Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Power of Speed


Real value is no longer created by traditional measures of productivity. It's created by personal interactions, innovation, creative solutions, resilience, and the power of speed.
~Seth Godin
The Song of Significance

Finally getting down to reading a recent acquisition in my anti-library, I felt a quote literally leap off the pages of entrepreneur Seth Godin's latest, The Song of Significance. It was that phrase, "the power of speed," which resonated. After all, if it hadn't been for FamilySearch's latest development in speed-researching (otherwise known as Full Text search at FamilySearch Labs), I couldn't have gone speed-sliding down my mother-in-law's matriline quite so deftly.

Think of it:, by virtue of having accessed a faster way to page through endless legal documents, has created real value for those who need such creative solutions. The mind-numbing guesswork of paging through unindexed files, reading—no, oops, not the right page once again—line after line of indecipherable handwriting has finally come to its end. If, of course, the Labs Full Text test turns out to be a keeper.

The FamilySearch Labs example gets me thinking in broader application categories. What, for instance, if we applied that Seth Godin maxim to our current situation with waning member participation in local genealogical societies? Could the thought of personal interactions, innovation, or creative solutions speak to our dilemma there? I know that once Covid forced us to couple our traditional meeting format with the newer tech of online connectivity, we gained some benefits—but lost some personal interactions and resilience. Does this mean we face a zero sum game?

I tend to take that call to create "real value" as a call to return to personal connections. When our local genealogical society, after wandering the desert of online-only meetings for three years, decided to create a new, in-person get-together event just because, the energy level in the room was palpable. That buzz told me people really need this connection—even if it hasn't been the "way we always do things." All we added was personal interactions—but that is exactly the element we were sorely needing.

Maybe it only takes just one change to resurrect a wilting organization. We'll try others too, of course, but it is reassuring to see what a big response can come from such a simple change. After all, as Seth Godin likes to point out, real change can trigger a network effect of its own—which amplifies the signal we want to send even farther and faster.  

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