Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Off the Shelf: Ctrl Alt Delete
Some days, it's just time to reboot.
Since I feel like I've been wandering in research circles over my Tully family mystery—"Where's Margaret?" "How should I know?!"—the concept known in the computing world as "Ctrl Alt Delete" may be a timely fit for my mood. If nothing else, it's a great title to pull off my shelf of still-not-finished books.
For my main read this month, I reached for the 2013 book by Mitch Joel—"Canada's rock star of digital marketing," as one marketing magazine dubbed him. I had long intended to read his second book, Ctrl Alt Delete—yes, that really is the title—but you know how it goes: life gets in the way. It's only by virtue of making this an intentional lifestyle change that I'm conquering these books-I've-always-meant-to-read.
I long ago was charmed by the ambience that is Mitch Joel when I stumbled upon the fact that he named his blog "Six Pixels of Separation." I'm fascinated with the "six degrees of separation" concept, and the allusion was alluring enough to get me to follow the blog—and eventually buy the book.
While, on face value, it seems the book would be a good match for someone like me, involved in a family business, that's not why I'm reading it. Yes, I know Mitch Joel is a digital marketing expert—his promotional material brags, "When Google wanted to explain online marketing to the top brands in the world, they brought Mitch Joel to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California"—but it wasn't for marketing, per se, that I pulled this book off the shelf.
I've long been a student of creativity—what is "it" and how does one "get it" being prime explorations—and I understand that often, research problems are not solved by staring them down, boldfaced, in a dark alley. Sometimes, a little walk to cool off, a change of venue to switch gears, anything to submerge the overheated mind in a totally different environment, can allow the subconscious to work on problems behind the scenes. Light bulbs have lit up for scientists stepping off the bus in rainy metropolitan commutes—at times and places having nothing to do with the deep ideas they've been probing at the office. Think "Eureka" while easing into the bathtub.
One of the promises of Mitch's book is to delve into his concept of "squiggle." I'm fascinated by that. Though flush with examples of finding and following one's "career pathway," the book explores "just how extraordinary—and unpredictable—one's squiggle in life and in business has become."
Alright, so what is "squiggle"? Whatever it is—remember, I have yet to read the bulk of this book—it has to do with being able to adapt one's "personal approach" while faced with the onslaught of never-ending change. While the environment the author is operating in is the world of technology, just like the creatives of times past who learned to use analogies from the world around them to help solve unsolvable problems, I'm hoping his concept of "squiggle" will cross-apply to worlds the rest of us inhabit, as well.