My Digital Transformation

The say that the mark of an educated man is that he knows that which he is ignorant of. If that is the case, then I might be the best educated man in the whole MBA program. I knew going into this class that I had a lot to learn about. I got my undergrad degree in psychology so I had more room to grow in this program than most. Some classes came more naturally to me than other. Some, particularly those requiring tech savviness, less so. Coming into this semester I was hoping to increase my so-called digital literacy for both professional and academic purposes. My misapprehension was that I would just take this class and then have all the answers. Instead, I have the questions that I need to ask

The idea that I was or need to become a tech genius is, to borrow the term, a fallacy. It’s a fallacy that is deeply paralyzing. Sometimes a taunting challenge (perceived or genuine) forces us to grow in order to meet it. More often however, it prevents us from even starting. I think we can all relate to this in one way or another. Slow and steady wins the race, and I’ve slowly learned to step out of my comfort zone and increase both my risk tolerance and knowledge base. As many of you probably noticed, I’m not concerned with sounding stupid. In my defense, I’m a part timer and I swear that my IQ drops 15-20 points after a full day of work. At any rate, why I’m open to learning is because I’m not trying to be the world’s greatest authority on all things digital. I’ve always known that I don’t need to aim for the moon in that respect, this class really served to help me internalize that fact. As such, I’m increasing my risk tolerance by lowering a faulty perception of it.

Another takeaway for me come not from the class material itself but in fact the class structure. In my initial blog I talked about how I benefit from a traditional structure and I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out. But I’ve continued to embrace baptism by fire and this class was that in spades. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t always just mean new material. Sometimes it can mean doing the same thing but in a different way. I’m a fairly discipled person, but I see now that sometimes a disciple is a smokescreen for rigidity and anxiety. Much like a company needs to be willing to pivot and keep up with digital transformation, the structure of this class has made be a more resilient person.

Getting back to the digital side of things, I’m looking to parlay this past semester into my new job. I recently accepted a new position and will be starting shortly. It’s a bit more technical and data driven than what I’m doing right now. I’m a fairly quick learned, so I’m confident that I’ll pick things up with time and effort. But now I have a few more tools at my disposal. I’m better equipped to ask the right kids of questions to achieve more. I don’t just want to know what buttons to push in order to accomplish a very specific task. I see that the “why” is sometimes more important than the “what” and I plan on putting that mindset to work. The exception to this might be blockchain technology. I’m probably not going to fully understand that anytime soon.

This class certainly broaden my views of the digital world. But there is one worldview of my that it only hardened. As demonstrated repeatedly on twitter, I’m radically opposed to invasions of privacy and the curtailing of free expression. I feel that this is one of the greatest issues of are times, particularly in the digital realm. Our many (many,many) discussions about Facebook and adjacent topics have only served to reinforce those beliefs. While I will continue to immerse myself in technology, I will also continue to try compartmentalize my exposure to it. In recent years I’ve engaged in what I call “dopamine cleanses”. I will be making a concerted effort to spend less time on my phone. Although, to be honest, it’s not easy. I believe that we aren’t evolved to deal with many aspects of modern technology and suffer the consequences. I will be deleting my twitter account after semester as I believe the capacity for addiction, mental illness, and conflict are too engrained with the platform. It’s a feature rather than a bug. I see no reason that I can’t be more digitally literate and proficient while at the same time spending for time in the real world. From this, you can probably gather that if you ever run into me, it’s not going to be in the metaverse.

4 comments

  1. yanamorar · ·

    Ben, I totally share your thoughts here! I was also nervous about the “unstructured” organization of the class, but I’ve learned not only to embrace it but also to enjoy it! It’s been an incredible learning experience and something totally different from what I expected. With that said, I also copy you; I’m trying to set boundaries to my phone and social media to learn to unwind and be more connected to the physical world around me. Best of luck with the rest of the program!

  2. bccryptoassets · ·

    Bravo, I’m with you all the way on deleting all things social after this week. I haven’t ever used social media to stand by the reasons you also don’t, but using Twitter helped me understand “Fake News” better and generally how a ton of our populations tends to get their information. Twitter can throw you down a dark abyss if you truly are glued to your phone, but luckily there are people like us who can launch our way out of it. I appreciate your comments throughout the semester as you were never really afraid to express your thoughts. Crazy or not at time, that’s what makes this class special, and you were part of it. Thanks Ben and congrats on the new job!

  3. Christina S · ·

    Great post! I love this outlook: “I’m better equipped to ask the right kids of questions to achieve more” and I feel similarly as I look ahead to working again post-graduation. Prior to the class I considered myself pretty technologically illiterate (and sadly that hasn’t changed much) but I’m confident now in the broad base of knowledge we learned and what types of questions or considerations I can bring to the table to foster discussion or weigh the benefits/disadvantages of technology or digital transformation.

    Could not agree more with your last paragraph! At times it felt overwhelming and somewhat discouraging in class to learn about the increasingly more ways that data privacy is being infringed upon, or the curtailing or “molding” of speech and thought through tech platforms, and the perceived lack of concern from the masses (or rather the inability to even affect change). Somewhat related, there’s a documentary I watched on Netflix about how social media/technology is affecting kids and it was so interesting (and sad) to see what a challenge it is for parents – on the one hand, if they limit tech use, their child runs the risk of being alienated/isolated from friends during those pivotal developmental years, but on the other hand, they see the negative consequences of the platforms and the actual devices themselves manifesting in really distressing ways. While the documentary was centered around childhood development, I saw so many parallels with all age groups as technology becomes increasingly central to our worlds, so I’m inspired by your “dopamine cleanses” and hope to try my own! Good luck with your new job!

  4. DownEastDigital · ·

    Although I wouldn’t agree with how you phrased it, my favorite line was – “As many of you probably noticed, I’m not concerned with sounding stupid.”. I’ve taken a couple of classes with you now and appreciate you asking whatever you’re thinking about without trying to refine it as much as possible. It’s definitely something that I need to get better at doing myself. I was concerned with the class structure as well as I like to keep an up-to-date to-do list and there was so much action with this class. But just as Professor Kane said, it eventually became second nature and I didn’t even use my usual list. Thanks for your participation this semester and best of luck going forward.

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