I’m Not Like Those Other Wrap Up Posts

Looking back at my first blog post, I apparently knew what this class was going to be from the beginning, which is kind of nice. We knew from the beginning that this would be a lot of work, and it was, but it obviously had a large impact on most of the class’ understanding of technology.

Overall, I really appreciated the structure of the class. The discussions made the class much more interesting, although I will admit I probably would have been okay with Professor Kane lecturing for most of the class. Getting to learn from the rest of the class, along with the mix of undergrad and graduate students provided a learning experience I hadn’t had before.

I’m gonna be honest…

I was probably not the type of student this class was intended for. Many of the technologies we discussed I was already well versed in. I am constantly reading about AI and machine learning and was well versed in blockchain and product management. On top of this, as you are all probably aware of, I’m not a fan of social media. My thoughts and opinions on it haven’t changed much since the beginning either. It seemed that most of our discussion was about the negatives of social media, from depression to ISIS recruitment.

I was pretty terrible at keeping up on the workload, too. I wrote two blog posts today and one last week (two of which were due weeks ago) and didn’t keep up on the commenting. To top it all off, I did maybe 3 surveys (sorry, professor…). So I figured I might use this blog post as a way to make up for that. I’m saying all of this as to provide the many, many grains of salt that this post should be taken with.

That being said…

While I enjoyed the class and liked it far more than 90% of the classes I’ve done, I felt like something was missing. If I had taken it as an undergrad instead of an MBA I probably wouldn’t think this. What I think was missing from this class was depth. What I mean by that is that we discussed topics quickly and mostly surface level, rarely getting into their root importance and what their application would look like in a business setting.

We started off this class with a great video that talked about electricity and manufacturing processes, and that the radical, new technology didn’t revolutionize anything until people began to fundamentally think differently about the business process that could best utilize it.

To help illustrate my point, let’s look at blockchain. I’ve been familiar with how it works and its benefits for about 3 years. I couldn’t tell you how or if many companies could utilize this sort of tech, which I would argue is more important than the finer details of such distributed ledgers.

I think, overall, that’s what I’ve been craving. Many of the topics of discussion provided interesting things to think about, but I felt that the lessons they taught were often left undiscussed. This left the real process of learning, of changes in thoughts and beliefs, at a quieter, individual level instead of a collaborative effort. Thinking back to many of the presentations, there were lessons to be learned and new approaches to doing things that weren’t talked about enough. How can Disneyworld’s wrist band apply to finance or manufacturing? What can a picture of an egg teach us about leadership? What does the popularity of Soul Cycle mean in terms of social trends?

Awareness of these technologies doesn’t matter much, and I think Professor Kane’s book teaches a valuable lesson in this regard. While people will inevitably make or break the adoption of a new technology, I would argue that you need understanding and vision to get them on board. Arriving there is a challenge, but collaboration helps. The Steve Jobs quote, above, is one of my favorites and I think can apply here. We have a class full of people with unique experiences, that understand these technologies differently, and can see different applications. Why not structure the class to dive more into that?

I may be getting too far ahead of myself here and I’m sure many of you probably disagree with me on all or most of what I’ve said, but I think that might be the point. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the class a lot, but I don’t consider it a contradiction to like something and want to make it better. Either way, I’m getting off of the soapbox now. Thank you all for a memorable experience.

9 comments

  1. Matt, I agree with a lot of what you say here – I really enjoyed the structure of the class, and thought that combining Twitter discussion, small group discussion and large group discussion were a great way to talk about a variety of topics in class. But there definitely times when I wished we had more time to talk about a topic – there were several times that my small group would start going down a really interesting path, and we then would break for large group discussions. I’ve felt that way in other MBA classes as well, though – it seems like sometimes you get into a really great discussion, and need to quickly pivot to another topic.

    My thought is that it is due, at least in part, to the fact that there is, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), a time limit on each class. Given that, it’s just not always possible to cover topics in depth.

