I came across two good quotes recently that I thought I’d share with ACRLog readers. The first is from Michael Lewis who was interviewed in the October 30, 2006 issue of Fortune (p. 138). Lewis is famous for his business books such as Liar’s Poker and Moneyball. He said:
Where I have encountered greatness, there is an ability to go a different direction from everyone else while behaving with confidence and assurance as if you’re just doing it the way things should be done. It’s now very fashionable to be an innovator and to be a change maker. You get lots of people throwing terms around. People think they are more unusual than they are. Whenever you see someone say, “I like to think outside the box,” you know that they are so deeply in the box that they’ll never get out.
That’s from a Fortune issue that’s all about how people achieve greatness. I do like that first sentence though. Sometimes you need the courage to counter the groupspeak and follow your own path, even if it’s likely to result in being ostracized by the crowd. I don’t think anyone ever achieved greatness by jumping on a bandwagon.
The second is a quote from Tom Sanville, Executive Director of OhioLINK. Sanville is interviewed on pgs. 56-58 of the September 2006 issue of Against the Grain. He says:
We need to consider a total rearrangement of how we do things and certainly think about our priorities and their relative importance. We are probably paying a lot of attention to the wrong things – old things and ideas that have been successful for us, but will not keep us successful. We need to connect with where and how our users are starting their Web activity, not where we’d like them to start…In a search engine dominated world, we have to apply a massive amount of effort and resources into changing this or recognize our three important priorities to building our services: 1. discovery 2. discovery, 3. discovery. If our users don’t find us or what we provide in the first place, end of game.
I’m sure it’s a sentiment that many of us have felt in the last few years, but perhaps could not quite articulate it as powerfully as Sanville does here. If you don’t think it’s time to shift gears in this profession and start trying new things to reach our users in different ways, then Sanville’s interview is required reading – but read it anyway even if you think things are not changing fast enough.