Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lazy Sunday #406: The Toast Master

There's a lot of talk about robots and artificial intelligence these days. And many of us are starting to wonder not just what people will do for a career in the future, but how they'll spend the extra time they have once smart devices take over their everyday chores and errands.

There have always been people who paid their way by finding a little niche that fit perfectly with their talents, abilities or personality. 

But there have been just as many who squandered their resources by buying into that old showbiz creative conference adage -- "Find Your Passion". 

In my experience, that used to be actors from successful TV series who suddenly decided their artistic sensibilities were better reflected by sculpting or painting and whose output now fills their garage and basement while they snag the occasional dinner theatre gig.

But now there seem to be more of us with the same desperate need to reflect our individual creativity and unique personality. 

When I first moved to the West coast I met a woman who claimed she legitimately paid the rent as a "Barista Inspector" -- meaning she went around to coffee places making sure the people running the Latte maker correctly crafted that little leaf at the top of your pour.

I also ran across a guy who billed himself as captain of the city's ONLY "zero carbon footprint whale watching vessel" which looked a lot like a big rowboat.

My favorite was the aging hippie at a farmer's market selling moldy bark at $60 a pop that he claimed had been infused with mushroom spores on his strictly organic non-GMO farm. Apparently I just had to set it outside and harvest a pound of mushrooms every few months. 

I didn't bother calculating how long the return on that investment on his ingenuity might be.

I think most of those people had been influenced by the ethos of the "Maker" culture. One that insists we all have a special marketable skill nobody else has and our inherent resourcefulness can match whatever corporate industry does to earn its billions.

This weekend I visited a tech show where one group of confidently independent Makers was using a prohibitively expensive 3D printer to craft flip-flops. One at a time, two hours to a pair. 

I realized this has now gone far too far.

A realization also reached by a couple of advertising guys named Andy Corbett and Patrick Kehoe.

Yes, making a living in the future may be a problem. But I'm not so sure your inner child or some personal passion has the solution.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

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