  2. I do get what you’re saying, and I think having a stronger focus on a few different technologies or simply just social media would have given an opportunity to take a deep dive into impact and what adoption of these things mean. That being said, I am an undergraduate and I do feel differently about the class. I maybe haven’t had the time or simply haven’t done in-depth research about all of the different technologies we discussed so for me it was a really great opportunity to get introduced, even if at a surface level, to ideas and topics I haven’t considered. the fast paced nature of the class allowed us to cover so much and the class discussion was a cool opportunity to hear from both graduate and undergraduate students on their perspectives of these technologies given the varying levels of experience. I also had a tough time with getting assignments in and keeping up with twitter discussions. The surveys were a particular weak point for me too, Its nice to hear someone else is in the same boat. Regardless, I think this class taught me a lot not only about technology but keeping up with small responsibilities. I really enjoyed hearing your perspective both in class and on your blogs, you did great work! It was a pleasure!

  3. I agree that at times I thought there good have been more depth into some of the topics. But then I feel like we would have to sacrifice the time for discussion that this class is based around. Personally, I would rather get surface level information about many different topics so I have the opportunity to zero in on the ones I really like later.

  4. Hmm. Might be worth revisiting the class description https://bostoncollege.instructure.com/courses/1590927/pages/course-description. I would argue that you may have missed the most important point of this class.

  5. I understand your point when you say that “we discussed topics quickly and mostly surface level, rarely getting into their root importance and what their application would look like in a business setting.” But I think that was exactly the purpose of the blogs posts. It gave us a chance to do our own research and express a deep point of view about a specific or narrowly focused topic. Personally, I would have really enjoyed reading more of your blog posts for exactly the reasons you express above, it would have been great to get an in-depth analysis on something you think is valuable or important. I think there’s always going to be a trade-off between breadth and depth when you’re covering as many topics as we have over the course of the semester you’re definitely going to sacrifice something. We’ve only had 10 or so classes in which to cover an enormous amount of ground.

  6. I really think our class discussion a couple of weeks back strongly contradicts your feeling for lack of depth. I too came into this class with a pretty strong understanding of AI, machine learning, and most of digital business tools used today as a product of interning in technology consulting for the past 2 years. I personally really appreciated the high level debate and curiosity of this class. You may have had much more experience with like-minded peers, but I feel the majority of the class hasn’t. Personally, this was the first real open forum style class I’ve had discussing these things, and I don’t think I’m alone in that boat. In either case, I do agree I wish we dived into some topics more, however I am very glad that I’ve taken at least one class that helped me connect all the dots.

  7. Matt, I agree, having come from a slightly more technical background, we definitely grazed over the top of certain topics, that being said I actually really appreciated that aspect of it. I often get bogged down in details so I love being able to take a step back and look at the wider implications. I also feel like it’s given me the motivation to dig deeper into the topics that I really enjoyed

  8. Oh hey, I’m part of the two-in-a-day blog club too!

    Although I could certainly see where you’re coming from re: depth of certain topics I think ultimately the class wasn’t so much about diving deep enough so you could see how disney bands apply to finance, but about highlighting the road a manager should pave to answer those questions. Blogs where the place to spend the time to dig deeper about topics of interest, especially when so many write ups were inspired by topics highlighted in either class discussion or in someone else’s blog post. For example, I personally would never ever tackle quantum computing as a topic, but was glad arkadiynorkin wrote about it, otherwise I never would have sought out this information myself.

  9. I really appreciate the hot take here. Most of the wrap-up blog posts are a pat on the back to the class, so I do commend you for taking a different stance here. With that being said, I’d push back on a lot of what you said. Namely, that the class lacked depth. For example, while we did really only get a surface-level summation on how blockchain works, we did read about how governments can apply blockchain to become a so-called “digital republic”, among other things. That’s pretty out-of-the-box, if you ask me. Additionally, if you wanted to dive deeper into certain topics, it would probably make more sense to take a class on that topic and that topic alone… That said, I do agree that there were some things I wish we had talked more about. Unfortunately, the time constraints of the class being once per week for a single semester, doesn’t really allow for that.

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