A recent survey by Virgin Money asked football fans to estimate how much, on average, they thought about the game each day. Fans of Sean Bean’s favourite side – the Blades (Sheffield United to the uninitiated) – came top of the poll, thinking about football 110 times a day; followed by Charlton fans (104). The cares associated with following a top premiership club are obviously fewer, since Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United fans only think about football 90, 81 and 71 times a day respectively.
Comment: If a similar survey was conducted among the corporate learning community asking how many times a day they thought about, say, e-learning, would the results even match the performance of Everton fans – the club that came bottom of the Virgin Money poll with a mere 43 thoughts a day?
Apparently – according to a survey by information security company SafeNet – UK business travellers lose up to 8,500 mobile devices in the country’s airports every year. Those travelling from major London airports are the most ‘unlucky’, with more than 400 laptops and 2,500 other mobile devices lost annually. Meanwhile, business professionals using airports in north-west England misplace more than 100 laptops and 800 mobile gadgets – including BlackBerrys, phones and USB sticks – every year.
Comment: These figures reveal a major challenge for those engaged in specifying, developing and delivering mobile learning materials. At least when training was carried out in a classroom or even at a desktop, you could be fairly certain that the learner experienced the learning materials (even if s/he learnt nothing from the experience). Now, in addition to taking up the e-learning challenge – of ensuring learner engagement with remotely-delivered learning materials – they will also have to ensure that learners don’t lose the delivery mechanism en route.
Is the writing on the wall (again) for the internet industry? We are currently experiencing ‘web 2.0’ and this is enabling an apparently endless rise in the revenues derived from web advertising (with US internet advertising reportedly rising 25 per cent in the third quarter of this year to a record $5.2bn). As a result, media and technology firms are investing billions in building their online advertising businesses – and even Microsoft is pledging to be a ‘powerhouse’ in advertising in the future.
Moreover, according to a recent report, many people who are looking to work for web 2.0 start-ups are prepared to sacrifice pay in exchange for shares in the venture they’re joining. And over 75 per cent of candidates joining dot-com start-ups through the IT staffing company ReThink Recruitment have foregone a third of their salaries in exchange for shares. These levels are, allegedly, close to those seen during the first dot-com boom of a few years ago.
Comment: The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, came up with the idea of eternal recurrence – the idea that history repeats itself, since the universe has been recurring endlessly and will continue to do so for all time in an incomprehensible way. After our experience of the bursting of the ‘dot com’ bubble, we could apply this idea to the ‘web / bubble’ cycle. Is this ‘boom and bust cycle’ going to go on for ever in IT and its related sectors, as Nietzche suggested – perhaps in shortening cycles as the pace of technology increases? If so, isn’t it time – for all our sakes – that we learnt some lessons?