuned in than any other time this year? On November 6, 2012.

If you don’t vote because you’re confused, then that doesn’t make sense.  There’s enough information out there to get more informed quickly and make a choice.

If you don’t vote because you think your state is already determined, then you might want to think again.  Because if everyone felt that exact way, then the numbers could swing in either direction very quickly. It’s the voters paradox. More importantly, the margin of victory in your district could still be a factor in the momentum any candidate gets during the election.

If you don’t vote because you don’t have the time, then make the time. I’m busy too, but spending a few minutes to register and vote is well worth the time.

If you don’t vote because you don’t like the game of politics, I understand, but don’t agree.  Don’t be fooled. Half of the “game” of politics is a ploy by the news channels to get more eyeballs and make more money.  Another part is paid TV ads trying to get their party an advantage over the other.  Sure maybe some of of the hooploa comes from the candidates themselves.  But nothing unexpected given what’s at stake in two weeks.

The good thing about voting is this.

  1. Voting is free. Or the price of a stamp if you mail your ballot in.
  2. You can vote from anywhere, and send in an absentee ballot if need be.
  3. You can take part in the outcome.
  4. You can help shape the next four years of our nation (or of your local geography in other elections)
  5. You can join the other thousands of people that will be doing the same.
  6. You can influence other people in your community to vote.
  7. You can exercise a right that people have fought and died for.
  8. You can get smart about the issues.
  9. You can take a stand for what you believe in.
  10. You can get started learning and have a stronger voice next time.

The candidates are different. So are their policies, motivations and stories.

Every single person, in every state, city, district and county should absolutely exercise their right and privilege to choose.

In short, please vote.


Friday, October 26th, 2012 Leadership, Politics No Comments

Too much technology

How much time do you spend every day checking email, logging into Facebook, sending text messages, and surfing the web for things you don’t really care about? Probably way too much.  Many of my MBA classmates did too.

But don’t get me wrong, it happened to me last year as well. As a fairly known MBA Blogger who gets as many emails as most people I know, I woke up one day last year and realized I had the same problem.

I’d put my head down on campus sending dozens of texts and emails when I had friends sitting right in front of me.  I’d write multiple blog posts on a Saturday morning and realized I was getting behind on all my afternoon work. And I’d search stories online only to realize 90 minutes went by in the blink of an eye. And it happened often.

One post on HBR put it this way:

The definitive Internet act of our times,” she adds, “is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward. We search. And we search. And we search some more … clicking that mouse … looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough.

In 1997, one Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon put it this way (also from HBR)

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And retention. Taking in endless bits and bytes of information is akin to pouring water into a glass already full — in this case our severely limited working memory.

In some ways, we’re all guilty. Millennials have been doing this for years now–even the President’s campaign is centered around the use of technology.  Emailing friends when other friends are right in front of them. Texting other people, even though they are standing right beside them.  And scanning through Facebook to see the latest news, even though the last ten times you were not fulfilled by anything they found.

What I’ve come to find, is that in high level work environments this doesn’t fly. Not only is it looked down upon but it’s also not as productive. Especially when your job is demanding and in jobs where you are forced to account for your time (i.e. a law firm and consulting firm).

While you don’t have to turn off your technology entirely, at some point we’ll all have to do better. We’ll have to consciously ignore it during times that matter. During your most important projects. In the time leading up to important meetings. During your most productive times.  And of course when you’re with people whose attention you care about.

Of course, if you don’t do it now, life will force you. Friends will notice you are not engaged enough. Jobs will notice you’re not productive enough. You’ll come to find that you’re having a harder time focusing.

All things that have happened to me in the past.

And all things that can happen to anyone.

Friday, October 26th, 2012 Business School, Networking No Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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